Stephan55

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Everything posted by Stephan55

  1. Stephan55

    IF I WERE KING....

    This is a fanciful thread to encourage all to post what they would do to "fix" the numerous problems of the United States, if they had omnipotent (or at least autocratic) power to do so. All intelligent and polite discourse is welcome and debate about why anyone's suggestions may or may not work as written, or additional amendments to make improvements are encouraged. If you find the idea of an absolute monarchy within this country repugnant, then think of this as if you were at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, but with a modern mindset. How would you go about creating a government truly representative of it's people? A couple of Ground Rules are that we must first agree that climate change is real and we can't simply ignore the impact it is having and will continue to have on this and other countries. So if you live in a coastal or low lying area this may be of particular import to you. A second rule is posts here must remain civil and respectful of each others views, regardless. Since we are a diverse group, living in diverse places within this land (including Canada and maybe beyond), let us pretend that we are all part of the same country, and we are charged as representatives of our respective regions with creating a "constitution" that will fairly represent and protect us all. To this end we must all agree that persuasion and compromise is requisite if we are to achieve a unanimous consent. And, just as our founding fathers did, we must likely implement effective checks and balances to help insure the preservation of "our" government for future generations. Okay, I'll begin as if I were somehow appointed the "benevolent" (and temporary) autocratic ruler of this fair land... If I were king.... I would immediately remove the false legitimacy of "gerrymandering" and the "electoral college" in this country. (We are the only modern "democracy" to have either.) I would implement term limits to all elected offices of government and make it impossible for any former elected official to "lobby" the government on behalf of any corporation for at least the equivalent of two terms after having left office. I would make it impossible for any candidate to conceal the sources of his funding with mandatory reporting of all donors. I would also repeal the SCOTUS decision making corporations the equivalent of individual citizens, and would minimize the amount that any individual or entity could contribute to any political campaign. To help mediate that decision I would make it mandatory for all public and privately controlled media to provide a minimal standard amount of "free and equal ad time" to any person seeking any elected office. And make it illegal for any public and privately controlled media to accept any funding for political ads from any private or corporate source. In this way, diminishing the current exuberant cost of running for office will hopefully encourage the best and brightest and not just the richest or most financially connected to run for public office. Media would also be required to "fact check" any advertisements before allowing any of them to be aired or printed. "Truth" must be verifiable to be trusted. I would implement a fixed and flat individual income tax, and eliminate all other private property and possession taxes. I would also limit the retirement and health benefits received by any politician to the equivalent of the least of their represented citizenry. I would put "teeth" into the "balanced budget" amendment and eliminate the ability of congress to forever raise the debt ceiling (in time of peace). With a flat and fixed income tax (and no way to tax persons out of their property) government will be forced to limit and prioritize it's spending. To increase available dollars government will have to work to raise the standard of living of all it's citizens. I would do my best to incentivize politicians to fairly represent all citizens within their geographic area, regardless of party affiliation. As the only way for them to increase the personal gain of their office would be by improving the lot of their least citizenry. In other words, I would reinstate the constitutional ideal of checks and balances, with the goal of making this truly a government of, by, and for it's people. I would initiate mass infrastructure rebuilding projects with the emphasis on long term sustainability. I would wean this country from it's dependence upon fossil fuels and encourage the maximum development of sustainable renewable energy enterprises (i.e. solar, wind, tidal, and geothermal, wherever available) that is environmentally benign. I would incentivize the development of new low energy consuming technologies, and more efficient ways of "storing and transporting" regional energy, and decentralize the power grid. I would start by mandating all new federal and state government and public buildings be energy self-sufficient. Followed by older building renovation. As technology costs decreased I would mandate all private new construction be the same, and then further incentivize renovation of older private dwellings. I would invigorate rapid transit transportation and rail systems throughout the land. Many ideas are continually popping into my head, and the devil of course is in the details... So to get this thread started I'll stop for now... My goal being, after I have successfully gotten us onto the "right" track of "Making America Great Again," (or rather "making us into the great nation that we should have been all along") I would depose myself and, like Washington, step down from public life... So whether you wish to be an interim "king" or a "delegate" from your area, post your thoughts on how to persuade me to do things differently or how you would do them yourself (if you could). If you were Solomon what would you do?
  2. Stephan55

    Die Hard on TCM?

