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Posts posted by cinzia


    The housing bubble, which frankly everyone liked unless they were renters the whole time, could have been stopped by the continuation of the traditional 20% downpayment, something that, AFAIK, was merely a prudent lending practice rather than ever being a government regulation.


    Government policy ("regulation" being too strong a word, I think) was rather skewed against prudence in lending when it came to housing, and that policy started with Clinton's HUD, like it or not.


    On Romney and the dislike of many GOP voters towards him:



    The resistance of a major chunk of the GOP to Romney now seems undeniable. . . . if one of the non-Romney candidates gets hot in an early contest this time around, the more likely result is that party leaders will simply redouble their efforts to prop up Romney, not wanting to nominate an unelectable candidate. . . .


    Given the new prominence of purist Tea Party-types within the GOP, it seems worth wondering whether there really would be an overwhelming “Stop him!” cry from the party’s opinion-shaping class if, say, Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich were to upset Romney in an early contest or two.


    Ed Kilgore made this case recently, arguing that in the Tea Party-era GOP, “candidate credentials like broad name ID or prior experience or early-state positioning or even money have become vastly less important than fidelity to an exceptionally narrow set of conservative principles.” . . .


    That’s the nightmare scenario for Romney: that he says and does all of the right things in every debate and speech, that he assembles the best-funded and best-organized political operation, that he racks up the most endorsements, and that his opponents all flunk the conventional tests of plausibility — and that it still doesn’t matter to the Republican Party of 2012.



  2. Tim Pawlenty could have been described as pretty "indifferent in terms of religious beliefs" in 2008 (even though very few politicians can get away with declaring this honestly, and even though he veered right on the social issues once his own candidacy was imminent and then declared.)


    I agree with you on this, kropotkin, especially since the Dems picked the Yankee black candidate in 2008. I dislike most analysis of which side's voters are racist or not, but imagine the pickle some Southern voters would have been in to decide between Obama and a GOP ticket with two white, non-Southern, non-religious-zealots. Does anyone doubt that a lot of the unease GOP voters have with Romney (and Huntsman) is that they're Mormon?



    Perhaps Paul's fatal mistake will be that he lumped himself in with Romney, Perry, Cain, 2012 is a perfect time for an independent to make a run.

    At 76, Ron Paul is way too old to be running for President. Have you seen any of the debates with lots of GOP candidates together? His fatal mistake IS indeed standing on the same stage with all the younger candidates, if he meant to get elected, which I doubt. However, being on that stage does mean his ideas get more attention than they would if he were running as an independent, and excluded from participation in the almost-weekly GOP debates happening now.


    (John McCain is only one year younger than Ron Paul, but McCain looks a lot less frail than Paul, and the issue of McCain's age came up a lot in the 2008 campaign, especially after he named his running mate.)


    This brings us to the interesting fact that several of the GOP candidates are suspected of not being serious about pursuing the office. Trump was, of course, considered to be just playing around, and journalists have also pointed out that Cain is not running a typical campaign, where he should be making lots of stops in Iowa and New Hampshire.


    I wonder if the GOP has figured out that the wider the net they can cast, and the more early candidates they float, the more money the various "candidates" can pull in, and voila! the more money the party has in the end for the final nominee? Candidates that pull out of the race before they run out of donated funds usually hand off leftover money back to the party or to the candidate of their choice.


  4. It would be supremely ironic for the Occupy Wall Street movement to get co-opted by the Democrats.


    OWS people really aren't that stupid, I hope. Wall Street elites are the Democrats' bread and butter.


    The main difference I see between the OWS and the TP is that while both groups crave attention, the TP also wanted acceptance. They found it (kind of) in the GOP. If OWS had been organized first, they might have made the same mistakes the TP made and allowed themselves to be absorbed into a larger party, but I don't think that will happen now, with the TP as an example.


