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This is NOT "Freedom Week 2.0" YET! Please read this for more information on why it isn't.

Last Update: Edit #16 - October 2, 2020
Ok, already seeing misinformation going out here (at least Reno pulled down his video).
It seems a majority of people here putting up posts, videos, and others are up-voting misinformed comments whoi are not actually READING.
It is not hard to get this information guys... You can see the ruling on the document HERE where it says under conclusion: "We AFFIRM the district court’s grant of summary judgment for plaintiffs-appellees."
What does this mean?
It means that the 9th circuit has AFFIRMED Judge Benitez's summary judgement. Now if there was no stay on this summary judgement this means that the judgement stays in effect. HOWEVER because Benitez put a STAY on HIS OWN JUDGEMENT that summary judgement is NOT in effect. This means it is NOT legal to purchase new magazines YET.
What would need to be done to get Freedom Week 2.0 started?
Judge Benitez's stay would have to LIFT his own stay would have to be lifted. This would allow the summary judgement to be in effect once again. The stay on his judgement will be lifted upon "final resolution" of the appeal.
I am updating this so as to avoid confusion, refer to the lower edits for information on this.
Will Benitez lift his stay stay be lifted soon so as to allow for Freedom Week 2.0 to begin?
My crystal ball says no because if he does then the stay gets lifted before the appeal process is finalized then the DOJ will ask for an "emergency" stay with their en-banc appeal and they will get a stay written by the 9th (based on the 3 judges handling these stays, they change every month - don't forget what happened to Rhode v. Becerra (the ammo case)) and you can bet it will not be as lenient as Benitez's current stay is.
tl;dr The ruling is still stayed because Benitez has NOT lifted his stay nor has the requirements been met to lift that stay (i.e. appeals process being completed). All that happened was the 9th agreeing with Benitez's SUMMARY JUDGEMENT (which is currently stayed by Benitez himself).
Once again, stop spreading misinformation. You guys are going to get people who may not know any better in serious hot water and THEY will be paying the legal consequences... It could happen to you or someone you know. Please do not be careless and stop writing without thinking... We got really good news here, let's wait a little bit and see how Benitez AND the CA DOJ respond to this.
Edit: EVEN Chuck Michel is publicly saying this is not "Freedom Week II" yet. For those who only sit on this sub and have no idea who he is, he is the President of the CRPA.
Edit 2: If you want to hear my theory on what will happen now it is that Benitez will not touch his stay unless the 9th denies an en-banc hearing or they approve the en-banc hearing and then affirm Benitez's judgement.
Edit 3: The Original Stay issued last year can be found here clearly states:
THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Judgment is stayed in part pending final resolution of the appeal from the Judgment
What does "final resolution of the appeal from the Judgement" mean? It means that either the state does not try to appeal the 9th's affirmation (or they run out of time to appeal the decision (very unlikely)) OR the 9th circuit denies en-banc AND SCOTUS denies cert. Currently the appeals process is still open, it is not final.
Edit 4: Here is a post from FPC (Firearms Policy Coalition) basically reiterating what this post already says
Edit 5: "Ok so you said a lot of stuff, what's going to happen now and when will it happen?" -> My prediction is that the state is going to file for an en-banc hearing and that Judge Benitez won't be touching his injunction. I can imagine this will be filed within a week or two and the 9th will sit on it "pending the decision of Young v Hawaii".
Edit 6: "Why are there some companies saying they'll ship? How is that legal?" -> Technically it is not illegal to sell a magazine of any size to a California resident so long as that sale is not conducted within California and that resident does not import the magazine into California. Realistically speaking the only one who's really taking the legal risk of purchasing these magazines online and having them shipped to California right now is YOU. You are going to be facing more liability than the companies will (especially considering most of those companies aren't even in California). Remember those companies have very likely retained big law firms and you (likely) don't have that kind of money to retain that level of legal support.
Edit 7: Here is some useful information regarding how soon these appeals must be filed.
I will try to keep updated as much as possible and post here with the relevant information. It is very difficult to give the time frame for anything right now because nobody knows what the state is going to do. My best guess is they are preparing an en-banc appeal and that they will not risk going to SCOTUS at this time. If Trump wins re-election it is highly unlikely that they will seek out a SCOTUS appeal and the en-banc appeal will be the final appeal by the state.
Edit 8: Largely the same as above but this time I found a flowchart made by Michelle & Assosciates regarding how the en-banc process works. You can view this En-Banc Flowchart here.
Edit 9: CRPA now has released a FAQ regarding the current situation (it is essentially the same as I've written here - and before someone asks, no I do not work for CRPA), you can view this here. They have a different view than I do on "final resolution" meaning they think Freedom Week 2.0 could come sooner, about 90 days sooner than the farthest date I noted above (I have written previously that it could come a lot sooner; nobody knows for certain however, I just personally gave a very liberal prediction).
Edit 10: I forgot to consider something that might result in Freedom Week 2.0 coming sooner (I didn't consider this because it's a bit unpredictable)! If the en-banc appeal is denied then that could be considered "final resolution" of the appeal. As a result Judge Benitez's stay might be lifted as the 9th would hand the case back to the district court (i.e. Judge Benitez).
Now, does this mean all is good and Benitez can right away lift the stay? Well yes (probably) but... the state could ask him to keep his stay in place while they file cert. to SCOTUS. However after considering how the state has been treating him (i.e. the "threats" to tell him to put a stay on his judgement or they would go to the 9th) I seriously doubt he is going to grant such a request. There is also the possibility that the state ask the 9th to stay its mandate while a cert. petition is filed but if they would deny en-banc then I find it unlikely they would stay that mandate.
So what does this mean? It means that if en-banc gets denied then it could be just a matter of days before Freedom Week 2.0 is active. Now of course there is still the possibility that SCOTUS could get involved following a cert. petition as they have a tendency to do as they please (I don't think anyone here needs any examples of this (cough NYSRPA v NYC cough)). I doubt I (or anyone in my network) am going to be able to accurately predict how SCOTUS would act in such a situation but my prediction as of today (August 16th, 2020) would be they would either deny cert. or GVR it (GVR would not be good for us).
Edit 11: This Friday (August 28, 2020) will be 14 days from the 9th's opinion. By that day (or on that day) ether an en-banc appeal will be filed, an extension request will be filed, or nothing will be filed.
Edit 12: It is currently August 28th, 2020, 10:30 AM. We have not seen an en banc appeal or an extension come through. Does this mean we're in the clear? Not yet. Remember that any judge from the 9th can call a vote to re-hear this case and it is likely that this will happen. I have spoken to a few people in my network and an interesting theory was drawn. Some believe that Becerra will not file an en banc appeal because it is an election year and the gun community has grown to include those who previously were all for restrictive gun laws. Instead Sydney Thomas (the 9th's Chief Judge) will make the call to vote on whether to re-hear this case or not (i.e. sua sponte).
As for what I personally think? I think that we can expect to see something from the CA DOJ by the end of the day. They will probably file for an appeal and drag this out. Whether they use that 14 day extended window to file an appeal request or not, I have no clue. They will want to drag this out as much as they can in hopes that Trump will not win re-election, but then again that is just my opinion.
I'll make an update tonight at 11:59 PM or when CA DOJ makes a move on this case, whichever happens to come first.
Edit 13: The request for an en-banc hearing has just been filed. This can be seen here. What now? Within the next 21 days either a 14 day extension will be granted, the 3 judge panel will choose to re-hear the case after being requested by another 9th judge (likely Sydney Thomas), the 3 judge panel will choose to not re-hear the case after being requested by another 9th judge, or the 9th does nothing and ignores the request (unlikely). It is also possible (however unlikely) that a vote for an en-banc hearing is called without a request to the 3 judge panel.
If the 3 judge panel chooses not to re-hear the case then any judge who was not on the panel (likely to be Sydney Thomas) will call for an en-banc vote within 14 days after the request to the 3 judge panel went out, 21 days after the petition (this appeal so 21 days from today, August 28th), or 14 days after circulation of the party response (if filed), whichever is later. The 3 panel can stall for 90 days after this request is made.
The "simple" explanation: "So what do we do now? When will we find out something at the soonest?" -- Expect to see something around September 18, 2020 at the earliest. A 14 day extension can be granted before any request is made to the original 3 judge panel. There is also the chance that the 3 judge panel could stall for 90 days (in the hopes that Trump wins re-election). It is also possible that Sydney Thomas calls for an en-banc vote without talking to the 3 judge panel from the get go.
"What's likely to happen?" -- My crystal ball says that it is likely the judges will stall when that request is made up until the election. As such it is very possible that the Chief Judge Sydney Thomas is going to call an en-banc vote for this case some time in September. Extensions and stalling can go either way here, it is all dependent on who is going to win the election in November.
Edit 14: Not much to say except a bunch of Amicus Briefs were filed in support of CA DOJ. These can be seen here: First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth -- On a side note I want to pull your attention to the fifth one linked. Some of the states that are in that Amicus Brief do NOT have magazine restrictions in their state so it is really, REALLY interesting to see them arguing in support of such a restriction. I would let those in your network who live in those states know about this, it might be important for how they vote in their future state and local elections.
Aside that, as I wrote above we can expect to see some movement on September 18th, 2020. This will probably be the response from Michel & Associates. We can also expect to see some more amicus briefs in support of Michel soon after.
As for when they'll vote on whether to to do en-banc or not? Probably late September or early October if there are no extensions but nobody can really tell for sure.
I'll also put a note at the top of the post in regards to when this gets updated.
Edit 15: The opposition to the en-banc hearing has been filed. You can view this here.
"What does this mean?"
"What happens now?"
"What will we see in the coming weeks?"
"When is the latest we can expect to see the next thing (besides amicus briefs?)"
Edit 16: Small post was made explaining why nothing has happened as of today, October 2
submitted by 1DarkShadowBlade to CAguns [link] [comments]

