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  1. Mathsteach2 added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    I do not know what I am doing!! God bless!
    American politics3.rtf
    And below is the text:
    It appears that my idealism is being compounded with my realism!
    Jesus, when He looked at a Roman coin, said we should give to Caesar what is his, and give to God what is His. I will add the other notable directive (from somewhere!) that when in Rome we should do as Rome does!
    Michael suggested that when I used the word "should", that we should all stay where we find ourselves, then perhaps there was a moral imperative implied. However, as individuals, we "should" all be free to do whatever we want, but also be directed by Jesus's command that we should do unto others only what we would have done to ourselves.
    My idealism rests on a world society without government and therefore there would be no national boundaries. Movement of people would be totally unrestricted. My realism rests on the fact that we do have governments, and therefore nation states, and national boundaries. In this thread I am trying to be realistic, not idealistic, but I Do not want to compromise my idealisms in conversation.
    Back then to American politics. Reading this thread, and its links, there seems to be a suggestion that there may be a repetition in the USA of facism, similar to the rise of Nazism in the 1930's. Hitler was democratically voted into power, and then eventually achieved dictatorship based on his racist and supremacist ideas. If Trump became the next US President, then I agree we might be on that slippery slope, but that is not going to happen. I have confidence in the ordinary American voter for them to see the slope.
    The existence of national boundaries (Trump's Mexican wall!) has to be addressed. Whilst they remain, border controls are inevitable, and each country will decide on the nature of those controls, ultimately backed up by physical force. The USA claims to be an open and free society and in many ways it is for those living within its borders, but there the rhetoric ends.
    This reminds me very much of the standard argument for conscription, heavily promulgated during WW1. That is, if you do not enlist, what would you do if enemy soldiers burst into your home and raped your wife and murdered your children? This is the reality to which I refer, and thousands responded and gave their lives.
    I disagree Chato, if refugees and boundary issues are addressed, this appears to be a very relavent input to a discussion about about presidential candidates, and the so-called protocols of American politics. I say again, Hillary Clinton is going to be your next US president.
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  2. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    I have no idea what the problem is, but you can just go ahead and post as you have been, and I'll edit the posting to add the copied and pasted text from your rtf file.
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  3. The Heretic added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    Something must be wrong with your computer, because I can write in a word program and then copy the contents, and paste them in a thread. 
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  4. Mathsteach2 added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    I am trying to copy and paste from WordPad, without success. The technicalities of the WWW, not only defeat me, but I am rapidly beginning to lose interest in this workings of the devil! (Teilhard de Chardin  acknowledged and excepted!!).
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  5. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 15 Picks   

    To comment on MSP's contrarian picks: 
    Indeed, the Texans are starting a third string QB that's won a playoff game in T. J. Yates. While the Colts' third string, Whitehurst, was doing what?  That might be enough to pick the Texans.   
    Miami has problems in the secondary, due to injuries and lack of talent. That's why the Chargers have a shot, and since it's their final game in San Diego, as well as the last game for some of the veterans like Gates, etc., it'll be enough to inspire them to a farewell gift for the Diegans. 
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  6. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 15 Picks   

    This will be an excellent game, because such is nearly always the case with the Saints in prime time. The Saints are down to 2 RBs now that KR Marcus Murphy is out for the year, depriving the Saints of his RB prowess of 1 carry for 0 yards this season. The 2 RBs are Hightower and Spiller, and Spiller doesn't seem to count in the Saints' plans. I really have no idea what the Saints would do if Hightower up and got himself hurt. The Detroit defense will be tough; the Saints defense will be okay - assuming Ellerbe plays. Breaux has only given up 1 yard to receivers in the last three games (no doubt because opponents go after Browner as well as Vacarro when he has to cover the TE one-on-one). New Orleans wins the game of the week.
    There are no really exciting contrarian picks this week, but at least there are some contrarian picks to make.
    Sure, Watt is injury hampered, and, sure, the Texans offense helps out its defense about as well as the Denver offense helps out its defense, but the Houston defense will do just enough to see to it that Houston wins, and this will put Indianapolis out of the picture, because Jacksonville will defeat Atlanta, thereby making next week's Jacksonville at New Orleans game critically important for the final week's Texans-Jaguars contest. Then again, if the Saints win, when Houston tops Tennessee next week, it's Houston to the playoffs.
    The Chargers were tough against the Chiefs, but the Dolphins offense should be good enough to see to it that Miami wins.
    I'm still thinking on Chicago and, as unbelievable as it is, San Francisco for possible upsets. I must also say that I have no idea how Baltimore has won 4 games.
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  7. Chato added a post in a topic Sunrise at Plum Beach Brooklyn   

