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I suffered an epiphany this morning. It was not a pleasant experience. I realized, slowly, incrementally, and mind-ragingly unavoidably, that former Soviet Gorbachev had our number down pat. In many ways, he was the modern Alexis de-Tocquville, being able to observe our country far more accurately and honestly than we.

While Alexis admired us, and looked at us in awe, he also saw the unnecessary roughness, greed, and the corrosive impact of religion on our country. He viewed our prisons, and worked hard to learn about life of the common man. He strongly felt that "a mild, stagnant despotism was the greatest threat to democracy," and that Americans might be willing to allow despotism as the easiest solution to an immediate problem.

Gorbachev, the Soviet Prime Minister who led the eventual destruction of the USSR, was a communist in the Lenin-styled ideal, not the failed caricature that the USSR had become in the end. He felt that communism would bring freedom, enlightenment,  and democracy to a country that sought it. He also feared that the USA would teach Russia the wrong lessons, not about democracy, but about greed, unbridled capitalism, and even greater inequality between people.

Today, when Gorbachev speaks with regret, he frequently mentions Vladimir Putin and his puppet, Medvedev, as signs that a country might have taken the wrong path. While he congratulated Putin on stopping economic chaos, the attacks on the free press, the erosion of demcoracy, and the increase in the state security apparatus are all signs of failure.

Gorbachev's views on the US are particularly telling. He predicted that the Soviet Union (before its fall), would inch ever closer to a democracy and capitalism, while the US would inch ever closer to the worst parts of socialism.  

From a depressing point of view, Gorbachev was right on both counts.

Because my parents escaped from eastern Europe during WWII, which then became part of the Soviet Union, more than most people, I was taught about the evils of Socialism and even more, the evils of the USSR. Given the many relatives I lost in Siberia (who I never met, only only heard of in passing from my eldest relatives here) and the nuclear danger that the USSR posed, it was easy to swallow those lessons whole, without chewing or analysis.

Simply put, I, like many here, was taught a simple equation: USA = Good. USSR = Bad.

Listening to Ronald Reagan describe our sworn enemy as the Evil Empire both energized me, and shocked me enough to rethink what exactly the USSR represented.

In 1976, I attended a summer at university in the Soviet Union, learning the language, culture, history, and more importantly, American history from their point of view. (I never suspected that the South represented the future collective socialist society, and how it was unfortunate that the bourgeois used their economic power to stop it in its tracks). Without seeing socialism at work, up close and in person, I doubt that I would have voted for Ronald Reagan the first time. But I did, and my first vote has bothered me ever since.

In my spare time, I walked. Museums, cultural events, bars, former churches, mosques, and temples, I met many people, and learned a great deal about how they lived. Speaking their language helped immensely. Two questions that I heard each and every time I met someone new stunned me. "Why do you hate us? Why do you wish to attack us?"

In 1990, I returned, first as a conference attendee and organizer, seeking contacts with their legal system and attorneys, and in 1991, when I accepted an invitation to teach at their local law school. Those were heady times, I can tell you. The Soviets had literally "turned off the gas," leaving this small country without heat, oil, or gasoline.

To show  you just how pervasive their brainwashing was, even while I was teaching, and this country was celebrating is freedom from the USSR, individuals came up to me and asked, "Why did you hate us?" and "Why did you wish to attack us?"

The epiphany I had involved Gorbachev's prediction, that the USSR would move towards capitalism and democracy, while the USA would move towards the worst parts of marxist leninist governance.

Let's take a look at a step by step comparison of the USA today.  

Poverty
Much like the Soviet Union, the USA had several decades of widespread growth. We had a thriving middle class, and our social safety net had prevented starvation and malnutrition, for the most part. While there were problems, some quite deep and horrific, until Reagan's attack on the social networks and protections for the poor, people had a chance to live life freely.

In the USSR, until the 1980s, people also experienced a decent lifestyle, despite what anti-soviet "experts" like John Bolton, Dick Cheney, and Don Rumsfeld might have said. They were guaranteed a job, housing, food, and clothing. It was not the best living, but everyone was entitled to survive. After 1980, the soviet middle class took a downturn, made worse by their ill-advised invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, and by a growing arms race. Just as our middle class began to stumble, so did theirs, although the huge differences in the standard of living made their fall that much more painful, at least at first.  

