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Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, Chapel Hill, Boston, Istanbul, Calgary, Washington DC, Austin, Tunis, Warszawa and counting

Saturday, September 27, 2008

notes on the first debate

  • McCain wants to counter the financial crisis by lessening dependence on foreign oil
  • McCain wants to be bipartisan (doing a reference to Kennedy being in hospital)
  • Obama's solution sounds super simplistic ('oversight over the whole thing')
  • McCain is going to end American capitalism as we know it, no word on how that is feasible
  • Obama seems to be proud to know the difference between Main and Wall Street considering how often he mentions them
  • McCain: "Main St is paying the price for the greed in Washington and Wall St"; so populistic this campaign business
  • McCain: US is still the biggest exporter in the world (no, Germany is)
  • Mccain attacks the appropriations committee again
  • McCain will change the American political system, increasing presidential power over Congress through vetoeing earmarked bills
  • McCain just admitted Republicans failed to reign in spending
  • Obama apparently earmarked a lot (he didn't even counter attack McCain on that)
  • Obama attacks well on the relative unimportance of earmarks (in absolute financial terms)
  • McCain: pork barrel, earmarks, appropriations...god...nothing else to talk about?
  • good attack on McCain on health care, on his belief in market solutions only, lack of regulation
  • McCain shoots back with tax cuts, simple tax rules and pork barrel spending, weak...I hope people will see this
  • McCain: We let spending get out of hand (Bush adminstration and mainly Republican Congress, how dare you attack Obama on that?)
  • McCain is so exemplary in his issues; I guess that is good politically, but it is so unsatisfactory in the sense that any policy content is missing
  • I do not believe Mccain has a chance in hell to cut down on defense spending; he is perfectly right on the issue of course
  • McCain: response to financial crisis: spending freeze on everything but defense spending and veteran entitlements (I know, reading my note just above I am a little confused as well)
  • we are back to appropriations, gawd, John, come on...
  • McCain: Lesson of Iraq: We cannot have a failed strategy (great in-depth analysis)
  • McCain: We will win with honour, so 19th century.
  • McCain: Iran would have won influence if US had lost Iraq. Iran already has obviously, because of the invasion alone.
  • Obama: Al Qaieda is stronger than anytime since 2001. No, they are not. Not because of Iraq, but they are definitely not as strong. They are just a buzzword nowadays.
  • Good point McCain, the next President will not have to decide whether the US should have gone to Iraq but when and how to leave.
  • Hardball on Iraq by Obama, harsh attacks on the 2003 beginning. Good job.
  • This whole troop support thing is so lame. The upper class discussing who has more solidarity with the working class actually fighting and dying.
  • McCain wants to have Paetrus run Afghanistan with the same strategy as Iraq (keyword: Awakening Councils). That is such a dumb suggestion. Completely different countries, completely different circumstances.
  • Obama wants to reinforce troops in Afghanistan, two bataillons in addition. Bad news for Europe, bad news for Germany. They'll have a hard time saying no to a request for military aid of his.
  • McCain: You don't say out loud you attack Pakistan (like Obama did), you just do it.
  • The Pakistanis don't want to go into Waziristan, McCain trying to convince them to do so won't change much. Their government is not strong enough.
  • McCain doesn't believe in Jesus, he believes in General Paetrus.
  • Why does Obama say John, but McCain Senator Obama? Racial issue of white people having called blacks by their first name only for decades in order to keep them in their place? Afraid of being conceived of doing that?
  • Obama: Good job on describing the mess in Pakistan and the failed US efforts there.
  • McCain: So paternalistic towards Obama (doesn't understand this, that (Pakistan, Musharaff, strategy, tactic)
  • Now we are becoming really corny, McCain is wearing some dead's soldiers name on his wrist. God, guys, please, politics, issues, policy. Anyone trying to pull this off in Germany would be laughed off the stage. So 19th/20th century, come into the 21st century. Pretty, pretty please. Now Obama is wearing a bracelet too. Honour, blood, national pride and so on. So lucky we (Europeans, Germans in particular) got rid of this shit after 1945.
  • Even an Iran with nuclear weapons would not mean a second Holocaust.
  • A league of democracies is bullshit, no China, no Russia? This league would be relevant for another 10 years at most.
  • Funny how Israel is treated like the 51st state or something in these debates.
  • Not having negotiations worked real well against Cuba John. Nixon went to China, Roosevelt met Stalin, Kissinger negotiated with the Vietnamese. To refuse to talk to people is not a policy, it is arrogance that doesn't really serve any use.
  • McCain wouldn't want to meet Zapatero? That is ridicolous. Only one of the best prime ministers in Europe.
  • It is dangerous to meet and talk to Ahmadinejad? Less or more dangerous than bombing the place? Wish McCain would actually expound on that. Don't believe he has a point.
  • How did Kissinger become the wise advisor that people feel proud to reference to? His German accent? His failure in Vietnam?
  • Russia's attack on Georgia. What a failure by the Bush administration to not being capable of responding. Good job by Sarkozy, and good for strengthening the EU's foreign policy, but definitely a sign of things to come (increasingly fading American relevance).
  • McCain attacks well on this foreign policy stuff. Always referencing his lack of understanding.
  • The KGB doesn't exist anymore. It's called the FSB Senator McCain.
  • McCain has spent significative amount of time everywhere in the world apparently, but especially Georgia. My personal estimate would be 3 days.
  • Energy independence is a myth.
  • McCain working with Joe Lieberman is not working across the aisle.
  • Interesting that McCain admits the US used to torture. Not quite sure he is doing that on purpose ('have to make sure we never torture again')
  • Why does everyone want simplistic solutions for complicated problems? So sad how this works. Both just keep hammering away at their strong points.
  • Missile Defense is an expensive failure, mainly supported by ex-generals sitting on advisory boards of the military-industrial complex. I thought McCain wanted to reign in spending.
  • McCain: Obama does not have 'enough experience'. At least he finally came out and said it directly, having referenced to it constantly.
  • McCain loves the veterans. God damn homosexual.
  • McCain just directly tried to distance himself from the Bush administration. Not very believable I think, but he tried.
  • The American dream. You can make it if you try. Social mobility. Just another myth, that is not backed up by numbers.
  • McCain was a POW. He can be President. No really, that is sufficient as a qualification. They always make it sound like Veterans are angels or something. Crazy.
  • McCain was good on this, I agree more with Obama of course based on content alone (policy suggestions, the few that were actually mentioned), but McCain was good. But then this is his specialty (foreign policy that is).
  • I cannot believe they did this in Oxford, Mississippi without ever adressing race.
  • Are they like not allowed to kiss their wives on stage?
  • How creepy is McCain's wife? I mean, how much younger is she? How fake does she look (her hair especially, barbie doll)? Scary stuff.
  • Scary post too, in length especially. If you made it all the way down here I recommend you for it and thanks. Need to do some actual work now.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Nationalism once more