    While not the best Sunrise, this one was prolonged; the show "ending" only to begin again. Each phase different from the last. I was there for a half hour before actual sunrise, and was impressed.

    Sorry, I enjoy gorgeous colors...

    I also got some interesting wildlife shots to match the sunrise...

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  8. Peter added a post in a topic Sunrise at Plum Beach Brooklyn   

    The second to last one gets my vote. It makes the most of the geometric relation of the bridge, the sandbar and the sun. I think sunrise/sunset pics that don't get over the "gorgeous" colors are just boring.
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  9. The Heretic added a topic in Play   

    2015 NFL Week 15 Picks
    When you slip from the heights, you hit a few rungs on your way to mediocre-ville, looking for excuses. But sooner or later, you run out of them and it's time to pick yourself back up.
    Game of the Week
    Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants (+5.5)
    Well, well, well. The Giants are giant-killers, and they're facing another undfefeated team in the Panthers. The Giants beat the 13-0 Broncos in 1998. and the 13-0 Bears in 1934. And the 18-0 Patriots in 2007. For what it is worth, it's nearly impossible for any team to finish a season undefeated in the NFL. Ever.
    Carolina by 4
    Thursday Game of the Week
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ St. Louis Rams (even)
    A real snooze-fest, except for two brilliant rookies in QB Winston and RB Gurley. At least the Buccaneers are still fighting, as evidenced by their squabble on the sidelines, whereas the Rams have packed it in.
    Tampa Bay by 3
    Rest of the Week
    Denver Broncos @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5)
    It won't matter if QB Manning is back, cuz the Steelers look like the hottest team in the league, having scored 30 plus in 5 straight games. And the Broncos aren't known for scoring lately (only 1 measly touchdown in the last 2 games). Yes, the Broncos have a great defense, but the Steelers put up 30 on the 2nd ranked defense in the Seahawks.
    Pittsburgh by 1
    Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5)
    Which Eagles will show up: the one that beat the Patriots, or the one that went belly-up against Detroit and Tampa Bay? Then again, I doubt it matters cuz the Cardinals are completely locked in with the number 1 offense in the league. They just might be the most well-rounded team in the entire league. 
    Arizona by 3
    Lame of the Week
    New York Jets @ Dallas Cowboys (+2.5)
    No matter what the standings say, the Cowboys are cooked with the incompetent QB Cassel. Moreover, the Jets are tied in a threeway with the Steelers and the Chiefs for the playoffs, so they have more to play for.
    New York by 6
    Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots (-14.5)
    Although this game is easily the Lock of the Week, stranger things have happened. This year. With the Patriots. Against a team that already had been blown out by 30 twice.
    New England by 11
    Buffalo Bills @ Washington Racial Taunt (even)
    Every week, QB Cousins is improving, and thanks to a godforsaken division, the Taunt has a shot at the playoffs. Then again, we are overdue for a multiple interception game from Cousins. As for the Bills, they're undisciplined (first in penalties) and are expected to miss the playoffs. Again. For the 16th straight year.  
    Washington by 4
    Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens (+7.5)
    Alex Smith has evolved into the perfect Coach Reid QB: a ball-control QB that never turns the ball over (1 pick in the last 10 games). Moreover, the Chiefs are dominating teams with defense and running the ball. And the Chiefs have a shot at the division, believe it or not.
    Kansas City by 10
    Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts (no line)
    Although both teams are tied for first place in the division, the Colts are collapsing worse than my picks. Both teams are going with third string quarterbacks, even though this is a high stakes game: whoever wins will likely make the playoffs. And I doubt QB Luck's first game back is in a game against the Unholy Terror known as J. J. Watt. But he's not exactly 100%.
    Indianapolis by 3
    Atlanta Falcons @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-3.5)
    The Jaguars have developed a powerful passing attack with QB Bortles and WR Robinson & Hurns. Expect the Falcons to continue their complete freefall, no thanks to QB Ryan's missing confidence. The Falcons' line won't block anything, and their receivers won't get open. Since Ryan is immobile, he's doomed every game. 
    Jacksonville by 3
    Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings (-5.5)
    A tough stretch for the Vikings, but they've beaten the Bears in Chicago a month ago. That should get them over the slump. All they have to do is win out, and they'll steal the division from the Packers.
    Minnesota by 4
    Green Bay Packers @ Oakland Raiders (+2.5)
    All the Packers have to do is block Khalil Mack, who sacked Osweiler 5 times last week. After all, they got their running game going last week, which will take pressure off QB Rodgers. But they are notorious for being inconsistent away from the safe haven of Lambeau Field. Then again, the Raiders are consistently inconsistent, from week to week, irrespective of where they play. And since they were pretty good last week against the Broncos...

