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Posts posted by cinzia


    There are no objective standards for good music, as there are none for painting, writing etc.


    Good is what I like. And assuming that I have the better taste because I listen to X and not Y just shows the little world I live in.


    Ah, but there actually ARE objective standards for all these things. I'm not going to get into it here, but there are LOTS of bands that play good music, writers who turn out excellent books/columns/stories/poems, and painters who create good art that I don't care for. I'm not going to pay for it, but I'm not going to label it "bad," either.


    There's also "bad" music, art, books, etcetera that I like even so. I'll admit to sinking a few hours into The DaVinci Code book. In which case, I call them "entertaining" if anyone asks.


    That said, Rihanna is still shite by any standards.



    Well, I know there seem to be a lot of dudes on here knocking pop music. I will not attest to being some kind of musical genius - I am most certainly not, but when I am dancing in Tekyön Club in Istanbul within a throng of drop dead gorgeous and shirtless Turkish men all gyrating to Britney Spears, I can honestly say that Led Zeppelin is the last thing I'd like to hear at that particular moment in time.


    There you have it. It's nightclubs that have ruined music. Why people want to listen to the same stuff in a nightclub and on the radio is beyond me.



    This is area where i find Greenwald more than a bit disingenuous. He seems to imply that the Republicans are obviously the bad guys and for some reason the Democratic good guys take a hit for the team on a rotational basis in order to make necessary political gains on other issues.

    No, he disapproves of this tactic used by the Democrats, because the party uses it to pretend publicly to its base that it supports or opposes certain legislation when, in fact, party members work behind the scenes to make sure unpalatable bills like this pass. That's pretty far from expressing admiration.



    The most interesting question for me is - what is coming down the pike that this group sees and we don't?





    Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio voted against. Al Franken and Patrick Leahy voted for it. The vote was not along party lines.


    Greenwald has a theory about how these votes scrape by the Democratic-controlled Senate with just enough support from Dems to pass, for what it's worth:



    I’ve described this little scam before as “Villain Rotation”: “They always have a handful of Democratic Senators announce that they will be the ones to deviate this time from the ostensible party position and impede success, but the designated Villain constantly shifts, so the Party itself can claim it supports these measures while an always-changing handful of their members invariably prevent it.” This has happened with countless votes that are supposed manifestations of right-wing radicalism but that pass because an always-changing roster of Democrats ensure they have the support needed. So here is the Democratic Party — led by its senior progressive National Security expert, Carl Levin, and joined by just enough of its members — joining the GOP to ensure that this bill passes, and that the U.S. Government remains vested with War on Terror powers and even expands that war in some critical respects.




    It seems to declare the scope of "the battlefield" as worldwide and allows indefinite detention of US citizens without charges.


    What puzzles me is that it was co-sponsored by Carl Levin of Michigan who is fairly moderate.


    Obama Administration spokescritters say he's been advised to veto it, not because it's wrong, but because the legislation has sparked a turf war between Congressional and Executive powers:



    But, with a few exceptions, the objections raised by the White House are not grounded in substantive problems with these powers, but rather in the argument that such matters are for the Executive Branch, not the Congress, to decide. In other words, the White House’s objections are grounded in broad theories of Executive Power. They are not arguing: it is wrong to deny accused Terrorists a trial. Instead they insist: whether an accused Terrorist is put in military detention rather than civilian custody is for the President alone to decide.



  6. The most important thing I've learned from all this is that we now have a new career recommendation to give to all those Americans who post here that they want to move to Germany, but have no relevant skills or knowledge of German.


    Apparently if you're a Christian missionary, you can get a residence permit! What's more, you can even hold other jobs while you pursue your ministry!


    Why did nobody think of this before?


  7. Not a good time to visit Iran as an American or Brit at the moment.


    It's a pretty stupid thing for the government to have done, if they've supported any of it. War drums were already beating over here against Iran.


  8. kropotkin has a good point that the OWS demands would probably be more effective if they had some thematic parameters.


    Unless they seek to become a political party like the Tea Party, in which case, of course they would need to cover a variety of positions in their platform.



