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At least one commenter seems to get it -- Phoinix:
Where is there the great German triumph?

....

The present "significance" (as I said, we are in deep crisis and not in a golden age) should be only something like the Indian summer in Germany. Nothing more.

Sadly, most comments seem more triumphant than reflective. Worse, we see the splitting into sheep and goats with critics, especially "leftists" being cast out and the citizens of peripheral nations unfavorably compared to Germans. Germans live to work while southerners merely work in order to live.

From that perspective why should southerners get anything but punishment by the righteous? This seems like a crude update of medieval analogies of society to a human body, with the head being Germany and the rebellious limbs and back being southerners. I would feel better were there more comments that revealed any sense of understanding amongst that portion of Germans who respond to Speigel that there are flaws in the existing arrangement and that what so many Germans seem to expect from the rest of Europe is not only of questionable morality but also economically impossible.

In sum, and given the obvious limits of Google Translate, I find this comment stream on this Spiegel Forum extremely disquieting.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Dec 9th, 2011 at 11:29:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you try to read the "german soul" by the honoured practice of nutpicking?

Come on, do I try to find about what e. g. americans think by reading politico comment threads?

by IM on Fri Dec 9th, 2011 at 11:52:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have seen Der Spiegel compared to Time Magazine in the USA. I consider it to be center right in orientation, perhaps more neo-lib than the center right as a whole. I know there is a range of views, even in the quoted article, but about half of the comments seemed to be of the sort I characterized as disquieting. Are these really only the views of nut cases?

In the USA we see comparably crazy views expressed regularly. Here I don't consider them only to represent a few nut jobs but at least 40% of the population nationwide and majorities in places such as Arkansas, where I live. Here I personally consider the number of people who have such views to be a looming threat. Do you have no such qualms for Germany?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Dec 9th, 2011 at 03:06:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, it is a worrying number of nutters. The Spiegel forum is a very special place though. We can't compete with Arkansas, I think. Here the extreme right exercises their influence indirectly: their presence makes the "respectable" right move into their direction, trying to integrate them.
by Katrin on Fri Dec 9th, 2011 at 03:33:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We can't compete with Arkansas, I think.

You had better hope so, unless you LIKE life on the plantation.  :-)

And the same dynamic you discussed for Germany has been happening for forty years in the USA. Some of the most reactionary elements, sadly also very wealthy, have spent large sums of money on think tanks and media to make what was, 40 years ago, a moderately progressive left into the next best thing to Stalinism and to make what was nutter right wing crazy the new center right. We should be so lucky as to be able to elect an Eisenhower today.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Dec 9th, 2011 at 03:51:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still, it's ludicrous to use a SPIEGEL alert to take Germany's pulse.

There are all manner of idiots, smart people of all persuasions, BILD propaganda, and retro leaders.

But nothing here is as bad as in amurka. 'Schland doesn't have a menagerie of fools running for president and taken seriously. (they may be fools in a different sense, but they are not dumb, except perhaps der Guido.) Germany has an electorate capable of digesting issues if they are properly placed before them, though they are often not.

The level of discussion here is something amurka would love to replicate, because it's simply at a higher level. I'm not sure you get that, nor are open to that.

the people here have either chosen, or been led, or accepted, important moves that amurka isn't even ready to discuss.

Germany's political psychopaths are no where near as dangerous as the amurkan version, nor as effective. Nor is the population so sheeple-like. (I'm not saying it's good here, but it ain't near as bad.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Dec 9th, 2011 at 04:49:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Schland doesn't have a menagerie of fools running for president and taken seriously. (they may be fools in a different sense, but they are not dumb, except perhaps der Guido.) Germany has an electorate capable of digesting issues if they are properly placed before them, though they are often not

LOL. I wish that was true. Does anyone want to know what Germany's choice for the European Commission is? Ahem. "Menagerie of fools", right. The comparison to the US, especially the south, isn't everything, Crazy Horse. I mean, it's like saying we have a friendlier climate than, say, the Orkneys. True, but who hasn't.
by Katrin on Fri Dec 9th, 2011 at 05:16:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would never knock the Orkneys, being the home to Highland Park whisky and the world's best wind test site. (There's nothing like being served fresh ripe avocados with your whisky where there are no trees... yes, i know, carbon footprint, but it's a sweet memory of my visit to the test station.)

Oettinger notwithstanding, i stand by my point. It's not as bad here, and shows enough promise to get it right. That said, i also don't underestimate amurka's ability to make a tectonic shift.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Dec 9th, 2011 at 05:49:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But nothing here is as bad as in amurka. 'Schland doesn't have a menagerie of fools running for president and taken seriously.