Racism
Racism increased in the Soviet Union just as their economic structure began to crumble. In the early years of the USSR, there were ham-handed efforts to create equality between all races, and between the sexes. But, as the exercise of some power corrupted the leadership, ultimately, the government's power was completely corrupted. Racism returned, often with a vengeance. Their dislike and mistrust of Chechins, or anyone coming from a soviet state ending with "Stan" grew exponentially, especially during the occupation of Afghanistan.

Racism in America has also reared its ugly head. Just dip a toe in places like WhirledNutDaily, or Red State, and the racism is scary huge. It used to be limited to african americans. Now, that  target group has grown to include muslims and arabs. The idea that a Fox News viewer could be so deluded as to drive to Ohio simply to burn a mosque down - well, that reality is the New America. Kind of makes one proud, doesn't it? Our growingly equal opportunity racism, that is.

Paranoia
If there was one word that described the foreign policy of the USSR, it was paranoia. With good reason (and due to many CIA blunders), the Soviets were petrified that the US was going to attack them. While here in the Colonies, we were told that aggressive foreign policies were for our own good, to benefit our security, to make sure that the damned Russkies would never be able to attack us, our very steps and aggressive actions created utter fear and paranoia in the USSR. The election of Reagan was like a nightmare coming alive.

One thing that such fear caused was even greater support of the Soviet State, because the enemy (the USA) would be so much worse. We have seen similar support of a corrupt leadership in Iran. The harder we push, the more people return to supporting the Mullahs, even if it was not in Iran's best interests.

Today, paranoia drives much of the public policy debate in Washington. The Tea Buggerers are the leading source of this fear, although brilliant fear-mongering by the Cheney/Bush administration went a long way in creating the sense of fear and foreboding. Today, the USA has become as paranoid as the USSR of the early 1980s. Hell, we even have US senators complaining about the Soviet threat. 20 YEARS after its collapse! Luckily, we adopted another soviet fear - too many of our people fear the Stans as much as they did, if you include Iran into the mix.

Surveillance
Surveillance was the constant in the USSR. Unless you experienced it, you simply cannot understand how pervasive, how corrosive, and how effective (in making you fear your own government) surveillance was. In my college dorm, every room was bugged. We were followed on the streets, and people were afraid to meet in public. (People were questioned about our conversations every time I met with someone new).

A government official who I befriended explained their system in a matter of fact way. 3 out of every 10 people had the job of watching the other seven people. That was their job. And one of the 3 was watching the other watchers. He claimed, after our second bottle of vodka, that this was the only way to keep dissident elements from destroying his country from within. Given my own experiences at the time, this was not a case of puffing or exaggeration, but of simple fact. (5 minutes after I found my passport missing, there were 60-100 armed guards searching the entire Lenin Square where I had apparently lost it. They found in 10 minutes later).

A funny thing happened on the way to our forum. American lost its soul. With little or no debate, our spineless, fear based Congress passed the Patriot Act and allowed the NSA, CIA, and FBI to spy on us, here in the Colonies, without any constitution prohibitions or controls. If anything, the spying has become more pervasive and more damaging.

We have become Sovietized, at least as to how our government now spies on us. What is worse, is even though we suspect how pervasive it is, too many people accept it as the norm, not as a temporary unconstitutional spasm of fear-based insanity. Even in the former Soviet countries, their government does NOT spy as routinely or as deeply as America spies on its citizens.

Militarism
The Soviets achieved some magnificent results, particularly in military design, space, and other scientific endeavors. While Americans like to brag about our scientific prowess, (although creationists and anti-evolution TeaBuggerers are doing their best to destroy our science base), the Soviets beat us on many fronts.

Who was the first to put a man in space? USSR
Who landed on the moon first in an unmanned vehicle? USSR
Who landed on Venus first? USSR
Who created the first workable supersonic fighter jet? USSR
Who created the best anti-aircraft missiles? USSR
Which country has the best heavy lift missiles currently in use? USSR, oops, Russia
Which country routinely created better missiles, aircraft and helicopters for military use? USSR

Which country tried to spread its influence by supporting corrupt leaders, offering military support and protection, and installing bases on foreign lands?  Heh. Take your pick. There is little difference between the USSR of the 70-80s, and the USA of today.