    The last item on my bucket list is to Die Hard! Not to seriously change the subject Rich, but I thought you might be interested to know that your Avatar namesake, Tor Johnson aired again today in "Registered Nurse" (1934). He had a full head of hair and was quite a good-looking guy back then. He played a wrestler called Sonnevich. We discussed this movie before a couple of years or so ago. I even posted some stills from the movie for you then. BTW, REGISTERED NURSE is currently available on WATCH TCM ON-DEMAND until 11/20/2018, in case you've yet to see it, or would like to see it again.
  3. Stephan55

    Where's CaveGirl?

    Thanks guys, it's nice to know that I'm not alone in my affection. And I certainly hope that you are all correct, and that she is alright, and maybe will read this thread and stop torturing us with her unannounced absence.
  4. With today's DNA analysis, that might not be that difficult to prove or disprove, if a bonified near relative can be found (or exhumed). That was such a dark time in our recent history. Anyone who says such things could never happen again, or never happen here, or never happened at all, have no idea do they. Thank you for the heads up on the PBS docu, I will be sure to check it out. So how do you feel about states and governments making some sort of restitution payments for their past misdeeds?
  5. Stephan55

    IF I WERE KING....

    Much to contemplate here. We have heard your vote against the Electoral College. Our fine delegate from Sedona Land hath said: It brought to memory similar arguments from a distant time in another land in which delegates made the counterpoint that larger states might easily overpower and drown out the voice of the smaller states, if there were not some safe guards of a "fair" and "equal" measure of representation built in. What say you to such an argument that might be put forth to defend the Electoral College? Doest such a counterpoint carry any merit to thy mind? Regarding such matters as witches and lawyers, truly none save you have yet brought up these concerns in our fare land. Though I doest recall a similar problem, again from a distant land in another time. If any of our other delegates confirm such a presence and concern, perhaps a federal amendment can be added to address such an issue. But first methinks it would behoove your independent consult with the scarecrow (after he has been awarded a brain) and the Lion (after he has validated his courage) before proposing such a bill and submitting it for review by this august body. If it be shown that the witches are benign, and merely wish to practice Wicca and or Earth centered naturalistic religious practices, then they shall be protected as any "religion." I propose that this land have an amendment protecting the freedom of religion, and freedom from religion. By the power invested in me, this kingdom shall not become a theocracy under my watch. However I may consider any amendment banning all lawyers who advertise their litigious services beyond those listed in a phone book or on-line search. My role as Monarch though supreme is but a temporary office, to deal with the immediate problems at hand. But our goal at this convention is to establish a self-sustaining government, guided by a constitutional rule of law and free of all despots, be they benevolent or tyrannical. At present we are here to establish a sturdy foundation upon which this government can be securely built. It has not yet been considered by this body, and we have yet to hear the voices of delegates from our other Provinces that may wish to limit the responsibilities, size, and intrusion the federal government. If the Province's choose to extend the power of the federal government at the diminishment of Provincial rule then so be it. But the decision to do so must be unanimous. Regarding "free lunches" and "free suppers," doest thou propose this as a national measure for the destitute and infirm, or for all? I see merit in concerns about the former being cared for, but for consideration we require clarification as to the extent of this concern, and whether or not it can or should be addressed at the Provincial levels, or does it merit a national amendment?
  6. I'm glad I think I know you well enough to recognize satire when I see it. However there are a few (evidently still quite a few) that still revere Adolph and consider it a blasphemous insult that he might actually have had some Semitic blood in his line. So to see his image turned any superficially "darker" would fly in the face of such radicals. It is obvious that the "American ideal" fostered by the Eugenics Movement that prevailed ubiquitously in this country from the teens through the 1920s-30's (up until well after our entry into the War) is still alive and "well," both here and abroad. Sustained by the same fears of its followers as it was back then.
  7. Stephan55

    IF I WERE KING....