That's true, you have them in office already.  I remind you that the wingers' economic arguments in the primary here all amount to "Look what the Germans have done for Europe!  We can do that here!"  Not only are your leaders in with the our crazies ideologically, they're lighting the way for our crazies.

Also, too, and such as...the current US president and the former UK PM warned you that this would happen two. fucking. years ago, CH, and The Great Totally-Less-Fucked-Up-We-SwearsTM Germany sandbagged both of them and pimped austerity (not to mention the Chinese president launching an enormous stimulus program).

It takes a genuine talent for incompetence and crazy to make Barack Obama, Gordon Brown and Hu Jintao look good.  (Cue the VW tagline.  "That's the Power of German Engineering!")

And then your leaders stamped their feet like children and threatened to take us to court for trying to make sure our stimulus programs went to our benefit instead of allowing them to mooch off our efforts.

The only real differences between our psychopaths and yours at this point are that (1) ours think hip-hop makes Baby Jesus cry, (2) you're not allowed to have a serious military, and (3) our central bank -- yes, the central bank of Horrifyingly Anti-ScienceTM "Amurka" -- doesn't believe 2-1=5.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Dec 9th, 2011 at 09:34:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Didn't realize the wingers were using that argument, but yes, watching the shock doctrine, under the control of Frau Merkozy, crater the EZ/EU isn't much fun. Perhaps it compares to what Bush/Obama have done for human rights globally, and when you add Clinton, while enabling the global banking scandal.

I'm too depressed to see clearly.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Dec 10th, 2011 at 04:12:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, the polarization of society into competing idiocies has made it clear that i can't see clearly at all, so thanks for helping me clean the lenses.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Dec 10th, 2011 at 04:27:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then again, frau merkel doesn't bring hope and change around the world by assassination from the skies. so it's likely not at all an "oh, please" moment.

but i'm still too busy bei einkaufs Samstag to put it all in perspective.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Dec 10th, 2011 at 05:43:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not going to argue on human rights abuses between Bush/Obama and Merkel, but holy shit, CH, if Bush is your standard then you're not worthy of lecturing anybody.

However, instead of wrongly assassinating tens or hundreds (I don't know how many) of alleged terrorists and taking out innocent civilians in the process, Merkel will instead bring hope and change to millions of southern Europeans by throwing them into the streets and gutting their (already-less-generous) welfare states.

Then there's Libya, where the morally righteous Germans were perfectly happy to stand around looking at the ceiling as Gaddafi prepared to level Benghazi.

And then, in a classic show of Merkelist attitudes, they made demands of the rebels.  The national motto ought to be "We're There When We Need You" as long as that clown is Chancellor

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Dec 10th, 2011 at 07:54:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not fighting your judgement of Merkel or German economists at all. (and i don't know what court cases regarding your own stimulus you're talking about, so can't comment.)

But you're holding up NATO deposing that dictator as some standard of international aid? (I didn't support germany's position either.)

And it's not about a few hundred targeted assassinations, it's the entire complex of amurka thumbing it's nose at international law. I'm not sure saviour status regarding Libya can be compared to ignoring international treaties.

i don't defend her policies to the EZ/EU in the slightest, but you seem to forget that she's not acting alone, and some of the key players are amurkan. Does the IMF bear some responsibility as well, for throwing millions of s. europeans into the street? Do amurkan banks?

And since we're discussing throwing millions into the streets, would you wish to debate amurka's role in stopping progress on climate issues, which its own military calls the greatest threat to world peace? That is not as immediate as Greece, but has far, far greater global repercussions, the solution of which is past immediate. and one can't even have an adult debate on the subject in amurka, much less a policy that looks somewhat intelligent.

Merkozy is a piece of shit for destroying Yurp, no question, but my points weren't originally intended to argue as if the Eurozone crisis is happening in a vacuum.

(Also, would you explain to me what you mean that if Bush is my standard, i'm not worthy of lecturing anybody? He and Cheney did occupy that office for 8 years, with consequences the entire world is stull suffering under.... but i don't understand what you're getting at.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Dec 10th, 2011 at 03:17:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Dec 10th, 2011 at 03:57:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does the IMF bear some responsibility as well, for throwing millions of s. europeans into the street?

The IMF is providing political cover for the ECB. The extraordinary thing is that the IMF is playing good cop to the EU/ECB bad cop.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 12th, 2011 at 09:29:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany's political psychopaths are no where near as dangerous as the amurkan version, nor as effective. Nor is the population so sheeple-like. (I'm not saying it's good here, but it ain't near as bad.)

