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Bernardo de La Paz

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Member since: Fri Jul 16, 2004, 11:36 PM
Number of posts: 12,571

About Me

Lived most of my adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Left a piece of my heart there.

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Important issue, but must not confuse cultural participation with appropriation.

Thank you for starting this thread. It is an interesting topic for me, since I have lived on three continents (Africa, North America, Asia) and visited three others. I may not participate much but I hope to follow it.

Yes, it is not right for example for a non-Native American to wear a First Nations headdress without approval or invitation. This is because those headdresses have important ceremonial functions (as one aspect of the issue).

But that does not mean all headdresses are out of bounds. First Nations headdresses can inspire other creative effort.

This is much in the same line as when African Americans took music from Africa and added English / celtic elements and instrumentation to make something new that all Americans and all the world enjoy. That music has in turn inspired enormous creativity around the world in many cultures, including returning to Africa and re-invigorating music there. The guitar owes a great deal to Spanish development. Is King Sunny Ade culturally appropriating the electric guitar?

If blond women and men are disallowed wearing cornrows and braids and dashiki shirts, are African Americans disallowed wearing suits and buzz cuts? No and no.

Cultural participation can be respectful while encouraging the mixing and creativity.

We (the people of the world) can use all elements of all cultures in respectful ways (which means not in all ways or all situations) while maintaining our identities and the identities of other people and other peoples.
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Thu Aug 11, 2016, 07:28 AM (1 replies)

The USA will continue for a long time, but there are troubles that can be avoided.

The rise of China and, later, India will challenge American ascendancy. This will be difficult for the Right Wing Authoritarians and RWA Followers to deal with, especially since the latter are dominated by lesser-informed people.

The greatest hope for world peace, and therefore a continuation of the American way of life and the American dream, is to promote world trade and travel, and (not least) education. World peace includes coordinated global action on vital issues such as climate change.

When there are large middle classes (resulting from education) that consume products and services from all over the world, they do not have an interest in disrupting the world with war. This is the positive side of globalism which must not be overlooked.

Education increases awareness of the diversity of human experience and existence. Education grows economies and increases exports, which earns money to buy the best that the world offers.

Nationalism has terrible downsides. When protectionism closes borders to free(r) flow of people, goods, and services, then there is less interest in world peace, less interest in diversity, less interest in acting together on global problems. Nationalism promotes us-versus-them thinking, which also has very negative effects on tolerance and diversity within the borders of nations (including the US). Racism and bigotry against groups such as LGBTQ increases. It creates fertile ground for conflict and war.
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Thu Aug 11, 2016, 07:10 AM (0 replies)

Do some research. Forgiveness is for the person forgiving. The forgiven one doesn't have to know.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting.

You can forgive someone and still prosecute them to the full extent of the law. You can forgive someone and bankrupt them to make an example of them.

You can make a vow to never communicate with someone ever again but still forgive them and keep your vow.

The point of forgiveness is to obtain inner peace.

By forgiving, a person lets go of toxic emotions and returns to a clearer head, one where they can deal with problems and root causes more effectively. Ever heard the expression "blind with rage"?

To expect people to deal with it in a society where the term is 'weak and a pussy' if you seek help, the despair never goes away and every day gets worse.

I never said people should be expected to "deal with it" alone.
I explicitly said "people should be helped...", but perhaps you were too angry to read that.

I never said that society was not a big part of the problem.
I explicitly said anger should be "less respected as an emotion". Perhaps I was not clear enough for you or just not clear enough that therefore society is part of the problem and needs to improve.

A case can be made that society is at the root of the problem.

Anger management is seeing justice done and the bullies and antagonists punished!

Wrong. Anger management is about managing emotions. Seeing justice done is not about revenge or retribution. Right wing authoritarian types think that it is. Law & order campaigners take advantage and whip up those emotions.

But in any case, forgiveness is entirely consistent with seeing justice done and bullies punished. In truth, forgiveness enables a person to do that more clearly and more effectively.

Absolutely true that bullying and oppression starts in on young people at a very early age. But when a person is damaged this way, they can get help to deal with their emotions so they can live a more peaceful life. Doing so does not interfere with "targeting the problem". It helps improve the aim and put more power into the arrow.

Progressives are capable of healing (themselves to some extent and with help and helping others) at the same time as they advance causes to solve root problems. Reactive types only see a problem and one reaction.
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Fri Aug 5, 2016, 09:41 AM (0 replies)

He appeals to the Right Wing Authoritarian Follower personality type:

See the research by Robert Altemeyer.


