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Everything posted by theguyfromtheVale

  1. Shouldn't his name be Saskvatchev then?
  2. Dobrindt only ever acted to protect our car manufacturers from liability for fraud or to get his ridiculous road tolls. Apart from that, he seems to have ignored his resposibilities as infrastructure minister.
  3. Actually, he didn't. He got the Russians to lend him money. US Banks didn't want to touch him with a ten-foot pole. That's slightly different.
  4. Yeah, if your identity is entirely wrapped up in either the "gamer" or the "Alpha" label, you're quite likely to be depressed. This is just the latest round of neofascists recruiting lonely depressed young men into their ranks.
  5. @Pony Queen Jace prompted me to write this piece about my family history. I figure it fits far better here than in the US politics thread, with which it is only connected by the thinnest of tangential threads. The original question was about German sentiment on the territorial losses after WWII. Anyway, on to the story. My maternal grandfather was born in the mid-1920es in Southern East Prussia, somewhere between Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) and Danzig (now Gdansk). He was the second child of what would become seven. His father, a devout member of the Prussian section of Open Brethren, joined the NSDAP in 1933 and encouraged his children to join the Hitlerjugend. In his memoirs, my grandfather chillingly describes his pride as a teenager in rising through the ranks of the HJ. In 1939, his father, a carpenter, was given a position as civil engineer for a newly conquered Polish-Pomeranian town that had, before WW1, been German. So they moved there. His older brother joined the Wehrmacht at the age of 18, and fought on the Eastern front for several years. My grandfather got an apprenticeship as a carpenter, but had to finish school early when he was drafted at the age of 18, too; because of his background, he was made a pioneer. He, too, fought on the Eastern front, in contrast to his younger brother, who was drafted to the air force. (Tangentially related: this granduncle of mine became a British POW, met a nurse from Indiana while a POW, married her, and ultimately went to Alaska to be a missionary to the Inuit... where he ultimately died in a plane crash. Planes and their crashed shaped his life.) In January 1945, while still a teenager, my grandfather was shot in the knee. There was no way to treat his wounds in the Courland Pocket, and so he was shipped to Danzig with one of the last ships going out of Libau (now Liepaja, Latvia). However, the hospital was massively overcrowded due to the collapsing Eatern front, and so his wound kept being untreated until the advancing Russian forces led to the evacuation of the hospital in early March, and so he was handed through various hospitals until early May. Only after the German capitulation, four months after being wounded, were there the resources to treat his injury in Lüneburg. In the meantime, the wound had festered and he was likely to die of sepsis. Amputation at the hip was the only way to save his life. Through some luck, he managed to find his family, who had had to flee from Pomerania - they were living only fifty kilometers from his hospital. Only his older brother was missing - his fate remained unclear until a few years ago, we learned he had died on the Vistula Spit, less than 100 km away from his birthplace. My grandfather went on to get a civil engineering degree, seeing how he couldn't work as a carpenter any longer with only one leg, married a nurse who had also fled (though from Silesia, not Pomerania), and started working at a government job. He resented Brandt for officially ceding his birthplace and the place of his youth to Poland in 1970. My mother still remembers him ranting the slogan "Dreigeteilt niemals!" (Never tripartite, referring to West Germany, East Germany and the Polish territories) at that time. Shortly after his 80th birthday, my aunt accompanied him on a trip to Poland, to the places of his youth. Few places still looked the way he remembered them. But the places he could recognize were populated by younger, Polish children. Only then did he realize that this wasn't his home any longer - it was theirs. He kept on living for close to another decade until he died on the seventieth anniversary of the loss of his leg in May 2015.
  6. Considering that Switzerland has only about 2% of the population of the USA, we'd need to store a hell of a lot of guns per capita to make a dent in the gloal gun ownership statistics. Also, while gun ownership is very common in Switzerland, the culture around them is nevertheless massively different to the US gun culture. Guns need to be safely stored by law and may not be carried when loaded, except by licensed hunters, security forces, or people who can show reason to fear for their life - while still needing to pass an exam showing they know how to handle a gun. Such a license is valid for five years. In practice, it is extremely rare to see people brandishing guns except during hunting season, on soldiers on their way to or from duty, or on the shooting range.
  7. Isn't it kind of telling that the Irish government seems to have a clearer position on Brexit than the British government, in spite of the fact that the latter is pushing Brexit hard?
  8. There's a story there to be told, but I can't write it right now as I'm writing on a Tablet and this is gonna be a long one. Anyway, as much as I share your concerns about Russia, the answer to your question is a resounding no. We accepted our territorial losses in 1970 in the Treaties of Moscow and Warsaw. This hasn't been an issue since.
  9. @Pony Queen Jace Ask away. I'm not a PoliSci major, lawyer, sociologist or economist though, so my answers might be underwhelming compared to the wisdom some others are able to offer here The word you're looking for is "Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän" (i.e. "Danube steam boat travel company's captain"). It's long, but there's no German word. For example, I can create the word "Donaudampfschifffahrtskapitänsmütze" (i.e., his cap). The real candidates for our longest words come from politics - namely from the words for some of our laws. Examples? How about the "Rinderkennzeichnungs- und Rindfleischettikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz", which was an actual law in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern for 14 years? It means "Cattle marking and beef labeling supervision delegation law" in English.
  10. @Pony Queen Jace As always, we Germans have already invented the word you're looking for. Hereabouts, they're called "Flintenweib" (pl. Flintenweiber; literal translation: flint lock wife; more modern translation: rifle bitch). You're welcome
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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).
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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!
  19. No, as they're too small to pull ploughs, and they are restricted to the Andes. Mesoamerican civilizations had no access to them.
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Admittedly, he seems to share that ignorance with the President of the USA
  25. 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.