    Oh wise Vautrin, from the Northern Carolinas, thou speakest true in this example. Howst doth thy wisdom fare regarding the motion presented this day, seconded by two, toward Elimination of the Electoral College. Doest thy vote count for or against the passage of this amendment?
  8. Stephan55

    IF I WERE KING....

    Thy Provence may be large in geography and small in population, it matters not to us either way, except when we address concerns of representation apportionment. If thou be a minority of one, thou art granted equal representation here, for thy voice no doubt represents that of many others of a similar mind. It is for those others as yourself that you speak, and therefore by the terms granted within this kingdom do thy represent "your people."
  9. Stephan55

    IF I WERE KING....

    Thou may speak in whichever dialect best serveth thee and thy people. Whether thou choose to fully indulge in this fantasy or not, thou art welcome as a Canadian delegate to this fine and far flung assemblage. And now my friends, to assist in our preparation for what I hope will be numerous friendly debates within this thread may we indulge ourselves in a fine example of "American Rhetoric" from the following: Lincoln–Douglas debates excerpt from "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" (1940) 11.41 min https://americanrhetoric.com/MovieSpeeches/moviespeechabelincolnillinois.html https://americanrhetoric.com/mp3clips/newmoviespeeches/moviespeechabelincolninillinois.mp3
  10. Stephan55

    IF I WERE KING....

    Ahh brave Dargo of Sedona Land, thy humour doest not depart thee. But within this delegation we must be mindful to keep our humour light and without unintentional malice. The goal here is mutual consensus to pass helpful and not deleterious legislation. Our delegates come here from distant parts of our fair land. We want none to fear that a majority might trample the equal rights of any minority. Nor do we wish for a minority to hold a majority hostage by with-holding their votes. Our delegates must be of one mind so that when they return home to their constituents they can be proud to announce the unanimous passage of our kingdom's constitution. This duty shall require much diplomacy, mutual respect and a willingness to reasonably compromise from all!
  11. Stephan55

    IF I WERE KING....

    We welcome the delegate from Sedona Land, and are happy to hear his wisdom. Ahh yes, you bring to memory the nascent days of my youth, before my current appointment to chair this realm with fidelity. So by your words, Sedona Land agrees with the disposal of the Electoral College. But thy words hearken us to echos of another republic, from another time which, if I am not mistaken, whose delegates made the counterpoint that larger states might easily overpower and drown out the voice of the smaller states, if there were not some safe guards of a "fair" and "equal" measure of representation built in. What say you to such an argument that might be put forth to defend the Electoral College? Doest such a counterpoint carry any merit to thy mind? Please speakest thou, as if thy words were addressing those representatives of smaller states that have yet to join this forum.
  12. Stephan55

    IF I WERE KING....

    Our delegate from the northern Carolinas has brought us forth lyrics from the "Land of Oz." Perhaps there is a worthy message to be found in such. I present the full presentation for our entertainment, and perchance enlightenment! "If I Were The King Of The Forest"
  13. Stephan55

    IF I WERE KING....

    Ahhh, our delegate from Mahagonny land hast brought humour into the room. We welcome light hearts, so long as the intent is pure and without malice.
  14. Stephan55

    IF I WERE KING....

    Fear not oh delegate from the northern Provence. Thou art allowed to speak thy heart in this forum, so long as thou speakest true and with a civil tongue, as we wish that this land be not one of oppression, but of equal freedom to all, so long as one freedom doth not tread upon another. Doest thou concur with the seconded measure above, or doest though wish to propose another?
  15. Stephan55

    IF I WERE KING....

    You may not be able to read my friend, but I and I am sure that others can attest that your "intention span" is clear and long. Okay, from those delegates present and accounted for, we have the motion of eliminating the Electoral College seconded. What say ye all? Shall this motion be carried? Or is there any here that speak merit to continue the practice???
  16. Stephan55

    IF I WERE KING....

