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NYT Touts White House Artworks, Misses Obvious Copy, Apparent Fraud (Freeper Breaks the Story)
Freeper Investigation ^ | 10-7-09 | Freeper

Posted on 10/08/2009 12:05:05 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed

Yesterday, the NYT ran a story about the White House acquiring art. It included a slide show of a dozen artworks.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/07/arts/design/07borrow.html?_r=1

This Freeper took a look and found one abstract work he admired:

"Watusi (Hard Edge)," by Alma Thomas, a longtime Washington resident who is an African-American painter. Photo: Gift of Vincent Melzac/Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

As I admired it, I thought it reminiscent, even derivative of a favorite artwork of mine by Matisse. I recall seeing that one decades ago at the Tate Gallery in London. A giant collage (about ten feet tall) from late in Matisse's life, when his eyesight was failing:

The Snail (L'escargot), by Henri Matisse, Nice-Cimiez, Hotel Regina, [summer 1952-early] 1953, Gouache on paper, cut and pasted, on white paper, 9'4 3/4" x 9' 5" (287 x 288 cm) collection Tate Gallery, London.

I had planned to post them for comparison, and to share my admiration for both. But when I saw them side-by-side, the similarity clarified. I realized that the new one was EXACTLY the same composition as the Matisse, rotated 90 degrees.

Is this fraud? If the new piece has been titled "Homage to Collage" or "Matisse in Blue", I would think the artist wasn't trying to hide the copying. But I wonder whether anyone realized that the artist copied almost every aspect of a famous work to sell her artwork. Perhaps everyone involved knew that this is a re-colored reprint. If not, it seems to be an embarrassment for the "sophisticates" who failed to spot a copy hiding in plain sight.

As too many people say about abstract expressionist art: "Even I could have done THAT!"


TOPICS: Arts/Photography
KEYWORDS: art; figures; friendsofobama; frinthenews; matisse; plagiarism; ripoff; watusi
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To: angkor
If Obama had his way, the same thig would be happening to all US coloial art. Imagine all the Jeffersonian artwork, whisked away by the National Council of the Arts, and replaced with "the peoples art."

We approach cisis on many fronts.

151 posted on 10/08/2009 1:12:45 PM PDT by Candor7 (The effective weapons against Fascism are ridicule, derision, and truth (Member NRA)
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To: ThirdMate
A reader asked Maria vos Savant which contemporary artist would be most remembered in 500 years. Ms. v.S came up with a very preceptive answer: Norman Rockwell. Although scoffed at by the art establishment his works will be remembered long after no one even knows who Matisse was.


152 posted on 10/08/2009 1:17:51 PM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The People have abdicated our duties; ... and anxiously hope for just two things: bread and circuses)
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To: Liberty Ship

If I was going to buy some art, it would be baroque, not broke............


153 posted on 10/08/2009 1:18:23 PM PDT by Red Badger (The Zero has more airtime than Michael Jordan...........)
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To: Drango
I don’t believe it was a “study” of Matisse. More like a rip-off.

The difference is intent. If she admitted and was open specifically what this came from and why she did it (which by all accounts I can find she did) and there was no attempt to profit from it (which I can't find she did) then I wouldn't call it a rip-off. It would be like me paraphrasing a great statement you made and giving you credit. The intent was not to rip off your statement but to honor or study it.

If someone can show me that she purposefully did this to deceive and tried to hide the source and she attempted or did profit from it, then we can talk about it being a rip-off.

154 posted on 10/08/2009 1:19:41 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

155 posted on 10/08/2009 1:20:58 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: mnehring

I think you have it backwards...I’d rather see a statement around 1963, in her own words, not someone else’s, where she says it was a “study”.


156 posted on 10/08/2009 1:22:43 PM PDT by Drango (A liberal's compassion is limited only by the size of someone else's wallet.)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

It’s not so much about the moustache as the larger Nazi art larceny, some of which is still being tracked down to this very day.


