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 Post subject: A Culture of Cheating
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:27 am 
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FEBRUARY 12, 2020

A Culture of Cheating

by LAWRENCE DAVIDSON


Cheating, and the lying that always accompanies it, is probably as old as the human species. At the same time, that is probably how long we have known that they are harmful traits. The Eighth Commandment (out of the famous ten) tells us not to bear false witness, which means, don’t lie. Most older societies had someone assigned to monitor the marketplace for reliable weights and measures—because left to themselves, most capitalists, of all times and places, cheat. This reality was and still is confirmed by the Roman warning “caveat emptor,” let the buyer beware.

This perennial problem is still with us and can only be held at bay by education, regulation, and standards set by role models and other worthy authority figures. Alas, these standards are slipping in the case of the United States and thus, our tendency to cheat is witnessing a growth phase. Here are some recent examples:

(1) The Astros baseball team cheated to win the World Series in the 2017 season. Baseball is the “national sport” of the United States and as such it is supposed to hold an honorable place in our culture. But did that stop what must have been nearly the entire Astros team (every batter must have been in on the scheme) from involving themselves in the “game plan” to steal their opponents’ pitching signs? Not at all.

(2) Then we were shown how willing numerous well-to-do Americans were to suborn the college entrance process by buying their children into elite schools. The educational system in the United States is supposedly a mark of national pride, but so is the status of wealth. So why shouldn’t the latter assure entrance into the former? To make it so, all one has to do is cheat (in these cases bribery was the vehicle).

(3) And, by the way, students in colleges and universities, high-end schools or otherwise, can engage in the cheating process by plagiarizing. Term papers and other pre-prepared, and illicit, assignments are for sale online.

Here in the U.S., we are no longer sure that all of this is really so bad. Maybe, if you can get away with it, it is just smart. That is the message the public receives from an increasing number of traditional role models—those who now stand at the very highest levels of our society and publicly flaunt corruption. I speak here of the behavior of President Donald Trump (and his entourage), who, in less than three years in office has managed to brandish his particular aptitude for mendacity (the man is a habitual liar by any standard), bribery, obstruction, incitement and just plain disdain for all manner of rules. And this behavior has given license to others to act out their own disregard for both honesty and truth.

All of this is very bad news. This cheating side of our behavior, having gained increased acceptance, has become a real threat to two basic pillars of our society: the integrity of science/technology and the practice of honest government.

Cheating as a Societal Threat: The Erosion of Science

Let’s begin with science/technology. Our society would be unrecognizable apart from the science and technology that underpins all material aspects of modern life. The scientific method is the surest way we know to establish the truth about aspects of the material world. Yet today, this foundation is in danger of being eroded by the lies and misrepresentations that plague our everyday lives.

How is this being done? According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Trump administration, in its rush to do away with all manner of regulations, appears to consider scientific facts as obstacles to be overcome. This is particularly the case when it comes to the “active dismantling science-based health and safety protections, sidelining scientific evidence, and undoing recent progress” based on scientific research. Here are just a few of dozens of examples:

(1) Trump appointed administrators at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have “forbidden SACC [that is, its own Scientific Advisory Committee on Chemicals] from commenting” on EPA decisions concerning such things as worker safety protections, cancer risks, and the (often suspect) quality of industry data.

(2) The Department of the Interior (DOI) “dismantled the role of science” when looking at protections for endangered and threatened species.

(3) The Department of Agriculture (USDA) prevented the release of a plan for how the agency can effectively respond to the impacts of climate change.

(4) President Trump issued an Executive Order to “rid federal agencies of one-third of their advisory committees,” many of which provide scientific advice to federal agencies.

Without proper scientific standards for review and regulation, we get what David Michaels, former Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, (OSHA), calls “mercenary science.” This is “science-for-hire, contracted out by chemical and pharmaceutical companies to prove that their harmful products aren’t harmful by giving them the quantitative imprimatur.” This is what happens given inadequately supervised capitalism, where science and truth are separated out for the sake of profit. Before proper regulation, this approach ended up killing and maiming a lot of consumers. It will do so again as Trump deregulates.

Cheating as a Social Threat: The Erosion of Honest Government

A popular sense that those who run the U.S. government are not trustworthy, and do not run the government in the interests of the nation as a whole, is not new. According to multiple polls taken regularly since the end of World War II, this sentiment began to become prevalent in the 1960s, and has persisted ever since.