WaPo Fact Check of Pence/Harris Debate

In the vice-presidential debate, Vice President Pence took a number of flimsy claims out of the Trump playbook, although he often delivered them more deftly. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) also stretched the truth at times. Here is a roundup of 15 suspect claims that were made. As is our practice, we do not award Pinocchios when we do a roundup of facts in debates.
“When Joe Biden was vice president of the United States, not 7½ million people contracted the swine flu; 60 million Americans contracted the swine flu. If the swine flu had been as lethal as the coronavirus in 2009 when Joe Biden was vice president, we would have lost 2 million American lives.”
— Pence
This is a silly apples-and-oranges comparison. Because the swine flu was not nearly as lethal as the novel coronavirus, there was not nearly as much need to halt its spread. Even with 60 million infections, there were an estimated 12,500 deaths. (Note: That was an after-the-fact report, based on statistical modeling of excess mortality. The death toll at the time was much lower.)
A New York Times assessment in 2010 noted that some flaws in the system were discovered, but overall the Obama administration was praised for its response — in part because it turned out that the pandemic was not as severe as it once had appeared. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in August 2009 had forecast 30,000 to 90,000 deaths, and the final death toll was much less than that.
When Joe Biden was vice president, we lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs.”
— Pence
Pence’s statistic depends on some sleight of hand. Barack Obama took office in the midst of the Great Recession, and thus so many jobs were being lost every month that it makes a difference on whether you start counting the start of the term in January or February.
A president takes the oath of office on Jan. 20. But for the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, employers report data to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the pay period that includes the 12th of the month — before the new president takes office. So February, not January, would actually cover the first pay period after the new president took charge.
The BLS says there is no right answer for when to start counting. Pence starts with January. But if you start counting in February, as many economists recommend, Obama over eight years actually had a modest gain in manufacturing jobs — 4,000.
At The Fact Checker, we are dubious about the practice of measuring job growth by presidential term. Presidents do not create jobs; companies and consumers do. This huge difference in a two-term presidency because of a one-month shift simply shows how mindless and arbitrary this game can be.
“[We] secured 4 trillion dollars in the Congress of the United States to give direct payments to families, saved 50 million jobs through the Paycheck Protection Program.”
— Pence
This “50 million jobs” claim is a dubious number cooked up by the Trump administration. In fact, officials told Reuters that the number referred not to jobs saved, but the total number of workers reported by businesses approved for a loan under the program.
“The PPP likely did not save 51 million jobs, or anywhere close to it,” Reuters concluded after interviews with economists and an analysis of the program’s data. “Half a dozen economists put the number of jobs saved by the initiative at only a fraction of 51 million — ranging between one million and 14 million.”
Moreover, The Washington Post dug into the data behind the 51-million figure, collected by the Small Business Administration, and found “half a dozen businesses that said they had fewer employees than the SBA reported the businesses had retained. Bankers also said employment figures for hundreds of businesses had been incorrectly reported by the SBA.” For instance, Fire Protection Systems, a sprinkler system installer in Kent, Wash., retained more than 500 jobs using its PPP funds, according to the data. But the company says it has only 20 employees.
“The president said it was a hoax.”
— Harris
Harris is taking comments from President Trump out of context. Trump, at his Feb. 28 campaign rally in North Charleston, S.C., said, “This is their new hoax.”
The full quote shows Trump is criticizing Democratic talking points and the media’s coverage of his administration’s response to the coronavirus. He does not say that the virus itself is a hoax.
Moreover, at a news conference Feb. 29 with members of the coronavirus task force, Trump was asked about the “hoax” comment. He clarified: “ ‘Hoax’ referring to the action that [Democrats] take to try and pin this on somebody, because we’ve done such a good job. The hoax is on them, not — I’m not talking about what’s happening here [the virus]; I’m talking what they’re doing. That’s the hoax. … But the way they refer to it — because these people have done such an incredible job, and I don’t like it when they are criticizing these people. And that’s the hoax. That’s what I’m talking about.”
Granted, Trump and members of his administration have played down the spread of the virus and falsely touted the strength of their response, as our numerous fact checks have pointed out.
“He [Trump] suspended all travel from China, the second-largest economy in the world. Now … Joe Biden … opposed that decision. He said it was xenophobic and hysterical.”
— Pence
Trump did not suspend all travel from China. He barred non-U.S. citizens from traveling from China, but there were 11 exceptions, and Hong Kong and Macao were not included. U.S. citizens and permanent residents could still travel from China but were subject to screening and a possible 14-day quarantine. Some flights were immediately suspended, but others continued for weeks, at the discretion of the airlines. Many other countries imposed similar bans ahead of the United States, some even tougher.
Some analysts at the time predicted that Trump’s action would be ineffective at preventing the virus from taking hold in the United States.
“All of the evidence we have indicates that travel restrictions and quarantines directed at individual countries are unlikely to keep the virus out of our borders,” Jennifer Nuzzo, associate professor and senior scholar at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security, said at a congressional hearing Feb. 5.
“We don’t have a travel ban; we have a travel Band-Aid right now,” said Ron Klain, the Ebola “czar” during the Obama administration, at the same hearing. He added that monitoring everyone carefully “is the only practical thing we can do.”
The New York Times calculated in April that at least 430,000 people arrived in the United States on direct flights from China since Jan. 1, including nearly 40,000 in the two months after Trump imposed restrictions. Moreover, screening proceedings of travelers from China have been uneven and inconsistent, the Times said.
Pence points to a comment by former vice president Joe Biden — “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia … and fearmongering to lead the way instead of science” — but Biden says that did not refer to the travel restrictions. He made no mention of the travel restrictions at the time he made the comment. He later said he supported the restrictions.
In any case, the virus was already spreading through the United States, and there is little evidence the travel restrictions on China saved lives, especially because the Trump administration did not rapidly set up an effective testing regimen, as did many other countries.
“They left the strategic national stockpile empty. They left an empty and hollow plan.”
— Pence
This is a false claim consistently made by the Trump administration. First, the coronavirus pandemic emerged in the past year, so if the Strategic National Stockpile was truly empty, some responsibility should rest with Trump. In a statement, the Department of Health and Human Services said that “in January 2017 the total number of ventilators in the SNS inventory immediately available for use would not have been much different than what the SNS had immediately available for use in March 2020.”
Second, the SNS was not empty. The administration eventually admitted that there were nearly 17,000 ventilators available when the pandemic emerged. That was more than enough to deal with the crisis in the spring.
Ventilators are expensive to procure and to maintain in emergency-ready condition, which is one reason the SNS was not overflowing with ventilators (Another 2,425 ventilators were in maintenance as of March, HHS says, though the New York Times reported in April that 2,109 were unavailable because the government had let a maintenance contract lapse.)
As for a “empty and hollow plan,” that is a matter of opinion. The Obama administration left behind a National Security Council staff playbook on fighting pandemics. The color-coded document lists dozens of pointed and detailed questions that top policymakers should be asking themselves if a novel virus suddenly emerges overseas. Some elements certainly could have been helpful, but the Trump White House dismissed it as having little value.
“They [Obama] created within the White House an office that basically was responsible for monitoring pandemics… They [Trump] got rid of it.”
— Harris
Harris is probably making too much of an issue about organizational charts.
After grappling with the 2014 Ebola epidemic, Obama in 2016 established a Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense at the National Security Council. A directorate has its own staff, and it is headed by someone who generally reports to the national security adviser.
The structure survived during the early part of Trump’s presidency, when the office was headed by Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer. But, after John Bolton became Trump’s third national security adviser, he decided the organizational chart was a mess and led to too many conflicts. He also thought the staff was too large, having swollen to 430 people, including staffers in the pipeline.
Bolton fired Tom Bossert, the homeland security adviser, realigning the post to report directly to him. He eliminated a number of deputy national security advisers so there was just one. And he folded the global health directorate into a new one that focused on counterproliferation and biodefense. Bolton thought there was obvious overlap between arms control and nonproliferation, weapons-of-mass-destruction terrorism, and global health and biodefense, believing the epidemiology of a biological health emergency is very similar to a bioterrorism attack.
One key issue during such reorganizations is whether policy expertise is maintained. Luciana Borio, the previous director for medical and biodefense preparedness, is a practicing medical doctor and has an extensive background in medical health preparedness. She was replaced by someone with a background mostly in North Korea policy.
But whether having a separate office on pandemics in the White House would have made the administration react more swiftly to the emerging coronavirus threat is questionable. “There isn’t any organizational chart in the U.S. government that makes any difference in the Trump administration,” a former administration official told the Fact Checker. “Trump is more likely to say to Jared [Kushner], ‘What do you think we should do?’ That’s the big problem.”
“It was an outdoor event which all of our scientists regularly and routinely advise.”
— Pence
The Sept. 26 Rose Garden event announcing Judge Amy Coney Barrett as Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is believed to have turned into a superspreader event for covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Pence falsely suggests it was all outdoors, but there was an indoor component, during which participants posed for photos without wearing masks.
Even the outdoor event had problems, as people were closely seated together and most did not wear masks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines that state: “CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
In other words, people should wear masks when in public or when surrounded by people they do not live with. That clearly did not happen at the Barrett announcement.
“Joe Biden has been a cheerleader for Communist China through, over the last several decades.”
— Pence
Pence is trying to rewrite history here, because Trump is vulnerable for his lackadaisical approach to the coronavirus pandemic. For weeks in the early stages of the crisis, Trump repeated assurances that China had the virus under control — at a time when he was most concerned about keeping intact a trade deal with Beijing. (Former national security adviser John Bolton has alleged that Trump pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping to buy enough products to ensure his reelection.)
For years, U.S. policy toward China was to help manage its rise and have it become — in the words of Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick under President George W. Bush — “a responsible stakeholder” in the international system. Zoellick established a “strategic dialogue” between senior officials in the two countries that continued into the Obama administration. Eventually, it became a “strategic and economic dialogue,” led by the secretary of state and treasury secretary but also including the vice president.
The record of those meetings provides the Trump campaign with an array of Biden quotes on China that it chose to attack Biden in ads. In 2011, for instance, Biden published an opinion article, titled “China’s rise isn’t our demise,” that reflects U.S. policy at the time. “I remain convinced that a successful China can make our country more prosperous, not less,” Biden wrote.
Still, the Obama administration tried to hedge its bets by forming the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement with 11 other nations that was designed to be a geopolitical instrument that would halt China’s rise and weaken its diplomatic clout. The TPP had many critics — including eventually Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee — and Trump pulled out of it to pursue a unilateral deal with China. He has had limited success, however, achieving only a first-stage deal that fell short of his original goals.
“And, of course, we’ve all seen the avalanche, what you put the country through for the better part of three years until it was found that there was no obstruction, no collusion. Case closed.”
— Pence
Pence claims that Democrats orchestrated a coup of sorts that hampered most of Trump’s first term. But it was Rod J. Rosenstein, then a Trump appointee at the Justice Department, who signed the order appointing a special counsel in 2017 to look into possible illegal coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The FBI was already looking into the Trump campaign’s multiple contacts with Russia, but the investigation kicked into high gear after Trump took office because he fired then-FBI Director James B. Comey, That’s when Rosenstein appointed Robert S. Mueller III to be special counsel.
And Mueller, contrary to Pence’s claim, documented 10 instances in which Trump possibly obstructed justice. In at least four of those cases (Trump’s attempt to remove Mueller, Trump’s attempt to curtail the investigation, Trump’s instructions to then-White House counsel Donald McGahn to deny the attempt to remove Mueller, and Trump’s remarks raising the possibility of a pardon for former campaign chairman Paul Manafort), Trump appears to have met all the elements of an obstruction offense under federal law, according to Mueller’s report.
Mueller declined to say whether these episodes were criminal, vaguely suggested that Congress might consider impeachment, referred to a Justice Department policy that bars the indictment of a sitting president, and proffered a list of other reasons why he couldn’t state his views as to Trump’s conduct.
“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” the report says, adding that, “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Attorney General William P. Barr and Rosenstein reviewed Mueller’s report and concluded that no crime was committed. But Mueller did not exonerate Trump, as Pence seemed to suggest.
On the separate question of coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russians, the Mueller report concluded that the Trump campaign welcomed Russia’s help and sought to exploit it, but there was not enough evidence to bring charges that members of the campaign conspired with Russian government operatives.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris consistently talk about mandates, not just mandates with the coronavirus, but a government takeover of health. ... Green New Deal, all government control.”
— Pence
The Trump campaign for months has claimed falsely that Biden’s campaign platform is a mirror image of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.). That’s simply false. Keep in mind: Biden prevailed in the Democratic primary by running as a moderate alternative to Sanders’s far-reaching liberal platform.
Biden has never supported the Green New Deal, which is a nonbinding resolution from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats that calls for cutting carbon emissions to net-zero over 10 years while making steep investments in green infrastructure.
Harris was an original co-sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution in the Senate, as Pence said later in the debate, and has since introduced more climate legislation with Ocasio-Cortez.
But Biden’s climate plan is more limited, calling for net-zero emissions “no later than 2050,” and proposing fewer green investments. The Biden campaign has not budged from this position after tapping Harris to join the ticket.
Similarly, on health care, Biden has suggested nothing like Sanders’s Medicare-for-all proposal.
“If your insurance company isn’t doing right by you, you should have another, better choice,” Biden’s website says. “Whether you’re covered through your employer, buying your insurance on your own, or going without coverage altogether, the Biden Plan will give you the choice to purchase a public health insurance option like Medicare. As in Medicare, the Biden public option will reduce costs for patients by negotiating lower prices from hospitals and other health-care providers. It also will better coordinate among all of a patient’s doctors to improve the efficacy and quality of their care, and cover primary care without any co-payments. And it will bring relief to small businesses struggling to afford coverage for their employees.”
Sanders proposed a much more ambitious plan, Medicare-for-all, or universal health care with the government acting as the single payer, that Biden does not support.
“They want to abolish fossil fuels and ban fracking, which would cost hundreds of thousands of American jobs all across the heartland.”
— Pence
False. Biden has said he would not issue new permits for fracking on federal lands but would allow existing operations to continue. That position has earned him detractors among climate activist groups.
During her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Harris supported a total ban on fracking. But Biden’s position has not budged, not in the primary when Republicans claimed it had and not now.
Fracking, short for “hydraulic fracturing,” is a drilling technique that uses high-pressure water and chemical blasts to access natural gas and oil reserves underground. The technique has facilitated a boom in U.S. energy production over the past decade, but it has been controversial, the target of climate-change activists and many Democrats.
The issue is important to Pennsylvania because underneath about two-thirds of the state is the Marcellus shale formation — which also covers parts of New York, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland.
“Senator Harris is denying the fact that they’re going to raise taxes on every American.”
— Pence
Biden would raise taxes by a substantial amount, but not on every American, no matter how you slice it.
Among his key proposals, Biden says he would restore the top individual tax rate from 37 to 39.6 percent, raise the corporate tax rate from 21 to 28 percent, set minimum corporate taxes for domestic and foreign income, boost the tax on capital gains by labeling it as ordinary income and reintroduce limits on itemized deductions. As Harris noted, he has vowed not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year.
Five respected organizations have calculated the impact of Biden’s tax proposals: the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC), the Tax Foundation, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Penn Wharton Budget Model. They broadly agree that the Biden plan would raise between $3.5 trillion and $4 trillion over 10 years — and that such a tax increase would moderately reduce the anticipated size of the U.S. economy in the coming decade.
The tax analyses also broadly agree that virtually all of that revenue would be gathered from the very wealthy or from corporations, with about half of the money coming from the top 0.1 percent, and three-quarters from the top 1 percent of households.
But when you dig into the distributional tables produced by these groups, you see they estimate that some of the burden from the tax increases would fall on people making less than $400,000. The amounts are relatively small, according to Penn Wharton — an average of $15 for the bottom quintile, $90 for the second quintile, $180 for the middle quintile and $360 for the fourth quintile. But those numbers are in the tables, so some Republicans have claimed (incorrectly) that 80 percent of Americans would face higher taxes.
Tax experts say that is because of technical reasons related to the corporate tax increase as the tax models assume corporations adjust to a higher tax by reducing investment returns or cutting workers’ wages.
The Penn Wharton model has a handy feature that allows you to see the impact of the Biden tax plan without the corporate tax increase. When you click that option, the average tax change suddenly drops to zero for the bottom 90 percent of households. Even households between 90 and 95 percent would face only an average tax increase of $5. Nearly 97 percent of the tax increase would be paid by the top 1 percent.
“President Trump and I have a plan to improve health care and protect preexisting conditions for every American.”
— Pence
Yes, they have a plan. The plan is to kill those legal protections through a lawsuit pending before the Supreme Court and replace them with a plan that Trump has been promising for years and never delivered.
Before Obama and Democrats enacted the Affordable Care Act in 2010, insurance companies could and did deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions, such as cancer or lesser ailments.
The ACA prohibited this practice by mandating that insurance companies sell plans to anyone who wants them and by requiring that people in similar age groups and geographic regions pay similar costs. This is known as the coverage guarantee for patients with preexisting conditions.
The Trump administration filed a brief on June 25 asking the Supreme Court to strike down the entire ACA, including its coverage guarantee. Trump has issued a brief executive order saying he supports coverage for patients with preexisting conditions, but experts, Republicans and Democrats say what’s needed is a law.
“Literally in the midst of a public health pandemic, where more than 210,000 people have died,” Harris said during the debate, “Donald Trump is in court right now trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, and I’ve said it before and it bears repeating, this means that there will be no more protections for people with preexisting conditions.”
When moderator Susan Page asked Pence to explain how the Trump administration would protect people with preexisting conditions, Pence falsely claimed that Biden and Harris support abortion “up to the moment of birth” and did not mention anything related to preexisting conditions.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support taxpayer funding of abortion all the way up to the moment of birth, late-term abortion.”
— Pence
Neither Biden nor Harris supports “late-term abortion and infanticide.” They do not support funding abortion “up to the moment of birth.”
Biden supports abortion rights and says he would codify in statute the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade and related precedents, which generally limit abortions to the first 20 to 24 weeks of gestation.
Most abortions are performed in the earlier stages of pregnancy. About 1 percent happen after the fetus reaches the point of viability. Trump and antiabortion advocates have claimed for months that Biden supports abortion “up until the moment of birth,” a claim we have awarded Three Pinocchios.
They argue that some laws and court decisions have opened loopholes that allow abortions to the very end of a pregnancy. Experts have told us abortions up to the moment of birth, what could be described as infanticide, are not happening in the United States.
Some Democrats support abortion rights, but that doesn’t mean they support “extreme late-term abortions,” experts told us. “That’s like saying everyone who ‘supports’ the Second Amendment ‘supports’ school shootings,” said Katie L. Watson, a professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
The Supreme Court’s rulings in Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey say states may ban abortion after the fetus reaches viability, the point at which it can sustain life, which happens at or near the end of the second trimester. States with such bans must allow an exception “to preserve the life or health of the mother.”
These rulings don’t force states to ban abortions. Some states don’t have gestational-age restrictions, although most do. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 43 states have laws restricting abortion after the fetus reaches a certain gestational age.
Asked whether he supported restrictions, a Biden campaign representative previously told The Post that “Biden believes in the standard laid out by Roe and Casey.”
submitted by billypennsballs to Foxhidesinfo [link] [comments]

1408: a Magnum Opus of the 'Haunted Hotel Room' story archetype.