    Packers by 3
    Cleveland Browns @ Seattle Seahawks (-14.5)
    All of a sudden, the Seahawks have returned to their Super Bowl form. Even better yet, QB Wilson has reached another level in recent weeks (16 TDs and no picks in the last 4 games). And the Browns?

    Seattle by 13
    Cincinnati Bengals @ San Francisco 40 Whiners (+4.5)
    Even though QB Dalton doesn't need thumb surgery, the Bengals don't need him to beat the pathetic 40 Whiners.  
    Cincinnati by 5
    Shame of the Week
    Miami Dolphins @ San Diego Chargers (even)
    Both teams suck. But this might be the Chargers' last game in San Diego.
    San Diego by 2
    Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
    Another suck-ass matchup on Monday Night?
    Both teams will score early & often. Since the Saints are 12-4 on Monday nights with Coach Payton...
    New Orleans by 3
    Last Week: 8-8
    Season to Date: 127-80
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  10. Chato added a topic in Photography   

    Sunrise at Plum Beach Brooklyn
    The geographical oddities of the Brooklyn shore and the Rockaway island chain often leads to a stationary cloud bank off the off the Eastern Shore in the early morning hours. This is turn leads to some gorgeous sunrises. Here's one of them.
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  11. Chato added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    An interesting discussion on refugee's. Of course it should be on its own thread and not on this one.
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  12. DaveT added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    The fact that the poverty line is preferable to what the refugees have gone through in their own countries might say a little as to why they decided to move. 

    If staying and fighting would put a man's family in danger, and running away is the best apparent way to ensure their survival, who is anybody to tell that man that it's right that he fight, and wrong that he run?
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  13. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic Music you like...   

    A couple of parts from Boito's Mefistofele:
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  14. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 14 Picks   

    Panthers?!?!?! Well, at least Ginn managed NOT to drop two TD passes this week, but, in the long run, it's better for Carolina if they don't end up relying on his receiving skills. Besides, look who they were playing: Atlanta! The Falcons are quite a story in themselves. Still, as you know, I am very enamored of the Panthers defense. If Stewart's injury is not serious, then Carolina's prospects are looking very good -- especially since the much improved Seahawks lost Rawls for the season and still don't know when or if Lynch will be back. A Panthers-Cardinals game would be very interesting, and I would give the edge to Carolina at the moment.
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  15. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    Absolutely. And those "American values" are typically transmitted in the American myth which, although it is certainly subject to change or different emphases over time and in differing contexts, is a good means of highlighting particular social values while at the same time serving as a constant reminder of how the nation, the society is always falling short of manifesting those broad ideals.
    Those of a particular sort of religious bent are inclined to sense the American myth in terms of Judaeo-Christian values (with which the myth is compatible to a significant extent), but the values that can be found in that myth have also been found appealing despite (or because?) the fact that those values are acceptable without need of theological reference. Some poor may always be with us, and still a core concern of the American myth has always regarded the matter of how even the poor can have access to opportunity for improving their lots. Of course, politics operating as it does, or politicians operating as they do (and likely always have), the myth gives an easy way of verbally seeming dedicated to the mythic American ideals while, in practice, operating with other interests and goals in mind.
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  16. Hugo Holbling added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 14 Picks   