It is also interesting that this downturn in confidence in U.S. leadership coincides with the upturn of a culture war still being waged today. In the 1960s, it was the alienating and starkly immoral nature of the Vietnam War that gave impetus to a youth counterculture movement. It was also in the 1960s that the various aspects of an African-American power movement—ranging from the actions of Martin Luther King to those of the Black Panthers—began to promote politically effective equalitarianism. Therefore, one should not be surprised that a good part of Donald Trump’s “base” is a reactionary force in this war: white, racist and culturally traditionalist. As to the last of these positions, many of Trump’s backers are religious ideologues who wage a societal war against same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ civil rights protections. These are the same “Godly” folks who think evolution is wrong and science a suspect anti-religious enterprise. Simultaneously, they turn a blind eye to President Trump’s criminal inclinations. They will support him because they think he is a tool, albeit a lying and cheating one, in some genocidal divine plan.

However, the cheating culture we are now confronted with does not express itself through Trump and his supporters alone. As we have seen, it is wider ranging. So, while the actions of certain Democrats may not match Donald Trump’s venality, you can bet that these Democrats are also undermining honest, representative government.

Democratic Party cheating became notable in 2012. No doubt it goes back much further, but 2012 is when it literally showed itself on public media. Specifically, the telltale incident occurred on Wednesday, the 5th of September, 2012—in the middle of a broadcasted session of the Democratic Party convention, no less! Here is how it went:

—The Democratic platform committee had decided to keep all issues pertaining to a final treaty between Israelis and Palestinians out of the platform. After all, Israel and Palestine are foreign nations. Among these issues was the final status of the city of Jerusalem.

—However, the Republican platform of that year “envisioned” Israel with Jerusalem as its capital, and the Republicans were trying to make the status of Jerusalem a campaign issue.

—So, President Obama and his platform committee apparently decided that the politically savvy thing to do was to change the Democratic platform to match that of the Republicans.

—However, to amend the platform required a two-thirds majority vote from the convention floor. So Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was chairing the Democratic convention, confidently called for a voice vote on the issue.

—Villaraigosa called for the vote three times. Each time the viewer could hear that he failed to get the desired result. Between the second and third vote a member of the platform committee went over and told Villaraigosa that he had to rule in favor of the change in wording. So, after the third vote, which again could be heard to fall short of the two-thirds required, Villaraigosa straight out lied and said the delegates had approved the change in wording, and that was that.

This brazen incident, taking place on national television, was not the last time the Democratic leadership cheated. They rigged the selection process in favor of Hillary Clinton in 2016 and may even now be rigging the selection process against Senators Sanders and Warren in 2020. Also, some Democratic “progressives” are showing signs of being vicious competitors in their own right.

Part IV—Conclusion

Cheating, along with its partner habitual lying, undermines both communities and institutions: everything from marriage to commerce, to science, to government. Nothing can stand firm before them once these vices become normative. That is what makes Donald Trump so unacceptable—he represents a social climate wherein honesty can never be assumed.

Once again, it should be emphasized that Trump, as dangerous as he certainly is, did not cause this present problem. He is just opportunistically exploiting it. In truth, these vices are always latent within society because, for human beings, cheating rather than honesty may be a default position. Thus, we must be taught or otherwise encouraged to be honest with both each other and ourselves.

This is not just a lesson for parents, schools, the courts, and the marketplace. It is also a necessary lesson for our politics. But we have not managed to come up with a way to vet our leaders so as to assure their long-term honesty and integrity—a process we have been searching for since the time of Plato. Nonetheless, we should try harder, because both history (of which most people are woefully ignorant) and our present circumstances offer us examples of what it means to fail in this regard. Cheating and the habitual lying that comes with it are the ultimate signs of systems failure.

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history at West Chester University in West Chester, PA.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:29 pm 
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An interesting piece.

I think it's fair to say that politicians have always spouted any old nonsense to get elected, but the lies and misleading statements have now become so blatant and obvious you'd have to be a real bonehead not to see it.

I've found that the end result is people fall into one of two camps - those that say "Yeah but they're all like that" (particularly if the politician/party in question is 'their' guy/party), and those who get frustrated that things are this way and think it should be better.

Oh, and a third camp who just stay away from politics altogether, and who'd blame them.

Hopefully one day all camps will unite with a common goal of sorting out this mess, which will be pretty difficult to do without a pretty fundamental redesign of how our political systems work, plus a very healthy dose of critical thinking as part of our educational curriculums.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:34 pm 
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Right.

It’s not that We are doing the Wrong Thing(s)…

It is that the Things We are doing, We are not doing very well.

We bicker, argue and fight over who (or what) has the “Right Plan for the Future”, almost as though we haven’t spent most of our adult lives being cynical about Astrology and other dubious methods of clairvoyance.

The (various and interchangeable) “Leaders” of our societies spend most of their time broadcasting their own Self-Righteousness; and relentlessly and compulsively dismissing their opposition as wrong.

The Truth must be recognised: We Are Where We Are.

We can bitch, moan and generally complain about Things That Have Happened, none of which will make any of those Things Unhappen.

