News and Announcements

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Live Oxford Debate: Brexit . . . leave or stay?

Come watch a live debate on the contentious topic of "Brexit."

Fred (https://www.meetup.com/debateclub-6/members/68578742/) and Andy (https://www.meetup.com/NYC-Politics/members/6913564/) will team up against Nancy (https://www.meetup.com/NYC-Politics/members/212089790/) and Tanya (https://www.meetup.com/debateclub-6/members/191115622/) to engage in a civil and thoughtful debate on this topic.

Here's the final debate resolution:
"This House supports the U.K. leaving the E.U."

The debate will be in an "Oxford-style" format (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate#Oxford-style_debating).

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The event schedule:

7:00 -- doors open
7:30 -- introduction by the moderator
7:45 to 9:45 -- the debate!
9:45 to 10:00 -- event wrap-up

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On Empathy and Politics

As the Holiday Season draws near, let's reexamine the role of "empathy" in our lives and society. In particular, we'll focus the discussion on how "empathy" conflicts (or enhances) the public policy priorities, as well as our current state of politics.

The discussion will primarily be based on Prof. Paul Bloom's book, entitled "Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion." This thought-proving book provides a refreshing perspective on "empathy" -- especially when it comes to both major policy decisions and the choices we make in our everyday lives.

Here's the central question: is limiting our impulse toward empathy, perhaps the most compassionate choice that we can make?

To that end, we'll examine the following topics:

• Is empathy the leading motivators of inequality and immorality in society?

• Is empathy a product of a capricious and irrational emotions that appeals to our narrow prejudices?

• Are important public policy decisions — such as budgetary priorities, the criminal justice system, foreign relations, the use of military force, and how to respond to climate change — are too often motivated by honest, yet misplaced, emotions?

• How does empathy distort our judgment in every aspect of our lives, from philanthropy and charity to the justice system; from medical care and education to parenting and marriage?

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Presidential Primary Debate Watch Viewing Party!

Join us for the November 2019 edition of the Democratic Party Primary Debate Watch Party!

Come cheer or jeer the crowded field of ten (or so) candidates who will take the stage for yet another televised debate for the 2020 election! We'll play political bingo and have pre-debate social gathering. It's been a long primary season already, and this debate is sure to be a doozy!

There's no fee to attend this event and you can purchase food and / or drinks on your own tab.

Here's the proposed schedule:
7:30pm: the doors open
7:30pm to 9pm: pre-debate social gathering
9pm to 11pm: watch the televised debate!

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IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The NYCPF is a nonpartisan organization. As such, we do not promote, endorse, or advocate on behalf of any particular candidates, parties, issues or causes. Rather, our aim is to foster independent, critical thinking by the exchange of views and ideas at the highest level of intellectual rigor.

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The Fall of the Berlin Wall . . . analysis and reflection after 30 years

Thirty years ago, on this very day, the border guards in East Germany opened the gates along the checkpoints a the Berlin Wall. This ostensibly marked the fall of the Iron Curtain, which ultimately resulted in the end of the Cold War.

As we look back at this pivotal moment in world history, we'll discuss the following:

• A very brief overview of the outcome of WWII and the beginning of the Cold War.

• Post-War occupation and partition by the Allied powers.

• The construction of the Berlin Wall.

• Major reforms undertaken by Mikhail Gorbachev in the late-1980s for the Eastern Bloc.

• The influence of pro-democracy movements surging in authoritarian regimes (e.g., the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989).

• The Reunification of Germany.

• The role of the U.S. and the Allied powers in the Reunification.

• The aftermath of the Reunification, including obstacles arising out of fiscal, public policy and the "societal reconciliation."

• The international response to the Reunification vis-à-vis other nations separated in the aftermath of WWII (e.g., Vietnam and Korea).

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Here's the soundtrack for this meeting:

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The Great Crash of 1929 and Great Depression -- a reflection after 90 years

Ninety years ago, during this week, a stock market crash -- later to be known as "Black Thursday" -- shook the global market. By this time, the dire warning signs of a severe economic downturn were felt around the world, ushering in the Great Depression.

For this meeting, we'll discuss the following:

• The causes of the unprecedented economic downturn. What are the common myths and misconceptions, if any?

• The impacts and aftermath.

• A very brief discussion on the significance of WWI and the implications of WWII, vis-à-vis the Great Depression.

• The lessons learned.

• The role of government in response, and any criticisms of the policies before, during and after the Great Depression.

• The polices enacted under the New Deal -- by way of relief, recovery, and reform -- was this profound expansion in the scope of government justified and / or effective?

• Finally, as we fast-forward to 2019 -- are we headed for another significant economic downturn, amid global economic stagnation, rise of automation and trade wars?

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"Deepfakes," Ethics, and the First Amendment

For this meeting, we'll discuss the intersection of "deepfakes," ethics and the First Amendment.