Where to start with this? It's simply brilliant. Not the best perhaps and little concept worn by today's standards but for what it was and is it's great.
Mike's life is ordinary or about as ordinary and mundane as a paranormal writer's life can be. Hotel after hotel, room after room, all supposedly haunted, do nothing for him but disappoint, though you wouldn't know it from how he writes about them. His life isn't a wreck but it's certainly not whole. He was a different man at a different time, a time long past. Skepticism and cynicism is all that remains. But then he get's a post card. From New York. From a Hotel called the Dolphin. On the back it reads: Don't enter 1408. 'Clever' he says noticing that the numbers add up to 13. And this is where the build-up begins.
The Dolphin isn't like the other places he's been. It's well-kept and big. The atmosphere clashes with the idea of a haunted hotel room. It's to bustling, to fancy, to normal. Mike notices a woman with a baby carriage. A tad out of place here.
This scene is brilliant. It takes us away completely from the idea of a spooky room and puts us with the most comforting thing imaginably: A big, well lit, bustling, busy room brimming with noise and talk.
There's a certain chemistry between Cusack and Jackson. Not as good in other films and obviously only for a short scene, but the way they and they're characters mesh is fun to watch. The believing hotel manager vs the jaded skeptic and both actors play out the scene well. Samuel sells the evil of the room perfectly and John let's the warning roll off of him perfectly too. It was really a scene for the audience rather than for Mike. The only thing missing (obviously) is "Mother****** stay outta that room."
A very important exchange of dialogue happens at this point. As Gerald retrieves the key, Mike remark's how it is, in fact, an old-fashioned key and not a magnetic key. Gerald responds by saying that electronics tend to go haywire when in 1408. Mike proceeds to to speak into his hand held recorder about how Gerald claims that the phantom makes electronics go crazy. Gerald responds to this by saying 'oh, I never said it was a phantom.' This conversation ends with Gerald saying 'it's just an evil ******* room.' This is important to later on and it's a perfect exchange that helps the mystique and build-up of the movie.
Then there's the hallway scene. Again, perfect build-up. The clash between the happy sounds from the adjacent rooms and the content of the file Mike is looking at helps the atmosphere. The lady with the baby carriage appears again and goes into one of the rooms. An elevator opens for no apparent reason. This floor (the 13th, though named the 14th because of superstition) is not as ordinary as the busy and noisy first floor and lobby. And it's prime occupant (1408) is not as ordinary as anything.
The build-up really is of note. It's a true stand out from build-up in other movies. It has to be good. A hotel room can't chase you, it can't sneak up on you. It can only wait. And that's part of what makes this movie so deliciously awful. Mike didn't go into that room under threat, bribe or blackmail. Quite the opposite. He was bribed not to go. He is there of his own volition (at the beginning at least).
Mike enter's and sets up shop in 1408. He encounters nothing out of the ordinary and nothing evil save eight dollar peanuts. He comments on the dullness of the room and it's decor, though 'it does have it's charms'. Then stuff gets weird. The radio turns on and chocolates appear on his bed where none were there before. A roll of toilet paper is neatly folded back to normal after he had taken a shred of it. The thermostat is stuck on a hot temperature, though that can be attributed to an old building with old devices rather than some supernatural force. It's later fixed by Mike himself under the direction of an engineer who refuses to set foot in the room. All seems relatively normal and explicable by a stretch of the imagination. But then Mike get's his hand stuck in the window and it hurt's his hand. He attempts to clean it with water, but the faucet begins to spew scalding water at high speeds. He decides the room has won and attempts to leave, but can't due to the key breaking off and the key's shaft being sucked (get your mind out of the gutter) into the keyhole, there's no getting out that way. Mike tries his knife in the lock with the only result being the doorknob falling off. This is where things go from weird to bizarre and finally to insane.
Given the shear amount of insanity that happens I'll be taking the most notably parts and judging them on the Weirdness scale of 'Unintentionally funny' (1) to 'what in the name of God' (10) taking into account the scariness, freakishness and simple bizzareness of the situation(s) and aspects of the room.
Stuff at the Beginning of Mike's stay.
Scale Level (SL):5
Perfect. Radio turning on with no explanation, stuff appearing, stuff being reset or moved, an eyeball in the peephole. Classic. Nice appetizer for the bizzarreness later to come. The clock setting itself to an hour long countdown and the key being sucked into the door is also a nice touch.
Apparitions of past occupants
SL: 3
This was one of the more mundane parts of the room. I'd bet the description of these things were spookier in the original story.
Weird Jacket Lady wielding ice pick (?)
SL: 3
She just looks to much like a homeless middle-aged woman with a drinking problem to be that scary. Her appearance in the painting was slightly better.
Mike's doppelganger appearing in window across the street.
SL: 5
This scene helps set up the power of the room. Here it's the one in control. The worst part is that it set's up a feeling of false hope. The eeriness is undercut by the aforementioned homeless woman.
Mike's escape attempt via ledge.
SL: 6
Acrophobes beware. This is pretty nerve wracking and further establishes that the room is the one with the power by showing the bizarre view of a building with no windows. Seriously, how uncomfortable would you be if you saw a simple massive brick column suddenly in he middle of the city? It ends perfectly with him nearly falling but just making it inside as the window closes behind him.
The room seal's itself
SL: 5
This help's show how the room now owns Mike. It's quick, but effective.
General weird noises
SL: 3
Stuff like this has never really spooked me, I'm more of a sudden BANG with no explanation kinda guy.
Bleeding walls
SL: 4 (should be a 3)
Blood bleeding out from where blood shouldn't be is a bit over done but I'll give this part a bone.
Rooms that weren't there before
SL: 7
Most notably the bathroom becoming some sort of washing room hall thing with Mike's presumable father present in a wheel chair. Creepy. Mike's dad saying a cryptic line. Creepier. The room suddenly being the bathroom again. Priceless. Also the back to the mini-fridge disappears and a fake Gerald delivers a few spooky lines about belief in ghosts. Also good.
The room using Mike's memories against him
SL: 8
We already knew that Mike had a sordid and sad past (and present) and the room's use of it against him is perfect. Memories seem to barge in on the reality of the room randomly, first on the tv then literally in the room with him. It's a spook-fest. The best was probably when the room faxes (prints?) Katie's dress to Mike. That was really bizarre.
The blank Bible
SL: 5
Though a small detail in the grand scheme of things it's a notable detail (for me at least) for a few reasons: 1. My sister (who watched this with me) actually said that it would be blank the first time Mike picked it up. 2. This connects back to Mike's earlier statement of there is no God to protect us from the things that go bump in the night, and the room seem's to be confirming this or at least trying to take away any solace that Mike could get from the Bible. 3. I'm religious, and for a Christian the sudden inversion of crosses, the blanking of Bibles and the haunting of churches is a bigger uh-oh for us than for a non-believer. Just a thought.
The room gets a cold.
SL: 6 (could have been a 7)
This was rather clever to me. There was already foreshadowing for some sort of temperature based shenanigans with the broken thermostat but I didn't expect for the sprinkles to play a part in it. Felt natural in a weird way. I was disappointed it didn't go to the other extreme though.
The room makes a video call.
SL: 7
Doing video chat horror before it was cool. You can really feel Mike's desperation the first time he attempts to contact his wife but the second time is even better. The moment the room takes over, the threat that Lily might become involved, the police being contacted and not finding anything in the room, Mike screaming for his double to shut up, the double's smug expression and wink. Nastily evil.
The room has a stroke
SL: 8
This is the penultimate sell on the room's absolute power. It can literally shake itself apart and alter presumably decades old paintings. For some reason horror involving paintings always get's to me more than photos. If you snap a photo of a weird creature, well you didn't really do anything. Your not crazy you just have a picture of a cryptid. But if you paint something, well that takes time. Effort. Thought. You know what your doing when your painting it. Zdzislaw Beshinski, The Black Paintings, depictions of hell stuff like that makes me uncomfortable in ways a photo never could. Effective.
Mike's escape attempt via the vents
SL: 7
Weirdly steampunk feeling. Claustrophobes beware. Vents have always gotten to me as well. That feeling of enclosedness and not knowing what could be facing you around the next corner. The zombie thing could have been better though it was a little silly. Great use of Mike's memories again though.
The best (or worst) part
SL: 10 (should be a 9)
After the room shakes itself apart and then floods the room, Mike wakes up on the beach, copying a scene from earlier. It would appear the events he experienced in 1408 were merely a vivid and weird nightmare. Everything seems to confirm this. All information pertaining to it or the Dolphin seems to have been nothing but the fiction of the mind of a broken and sad writer. He gets back with his wife. He writes a great book in record time. Everything goes well until he goes to the post office. Everyone there looks exactly the same as employees of the Dolphin. They then precede to shatter, rip and break the post office lobby into 1408. Mike never even left the room. All of Mike's experiences after waking up were nothing but the room playing a trick that Loki would be jealous of.
Where to even begin with this? This is the ultimate show of the room's power. It can warp space, time and matter to feign a reality that never was. Truly it's greatest show of power. My only gripe was that the transition back into the room could have been better. As is, it's a tad clunky and confusing rather than terrifying and weird.
The final memory
SL: 10
This is the final use of Mike's memories by the room. And it is brutal. It creates a copy of Katie and then causes it to die. It's sickening to watch and tragic and the final straw for Mike. Her corpse then crumbles to ash. This is the best the room has done and can do as far as gut wrenching sorrow is concerned. Brilliant in all regards.
The reset
SL: 9
The threat of the same repeating hour is a glimpse into insanity and an explanation into how the room has wrought so much death. The fact that after so much that in can simple set itself right is a terrifying prospect. It's unbeatable. Any damage it causes itself is essentially non-existent. It's a super-organism. It's the supreme Venus flytrap. It can play it's game for all eternity and can never lose. Or so it thinks.
In addition, there's the low key nuttiness of appearing nooses, the empty mirror, the melting and reforming phone. Subtle as compared to what we just witnessed but effective in conveying the room's message: die by your own hand or suffer at mine. Chilling.
The final score for over all weirdness
After the appropriate calculations the final score is...
*Drumroll*
7
Not bad. Could have been an 8.
But wait. We still haven't gone over Cusak's performance.
It was great. I haven't seen him in too many films, but here he really nailed the whole cynical skeptic bit. However some of his reactions seemed a tad off though that may be because of the direction, his way of acting or me. Though his coolness at the end lighting the room on fire, talking to his recorder like it's a person, frustration at the mini-fridge was all a treat to watch. Expressive in force when in a high emotion state and repressed to near silence when in a low emotion state. The two extremes mesh well. The middle of the spectrum where he's in a kinda panic state is also entertaining, especially when he's hugging the walls of the room and circling around them trying to reason things out by talking to the recorder. Mike's action are also natural. Lighting a fire when the room goes the way of the Arctic was probably the best example of this. The continuous drinking of from that bottle added a nice touch to his over all behavior pattern. Jackson was great as a bit player. Gerald could have been just some concerned hotel manager, but Jackson gave him an odd kind of life. Everyone else was good. They got the right girl to play Katie as well. Cute, waifish, innocent, but with a touch of her father's intelligence. She contributed greatly to the scene before the reset.
Altogether a 7 for the acting.
Now for the room itself.
The room is less of a setting and more of a character. It has a strange kind of performance all it's own. You can even guess it's personality based on what it does. It's smart and sadistic (obviously), has a taste for theatrics and drama, and has a twisted sense of humor. In fact there's a weird kind of humor through out the movie, that doesn't detract as you think it would. Something else that needs mentioning is the effects. As far as I can tell the majority of them are practical. Can you imagine what they had to do to this room? The time and effort? It's really a visual treat with it's range of strange and dangerous scenarios and twisty sense of reality. The clash between the beginning with the room's cleanliness and the end with it's burnt out almost apocalyptic looking state really presses in the feeling of having gone through a true ordeal.
10/10 for the effects and 'setting'.
Now for some speculation and random thoughts.
The sheer amount of theory material in this movie is a real contrast with how little known it is. It's almost disappointing. This thing needs speculation and wild mass guessing. The room is just mysterious enough for the movie not to be spoiled by over explanation but also just explained enough to be satisfying. How much of what happened was 'real'? Was that alternate reality real? Was it all in Mike's head, an illusion caused by the room? Why did the cops find nothing when Lily contacted them? Can the room exist in multiple dimensions? Is it some sort of gate to Hell? It's clearly sentient but how, why and to what extent? Is it haunted? Possessed? How is it able to reach outside of itself? It causes a lamp that Mike tossed out the window to teleport back into itself. But how? How was it able to remove the window's from the building? Was it responsible for that elevator opening at the beginning? What is the room like from the outside when it's torturing someone? The room it causes to appear at the back of the mini-fridge seems to have been in Mike's head. Or was it? Was it really there or another possible illusion. What is the full extent of it's powers? Are there more things out there like it? Is it the only one?
9 out of 10 for mysteriousness.
Finally, I've read stories like this movie. No End House, the Diodea House, Ted the Caver, and other such things, but to see it actually play out visually with great actors is something else.
Altogether it was a treat and a masterful adaption. Final Score: 8/10.
submitted by Vohems to horror [link] [comments]

The Second Coming of Nichiren!

Nichiren was an ignorant dumbass who took fables and legends as face-value FACTS YES TROO FACTS and thus ended up with all sorts of really crazy ideas and conclusions. One of the problems he had was that he was using legends about Shakyamuni, not evidence. Thus, his calculation about when the Latter Day of the Law began was off by several hundred years; it wouldn't begin until about the 15th Century CE. Nichiren was anchored firmly in the Middle Day of the Law, which makes all his predictions, all his interpretations, all his conclusions, and all his recommendations null and void.
Kind of a problem for all the Nichiren-based belief systems, wouldn't you think?
One scholar clearly saw the problem and came up with a solution! Nichiren would have to appear TWICE: once when he did, and again sometime in the Latter Day of the Law to make the chronology work out! This was all part of trying to make sense of the Nichiren eschatology formulated by Tanaka Chigaku in the early 1900s:
Nichiren is the general of the army that will unite the world. Japan is his headquarters. The people of Japan are his troops; the teachers and scholars of Nichiren Buddhism are his officers. The Nichiren creed is a declaration of war, and shakubuku is the plan of attack. ... The faith of the Lotus will prepare those going into battle. Japan truly has a heavenly mandate to unite the world. (1931)
This whole theme of "take over the world" isn't unique to Ikeda, in other words. It's commonplace within Nichiren beliefs. Remember that Makiguchi was a follower of that same Tanaka Chigaku cited above before he lost an argument and became a Nichiren Shoshu member thanks to Sokei Mitano (bet you never heard anything about HIM).
A revolutionary named Kita Ikki around this same time had participated in the Chinese Revolution of 1911 and fancied himself a second Nichiren, with a mission of turning Japan away from Western entanglements toward an Eastern empire ruled by Japan that would eventually attain 'world peace' through a "forcible extension of empire", something Nichirenists typically have no problem envisioning. Nichiren's concept of shakubuku was seen as legitimizing violence 'for the greater good'. In 1936, Kita Ikki led an attempted coup d'état against the Japanese government, was arrested, and ended up executed.
Once scholars more accurately nailed down the Shakyamuni timeline, this presented an obvious conflict, as Nichiren didn't even live in the Latter Day of the Law - thus rendering all Nichiren's conclusions irrelevant, depending as they did on his supposed 'advent' as "True Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law".
Ishiwara Kanji commanded a military force for Japan in Manchuria; his decision to attack a Manchurian garrison in 1931 on his own authority was widely praised back home and had the effect of committing Japan to Manchurian takeover and increasing hostility in foreign relations. In addition to being a military leader, Ishiwara was also a military historian. A member of the religious group Kokuchukai formed by Tanaka Chigaku, Ishiwara embraced Tanaka's conviction that the kokutai, or "national essence", rather than simply being the bloodline descent of the Imperial family from the Sun Goddess Amaterasu Omikami, was rather a birthright of all the Japanese people, a righteous mission to conquer and rule the whole world as a people even as the Japanese Emperor ruled Japan. Kokutai provided the universal moral superiority that justified any actions toward the goal of world dominance.
Ishiwara clearly saw the timeline problem; he came up with an elegant, if underpants-on-head crazy, solution. He decided that Nichiren had to appear TWICE; once back in the 1200s in order to establish his teachings (thus making this advent "absolutely necessary") and then again in the Latter Day of the Law (sometime during that 500 year period) in order to lead the final great world war whose outcome would be Japanese domination and the Lotus Sutra as the supreme teaching for all people as Nichiren envisioned.
Nichiren thus had to appear again sometime between, oh, ca. 1500 and 2000. This time, he would appear as a "wise ruler" who would realize the Dharma in reality and "unify the world". So, in 1939, Ishiwara figured there were just 70 years left for this person's advent; clearly, the unification of the world under the Lotus Sutra was imminent through a war to end all wars, resulting in all peoples of the world internalizing this same kokutai and enjoying an era of peace while being ruled by the Japanese emperor.
It is little exaggeration to say that ultranationalistic Lotus millennialism died in August 1945 in the flames of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But even before these ruined cities had been rebuilt, a new Lotus millennialism had risen to take its place. Postwar Lotus millennialism envisions a time when, by awakening to the universal Buddha nature, people everywhere will live in harmony and with mutual respect. Different Nichiren- and Lotus-related religious groups offer variations on this basic theme, but on one point they all agree: in that future time, there will be no war. Nuclear weapons, in particular, will be abolished. Source
"Their dad is bigger than our dad, so we have to get him out of the way first."
There's a lot more interesting historical background here that definitely influenced the development of the beliefs of the Soka Gakkai and Ikeda's aspirations. Understanding this provides some valuable insight into Ikeda's motivations and where they came from within the Japanese context that formed him and the Soka Gakkai he seized as his vehicle for attaining those aspirations. We've already talked about how Ikeda's identity as a social outsider and outcast informed his hostility toward Japan's government and compulsion to take over for himself; this historical backdrop explains how the goal of world conquest was already tied to Nichirenist beliefs within Japan, linking up nicely with the Japanese conviction of ethnic superiority. I'll do a couple articles investigating these developments once I get home; that much typing is too difficult on a laptop and, besides, I need my sources there to do it right.
So thanks for reading, and stay tuned!!
submitted by BlancheFromage to sgiwhistleblowers [link] [comments]