And/or we can focus our Energies on criticising Others’ ideas, plans and intentions for the Future, because that is *SO* much easier than attending to the shortfalls in our own ideas and plans.

We are asked to assess our “Leaders” on the basis of whether their Plans for an Unknowable Future are more or less likely to create better outcomes for ourselves, and our World.

Consequently, We, the People, spend most of our Time arguing with each other about the Righteousness of our preferred “Leaders”.

The Proof has always been in the Pudding. And the Truth is that the Human Pudding isn’t very edible, for the vast majority of Human Beings, Right Now.

Nothing is Working Very Well.

I’m an Engineer, not a Scholar. For me, the only effective measure is how well something is working; i.e. is it consistently and successfully delivering the Desired Outcome(s).

I couldn’t personally give a shit whether a Society is Arch-Capitalist or Arch-Communist, or anywhere in between. If a Society is effectively delivering Stability, Safety and Opportunity for the greatest number of its Citizens: what relevance that Society’s Ideological Foundations?

Human Society as a Whole is a patchwork of different cultures, traditions and moral sensibilities. Some ideologies are going to work in some societies, but not in others. The Success Metric has to be Outcomes, not Inputs.

If the Chinese State can make (whatever form of…) Communism work for the vast majority of its (massive) Population… Great. Their call. I can understand how such an ancient, highly-organised and bureaucratically-minded Society like China would incline towards that kind of Social Model.

Just as I couldn’t ever the see the Independent, Frontier-Minded Americans ever having a Society that promoted Cooperation and Collaboration over Competition.

But why argue over ideological foundations, when there are more factual, demonstrable and measurable indicators for how well a Society is doing?

How are that Society’s Citizens coping with Life on a Daily Basis?

How happy are they?

How optimistic, hopeful and confident are they feeling about their Individual and Collective Futures?

How connected to and supportive of that Society’s Leadership are its Citizens?

Why argue over whether Blue is better than Red, or vice versa, when the Truth is that neither Blue or Red Team supporters are particularly happy with the Way Things Are?

Why Aren’t We Working?

:-?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:51 pm 
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So people cheat and have always cheated. In other news, water is wet!

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:52 pm 
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Holyman wrote:

This perennial problem is still with us and can only be held at bay by education, regulation, and standards set by role models and other worthy authority figures. Alas, these standards are slipping in the case of the United States and thus, our tendency to cheat is witnessing a growth phase. Here are some recent examples:




Is the author including religious leaders as "other worthy authority figures" who have traditionally been the main source to "regulate" morality?

Seems to me that the growth in the culture of cheating can be at least partially attributed to the decline of organized religion in the West.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:01 pm 
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In college I would let the kids look at my paper...They teach them to do the right thing and you will get ahead and then try to destroy anyone who tries...I figured every one else was cheating, so in my own way I evened the scales... didn’t seem like an even playing field for the rest of the kids tbh... And their test were stupid.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:05 pm 
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Forgot to mention I did it in plain view of the teachers...

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:20 pm 
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DEANNA79 wrote:
Forgot to mention I did it in plain view of the teachers...


This is a sentence that DEMANDS to be taken out of context

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:54 pm 
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Wait...are cheating and lying always harmful traits?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 8:43 pm 
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tgrant wrote:
Wait...are cheating and lying always harmful traits?


In science, yes. In politics....usually

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:41 pm 
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My point was... we were all helping those kids as much as we could without getting in trouble for it. We knew it, the kids knew it... so I don’t feel as though that is technically cheating but still.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:46 pm 
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I would of straight up given them the answers to all the questions if I could have and so would most of those professors...

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:12 pm 
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I leave you with... glycocalix... or how ever you spell that shit... one of the many unimportant words that your brain needs to remember, for some fucked up reason, to pass a test...

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:28 am 
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Slacks wrote:
tgrant wrote:
Wait...are cheating and lying always harmful traits?


In science, yes. In politics....usually



so...biology would fit under science...men who claim to be women...and vice versa? Seems like they're walking a certain line of dishonesty but we're in agreement...even supportive of this "lie". Is it acceptable because they truly believe it?

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Change is the Law of The Universe

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:38 am 
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tgrant wrote:
so...biology would fit under science...men who claim to be women...and vice versa? Seems like they're walking a certain line of dishonesty but we're in agreement...even supportive of this "lie". Is it acceptable because they truly believe it?


In that instance the biology is indisputable - it's the definition of 'man' and 'woman' that gets debated.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:48 am 
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Slacks wrote:
tgrant wrote:
so...biology would fit under science...men who claim to be women...and vice versa? Seems like they're walking a certain line of dishonesty but we're in agreement...even supportive of this "lie". Is it acceptable because they truly believe it?


