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1  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Platonic Dualism and its influence on christianity. on: February 07, 2010, 02:42:04 pm
Eastern Christianity doesn't rely upon a mind/body dualism, rather, upon a spirit/body dualism (and the mind would be a part of "body).  Spirit doesn't necessarily mean soul, in fact some theologians/philosophers enumerated only two spirits in the entire cosmos, good and evil, and that the part of people that was good was alike in all people.  This is much different from the Platonic conception of the soul.  Christianity didn't labor under the classical inheritance everywhere.
2  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Is the New Right Quasi-Fascist? on: February 05, 2010, 05:32:13 pm
Neoconservatism is alive and well in think tanks across America northern Virginia, if that's what you mean.

And, no, brute nationalism, or the "Jacksonian" tradition of American foreign policy is not inherently neoconservative.
3  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Is Schroedinger's cat a stupid theory? on: February 05, 2010, 05:26:19 pm
Einstein was Jewish, that's an ample explanation.  "God does not play dice"  This isn't an anti-semitic remark, just a comparison of Cultural traditions.  Compare Spinoza to rest of the body of continental philosophy.
4  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Is the New Right Quasi-Fascist? on: February 05, 2010, 02:53:49 pm
Are there any other ideologies that favor pre-emptively invading countries and handing the economy over to corporations besides neoconservatism and fascism?

That's not quite what corporatism is, the way you mean it.

Perhaps I could have made my point more clearly. What I am suggesting is that in both neoconservative and fascist ideology (and seemingly exclusive to those two), there is the idea that the economy of a nation benefits most if controled by the collective interests of corporations.
American proto-fascism, at least in terms of where Gully and Lewis and others see it in the essence of Tea Party, has nothing to do with neoconservatism.  It's hilarious how leftists still are watching over their shoulders for this neoconservative boogeyman.
5  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Is Schroedinger's cat a stupid theory? on: February 05, 2010, 01:35:23 am
I thought the deterministic view was thrown out back in the 1950s.  I know Einstein pushed pretty hard for it but if I recall correctly the actual research always led into dead ends.

Anyways, Quantum Theory is very intriguing.  Is reality precipitated upon human consciousness?  That's a very worthwhile notion.
6  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: No Vietnam on: February 04, 2010, 08:05:47 pm
Hmm, there's some elements of the war in Vietnam that were part of broader, greater trends with American politics.  It's quite possible had not Vietnam been Vietnam, some other third world country would have been Vietnam.  LBJ understood this whenever he escalated the war, an act he personally considered inevitable.
7  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: Parties in a CSA on: February 04, 2010, 06:34:38 pm
The Southern Constitution prohibited tariffs, which many have used as a means to show that the South wouldn't be able to have industry due to lack of protections.  That's a 1920's-1950's economic argument, and its crap (I mention it because it has been used in academic works evaluating this question in the past).  To believe that, you have to believe that tariffs work, and they don't.  American industry was not created by high tariffs.  It occurred because of close proximity to a wealth of natural resources.  Tariffs were only there to line the pockets of the government.  So, living in a post-tariff age, we can see that that argument makes no sense, in hindsight.
Oh I beg to differ, but that's an argument for another thread.  If you have the time feel free to start it and I will rebut this above quote.
8  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Is Schroedinger's cat a stupid theory? on: February 04, 2010, 06:32:16 pm
Yes.

The cat is not simultaneously alive and dead. It is one or the other and we don't know until we check. That's like saying if you flip a coin and close your eyes it is simultaneously both heads and tails until you check it.
No, that lacks any sort of quantum variance whatsoever.  The point of Schrodinger's Cat is to magnify quantum dynamics on a macro scale.  The cat can be killed or not killed, but what determines that result is specifically the actions of a single decaying atom (which is small enough not to experience quantum decoherence).  In quantum terms, whether that atom produces radiation, subsequently setting off a Geiger counter which triggers the killing device, is completely indeterminate.
9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Colorado Springs: A Teabagger Paradise on: February 04, 2010, 03:16:27 pm
(like a 25% tariff on imported Japanese pickup trucks)


*yawn*


I have no idea what point you're trying to make is.

Somebody said "free trade" was one of the important reasons Detroit was a sh**t hole.  I mentioned that there was a 25% import tariff on half of Detroit's bread and butter.  That ain't "free trade".
On average, trade policies have become drastically less protectionist in the last several decades.  You referenced a single tariff on a single product; that doesn't have any statistical significance.  Read Al's last post.
10  Election Archive / 2010 Senatorial Election Polls / Re: AR: Public Policy Polling: Sen. Lincoln (D) trails badly on: February 04, 2010, 03:11:07 pm
The right-left dichotomy has been breaking down, something that Lincoln has failed to understand this decade in the Senate.  She is a far right Democrat in the sense that she is very pro business (and this represents itself in her astronomical, by Arkansas standards, fundraising so far), but in doing this she has created as negative an image as she would if she voted like Barbara Boxer.

