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 Post subject: Two "must see" movies
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:05 pm 
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I spend a good deal of time away from home. When I'm back, I savor the time I have with number 2 son. He helps me around the house and yard. I help him with homework and projects. He reluctantly cooperates as I make him go to Mathnasium, or force him to read a few chapters a day (and be quizzed on the content). And other such things...

Friday night is usually movie night for the two of us. Usually I let him pick, and I have right of refusal. Lately I cornered him via the refusal process into seeing two very good films based on history.

The first that we saw a few weeks back was Lincoln. We made the mistake of going late, late. It was a long movie, and both of us snoozed in a few sections. But it was enlightening in several ways. First, it turns the whole Democrat/Republican/racist thing on its bloody ear. It must have killed Hollywood to make that movie, but they did it well and authentically. Second, it portrayed a few sides of Lincoln's personality that made him approachable and believable. My dad started a charitable foundation before he died that paid for statues to be made and donated to various churches, schools, and parks. His goal with the statues - particularly with religious figures - was to make the object appear approachable and human. In fact many of the statues invite participation for photos such as hand holding, sitting in a lap, etc.

The second we saw was Zero Dark Thirty. It is of course about the effort to get Osama bin Laden. Again... I liked the fact that they took a posturing Obama completely out of the picture. He didn't have a damn thing to do with getting bin Laden. In fact the movie shows how gathering information was made more difficult with the changes in enhanced interrogation techniques. Trust me... they don't let the Bush era off lightly either, what with the cruelty of the Bush era interrogation techniques. But that's fine by me; the truth is what it is. Government pretty much gets in the way, and real people behind the scenes get things done in spite of the Asssholes In Chief. This story pretty much revolves around the life of an obsessed, female CIA agent who drove much of the effort to track him down and make killing him possible.

Neither of these films have gripping, suspenseful plot lines. After all, we pretty much know who's going to die in the end. But it sure helps shape the flesh around the skeleton of our knowledge on these subjects.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:57 pm 
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I got to see that 'Zero' movie Bill. A lesson in determination/deliberation...I would think.

I saw this movie the other night on cable...http://www.olderthanamerica.com/

because of what Jim Maloney had talked to me about the plight of the 'First Nation' in Canada, with untold atrocities upon children by priests and nuns...the missionaries...

An unsettling movie indeed.

Here is what Maloney brought to my attention...http://www.danielnpaul.com/WeWereNotThe ... story.html

:(

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:45 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
First, it turns the whole Democrat/Republican/racist thing on its bloody ear. It must have killed Hollywood to make that movie, but they did it well and authentically.

What the history of political parties teaches us is that political parties can change. In the 1860s the more politically liberal Republican Party platform of Lincoln supported black freedom and equality, while the more politically conservative Democratic Party platform did not. By 1900 the Republican Party decided it no longer needed to court the black vote while the Democratic Party, particularly the southern Democrats, still did not particularly support black issues, so blacks were effectively without a party and the Jim Crow laws that dominated the nation during the 1890s-1960s were enacted and enforced. Many blacks continued to support the Republican Party however, because of its ties to the historic Republican Party of Lincoln. Take a look at these maps of the 1880 and 1908 Presidential Elections, which are fairly representative of the time, and note the regions that supported the two parties. In general, the core for Republican support was the northeast and the core for Democratic support was the southeast.

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By the 1960s the increasingly liberal Democratic Party platform had adopted support for minority issues, among other controversal issues. This drove away many Democrats, again particularly among the southern Democrats, to the increasingly conservative Republican Party. In fact the Republican Party did an excellent job of courting dissenting Democrats during the 1960s and 1970s, capitalizing on the turmoil in the Democratic Party. Strom Thurmond was a good example of this, serving the Senate from 1954-1964 as a Democrat and then 1964-2003 as a Republican. Meanwhile the change in the Democratic Party platform became increasingly attractive to minorities and women. These changes, and continuations/entrenchments thereof, set up the current characteristics that have defined these two parties for the past four decades. This map of the 2012 Presidential Election shows a reverse of the pattern on the earlier map for much of the country, with the core for Republican support now being in the southeast and the core for Democratic support being the northeast.