    Well at least I've got a few posters in this thread. For awhile I was thinking that no one wanted the office of "King" or even "Queen," to wield that mighty power to right the wrongs of the kingdom, and make this land a happy, or at least a more contented place. Still, I was hoping that those who post here might give some serious thought as to what should be done to make things better than they are, so we could rationally debate the merits of each postured edict. Or play the respresentative game, where each person from far and wide would state the concerns of their regions people, and we could then jointly discuss what might be done to alleviate those concerns. It is so easy to criticize and play the blame game, and apparently so difficult to actually search our minds and hearts for solutions to the problems that plague us all. I assume that we all share some of the most important things in common... We all eat, and drink, and breathe, and require shelter, and warmth in the cold, and cool in the heat... We all (or most all) have families, and loved ones that we care about and wish likewise too. And do we not all wish the best for this land, and a hopeful future for our progeny? Do we not all wish to be protected from preventable diseases, as we wish our government to protect us from the threat of those which would do us harm. We wish for our equal say and consent in how we our governed, and none of us wish to be denied that right. Do we not all wish for an unpoisoned land, uncontaminated waters, and unpolluted air. And I doubt that any of us wish for a world devoid of other forms of life than our own. If any of us have concerns about such important things, then it should be of concern to all of us. Because near, or far, we are all neighbors, and sooner or late our neighbors fate becomes that of our own. So I hoped, in this fanciful kingdom of ours, we might address the issues that prompt our concerns, and see if we might not brainstorm some answers which appear to elude us in the "real" world.
  17. Stephan55

    Where's CaveGirl?

    Bump! Okay, now I'm beginning to get some' concerned myself. Yes, it's only been five weeks since her last CaveGirl post, and Yes, she has "disappeared" longer than that before, but, gosh, (How can I put this without sounding sorta mushy) I guess I miss reading her many "recent" posts. I even postured the thought that maybe RBG FAN was CaveGirl incognito. I mean, she did join a mere week prior to CaveGirl's "disappearance," and it wouldn't surprise me if CaveGirl gave herself a different alter ego, to sorta pick peoples brains a bit. RBG is certainly not as prolific a poster as I imagine CG would have been in the same time-span, so maybe it's just my wishful thinking. But I have to ask, RBG FAN, you aren't really CaveGirl in disguise are you? Okay, CG wherever you are, I hope your ears are burning (or maybe your eyes are watering) right now because you are being "written" about! Seriously. I too hope that all is well, and she comes back soon with her clever mind, and mindful threads, and "cheeky" posts!
  18. Stephan55

    democrats take house

    Oh there is more than enough blame to go around. The Republicans pulled the stymie act from day one of the Obama administration and remained partisan throughout. Now they cry foul at the thought that the Democrats may try the same stunt with the House. Both parties are full of crap, but when the one "side" controls the senate, the Judicial, and executive branches, and garbage happens, the finger knows where to point. I think that it is more honorable in a so called "Democratic Republic" for the government goal to be to serve the good of entire population, as opposed to "Being All Things" To their own exclusive party and the handful of rich corporations that paid their way to power. "The GOP is guilty of nothing" good that is, except for when it comes to serving themselves. Of course they do not have a monopoly on that, as they are the flip side of a tarnished government coin. Share that fact with your fellow Trumpites.
  19. Stephan55