RWA is defined as the convergence of three attitudinal clusters:

Authoritarian submission: A high degree of submission to the authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in the society in which one lives.
Authoritarian aggression: A general aggressiveness, directed against various persons, that is perceived to be sanctioned by established authorities.
Conventionalism: A high degree of adherence to the social conventions that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities.

Table 1: Hostility & Fear Toward Outgroups

RWA's are more likely to:

Weaken constitutional guarantees of liberty, such as the Bill of Rights.
Punish severely `common' criminals in a role-playing situation.
Admit they get personal pleasure from punishing such people.
But go easy on authorities who commit crimes and people who attack minorities.
Be prejudiced against many racial, ethnic, nationalistic, and linguistic minorities.
Be hostile toward homosexuals.
Support `gay-bashing.'
Be hostile toward feminists.
Volunteer to help the government persecute almost anyone.
Be mean-spirited toward those who have made mistakes and suffered.
Be fearful of a dangerous world.

Table 2: Not-So-Healthy Ingroup Cohesion

RWA's are more likely to:

Strongly believe in group cohesiveness and `loyalty.'
Insist on traditional sex roles.
Use religion to erase guilt over their acts and to maintain their self-righteousness.
Be `fundamentalists' and the most prejudiced members of whatever religion they belong to.
Accept unfair and illegal abuses of power by government authorities.
Trust leaders (such as Richard Nixon) who are untrustworthy.

Table 3: Faulty reasoning

RWA's are more likely to:

Make many incorrect inferences from evidence.
Hold contradictory ideas leading them to `speak out of both sides of their mouths.'
Uncritically accept that many problems are `our most serious problem.'
Uncritically accept insufficient evidence that supports their beliefs.
Uncritically trust people who tell them what they want to hear.
Use many double standards in their thinking and judgements.

Table 4: Profound Character Flaws

RWA's are more likely to:

Be dogmatic.
Be zealots.
Be hypocrites.
Be bullies when they have power over others.
Help cause and inflame intergroup conflict.
Seek dominance over others by being competitive and destructive in situations requiring cooperation.

Table 5: Blindness To Own Failings

RWA's are more likely to:

Believe they have no personal failings.
Avoid learning about their personal failings.
Be highly self-righteous.
Use religion to erase guilt over their acts and to maintain their self-righteousness.

Table 6: RWA's Political Tendencies

RWA's are more likely to:

Weaken constitutional guarantees of liberty, such as the Bill of Rights.
Accept unfair and illegal abuses of power by government authorities.
Trust leaders (such as Richard Nixon) who are untrustworthy.
Sometimes join left-wing movements, where their hostility distinguishes them.
But much more typically endorse right-wing political parties.
Be conservative/Reform party (Canada) or Republican Party (United States) lawmakers who
have a conservative economic philosophy;
believe in social dominance;
are ethnocentric;
are highly nationalistic;
oppose abortion;
support capital punishment;
oppose gun-control legislation;
say they value freedom but actually want to undermine the Bill of Rights;
do not value equality very highly and oppose measures to increase it;
are not likely to rise in the Democratic party, but do so among Republicans.
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sun Jul 31, 2016, 11:40 PM (1 replies)

To other posters in this thread: before high tech gadgetry get rid of ticket quotas.

Devise other means to measure law enforcement activity than ticket quotas.

Get rid of civil forfeiture. Fundamentally it is ass-backwards to make police forces into revenue agents and to make police forces depend on revenue generation for funding.

But, of course, this is the result of Republican strangulation of government services while at the same time out of the other side of their mouth they are piously saying platitudes about "respect for law and order" and "support our police".

Further, demand accountability from leadership on down, but heaviest on the leadership. Fire chiefs and deputy chiefs if people die for the wrong reasons (police die or black people die or anybody dies from lack of training or greed or whatever).

Use existing tech well: body cams & car cams (front, back, and wide angle) on all the time on duty, no ability to switch off. A malfunctioning body cam means return to station to get fitted with a functioning one just like a radio malfunction or vehicle failure. With regard to privacy issues, independent bodies can review footage for release whenever it is requested (like after incidents) so that sensitivity can be shown (child custody, domestic disturbances, etc.).

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sun Jul 10, 2016, 02:23 PM (0 replies)

Islamophobia is a proxy for Anti-Semitism, since Arabs and Jews are both 'Semites'.

It is more difficult to be overtly against Jews in the US these days, just like it is more difficult to be overtly against african-Americans these days, compared to, say, 60 years ago.

However, it is there, below the surface, and stronger in some segments of the population.