157 posted on 10/08/2009 1:24:09 PM PDT by angkor (The U.S. Congress is at war with America.)
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To: mnehring
Perfect.

I like this one, too:


158 posted on 10/08/2009 1:25:32 PM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The People have abdicated our duties; ... and anxiously hope for just two things: bread and circuses)
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To: paulycy

Brilliant!


159 posted on 10/08/2009 1:26:44 PM PDT by Rocco DiPippo
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To: Drango

Without going so far as to pay for the article, it looks like something like you are describing may exist.

Art News from 1968 has a discussion with her about Matisse.

http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/520905932.html?dids=520905932:520905932&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI&type=historic&date=Jan+14%2C+1968&author=&pub=Los+Angeles+Times&desc=ART+NEWS&pqatl=google


160 posted on 10/08/2009 1:28:54 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: angkor

I get it. I get infuriated with people who were never slaves demanding “reparations” from people who never owned slaves, yet the direct descendants of victims of the Nazis cannot recover identifiable stolen property.


161 posted on 10/08/2009 1:30:35 PM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The People have abdicated our duties; ... and anxiously hope for just two things: bread and circuses)
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To: mnehring

I would certainly accept that if it or another article says it was a “study”. Till then it’s the worst plagiarism and you have to wonder why it was hanging in the Smithsonian.


162 posted on 10/08/2009 1:37:04 PM PDT by Drango (A liberal's compassion is limited only by the size of someone else's wallet.)
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To: paulycy

HAHAHAHA.


163 posted on 10/08/2009 1:37:19 PM PDT by Stentor
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To: madamemayhem

Too much!!!!!!!!


164 posted on 10/08/2009 1:37:38 PM PDT by library user
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To: Beelzebubba
I've put together an animated version of your theory over at Snapped Shot. The layout of the pieces are definitely a direct match—but, not being an art critic, I'm not sure whether or not that counts as it being a "copy." ;)

Art?

Regards,
Brian L.

165 posted on 10/08/2009 1:38:57 PM PDT by Brian C. Ledbetter (SnappedShot.com: Hated by both Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Associated Press.)
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To: Trillian
They could just rename it ‘Boxes trying to squeeze through a door to get stimulus money.’

You're a genius.


Frowning takes 68 muscles.
Smiling takes 6.
Pulling this trigger takes 2.
I'm lazy.

166 posted on 10/08/2009 1:41:20 PM PDT by The Comedian (Evil can only succeed if good men don't point at it and laugh.)
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To: Beelzebubba

Good work! Great eye.
Maybe someone should alert Sarkozy. heheheh


167 posted on 10/08/2009 1:43:49 PM PDT by Protect the Bill of Rights
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To: Beelzebubba; GloriaJane; Rio; TChris; Red Badger; angkor
I guess I should have scrolled down a bit ... here's my effort rotated to match (and fit on a poor man's screen ;-)

168 posted on 10/08/2009 1:58:04 PM PDT by Tunehead54 (Nothing funny here ;-)
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To: Tunehead54

>>> I guess I should have scrolled down a bit ... <<<

Me too. Oh well.

In any case I don’t see why a copy is called a study is called art.


169 posted on 10/08/2009 2:00:06 PM PDT by angkor (The U.S. Congress is at war with America.)
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To: a fool in paradise

I’d buy your “Polar Bear in a Blizzard” and hang it in my house before I’d pay good money for those other paintings.

At least I’d be certain it was an original. LOL


170 posted on 10/08/2009 2:07:09 PM PDT by dianed
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To: kabar

That would be racist!


171 posted on 10/08/2009 2:17:12 PM PDT by Rio (Don't make me come over there....)
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To: mnehring

I guess if you can’t get the Matisse original, you have to settle for a Thomas knockoff.


172 posted on 10/08/2009 2:27:22 PM PDT by kabar
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To: mnehring

Actually, having read this entire thread, I’m beginning to think that the real story here is about the Obamas:

Apparently, this artist has a unique style, and I liked the other piece shown here from her. But when the Obamas went to choose a piece to honor this African-American artist, the picture they chose was:

A copy of some white guy’s art.