    Unfocused OWS may be, but given the kinds of things I wrote awhile back on another thread about the pointlessness of voting on a national level, it all comes down to the same dissatisfaction with elected officials. Except for a few divisive ideological social-engineering-type issues, there's no real reason anymore to approve of one party and disapprove of the other. They're all beholden to the wealthy, banks, and corporations. Every new legislative session illustrates this further. A general protest recognizing that because of that fact, there is no functional democracy for the average citizen anymore in America is appropriate at this time.



    Paterno is "catching more hell" (at this exact moment in time) because a lot of people respected and looked up to him. And now he seems like a creep. So many people dropped the moral ball on this one, but he's the best known. What a disgusting situation.


    And what do we learn from this, kids? We don't live in Disneyland. Nobody deserves to be worshiped as a hero, because there are no pure heroes.


    If you must have a hero, look for him/her among the ranks of the powerless and poor, not among the powerful and wealthy.


  6. I, like Greenwald in With Liberty and Justice for Some, advocate justice for everyone who deserves it. I suspect you know that advocating for the arrest of a handful of people is not going to even begin to solve the massive issues. We need justice AND change on a systemic level.


    On the subject of Manning, since you brought him up, it would be nice to see justice also done for those the Administration hand-picks to anonymously leak classified information in its own service, and not just those who leak classified information without the Administration's permission.


    The OWS crowd is certainly not going to get any action on the justice front sitting at home wishing for it. If you have suspicions that they have any power to effectively target specific individuals for "lynching," then it's interesting that you also call the movement ineffective.


    I was not aware that the protesters were calling for anyone's lynching, or for mob justice.


    Since you bring up the Tea Party, I agree with you that corruption has gotten worse since 2009 and that many of the general complaints they made in the early days were very valid. That they allowed themselves to be co-opted by the Republican Party instead of staying to the side was a mistake. OWS is making a strategic point of not to making the same mistake.



    their only 3 requirements for taking someone into a consideration for a position is that the person is native English speaker (regardless of what English speaking country it is!), has a College/University degree and has completed a CELTA course. I am aware that CELTA is not required in all of the other countries (especially when teaching in 3rd world countries) but from what i've heard in most of the serious language schools in Germany it is a must.


    You can get away with no CELTA in Germany if you're strong in other areas. Would-be English teachers without a CELTA who are continually turned down from jobs would do well to find out (via feedback from potential employers) if it's lack of the CELTA that's disqualifying them, or if it's something else. There's no use running out and getting a CELTA if interviewers are unimpressed with your speaking or writing abilities, for example.


  8. Conquistador is talking about pensions held by employees of state and local governments. Those workers are among the few who do still have pension guarantees in their employment contracts, so you are correct that there are not many overall, moctoj2.


    I disagree that pensions should be included with the rest of the items on Conquistador's list, however. Public and private employee pension funds have been looted by companies and governments to redirect funds to other priorities, and have frequently been the vessels for poor "investment" decisions under the management of irresponsible banks. Outstanding pension obligations are often characterized as an unwieldy burden on companies and governments, but this burden could have been avoided in many cases if the funds had been managed responsibly.


    That makes pensions rather an outlier in Conquistador's list, I think. Compared to Medicare, Social Security, and Obamacare, pension benefits represent a much more predictable and controllable outlay of funds.


  9. kropotkin, who is reading the book, me or you?


    When you buy the book, or even read a few of Greenwald's columns, you can tell me how partisan he is. He's a progressive, not a Democrat, and I think you'd find that he is no fan of Obama. The Democrats come in for far more criticism from Greenwald these days (now that they are in power) than the Republicans.


    Why do you think OWS protesters would not want elites who break the law to go to jail? Seems to me that justice is what OWS is all about.


    Edit: People don't need to understand the fine points of international finance or political horse-trading to be outraged about what's going on now. It's obvious that injustice has been done, and if you're not one of the 1%, you're probably a victim of that injustice on some level. That's all you really need to understand to hit the streets and join in the protests if you so choose, and I find your attitude arrogant and elitist.



    For someone from the USA, you should know better than to say *Wonky*, must be your accent of decent.

