Category Archives: Greece

The Rich Only Support Democracy when the Elected State Serves their Class Interests, Otherwise They Try to Overthrow It

Zamfir: Thanks Robert. I appreciate the site, and it’s nice to feel welcome.

Obviously one problem in discussing this is that terms like ‘left’ and ‘right’ or ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ have been given all kinds of different meanings. If economic conservatism is identified with free market ideology then I’m pretty ambivalent about that, at best. And if it’s identified with support for whatever this internationalist economic system is that we have now, I’m against it.

I find it very weird that people who are conservative about social and cultural issues often support “economic conservatism” of that kind. It’s so clear that these things are incompatible! Anyway I certainly have no problem with socialism per se. I would only disagree with certain versions, or cases where I believe socialism ends up being destructive of healthy families and cultures (in much the same way that capitalism can be).

As for democracy I’m not sure what I think about it. I think I’m a reactionary to the extent that I don’t believe that democracy, or any other specific system or procedure, is always good or always essential to a good society. My sense is that some democracies or kinds of democracy are fine, while others are really bad. It all depends on some many factors aside from the system or procedure itself.

I do want a society where the interests of most people, including the poor, are taken into account fairly. But I don’t see any reason why that could never happen in a non-democratic state. Or, more precisely, for anything that’s good about some democracies, I don’t see why certain non-democratic regimes couldn’t also have those good things; it would all depend on other factors such as the culture and history of the people, their typical behavior and beliefs, etc.

So I guess I’d support coups against democratic regimes in some cases–though things would have to be pretty bad–and also against non-democratic regimes in some cases. I don’t think coups are always bad. (In fact, that’s one thing that seems silly about a lot of rigid ‘conservative’ ideology–the wish to preserve order and the status quo no matter how terrible it’s become…)

You say the rich don’t support democracy. I wonder if that’s true. Maybe they don’t support the ideal of democracy, for the reasons you mentioned. But, again, bearing in mind the looseness of terminology here, they sure do seem to support systems that we normally call “democratic”. Is the US a democracy in your view?

Are England or Ireland or Canada democracies? If so, then I don’t agree that the rich never want democracy. My sense is that they long ago figured out how to manipulate these kinds of systems to get the results they want. They manage the perceptions and values of the masses so that they always end up “freely choosing” the same garbage that the elites wanted all along.

A good question is whether this is an inevitable feature of democracy. (I don’t know the answer.) It could be that in any feasible form of democracy, no matter how close it gets to the ideal, you end up with powerful interests rigging the process to maximize their own wealth and power. And I don’t like that, because I want the interests of ordinary people to be taken into account. Ironically, then, I’m skeptical about many forms of democracy because I think the masses deserve to have a say.

So I’d be against democracy in cases where ‘democratic’ systems are hijacked by elites and used against the people. That’s what’s happening in most of the western world, I’d say. Not to say I’d support a coup in this situation–and certainly not if the point of the coup was to install an even more extreme form of exploitation. But I’m not entirely sure what to say about democracy. I think the reactionary critique has merit. (But then, don’t communists also criticize democracy for roughly similar reasons?)

The Communist view is that seeking power peacefully would be a great idea except the ruling classes will never allow it to happen. They say that power never gives up without a fight, and I believe that they are correct. Nevertheless, most Communists support Venezuela, Nicaragua and only leftwing democratic countries. But the Communists would say, “Look what happens why you try to take power peacefully. You get Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Honduras, Haiti, and even Argentina.”

The ruling class will just overthrow the democratic Left state any way they can, always using anti-democratic means to do so. That’s why Lenin called people who supported the peaceful road to socialism “parliamentary cretins.” He thought it was a great idea but it would never work because the rich would never allow the Left to take power peacefully.

The Communist view is also that you never have democracy under capitalism anyway, as the capitalists and the rich always ending ruling the state one way or another through all sorts of means. And yes, the rich and the capitalists always take over all the media in any capitalist country as you said, they use it to shape the view of the people to support the class politics of the rich. Such support being called false consciousness.

Gramsci said that the ruling class took over the entire culture in capitalist countries and brainwashed the masses into supporting the project of the rich. They did this via cultural hegemony. Marx said that the culture of the rich is always the popular culture in any capitalist country. So the ruling class turns all of us into “little rich people” or “little capitalists” to support their project. They brainwash us into thinking we are the same class as the rich and that we are all capitalists ourselves, so we should support Capital. These are lies, but most Americans are easily fooled.