Think of yourself as a Russian General. Look around at your borders and what do you see?  A militarized NATO based, US military presence. In Poland? Same thing. Turkey? Ditto. Canada, Yup. Japan? uh huh. Korea. Same. Afghanistan. ditto. In fact, Russia is surrounded by the US military. Why else would we have massive bases in Germany? To prevent the Nazi forces from attacking Belgium, or vice versa?

Because of the constant propaganda we receive domestically, we forget (or easily swallow their lies) why we maintain such a huge military presence around the world. We also ignore just how painful it is for other countries to accept our forces in their lands. Think Saudi Arabia, as just one example.

During the current debate, what is the one strident point that TeaBuggerers in Congress hate the most? The possibility that we may cut our military budget. This is despite our spending more on the military than the next 47 countries COMBINED!

Need for one Big Enemy
One thing that Stalin, Krushchev, and others understood was that a people needed one distinct enemy. By having one defined, existing, and convenient enemy, the people would always fall in line in support of their own country. Nikita once said, "All the sparrows on the rooftops are crying about the fact that the most imperialist nation that is supporting the colonial regime in the colonies is the United States of America." Given just how aggressive we have been against the USSR, it was easy for the Soviets to define us as the one Big Enemy.  

Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, we do the same here. We used to have the USSR to blame for all our troubles. Then, it was Iraq, Afghanistan. Today, it is Iran and Al Qaida. If we did not have one Big Enemy to fixate upon, to blame our woes on, to explain the need for a bloated military, domestic surveillance, and the need for war, what would happen to our society? Hell, we may even have enough money to pay for roads, bridges, schools, fire and police, and even energy research!

Even today, GOP TeaBuggerers are beating the war drum against Iran. Why? A country that has never attacked anyone in their 3000 year old history is suddenly Public Enemy #1? Yet, talk to any Republican office holder, and they are adamant about getting ready to invade Iran.
What foolishness.

Guess who said this:

Surely, God on high has not refused to give us enough wisdom to find ways to bring us an improvement in relations between the two great nations on earth.  
False Hero Worship
America has been badly served by its professionals, especially in the military. Pat Tillman was killed by his own troops. Yet, the US military hid that fact, and tried to honor him as a hero, rather than tell the real story.
Jessica Lynch was never captured, turned into a POW, nor raped or abused by Iraqi Military. Instead, she was injured, and the Iraqis tried their hardest to save her life. Yet, the US military concocted a faux story, and even allowed a domestic TV station to begin a "Story of a Hero" tale about her. Her embarrassment at having her story abused, altered, and falsified - simply so Americans could have a hero to worship, was palpable. But that is not the only time that the US military lied to us.

When a country is forced to manufacture heroes, or labels heroes every time that someone does the job for which they were trained, there is something wrong with that country. Not every military person is a hero. Not every police or fireman is a hero. Not every sports player is a hero, SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY DID THEIR JOBS.

A failed, failing society is forced to manufacture heroes, in order distract the public. To get their attention. To make us feel good about bad or failed policies, and to avoid facing our problems straight on. That is America today, just like it was the USSR in the 1980s.

We have begun another tradition, one used to excess by the USSR. Take a look at the Soviet military leaders of the 1980s. They each sported a chestful of medals and ribbons.
Now, take a look at David Petreaus. Is he or is he not no different than the Soviet Generals of yesteryear? He ran a failed policy, he repeatedly brushed up his resume, while covering up his failures, and he managed to convince people that all those medals and ribbons have made him into a hero. Instead, the reality is far less pleasant. Yet to hear the GOP in congress, he walked on water, except when his lover was found to have US military secrets in her computer.

We overuse the term "hero" almost to a level of absurdity. That is another clear sign that our society, our political system is failing.

Pressing or demanding identical beliefs from others
Probably, one of the strongest indicators of our failing society, is how we demand uniform beliefs from others. Thinking differently is a sin, quite possibly traitorous. Christians today complain of a war on Christmas. Seriously? A WAR? Bullshit.  

Christians in Congress have managed to attack other religions and non-believers, in a way I did not think possible before. We have end of worlders like Bachmann and others in office. We have the Supreme Court chief justice of a backwards southern state be elected, even though the ideas he espouses, and will apply in office, are filled with hate, racism, discrimination, and fear-mongering.