Dvar Torah/Parashat Pinchas Thread - July 10, 2020

This is the weekly Dvar Torah thread, feel free to share your divrei Torah here.
This week's Dvar Torah is from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks:
The coronavirus pandemic raised a series of deep moral and political issues.[1] How far should governments go in seeking to prevent its spread? To what extent should it restrict people’s movements at the cost of violating their civil liberties? How far should it go in imposing a clampdown of businesses at the cost of driving many of them bankrupt, rendering swathes of the population unemployed, building up a mountain of debt for the future and plunging the economy into the worst recession since the 1930s? These are just a few of the many heart-breaking dilemmas that the pandemic forced on governments and on us.
Strikingly, almost every country adopted the same measures: social distancing and lockdown until the incidence of new cases had reached its peak (Sweden was the most conspicuous exception). Nations didn’t count the cost. Virtually unanimously, they placed the saving of life above all other considerations. The economy may suffer, but life is infinitely precious and saving it takes precedence over all else.
This was a momentous victory for the value first articulated in the Torah in the Noahide covenant: “He who sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God He created man” (Gen. 9:6). This was the first declaration of the principle that human life is sacred. As the Sages put it, “Every life is like a universe. Save a life and it is as if you have saved a universe.”[2]
In the ancient world, economic considerations took precedence over life. Great building projects like the Tower of Babel and the Egyptian pyramids involved huge loss of life. Even in the 20th century, lives were sacrificed to economic ideology: between six and nine million under Stalin, and between 35 and 45 million under Chinese communism. The fact that virtually all nations, in the face of the pandemic, chose life was a significant victory for the Torah’s ethic of the sanctity of life.
That said, the former Supreme Court judge Jonathan Sumption wrote a challenging article in which he argued that the world, or at least Britain, had got it wrong.[3] It was overreacting. The cure may be worse than the disease. The lockdown amounted to subjecting the population to house arrest, causing great distress and giving the police unprecedented and dangerous powers. It represented “an interference with our lives and our personal autonomy that is intolerable in a free society.” The economic impact would be devastating. “If all this is the price of saving human life, we have to ask whether it is worth paying.”
There are, he said, no absolute values in public policy. As proof he cited the fact that we allow cars, despite knowing that they are potentially lethal weapons, and that every year thousands of people will be killed or maimed by them. In public policy there are always multiple, conflicting considerations. There are no non-negotiable absolutes, not even the sanctity of life.
It was a powerful and challenging piece. Are we wrong to think that life is indeed sacred? Might we be placing too high a value on life, imposing a huge economic burden on future generations?
I am going to suggest, oddly enough, that there is a direct connection between this argument and the story of Pinchas. It is far from obvious, but it is fundamental. It lies in the difference – philosophical and halachic – between moral and political decisions.[4]
Recall the Pinchas story. The Israelites, having been saved by God from Bilam’s curses, fell headlong into the trap he then set for them. They began consorting with Midianite women and were soon worshipping their gods. God’s anger burned. He ordered the death of the people’s leaders. A plague raged; 24,000 died. A leading Israelite, Zimri, brought a Midianite woman, Cozbi, and cohabited with her in full view of Moses and the people. It was the most brazen of acts. Pinchas took a spear and drove it through them both. They died, and the plague stopped.
Was Pinchas a hero or a murderer? On the one hand, he saved countless lives: no more people died because of the plague. On the other hand, he could not have been certain of that in advance. To any onlooker, he might have seemed simply a man of violence, caught up in the lawlessness of the moment. The parsha of Balak ends with this terrible ambiguity unresolved. Only in our parsha do we hear the answer. God says:
“Pinchas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the Priest, has turned back My anger from the Israelites by being zealous among them on My behalf, so that I did not wipe out the Israelite people in My zeal. Therefore say: I am making with him My covenant of peace.” (Num. 25:11-12)
God declared Pinchas a hero. He had saved the Israelites from destruction, showed the zeal that counterbalanced the people’s faithlessness, and as a reward, God made a personal covenant with him. Pinchas did a good deed.
Halachah, however, dramatically circumscribes his act in multiple ways. First, it rules that if Zimri had turned and killed Pinchas in self-defence, he would be declared innocent in a court of law.[5] Second, it rules that if Pinchas had killed Zimri and Cozbi just before or after they were engaged in cohabitation, he would have been guilty of murder.[6] Third, had Pinchas consulted a Bet Din and asked whether he was permitted to do what he was proposing to do, the answer would have been, No.[7] This is one of the rare cases where we say Halachah ve-ein morin kein: “It is the law, but we do not make it known.” And there are many other conditions and reservations. The Torah resolves the ambiguity but halachah reinstates it. Legally speaking, Pinchas was on very thin ice.
We can only understand this by way of a fundamental distinction between moral decisions and political decisions. Moral decisions are answers to the question, “What should I do?” Usually they are based on rules that may not be transgressed whatever the consequences. In Judaism, moral decisions are the province of halachah.
Political decisions are answers to the question, “What should we do?” where the “we” means the nation as a whole. They tend to involve several conflicting considerations, and there is rarely a clear-cut solution. Usually the decision will be based on an evaluation of the likely consequences. In Judaism this sphere is known as mishpat melech (the legal domain of the king), or hilchot medinah (public policy regulations).[8] Whereas halachah is timeless, public policy tends to be time-bound and situational (“a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build”).
Were we in Pinchas’ position, asking, “Should I kill Zimri and Cozbi?” the moral answer is an unequivocal No. They may deserve to die; the whole nation may be eyewitnesses to their sin; but you cannot execute a death sentence without a duly constituted court of law, a trial, evidence and a judicial verdict. Killing without due process is murder. That is why the Talmud rules Halachah ve-ein morin kein: if Pinchas had asked a Bet Din whether he were permitted to act as he intended, he would be told, No. Halachah is based on non-negotiable moral principle, and halachically you cannot commit murder even to save lives.
But Pinchas was not acting on moral principle. He was making a political decision. There were thousands dying. The political leader, Moses, was in a highly compromised position. How could he condemn others for consorting with Midianite women when he himself had a Midianite wife? Pinchas saw that there was no one leading. The danger was immense. God’s anger, already intense, was about to explode. So he acted – not on moral principle but on political calculation, relying not on halachah but on what would later be known as mishpat melech. Better take two lives immediately, that would have been eventually sentenced to death by the court, to save thousands now. And he was right, as God later made clear.
Now we can see exactly what was ambiguous about Pinchas’ act. He was a private individual. The question he would normally have asked was, “What shall I do?”, to which the answer is a moral one. But he acted as if he were a political leader asking, “What shall we do?” and deciding, based on consequences, that this would save many lives. Essentially, he acted as if he were Moses. He saved the day and the people. But imagine what would happen anywhere if an ordinary member of the public usurped the role of Head of State. Had God not endorsed Pinchas’ action, he would have had a very difficult time.
The difference between moral and political decisions becomes very clear when it comes to decisions of life and death. The moral rule is: saving life takes precedence over all other mitzvot except three: incest, idolatry and murder. If a group is surrounded by gangsters who say, “Hand over one of you, or we will kill you all,” they must all be prepared to die rather than hand over one.[9] Life is sacred and must not be sacrificed, whatever the consequences. That is morality; that is halachah.
However, a king of Israel was permitted, with the consent of the Sanhedrin, to wage a (non-defensive) war, even though many would die as a result.[10] He was permitted to execute a non-judicial death sentence against individuals on public policy grounds (le-takken ha-olam kefi mah she-ha-sha’ah tzerichah).[11] In politics, as opposed to morality, the sanctity of life is a high value but not the only one. What matters are consequences. A ruler or government must act in the long-term interests of the people. That is why, though some will die as a result, governments are now gradually easing the lockdown provisions once the rate of infection falls, to relieve distress, ease the economic burden, and restore suspended civil liberties.
We have moral duties as individuals, and we make political decisions as nations. The two are different. That is what the story of Pinchas is about. It also explains the tension in governments during the pandemic. We have a moral commitment to the sanctity of life, but we also have a political commitment, not just to life but also to “liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”[12] What was beautiful about the global response to Covid-19 was that virtually every nation in the world put moral considerations ahead of political ones until the danger began to recede.
I believe that there are moral and political decisions and they are different. But there is a great danger that the two may drift apart. Politics then becomes amoral, and eventually corrupt. That is why the institution of prophecy was born. Prophets hold politicians accountable to morality. When kings act for the long-term welfare of the nation, they are not criticised. When they act for their own benefit, they are.[13] Likewise when they undermine the people’s moral and spiritual integrity.[14] Salvation by zealot – the Pinchas case – is no solution. Politics must be as moral as possible if a nation is to flourish in the long run.
Shabbat Shalom
[1] This essay was written on 11 Iyar 5780, 5 May 2020. Things will have moved on since, but the issues raised here are of general significance and not always fully understood.
[2] Mishnah, Sanhedrin 4:4.
[3] Jonathan Sumption, ‘Coronavirus lockdown,’ Sunday Times, 5 April 2020.
[4] Too little has been written about this. For one collection of essays, see Stuart Hampshire (ed.), Public and Private Morality, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
[5] Sanhedrin 82a.
[6] Sanhedrin 81b.
[7] Sanhedrin 82a.
[8] See especially R. Zvi Hirsch Chajes, Torat Nevi’im, ch. 7, Din Melech Yisrael.
[9] Tosefta Terumot 7:20.
[10] Shavuot 35b.
[11] Rambam Hilchot Melachim 3:10.
[12] The Jewish equivalent is: Life, liberty and the pursuit of holiness.
[13] The classic cases are Nathan and David, 2 Samuel 12; Elijah and Ahab, 1 Kings 21.
[14] The standard biblical term for this is “They did evil in the eyes of the Lord,” an expression that occurs more than 60 times in Tanach.
submitted by drak0bsidian to Judaism [link] [comments]