    VETERANS DAY

    This is good to know. Thanks
  20. Stephan55

    VETERANS DAY

    The U.S. military has many books called "Smart Books," I am quite frankly surprised that you have never heard of at least one of them referenced with that label. One in particular that all newly enlisted personnel quickly become familiar with is that fat little paperback that is issued to enlisted soldiers in Basic Training titled the "Soldier's Manual of Common Tasks" and fondly referred to by all as the "Smart Book." It is a handy little reference manual that contains a plethora of basic military information including definitions, structure of rank, military time, general orders, and a whole lot of other applicably practical and technical skills stuff from D&C to sighting in and field stripping an M-16, to swapping barrels on an M-60, etc. Even a tad on Laws of War and the Geneva Convention. If I remember correctly during Nam it was a white pocket sized paperback, and when I last saw one in the '80's it was green. But for as long as I can remember DI's have referred to it as the "Smart Book" because reading and memorizing it was supposed to make you "Smart." Recruits were instructed to have it on their person at all times and refer to it whenever they were standing still (unless they were at attention or on Parade.) Often it was the only item a recruit was allowed carry in their pocket. All officers that I know who had been prior enlisted are quite familiar with that "Smart Book." I should know better that you are a stickler about such things and perhaps (for your sake) I should have included "Unlawful" in my post. Perhaps you are just trying to keep me factually honest, which is always good. But you and I (and practically every elected government official that I am aware of) has had to swear an oath to "protect and defend the constitution of the United States" and (in the case of enlisted military personnel) obey the "lawful" orders of officers appointed over us, to include the POTUS (and a governor, for members of the National Guard). Granted the military are not the only ones trained to "follow orders." "Oversimplification," you bet. But you were not my primary audience, as I credited persons such as yourself as already knowing these things and thereby require no in depth explanation. Also consider that I am posting in an "Off-Topics" movie website, and not teaching an on-line military class on the subject. And I already have been rightfully accused of being perhaps overly verbose here. The Constitution is the law of this land, and the base barometer for determining "lawfulness." On one hand soldiers (officers and men) are taught that they can "question" some orders. But with a much firmer other hand they are trained to obediently follow orders without question. Unless you are privy to the actual planning of a mission, discussion of what, where, when, who, how, and why, will not generally be addressed. Often field officers and their men are issued a rather terse mission order and expected to carry it out immediately. They may address the merits of what went right and wrong, and why, in an after-action review, but not beforehand. The military is an ancient autocratic system, that is the nature of the beast. It couldn't function with any efficiency if orders were questioned up and down the chain. Every officer and NCO has their own "style of leadership," based upon individual training, mentorship and experience. My own experience taught me to share with my men as much as I possibly could whenever I had the time to do so. I wanted them to understand the mission and rationale ("commanders intent") as much as possible, to make them as much a part of it as I could. I did this to build up trust, so that when an order had to be followed immediately, without time for question or explanation, they would trust me that the reasoning behind it was sound. And I trusted them to do their utmost with that extra ummph when needed to carry it through. Questioning any order requires some level of prior knowledge, time and consideration. For an individual to "decide" whether an order is "unlawful" or not and then whether to act upon such a decision often requires more time and consideration, as well as a great deal of self-conviction and courage, as refusing any order has it's consequence. So that is why I said that I hoped "our" military would remember this POTUS' fractious track record (of which "suppressing their absentee ballots" is but one of a long line), and take the time required to pause before execution, if ever they were issued such a questionable order directed by this president. As the act of refusal goes directly against the grain of what their training has taught them, and carries gravest of consequences, second only to the potentially worse consequences of actually carrying out such an order. And I feel certain, with your length of service and experience, that you are more than aware (and can probably cite examples) of too many of your fellow officers and men that were insufficient in knowledge and understanding of history and their own constitution, and ill-equipped to make a spontaneous objective judgement call as to whether or not an order was lawful at the time, and also had conviction and guts to refuse it if they deemed it were not. Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks, or the SMCT “Smart Book” http://www.milsci.ucsb.edu/sites/secure.lsit.ucsb.edu.mili.d7/files/sitefiles/resources/STP 21-1-SMCT, Warrior Skills, Level 1.pdf Other "Smart Books" https://www.thelightningpress.com/smartsets/ What to Know About Obeying an Unlawful Military Order https://www.thebalancecareers.com/military-orders-3332819 When one enlists in the United States Military, active duty or reserve, the following oath is taken: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice." National Guard enlisted members are required to take a similar oath, swearing additionally to obey the orders of the Governors of their states of enlistment. Officers, upon commission, swear to the following: "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter." Military discipline and effectiveness are built on a foundation of obedience to orders. Recruits are taught to obey orders from their superiors immediately and without question, right from day one of boot camp. It's clear, under military law, that military members can be held accountable for crimes committed under the guise of "obeying orders," and there is no requirement to obey orders which are unlawful. However, here's the rub: A military member disobeys such orders at his/her own peril. Ultimately, it's not whether or not the military member thinks the order is illegal or unlawful; it's whether military superiors (and courts) think the order was illegal or unlawful. And such determinations are made after the fact, often during a court martial proceeding.
  21. Stephan55