A Wikipedia definition of a "deepfake" (and its application) is as follows: "a technique for human image synthesis based on artificial intelligence. It is used to combine and superimpose existing images and videos onto source images or videos using a machine learning technique known as generative adversarial network. Because of these capabilities, deepfakes have been used to create fake celebrity pornographic videos or revenge porn. Deepfakes can also be used to create fake news and malicious hoaxes." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepfake).

For this meeting, we'll discuss the following:

○ Have we now officially charted into the "Post-Truth" world?

○ What are, and should be, the limits of the First Amendment, if any?

○ How can the existing laws and legal remedies fend off the use of deepfakes for malicious purposes?

○ What ethical obligations, if any, do the tech companies and media industries have in combating deepfakes that are used for malicious purposes?

○ What ought to be the proper legislation or regulation, if any, in combating deepfakes that are used for malicious purposes?

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To impeach . . . or not impeach?

That is the biggest question of the moment in America.

As we ponder that question, let's explore further in terms of the historical, constitutional, practical, and political considerations and ramifications.

Admittedly, impeachment is always fueled by partisan motives. However -- just for a few hours this afternoon -- let's set aside the tribalistic, bitter hyperpartisanship, and let's objectively explore this in depth. In doing so, we'll discuss the following:

The History
○ The constitutional basis for impeachment and removal of a high-ranking government official.
○ The Framer's intent for impeachment as part of the checks and balances, and the separation of powers.
○ What were Hamilton's ideas on impeachment? (See generally, The Federalist Papers No. 77).
○ Past individuals who were impeached by the House.

The Legal Process
○ The launching a formal impeachment inquiry.
○ The drafting of the articles of impeachment as a charging document.
○ A full body vote by the House, followed by a formal trial in the Senate.

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Greenland, Amazon, Kashmir and Hong Kong -- a case study on "sovereignty"

These four regions have garnered significant world attention lately. These regions are either semi-autonomous, or are situated in an area that ostensibly threatens the dominant state's sense of "sovereignty" over the servient state. We'll explore various modern political concepts, such as the "democratic theory," a notion of a "true sovereign," "extraterritoriality," and of course, the rise of "Nationalism."

With that in mind, we'll analyze each of the four regions:

▨ Greenland -- It was recently revealed that the Trump Administration seriously considered in purchasing Greenland. But who are the appropriate parties in this proposed international real estate transaction? Are the Greenlanders the rightful owners of this island-continent, or should any discussions of a potential sale be subject to the approval of the Kingdom of Denmark?

▨ Hong Kong -- Large-scale protests against the extradition bill have engulfed Hong Kong since June. Is the concept of "one nation, two systems" beginning to show signs of collapse? What is the proper balance between the servient state's stated goal of autonomy, and the dominant state's encroachment under the guise of "security and stability"?

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Live Debate: "This House supports the right to bear arms as a fundamental right"

Come watch a live debate on the contentious topic of "The Right to Bear Arms."

Louis (https://www.meetup.com/NYC-Politics/members/192589849/) and
Rob (https://www.meetup.com/NYC-Politics/members/191279019/) will team up against Rajiv (https://www.meetup.com/NYC-Politics/members/7865258/) and Colin (https://www.meetup.com/NYC-Politics/members/224626421/) to engage in a civil and thoughtful debate on this topic.

Here's the final debate resolution:
"This house supports less restrictions on the right to bear arms because it's a fundamental right."

The debate will be in an "Oxford-style" format (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate#Oxford-style_debating).

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The event schedule:

6:00 -- doors open
6:15 -- introduction by the moderator
6:30 to 7:50 -- the debate!
7:50 to 8:00 -- event wrap-up

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The State of the 2020 Presidential Primaries and Candidates

The Political Forum is back!

It's been a long, noisy summer along the campaign trail and on the stump. The field of candidates for the Democratic Party has finally winnowed down to a (relatively) manageable size. Three additional challengers have emerged for the Republican Party, in an attempt to unseat the incumbent President. A perennial question remains whether this is a viable year for any third party candidates.

We'll spend the entire afternoon discussing the proposed SUBSTANTIVE POLICIES of these candidates -- with less emphasis on platitudes, media hype, "scandals" and the cumulative fundraising status.

We'll discuss the following areas of the proposed substantive policies:

▨ Healthcare
▨ Trade and tariffs
▨ Fiscal policies and budgetary proprieties
▨ Economic and job growth
▨ Climate change
▨ Foreign policy and international relations
▨ . . . and of course, the "culture wars"

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The upcoming election and primary contest days by the numbers -- from the date of this meetup, there are:

- 4 months and 13 days until the Iowa Caucuses.
- 5 months and 11 days until Super Tuesday.
- 7 months and 7 days until the New York Primaries.
- 1 year, 1 month and 13 days until the General Election!

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