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  1. Scotty added a post in a topic Yo! Star Wars!   

    As an original fan, the music being the strongest part in my mind that drew the story together, I expect little.
    Of course maybe this explains it best.
    (besides Hardware Wars: which I saw on 8mm film in class)
    In fact I almost got the license plate QQQQ2, in reference to Hardware Wars.  Plus, there has never been a version that had the lines in it I remembered after they see the SteamTrooper, Fluke asks Augie "How did you do that?" and Augie goes "I have power over weak minds" and Fluke says "I have power over weak minds."  No idea why that was removed!
    Okay, enough of that.
    I expect it will be a record breaker, I have few doubts.  I am sure the reviews will be great and it will be the best Star Wars ever.
    Except I doubt it on a few levels. It is possible JJ (a hack I believe) will do okay, but his lack of ability to convey a story without grandiose effects that are only there to wow you and serve no purpose, leaves me doubting the final product.  With the tendency for the movies to have to reference the old movies by using lines or characters from the original "I have a bad feeling about this", gets really, really, really, extremely old and annoying.  I expect a ton of that, and forced familiarity instead of subtle. 
    We will see though, I actually expect it to be better than the last three by a long shot, I don't think you can screw up that badly, but it is possible.  JJ can direct people when given an opportunity, but if the story lacks it will come out in spades.
    Possibly Laurence Kasdan can make a good story with this.  If so and it isn't all spectacle than I will be pretty happy with that.
    But, I won't go see it in the theaters unless somebody pays for me to see it, which was the case with the last two movies as Phantom Menace (which I went to a first showing at midnight..oddly I just realized somebody paid for that too).
    My annoyance level with the marketing is pretty high, too much merchandise already but I shouldn't expect less from Disney.  
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  2. The Heretic added a post in a topic NBA 2015-16 Season predictions   

    There's some light over the horizon. Markieff Morris is on the market, and if the Pelicans trade Anderson for him, they'll get a serious upgrade. Morris is a much better athlete and defender, and can help the Pelicans go to small ball successfully without sacrificing rebounding or defense, and unleash the Unibrow from the shackles of the paint, let him run the floor and finish the break. 
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  3. The Heretic added a topic in Influence   

    Yo! Star Wars!
    By next week, some of us will have succumbed to the hype and attend an overcrowded theater in meatspace. It's expected to break all sorts of records at the box office. Some pundits are going as high as $220 million domestic for opening weekend.  
    I fearlessly predict a 191 million debut, on account of lower-than-expected number of screens (3,900). Too many external factors constraining the maximum potential results. 
    As for the film itself, I hope for something closer to the first three films than the latter three, where Lucas' ambitions exceeded his grasp repeatedly. Of all the films within the next 12 months, this one appeals to the kid in me the most, because I was a Star Wars fan before I got into comic books or video games or mythology. Moreover, I've actively ignored all spoilery material up til now. Here's the trailer, if you haven't had the pleasure. 
    What do you expect from this event film? 
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  4. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 14 Picks   

    And now it is being reported that Brandin Cooks has a concussion. Must have occurred during the Wednesday Saints practice, because he practiced Wednesday but did not Thursday. As if matters were not already bad enough for the Saints. Don't know yet whether he'll play on Sunday, but we had already pegged a Tampa Bay victory. Still, there's no need to make it harder for the Saints to at least put on a good offensive performance.
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  5. Chato added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    He's openly called for violating the Constitution in a number of ways. He states that he can do all this by Executive Order. He's openly called for suppressing various organizations that he declares to be subversive. Without comparing him to someone like Hitler, except by saying both are Fascists, did Hitler say he was going to end the Weimer Republic? In fact he Never ended the Republic. He merely ruled on the basis of an ongoing emergency, a statement supported and voted into effect by the Reichstag. Mussolini ruled Italy for six years before suppressing the Democracy. Do you listen to Trump, or merely listen to summations by the Corporate Media?

    Isn't the Nation in danger? Isn't ISIS a threat to America? Isn't there a Fifth Column openly supporting our enemies? Isn't Obama openly aiding ISIS? Aren't many of  the Syrian refugee's, all men, soldiers of ISIS?  Does the word "Fascist" automatically mean the same as Frankenstein Monster?
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  6. DaveT added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    Trump doesn't want to overthrow the existing democratic system. He doesn't want to scrap the Constitution. He doesn't romanticize violence itself as a vital cleansing agent of society. He's simply a racist who wants to keep the current system but deny its benefits to groups he's interested in oppressing.