Because it's possible to ring-fence Germany and see the damage as happening to "others". Extend "us" "here" to include the whole of the EU and the destruction is going to be quite bad, and quite widespread.

And the Bundesbank and the German Finance Ministry all the way back to Theo Weigel are responsible for much of this damage, especially ideologically and legally.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 12th, 2011 at 09:27:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am convinced there are enough paid shills on places like DailyKos and the like propagating right-wing memes in cloaked lefty language. For instance: American university tuition is unaffordable. All those elite administrators and faculty are fattening up on high fees while students struggle. Costs need to be contained.

This is the sort of right-wingery you'll see often on DailyKos these days.

by Upstate NY on Fri Dec 9th, 2011 at 05:26:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
administrators are fattening themselves off of tuition, along with sports coaches and a distinct minority of faculty, mostly in the hard sciences who do research with commercial application (humanities faculty OTOH have been screwed). students do struggle, and administrative costs do need to be contained, in concert with a massive expansion of public subsidies, and an overall redirection of funds within universities from administrators, sports programs and for-profit research centers.

none of that is right-wing, it's reality, at least out here in CA, where my tuition has gone up 400% in less than a decade at the same time at the same time as executive pay has skyrocketed and faculty/staff get less pay for more work with crappier working conditions and no dignity.

and that's before they pepper-sprayed my classmates in the face.

wanting public universities to serve the public good is not a right wing meme. opposing privatization and the executive class enriching themselves off of public institutions is not a right wing meme.

by wu ming on Sat Dec 10th, 2011 at 02:54:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a right-wing meme that's been peddled across the country and has now thoroughly infiltrated the minds of the left wing in the USA.

Studies show that costs are not rising fast.

Administrative pay accounts for less than 1% of the budget in the Cal. system for instance. Faculty are making less than ever before since there are now only 34% in full-time positions as opposed to 75% a generation ago.

This meme is pernicious and it's part of the right-wing attack since lefties have come together to blast schools for raising tuition, going so far as to argue pell grants and student loans allows schools to inflate prices and refrain from controlling costs. The reality is totally different.

Lack of state funding explains the tuition rise, not increased costs.

On U. Cal's page:

In 1990, the State contributed $16,000 per student.
In 2007, it was $9,500.

By 2010, another $1.15 billion had been cut from the state budget. Current state budget is now $2.6 billion.

Average salaries for faculty have gone up from $51,000 in 1985 to $79,000 in 2001.

Cal-Berkeley's total budget went from 1.224 billion in 1997 to its current 1.59 billion in 2010.

When you look at the increased costs of new technology, much higher health care costs for employee insurance, coupled with deep slashes for state funding, you realize that this accounts for the fast rise in tuition and fees.

So where's the savings?

In 1990, 76% of faculty across the nation were full-time.
In 2010, 34% of faculty across the nation were full-time.

Then look at # of classes offered and class sizes. That's where the so-called" fat is being cut, though of course no one mentions that it's not 4 years of schooling anymore, it's 5 years if you're lucky.

by Upstate NY on Sun Dec 11th, 2011 at 02:56:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What I can't fathom for the life of me is why Germans would cast this saga in moral and/or historical terms?

Germany should be focused on today, not the morals and ethics of the past.

by Upstate NY on Fri Dec 9th, 2011 at 05:23:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...why Germans would cast this saga in moral and/or historical terms...

Because it is rhetorically effective, especially if the history invoked ends 55 years ago and the morality is based on a highly select and grossly oversimplified view of the world that is viewed from a post WW II German perspective. It is hard for politicians to go wrong telling 'the people' things they want to hear and hard to survive telling them what they need to hear. Ask Jimmy Carter. Just look at what US politicians have done since WW II. Which politicians have debunked US exceptionalism and triumphalism? What we have in Germany seems largely to be just a competitive exceptionalism and triumphalism, but comparably puerile.

Only nut cases like those of us who infest sites such as ET have any stomach for the darker side of the national histories of our countries. Sadly this is true for most nations. People only become critical of the actions of their own governments when they personally are repeatedly smashed by the visible consequences of those actions, and by then the victims are already marginalized. The mechanisms of cultural stasis are not particularly appealing viewing.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Dec 9th, 2011 at 11:37:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because that's what politics is: it inhabits a narrative/mythological space and not a rational problem-solving space.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 12th, 2011 at 09:23:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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