Image

The bottom line is that it was the parties that changed, not the voters. For much of the country the voter patterns have been little changed over the past century and more, voters in the northeast have generally been more liberal throughout while voters in the southeast have generally been more conservative…the reversal in the electoral maps is due to changes within the parties as to which group each party represents. The only similarities between the Republican and Democratic parties of the 1860s and their respective counterparts today is thus in name only. As discussed here after the election, the Republican Party may be going through a shift again, but that remains to be seen.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:50 am 
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It's simplistic to complain that the Republican Party simply swapped places with the Democrats for representation of the same people. Demographic changes, technological developments, and sweeping social change have changed our culture, and SC rulings have fundamentally changed our understanding of the Constitution, our rights, and the rule of law.

Yes, people have changed, even more than the parties.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:22 am 
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I am not complaining about anything, just covering some well-documented political-party history. Sure some aspects of each party have not changed, but much has. Like it or not, it is what it is. A good place to start to understand how much they have changed is by checking out the party platforms of the past, all of which for presidential-election years can be found at http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/platforms.php

Some excerpts from the 1908 Democratic Party platform:
Quote:
Coincident with the enormous increase in expenditures is a like addition to the number of office-holders. During the past year 23,784 were added, costing $16,156,000, and in the past six years of Republican administration the total number of new offices created, aside from many commissions, has been 99,319, entailing an additional expenditure of nearly $70,000,000 as against only 10,279 new offices created under the Cleveland and McKinley administrations, which involved an expenditure of only $6,000,000. We denounce this great and growing increase in the number of office-holders as not only unnecessary and wasteful, but also as clearly indicating a deliberate purpose on the part of the Administration to keep the Republican party in power at public expense by thus increasing the number of its retainers and dependents. Such procedure we declare to be no less dangerous and corrupt than the open purchase of votes at the polls.

Quote:
The Republican Congress in the session just ended made appropriations amounting to $1,008,000,000, exceeding the total expenditures of the past fiscal year by $90,000,000 and leaving a deficit of more than $60,000,000 for the fiscal year just ended. We denounce the heedless waste of the people's money which has resulted in this appalling increase as a shameful violation of all prudent considerations of government and as no less than a crime against the millions of working men and women, from whose earnings the great proportion of these colossal sums must be extorted through excessive tariff exactions and other indirect methods. It is not surprising that in the face of this shocking record the Republican platform contains no reference to economical administration or promise thereof in the future. We demand that a stop be put to this frightful extravagance, and insist upon the strictest economy in every department compatible with frugal and efficient administration

Quote:
Believing, with Jefferson, in "the support of the State governments in all their rights as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns, and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies," and in "the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad," we are opposed to the centralization implied in the suggestion, now frequently made, that the powers of the General Government should be extended by judicial construction. There is no twilight zone between the Nation and the State in which exploiting interests can take refuge from both; and it is as necessary that the Federal Government shall exercise the powers delegated to it as it is that the State governments shall use the authority reserved to them; but we insist that Federal remedies for the regulation of interstate commerce and for the prevention of private monopoly shall be added to, not substituted for, State remedies.

Quote:
We favor immediate revision of the tariff by the reduction of import duties. Articles entering into competition with trust-controlled products should be placed upon the free list, and material reductions should be made in the tariff upon the necessaries of life, especially upon articles competing with such American manufactures as are sold abroad more cheaply than at home; and gradual reductions should be made in such other schedules as may be necessary to restore the tariff to a revenue basis.