    WRONG! "Wonky" is one of the wee treasures of British English that I adopted from friends. ("Wee" is another, but with a different meaning than the one I just used.) If you can think of an American English term that's that useful and means the same thing, do tell.



    I say "wonky" all the time, and I'm American. I like the's fun.


    Hear, hear.


    By the way, Flatron, I taught business English in Munich for several years. A lot of the classes were in British business English (say that three times fast.) You don't need to be British to teach British English. It does help to be personable, though.


  11. ian's ideas/suggestions are good. If you're going to be taking the public transportation, check the schedule. MVV often runs on a reduced schedule during the Christmas-Three Kings' Day period.


    Christmas time (especially after the Christmas Markets close) is not the most exciting time to be in Munich if you're looking for a lot of activity and people, but it's really nice if you want to be lazy and relax. We stayed in Munich for Christmas several years, and it was kind of refreshing as a break from the usual hustle and bustle. We watched many of our friends return to Munich in January completely frazzled after travel hassles and stressful time with family, and we were all rested up.


  12. Seems to me that if one party this year were to be effective offering two Washington "outsiders", and even advertise that fact, it would be the GOP.


    There's a good bit of public dissatisfaction with people who have too-cozy Beltway connections, you may have noticed.


    Anyway, Cain delivered on my wish:



    I hope he makes the point that if voters dismiss out of hand anyone who has a little minor flirtation in his past, the public might lose out on some great leaders.




    "We are not going to allow Washington or politics to deny me the opportunity to represent this great nation," Cain said. "As far as these accusations [causing] me to back off or maybe withdraw from this presidential primary race: Ain’t going to happen. I’m doing this for the American people and for their children and their grandchildren."

    This shit writes itself.


  13. At all the saunas I went to in Germany, wrapping up in a towel was perfectly acceptable. Wearing a suit under the towel, though, was not.


    Even if you go to a sauna where suits are allowed, most people will not be clothed, and you might actually feel uncomfortable wearing one instead of just stripping off.


    You might want to check into saunas that have a women-only day or hours. Those days/hours tend to attract a lot of Muslim women, and you might find that extra modesty is the norm on those days.


  14. If organizing large popular protests and founding new political parties (or caucuses, if you like) is ineffective, what would be more effective in your opinion, kropotkin?


    Regarding Corzine, a pillar of Greenwald's argument is the revolving door between public advisory roles and well-compensated employment in the related private sector. People go back and forth all the time, so you're probably right that Corzine will continue to do so as well.


    Addressing your point about unequal justice going back as far as the Mayflower, Greenwald has this:



    Though unequal application of the law has always been pervasive in American society, until recently such inequality was regarded as a problem: something to be deplored and, if possible corrected. Today, however, substantial factions in our political culture explicitly renounce the principle of legal equality itself. It is now quite common for American political discourse to include arguments expressly justifying the elites' legal impunity and openly calling for radically different treatment under the law for various classes of people based on their power, status, and wealth.



  15. You're unlikely to have a lot of snow in Munich in November. Otherwise, there's a ton of info already here on stuff to do in Munich.


    In December, keep in mind that everything will be closed on the 24th, 25th, and 26th. The city will be pretty empty of people between December 23 and January 7. Plan to do things like walk in the Englischer Garten.


  16. Well, there's really nothing in it for them. Anyone who has paid attention to what happens to women when they come forward with public allegations of this sort against powerful men would surely come to the conclusion that the inevitable abuse and scrutiny at the hands of the press, supporters, and general public is not worth the considerable bother.


    I'd feel differently if Cain actually was the nominee, but he's not, and the smart money's still on Romney.


  17. Well, no, they can't, unless the women involved in that part of the scandal go public regardless of the non-disclosure agreements they signed at the time of the settlement, or the National Restaurant Association breaks its own non-disclosure agreement. I doubt either one of those scenarios will happen, because of the legal consequences.


    At the moment, the accusers have got nothing, from a legal standpoint.


    Please don't get the idea that I am defending Cain's actions or alleged actions. I am not. However, this is a tempest in a teapot, the way it stands today.