Guess which segments are simultaneously less sensitive to anti-semitism, less respectful of Obama's heritage, less respectful of Jews, and overtly Islamophobic?
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Mon Jul 4, 2016, 06:35 AM (0 replies)

No. Canadians know ten times as much about US as Americans know about Canada.

US cultural imperialism dominates Canadian media, so there are regulations to protect Canadian content. Thus Canada has a thriving music scene.

Canadian news hears about the US election most nights. Most US residents are rarely informed about Canadian politics by US media, since the USA tends to be arrogant and inward-looking. If there were not adults like Obama and (with a touch of luck and GOTV) Hillary Clinton in charge, then Canada-US relations would be badly damaged much like if an elephant blundered around a tiger trapped in a cage with it.

Remember that the USA has a population ten times the size of Canada and an economy at least ten times larger.

But also remember that the USA is only as strong as it is because it has a very friendly polite neighbor and stalwart ally to trade with and be its largest trading partner. Not only that, but the trade relationship is the world's largest.

The Members of Parliament chanted that as the friendliest of jokes because they are also aware that the right wing in the USA has been fomenting lots of conspiracy theories that Obama is a "homosexual marxist Kenyan dictator" who will stage a coup to over-turn the US election system term limit and rule for a third and fourth term as a dictator.
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Thu Jun 30, 2016, 12:56 AM (2 replies)

No term limits, but also no fixed terms. Governments can fall at any time, so no Nixons either.

Justin Trudeau's father Pierre Trudeau was prime minister for 15 years, 164 days, winning four elections (3 majority and 1 minority). He served 19681979 and 19801984.

If a government loses a "vote of confidence" in the House of Commons, then either the opposition will be given a chance to form a government (possibly a coalition) or an election will be called. The latter is almost always the case.

Regardless, there must be an election no longer than 5 years after the last one. Election campaigns are short. The longest one in modern times was 11 weeks and campaigns of 6 weeks are more typical.

If a minority government cannot convince enough opposition Members of Parliament to support them, for example for a budget vote, then the opposition has the right to call for a vote of confidence which the government will lose.

This tends to make for cooperative governance, unless a party wins a clear majority of seats. Even then an autocratic prime minister can be voted out mid-term by their own party or members might even join the opposition in a vote of "no confidence" to bring down the government and force an election.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Thu Jun 30, 2016, 12:39 AM (1 replies)

Globalization is not the problem. Low wages, shitty jobs, & wealth inequality are the problems

A lot (not all or necessarily most of course but a lot) of the people railing, tweeting, and posting against the dreaded "globalization" are doing so on the WORLD WIDE Web with their MADE IN CHINA phones built from AFRICAN metals using USA engineering and apps developed in part in EUROPE. And that is only one example of many. That's GLOBALIZATION. It's not a problem.

Even "exporting" jobs is not a problem. Nobody here wants to be paid to recycle the materials in their precious phones that they replace every year or two while we wait for robots to get good enough to do it.

Even "exporting" manufacturing jobs is not problem. The sooner developing countries develop a robust middle class, the sooner there will be democracy in places like China and the sooner war becomes unimaginable to those people around the world.

The problem is low wages here. Raise the minimum wage. Increase education so that people can get better jobs. Invest in innovative NON_REPUBLICAN industries like solar power like Europe is investing in. Invest in high speed rail. Invest in elder care. Invest in replacing crumbling infrastructure.

Look to what the Democratic Governor is doing in California and contrast it with Republican Kansas.

Another part of the problem is wealth inequality. Close off-shore tax loopholes. If it means higher taxes for the 10% / 1%, go for it. Make sure they pay for the education and infrastructure that they suck dry.
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Tue Jun 28, 2016, 06:18 PM (4 replies)

The problem is not globalism, the problem is wealth inequality and income inequality.

Along with that and "part and parcel" with it is low wages and bad working conditions.

I do not begrudge low wage jobs moving out of the country to advance middle classes elsewhere.

The sooner there are healthy middle classes in every country, the more war becomes unimaginable to the majority of the public and the healthier the world and the population of the world will be.

The problem is not that the iPhones and iPads of the people complaining about globalism are made in China and Vietnam. The problem is that the minimum wage in the US is ridiculously low.

When you have a robust working poor who can make a decent wage to live a decent (if a bit hard) life and provide a future for their children with health care, then you have a strong base for the nation.

But there is too much wealth at the top in the 1% and the 0.1% and the 0.01%. That wealth is invested offshore and dodges taxes and does not pay its fair share of the load.

There are NOT only three models that are all forms of authoritarianism.

The California model, the Canadian model, and the Scandinavian models do very well. Look there. That's what we got. Lots of options.
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sat Jun 25, 2016, 03:02 PM (0 replies)
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