Stephen Smith on ESPN goes a long way towards proving that sports journalists are not the brightest, that Americans are nationalistic and that free speech has been replaced by self-censorship in the United States. Thanks for showing the negative image we Americophiles have been trying to dispel for years.

Josh Howard, a far better than average basketball player on the Dallas Mavericks, was filmed at a charity event 'disrespecting' the American national anthem. In his own words: "The Star-Spangled Banner' is going on. I don't celebrate this shit. I'm black." Now, I am not quite clear why this is such a big deal. It is a free country I thought, free speech and stuff, right? Instead, 'it has to stop now' according to Smith and Mark Cuban (the owner of the Mavericks) said 'that the team dealt with Howard at the time of the incident.' 'Howard has the audacity to publicly challenge America's affinity to its own anthem.' I mean how dare he? Don't we all know you are supposed to stare at the red, white and blue teary-eyed through the singing of the anthem? What a sorry state of affairs, if a semi-celebrity is condemned for voicing his personal, political opinion.

Smith continues his rambling by mixing in some references to Howard admitting to smoking weed and its widespread use among NBA-players. I am not quite sure how this invalidates his reasoning on anything else. I assume if he drank Bud Light and watched Monday Night Football he would be considered an upright citizen though. Smith actually has the audacity to call Howard an idiot. I guess that is what not being patriotic makes you.

The funny thing about all that is of course that greater thinkers as Josh Howard would agree (Frederick Douglass' The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro is just one prominent example, WEB DuBois actually moved to Ghana in the last years of his life).