173 posted on 10/08/2009 2:27:23 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT

LOL...

I bet they just asked for some famous paintings by African Americans and the Smithsonian sent it over..


174 posted on 10/08/2009 2:28:18 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: smokingfrog
"Maybe I’ll start saving my bellybutton lint too."

Copycat!

175 posted on 10/08/2009 2:31:59 PM PDT by JustaDumbBlonde (Southern by choice ... American by the grace of God)
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To: Brian C. Ledbetter

Very nice but see my #168 - side by side the Matisse clearly has curves in some shapes that cannot be matched by rotating and re-sizing - still a very nice graphic. Do you think it looks like a tracing style copy? I can see a tracing being done and some of the original curves being “straightened out” when going from shape edge to edge ... ;-)


176 posted on 10/08/2009 2:38:02 PM PDT by Tunehead54 (Nothing funny here ;-)
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To: Beelzebubba

177 posted on 10/08/2009 3:06:26 PM PDT by tophat9000 (Obama plans to fix America like he fixed his dog)
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To: Beelzebubba

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/10/08/do-the-watusi-art-imitation-and-the-obamas/
http://snappedshot.com/archives/4107-Fraudulent-Art-in-the-White-House.html
http://www.riehlworldview.com/carnivorous_conservative/2009/10/forged-obama-art.html
http://minx.cc/?post=293405


178 posted on 10/08/2009 5:22:46 PM PDT by retrogo
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To: Beelzebubba

contrats on the michelle malkin link. ;)


179 posted on 10/08/2009 5:30:08 PM PDT by machogirl (First they came for my tagline.)
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To: smokingfrog

you got me started on that. many years ago, we took our kids to see the “Monet” traveling exhibit at the Phx Art Museum.

After “Monet” we went upstairs to see other “art”.

(1) Toe and finger nail clippings stored in a desk or jar.
(2) USED QTIPS WITH EAR WAX, stored in a desk or jar.

they both were stored in something that was open or clear.

someone got paid for that? i throw away my qtips every day.


180 posted on 10/08/2009 5:34:49 PM PDT by machogirl (First they came for my tagline.)
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To: TChris

Well, it’s not an exact copy. ;)
That depends on the meaning of the word, “exact”.


181 posted on 10/08/2009 5:39:00 PM PDT by machogirl (First they came for my tagline.)
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To: CharlesWayneCT

kind of like the story of the current occupant?


182 posted on 10/08/2009 5:50:53 PM PDT by machogirl (First they came for my tagline.)
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To: Beelzebubba

btt


183 posted on 10/08/2009 6:35:41 PM PDT by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: Tunehead54
Sure, like I said in my post, I wouldn't necessarily call it an out-and-out "copy." It's just heavily based upon the original—so much so that the elements are laid out in the exact same positions.

I'm not trying to disparage Thomas. If her original intent was to comment upon Matisse's work, then it's legitimate artistic pursuit, and there isn't anything inherently "wrong" about it (though I would tend to call it somewhat "lazy.")

On the other hand, if she set out to do a work exactly like Matisse's just because "that old man" could do it, we're starting to enter a more questionable realm. But still: She's been dead for quite some time now. It really is a moot point, as far as I'm concerned.

And hey:—Modern art gave us a painting of a Campbell's soup can. As art. What in the heck is original in that whole field, anyway?

Regards,
Brian

184 posted on 10/08/2009 7:24:39 PM PDT by Brian C. Ledbetter (SnappedShot.com: Hated by both Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Associated Press.)
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To: tophat9000

185 posted on 10/08/2009 7:28:34 PM PDT by Clinging Bitterly (MMM MMM MM!)
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To: Rio

Removing color, removes all doubt.

Good job!


186 posted on 10/08/2009 7:53:32 PM PDT by Let's Roll (Stop paying ACORN to destroy America! Cut off their government funding!)
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To: machogirl

Maybe the right word would be a *direct* copy.