Right now she has $5 million cash on hand, and St. Sen. Gilbert Baker has barely raised half of that.  Boozeman has the potential to challenge that and become the establishment candidate, in which case Lincoln is ed.  Her best shot is for an absolute wingnut to win the GOP nomination, someone who wouldn't get the support of the business community.  In that case she could so absolutely dwarf the GOP candidate in fundraising and organization that she could pull it out.  Make no mistake, Arkansans pretty uniformly disliked Blanche even in 2004, but because Jim Holt was the GOP nominee she won by 12 points.
11  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: Greatest Presidents that never were on: February 04, 2010, 01:59:50 am
I have some actual Presidents, but I'm taking this to mean greatest "administrations" that never happened.

Aaron Burr in 1800
Millard Fillmore in 1856
Horace Greeley in 1872
Jimmy Carter in 1980
Al Gore in 2000

12  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Colorado Springs: A Teabagger Paradise on: February 04, 2010, 01:44:05 am
(like a 25% tariff on imported Japanese pickup trucks)


*yawn*

13  General Politics / Political Essays & Deliberation / Re: Populism in America on: February 04, 2010, 12:03:41 am
Nothing new; it could have been said in the 1970s.
It could have been said in the 1930s, but it isn't.  I do recall Thomas Frank talks about it in What's The Matter with Kansas? but he doesn't really grasp the comprehensive phenomenon.
14  General Politics / Political Essays & Deliberation / Populism in America on: February 03, 2010, 07:55:59 pm
An interesting blog post by Walter Russell Mead

Quote
Over at The Arena this morning they are asking whether the Democrats understand the meaning of their defeat in the Massachusetts senate race.  My thoughts:

Do the Democrats ‘get it,’ you ask?

It’s a big tent party; some do and some don’t.

Somebody very cruel once said that Hubert Humphrey is a man who is twenty years ahead of his time — but that his time is 1948.  That was a damning comment in 1972; it’s an even more damning one today, but I’m afraid this describes the mindset of a great many good Democrats.

For these people — earnest, passionate, often very smart and engaged, and many of them good friends of mine — the 1940s and 1950s model of progress still holds.  The world is divided between three groups of people: a large mass of basically good but oppressed and poorly-educated working people (and small farmers) who need guidance, enlightenment and protection; evil and greedy corporations and special interests who seek to grind them down and suck them dry; and honest, competent, well-educated professionals whose job it is to steer society forward in the interests of the ignorant mass.  Unfortunately the evil and greedy interests and their sly minions are good at befuddling and confusing the dumbass masses, using such retrograde themes as patriotism, religion and always and everywhere racism.

For Democrats with this mindset, the party has to balance the interests of the masses and the classes.  That is, the masses are, regrettably, too stupid to know what is good for them.  It is necessary for the enlightened professionals to steer a middle course between the unreflective populism of the masses and the self-destructive and shortsighted greed of the special interests.  These Democrats interpret the populist revolt against the Obama administration (evil “teabaggers” and all) as a sign that the Democrats have steered too far toward the classes, creating a window of vulnerability for evil minion Republican demagogues to confuse the masses about who their real friends are.  To hold this in check, the party needs to embrace more ‘populist’ economic rhetoric: crosses of gold, bankers foreclosing on widows, the whole William Jennings Bryan playbook.  Card check, tax the rich, a hugely expensive jobs bill, regulate the hell out of business.  This, they are deeply and utterly convinced, will foil the minions completely and let everyone know beyond any doubt who the real friends of the people are.

It is extremely difficult for people steeped in this mindset (as I was for many years) to wrap their heads around the core idea powering American politics in the last generation: a revolt by the ‘dumbass masses’ against this basic social map of the world.  Huge chunks of the masses today don’t think they need or want tutors, directors, counselors, union leaders, civil servants or anybody else managing their affairs.  They hunger and thirst for social and political autonomy — it is the liberal world view that they long to be freed of.

For many lower-middle and middle-middle class Americans, the upper-middle class has a basic strategy to protect its privilege and position: to define horrible social problems which require a privileged upper middle class professional establishment to manage.  The fight over the role of government in America today is less ideological than class: the middle-middle class and its allies think that the upper-middle class and its allies use the state as a system to tax other people to defend the privileged class position of professionals, managers and civil servants.  More and better funded university professors; more snooty lawyers with more power; more bureaucrats with life tenure and fat pensions; more money thrown down the rat holes of public schools dominated by self-seeking teacher unions.

To people coming from this (increasingly common) perspective, Democrats actually become much more offensive and patronizing when they embrace what they think of as populist economic rhetoric.  When ‘populist’ Democrats try to respond to public dissatisfaction by offering their services as tribunes of the people out to crush evil monster corporations and vicious robber baron plutocrats with big new government programs, they unintentionally confirm popular suspicions that they are using public grievances to strengthen the class that many Americans think is their real enemy.

The war on upper-middle class privilege is the cause today that, for better or worse, embodies the spirit of American populism.  Some Democrats get this; most don’t and, probably, sadly, won’t.
15  General Politics / Political Essays & Deliberation / Re: On "The Media".... on: February 03, 2010, 07:28:00 pm
FOX News isn't really part of the conservative media establishment, in the sense that it's a propaganda arm for established industrial/political power.  CNN fulfills that role quite nicely (with MSNBC as the potemkin alternative).  That's what the average joe means whenever he rages about CNN's liberalism.  What he really means is that CNN is elitist, but obviously in American discourse elitism in any kind of intellectual realm is always associated with liberalism.

