Now that Donald Trump has Won


#1005

You made a claim now back it up.


#1006

Weeeeeell you say that, but 50 to 15 million deaths really isn’t worth it for ‘lots of things about Soviet Russia worked’. Hell even that statement doesn’t really pass. Sorry personal bug bear of mine. Having to deal with edgy freshers with raging stiffies for Communism and a shockingly loose grasp of history.


#1007

Apparently Trump is 6’3" and 239 lbs.

For anyone who’s met me, I’d say I’m about the same size as the President (sadly) and I’m 6’3" and a bit north of 260.


#1008

You made the first claim that flake’s bullshit was interesting enough to merit an answer without explaining why but I didn’t ask why and simply moved to disagreement outright because the opinion of one has been Republican who would have probably lost his primary isn’t important or interesting. It is fine that you find it interesting and you should probably read a book or two on it. There are some good ones out there.

None of which changes the fact that I don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to do the work of starting an actual discussion first.


#1009

As far as typos go this is an impressive one.


#1010

If you weren’t interested why did you comment?


#1011

I mean, my limited understanding is that most of those deaths happened under Stalin. Didn’t it get better? I could make some nasty assertions about the US by grabbing statistics about slavery, but that shouldn’t disregard the prosperity of the 20th century.


#1012

I’d say the “institutionalized racial chattel slavery” and “active genocide of native populations” is a good argument against saying that lots of things about the United States of America worked.


#1013
Highways?

#1014

Claiming that things got better in the Soviet Union after Stalin is kind of like saying the people moved up from the sewer and into the toilet. Yes, there wasn’t the same kind of mass murder going on, but there were still really bad crackdowns on civil liberties and such. Just talk to someone who actually lived through it, like Garry Kasparov.

Yeah… Those were not good either by any stretch of the imagination. While likewise, things did “get better” afterwards, you can debate as to whether things were better or not in post-Slavery/post-Manifest Destiny USA vs. post-Stalin Soviet Union. It more or less comes down to:

USSR: Everyone (except for the power brokers) was treated like shit equally.
USA: Some people were treated like shit, but if you had the right skin color, you were probably pretty well off. Also, were those who were treated like shit treated as badly as the general population of the USSR?
Post Civil-Rights Era USA: Like the above, but those who were treated like shit were treated even less like shit for the most part.

Complicating matters is that Russia, as the heir of the USSR, is falling back into some of its worst behaviors of the Communist era due to Putin, and the USA is also regressing due to Trump.


#1015

A tough question that’s probably for the people who know more about 20th century Russian history, but on the US side it’s sadly easy: How much sanctioned and state-supported violence is acceptable? And does the fact that it’s “limited” to a certain class of people make it better, or a whole lot worse?


#1016

Here’s my take:

Neither the US or Russia is without sin. However Russia has decided to try to undermine the US to serve its own interests. I don’t fault the Russians for trying, but I’m not allowing them to get away with it.

Honestly, I’m sick of Russia trying to manipulate the American public and I’m equally sick of people selling out the US for money.

The US has and is problematic in a lot of ways, and I’d like to move it closer to the ideal of America instead of the reality. What’s going on right now is counter-productive to that.


#1017

Care to elaborate?


#1018

Well, if you were a high muckity-muck in the Communist Party, you did fine. If you were somehow a sublime talent, like a sports or chess genius, you did fine. However, if you were just a worker bee, you’d have to stand in line for groceries, deal with screw-ups done by the planned economy, and so on. As Garry Kasparov said, given his own experiences with growing up in the USSR:

…There were very few options available for talented kids – business was not an option, politics was not an option, the law was not an option, and every parent tried to look for some opportunities for their kids, and chess was one of them…

Or how about the experience of his grandfather:

My grandfather, my mother’s father was a diehard communist. He died in 1981. I was 18, and we were talking about Afghanistan. And he was shocked after spending 15 years in the Communist party, he had to line up to buy butter and bread. It was mind boggling.

Now, to be fair, Kasparov is also critical of present-day capitalism in many ways and thinks it needs reform, albeit more in the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt trust-busting than huge government handouts:

…we have to recognize that the real innovation is not the IPhone 6, it’s Apollo 6. There is a fundamental difference. And it seems to me that we have multinational corporations that are now sitting on hundreds of billions of dollars of cash, without investing them in new ideas. I understand that paying shareholders in important, but creating new value is probably more important.

