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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 22,197

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Disagree with the assumption.

Perhaps there are 47 million voters who grew up as Catholics (sounds low to me), but it doesn't mean they are "Catholic voters" in the sense that Catholicism influences their voting (as opposed to other factors like class, region and culture, actual politics, ethnic identity, etc.).

For example, this is questionable:

"The winner of eight out of the past nine elections has captured a majority of Catholic votes (they voted for Al Gore in 2000)"

Well first of all, Al Gore won the popular vote, so that makes nine out of nine!

However, given the large size of this "bloc," this would also be the result if "Catholic voters" simply voted along the same lines as the overall population.

I'd be more impressed if it could be shown that the results among "Catholic voters" differed significantly from the results among all voters. Only then would they be a separate bloc that could be captured as such.

It's a long time since 1960.

You're highlighting the need for RICO.

These scams relied on diffusion of responsibility. Participants expect to get away with it because they're each doing only one part of it that can be passed off as innocent in the process, long as they can pretend they don't know about the other stages: only selling mortgages, only packaging them, only rating the securities, only selling the securities, only betting against the securities. Where you've seen settlements for the basic scam of selling off toxic assets and betting against them at the same time (as with Magnetar, Paulson/Goldman, and the current Citi settlement delayed by the courageous Judge Rakoff) is precisely where they had enough evidence to proceed with criminal investigation. The SEC is complicit in helping the worst criminals escape.

At this point what's essential in keeping the rage alive over this criminality, even if the criminals get away with their past crimes, they're still in the same offices committing their current crimes, and setting up the next crash. It's guaranteed: the big banks are still insolvent, holding much the same toxic assets and living as zombies thanks to "mark-to-model" and unlimited Fed loans at near-zero percent. This edifice will tumble, almost did when Greece came close to a disorderly default. It's far too unstable. When the next crash hits, from whatever direction, it's essential then that the people not passively accept (even as they grumble) the next rescue effort. That's when everyone has to hit the streets and demand the liquidation of the zombie banks, debt cancellations, public banking and a new financial beginning.

You can be certain it is not the racism, or the extreme Manchester capitalism...

as these are within the Republican mainstream. Other Republican candidates are just as bad on these scores. It's impossible to claim Paul is less racist than Gingrich or Santorum or Bachmann, and the truth is Mittens is just more sophisticated in not looking the part as he caters to the same racist base. Since 1968, a conscious appeal to racism has been central to all Republican campaigns. For this reason I wouldn't vote for any of them, including Paul.

Nevertheless, why does Paul enrage "mainstream" Republicans?

Paul says he wants to end the empire, legalize drugs, roll back the war-on-terror police state (even if he'd support state-based police states) and end the Federal Reserve (piggy bank to Wall Street).

These positions do not only enrage Republicans who otherwise have no problems with Paul's right-wing extremism. They also enrage many Democratic "liberals" who have joined in the bipartisan support for empire and war, for drug war, for the PATRIOT Act and other measures violating the Bill of Rights, and for rescuing the bankster regime with Fed bailouts and thus allowing the worst criminals to continue running the financial sector.

Above all, the bipartisan consensus not to question the permanent-warfare state is being upstaged by a right-wing maniac. That harms the self-image of the self-declared liberals who believe they are peaceful people (nothing like those armed yahoos from rural Texas!) and yet have supported wars and "humanitarian intervention."

Apparently you feel free to fabricate that I "support Republicans."

The same logic: Anyone who opposed the Iraq war supported Saddam.

Anyone who opposed Bush supported the terrorists.

You're striving for an greater extreme.

Anyone who doesn't support Obama on all points, even critique from the left - especially from the left! - supports Republicans.

PS: Oh, and "supporting Obama" means conducting non-stop witchhunts for heretics. Because that's the way to sway the undecided readers who might wander in here!

On the matter of well-paid...

Security is a form of pay. I'm not sure the biggest difference in the meaning of pay levels is in the greater American appetite for consumption (of Nokia phones, perhaps?).

If you're not worried about your rent, health care, college tuitions, pensions, job security, essential costs like food, or what happens if you are disabled or have to care for a sick family member, if you know having a child or an accident won't promptly bankrupt you, then the lower disposable income at the end of the month seems like plenty. It's all yours. In the US, the higher disposable income may be an illusion, promptly eaten up by your rent and insurance costs.

But anyway, that's a general difference between the societies that goes beyond education.

The biggest point about the success of Finnish schools seems to me to be that they have almost twice as many teachers per capita and accordingly smaller class sizes. A cream-of-the-crop teacher, as you call her, who is stuck with 35 students (and their parents) is going to fail with many more of them than two average teachers who only have to handle 18 each (and their parents).

This is a universal. I don't believe it's hindered by cultural differences, or must be.

Now I know the problem here with the anti-intellectualism (high achievers mocked). But if that's really such an obstacle we may as well give up from the start.

Several other points I believe are also translatable: such as putting the child at the center, and not the performance of the child (at least until much later). Finland starting school at 7 and abjuring homework and grades and testing until much later is part of that. It's saying, let them grow up under loving, unstressful conditions that promote learning for its own sake, and when they're bigger they'll be able to handle the tests better than kids who have grown up under pressure of punishment and taught that only performance matters.

Substance? Really?

Two quotes from Swanson, uncommented, followed by ROFL smilies, inviting us to mock.

This is pure argument from ridicule. It is anti-intellectual and smug, not at all substantive, and all-too typical of this poster.