Existing duties have given to the manufacturers of paper a shelter behind which they have organized combinations to raise the price of pulp and of paper, thus imposing a tax upon the spread of knowledge. We demand the immediate repeal of the tariff on wood pulp, print paper, lumber, timber and logs, and that these articles be placed upon the free list.

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It is the function of the courts to interpret the laws which the people create, and if the laws appear to work economic, social or political injustice, it is our duty to change them. The only basis upon which the integrity of our courts can stand is that of unswerving justice and protection of life, personal liberty and property. If judicial processes may be abused, we should guard them against abuse.

Complaining about big government, quoting Jefferson and advocating states rights over federal rights, wanting less tariff protectionism and more free-trade imports...so which present-day party do these sound like? Meanwhile, some excerpts from the Republican Party platform of that same year:
Quote:
The great accomplishments of President Roosevelt have been, first and foremost, a brave and impartial enforcement of the law, the prosecution of illegal trusts and monopolies, the exposure and punishment of evil-doers in the public service; the more effective regulation of the rates and service of the great transportation lines; the complete overthrow of preferences, rebates and discriminations; the arbitration of labor disputes; the amelioration of the condition of wage-workers everywhere; the conservation of the natural resources of the country; the forward step in the improvement of the inland waterways; and always the earnest support and defence of every wholesome safeguard which has made more secure the guarantees of life, liberty and property.

Quote:
In all tariff legislation the true principle of protection is best maintained by the imposition of such duties as will equal the difference between the cost of production at home and abroad, together with a reasonable profit to American industries. We favor the establishment of maximum and minimum rates to be administered by the President under limitations fixed in the law, the maximum to be available to meet discriminations by foreign countries against American goods entering their markets, and the minimum to represent the normal measure of protection at home; the aim and purpose of the Republican policy being not only to preserve, without excessive duties, that security against foreign competition to which American manufacturers, farmers and producers are entitled, but also to maintain the high standard of living of the wage-earners of this country, who are the most direct beneficiaries of the protective system.

Quote:
The Republican party passed the Sherman Antitrust law over Democratic opposition, and enforced it after Democratic dereliction. It has been a wholesome instrument for good in the hands of a wise and fearless administration. But experience has shown that its effectiveness can be strengthened and its real objects better attained by such amendments as will give to the Federal Government greater supervision and control over, and secure greater publicity in, the management of that class of corporations engaged in interstate commerce having power and opportunity to effect monopolies.

Quote:
We approve the enactment of the railroad rate law and the vigorous enforcement by the present administration of the statutes against rebates and discriminations, as a result of which the advantages formerly possessed by the large shipper over the small shipper have substantially disappeared; and in this connection we commend the appropriation by the present Congress to enable the Interstate Commerce Commission to thoroughly investigate, and give publicity to, the accounts of interstate railroads. We believe, however, that the interstate commerce law should be further amended so as to give railroads the right to make and publish tariff agreements, subject to the approval of the Commission, but maintaining always the principle of competition between naturally competing lines and avoiding the common control of such lines by any means whatsoever. We favor such national legislation and supervision as will prevent the future over-issue of stocks and bonds by interstate carriers.

Quote:
The same wise policy which has induced the Republican party to maintain protection to American labor; to establish an eight hour day in the construction of all public works; to increase the list of employes who shall have preferred claims for wages under the bankruptcy laws; to adopt a child labor statute for the District of Columbia; to direct an investigation into the condition of working women and children, and later, of employes of telephone and telegraph companies engaged in interstate business; to appropriate $150,000 at the recent session of Congress in order to secure a thorough inquiry into the causes of catastrophes and loss of life in the mines; and to amend and strengthen the laws prohibiting the importation of contract labor, will be pursued in every legitimate direction within Federal authority to lighten the burdens and increase the opportunity for happiness and advancement of all who toil. The Republican party recognizes the special needs of wage-workers generally, for their well-being means the well-being of all. But more important than all other considerations is that of good citizenship and we especially stand for the needs of every American, whatever his occupation, in his capacity as a self-respecting citizen.