    That's the difference between Trump and fascists. 
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  7. Chato added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    While it is quite true that "Fascism" is weak in the fundamentals of a well specified ideology, there are characteristics which all Fascists share and expound. Unity of Government and Business. Elitism, usually racist, military solutions for any and all problems and a number of others. Fascists denigrate Intellectual solutions of any kind, and Always appeal to a faux populism based on Fear and Hate. They despise Democracy.

    Even so Conservative a Newspaper as the New York Times is finally waking up to the danger...
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  8. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    Fascist is a word of no particular importance for me. I take it as an introductory term indicating extreme dislike on the part of whosoever is using the term. Trump, Cruz, Clinton, Sanders, Limbaugh, Hannity, Matthews, and the new-to-me Alex Jones, all justified and all revolting, each in his or her own way.
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  9. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 14 Picks   

    These possibilities get a lot of air time down here. Some quick thoughts:
    1. I like Brees. I think he still has at least a couple of quality years left in him. Last year he had an oblique injury; those who have sufficient experience with chronology know that once you get to your mid-30s, muscle pulls and other soft tissue injuries simply do not heal as rapidly as they used to. So, it is not surprising that Brees seemed to be struggling in 2014, as an oblique is just the sort of injury that is to be expected to nag throughout a season. He looks much stronger this year. What is surprising is that he only missed one game after injuring his shoulder in the first Tampa game. Anyhow, of the teams you mentioned, I think the Jets would be good for Brees (but then what about the possible future QB Newman School currently has among the Brees offspring?!?!?!?!), because I get the impression that they have a deeper receiving corps. I mean, do the Rams have any receivers?!?!?!
    2. The word is that Loomis and Payton are running the Saints. If Tom Benson's grand-daughter, Rita, were to win the suit against Tom, then (rumor has it that) she would can Loomis immediately, and maybe somebody could at least get her to think about what to do with Payton rather than just can him as well.
    3. I think Payton has two more years on his contract: meaning that, given the current Benson situation, he's not going to be traded unless he wants to be. If the Saints could get enough high draft picks for Brees and Payton, then, yeah, that is probably the most sensible route to take, because there is not enough on this team with which Brees can succeed. But it's scary to go forward without a QB.
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  10. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 14 Picks   

    It is time for the New Orleans Saints to face reality and start rebuilding.
    1. Brees is a franchise QB, but he is near the end of his Hall-of-Fame career, and Father Time is right around the corner. Before it is too late, trade him to a quarterback starved team like the Jets, Texans or Rams.
    2. Their cap situation is absolutely godforsaken. They're 42 million dollars into the hole for 2016. Nothing in the offseason worked (extending Galette, signing Bird, dumping Jenkins and Sproles). Plus Loomis also runs the Pelicans, who are underachieving. So,  Dump Loomis ASAP.
    3. Trade Coach Payton for picks to start the rebuild properly.
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  11. Chato added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    Or I dunno. Perhaps you can tell me the difference between Donald Trump and other Fascists?
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  12. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 14 Picks   

    I just found out that the Saints injury situation is even worse than I thought! Mark Ingram might be lost for the rest of the season. So, who gets to be the RB? Spiller or Hightower? Right now the Saints would have the 6th pick in the 2016 draft. I reckon this means it is even more likely that they will move up that ladder of ignominy.
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  13. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 14 Picks   