scramble prep ignore

Analysis

Coldstone VS
X-O Manowar VS
Scorpia VS

Previously

Round 0: Scorpia, Aric, and Coldstone awoke together on a bus. They've been kidnapped and forced to participate in a killing game to serve some mysterious tyrant. Together, they break out and attempt to escape from the island, but their plan falls south when the shuttle is blown up and the cannons aren't. Coldstone (Iago) shoots Scorpia to try to buy time for him to escape, but Scorpia shocks him out before she's overwhelmed.
Gesicht
One thousand, one hundred four. That was the number of charges Gesicht was currently up to. One count of kidnapping and attempted murder for every one of the one hundred thirty-eight distinct sentient beings that he was able to confirm were on the island. Forty-two separate counts of torture that he had personally witnessed on the bus.
Gesicht could perfectly maintain the complete list of charges and evidence acquired for each. He could calculate out the expected sentence that would be handed out to the host, accounting for whether it was a human or a robot judge that gave it.
The one thing he couldn't figure out was why he was there. Kidnapping the top inspector of Europol was asking for trouble. Expecting him to join some sort of army was even crazier. Most of the people the host took were human, suggesting that he was human or expecting to fight humans. Yet he expected Gesicht to kill humans? The host's entire plan was illogical.
Gesicht would get his answers when he took down the host. That would also be the fastest way to end this needless slaughter. Exigent circumstances demanded immediate action. And that was why Gesicht blasted a hole in the main facility's security door with his Zeronium cannon.
Six drones immediately flew out of the hole, only to be destroyed by his electromagnetic shot. Pitiful things, they displayed only the most basic of programming. Nothing that could even remotely be considered artificial intelligence. They were closer to a simple typewriter than to a true robot.
"Izanagi!" Yu shouted from behind him. A bolt of lightning struck down and obliterated a drone that thought it could attack him from behind.
Yu Narukami, a curious individual Gesicht met on the bus shortly before they escaped. Every single sensor Gesicht had and scan performed, from the accurate weight and density of his body to the strength of the electrical signals coursing throughout his nervous system, said that Yu was one hundred percent human. Despite his ability to conjure a black swordsman apparition called a Persona out of nothing that could interact with the world.
Yu wasn't too thrilled about their situation either. He seemed to have some amateur detective experience and was clearly able to handle himself in a fight, so Gesicht let him tag along.
"Warm reception," Yu said. He blasted another three drones apart. "Think he's in here?"
"Unlikely," Gesicht said. "He has space stations that would make a far more secure observation post. Going after him directly would be far too risky with those cannons. If we can find a computer terminal, I can hack it and force the cannons to target each other."
The two dashed into the facility. Its design did not conform to any style Gesicht knew. There was a military influence in its cold precision and undecorated walls, yet it was a labyrinth. His sensors had difficulty penetrating beyond a single wall.
After a while, they heard a voice coming from a large room ahead.
"Why don't we end this farce now?"
Gesicht and Yu hid around a corner and looked into the room. A single figure with long, black hair and a purple kimono stood facing a monitor that displayed the host's flaming wings symbol.
Something was off. Gesicht's sensors said he was not human, yet not a robot either. No, it would be more accurate to say he used to be human until he was mutated. Into what he couldn't say. His sensors didn't detect any weapons beyond a katana, but something told Gesicht to be wary. Perhaps that was what humans called "their instinct"?
"You want the strongest warrior to fight for you, well here I am."
"Kokushibo," the host said, "I am surprised. I expected far more resistance. Most beings tend to value their independence, not realizing their true potential lies beneath me."
"I've already served one master," Kokushibo said. "I thought him strong, yet ever since I was brought here, I cannot hear his voice. Nor do I feel his presence at all. You are clearly superior to him. I will achieve even grander heights under you."
"Your loyalty shall be rewarded," the host said. "But first, I require a demonstration of your abilities. Simply to ensure you are not a weakling trying to avoid the purge through my benevolence."
"Very well," Kokushibo said. "I shall dispose of the two hiding in the corner."
A wall struck down behind them, cutting off their escape. No point in hiding anymore.
"Listen," Yu said, "I know you're scared. This monster is forcing us all to fight to the death. I know you're scared and looking for a way out, but all you're doing is playing into his hands! If we stand together, we can all survive! You don't have to be alone."
Kokushibo turned around to face them, revealing that he had six eyes on his face. "You misunderstand me, human. I do not care if every single one of you dies. If needed I would kill a thousand of you. My only goal is to survive and become stronger."
Yu glared. "You're nothing but a shadow."
Kokushibo drew his katana in silence.
"Kokushibo," the host said. "Take these two down but do not harm them. I have something else in mind."
Gesicht analyzed his foe. The sword was one hundred forty centimeters long, made of an unknown alloy. His relaxed demeanor suggested he was a master swordsman. One wrong move while in his range would result in getting cut. Gesicht didn't want to test out his Zeronium armor against this unknown alloy while away from Europol.
At the same time though, his near-human biology meant that he would be vulnerable to the sleeping gas. One shot and he'd be down. It was just a matter of whether he could get close enough without getting cut.
"Izanagi!" Yu brought out his Persona. With a thunderous roar, it dashed across the room and brought its blade down upon Kokushibo.
The two clashed, Yu's blade like a wild storm compared to the graceful dance of Kokushibo's blade.
Gesicht watched Yu's Persona intently. A single large, overhead strike was all he needed. Kokushibo would be forced to block and Gesicht calculated he'd have a two hundred millisecond window to safely deploy the knock-out gas.
The Persona drew its arm back and moved its left foot forward. This was it. Gesicht charged in right as the Persona brought its blade down.
Kokushibo must have noticed his approach and jumped back instead of blocking, avoiding both the blade and Gesicht's gas. Gesicht might have missed his chance but he was still safely out of Kokushibo's range. He would land, then fall back and use his electromagnetic shot to limit Kokushibo's mobility. Perhaps targeting the sword with repeated strikes would cause enough structural stress to snap it.
"Breath of the Moon," Kokushibo said, "Third Form: Death Moon of Abandonment: Chain!"
Kokushibo swung his sword, and two waves of energy, each filled to the brim with spinning crescents, flew through the air. Gesicht was thrown back into a wall and lost sight of Yu.
Damage report: minor dents all across his body. The Zeronium absorbed the impact with nothing worse than a paint scratch to show.
When Gesicht rolled back on his feet, Yu was on his back, with Kokushibo standing over him. The tip of his sword pressed against Yu's neck sent a clear message.
Gesicht miscalculated. He didn't count on a swordsman being able to strike from a distance.
"I used the back of my sword," Kokushibo said, "but don't expect such mercy again. Refrain from using your art again if you value your life."
Not good. How could he save Yu without surrendering? Electromagnetic shot? No, not fast enough. Sleeping gas? No, he'd never get close enough for it to be effective. Zeronium shot? No, Kokushibo would kill Yu the second he tried.
"Golem," Kokushibo said, "how curious. You have surpassed humanity yet lower yourself to imitate them. Even now, you bind yourself in a misguided approach to protect them. Keep being responsible for his fate and you won't have a chance at defeating me."
He was right. If he was willing to sacrifice Yu, then perhaps he could take Kokushibo down. Maybe even take down the host. But that would be the same as if he pulled the trigger on Yu himself.
"I surrender."
Scorpia dazed in and out. Her entire body was sore and it felt like she was was made of lead. A blury set of blobs was all she could see. She couldn't even gather the strength to lift her stinger.
On the plus side, she wasn't dead. That host creep still had some plans for her. It looked like she was about to find out what exactly.
A dozen drones carried her away. They took her underground or something, hard to tell exactly when she couldn't see anything.
She was dropped onto a cold, metal table. Rude.
The cool table did f
X-O Manowar
Splash. Splash. Splash.
The raindrops beating down on his face awoke Aric. He wasn't dead, so that's progress.
His arm! That blasted cannon obliterated it. He felt the replacement that Shanhara made. It could pass for flesh, but it wasn't the same. Sanna could always tell the difference. He longed to hold her again and hoped she would accept it.
For now, it was just a reminder of his failure.
The last thing he remembered was seeing Coldstone flying back towards Scorpia. He was lying on the ground but Scorpia was gone.
"Armor, what happened here?"
Shanhara showed him everything. Scorpia wanted to get them all away only to be shot in the back by Coldstone and taken away by the drones. Coldstone, you bastard. How dare you betray her.
Aric pondered cutting off Coldstone's head right there when he woke up.
"Explain yourself," Aric said as he pressed his sword against Coldstone's neck. "Tell me why I shouldn't execute you for what you did to Scorpia."
Coldstone glanced back. For a moment, Aric thought he'd try to break free and attack. But Coldstone wisely hung his head instead.
"I would not blame you," Coldstone said. "It is true that I betrayed Scorpia. You are not safe with me, at any moment I could do so again."
He's taking responsibility? Aric expected him to try to worm out of it.
"An endless battle rages inside me," Coldstone said. "It is not easy to admit, but I lost that battle and allowed my evil brother to take control."
Everyone had a fight between good and evil within them. However, it sounded like Coldstone meant a literal battle.
"Exactly what do you mean?"
"Coldstone was created when sorcery fused the remains of three separate Gargoyles," he said. "I and my beloved were two, but the third was my evil brother. All of our souls are now trapped within this vessel. My evil brother is constantly attempting to seize control. One success and Scorpia paid the price."
He can't be serious, could he?
"Aric," Shanahara spoke to him, "I am detecting a strange energy signature within Coldstone. It does appear to be three distinct energies mixed together yet at the same time, separate."
"Shanhara seems to believe your story," Aric said. He let the sword disperse. "You fight a noble fight for your very soul. I do not doubt that one day you will prevail. For now, though, Scorpia has been taken. Will you fight by my side to rescue her?"
Coldstone got off his back and knelt before Aric.
"You are generous," he said, "far more than I deserve. It would be an honor to serve you."
"But," Coldstone continued, "I must refuse. If my evil brother gained control again, your life would be in danger. Until this battle is put to rest, I must remain away."
With that, Coldstone blasted off. Looks like he'd have to rescue her alone.
No, he was never alone. Shanhara was always with him. The Visigoth people were always with him. As king, he carried the weight of his subject's trust with him.
Scorpia put her trust in him, making her one of his subjects as well. He would never disappoint his subjects.
Shanhara tracked Scorpia to a facility on the island. One that looked like it had just suffered an invasion. A giant hole had been blasted in the door and dozens of broken drones littered the ground.
Why was Scorpia still here? It made no sense at all. The thought of bringing her to a fortress after it had been breached was beyond absurd. So someone else must have attacked after they imprisoned Scorpia. But if that was true, said attacker would have either rescued or killed her. With this much damage to the facility, failure to do either should have resulted in the drones moving Scorpia to a different fortress. Yet, Shanhara told him she was alive and well inside.
A trap then.
"Armor," he said, "be ready."
"Always."
Aric followed the trail of destruction deeper and deeper into the heart of the fortress.
"Aric," Shanhara said after they entered a large, empty room, "Scorpia is in the next room. I am detecting three others with her."
Aric ran towards the door and peeked into it. Scorpia was chained down on a table, alive but unconscious. Some tubes and wires connected her to a guy in a suit on another table. Two guys were talking to a monitor, one in a purple kimono and the other in a black jacket. All the monitor showed was the same fire wings as from the bus.
"Enhancing audio."
"Everything has been done according to your command, master Supreme."
"Excellent Kokushibo," this 'Supreme' replied. "Once the transfer is complete, we'll begin the next phase."
"Understood. Oh, and we seem to have another unwanted guest."
How did that kimono bastard detect him so quickly?
"Dispose of him. I don't want anything to interfere. Yu, initiate attack mode."
The monitor turned off as Kokushibo and Yu turned around. Aric grew angry as he saw the six eyes on Kokushibo. They reminded him of the Vine. Were the Vine responsible for all of this? They hadn't been too much of a problem ever since he practically destroyed them all. Perhaps a fringe group or a leftover colony ship?
Whatever, he'll have to get answers later.
Yu held out his hand and a card appeared above it. He shattered it with a flash of blue light that contrasted his glowing green eyes.
Some kind of black swordsman with a large naginata appeared behind Yu. Never one to let his opponents make the first move, Aric dove out from behind the corner and blasted away at it with his lasers.
Ching, ching, ching. Every laser blast was obliterated by that thing's naginata. If its a sword duel it wants, then a sword duel it gets.
He flew straight at it and swung with all his might. Again and again he struck, but he couldn't make any headway. This projection was far stronger than it looked.
"Breath of the Moon," Kokushibo said, "Eighth Form: Lunar Ouroboros!"
A wave of energy crashed into Aric, throwing him away as little crescents carved into his armor.
"Izanagi!" Yu shouted. Lightning emerged from the blade of the naginata and shot straight into Aric. The two attacks combined, blasting him through the wall.
Aric coughed as he dragged himself up. The tiny bit of blood on his chest meant that his armor failed to completely stop the blades. Both these guys were more powerful than he expected. Worse, it didn't look like they'd fight him in an honorable one on one duel.
Guess he'd just have to beat these two at once.
"Aric," Shanhara said, *"I have analyzed these two. There is an abnormal energy reading emanating from the back of Yu's neck. Likely a control chip of some kind."
So all he had to do was break that and at least one of them would be done. Great. Easier said than done.
"Breath of the Moon," Kokushibo said, "Seventh Form: Misfortune Mirror Lunar Shine!"
"Izanagi!" Yu shouted.
More long-ranged attacks from the pair, Yu's a pinpoint strike heading straight for him while Kokushibo's spread out in case he tried to dodge.
If dodging is out, then he'd have to take it head-on. But not like before. Shanhara retracted from across his body and gathered itself into a shield.
The attacks hit like a charging elephant, but this time Shanhara held. As fast as it gathered up, Shanhara spread itself out again.
His turn. Aric fired a barrage of blasts all across the room. Most missed Yu and Kokushibo by a mile, and the few that came close were easily slashed by their swords.
Taking them down with that weak attack wasn't his plan though. The dust cloud that his blasts raised was. With no visibility, now was his chance to take Yu out. Aric ran along the edge of the room and dove behind them.
"Ara Mitama!" Yu yelled as Aric fired. A floating red face appeared between them. It deflected his shot with a blue barrier.
This guy could create barriers as well as generate lightning? That was annoying.
"Atropos!"
The red face was replaced by a woman in black wearing a pipe on her head. It released a massive gale of wind that blew away his dust cloud.
This guy could control the air itself?
"Genbu!"
This time it was a snake with a head on each end. It froze Aric in a large block of ice.
Just how many different attacks did this guy have?
Before he had the chance to break free, Kokushibo struck.
"Breath of the Moon Second Form: Moonlit Pearl Flowers!"