And:

The government does have a role in addressing rising inequality. I turn not to Denmark or Venezuela or, god forbid, to the Soviet Union. Instead let us look to the last great battle between labor and capital in America, between public and private power. Just over 100 years ago, President Teddy Roosevelt spoke loudly and used his big stick against some of the world’s largest corporations when they were abusing their monopoly power. His successor, fellow Republican William Taft, continued the antitrust mission, at least initially.

Both men dealt with critics from industry and Wall Street who called their use of government power against them “socialism” and both answered eloquently. In his 1908 State of the Union address, Roosevelt spoke about “the huge wealth that has been accumulated by a few individuals of recent years” being possible “only by the improper use of the modern corporation,” and that these corporations “lend themselves to fraud and oppression than any device yet evolved in the human brain.” He also warned against the accrual of unaccountable political power in the hands of “men who work in secret, whose very names are unknown to the common people.” You can easily imagine Teddy in the bully pulpit today calling for the breakup of the big banks and ending their cozy relationship with Washington.

He is also vehemently Anti-Trump and Anti-Putin.


#1019

I’ll drop it. The informed opinion I was looking for clearly isn’t here.


#1020

Well if you take away any notion of humanity. Yes things did get better Russia went from a feudal state to a world supper power in decades. It saw massive industrialisation, mechanisation and social changes that took Europe centuries to achieve. But it cost millions of lives. And half the stuff didn’t work. And that which did was often a bit crap. Its a bit of a bugger trying to make head or tails of Russian history under Stalin, at times, because sorting the truth from lies is a dam nightmare.


#1021

So the experiences of someone who lived through it doesn’t count as an informed opinion?


#1022

It’s interesting but it’s not a full picture.


#1023

Trump is enabling health workers to deny access to abortions, gender reassignment surgeries, etc. as well as select the patients they will choose to treat based on religious convictions. This could result in LGBTQ+, non-Christians, unwed parents, etc. from receiving treatment. This is yet another way to kill off the poor and “undesirable.” This is some populace cleansing bullshit.


#1024

Fair enough… but if you dig around, it becomes a pretty complicated picture.

On the negative side, bribery was pretty rampant at times – especially with Communist Party officials. Those same officials, due to both the bribery and being in positions of power, often lived much better lives than the average citizen. As a result, classism did exist, despite the notion of Communism being a classless society. The same would apply to other “elites,” like elite athletes, soldiers, and so on. Life in the major cities were generally better than life in rural areas.

Black markets were pretty common to get around government restrictions. Sometimes, the solutions the Soviet citizens would come up with to deal with these restrictions were pretty ingenious, such as “bone records.” At a simpler level, often factory workers would grab stuff from their factories and barter with those from other factories to get various goods they desire.

Short-term daily use goods, like food and such, were usually immediately available for purchase when the local stores had them in stock. Unfortunate, shortages were pretty common-- especially outside of major cities. Those who lived outside of those cities often made regular trips into the cities to purchase food and other goods. Even in major cities, one often had to wait in line for hours to purchase food. Long term goods, such as appliances and furniture, often had multi-year wait lists to acquire them. While one may argue that these goods can be considered “luxury” items, some of them are more or less necessities for a modern life, such as stoves and refrigerators.

Housing was provided, but it was fairly common for multiple families to share small apartments.

Pollution was rampant. Coal was the major source of power and smog was a serious problem for years even after western cities such as London were able to curb their smog problems. The Soviet Union was arguably even worse than the United States when it came to environmental stewardship. Oh, and let’s not even get into the clusterfuck that was Chernobyl, how it happened, and how it was handled.

Add this to the idea of living in a police state. While the post-Stalin Soviet Union wasn’t as brutal as the Stalin Era or the East German Stasi, you were still constantly monitored by the intelligence apparatus and law enforcement. Dissenters were often charged with the crime of being “anti-Soviet.” Some of them were exiled from the Soviet Union. Others were declared insane and sent to mental hospitals that were actually prisons.

Now to be fair, on the positive side, you were provided with education, housing (when available), food (when available), health care, etc.

Now, personally, I think that would make for a pretty cruddy life overall. Yes, I probably had food, housing, health care, and education, but I also had a lot of other not-so-nice things to deal with.

That said, something does need to be done to reform modern capitalism. One could argue that with the fall of communism, capitalism became a lot harsher. I do think there needs to be a stronger safety net for those individuals who fall through the cracks. I think something needs to be done to restore the whole notion that if you “work hard, you’ll be successful.” For example: back in the 1960’s, a minimum wage summer job would be enough to pay for a year’s tuition at a high-quality state university such as UC Berkeley, often with some cash leftover. Good luck doing that nowadays.