Now the article is rather good, but in getting caught up in a left/right, citizenry/elite type spiel the author misses the real nature of FOX News.  Perhaps many in the conservative establishment intended for FOX to serve their interests squarely, but it has really evolved into something else over the years, much in the same way the GOP has lost control of its Tea Party wing.  The head has been lopped off the beast, and the result is Frankenstein's Monster.
16  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: What's the last movie you've seen? on: February 02, 2010, 03:07:20 pm
Koyaanisqatsi

Has anyone else here seen this film?  Quite the rarity, but it's very interesting.  The "narrative" is crafted entirely in visuals and music.  There is no dialogue; it's like a multi-dimensional symphony.  Koyaanisqatsi is a Hopi word meaning "life out of balance," and the film attempts to portray modern technological society as such.  If anything the film is enfeebled by the fact it was made in the 1980s, and thus the technology that seemed overwhelming back then seem rather mild now.
17  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Colorado Springs: A Teabagger Paradise on: February 01, 2010, 09:34:39 pm
I find it remarkable that only one person has even attempted to mount a rebuttal yet.  It's also no coincidence that I have to click the "show" button to reveal most of the posts in this thread.
18  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Which southern states are the most libertarian? on: January 27, 2010, 11:54:05 pm
Possibly Florida.  It doesn't even have an income tax.

States like Alabama and Virginia aren't really more libertarian.  Yeah, they had a stronger GOP presence earlier than some of the rest of the south, but that's more due to historical circumstances.  In terms of ideology at most you saw a suburban whiggism develop in the new south that manifested as GOP support; that's not really libertarian.

These days you see a strong anti-tax and anti-welfare sentiment.  This is the angry white man, the direct descendent of George Wallace's constituency.  Their wives are more likely to be strictly evangelical voters, putting cultural/family issues first, or independents.
19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Marion Berry(D-AR) to Retire on: January 25, 2010, 08:58:47 pm
This is Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's seat for the taking, if he wants it.  He's very popular in Craighead County (and NE AR in general), and a Republican would have to win Craighead handily in order to have a shot.

The Democrats will not hold this seat.
And who the hell are you?  The seat hasn't been GOP since reconstruction.
20  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: What if Germany atacked the USSR in Spring 1941 instead of waiting until Sum on: January 25, 2010, 08:52:55 pm
The far more important target, from a strategic perspective, was the Baku Oil Fields.  Capturing them probably would not have afforded the Nazis a huge boost in oil reserves, due to sabotage, but it would have deprived the Soviets of the same, rendering the Soviet T-34's all but useless.
Indeed at the very least, it would have completely enfeebled any attempts by the Soviet Union at a counter-blitz; a very large part in their advantage in the closing years of the war was their oil supply.  Their supplies, for example, were actually much more highly mechanized than the Nazi Army, which was still dependent upon horses for a great deal of provisioning.

Excellent postings, Chris.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama Commission for Tax Increases on: January 25, 2010, 02:28:43 pm
Congress is the ultimate arbiter of pecuniary matters, CARL, no need to put on your tin-foil hat.  Merely the commission will condense the decision making process into an up or down vote on the whole of the recommendations, rather than each individual item.  That seems inevitable, in my opinion, if one seeks to really reduce the reform the budget.
22  General Politics / Economics / Re: Geithner must go on: January 25, 2010, 02:25:09 pm
Selling out Geithner as a scapegoat to populism, in my opinion, would appear very disingenuous and wouldn't work.
23  General Politics / Economics / Re: Favorite Economic System on: January 25, 2010, 02:23:38 pm
This aren't the only possible options. Generally, I believe in free markets, but certainly not markets in which massive cartels, in collusion with the State, block small businesses from offering true competition, as is now usually the case. We need to decentralize economic power in this nation.
You can't really do that without repealing the rights of a corporation.  I mean do really expect power of any sort to be decentralized whenever you repudiate all political power of the masses yet grant free reign to most authoritarian organization of all, the corporation?
24  General Politics / Economics / Re: Reasons for Jobless Recoveries on: January 25, 2010, 02:20:08 pm
Jobs are usually the last thing to go moving toward a recession and the last thing to come when the economy is turning around. Jobs are also a great indicator as far as how well the economy is doing. The only better indicator is the GDP rate.
Congratulations, you've completed intro to macroeconomics.  This add little to what we are talking about in this thread, which is rather the question of why in the last couple decades there has been a considerably longer lag develop between the GDP minimum and the employment minimum.
25  General Politics / Economics / Re: Favorite Economic System on: January 25, 2010, 02:12:36 pm
Economic systems are purely historically contingent.  Why would I "choose" one like I would choose my religion?  That's like stating a dogmatic preference for a particular drug; I will take whatever the doctor prescribes for any particular condition.
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