This attack shattered the ice block before striking Aric head-on. Judging by the scars it left on his armor, Aric figured it would have cut deeply into him if it didn't have to go through the ice first.
More and more it looked like he couldn't win. Yu's bag of tricks just kept getting bigger and bigger, while Kokushibo's attacks were coming close to killing him outright.
He glanced behind him towards Scorpia. His attack might not have taken either of his opponents out, but it did position him closer to Scorpia. Perhaps he could blast her out of there and make a break for it.
No, that wouldn't work. For all he knew, there wasn't an exit that way. He'd just trap himself.
Besides, he was still a proud Visigoth. Fleeing from a battle didn't feel right.
"Mot!"
Yu's next summon was a giant coffin. Was it intended to bury him? Well, he wasn't going to make it easy. Aric summoned his sword and prepared to charge.
A bright light flashed from the entrance and a red laser blast raced through the air, striking Yu right in his neck. The coffin faded away as Yu collapsed.
That attack, that meant...
Coldstone emerged from the shadows.
Aric smiled. "I'm surprised you came. You have a change of heart or a change of mind?"
"Both," Coldstone smiled. "To live in fear and do nothing is not the Gargoyle way. Fighting by your side risks me losing control, but not fighting risks you being overpowered. If I am to be the cause of your death, I would rather it be by my actions than my inactions."
"I welcome your service," Aric said. "Take this guy down!"
"Another pest," Kokushibo said. "It matters not. Cowardly tactics like that won't stop me."
Aric wasn't eager to engage this guy in a sword duel, given how those attacks carved up his armor. With Coldstone here though, he didn't have to.
Together, the two of them circled around Kokushibo, blasting him with their lasers. His hopes that the swordsman wouldn't be able to block or avoid them all were dashed as Kokushibo spun around and cut each of them. Aric didn't notice it before, but the man's technique was a beauty to behold. Each move was closer to an elegant dance than that of an attack. Aric was no stranger to swordplay, but compared to this man, he was a drunken child flailing around.
"Breath of the Moon Fifth Form: Cursed Vortex of the Ghostly Moon!"
This time, his technique unleashed a vortex of slashes in every direction. Aric practically twisted himself into a pretzel, but he managed to avoid it. Coldstone wasn't as lucky and got one of his wings clipped.
"Breath of the Moon Tenth Form: Piercing Phase Slash: Ivy Moon!"
Kokushibo was truly a master. Coldstone's flight was only interrupted for a moment, but that was all it took for Kokushibo to unleash a couple of spirals that circled above Coldstone. To fight against someone like him, one slight opening meant death.
For all his mastery of the blade, something still felt off. Like his heart was no longer in it. He was no longer fighting to protect someone. Even his mastery felt like his drive was gone. How did Kokushibo turn out this way?
Aric landed on the ground as the attack struck Coldstone. There wasn't going to be any opening, no matter how long the fight dragged on. His only chance at winning this would be with a single strike. He needed to cut faster than Kokushibo could.
Shanhara transferred as much energy as it could to the thrusters.
Kokushibo turned and gazed directly at Aric
"Breath of the Moon..."
Kokushibo's earlier attack slammed Coldstone into the ground.
"First Form:"
The energy sword formed within Aric's hand. He roared to the heavens with a mighty battle cry.
"Dark Moon: Evening Shrine!"
Shanhara transferred all available energy into Aric's blade the moment it clashed with Kokushibo's. It cut straight through Kokushibo's sword before moving onto his neck.
Aric skidded to a stop and looked back. Kokushibo's severed body was starting to burn up.
"I do not know what led you onto this path," he said, "but I would have been honored to study under you before you became this hollow shadow."
"Am I a shadow?" Kokushibo asked. His neck was burning up but he was still alive. "A shadow is but a pale imitation that lives its life cowering. Have I really fallen so far?"
The rest of Kokushibo burnt up, leaving nothing but a handful of ash that dispersed into the air.
Aric walked over to Coldstone and helped the Gargoyle to his feet. Kokushibo's attack gouged deep cuts all across Coldstone's body, but he wasn't bleeding or anything.
"Thank you," Aric said. "Are you still capable of fighting?"
"None of these wounds will affect my systems," Coldstone said. "A side effect of being a mere shadow of life. In a few hours, my self-repair systems will be completed. My body can be torn apart and I will still be able to protect others."
Coldstone pondered something for a moment.
"I suppose in a way, it has made me the ultimate Gargoyle. A better protector for those who would consider me a savage monster."
"I've been accused of being a savage before," Aric said. "Usually from savages themselves. Pay no attention to them."
Coldstone knelt before Aric. "You are a true leader. If you would have it, I will gladly serve you."
"Arise," Aric said, "I do not need for such ceremony."
"TRANSFER COMPLETE."
Rats, he got caught up in the moment. The man beside Scorpia got up, eyes glowing with a swirl of green and red.
"Gesicht," Supreme said, "destroy them."
Gesicht raised his right arm. Red lightning circled around it.
"Massive energy build-up detected," Shanhara said. "Warning, one hit would be lethal."
No time to be polite. Aric fired a blast at Coldstone and knocked him back a mere moment before Gesicht would have shot straight through him. Instead, it drilled its way through so many walls Aric could see sunlight at the end of its tunnel. 'Lethal' undersold it.
Coldstone jumped to the air and blasted at Gesicht, with Aric joining in. Gesicht knocked the first few shots away with his bare hands before he returned fire from his left hand. Coldstone's cannon took a direct hit, as did Aric's hand.
The impact felt like punching steel barehanded, but there was something more in it. A stinging sensation beyond simple pain. Aric looked at his hand and caught a glimpse of red lightning surging across it.
That was Scorpia's power! They transferred it to this guy like Scorpia did to him earlier? That complicated matters. Just a little lightning from her fully recharged Shanhara, who knows how much it would have strengthened him if he was at his best.
He quickly glanced at Coldstone and saw the same red lightning coursing across his broken cannon. More disturbing was the briefest of smiles. Just for a moment, but clear as day. Was he excited about fighting a powerful foe? Aric couldn't think of any other reason to be excited about having his weapon broken.
Coldstone flew straight at Gesicht, using his useless cannon to block an additional shot. He swept down and grabbed ahold of both of Gesicht's hands.
"Quickly!" Coldstone said. "I'll hold him back as long as I can!"
Brave Gargoyle. At that range, there would be no way to dodge Gesicht's attack. Aric formed his sword and charged. He wasn't going to let this opportunity go to waste.
Coldstone groaned as he struggled to hold Gesicht back. Gesicht, however, didn't appear to exert any effort. Come on, just another second.
Red lightning surged from Gesicht, the jolt allowing him to break out of Coldstone's grasp. Gesicht then took hold of Coldstone and threw the Gargoyle at Aric so fast he couldn't avoid. Aric was embedded into the wall from the sheer force.
Gesicht released some gas from his left hand, which enveloped them in a cloud. Aric gasped as a bolt of red lightning struck him. He was glad for his helmet, otherwise, he would have certainly inhaled that poison.
Coldstone jumped out of the cloud and attacked. He punched and kicked, only for Gesicht to casually block them. One wild strike let Gesicht knock Coldstone off balance, but Coldstone's tail stopped Gesicht from punching him.
Aric watched Gesicht closely. Compare to Kokushibo's grace, Gesicht's moves were cold and precise. Like a machine.
"Analysis of Gesicht confirms he is a robot," Shanhara said. "I am attempting to connect to his systems."
Just a machine? Fine, he didn't have to hold back then. He charged in with his sword.
Gesicht caught Coldstone's tail and swung him around like a giant flail. Aric wasn't going to fall for the same trick again and ducked underneath. Gesicht let go of Coldstone, but it was too late. Past Gesicht's guard, Aric sliced the robot straight across his chest.
The robot's metal was tougher than he expected, all his strike managed to do was burn a hole in his shirt. It didn't even look like he singed the metal underneath.
That strike opened him up, and Gesicht took full advantage of it by slamming both his fists on Aric's helmet. A bit of the visor broke off and Aric was treated to more gas directly in his face.
A sedative, not a poison. Shanhara filtered it out and repaired his visor, but it still slowed him down enough for Gesicht to land a solid punch.
He was getting nowhere. Gesicht's armor was too tough to cut through and he was overpowering both of them. If this kept up, sooner or later Gesicht would unleash that cannon again and blow them both into the next life. Aric would just have to fight and strike harder.
"Aric," Shanhara said. "I have interfaced with part of Gesicht's systems. There is another control chip overriding parts of his functions forcing him to battle. His true personality just keeps repeating 'nothing will be born from hatred.'"
Nothing would be born from hatred? What garbage was that? If anything, Supreme's hatred would have Gesicht kill him and Coldstone.
Wait, why hadn't he killed them already? Gesicht's latest attacks had all been nonlethal. He hadn't fired that cannon since they began the fight. Thinking back to it, if he hadn't hit Coldstone out of the way, the shot would have destroyed his legs, not his chest or head. Fatal for normal people, but not necessarily for Coldstone. Could Gesicht actually be trying not to kill him?
It was absurd but somehow felt right. Nothing will be born of hatred? Fine, then he'd make a new approach.
Shanhara retracted itself, leaving Aric's entire front body exposed. He calmly walked towards Gesicht, no weapons or anything.
"Stop!" Coldstone yelled. "One shot will kill you without your armor!"
Yeah, he knew. But he somehow also knew that Gesicht wouldn't shoot him.
Gesicht raised his left arm and released the sedative gas. Aric's eyes teared up and he felt the alluring grasp of sleep, but he ignored them and kept walking. Shanhara would filter it out, he just had to keep walking.
Gesicht fired a small shot that whizzed right past Aric's ear. Another man would have hesitated, but not Aric. He kept walking.
Once he got close enough to Gesicht, the robot grabbed Aric and threw him to the ground in an effort to restrain him. That was the opportunity he needed. Shanhara spread itself out across Gesicht and began to infiltrate his systems.
Gesicht stepped back from the invasion and tried to pry Shanhara off of him. When physical force failed, he unleashed all the stolen lightning he had. Aric was worried that the sheer amount of magical energy would force Shanhara to separate, but luckily, it looked like Coldstone understood his plan. The Gargoyle grabbed hold of Gesicht and allowed most of the lightning to course through his own body.
A few seconds later, Gesicht fell to the ground, offline.
"Foreign influences were successfully removed," Shanhara said as it returned to him. "I also added a countermeasure to prevent any future control."
Coldstone groaned. "What do you want to do with him?"
Aric pondered that for a moment. "Leave him. If he didn't try to kill us while being controlled, he won't try whenever he wakes up. Our first priority has to be Scorpia."
Coldstone flew over and unhooked her from all the chains and wires. "Come on, you can't be hurt. You have to live! I need you!"
Aric checked the back of her neck. No chip.
Scorpia slowly regained consciousness. "Aric, Coldstone?" She looked around.
"Listen," Coldstone said, "I know how you must feel about me but I..."
Scorpia grabbed both of them and embraced them in a bear hug. "You came to rescue me! I knew you weren't all bad!"
"A third perhaps," Coldstone said. "I'm just glad you're safe. You can let go now."
"Nope, I'm a hugger."
A minute later, Scorpia's hug remained as tight as ever. Both he and Aric struggled to get free but were too exhausted to break out.
Iago
Ever since he had been revived, he learned that nothing was impossible. His clanmates had been cursed to remain stone until Castle Wyvern rose above the clouds, a task which a hundred mages could never hope to accomplish. Yet Xanatos accomplished it with science, rebuilding the castle brick by brick on top of a skyscraper. Even his own resurrection should have been impossible.
Now, he had another impossibility occur right before his eyes. A way to get complete control of Coldstone.
Normally, it was like standing on top of a slippery hill while two other Gargoyles tried to pull him off. The slightest disturbance, often simply imagined, was all it took to throw him down and force him to claw his way back up.
That was certainly the case earlier when his brother felt so ashamed of failing the mission that he lost control of Coldstone.
It should have been the case when Scorpia shocked him with her lightning. With that much energy, he shouldn't have been able to gain any control over Coldstone's body.
Yet, he was still in control when Coldstone's systems came back online. Not only that, but this time, it was like he had solid ground beneath his feet. The other two kept slipping on the hill and could only try to pull him off with a single hand. He was easily able to keep control for the entire day, something that never happened before.
Somehow, Scorpia's lightning must have strengthened his soul. Perhaps due to its magical nature and the magical energy binding their souls.
Either way, he now had a path to getting rid of his pesky brother and claiming their mate all for himself. All he had to do was get Scorpia to shock him whenever he felt his control loosen.
Admittedly, it was not a perfect plan. He couldn't even count how many times he'd likely have to be shocked. Moreso was the problem of how to get shocked.
He couldn't just ask Scorpia to shock him. That would be far too suspicious. Worse, it might lead his brother and sister to figure out the secret as well. Experiences and memories were shared between the three of them, but not thoughts. If either got control, they wouldn't realize Scorpia's importance.
For now, he could act like his annoying brother with ease. He could play the parts needed to fool Aric and Scorpia. The look on Aric's face earlier told him the man fancied himself a leader of warriors, much like a Gargoyle leader. Accepting responsibility head-on rather than trying to hide from it was the proper course of action.
Then, pretending to flee out of concern for others only to return out of pride let him truly return to their good graces. He waited for just the right moment to save Aric to get the man indentured to him.
Scorpia surprised him though. He honestly expected to have to work to win her trust back. Her naivety will certainly work in his favor.
All in all, things were proceeding quite well.
Supreme
To both succeed and fail at the same time should be impossible. But that was the current state of his experiments.
Magic: it's very existence an impossibility, yet somehow a completely natural phenomenon. Something he never understood.
His past self fled from it and put it out of his memory, never attempting to learn its secrets. When he had the chance to acquire a magical superweapon, his method was closer to that of a sledgehammer than a chisel.
But he was different now. A new man. No more running away and hiding. It was time to learn.
Magic might seem impossible, chaotic, and random, but it was still a natural phenomenon. That meant it had to be governed by rules. Learn the rules beneath the surface and he'd learn how to control it.
Rules should be consistent, constant. Repeat an experiment with the same parameters and you'd get the same result.
So why did the Gesicht experiment succeed when the previous ones failed? Fundamentally, they were the same: infuse magic into a robot. The infusion stage worked fine, but his robots exploded whenever they tried to use the magic. Gesicht somehow managed to perfectly integrate Scorpia's magic, using its power to strengthen his weapons.
Fundamentally, what was different between his robots and Gesicht? He poured over Gesicht's design but found nothing. There was no part designed to handle unknown energy. Nothing capable of creating brand new parts to deal with unexpected scenarios. The material Gesicht was built from seemed designed to handle heat and magnetic force, but so was the material one of his bots was constructed from. Physical alloy strength was also comparable.
So what was it? What allowed Gesicht to survive? What was he missing? WHY COULDN'T HE SEE IT? WHAT WAS HE DOING WRONG?
He slammed his fists into a terminal in frustration, blowing it up.
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I am about to post the 3000 most common words in the English lexicon. Wish me luck...