Even J. A. Adande managing a far more level-headed commentary on Howard opens up with talking about America as 'the best country on the planet.' Who are these people? When will they arrive in the 21st century? When will they finally abandon these nationalistic terms that are meaningless in the first place.

I don't think I am doing a good job of expressing myself in this post, but I haven't felt as exasperated with American society in a really long time. I cannot believe this piece of bullshit was published on the front page of

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


This trend of nationalizing financial entities in the Unites States (Fanny, Freddie, AIG) really makes me wonder what happened to all those people afraid of the state. Weren't markets supposed to be taken care of themselves on their own? I do realize that the radical argument could be that there still has been too much state-interference and that this is the reason for the current shit hole (excuse my French, am moving to Paris soon, should be allowed to use it) that we seem to be stuck in. Yet, we will most likely (und das ist auch gut so) never have a perfect market (even if that might be an economist's wet dream), we have to adapt to reality then and that means oversight, government regulation and not letting markets completely off the leach. Otherwise, we have crashing financial markets with no one truly knowing who owns or owes what to whom. Truly libertarian markets are as much of an utopia as communism was.

The German government has decided that a likely recession in the US coupled with falling stock indexes and a financial market whom describing as in turmoil sounds like a euphemism will not affect Germany. Gee, thanks Angela and Peer, I'll take y'all's word for it. (taz, Zeit)

Al Gore might have invented the internet (yes, I know, just a misunderstanding, he did contribute valuable political support and never really claimed more, it's pretty funny nonetheless), but McCain was responsible for people who think they are important being able to show it to everyone, he created the _blank">BlackBerry. Thank you Mr McCain.

Finally, I feel like he exaggerates at times (the 'under god' reference for example really has nothing to do with race), but he makes a couple of really valid points on race and racism in American politics. I am growing increasingly worried about Obama's chances for election by the way, the United States' electorate really disappointed me (us, Europeans, the world) in 2004 and I am wary of actually getting my hopes up once more. Furthermore, as I've said again and again, race does matter and it could just tip the scales in favor of McCain/Palin (worst VP-candidate I've ever read/heard about in my life btw, substantially speaking, not in political terms sadly enough). I guess the upside of that would be that the Austin-boy owes me a six-pack if Obama doesn't win.

Schmidts Beweihräucherung

Ich habe diesen Artikel nicht einmal mehr gelesen und werde dies auch nicht tun. Ich finde diese Beweihräucherung Helmut Schmidts einfach furchtbar. Die Zeit benimmt sich ihm gegenüber als ob er der sprichwörtliche Dukaten-scheißende Esel sei. Seine politischen Kommentare sind nichts mehr als persönliche Ansichten, welche ohne argumentativen Hintergrund vorgebracht werden, stattdessen durch Referenzen auf persönliche Kontakte (Kissinger, Carter usw usf) aus einer gottgleichen Perspektive zu stammen scheinen. Einfach furchtbar.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jiddisch im Berliner Jargon

Seit Ewigkeiten hier nichts mehr geschrieben, hatte meine ersten zweiten Magisterprüfungen die letzten Tage. Heute morgen aber habe ich auf dem Weg zum Flughafen zum ersten Mal seit längerem wieder einfach nur für mich selber gelesen. War schön.

Ich hatte mir Jiddisch im Berliner Jargon oder Hebräische Sprachelemente im deutschen Wortschatz von dem Mitbewohner eines Kumpels letztens ausgeliehen und es dann heute schnell gelesen. Ich finde es nicht besonders schön geschrieben und es ist wirklich sehr kurz, aber die Ansammlung von jiddischen Worten im Deutschen ist beeindruckend und ich möchte einfach nur kurz meine Lieblinge auflisten:

- Mischpoke
- zocken (was ich andauernd benutze)
- malochen
- Schlamassel
- Ische (nicht schön, aber witzig)
- Moos (im Sinne von Geld)
- Zoff
- Ausbaldowern
- Bammel haben
- blauer Montag (der in seinem Ursprung nichts mit der Farbe Blau zu tun hat)
- Chuzpe
- dufte
- Gauner, Ganove
- sich kabbeln
- ein Kaff
- kess
- mauscheln
- Miesepeter
- ein feiner Pinkel
- Reibach machen
- jemanden einseifen

Ich hatte mit einer Freundin in Boston schon eine Liste schöner Worte erstellt gehabt, viele von diesen müßten dort aufgenommen werden.