    Yeah. You're right. Tampa Bay wins. But I guess I need to say more. Let's see: For the Bucs, Kwan Alexander has been suspended. That hurts them. Then again, the Saints have to keep playing Brandon Browner, because they are simply out of CBs. They played someone named Chris Owens for maybe 10 plays against Carolina (probably at nickel); that Chris Owens apparently is NOT the 80-something year old woman who still has a nightclub on Bourbon Street, but the Owens who played gave up a perfect QB rating when he was in the game; so, I guess the nightclub performer really couldn't have done worse. Also, Delvin Breaux pulled a hamstring in the first quarter, a little bit after his great INT; don't know if he'll be back. Swann is probably still out with his concussions. Who knows if Ellerbe will be back. No DBs because of injuries; no LBs because of injuries. Sheesh, even Willie Snead was out against the Panthers. Maybe he'll be back to help out the offense, but what the offense really needs more than another receiver is OL help, and that's not happening.
    Okay, I really don't have any contrarian picks. But that doesn't mean I can't make up at least one!
    I wonder if the Eagles' players are afraid of winning, because if they win two out of their last four games, they will probably make the playoffs, and that might mean Chip Kelly ain't going nowhere. Hmmm. Well, we know they won't tank. If they lose, it's just because they are a terrible team. Philadelphia wins despite being a terrible team and because I'm making up a contrarian pick.
    I don't know that I have enough imagination to come up with any other contrarian picks. Maybe I'll get inspired as the week goes along.
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  14. Chato added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    When I posted this thread, Republicans as a Party, if not the Right Wing Media, kept their goals at least partially hidden. The racist and Corporate Agenda were covered by code words. They have now dropped the mask, and are openly advocating laws and standards that are Fascist. Sure they don't "call themselves Fascist." After all, according to them Fascism is a form of Marxism. Why would they openly embrace what they call "Socialism?" But by any reasonable definition, that's Exactly what they are. The pretense is gone. Trumps proposed ban on Muslims entering America is supported by two Thirds of All Republicans. Open advocacy of a Police State is now their norm.

    And of course this thread was hotly contested as being totally false...
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  15. The Heretic added a topic in Play   

    2015 NFL Week 14 Picks

    NFL Week 14 Picks
    10-6? Another tough week demands tough answers. And the tough get pickin'! If this season has been a rollercoasting, yo-yo'ing whiplash between great weeks and mediocre ones, then week 14 promises to be the opposite. Right? Right?
    Game of the Week
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5)
    The Steelers' offense have been nearly unstoppable this season, with QB Rothlisberger and his galaxy of receiving weapons averaging 36 points per game in the last 4 weeks. While QB Dalton hasn't been anything to scoff at, since he's 14-1-1 in 1pm games, I suspect this game will go to the last team with the ball.
    Cincinnati by 3
    Thursday Game of the Week
    Minnesota Vikings @ Arizona Cardinals (-7.5)
    The closer we get to the money season, the stronger the best teams get, and is there anyone playing as well as the Cardinals? Plus the Vikings have been horribly exposed in the last few weeks, a weak 1-3 against teams over .500, and they're banged up on defense. Not a good time to face off a high-powered offense in the desert.
    Arizona by 7
    Rest of the Week
    Buffalo Bills @ Philadelphia Eagles (even)
    Was the Eagles' victory over the Patriots a fluke, or was it cuz QB Bradford that much better than QB Sanchez? Luckily they're facing a classic consistently inconsistent team in the Bills. Since they won last week, they should lose to the Eagles. Then again, Shady McCoy is coming to town to exact revenge on his old team.
    Buffalo by 3
    Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers (-7.5)
    While it is unlikely the Panthers will finish 16-0, it won't happen this weekend at home to a team who never recovered from that beating in the Superdome. Of course it'll be close, like any division game on the road, so take the points. But the Falcons are in complete freefall, mostly from self-sustained injuries.
    Carolina by 7
    New England Patriots @ Houston Texans (+3.5)
    While the Patriots are hobbled due to a bevy of injuries, it looks like QB Brady will not let this be a legitimate excuse. Not even against a resurgent Texans defense. But Brady has been hit like 36 times in the last 3 weeks, after being hit for only 4.6 times a game up till that point. Brady was getting off his passes quickly when WR Edelman, Lewis, Amendola, and TE Gronkowski were available. Now only Amendola is left. Plus Coach Belichick just said that J. J. Watt is as good as Lawrence Taylor ever was.
    New England by 3
    Lame of the Week
    Seattle Seahawks @ Baltimore Ravens (+5.5)
    Are the Seahawks back for good? That won't be answered this weekend cuz the Ravens are having the Season From Hell, and nothing they can do will slow down QB Wilson. Even QB Schaub will be forced to throw a pick-six to help out.
    Seattle by 7
    Detroit Lions @ St. Louis Rams (even)
    The Rams have fallen off the face of the earth no thanks to their failure at QB. The Lions OTOH are still treading water, and should eke out a win here. They have suffered some tough losses this year, but they haven't quit yet.
    Detroit by 6
    Tennessee Titans @ New Jersey Jets (-7.5)
    That was one hell of a QB run by Mariota last week. But it won't be as easy to run on the Jets defense. Plus QB Fitzpatrick and WR Marshall are overdue for the playoffs.
    New Jersey by 6
    Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars (even)
    The Colts don't have a healthy QB and they're facing Jaguars, who can score on anyone, and they'll score easily on the Colts defense. Expect QB Bortles to throw well. But the Colts have been in this situation before this year, and they came through.
    Indianapolis by 1
    San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5)
    Both teams were dead in the water a couple of months ago. Only one of them rose from the watery grave with a fierce defense and a QB that refuses to turn the ball over. They might be the dark horse in the AFC playoffs, if they do get in.
    Kansas City by 13
    Washington Racial Slur @ Chicago Bears (-2.5)
    The Bears are nothing but an inconsistent team that can look like world beaters one week and a lottery team the next. While the Bears are horrible at home, the Racial Slurs are even worse on the road. Plus they're playing on a VERY short week after that bad loss against the Cowboys.
    Chicago by 3
    New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5)
    The Saints have dominated the Bucs in the Payton era. That the Saints showed up last week against the Panthers is proof that they haven't rolled over and played dead yet. But the Buccaneers are still in the playoff hunt and QB Winston is getting better every week.
    Tampa Bay by 3
    Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos (-7.5)
    Ever since the Broncos switched to QB Osweiler, they've been unstoppable. Moreover, their bloodthirsty defense will shut down QB Carr like they did in Oakland a few months back. The Raiders have plenty of talent to keep the game close, but they're really playing for next season.
    Denver by 6
    Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers (-7.5)
    Injuries have decimated the Packers to the point that they're an average team - one that needed a Hail Mary to beat a weak team last week. Since the Cowboys are laughable without QB Romo, they won't even be in the game after halftime.
    Green Bay by 11
    New York Giants @ Miami Dolphins (even)
    Both teams are just playing out the string, but at least the Giants are still alive for the NFC Least division title. Whenever pressure is on, every team in the NFC Least rolls over and plays dead.
    New York by 3
    Shame of the Week
    San Francisco 40 Whiners @ Cleveland Browns (-1.5)
    The 40 Whiners were bad on offense, but the Browns are even shittier on defense (allowing 399 yards a game). And hey, QB Johnny Football is back. That spells another loss for the Browns.
    San Francisco by 3
    Last Week: 10-6
    Season to Date: 119-72
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  16. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    What was the prescience? If the references to Fascism are restricted to the issue of "the Corporatist State", there is nothing new now occurring. Even Ayn Rand, no later than the 1960s (I think), remarked about how Democrats and Republicans, albeit in slightly different ways, were dedicated corporatists. If the references to Fascism here are instead supposed to indicate something different in the current rhetorical tone, then an interesting aspect of current events would be how Obama (amongst others, of course) as nincompoop rhetoretician has contributed to the current political status, but the discussion from almost five years ago does not seem to have anticipated that contribution.
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  17. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic NBA 2015-16 Season predictions   