Quote:
The Republican party has been for more than fifty years the consistent friend of the American Negro. It gave him freedom and citizenship. It wrote into the organic law the declarations that proclaim his civil and political rights, and it believes to-day that his noteworthy progress in intelligence, industry and good citizenship has earned the respect and encouragement of the nation. We demand equal justice for all men, without regard to race or color; we declare once more, and without reservation, for the enforcement in letter and spirit of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution which were designed for the protection and advancement of the negro, and we condemn all devices that have for their real aim his disfranchisement for reasons of color alone, as unfair, un-American and repugnant to the Supreme law of the land.

Quote:
In history, the difference between Democracy and Republicanism is that the one stood for debased currency, the other for honest currency; the one for free silver, the other for sound money; the one for free trade, the other for protection; the one for the contraction of American influence, the other for its expansion; the one has been forced to abandon every position taken on the great issues before the people, the other has held and vindicated all.

A Republican Party pushing for more government regulation, tariff protectionism over free trade, protection for labor and promotion of labor issues, and social causes? But back then Republicans such as Roosevelt and Hoover were leaders of the Progressive Movement. Is it any wonder the Republican core region then is now the Democratic core region? Based on these platforms, which party would you have supported in 1908?

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Last edited by Glenn on Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:58 am 
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The last election was won on Womens' issues, race demagoguery, and fear for entitlement programs. The various interest groups the parties use in the present day to carve up the electorate simply did not exist at that time, Glenn. If your intention is to prove that Republicans have somehow departed the demand for

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... equal justice for all men, without regard to race or color; we declare once more, and without reservation, for the enforcement in letter and spirit of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution which were designed for the protection and advancement of the negro, and we condemn all devices that have for their real aim his disfranchisement for reasons of color alone, as unfair, un-American and repugnant to the Supreme law of the land.


... then that really is a different debate.

Fiscal lines will be drawn by whatever factions find them opportune at the time, as evidenced by Republican over-spending under GWB. This is a tale literally as old as time, something I'm finding as I read This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.

The Democratic Party's true success story has been how it has driven the Republican Party out of the urban political arena almost exclusively. And it is there, in Detroit, San Francisco, Chicago, and elsewhere that we see the absolute foolishness of a one-party government. These are cultural issues at their core, not financial ones, something your calculus ignores, but which have real consequences.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:52 pm 
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All I am doing is elaborating on Bill's point about how parties, both parties, have changed in their platforms, their core philosophies...that the parties of today often have little in common with the same named parties of the past. But that is the nature of generational change, and it affects parties just as it does society in general. The current Democratic Party is largely a product of decisions it made in the 1950s-1970s, while the current Republican Party is largely a product of decisions it made in the 1960s-1980s. Check out this page about the Republican Party on the conservative-run Conservapedia which touches on a few of these points:
Quote:
In the past, the Republican voter coalitions have generally comprised businessmen, military veterans and evangelical Protestants. Some groups have realigned: blacks went from the GOP to the Democrats in the 1930s, while white Southerners became Republicans in the 1980s. Catholics switched from 80% Democratic in 1960 to 50-50 in recent years, primarily due to the embrace of abortion by the Democrats. In recent years youth and better educated professionals have moved to the Democrats, while blue collar workers have become more Republican, again due to the abortion issue.

For a more thorough treatment that avoids some of the pitfalls of wiki-style entries, check out sources such as The Republican Ascendancy: American Politics, 1968-2001 by Michael Schaller and George Rising.

Something to think about, many Democrats switched to the Republican Party in the 1960s-1980s because they opposed the Democratic Party's focus on social issues such as equal rights, entitlement spending for the poor, and abortion, and they no longer felt represented by the Democratic Party. Third parties such as Libertarian and Green have similarly arisen from party disenfranchisement. So if the Republican Party were to truly become more moderate as party leaders have stated recently, who might feel disenfranchised and would they leave the party? Could the Tea Party become an official third party that appears on ballots?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:47 am 
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Glenn wrote:
So if the Republican Party were to truly become more moderate as party leaders have stated recently

Danger, danger, oversimplification alert.