a abandon ability able abortion about above abroad absence absolute absolutely absorb abuse academic accept access accident accompany accomplish according account accurate accuse achieve achievement acid acknowledge acquire across act action active activist activity actor actress actual actually ad adapt add addition additional address adequate adjust adjustment administration administrator admire admission admit adolescent adopt adult advance advanced advantage adventure advertising advice advise adviser advocate affair affect afford afraid African African-American after afternoon again against age agency agenda agent aggressive ago agree agreement agricultural ah ahead aid aide AIDS aim air aircraft airline airport album alcohol alive all alliance allow ally almost alone along already also alter alternative although always AM amazing American among amount analysis analyst analyze ancient and anger angle angry animal anniversary announce annual another answer anticipate anxiety any anybody anymore anyone anything anyway anywhere apart apartment apparent apparently appeal appear appearance apple application apply appoint appointment appreciate approach appropriate approval approve approximately Arab architect area argue argument arise arm armed army around arrange arrangement arrest arrival arrive art article artist artistic as Asian aside ask asleep aspect assault assert assess assessment asset assign assignment assist assistance assistant associate association assume assumption assure at athlete athletic atmosphere attach attack attempt attend attention attitude attorney attract attractive attribute audience author authority auto available average avoid award aware awareness away awful baby back background bad badly bag bake balance ball ban band bank bar barely barrel barrier base baseball basic basically basis basket basketball bathroom battery battle be beach bean bear beat beautiful beauty because become bed bedroom beer before begin beginning behavior behind being belief believe bell belong below belt bench bend beneath benefit beside besides best bet better between beyond Bible big bike bill billion bind biological bird birth birthday bit bite black blade blame blanket blind block blood blow blue board boat body bomb bombing bond bone book boom boot border born borrow boss both bother bottle bottom boundary bowl box boy boyfriend brain branch brand bread break breakfast breast breath breathe brick bridge brief briefly bright brilliant bring British broad broken brother brown brush buck budget build building bullet bunch burden burn bury bus business busy but butter button buy buyer by cabin cabinet cable cake calculate call camera camp campaign campus can Canadian cancer candidate cap capability capable capacity capital captain capture car carbon card care career careful carefully carrier carry case cash cast cat catch category Catholic cause ceiling celebrate celebration celebrity cell center central century CEO ceremony certain certainly chain chair chairman challenge chamber champion championship chance change changing channel chapter character characteristic characterize charge charity chart chase cheap check cheek cheese chef chemical chest chicken chief child childhood Chinese chip chocolate choice cholesterol choose Christian Christmas church cigarette circle circumstance cite citizen city civil civilian claim class classic classroom clean clear clearly client climate climb clinic clinical clock close closely closer clothes clothing cloud club clue cluster coach coal coalition coast coat code coffee cognitive cold collapse colleague collect collection collective college colonial color column combination combine come comedy comfort comfortable command commander comment commercial commission commit commitment committee common communicate communication community company compare comparison compete competition competitive competitor complain complaint complete completely complex complicated component compose composition comprehensive computer concentrate concentration concept concern concerned concert conclude conclusion concrete condition conduct conference confidence confident confirm conflict confront confusion Congress congressional connect connection consciousness consensus consequence conservative consider considerable consideration consist consistent constant constantly constitute constitutional construct construction consultant consume consumer consumption contact contain container contemporary content contest context continue continued contract contrast contribute contribution control controversial controversy convention conventional conversation convert conviction convince cook cookie cooking cool cooperation cop cope copy core corn corner corporate corporation correct correspondent cost cotton couch could council counselor count counter country county couple courage course court cousin cover coverage cow crack craft crash crazy cream create creation creative creature credit crew crime criminal crisis criteria critic critical criticism criticize crop cross crowd crucial cry cultural culture cup curious current currently curriculum custom customer cut cycle dad daily damage dance danger dangerous dare dark darkness data date daughter day dead deal dealer dear death debate debt decade decide decision deck declare decline decrease deep deeply deer defeat defend defendant defense defensive deficit define definitely definition degree delay deliver delivery demand democracy Democrat democratic demonstrate demonstration deny department depend dependent depending depict depression depth deputy derive describe description desert deserve design designer desire desk desperate despite destroy destruction detail detailed detect determine develop developing development device devote dialogue die diet differ difference different differently difficult difficulty dig digital dimension dining dinner direct direction directly director dirt dirty disability disagree disappear disaster discipline discourse discover discovery discrimination discuss discussion disease dish dismiss disorder display dispute distance distant distinct distinction distinguish distribute distribution district diverse diversity divide division divorce DNA do doctor document dog domestic dominant dominate door double doubt down downtown dozen draft drag drama dramatic dramatically draw drawing dream dress drink drive driver drop drug dry due during dust duty each eager ear early earn earnings earth ease easily east eastern easy eat economic economics economist economy edge edition editor educate education educational educator effect effective effectively efficiency efficient effort egg eight either elderly elect election electric electricity electronic element elementary eliminate elite else elsewhere e-mail embrace emerge emergency emission emotion emotional emphasis emphasize employ employee employer employment empty enable encounter encourage end enemy energy enforcement engage engine engineer engineering English enhance enjoy enormous enough ensure enter enterprise entertainment entire entirely entrance entry environment environmental episode equal equally equipment era error escape especially essay essential essentially establish establishment estate estimate etc ethics ethnic European evaluate evaluation even evening event eventually ever every everybody everyday everyone everything everywhere evidence evolution evolve exact exactly examination examine example exceed excellent except exception exchange exciting executive exercise exhibit exhibition exist existence existing expand expansion expect expectation expense expensive experience experiment expert explain explanation explode explore explosion expose exposure express expression extend extension extensive extent external extra extraordinary extreme extremely eye fabric face facility fact factor factory faculty fade fail failure fair fairly faith fall false familiar family famous fan fantasy far farm farmer fashion fast fat fate father fault favor favorite fear feature federal fee feed feel feeling fellow female fence few fewer fiber fiction field fifteen fifth fifty fight fighter fighting figure file fill film final finally finance financial find finding fine finger finish fire firm first fish fishing fit fitness five fix flag flame flat flavor flee flesh flight float floor flow flower fly focus folk follow following food foot football for force foreign forest forever forget form formal formation former formula forth fortune forward found foundation founder four fourth frame framework free freedom freeze French frequency frequent frequently fresh friend friendly friendship from front fruit frustration fuel full fully fun function fund fundamental funding funeral funny furniture furthermore future gain galaxy gallery game gang gap garage garden garlic gas gate gather gay gaze gear gender gene general generally generate generation genetic gentleman gently German gesture get ghost giant gift gifted girl girlfriend give given glad glance glass global glove go goal God gold golden golf good government governor grab grade gradually graduate grain grand grandfather grandmother grant grass grave gray great greatest green grocery ground group grow growing growth guarantee guard guess guest guide guideline guilty gun guy habit habitat hair half hall hand handful handle hang happen happy hard hardly hat hate have he head headline headquarters health healthy hear hearing heart heat heaven heavily heavy heel height helicopter hell hello help helpful her here heritage hero herself hey hi hide high highlight highly highway hill him himself hip hire his historian historic historical history hit hold hole holiday holy home homeless honest honey honor hope horizon horror horse hospital host hot hotel hour house household housing how however huge human humor hundred hungry hunter hunting hurt husband hypothesis I ice idea ideal identification identify identity ie if ignore ill illegal illness illustrate image imagination imagine immediate immediately immigrant immigration impact implement implication imply importance important impose impossible impress impression impressive improve improvement in incentive incident include including income incorporate increase increased increasing increasingly incredible indeed independence independent index Indian indicate indication individual industrial industry infant infection inflation influence inform information ingredient initial initially initiative injury inner innocent inquiry inside insight insist inspire install instance instead institution institutional instruction instructor instrument insurance intellectual intelligence intend intense intensity intention interaction interest interested interesting internal international Internet interpret interpretation intervention interview into introduce introduction invasion invest investigate investigation investigator investment investor invite involve involved involvement Iraqi Irish iron Islamic island Israeli issue it Italian item its itself jacket jail Japanese jet Jew Jewish job join joint joke journal journalist journey joy judge judgment juice jump junior jury just justice justify keep key kick kid kill killer killing kind king kiss kitchen knee knife knock know knowledge lab label labor laboratory lack lady lake land landscape language lap large largely last late later Latin latter laugh launch law lawn lawsuit lawyer lay layer lead leader leadership leading leaf league lean learn learning least leather leave left leg legacy legal legend legislation legitimate lemon length less lesson let letter level liberal library license lie life lifestyle lifetime lift light like likely limit limitation limited line link lip list listen literally literary literature little live living load loan local locate location lock long long-term look loose lose loss lost lot lots loud love lovely lover low lower luck lucky lunch lung machine mad magazine mail main mainly maintain maintenance major majority make maker makeup male mall man manage management manager manner manufacturer manufacturing many map margin mark market marketing marriage married marry mask mass massive master match material math matter may maybe mayor me meal mean meaning meanwhile measure measurement meat mechanism media medical medication medicine medium meet meeting member membership memory mental mention menu mere merely mess message metal meter method Mexican middle might military milk million mind mine minister minor minority minute miracle mirror miss missile mission mistake mix mixture mm-hmm mode model moderate modern modest mom moment money monitor month mood moon moral more moreover morning mortgage most mostly mother motion motivation motor mount mountain mouse mouth move movement movie Mr Mrs Ms much multiple murder muscle museum music musical musician Muslim must mutual my myself mystery myth naked name narrative narrow nation national native natural naturally nature near nearby nearly necessarily necessary neck need negative negotiate negotiation neighbor neighborhood neither nerve nervous net network never nevertheless new newly news newspaper next nice night nine no nobody nod noise nomination none nonetheless nor normal normally north northern nose not note nothing notice notion novel now nowhere n't nuclear number numerous nurse nut object objective obligation observation observe observer obtain obvious obviously occasion occasionally occupation occupy occur ocean odd odds of off offense offensive offer office officer official often oh oil ok okay old Olympic on once one ongoing onion online only onto open opening operate operating operation operator opinion opponent opportunity oppose opposite opposition option or orange order ordinary organic organization organize orientation origin original originally other others otherwise ought our ourselves out outcome outside oven over overall overcome overlook owe own owner pace pack package page pain painful paint painter painting pair pale Palestinian palm pan panel pant paper parent park parking part participant participate participation particular particularly partly partner partnership party pass passage passenger passion past patch path patient pattern pause pay payment PC peace peak peer penalty people pepper per perceive percentage perception perfect perfectly perform performance perhaps period permanent permission permit person personal personality personally personnel perspective persuade pet phase phenomenon philosophy phone photo photograph photographer phrase physical physically physician piano pick picture pie piece pile pilot pine pink pipe pitch place plan plane planet planning plant plastic plate platform play player please pleasure plenty plot plus PM pocket poem poet poetry point pole police policy political politically politician politics poll pollution pool poor pop popular population porch port portion portrait portray pose position positive possess possibility possible possibly post pot potato potential potentially pound pour poverty powder power powerful practical practice pray prayer precisely predict prefer preference pregnancy pregnant preparation prepare prescription presence present presentation preserve president presidential press pressure pretend pretty prevent previous previously price pride priest primarily primary prime principal principle print prior priority prison prisoner privacy private probably problem procedure proceed process produce producer product production profession professional professor profile profit program progress project prominent promise promote prompt proof proper properly property proportion proposal propose proposed prosecutor prospect protect protection protein protest proud prove provide provider province provision psychological psychologist psychology public publication publicly publish publisher pull punishment purchase pure purpose pursue push put qualify quality quarter quarterback question quick quickly quiet quietly quit quite quote race racial radical radio rail rain raise range rank rapid rapidly rare rarely rate rather rating ratio raw reach react reaction read reader reading ready real reality realize really reason reasonable recall receive recent recently recipe recognition recognize recommend recommendation record recording recover recovery recruit red reduce reduction refer reference reflect reflection reform refugee refuse regard regarding regardless regime region regional register regular regularly regulate regulation reinforce reject relate relation relationship relative relatively relax release relevant relief religion religious rely remain remaining remarkable remember remind remote remove repeat repeatedly replace reply report reporter represent representation representative Republican reputation request require requirement research researcher resemble reservation resident resist resistance resolution resolve resort resource respect respond respondent response responsibility responsible rest restaurant restore restriction result retain retire retirement return reveal revenue review revolution rhythm rice rich rid ride rifle right ring rise risk river road rock role roll romantic roof room root rope rose rough roughly round route routine row rub rule run running rural rush Russian sacred sad safe safety sake salad salary sale sales salt same sample sanction sand satellite satisfaction satisfy sauce save saving say scale scandal scared scenario scene schedule scheme scholar scholarship school science scientific scientist scope score scream screen script sea search season seat second secret secretary section sector secure security see seed seek seem segment seize select selection self sell Senate senator send senior sense sensitive sentence separate sequence series serious seriously serve service session set setting settle settlement seven several severe sex sexual shade shadow shake shall shape share sharp she sheet shelf shell shelter shift shine ship shirt shit shock shoe shoot shooting shop shopping shore short shortly shot should shoulder shout show shower shrug shut sick side sigh sight sign signal significance significant significantly silence silent silver similar similarly simple simply sin since sing singer single sink sir sister sit site situation six size ski skill skin sky slave sleep slice slide slight slightly slip slow slowly small smart smell smile smoke smooth snap snow so so-called soccer social society soft software soil solar soldier solid solution solve some somebody somehow someone something sometimes somewhat somewhere son song soon sophisticated sorry sort soul sound soup source south southern Soviet space Spanish speak speaker special specialist species specific specifically speech speed spend spending spin spirit spiritual split spokesman sport spot spread spring square squeeze stability stable staff stage stair stake stand standard standing star stare start state statement station statistics status stay steady steal steel step stick still stir stock stomach stone stop storage store storm story straight strange stranger strategic strategy stream street strength strengthen stress stretch strike string strip stroke strong strongly structure struggle student studio study stuff stupid style subject submit subsequent substance substantial succeed success successful successfully such sudden suddenly sue suffer sufficient sugar suggest suggestion suicide suit summer summit sun super supply support supporter suppose supposed Supreme sure surely surface surgery surprise surprised surprising surprisingly surround survey survival survive survivor suspect sustain swear sweep sweet swim swing switch symbol symptom system table tablespoon tactic tail take tale talent talk tall tank tap tape target task taste tax taxpayer tea teach teacher teaching team tear teaspoon technical technique technology teen teenager telephone telescope television tell temperature temporary ten tend tendency tennis tension tent term terms terrible territory terror terrorism terrorist test testify testimony testing text than thank thanks that the theater their them theme themselves then theory therapy there therefore these they thick thin thing think thinking third thirty this those though thought thousand threat threaten three throat through throughout throw thus ticket tie tight time tiny tip tire tired tissue title to tobacco today toe together tomato tomorrow tone tongue tonight too tool tooth top topic toss total totally touch tough tour tourist tournament toward towards tower town toy trace track trade tradition traditional traffic tragedy trail train training transfer transform transformation transition translate transportation travel treat treatment treaty tree tremendous trend trial tribe trick trip troop trouble truck true truly trust truth try tube tunnel turn TV twelve twenty twice twin two type typical typically ugly ultimate ultimately unable uncle under undergo understand understanding unfortunately uniform union unique unit United universal universe university unknown unless unlike unlikely until unusual up upon upper urban urge us use used useful user usual usually utility vacation valley valuable value variable variation variety various vary vast vegetable vehicle venture version versus very vessel veteran via victim victory video view viewer village violate violation violence violent virtually virtue virus visible vision visit visitor visual vital voice volume volunteer vote voter vs vulnerable wage wait wake walk wall wander want war warm warn warning wash waste watch water wave way we weak wealth wealthy weapon wear weather wedding week weekend weekly weigh weight welcome welfare well west western wet what whatever wheel when whenever where whereas whether which while whisper white who whole whom whose why wide widely widespread wife wild will willing win wind window wine wing winner winter wipe wire wisdom wise wish with withdraw within without witness woman wonder wonderful wood wooden word work worker working works workshop world worried worry worth would wound wrap write writer writing wrong yard yeah year yell yellow yes yesterday yet yield you young your yours yourself youth zone
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I’ll make the next 3000 word sacrifice