    democrats take house

    "If Dems run Hillary again, Trump will win." "But I still believe Trump will come up with an excuse NOT to run for a second term. I.e. he doesn't wish to go out a loser." I agree about Hillary, she still represents the "establishment" and what went (and is) wrong with both Parties. However I think that Trump is too much of a "publicity *H*O**" to not not run again. But who can be found to viably run against him and his radicalized 40 (or less) percent? I know that he is aging, but so long as he still retains his sensibilities, I'd like to see Bernie Sanders run in 2020 (and this time remain an independent while doing so). If not him, then someone very much like him, most preferably an independent. If things continue on (as they're bound to) these next two years, and Trump continues his efforts to disenfranchise and alienate a large chunk of this population with his infantile "rhetoric" and deeds, then someone whose authentically not associated with either of these two corrupt political parties has a much better chance of actually winning this time. If that can happen, and that hoped for future administration can manage to gain a sense of "progressive" bipartisanship in congress, while bringing most of us together again (and do so without blundering in other ways), then the stranglehold of this "two party" system that we are stricken with will be loosened... If two such terms can be had, accompanied by a "wave" of "independent" and "green" politicos and voters, then the singular power of these "two" corrupt parties will be broken. I know, a lot of "wishful" thinking on my part here, but how much longer can "we" continue unhappily bouncing from one party to the other, hoping for truly "positive" change, when each is really the same in all the wrong ways? If we are deigned to continue as a national entity for another 100 years (or more) then I hope that it is with a government that truly see's itself (and behaves as) a servant "of (all) the people" (and not the other way around).
  22. Stephan55

    democrats take house

    Whenever I hear Trump (and too many of his cronies speak) it's like they are really talking to and about themselves. It's like that old child hood saying, "I'm rubber and you're glue. What you say bounces off of me and sticks to you." Silly I know, but I wish that somehow a mirror could be placed in front of these yahoos whenever they start to open their mouth.
  23. Stephan55

    VETERANS DAY

    Did you?
  24. Stephan55

    VETERANS DAY

    Let's hope that "our" military (officers and men) remember this (and so many other factious deeds) if or when this POTUS ever gives them an unconstitutional order.... Sadly though, my experience has shown that though GI's were taught to memorize their "Smart Book" too few (including many fellow officers) ever learned enough about history (our's or anyone else's) to enable them to make an objective value judgement regarding constitutional infractions, nor to openly question the ethics or morality of certain orders. "Following Orders" and "Mission First" is universal military mantra, and soldiers are trained to expeditiously accomplish both without question. On-duty Military personnel often live in a "bubble" of ignorance, relying on the officers above them to be informed regarding the validity (and "bigger picture") of any order. And once issued an order is like a bullet fired and not subject to recall, until after the damage has already occurred.
  25. Stephan55

    Top Ten Favorite Movies

    Somehow I knew that title had to be right up there at (or very near) the Top of your list. Wholeheartedly Agree! As I read through the titles in each posted list I found myself saying, "Yeah, Oh yeah!" Whenever I've attempted to make a "short" list of my faves, I always find it ever growing as I think of, and contemplate, another different title. Even when I have attempted to break it down by various genres and sub genres (or by nationality, or by year or decade, or by duration i.e. short or full-feature length) of silents, comedies, dramas, romances, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, action, noirs, westerns, War, and then by period, century or era depicted, and every combination there-of: romdram, comdram, romcomdram,.... just impossible. I suppose that it is natural for us to try to compartmentalize. And I suppose that some may actually be able to narrow it down to a mere ten (of practically anything). But this is almost an impossible task for anyone with ever changing ("evolving") eclectic tastes in subjects with such diversity as books, music and cinema. I couldn't narrow myself down to just ten favorites in any of the categories mentioned. However, on the positive side of this topic, I find that I could easily sit down and have an enjoyable evening watching any movies from anyone's list presented here. Even more-so, knowing that the person upon whose list it came, was passionate about the titles presented!

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