    Hugo and I went to the Pelicans-Celtics game last night. The Pels had just defeated the Cavs three days earlier; the Pels had Norris Cole and Tyreke Evans back -- meaning they have finally gotten much healthier and should really be starting to turn the season around, again, especially because they had beaten the Cavs and all. Anyhow, as it turned out, the Pelicans were extremely disappointing. Teams have bad nights, and on some nights any team can shoot very well; so, the disappointment has nothing to do with the ease with which the Celtics took care of the Pelicans. Instead, the disappointment has to do with the Pelicans' general approach: Why are they very nearly always setting up a play with Anthony Davis at what must be 15-18 feet away from the basket - not only starting with him there but keeping him away from the basket? Why does no one crash the offensive boards? The only offensive rebounds occurred on attempted tip-ins by the very player who had missed a layup or some other close shot. The defense was ramshackle. Why not try some man-to-man? Because whatever kind of defense they were running was wholly ineffective? Well, at least we had fun playing the games they have outside the arena for fans prior to the opening of the arena doors. And, yes, it is true - as hard as it is to believe it - Hugo did defeat me in the hoops-shooting game. The score? 20-19. After all, one must try to make certain that one's visitors have the best possible visit. Right?
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  18. Chato added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    Just checking into this old topic and finding how prescient I was, what with an open Fascist leading in the primary race for a major party, and most of his competitors not being too far behind. Sad to be right...
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  19. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 13 Picks   