    How about those Panthers, though?
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  17. Hugo Holbling added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    I assume you have in mind here some form of dual duty: to not be a burden on others if this can be avoided, as well as to contribute to achieving a better state rather than moving to another. Like Michael, though, I am not sure what the imperative could be to have to do either.
    To take the latter first: suppose, for example, that I have dual nationality. I may decide that I prefer to live in B rather than A, so I move to B. Since I have the legal right to do so, I doubt that anyone would claim that I ought to stay in A to contribute to social or other problems rather than give up on them and move to B where I can of course do the same. Even if I stay in A and have no legal status in B, it would not follow that I am obliged to address social ills unless there exists some imperative to do so, regardless of problems elsewhere. Perhaps we could argue that such an imperative always exists by virtue of being a citizen, but we can probably agree that not everyone acts in accordance with this. In that case, why should we hold the refugee to a different standard?
    What changes if A is Syria and I am at risk of death if I stay? I probably have no legal right to move to B, but this lack is typically an accident of birth rather than a moral shortcoming. If I should stay in Syria and fight, why should everyone not stay where they were born and work to improve their community? This hypothetical imperative probably holds at a micro level also: why should I be allowed to leave the village of my birth to pursue opportunities in a city rather than stay to contribute to the development of the village?
    On the former implied duty, this seems to rest on an empirical case: if I am a net contributor to my new home, I am not being a burden. I think it is fair to say that immigrants are standardly held to be net contributors from the available research, so the threat is instead couched in terms of the potential dilution of national (or even local) identity and the overwhelming of social services by refugees who do not eventually become citizens.
    On this view, though, the latter is addressed by the net contribution, so the problem is with identity. However, identity is fluid and, in the earlier hypothetical case, no one questions my having a dual identity and taking the legally guaranteed opportunity to develop one at the expense of the other. We can perhaps say that this works at an individual level, but that too many people moving at the same time will threaten the stability of the identity at question; yet it is difficult to see why this concern outweighs, say, the threat to life that a refugee faces. More importantly, I think we use identity as a means of delegitimising the movement of people, so that immigration to the US from Ireland due to famine is culturally enriching in a way that the movement of Syrians somehow cannot be.
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  18. The Heretic added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    Indeed, it is my experience that first generation immigrants to America are often more "american" than those born in America, due to a higher work ethic and greater commitment to American values. 
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  19. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    And another thing --
    I guess this can be approached empirically, but, of course, the empirical investigations would themselves have to be analyzed. In any event, I do not have the impression (based upon admittedly limited direct personal experience) that immigrants to the U.S. (both legal and illegal) are bound for long (if at all) to or attracted by the possibility of government welfare provisions. In fact, I have had the impression that most immigrants come here with - and are dedicated to - a strong work ethic which they more often than not succeed in turning into a far improved quality of life.
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  20. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    But why should people stay where they are? What is the sense of should in your remark? Is it a moral should? If so, what is its basis?
    With regards to the American Civil War, apparently there were indeed refugees. In particular, see the "White Dissidents" and the "Confederates" section here regarding refugees during the war, and see here for information about some who left the South after the war.
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  21. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 14 Picks   

    Ellerbe played; the Saints won. I think that makes the Saints 4-1 when Ellerbe plays. It's likely no coincidence that the Bucs TEs did not tear up the Saints the way other teams have when Ellerbe has been out. And, for a little while at least, pending the Giants game tonight, the Saints have moved up to 31st in total defense in terms of yards per game!!!!! WooooHooooo! Statistics aside, I'm ignoring the fact that the Bucs had a couple of dropped passes. I'm also ignoring the fact that there was one play where the Bucs split RB Sims wide left and had him lined up opposite Ellerbe; Sims ran a fly; Ellerbe could not keep up. Of course. And Sims was wide open, but Winston could not throw accurately enough on what could well have been a TD. Winston overthrew Sims badly. Brees, Brady, Rodgers, and QBs of that caliber would have made that play. Maybe Winston will become more accurate with time. On the dark side of the game, Swann also played and also had another concussion - his third in the last three games for which he has been on the field. Swann is a rookie, but that has got to be the end of his playing career, Maybe the Saints can find him a place elsewhere in the organization.
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  22. Chato added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    ,I have no disagreement with the above. But your post disagrees with your old posts on this thread.

