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  •  Amazing generalizations (2+ / 0-)
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    historys mysteries, erratic

    as if all of Europe is one homogenous blob.

    Um, no.

    My eldest lad just went through the process of deciding which route his education will take in the years to come and we're proud of him for not taking the easy path and sticking with the majority of his friends who are going to schools next year that are geared to a more vocational training.

    But guess what, everyone took tests. Standardized tests for math, science, and ye olde native language (in our case, Czech) are taken by all students. Now, entrance exams to get into another school-- that's a different thing entirely. By the way, my lad's current school topped the list of schools in our part of Prague for math last year. And yeah, as a 9th grader he's learning electro-magnetic wave theory that I didn't begin to learn until 12th grade in the US. English is already mandatory in schools here and as of next year middle school and older students will have to chose a second foreign language to learn as well. Uh huh, sure-- it's because we don't test the dumb kids...

    And claiming that Europeans spend nothing on their own defense is of course utter nonsense. It's just that Europeans don't have a need for such expenditures with or without Amurikin muscle to back them up. Part of that whole EU experiment is to ensure that our mutual dependence kinda makes huge standing armies needless. And expecting each individual country to match who? Russia? for military spending is beyond ridiculous. And yet-- even France alone spends more than Russia. So, America simply spends entirely too much on a conventional standing army that is absolutely frivolous in today's world. Spending billions on new tanks while the tanks the US already has are parked in the desert? It should have been a "WTF are we still spending hundreds of billions on defense for?" moment when the Soviet Union collapsed. But no, any excuse to increase military spending gladly accepted in today's USA. Yeah, "dumb schmucks" indeed. Actually, I guess spending is going down over all but still, too much being spent on nonsensical junk like tanks.

    Seriously, where's the threat? The US spends almost 4 times as much as the next big spender, China. Why? Scary old Russia spends about a tenth of what the US does. Who are we defending Europe from exactly?

    Quite a bit of the current crisis in the EU can be blamed on some countries insisting that America had a great solution called "austerity"-- turns out, it's a bad idea!

    Take a look at some other statistics like the infant mortality rate in the US compared to Europe and blame that on biased testing or European 30 hour work weeks-- which would actually be fantastic news to Europeans because it sounds to me like you've been huffing at the Fox News tailpipe.

    Word to that Norwegian guy-- there are no Soviets anymore. And Norway does offer a 12 month, non-military, civil service alternative for pacifists.

    There are refugee camps all over the place, I have friends that do volunteer work with refugees here and here's an article about the reality of the difficulties faced by the refugees written by a friend of mine years ago. Or try this link for a less personal look at the actual laws and policies.

    So no, I don't appreciate the generalizations and exaggerated claims you make. Europe is not responsible for the USA's failure to take care of its own.

    Saving the elusive werelynx though swag.

    by Marko the Werelynx on Mon Jun 03, 2013 at 03:09:45 AM PDT

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    •  I didn't write that Europe is responsible... (1+ / 0-)
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      Marko the Werelynx

      ...for USA's failures.  I wrote that Europeans have a mistakenly smug attitude when comparing themselves to the US.  I was calling them on their generalizations of the US.  I was admitting that the US is priority challenged. And I was writing that their smugness is affordable because the US is their benefactor.
      That Norwegian guy was in the army when there were Soviets.  So granted it is an old anecdote, not a misinformed one.  Still, I bet most NATO countries rely on the US for their own national security even to this day.  Kudos to them for spending very little on military.  But do not criticize the US for having dumb priorities when they rely on our dumb priorities so they can go blithely on their way.
      How many US kids are tested who are from refugee families?  How many Czech kids are tested who are from refugee families?  How many Czech kids who are mentally handicapped are main streamed and their test scores are averaged in?  
      Your son sounds like a gifted young man.  Good for him.  I am not convinced that the public schools in Europe are testing the same way as the public schools in the US.

      Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon. As good as I am, the bird is going to shit on the board and strut around like it won anyway. –jbou (2013)

      by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Mon Jun 03, 2013 at 06:25:01 AM PDT

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      •  What game is the US playing? (1+ / 0-)
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        Simul Iustus et Peccator

        Especially considering that there is nobody lining up tanks on these borders. The Brits blew over 90 billion on their armed services last year add what the French spent and you've got the generous estimate of what the Chinese spent. Which is about 3 times what Russia spent. Seriously, the US is nuts if they think they're spending money to defend Europe from some eminent threat. Seriously, Yankee go home already.

        The notion that Europe demands a large force of US troops permanently stationed over here so they can sip champagne and suck snails is an idea that should have died in the Reagan era. What may have been true about the US keeping a delicate Europe huddled under her wing may have been true in the era of your Norwegian anecdote but it isn't true anymore. So, why doesn't the US close some bases?

        So blithely we go on wondering why the US bothers ...

        The world will obviously collapse into chaos if the 80,000 US military personnel in Europe (stats from 2010) bought a last schnitzel and quietly went home. Over a dozen bases in Germany are set to close within the next couple of years. It's a good trend in my opinion.

        You do raise a good point when it comes to academic testing and standardized tests. I wish I knew how disadvantaged students are dealt with when it comes to testing but you might consider what this article has to say about the international test results.

        Traditionally, the most common criticism of international studies is that it is unfair to compare our results to other countries because their national scores are based on a highly selective population. While this may have been true in the past, it is simply not valid in the case of TIMSS.
        Interesting at any rate.

        Saving the elusive werelynx though swag.

        by Marko the Werelynx on Mon Jun 03, 2013 at 07:47:05 AM PDT

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        •  Thanks for the link. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Marko the Werelynx

          Indeed, Yankees go home.

          The idea and the practice should have died in the Reagan era.  But the idea continues because the practice continues.

          I've long wondered why both parties seem to mistakenly think we need to continue to maintain status as a world power militarily in order to benefit ourselves.  Pre-WW2 isolationism can be irresponsible.  But there is no US benefit, except to the military industrial complex, for the US to be the world's policeman.
          Orwell wrote that meek men sleep well at night because of rough men who stand ready on the wall -- or something like that.  We need to get off everybody else's wall.  It's expensive, it's dumb, nobody appreciates it.  

          Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon. As good as I am, the bird is going to shit on the board and strut around like it won anyway. –jbou (2013)

          by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Mon Jun 03, 2013 at 08:34:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You said it. (0+ / 0-)
            ... there is no US benefit, except to the military industrial complex ...
            That's enough for most politicians, especially those whose constituents have jobs supplying America's bloated military.

            Lima, Ohio anyone? Jobs is about the only excuse I've got any sympathy for.

            Yeah, there's not been a reason for the US to be maintaining over 50,000 troops in Germany since the wall came down.

            Unless it was for the beer.

            By the way, my brother-in-law started a new job in Belgium recently and this year he will get zero paid vacation days. He does get use of a company car though ...

            Thanks for kicking my brain around today. It's one thing for me to disagree with someone but it's always more fun for me to get off my stubby tail and dig up some bones to support my flabby assumptions.

            Saving the elusive werelynx though swag.

            by Marko the Werelynx on Mon Jun 03, 2013 at 10:01:25 AM PDT

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