187 posted on 10/08/2009 7:58:50 PM PDT by Yardstick
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

“I get it. I get infuriated with people who were never slaves demanding “reparations” from people who never owned slaves, yet the direct descendants of victims of the Nazis cannot recover identifiable stolen property.”

I get even more infuriated with people who were never slaves or whose paternal ancestors were never slaves and whose maternal ancestors were slave owners demanding “reparations” from people who never owned slaves, yet the direct descendants of victims of the Nazis cannot recover identifiable stolen property.


188 posted on 10/08/2009 8:07:59 PM PDT by hecht
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To: paulycy

LOL


189 posted on 10/08/2009 8:44:36 PM PDT by I got the rope
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To: smokingfrog

You can add the belly button lint to the painting of the Polar Bear in a blizzard and sa it is wisps of fur in the wind...


190 posted on 10/09/2009 1:31:36 AM PDT by RaceBannon (OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE IS SHOVEL READY...FOR SENIORS!!:: NObama. Not my president.)
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To: Tunehead54

EXCELLENT!.............


191 posted on 10/09/2009 5:22:35 AM PDT by Red Badger (The Zero has more airtime than Michael Jordan...........)
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To: Jeff Chandler

Nice brushwork.


192 posted on 10/09/2009 5:31:00 AM PDT by Madame Dufarge
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To: All

Nice FReeper graphic work here in comparing the two artworks.


193 posted on 10/09/2009 12:14:35 PM PDT by deks
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To: Beelzebubba

You have completely missed the point - there is no such thing as plagiarism in the visual arts. One cannot copy and paste a painting like one might copy and paste a passage of text. It’s no more possible for a painting to be an exact copy of a paper collage than it is for a singer to exactly reproduce another’s song.

When you listen to Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower” you’re not hearing Hendrix plagiarize Bob Dylan, you’re hearing a separate interpretation of the song; one that expands the original and connects the two artists. This is what is happening when you compare the painting by Thomas with Matisse’s collage - nothing more, nothing less.


194 posted on 10/14/2009 10:38:19 AM PDT by Pukadon
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To: Pukadon

I disagree. Visual arts are different from performing arts, because in performing arts, there is a clear division between the work and the performance. With visual arts, there isn’t.

When Hendrix plays a Dylan song, Dylan is acknowledged and understood by all as the songwriter. When one artist copies the work of another (and that’s exactly what this is: copying) without a clear credit to the source, then it is the equivalent of plagiarism. in fact, artists own copyrights in their works, and thus this is an instance of copyright infringement. We’d have to research the complicated issue of the dates involved, but as a rule, that painting is illegal, and the Matisse owners have the right to have it destroyed.


195 posted on 10/14/2009 11:10:51 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Why not "interpret" your tax returns like the Supreme Court "interprets" the Constitution?)
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To: Beelzebubba

I understand that you disagree, and I understand why, so let me explain this from a different angle:

Would it possible for you to stand in front of the artwork by Matisse and have the same experience that you have when you stand in front of the artwork by Thomas?

There are numerous differences between the two pieces, obvious differences being that one is a painting and one is a paper collage (these are fundamentally different media, as far apart as acoustic versus electric guitar), but also that they are different colors. However, I submit to you that you would not have the same experience looking at the two, if for no other reason than that they were created by two different people.

Regardless, everything I’ve read indicates the following:

“Thomas’s 1963 painting, Watusi (Hard Edge) was originally created as a deliberate reworking of Matisse’s large 1953 cutout collage,l’Escargot, and that it had always been recognized and discussed as such by the people who followed Thomas’s work.”

Given that Thomas did openly acknowledge the relationship (as cited in the thread above) and that she made significant changes between hers and Matisse’s work (she changed the orientation, color, and media) she has met the criteria you’re concerned about. The real questions you should be asking:

Why would a black female American painter make a painting that so obviously refers to one of the most famous white male European painters’ works? And beyond that, what does it say about us today that we’re so suspicious of such a person, even though she was forthright about the inspiration, and we know she was an accomplished and self-conscious artist, who studied at both Harvard and Columbia?