A sign of our weakness is seen every day when christians and conservative politicians try to impose their rules and beliefs on the rest of us. Our religious history is not a sign of strength, but, rather, destructive, corrosive, illogical, and irrational. Much like religion in general.

There are other topics, like Growing Economic Inequality (which the USSR had, with a very small, very rich powerful leading class),  or our Foreign Alliances with Scoundrels and Criminals; or even worse, our Refusal to Deal with Our Own Mistakes and War Crimes (thank you, Mr. Holder);  and even  Attacks on Unions and Control of Labor.  In each of these situations, we grow ever closer to the failed USSR's approach to the same subjects.

We are left with one dismal, sad, and depressing conclusion. We have become the Soviet Union.

Poll

Is our society failing?

60%66 votes
5%6 votes
4%5 votes
2%3 votes
7%8 votes
0%0 votes
11%13 votes
7%8 votes

| 109 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think this is worth the discussion. nt (12+ / 0-)
  •  You've got the name wrong. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mookins, agnostic, OIL GUY

    It's Alexis de Tocqueville.

    And his views on religion were much more complex than the way you characterize them.  For much on that, see http://xroads.virginia.edu/... .  He was personally a religious Roman Catholic, not an opponent of religion.

  •  I disagree with a lot of this, but strongly (7+ / 0-)

    agree with this:

    A funny thing happened on the way to our forum. American lost its soul. With little or no debate, our spineless, fear based Congress passed the Patriot Act and allowed the NSA, CIA, and FBI to spy on us, here in the Colonies, without any constitution prohibitions or controls. If anything, the spying has become more pervasive and more damaging.

    We have become Sovietized, at least as to how our government now spies on us. What is worse, is even though we suspect how pervasive it is, too many people accept it as the norm, not as a temporary unconstitutional spasm of fear-based insanity. Even in the former Soviet countries, their government does NOT spy as routinely or as deeply as America spies on its citizens.

  •  Enjoyed your diary very much. I no longer think of (13+ / 0-)

    myself as a citizen of the United States. 98% of the population have become irrelevant to our government and nothing more than a commodity to our government's owners.

    This whole trip into poverty, income inequality and becoming a militarized police state, will end very, very badly.

    History tells us this truth.

    Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - Wendy Connors

    by Wendys Wink on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:57:15 AM PST

  •  I don't know much about the (7+ / 0-)

    Soviet Union, but most of the characteristics you point out are typical of countries with economic difficulties and creeping fascism. The propaganda techniques are used by leaders almost everywhere. I'm not arguing against your comparison, but I think it's a broader problem. I've learned a lot by following @IyadElBaghdadi and @UmairHaque on Twitter, although these patterns show up in world news all the time. I hope Russia is moving toward greater freedom and democracy but I don't see the signs.  I worry that there is a world trend toward fascism based on economic fears and leveraged ethnic/sectarian hatred.

    Stay fired up: now is the time to focus on downticket change! #Forward

    by emidesu on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:58:08 AM PST

  •  Very interesting..... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agnostic, ybruti, blueoasis, 3goldens

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:02:47 AM PST

  •  The RealNews is currently running a series on (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agnostic, marina, Noor B, corvo

    the cold war.

    The Making of "Untold History of the United States"

    The beginning of a multi-part interview with Peter Kuznick; in this segment he tells the story about how he teamed up with Oliver Stone to challenge a primary thesis of the cold war


    More at The Real News
  •  I have been saying this for four years. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agnostic, corvo

    You put it far more eloquently then I ever could have. I just hope the collapse comes sooner rather then later.

  •  Empires fail due to international hubris.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agnostic, Noor B

    ....and a lack of investment at home.

    That's not exclusive to the US or the Soviet Union.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 12:31:47 PM PST

  •  I urge people to read Dr. Lawrence Britt's (9+ / 0-)

    conclusion. It's scary beyond belief. Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes.

    It didn't matter whether where the fascist roots came from, they lie in every single extreme extrapolation of political/economical worldviews.  Britt examined what is now rather common to teach students in Sociology: the 14 defining characteristics of a country creeping closer and closer to fascism.

    1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Upcoming regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

    2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

    3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

    4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

    5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

    6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

    7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

    8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

    9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

    10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

    11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

    12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

    13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

    14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

  •  Just when is your beginning date for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, Dirtandiron

    analyzing Soviet history? I only ask because there are a few Ukrainians I know who might not agree with this:

    In the USSR, until the 1980s, people also experienced a decent lifestyle...
    Among other things.
  •  You are very wrong in so many ways. (0+ / 0-)

    There is some surfacial truth to your arguments, but overall they lack analysis based on history and statistics. Unfortunately, I do not have the time today to dig into the numbers and make counterarguments.