In that instance the biology is indisputable - it's the definition of 'man' and 'woman' that gets debated.


So ... if we changed the term to male/female would that work? isn't redefining a way to get around lying? Wouldn't a more honest approach be to say you're a male who prefers to live as a female?

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Change is the Law of The Universe

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:28 pm 
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tgrant wrote:
Slacks wrote:
tgrant wrote:
so...biology would fit under science...men who claim to be women...and vice versa? Seems like they're walking a certain line of dishonesty but we're in agreement...even supportive of this "lie". Is it acceptable because they truly believe it?


In that instance the biology is indisputable - it's the definition of 'man' and 'woman' that gets debated.


So ... if we changed the term to male/female would that work? isn't redefining a way to get around lying? Wouldn't a more honest approach be to say you're a male who prefers to live as a female?


Maybe. The only truly honest way to ask someone's biological gender would be to ask if they're an XX or an XY. Chromosomes can't lie!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:30 pm 
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Slacks wrote:

Maybe. The only truly honest way to ask someone's biological gender would be to ask if they're an XX or an XY. Chromosomes can't lie!


That doesn't even make any sense? "honest way to ask?". It's now the person asking the question that is being dishonest?

In the world of biology they refer to animals by their gender all the time. Should they now refer to them as XX or XY animals instead of male or female?

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What you have taken, Has been from here
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What belongs to you today
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Change is the Law of The Universe

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:09 pm 
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tgrant wrote:
Slacks wrote:

Maybe. The only truly honest way to ask someone's biological gender would be to ask if they're an XX or an XY. Chromosomes can't lie!


That doesn't even make any sense? "honest way to ask?". It's now the person asking the question that is being dishonest?


Correct, if doesn't make sense because I phrased it very badly! I meant more that it would be the question to ask if you wanted to be unambiguous in what you're asking for. It leaves little room for interpretation, whereas asking the male/female question is arguably ambiguous.

tgrant wrote:
In the world of biology they refer to animals by their gender all the time. Should they now refer to them as XX or XY animals instead of male or female?


Nah.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:25 pm 
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Slacks wrote:

Correct, if doesn't make sense because I phrased it very badly! I meant more that it would be the question to ask if you wanted to be unambiguous in what you're asking for. It leaves little room for interpretation, whereas asking the male/female question is arguably ambiguous.



Ok wicked. So ... if we labeled the bathrooms in a pub as XY and XX and a man living as a woman went in the XX... would you have an issue with that "lie"?

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What you have taken, Has been from here
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What belongs to you today
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Change is the Law of The Universe

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“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:14 pm 
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tgrant wrote:
Ok wicked. So ... if we labeled the bathrooms in a pub as XY and XX and a man living as a woman went in the XX... would you have an issue with that "lie"?


Eh? This conversation is taking a surreal turn!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:18 pm 
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Is it cheating if you jelq a bit before taking flaccid dick pics?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:40 pm 
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Slacks wrote:
tgrant wrote:
Ok wicked. So ... if we labeled the bathrooms in a pub as XY and XX and a man living as a woman went in the XX... would you have an issue with that "lie"?


Eh? This conversation is taking a surreal turn!


Whole premise of the article is that lying and cheating are bad. I don't agree with that. If some dude wants to live as a woman and probably on a daily basis tell lots of lies...I could give a shit. I don't think lying is always a bad thing. Cheating can be fine sometimes too. Blaming a perceived increase of lying and cheating on a particular political party is just asinine. Shit's been going on forever.

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What you have taken, Has been from here
What you gave has been given here
What belongs to you today
belonged to someone yesterday
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Change is the Law of The Universe

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“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:48 pm 
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tgrant wrote:
Slacks wrote:
tgrant wrote:
Ok wicked. So ... if we labeled the bathrooms in a pub as XY and XX and a man living as a woman went in the XX... would you have an issue with that "lie"?


Eh? This conversation is taking a surreal turn!


Whole premise of the article is that lying and cheating are bad. I don't agree with that. If some dude wants to live as a woman and probably on a daily basis tell lots of lies...I could give a shit. I don't think lying is always a bad thing. Cheating can be fine sometimes too. Blaming a perceived increase of lying and cheating on a particular political party is just asinine. Shit's been going on forever.


OK. I'd read it more in the context of politics and science rather than our day to day. Hell yeah it's fine to lie sometimes. Wisely of course ;)

For the avoidance of doubt I give zero shits on someone 'lying' about their gender.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:00 pm 
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PBFMullethunter wrote:
Is it cheating if you jelq a bit before taking flaccid dick pics?

Quit taking dick pics Mullet... Okay, keep working men!! I hope everyone is having a decent day!! Eat lunch Big DD!! I love you all!! *hugs*

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