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About theguyfromtheVale

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    Social Justice Squire

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  1. The Swiss system fits even worse. It features a parliamentary system where the chief executives are elected by the parliament but are not part of parliament. They are also collectively the head of state. Parliament is led by its own president who wields no executive power. This has been stable for almost as long as the USA (and longer than the US if we count the Civil War as the starting point), a bicameral system similar to the USA but with proportional representation instead of district-level representation on the state level, and a high degree of direct democracy. So... yes, stable democracy for close to two centuries is entirely possible with a parliamentry system.
  2. Seriously though, while the last election was almost boring in its predictability, I am absolutely dumbfounded how the next one will pan out. The SPD is currently committing suicide over keeping Merkel in power, the FDP have abandoned the pretense of wanting to govern, and while I agree with that postillon article a few posts back that argued the Greens had held the CDU and FPD in check in a way that the SPD obviously hasn't, I still fear they might shoot themselves in the foot before the elections once again, and simultaneously, their new leadership is... less than encouraging from a lefftist perspective. Die Linke, meanwhile, use their political irrelevance to tear into each other instead of trying to get a workale left-of-center majority once again. At the same time, the CDU looks like a hollow shell of its former self, on the verge of electoral collapse once Merkel is gone as anchor of stability. So, what gives? I hope the AfD doesn't continue to grow, but I see little hope for them not to. I fear that right-wing nationalism will get its chance to govern our country well before social democracy ever gets another chance after this clusterfuck.
  3. As far as I know, recent evidence points to the Plague of Justinian not being smallpox, but bubonic plague - the first known occurrence of yersinia pestis.
  4. We're not disagreeing here, at all. My point was only that Manchin's moderate position is the best liberals can hope for from West Virginia, so they should cherish him, not throw him under the bus for not being liberal enough (because in West virginia terms, he's already as liberal as he can possibly be and still fight for reelection).
  5. Manchin is the best liberals can hope for from West Virginia. He's valuable, even if he's not reliable, because the alternative would be a rock-solid Trump vote.
  6. No, it didn't. At least not when Trump came along. This was a gradual progress, and the rot in the Republican party has been spreading since Nixon, if not even longer. There was Nixon, Watergate and the harnessing of racism to defeat the at that time dominant Democrats. There was Reagan and the surrender of American conservatism to fundamentalist Christianity. There was Ailes and Murdoch and the construction of the conservative echo chamber and priming of people for fascist propaganda. There was Bush the lesser and the irrelevance of facts, the specter of terrorism and disdain for the opinion of those more cautious, and the suspension of many civil liberties under the guise of protecting those very same civil liberties. Trump may be the epitome of the rot in the Republican party, but the corruption he embodies is not a new thing. It's been festering for upwards of fourty years. So, the Republican party hasn't sold its soul so much as just decided to finally drop the mask of respectability it barely kept on before.
  7. Yep. From a leftish perspective, even Jamaica would have been better. For all the talk of the Greens compromising too much, they never seemed to cave quite as much as the SPD did here. Well, I guess that just confirms what everybody already knew: That this particular incarnation of the SPD is just not worth voting for at all.
  8. Actually, I have to agree with Garovorkin here. I do want the Democrats to tack towards the center. But then, that'd make them more liberal, considering how they're mostly a center-right party from my Eurocommie perspective. So, I agree with everybody else, too. Yay!
  9. No, as they're too small to pull ploughs, and they are restricted to the Andes. Mesoamerican civilizations had no access to them.
  10. No, Scot, it's far less than 10'000 years and closer to 1'000 to 3'000 years between the beginning of agriculture and the consolidation of some kind of centralized power, at least in Egypt or Mesopotamia. Also, collecting grains to eat them is still a far cry from cultivating them, which, again, is only attested to have happened arond 11'000 BC
  11. It's confirmed for 11000 BC, 13000 years ago; collection of wild grains started only around 20000 years ago. @Ser Scot A Ellison But people didn't depend on those grains until 20'000 years ago.
  12. Sowing of crops didn't happen for most of that period though, Scot. That only started at the end of the last ice age, around 15'000 years ago, give or take a few millennia. Similarly, the rivers weren't crucial until the plains between them became deserts, which happened due to the end of the ice age.
  13. I think the answer lies in geography, efficiency, and the projection of power. Namely, when the last ice age ended, certain formerly fertile plains in northern Africa, the Middle East, India and East Asia experienced rapid desertification. The only areas where hunting or foraging was still an option were the river valleys. But too many former hunter-gatherers were moving to those places; extensive foraging didn't leave enough food for everybody. So the incentives for more efficient ways of getting food were in place. Once that had happened, the emergence of those relatively densely populated areas meant that for the first time in prehistory, control of arable land mattered. Towns fortified, the first soldiers emerged. And with them came the option of conquest. Also, agriculture meant land ownership was a thing now, and that process kept driving still nomadic people further and further away from the fertile river valleys.
  14. Admittedly, he seems to share that ignorance with the President of the USA
  15. Unless, of course, the next midterms don't happen, or there are some... irregularities. You know, the usual stuff, disenfranchisement of black and Latino voters, "malfunctioning" voting machines, etc, but turned up to eleven.