Ralph Nader called this “going corporate” or “thinking corporate.” He says that in the US, most people adopt the mindset of the corporations and think of themselves are part of the corporate structure whether they are or not. If everyone is part of the corporate structure, then what’s good for corporations is good for all of us, which is the project of the Republican Party, neoliberalism everywhere, the Latin American rich, etc. It’s a big fat lie, but people want to be rich and a lot of workers want to think of themselves are busy little capitalist money-making, go-getter, can-do, Bossterist entrepreneurs because it seems to cool to own your own business.

And the Communists would call this false consciousness and their argument would be that under capitalism, most people adopt false consciousness.

I think in the US, the rich see the tide coming and the rule of the rich is going to end so they want to lock in as much of the state as possible by stacking the courts, gutting the safety net, massive tax cuts that will be impossible to get rid of, and that Constitutional Convention they are two states away from getting where they want to rewrite the whole US Constitution to lock in rule by the rich for as long as possible. The rich see the writing on the wall. That’s why they came up with the computerized elections scam, so they could steal elections as long as people kept voting against the rich.

The gerrymandering of districts now makes it almost impossible to get rid of Republican majorities on state representatives in the House and in Senators and Assemblymen in the states. It’s all locked in.

So as the rich saw the tide turning and demographics moving against them, they instituted a full court press to do all sorts of extremely anti-democratic stuff to stay in power. If the people would just vote for them anyway, they would not have to do that, but apparently most Americans have now turned away from the politics of the rich, so the rich will have to lie, cheat, and steal to stay in power from now on.

Also they elected Donald Trump, by far the most corrupt, authoritarian and even outright fascist leader this country has ever had. And this follows too. Whenever there is a popular movement against the rich and the capitalists, the rich and the capitalists always, always, always resort of fascism to stay in power. This has been proven endlessly over time, even in Europe. Trotsky had some great things to say about this. Check out “Thermidor.” Trotsky truly understood what fascism was all about. It is a desperate last ditch move by the ruling class to seize power in the face of an uprising from the Left.

The rich and the capitalists are determined to stay in power, by hook or by crook, by any means necessary, and they will lie, cheat, steal and kill as many people as they have to just to keep the Left out of power. They simply will not allow the Left to rule. They must rule and if they are out of  power, they will use any antidemocratic means to get power back.

Which is the story of the CIA, the Pentagon and 100% of US foreign policy since 1945 and even before then. Read Samuel Butler.

I mean, we on the Left generally allow the Right to take power if they do so democratically. Sure they destroy everything like they always do, but most of us are committed to the democratic means of seeking power. Even most Communist parties will not take up arms against any rightwing government, saying they prefer to seek power by peaceful means. Typically, the CP will issue a statement that the nation is not in a revolutionary situation right now. There are objective conditions under which a nation is said to be in a revolutionary situation. I’m sure you can recall a few. It is then and only then that most CP’s will go underground and issue a call to take up arms.

Frankly, almost all Left insurgencies postwar were defensive. The Left allowed the Right to take power and then the Right started running around killing people. Usually the Left sat there for a while and let themselves get killed before taking up power. I know the Viet Cong just sat there from 1954-1960 while the rightwing Vietnamese government ran amok in the countryside, murdering 80,000 Communists in six years. They kept asking the North Vietnamese for permission to take up arms, but the North kept denying it.

The Colombian, Salvadoran and Guatemalan guerrillas only took up guns after the state had been running about murdering them unarmed for years. The Salvadoran guerrillas said they got tired of sitting in their homes waiting for the rightwing state to come kill them, and they decided that if the state was going to come kill them anyway, they might as well pick up a gun and defend themselves. They also took up arms because the Right kept stealing elections by fraud.

The Right had cut off all methods of seeking power peacefully, so the Left picked up guns. The message is if you elect a leftwing government, sooner or later the Right will overthrow it and then there will be a reign of terror where many Leftists will be murdered. Knowing that, if you were a Leftist in some country, would you not be afraid to put the Left in power knowing you stood a good chance of being murdered once the inevitable rightwing coup took place?

The Colombian and Honduran governments only stay in power by killing people. Lots of people. The Greek Communists only took up arms after the government had been killing them for some time.

Also once a Left government is overthrown by the rich and the capitalists, the new Rightist government institutes a reign of terror where they slaughter the defeated Left for many years. This went on for decades after 1954 in Guatemala, and it goes on still today. After Aristide was overthrown, the rightwing government murdered 3,000 of his supporters.