    If those two were meant to come over here, instead of internet begging, why don't they just pray to their 'god' for a ticket and some spending money?




    I know many who go to Guatemala and other poor countries to help and contribute without being told by their church to do so. And they save up and pay their own ways. Imagine that?!


    However, you both (tangentially) bring up a good point, which is that there are plenty of church-sponsored missionary organizations out there. Not only do these organizations raise money to fund their missionaries overseas, they also give them training in language, cross-cultural issues, etc. A very good friend of mine is currently living and working with his family as missionaries in Angola through one of these groups.


    There are also short-term missionary assignments where church groups go for a week or a month at a time. These groups also get some training, though obviously not as much as a resident missionary gets.


    The downside for the potential missionaries of working through a church-sponsored organization is that you'll probably get sent to Angola, not Germany.


    The downside for donors to these self-appointed "missionaries" is that their donations are probably not tax-deductible, and there is no guarantee that these people are using your money for what they say they're using it for.


  10. Very good points, Jeanie. Attending services at a Christian church would hardly offer one a clinical view of Christianity itself.



    As for the Mormonism, I plan to teach Jr about the history of it [which was important in the West], rather than shove the belief system down his throat. My forefathers were the original pioneers... that has significance in my family.


    It's curious that while it's fairly common for a Jewish person to describe him/herself as a "secular Jew," you hardly ever hear a Christian do the same ("secular Christian.")


    I do it, though. It's a description of my background, culture, and to some extent, worldview, but not of my belief system. You're probably a secular Mormon, mlovett.



    The only movement in this thread is bowel movement.


    And kropotkin calls me intellectually lazy.


    I'm only defending Michael Moore's right to participate in the OWS conversation. Not necessarily his ideas. But speaking of, what do you think of his list, kropotkin?



    2. Assess a penalty tax on any corporation that moves American jobs to other countries when that company is already making profits in America. Our jobs are the most important national treasure and they cannot be removed from the country simply because someone wants to make more money.


    Dubious proposal. Why wouldn't corporations just re-incorporate in the Bahamas or something? Wouldn't something like increasing tariffs on importing complete goods be a better idea? I think the EU has some kind of law like this. A harp maker I know sends harps in pieces to Europe to finish being assembled there, to save on import fees for his EU buyers. Completed products carry a higher import fee.



    6. Reorder our nation's spending priorities (including the ending of all foreign wars and their cost of over $2 billion a week). This will re-open libraries, reinstate band and art and civics classes in our schools, fix our roads and bridges and infrastructure, wire the entire country for 21st century internet, and support scientific research that improves our lives.

    Good idea, although I think it was Conquistador who reminded me the one might not lead to the other. At least it would leave more revenue available for other priorities besides fighting wars.



    7. Join the rest of the free world and create a single-payer, free and universal health care system that covers all Americans all of the time.

    He is mistaken about the "free" part, as we all know. And he's only calling for requiring Americans to have it. Not "residents of the United States." Why?




    4. Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, placing serious regulations on how business is conducted by Wall Street and the banks.

    I would think most of us can agree on this one.



    10. We, the people, must pass three constitutional amendments that will go a long way toward fixing the core problems we now have. These include:


    a) A constitutional amendment that fixes our broken electoral system by 1) completely removing campaign contributions from the political process; 2) requiring all elections to be publicly financed; 3) moving election day to the weekend to increase voter turnout; 4) making all Americans registered voters at the moment of their birth; 5) banning computerized voting and requiring that all elections take place on paper ballots.

    What are the implications of 4 (my bold)? Why would that be necessary?




    c) A constitutional amendment that will act as a "second bill of rights" as proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt: that every American has a human right to employment, to health care, to a free and full education, to breathe clean air, drink clean water and eat safe food, and to be cared for with dignity and respect in their old age.

    Again, why are we trying to exclude non-American US residents? Political expediency? Ignorance about legally resident non-citizens?


    What would "right to employment" mean in practice, exactly?