If you aren't going to express views on at least 2 different political dimensions, then you aren't adequately expressing views. And you aren't properly characterizing the heterogeneity within each of the parties.

The Republican party generally is not abandoning its views on myriad fiscal and social issues - to the extent that they are well-defined within various factions. Rather they're making a concerted effort to broaden the ethnic and gender base. Given that Asians have become the largest legal immigrant population recently, that may not be hard to do. Those from India and China in particular who come here as hard working achievers have much to identify with a party that believes in equal opportunity rather than guaranteed equal outcome. Add in a mostly Catholic Hispanic group that shares more social values with Republicans, and you have the potential makings of a real rainbow party.

They just need more visionaries to step forward. There are some very interesting Republican governors worth a look.

Image

Image

Image

Stay tuned.

Glenn wrote:
Could the Tea Party become an official third party that appears on ballots?

The Tea Party is basically a collection of people dissatisfied with the status quo in government. Its tent is fairly large, and platform still undefined. They do generally fall under the fiscal conservative label. It just so happens that it evolved when the Democrats were in control of both the executive and legislative branches of government, and passed the trillion dollar Obamacare program with a completely single party vote. But they have targeted Republicans as well - particularly in the primaries.

My take is that they'll eventually be absorbed mostly by the Republican and Libertarian parties.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:02 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
If you aren't going to express views on at least 2 different political dimensions, then you aren't adequately expressing views. And you aren't properly characterizing the heterogeneity within each of the parties.

I'm starting to think you have money invested in sales of the Nolan Chart. Besides, moving more to the center in any one of the possible dimensions is still becoming more moderate.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:20 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
a party that believes in equal opportunity rather than guaranteed equal outcome.


Strawman alert! Guaranteed equal outcome is not part of the platform of any of the significant parties.

I'm pretty sure both parties believe that equal opportunity is important. Where they don't agree is on what constitutes a level playing field.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:18 am 
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Glenn wrote:
I'm starting to think you have money invested in sales of the Nolan Chart.

I don't do one-dimensional descriptions of the world. They don't reflect reality.

Even within the traditional two parties, there's heterogeneity of views within. And then we have about a third of the population that considers itself "independent."

Glenn wrote:
Besides, moving more to the center in any one of the possible dimensions is still becoming more moderate.

Well Chris Matthews thinks anyone who doesn't agree with him is "the far right", so...

It's all relative.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:25 am 
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Valkenar wrote:
I'm pretty sure both parties believe that equal opportunity is important. Where they don't agree is on what constitutes a level playing field.

Euphemism alert!!!

"Life isn't fair, it's just fairer than death, that's all."
- William Goldman, The Princess Bride

Good luck with achieving your "level playing field." And don't ask me involuntarily to fund efforts to do so (a.k.a. government intervention using my tax dollars). The law of unintended consequences usually applies.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:25 am 
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I kind of like whats happened politically in NZ since we moved to a MMP system from a FPP really two party system

it seems to make the big partys more mainstream and let the fringe partys be more fringe .... talk about gridlock

It would be cool to see the US eventually head in a similar direction , but not sure how it would even be possible .

But I dont like talking politics and religion , but there is one reason i had to post .

you guys really might be better off checking out the Hobbit :D 8)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:54 am 
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Stryke wrote:
you guys really might be better off checking out the Hobbit :D 8)

Absolutely did. I read the book in 8th grade, and then saw the movie with number 2 son. Good stuff!

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:23 am 
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good stuff Bill , it was shameless promotion , theres a bit of patriotic feel a little ownership of the LOTR Hobbit movies down here amongst a lot of folk .


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