    It was a great game. We had great seats. From where we sat, we could see every play develop, and we would know that a TD was about to happen before most of the crowd did - just because of the view we had. The refs were the worst I've ever seen. That was irritating, but proof of how much fun it all was is in how very hoarse I still am. Hugo commented on how different Saints fans are, compared to the Jaguars fans he observed the week before when in Jacksonville. Football in the South has often been likened to a religion, and Saints fandom is a level beyond that: I guess that makes it almost an experience in the ecstatic realm.
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  20. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 13 Picks   

    That's what makes the NFL great: it's ingeniously designed to allow for entertaining anarchy: anything can happen in any game. And Bill Simmons coined that Failed Attempt Return Touchdown for 2 points by New Orleans as FART. 
    One hell of a game, and I'm convinced by the Panthers. Every would-be undefeated team has to get over that one game in the schedule where everything goes wrong & the other team is suddenly invincible. The invincible 1985 Bears were tripped up by a red hot Dan Marino in December, preventing them from going 16-0. The 1998 Vikings blew a midseason game vs the Buccaneers. The 2005 Steelers fell early to the Ravens. And everyone knows what happened to those 2007 Patriots.   
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  21. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 13 Picks   

    Okay, this is how it went down. The Panthers score right before the end of the first half to make the score Saints 14, Panthers 13, with the extra point pending. And there I am figuring that I'll head out to the restroom before the rest of the crowd realizes that they all need to go, too. I mean, how exciting is an extra-point try anyway? So I get to the restroom and there is this loud cheer. I figure the Panthers missed the PAT. Then there is a loud and extended roar. Well, what the hell can that be?!?!?!
    I get back to my seat, and Hugo says, "Imagine. I was here for the making of NFL history - the first return of a blocked extra-point for 2 points, and you missed it." You know, understated in that very British manner. Damn it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  22. Nullifidian added a post in a topic FAO Nullifidian   

    BBC Opera on 3 archives its broadcasts for the previous thirty days, and right now they've got five operas up. It was the fifth that led me to look for this archive, because it was a world premiere from one of my favorite contemporary composers, Georg Friedrich Haas. The ROH was premiering his opera, Morgen und Abend. I spaced on the time this morning, so I missed all but the last fifteen minutes, but that fifteen minutes made me want to listen to the rest.
    Other than that, their operas in reverse order of broadcast (oldest first) are:
    Händel's Orlando (only up for another day)
    Beethoven's Fidelio (only up for eight more days)
    Chausson's Le Roi Arthus (there it is again! - up for fifteen more days)
    Rossi's Orpheus (up for twenty-two more days).
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  23. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic GOP recent events   

    I had no problem with your use of the word terrorists. None whatsoever.
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  24. Mathsteach2 added a post in a topic GOP recent events   

    My apologies, Michael, it was not my intention to use the word "terrorists" to specifically mean radicalised Muslims. Inappropriately, and totally without understanding the political ideology of anarchism, the media might use "anarchists" instead of terrorists, and that would also convey my use of the word "terrorist". Karen Armstrong, in her book "The Battle for God" (2000), identifies what I mean by terrorism, motivated by religious fundamentalism.
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  25. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic GOP recent events   

    I can only respond briefly for now.
    Although it is right, good, and proper to obliterate the Islamic State, such an accomplishment would be anything except a solution. Likewise, the sort of engagement which I have previously mentioned would not produce a solution, would not put an end to terrorism. Yet, I maintain that such engagement is necessary if there is to be - if there can be - brought about a situation improved by means other than a long lasting war of attrition.
    The likelihood of such improvement would probably be much enhanced if there were a politician in the West who was capable of such engagement; unfortunately, there is no such politician. Consequently, it may well be that there is - or could eventually be - a growing impatience in the US population in general not only with regards to Muslim terrorists but Muslims in general.
    Has there been much outcry over the notion of a law requiring the registration of all Muslims in the US? I have not heard it. Is that because most people think it so preposterous and unconstitutional a notion as to not even regard it as a serious course of action (never mind the fact that people of Japanese descent in the US were concentrated in camps during WWII)? Or is it that most people regard it as at least a potentially prudent course of action?
    Here is what I would do if Muslim registration ever became law: I would immediately register as a Muslim.
    Just one other point at the moment.
    I think it is an error to explain the Muslim terrorists simply - or even only primarily - in terms of capitalism or even imperialism, although those terms certainly refer to actions and viewpoints which have contributed to the current context. If one must think about this issue in terms of some -ism or other, then secularism would be the best single term to have in mind.
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