    I believe that were such a thing as "free and full education for all Americans" to be instated, we'd just create (or exacerbate, if you like) the problem of a two-tiered educational system in the United States where public universities would really, really suck, and a diploma from them would be worth what you paid for it (zero), while recipients of an expensive private university education would receive a much better education and have correspondingly better career and life prospects. It would eliminate the possibility of getting a decent public-university education for a modest cost, compared to the costs of attending a private university.



    Doesn’t it sound odd to you that a 1-percenter poses as a spokesman for the Occupy Wall Street movement?


    Did you even read the article? Moore met for four hours with members of the OWS movement. He has distilled their discussion into a ten-point list that HE will present to THEM as a SUGGESTION. He's not calling himself a spokesman; if he did, he would be rejected.



    The next step will be to develop a specific list of goals and demands. As one of the millions of people who are participating [not leading!] in the Occupy Wall Street movement, I would like to respectfully offer my suggestions of what we can all get behind now to wrestle the control of our country out of the hands of the 1% and place it squarely with the 99% majority.

    OWS and Michael Moore are just never going to win with some people. You are one of those people, BB.


    You find it ironic that a wealthy person would seek to eradicate income inequality in America. Why shouldn't a beneficiary of the public largesse recognize the problem and decide to become part of the solution? You might not like MM's message, but participating in OWS is consistent with it.


    I guess you prefer class warfare.


  13. I can't connect the dots, kropotkin. Naomi Wolf writes in the Guardian that one of OWS' top demands has to do with Congress' power to create legislation about Delaware corporations that benefits them personally and can also be kept under wraps.


    Especially since she's publishing in a foreign paper, I wish she would clarify exactly what that legislation is (and if it's new, as you say.) I spent some time yesterday trying to figure out what exactly she's referring to, and came up empty except for the above.


    Wolf is right that it's suspicious that all the crackdowns started happening at the same time. Which was also about the same time as the insider trading scandal started hitting the news.


    That the people who are likely to be outraged enough to hit the streets about insider trading are probably to a large extent the same ones who are already out for OWS. There may be a lot of conservatives outraged about it, but they can't join OWS protests now that their own conservative media have labeled OWS a "liberal" movement.


  14. Well, our country was founded by a bunch of Puritans. No getting around that.


    Keep in mind that even a lot of Americans who go to church these days aren't necessarily religious. Being a member of a church is in many ways like belonging to a social or athletic club, especially if you belong to one with a gym, concert facilities, lots of activities, a pre-school, etc.


    Plus, a lot (maybe even most) of the bigotry that goes on in the name of "Christianity" in America is really just people looking for a way to justify their own biases, and the Christian church gives them a socially acceptable way of doing that.


    Maybe the most ironic example I see around regularly is Christians using their personal unwillingness to help the poor with "Christian" excuses like "God helps those who help themselves," the parable of the lilies of the field, etc. I'm pretty sure Christ would not approve.


  15. I would think the following from Moore's list would be the most interesting for the TT crowd:



    9. Require corporations with more than 10,000 employees to restructure their board of directors so that 50% of its members are elected by the company’s workers. We can never have a real democracy as long as most people have no say in what happens at the place they spend most of their time: their job. (For any U.S. businesspeople freaking out at this idea because you think workers can't run a successful company: Germany has a law like this and it has helped to make Germany the world’s leading manufacturing exporter.)

    Work councils! But only for very large corporations.


  16. Hmmmm, what "Delaware-based corporations" might Wolf (via the OWS protesters) be referencing here?



    Over 50% of US publicly traded corporations and 60% of the Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware; the state's attractiveness as a corporate haven is largely because of its business-friendly corporation law. Franchise taxes on Delaware corporations supply about one-fifth of its state revenue. Although Delaware is ranked first tax haven in the world by Tax Justice Network, it is not listed on the OECD's 2009 "Black List", despite objections of Luxembourg's and Switzerland's authorities.


    (That last sentence references this):



    While most states require a for-profit corporation to have at least one director and two officers, Delaware laws do not have this restriction. All offices may be held by a single person who also can be the sole shareholder. The person, who does not need to be US citizen or resident, may also operate anonymously.


    I wish Wolf had been more specific about this "little-known loophole," especially since it underpins her entire argument about why the DHS would have an interest in crushing OWS.