After Allende was overthrown, Pinochet murdered 15,000 people over a decade and a half. A threat from the Left prompted the Indonesian government to fake a Left coup and murder 1 million Communists in a couple of months. Even before the Korean War broke out, from 1948-1950, the South Korean government killed hundreds of thousands of Communists in the South.

As they withdrew when the North attacked, the South Koreans killed South Korean Communists everywhere they went. After the fascist coup in Argentina, the government decimated the Left, murdering 30,000 mostly unarmed supporters of the Left. The same thing happened in Bolivia with the Banzer Plan when Hugo Banzer took power after the tin miners briefly sought power. The new rightwing government in Brazil is already starting to murder members of the former Left ruling party. They’re not going to stop.

After the fascist coup in Ukraine, the Communist Party was outlawed and many of its members were murdered. War was declared on labor unions. Workers in one union were chained to a heater inside the building and the building was set on fire.

The party supported by half the population (the Russian speakers and their supporters) the Party of Regions, was outlawed, a number of its deputies were murdered and there were attempts to murder the leader of the party, lastly by setting his house on fire which set his neighbor’s house on fire instead. He fled to Russia. Now half the population and all of the Russian speakers had not party to represent them, which is why they took up arms. They were locked out of power.

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Fake Controversies, Fake Settled Questions, and Ideological Authoritarianism in Modern Linguistics, with an Emphasis on Mutual Intelligibility and the Dialect/Language Question

There is a lie going around that the dialect/language question is controversial in Linguistics. It really isn’t. Most linguists have a pretty good idea of where to draw the line. If you don’t believe me, study the internals of the Summer Institute of Linguistics change request forms for languages. The field is a lot more uniform on this question than the cranks think.

Hardly anyone thinks Valencian is a separate language. There were 5-10 experts writing in on Valencian and they were all in agreement.

Romagnolo and Emilian were split with zero controversy. All it took was a few authoritative statements by the experts in these varieties to settle the question.

In other words, the language dialect question is what is known as a fake controversy.

Really the only controversy about this question comes from nationalists and language activists.

Sadly, many linguists are nationalists, and their work has been poisoned by their ideology for a long time now. Some of the worst ones of all are in Europe.

Linguistics in the Balkans and Poland has been badly damaged by nationalist linguists for a long time, with no sign of things getting better.

Similar nonsense is going on in of all places ultra-PC Denmark and Sweden. Bornholmian and Southeast Jutnish should have been split from Danish long ago. In fact, Jutnish was split, but Danish nationalist linguists pathetically had it removed.

The many langues d’oil have never been listed and probably never will be. No doubt this is due to the state of Linguistics in ultra-nationalistic France. There are easily 10-15+ langues d’oil that could be split off.

Greek linguist nationalists have raised their ugly heads over splits in Macro-Greek.

Bulgarian Linguistics is all nationalist and has been lost in retardation forever now. No, Macedonian is not a Bulgarian dialect.

There have been some ugly and ridiculous fights in the Baltics especially with Estonian and Latvian, neither of which is a single language. I doubt that Estonian and Latvian linguists are comporting themselves well here given the fanatical nationalism that overwhelms both lands.

There are easily 350-400 language inside of Sinitic or Chinese according to the estimate of the ultimate Sinologist Jerry Norman. The real figure is clearly closer to 1,000-2,000 separate languages. Chinese nationalism is mandatory for anyone doing Sinitic linguistics. No one wants to bring down the wrath of the Chinese government by pulling the curtain on their big lie that Chinese is one language. I am amazed that SIL even split Chinese into 14 languages without getting deluged with death threats.

Arabic is clearly more than one language, and SIL now has it split into 35 languages.  This is one odd case where they may have erred by splitting too much. That’s probably too many, but no one can even do any work in this area, since Arabists and especially Arabic speakers keep insisting, often violently, that Arabic is a single language. Never mind that they routinely can’t understand each other. We have Syrians and Yemenis at my local store, and no, the Syrian Arabic speakers cannot understand hard Yemeni Arabic, sorry. Some of the Yemeni Arabic speakers have even whispered conspiratorially in my ear when the others were not around that speakers of different Yemeni Arabic varieties often cannot even understand each other, and that’s not even split by SIL. I have a feeling that the Arabic situation is more like Chinese than not.

A Swedish nationalist wiped out several well documented separate languages inside of Macro-Swedish simply by making a few dishonest change request forms. SIL pathetically fell for it.