She seems to have appointed herself chief ideologist and witch-hunter, with obnoxious interventions in almost every thread that mentions one of her targets. Merely thoughtful or qualified support of Obama is not enough, and already grounds for suspicion. Any critique is treated as traitorous: critics no matter what the basis of their critique will always be accused directly or indirectly (depending on the rules) of being Republicans. She struts about like a junior commissar in search of thought-crime. All must howl equally at her choice of heretics, or be themselves condemned. She will start several original posts at a time to target a given writer (usually a leftist heretic who is insufficiently loyal to Obama). Not just occasionally, which might have its reasons, but every single day. This constitutes flooding. It's an attempt to set a daily agenda of which designated enemy to hate.

It's probably all within the rules, and the less alerts and meta discussions, the better for all. But this is persistently abusive rhetoric that makes a relaxed atmosphere of discourse difficult.

Perhaps this kind of behavior was acceptable on GD: P. I don't know, I stuck to GD. On DU2, we had GD and GD: P, and thus people who want to talk left-liberal politics without constant politicking had their forum, while people who want to ardently politick 24/7 had theirs. Why not go back to that?

So? Why all the particular rage at Paul?

Correct: He's not a threat to win the presidency.

But as this thread makes obvious, he is a threat to the liberal self-image. Because certain positions he takes - against war and empire and the unlimited power of the state - expose the fact that a bipartisan consensus in this country already supports incipient totalitarianism.

The USG wages wars of aggression for empire and conducts torture and does not prosecute but rewards the perpetrators. The USG now arrogates to itself the right of general warrantless surveillance of millions, the power of indefinite preemptive detention of suspects without legal counsel or informing their family. We still have Guantanamo and secret prisons, presidential power to designate enemy combatants (under whatever label) who are fair game for assassination without trial, including citizens, the authority to assassinate foreign leaders, the concept that the whole world including the "homeland" is battlefield, the USA PATRIOT Act with its expansive definitions of "terrorism," the Homeland Security Department, militarization of police, use of military as police, vertical and horizontal integration of hundreds of state and local police agencies under federal supervision without independent let alone civilian oversight, plans for "Code Red" without the silly colors, harrassment of whistleblowers (Thomas Drake), unwarranted classification and over-classification of millions of documents, vast secret agencies that are unaccountable and barely overseen by another branch ("Top Secret" budget now up to 80 billion dollars), privatization of government security functions (two thirds of "Top Secret" budget now goes to private contractors).

All of the above are part of a bipartisan consensus, like the USA PATRIOT Act and the new defense authorization.

Ron Paul, who is bad in general and who will never win the election, has spoken out against most if not all of these developments. This enrages liberal supporters of the Obama administration because they feel shown up by an otherwise extreme right-winger and racist.

You should be able to see that without thinking that you therefore "support" let alone will vote for Ron Paul! At the same time he and the Republicans support legal harrassment of voters off the rolls, use of felony lists and all the other various means to suppress the vote. He's happy with many forms of trampling on the rights of women and minorities, especially when it is states rather than the federal government doing the trampling. The only thing I'd dispute about the characterization of him as a racist is the idea that he differs from Gingrich, or Santorum, or for that matter Romney. The Republican party has pushed racism in code as a central means of constituting its base in every election since 1968 and of course, before that as well. Ron Paul is only worse because his newsletters were so open about it.

His racism must be condemned, but it shouldn't become a way to exculpate the racism of the Republican Party -- or to disguise the continued prevalence of racist institutions in the United States. One of the most destructive racist institutions in this country is the selective drug war, which serves as a basis to disproportionately harrass, evict, arrest, prosecute and imprison people of color. Millions of lives are destroyed by it, if you include the many nations that are narcostates to meet the demand for commodities that are profitable only because they're illegal. Liberals, if they hate racism, should have decriminalization of drug policy as one of their top priorities. But it's nothing to most of them; and then along comes this crazy fringe character and upstages them on such a basic and clear-cut item of justice and human rights. This inspires rage, as we can see on this thread.

No, your suggestion is laughable as a viable way to resist and expose war crimes.

You're saying he should take the evidence he'd seen of war crimes and the thousands of reports establishing the truth about US-led carnage in Iraq to the institution that was reponsible, to the institution that had conducted the cover-ups of the crimes, and urge them, magically persuade them to release the material that made the military look bad.

File some forms, wait a few years! As soon as he'd speak about classified information, he'd already be exposed to a more quiet prosecution than the one he's getting. It's naive of you to think the investigation he would have prompted by using internal channels would not primarily have been of him as a security threat!

Of course he did the right thing, a heroic act that changed the world, knowing that he was risking his freedom and his life in doing so. He violated disclosure provisions to expose previously unknown facts about the commission of war crimes that the responsible military had covered up. He struck a blow against the secrecy and extreme classification system that allows the state to be above the law and beyond the reach of democracy.

They're paid well for Finland...

in a country where there is a strong social welfare system, health care and pensions, and lower rents. They have a strong teachers' union. It is a respected career with job security. They are not under attack, like here. They are not blamed for problems they did not cause. They are not under unreasonable pressures to perform to arbitrary evaluation. There are almost twice as many teachers per student as in New York. Class size is accordingly smaller.

The numbers shown on that chart do not come out to "half of the average American teacher"! 2654 euros is not half of 5266 dollars, however this chart shows no breakdowns by years of service and obviously doesn't cover differences in cost of living.

From NYT, Dec. 12:

The starting salary for school teachers in Finland, 96 percent of whom are unionized, was about $29,000 in 2008, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, compared with about $36,000 in the United States.


Please read this article about the curious Finlandophilia in the US (curious because it is often pushed by the school "reform" movement that selectively emphasizes which aspects of Finland's system are good).


Oh enough of this fixation on personalities from middle management.

Wall Street is responsible and governments serve it, just as they did in Grant's or Hoover's time.
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