    Racism never "went away" in the U.S. It was shamed into relative silence by the bravery of the people who fought for and won advances in civil rights for people of color and women in the 50s-70s. All the while, the  hidden dirty work of hate continued in the background. Forty years of a multi-billion-dollar right-wing investment in multimedia propaganda gradually inured the American people to hearing a bit more and a bit more hate speech; THEN Barack Obama was elected President and the race roaches came boiling out from under the cabinets. But the racism in our culture and legal system are in no way comparable in virulence, ubiquity, or social consequence to that in Russia and most of its former republics.

    As for paranoia, have you no memory of the enormous anti-communist paranoia that drove us further and further into the clutches of the arms race, had us practicing "duck and cover" in elementary schools, brought about the McCarthy witch hunts and blacklisting, destroyed lives and careers, and even into the 80s marked one as an undesirable if one admitted sympathy to communist ideals? You would have been hard-pressed to find anyone who would dare express sympathy with communism or a communist country back then; whereas ~33% of Americans today are freaked out about Scairy Mooslims. We were willing to build nuclear arsenals that could wipe out the entire planet in our fight against Communism, tolerate 100,000 Americans dead and 250,000 wounded in the Korean and Vietnam wars, tolerate a military draft. Nothing we're doing today comes close in terms of irreversibility.

    As for the need for one big enemy, that has been our stock in trade since before the USSR came into existence.

    I do agree with you 100% that the word "hero" has now become meaningless. We're going to have to invent a new word for real heroes.

    And the raison d'etre and deployment of our massive, maddening domestic surveillance capabilities differs drastically from that of the USSR, although the Sovs would have died and gone to heaven if they could have surveilled their nation as effectively as our government and multinational corporations eavesdrop and watch us. And still this is nothing new. The Sovs joked in the 70s and 80s that Americans were the most documented, tracked, watched people on the planet. The difference is that U.S. voters CAN change every bit of the circumstance we find ourselves in today, but so far have chosen not to. Citizens of Russia (and likely some of the other republics) still do not have that luxury.

    And there is no comparison between the diversity of expression tolerated today and the conformity demanded of Americans concerning religious belief, political belief, race issues, sex/gender issues, and other social mores in decades past -- except perhaps for the depiction of cigarette smoking on TV and performance in blackface.

    YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

    by raincrow on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 02:34:42 PM PST

    •  hmm. interesting. Rain, you drop many (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo

      individual truths, pattering on the roof, BUT

      do you really think it is easy for us to "change every bit of the circumstance we find ourselves in today?"

      Take one simple point. Medical Marijuana. Entire states have approved it, and still the feds attack people. I don't believe your assertion is correct.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:44:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One big difference (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agnostic, 3goldens, corvo

    When the Soviet Union closed shop, the ordinary citizen was left with the ownership of his government issued apartment.  When the United States closes shop, the banks will own your house.  But if you are nice, they might even continue to rent it to you.

  •  Great diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agnostic

    I'm going to disagree with you on one point. In general I don't think the Soviet Union built better military aircraft than the United States.

    Their planes were sometimes better in one aspect or another but they never could put the whole package together.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:55:00 PM PST

    •  true, but their approach created (0+ / 0-)

      surprise, fear and loathing among our military, to a degree that was amazing.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:00:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My theory on that is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        agnostic

        We painted the Soviets as being 10 feet tall in order to justify spending on new weapons systems.

        I still have a copy of Russian Military Power circa 1980 and it's hilarious to go back and read it today.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:12:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting and often illuminating read. (0+ / 0-)

    Two comments:
    1. I kind of wish you'd mentioned Jeffrey Sachs, who meticulously destroyed much of the functioning remnants of the Russian economy after the USSR's collapse -- and who, thanks to a dubious and hardly questioned makeover, is now assuming quite a voice among "sensible" Democrats too.
    2. Shameless plug for Dmitry Orlov's Reinventing Collapse, which does a devastatingly fine job of demonstrating how our coming collapse will be much worse than that experienced by the Russians.

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