    The Middle Class is a vanishing species, although of course members don't like to think of themselves as being part of the "poor." The poor to some members of the Middle Class, get what they deserve.

    Here are some interesting numbers. More then 50 percent of Working Americans make less then 30K a year. 38 percent make less then 20K. I would call this a situation ripe for Fascism. And it's hard to choose which one of the Republican Candidates are pushing harder for such a development. All of them have tax plans which lower the taxes on the rich, and cut programs for the Middle Class and poor. That alone of course is just one aspect of the question. The other aspects they make perfectly clear.

    On the other hand the last person in the world that someone can call a "demagogue" is Bernie Sanders, a man a touch to the right of Franklin Roosevelt.

    BTW - My numbers above don't come from the Daily Kos.
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  23. The Heretic added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    Interesting article on why Fascism is rising.
    Its argument, in a summary:
    Fascism first emerges in stages. The first stage is stagnation, when economic inopportunity creates a feeling of injustice. Prosperity declines and society fights over who gets their share. That leads to the second stage of fascism: demagoguery. Both the left and the right grow more extreme, shattering the center, creating room for a new politician who combines the worst of both extremes - a socialist for certain people, and nationalist who privileges the blood of people over resources. And he claims prosperity belongs only to the people. The third stage is tyranny, and the finally, self-destruction. 
    Who's polishing the brass on the TItanic?  
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  24. Mathsteach2 added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    Having tried to promote a discussion on American politics in Chato's other thread, which appears to now be generally ignored (without ignoring Michael S Pearl's response), I am going to throw in my immediate view (as a non-violent revolutionary viz-a-viz Tolstoy - perhaps Ghandi - and Paul Feyerabend) on immigration.
    In an ideal world society, there would be no national boundaries. OK, so let us move from an unattainable society (as described by William Morris, for instance, in "News From Nowhere" for instance), to present realities.
    My immediate reaction to any immigration/refugee problem is to say that people should stay where they are, no matter their circumstances. If their country disintegrates into civil war, they should stay within their own boundaries and do the best they can to survive, and hopefully resolve the conflict. Isn't that what happened during the American Civil War? Where did refugees go then!?
    If their own country declares war on another country, or is invaded by another country, they stay where they are and try to survive (become soldiers or resistance fighters if so inclined). I guess I need not cite the experiences of millions during WW1 and WW2.
    Therefore what is motivating the present refugee crisis? Surely it has to be that the refugees, and in peace time the immigrants, think they are going to get a better life in another country. Perhaps they should talk to the millions of Americans who are already on the poverty line, and exist only on social services.
    Donald Trump should begin to espouse some revolutionary philosophies (beyond what he has already done!). However, it is all academic, Hillary Clinton is going to  be the next US president.
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  25. Chato added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    It would be easy to transition to Fascism in America. Trump of course claims that his proposals to monitor Muslims, shut down the Internet, or suppress certain political groups are perfectly Constitutional. People will reply, "But what about the Supreme Court?" Well, the number of Judges on the Supreme Court can be altered by a simple law passed by Congress. The number "nine" is neither mandated by the Constitution, not has it always been nine. So assuming the present House, and an increase of six in the Senate, such a restructuring could easily be done. No Amendment necessary. So we'd have a Fascist Supreme Court telling us, that in time of war these are perfectly legal steps. Indeed, Congress could, AGAIN, by a simple majority suspend Habeas Corpus, although I doubt that would be necessary.

    A Constitution is only as strong as those ready to defend it. Otherwise, it's just a piece of paper.
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