Artists like Picasso originally became famous for taking inspiration from ‘primitive’ African art and translating that style into European oil paintings. When Thomas made this oil painting in the 1960’s, she was under heavy pressure to paint in a way that spoke of her identity as a black woman, which typically meant figuratively, and yet she chose to make this painting, directly inspired by European abstraction and modernism. I think this painting is a direct question from Thomas, and she’s asking if she’s allowed to make this painting. I know you’ve made up your mind, but I humbly suggest that this painting is about a dilemma Matisse could never have made a painting about, and I request that you reconsider your evaluation of it.


196 posted on 10/14/2009 3:13:09 PM PDT by Pukadon
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To: Pukadon

Would it possible for you to stand in front of the artwork by Matisse and have the same experience that you have when you stand in front of the artwork by Thomas?


Certainly not the same experience. Many copyright infringements are “derivative works” that are different in significant ways. For instance seeing a young and attractive female Disney cartoon character drawn in pornographic scenes would give a different “experience” to the viewed, but is still copyright infringement.

This one does not disparage the original work, but it surely exploits it.

It would seem by your unconventional legal standards, it would be permissible for any film-maker to make a movie out of a best-seller, without contacting with the author for the movie rights, no?

As far as whether the copying was revealed, it’s unclear whether that was done by apologists after the fact, or openly at the time. That would affect my moral judgment of the copying, but not the legal judgment. The advance confessing of infringement is no defense.

If you’d like to show me Picasso’s “copy” of an African artwork, I’ll be happy to apply the same standard (sort of - as copying an unattributable primitive work is different from infringing the legal rights of a copyright owner).


197 posted on 10/14/2009 3:27:24 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Why not "interpret" your tax returns like the Supreme Court "interprets" the Constitution?)
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To: paulycy

I’ll donate if you want to fill the jar.


198 posted on 10/14/2009 3:39:21 PM PDT by GOYAKLA
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To: Beelzebubba

You can read all you like about Picasso’s African-influenced period on Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picasso

One of the African-influenced pieces Picasso is most famous for is his 1907 Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Countless artists have made their own variations inspired by this work. One such example is the 1991 quilt-like painting by the African American artist Faith Ringgold, which directly uses portions of Picasso’s original composition.

http://greg.org/archive/ringgold_picasso_studio.jpg

There are thousands of other examples I can refer you to – Andy Warhol created an entire series of Last Supper paintings based on the original by da Vinci, many of which he literally created by screen-printing photographs of da Vinci’s painting onto a new canvas. You will not need to overlay any gifs to recognize that the compositions are identical. Warhol made common use of this practice of “copying” others’ works and recreating them, yet he is so highly respected that he’s widely considered the one of the most influential American artists ever, and there’s even a US postage stamp with his portrait on it.

There’s no misunderstanding of copyright law on my part; these are all established works of art that have been bought and sold for decades. There is only a misunderstanding on your part. You’re giving yourself too much credit for being able to accurately compare and understand two works of art after seeing only tiny thumbnails on the internet, and you’re also professing to “break news” of a relationship between two works of art even though that relationship has been known and discussed since 1963. Based on only the most cursory internet research you’ve gone ahead and accused a decent, hardworking person of outright legal misdoing. I think you’re doing it all to make some political point which has no bearing on the life and work of Thomas.

I think it would be appropriate to post an apology and a correction, but at the very least I implore you to give some more thought to the matter before you jump to similar conclusions in the future.


199 posted on 10/15/2009 7:58:35 AM PDT by Pukadon
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To: Pukadon

I know others used Picasso’s art, but can you show a picture where he copied the art of another?


200 posted on 10/15/2009 8:09:34 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Why not "interpret" your tax returns like the Supreme Court "interprets" the Constitution?)
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