3000 most common words in the English lexicon
a abandon ability able abortion about above abroad absence absolute absolutely absorb abuse academic accept access accident accompany accomplish according account accurate accuse achieve achievement acid acknowledge acquire across act action active activist activity actor actress actual actually ad adapt add addition additional address adequate adjust adjustment administration administrator admire admission admit adolescent adopt adult advance advanced advantage adventure advertising advice advise adviser advocate affair affect afford afraid African African-American after afternoon again against age agency agenda agent aggressive ago agree agreement agricultural ah ahead aid aide AIDS aim air aircraft airline airport album alcohol alive all alliance allow ally almost alone along already also alter alternative although always AM amazing American among amount analysis analyst analyze ancient and anger angle angry animal anniversary announce annual another answer anticipate anxiety any anybody anymore anyone anything anyway anywhere apart apartment apparent apparently appeal appear appearance apple application apply appoint appointment appreciate approach appropriate approval approve approximately Arab architect area argue argument arise arm armed army around arrange arrangement arrest arrival arrive art article artist artistic as Asian aside ask asleep aspect assault assert assess assessment asset assign assignment assist assistance assistant associate association assume assumption assure at athlete athletic atmosphere attach attack attempt attend attention attitude attorney attract attractive attribute audience author authority auto available average avoid award aware awareness away awful baby back background bad badly bag bake balance ball ban band bank bar barely barrel barrier base baseball basic basically basis basket basketball bathroom battery battle be beach bean bear beat beautiful beauty because become bed bedroom beer before begin beginning behavior behind being belief believe bell belong below belt bench bend beneath benefit beside besides best bet better between beyond Bible big bike bill billion bind biological bird birth birthday bit bite black blade blame blanket blind block blood blow blue board boat body bomb bombing bond bone book boom boot border born borrow boss both bother bottle bottom boundary bowl box boy boyfriend brain branch brand bread break breakfast breast breath breathe brick bridge brief briefly bright brilliant bring British broad broken brother brown brush buck budget build building bullet bunch burden burn bury bus business busy but butter button buy buyer by cabin cabinet cable cake calculate call camera camp campaign campus can Canadian cancer candidate cap capability capable capacity capital captain capture car carbon card care career careful carefully carrier carry case cash cast cat catch category Catholic cause ceiling celebrate celebration celebrity cell center central century CEO ceremony certain certainly chain chair chairman challenge chamber champion championship chance change changing channel chapter character characteristic characterize charge charity chart chase cheap check cheek cheese chef chemical chest chicken chief child childhood Chinese chip chocolate choice cholesterol choose Christian Christmas church cigarette circle circumstance cite citizen city civil civilian claim class classic classroom clean clear clearly client climate climb clinic clinical clock close closely closer clothes clothing cloud club clue cluster coach coal coalition coast coat code coffee cognitive cold collapse colleague collect collection collective college colonial color column combination combine come comedy comfort comfortable command commander comment commercial commission commit commitment committee common communicate communication community company compare comparison compete competition competitive competitor complain complaint complete completely complex complicated component compose composition comprehensive computer concentrate concentration concept concern concerned concert conclude conclusion concrete condition conduct conference confidence confident confirm conflict confront confusion Congress congressional connect connection consciousness consensus consequence conservative consider considerable consideration consist consistent constant constantly constitute constitutional construct construction consultant consume consumer consumption contact contain container contemporary content contest context continue continued contract contrast contribute contribution control controversial controversy convention conventional conversation convert conviction convince cook cookie cooking cool cooperation cop cope copy core corn corner corporate corporation correct correspondent cost cotton couch could council counselor count counter country county couple courage course court cousin cover coverage cow crack craft crash crazy cream create creation creative creature credit crew crime criminal crisis criteria critic critical criticism criticize crop cross crowd crucial cry cultural culture cup curious current currently curriculum custom customer cut cycle dad daily damage dance danger dangerous dare dark darkness data date daughter day dead deal dealer dear death debate debt decade decide decision deck declare decline decrease deep deeply deer defeat defend defendant defense defensive deficit define definitely definition degree delay deliver delivery demand democracy Democrat democratic demonstrate demonstration deny department depend dependent depending depict depression depth deputy derive describe description desert deserve design designer desire desk desperate despite destroy destruction detail detailed detect determine develop developing development device devote dialogue die diet differ difference different differently difficult difficulty dig digital dimension dining dinner direct direction directly director dirt dirty disability disagree disappear disaster discipline discourse discover discovery discrimination discuss discussion disease dish dismiss disorder display dispute distance distant distinct distinction distinguish distribute distribution district diverse diversity divide division divorce DNA do doctor document dog domestic dominant dominate door double doubt down downtown dozen draft drag drama dramatic dramatically draw drawing dream dress drink drive driver drop drug dry due during dust duty each eager ear early earn earnings earth ease easily east eastern easy eat economic economics economist economy edge edition editor educate education educational educator effect effective effectively efficiency efficient effort egg eight either elderly elect election electric electricity electronic element elementary eliminate elite else elsewhere e-mail embrace emerge emergency emission emotion emotional emphasis emphasize employ employee employer employment empty enable encounter encourage end enemy energy enforcement engage engine engineer engineering English enhance enjoy enormous enough ensure enter enterprise entertainment entire entirely entrance entry environment environmental episode equal equally equipment era error escape especially essay essential essentially establish establishment estate estimate etc ethics ethnic European evaluate evaluation even evening event eventually ever every everybody everyday everyone everything everywhere evidence evolution evolve exact exactly examination examine example exceed excellent except exception exchange exciting executive exercise exhibit exhibition exist existence existing expand expansion expect expectation expense expensive experience experiment expert explain explanation explode explore explosion expose exposure express expression extend extension extensive extent external extra extraordinary extreme extremely eye fabric face facility fact factor factory faculty fade fail failure fair fairly faith fall false familiar family famous fan fantasy far farm farmer fashion fast fat fate father fault favor favorite fear feature federal fee feed feel feeling fellow female fence few fewer fiber fiction field fifteen fifth fifty fight fighter fighting figure file fill film final finally finance financial find finding fine finger finish fire firm first fish fishing fit fitness five fix flag flame flat flavor flee flesh flight float floor flow flower fly focus folk follow following food foot football for force foreign forest forever forget form formal formation former formula forth fortune forward found foundation founder four fourth frame framework free freedom freeze French frequency frequent frequently fresh friend friendly friendship from front fruit frustration fuel full fully fun function fund fundamental funding funeral funny furniture furthermore future gain galaxy gallery game gang gap garage garden garlic gas gate gather gay gaze gear gender gene general generally generate generation genetic gentleman gently German gesture get ghost giant gift gifted girl girlfriend give given glad glance glass global glove go goal God gold golden golf good government governor grab grade gradually graduate grain grand grandfather grandmother grant grass grave gray great greatest green grocery ground group grow growing growth guarantee guard guess guest guide guideline guilty gun guy habit habitat hair half hall hand handful handle hang happen happy hard hardly hat hate have he head headline headquarters health healthy hear hearing heart heat heaven heavily heavy heel height helicopter hell hello help helpful her here heritage hero herself hey hi hide high highlight highly highway hill him himself hip hire his historian historic historical history hit hold hole holiday holy home homeless honest honey honor hope horizon horror horse hospital host hot hotel hour house household housing how however huge human humor hundred hungry hunter hunting hurt husband hypothesis I ice idea ideal identification identify identity ie if ignore ill illegal illness illustrate image imagination imagine immediate immediately immigrant immigration impact implement implication imply importance important impose impossible impress impression impressive improve improvement in incentive incident include including income incorporate increase increased increasing increasingly incredible indeed independence independent index Indian indicate indication individual industrial industry infant infection inflation influence inform information ingredient initial initially initiative injury inner innocent inquiry inside insight insist inspire install instance instead institution institutional instruction instructor instrument insurance intellectual intelligence intend intense intensity intention interaction interest interested interesting internal international Internet interpret interpretation intervention interview into introduce introduction invasion invest investigate investigation investigator investment investor invite involve involved involvement Iraqi Irish iron Islamic island Israeli issue it Italian item its itself jacket jail Japanese jet Jew Jewish job join joint joke journal journalist journey joy judge judgment juice jump junior jury just justice justify keep key kick kid kill killer killing kind king kiss kitchen knee knife knock know knowledge lab label labor laboratory lack lady lake land landscape language lap large largely last late later Latin latter laugh launch law lawn lawsuit lawyer lay layer lead leader leadership leading leaf league lean learn learning least leather leave left leg legacy legal legend legislation legitimate lemon length less lesson let letter level liberal library license lie life lifestyle lifetime lift light like likely limit limitation limited line link lip list listen literally literary literature little live living load loan local locate location lock long long-term look loose lose loss lost lot lots loud love lovely lover low lower luck lucky lunch lung machine mad magazine mail main mainly maintain maintenance major majority make maker makeup male mall man manage management manager manner manufacturer manufacturing many map margin mark market marketing marriage married marry mask mass massive master match material math matter may maybe mayor me meal mean meaning meanwhile measure measurement meat mechanism media medical medication medicine medium meet meeting member membership memory mental mention menu mere merely mess message metal meter method Mexican middle might military milk million mind mine minister minor minority minute miracle mirror miss missile mission mistake mix mixture mm-hmm mode model moderate modern modest mom moment money monitor month mood moon moral more moreover morning mortgage most mostly mother motion motivation motor mount mountain mouse mouth move movement movie Mr Mrs Ms much multiple murder muscle museum music musical musician Muslim must mutual my myself mystery myth naked name narrative narrow nation national native natural naturally nature near nearby nearly necessarily necessary neck need negative negotiate negotiation neighbor neighborhood neither nerve nervous net network never nevertheless new newly news newspaper next nice night nine no nobody nod noise nomination none nonetheless nor normal normally north northern nose not note nothing notice notion novel now nowhere n't nuclear number numerous nurse nut object objective obligation observation observe observer obtain obvious obviously occasion occasionally occupation occupy occur ocean odd odds of off offense offensive offer office officer official often oh oil ok okay old Olympic on once one ongoing onion online only onto open opening operate operating operation operator opinion opponent opportunity oppose opposite opposition option or orange order ordinary organic organization organize orientation origin original originally other others otherwise ought our ourselves out outcome outside oven over overall overcome overlook owe own owner pace pack package page pain painful paint painter painting pair pale Palestinian palm pan panel pant paper parent park parking part participant participate participation particular particularly partly partner partnership party pass passage passenger passion past patch path patient pattern pause pay payment PC peace peak peer penalty people pepper per perceive percentage perception perfect perfectly perform performance perhaps period permanent permission permit person personal personality personally personnel perspective persuade pet phase phenomenon philosophy phone photo photograph photographer phrase physical physically physician piano pick picture pie piece pile pilot pine pink pipe pitch place plan plane planet planning plant plastic plate platform play player please pleasure plenty plot plus PM pocket poem poet poetry point pole police policy political politically politician politics poll pollution pool poor pop popular population porch port portion portrait portray pose position positive possess possibility possible possibly post pot potato potential potentially pound pour poverty powder power powerful practical practice pray prayer precisely predict prefer preference pregnancy pregnant preparation prepare prescription presence present presentation preserve president presidential press pressure pretend pretty prevent previous previously price pride priest primarily primary prime principal principle print prior priority prison prisoner privacy private probably problem procedure proceed process produce producer product production profession professional professor profile profit program progress project prominent promise promote prompt proof proper properly property proportion proposal propose proposed prosecutor prospect protect protection protein protest proud prove provide provider province provision psychological psychologist psychology public publication publicly publish publisher pull punishment purchase pure purpose pursue push put qualify quality quarter quarterback question quick quickly quiet quietly quit quite quote race racial radical radio rail rain raise range rank rapid rapidly rare rarely rate rather rating ratio raw reach react reaction read reader reading ready real reality realize really reason reasonable recall receive recent recently recipe recognition recognize recommend recommendation record recording recover recovery recruit red reduce reduction refer reference reflect reflection reform refugee refuse regard regarding regardless regime region regional register regular regularly regulate regulation reinforce reject relate relation relationship relative relatively relax release relevant relief religion religious rely remain remaining remarkable remember remind remote remove repeat repeatedly replace reply report reporter represent representation representative Republican reputation request require requirement research researcher resemble reservation resident resist resistance resolution resolve resort resource respect respond respondent response responsibility responsible rest restaurant restore restriction result retain retire retirement return reveal revenue review revolution rhythm rice rich rid ride rifle right ring rise risk river road rock role roll romantic roof room root rope rose rough roughly round route routine row rub rule run running rural rush Russian sacred sad safe safety sake salad salary sale sales salt same sample sanction sand satellite satisfaction satisfy sauce save saving say scale scandal scared scenario scene schedule scheme scholar scholarship school science scientific scientist scope score scream screen script sea search season seat second secret secretary section sector secure security see seed seek seem segment seize select selection self sell Senate senator send senior sense sensitive sentence separate sequence series serious seriously serve service session set setting settle settlement seven several severe sex sexual shade shadow shake shall shape share sharp she sheet shelf shell shelter shift shine ship shirt shit shock shoe shoot shooting shop shopping shore short shortly shot should shoulder shout show shower shrug shut sick side sigh sight sign signal significance significant significantly silence silent silver similar similarly simple simply sin since sing singer single sink sir sister sit site situation six size ski skill skin sky slave sleep slice slide slight slightly slip slow slowly small smart smell smile smoke smooth snap snow so so-called soccer social society soft software soil solar soldier solid solution solve some somebody somehow someone something sometimes somewhat somewhere son song soon sophisticated sorry sort soul sound soup source south southern Soviet space Spanish speak speaker special specialist species specific specifically speech speed spend spending spin spirit spiritual split spokesman sport spot spread spring square squeeze stability stable staff stage stair stake stand standard standing star stare start state statement station statistics status stay steady steal steel step stick still stir stock stomach stone stop storage store storm story straight strange stranger strategic strategy stream street strength strengthen stress stretch strike string strip stroke strong strongly structure struggle student studio study stuff stupid style subject submit subsequent substance substantial succeed success successful successfully such sudden suddenly sue suffer sufficient sugar suggest suggestion suicide suit summer summit sun super supply support supporter suppose supposed Supreme sure surely surface surgery surprise surprised surprising surprisingly surround survey survival survive survivor suspect sustain swear sweep sweet swim swing switch symbol symptom system table tablespoon tactic tail take tale talent talk tall tank tap tape target task taste tax taxpayer tea teach teacher teaching team tear teaspoon technical technique technology teen teenager telephone telescope television tell temperature temporary ten tend tendency tennis tension tent term terms terrible territory terror terrorism terrorist test testify testimony testing text than thank thanks that the theater their them theme themselves then theory therapy there therefore these they thick thin thing think thinking third thirty this those though thought thousand threat threaten three throat through throughout throw thus ticket tie tight time tiny tip tire tired tissue title to tobacco today toe together tomato tomorrow tone tongue tonight too tool tooth top topic toss total totally touch tough tour tourist tournament toward towards tower town toy trace track trade tradition traditional traffic tragedy trail train training transfer transform transformation transition translate transportation travel treat treatment treaty tree tremendous trend trial tribe trick trip troop trouble truck true truly trust truth try tube tunnel turn TV twelve twenty twice twin two type typical typically ugly ultimate ultimately unable uncle under undergo understand understanding unfortunately uniform union unique unit United universal universe university unknown unless unlike unlikely until unusual up upon upper urban urge us use used useful user usual usually utility vacation valley valuable value variable variation variety various vary vast vegetable vehicle venture version versus very vessel veteran via victim victory video view viewer village violate violation violence violent virtually virtue virus visible vision visit visitor visual vital voice volume volunteer vote voter vs vulnerable wage wait wake walk wall wander want war warm warn warning wash waste watch water wave way we weak wealth wealthy weapon wear weather wedding week weekend weekly weigh weight welcome welfare well west western wet what whatever wheel when whenever where whereas whether which while whisper white who whole whom whose why wide widely widespread wife wild will willing win wind window wine wing winner winter wipe wire wisdom wise wish with withdraw within without witness woman wonder wonderful wood wooden word work worker working works workshop world worried worry worth would wound wrap write writer writing wrong yard yeah year yell yellow yes yesterday yet yield you young your yours yourself youth zone
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Meet Bill “Krack” Krackomberger  ACTION (2019)  SHOWTIME Poker Betting Strategy: Bet Sizing, Bet Types Preflop and No-Limit Equity Calculators--Part 1 CORRECT SCORE BETTING SYSTEM - NEW BETTING METHOD - HOW TO BET - BETSYSTEMCHANNEL Kelly Criterion Calculator - Gambling Math, Sports Betting ... MAGIC CALCULATOR PART 4

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Meet Bill “Krack” Krackomberger ACTION (2019) SHOWTIME

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