Occitan language activists wiped out the very well-supported split of Occitan into six separate languages based on ideology. They are trying to resurrect Occitan, and they think this will only work if there is one Occitan language with many dialects under it. Splitting it up into six or more languages dooms the tongue. So this was a political argument masquerading as a linguistic one. SIL fell for it again. Pathetic.

No one has talked much about these matters in the field, but a man named Harold Hammerstrom has written some excellent notes about them. He also takes the language/dialect question very seriously and has proposed more scientific ways of doing the splitting.

SIL was recently granted the ability to give out new ISO codes for languages, and since then, SIL has become quite conservative, lumping varieties everywhere in sight. This is because lumping is always the easy way out, as conservatives love lumping in everything from Classification to Historical Linguistics, and the field has been taken over by radical conservatives for some time now. Splitters are kooks, clowns, and laughing stocks. One gets the impression that SIL is terrified to split off new tongues for fear of bad PR.

As noted above, the language/dialect question is not as controversial in the field as Net linguist cranks would have you believe. SIL simply decides whatever they decide, and all the linguists just shrug their shoulders and go back to Optimality Theory, threatening to kill each other over Indo-European reconstructions, scribbling barely readable SJW sociolinguistic blather, or whatever it is they are crunching their brains about.

SIL grants an ISO code or refuses to grant one, and that’s that. No ISO code, no language. The main problem is that they refuse to split many valid languages mostly out of PC fear of causing a furor. Most of the opposition to splitting off new languages comes from linguistic hacks and cranks who exist for the most part on the Internet.

Most real linguists don’t seem to care very much. I know this because I talk to real linguists all the time. When it comes to the dialect/language split, most of them find it mildly intriguing, but hardly anyone is set off. You tell them that some dialect has now been split off as a separate language or two languages have now been merged into one, and they just perk up their ears and say, “Oh, that’s interesting.” Sometimes they shrug their shoulders and say, “They (SIL) are saying this is a separate language now,” as if they really don’t care one way or another.

Linguists definitely get hot under the collar about some things, but not about the dialect/language question, which is regarded more as a quizzical oddity. Most linguists furthermore care nothing at all about the mutual intelligibility debate, which at any rate was resolved long ago by SIL way back in the 1950’s. See the influential book by Cassad written way back then for the final word on the science of mutual intelligibility. Some enterprising linguists are finally starting to take mutual intelligibility seriously, but even they are being much too wishy-washy and unsciency about it. A lot of very silly statements are made like “there is no good, hard scientific way to measure mutual intelligibility, so all figures are guesswork.”

There’s no need for these theoretical shields or hyper-hedging because no one cares. No one in the field other than a few nutcases and kooks on the Internet even gives two damns about this question in the first place. The mutual intelligibility question is actually much less controversial in the field that the linguist kook loudmouths on the Net would have you believe.

We have more important things to fight about, like Everett’s resurrecting of the hated Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis; Chomsky’s Universal Grammar (defended pathetically by the Old Guard and under attack by the Everett crowd who everyone hates); not to mention Altaic; and Joseph Greenberg’s poor, regularly pummeled ghost, along with mass comparison in general.

The field is full of many a silly and pretty lie. One for instance is that Linguistics rejected the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis long ago, and now it is regarded as a laughing stock. Actually that’s not true. Really a bunch of bullies got together and announced very arrogantly that Sapir-Whorf was crap, and then it become written in stone the way a lot of nonsense our field believes does.

If you go back over the papers that “proved” this matter, it turns out that they never proved one thing. They just said that they proved Sapir-Whorf was nonsense, and everyone fell for it or just got in line like they were supposed to.

Not to mention that Linguistics is like an 8th Grade playground.

Let’s put it this way. If you advocate for Sapir-Whorf in academia, I pray for your soul. You also damn well better have tenure.

I don’t know how anyone advocates for Altaic these days. I would never advocate for Altaic or any remotely controversial historical linguistics hypothesis without tenure.

The field is out for blood, and they burn heretics at the stake all the time. We’ve probably incinerated more wrong thinkers than the Inquisition by now.

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A Motto of the Alt Left, Via Liberation Theology

La gente, unida! Jamas sera vencido!

The people, united! Will never be defeated!

– An old Castroite Marxist revolutionary chant from Central America and South America, with roots back especially to the great Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the FMLN in El Salvador (who I used to buy guns for), the URNG in Guatemala, probably the ELN in Colombia, and probably the great FARC in Colombia.

All of these movements except the FARC were “Christian Communists” or “Catholic Communists.” Most of the rank and file guerrillas all the way up to the leadership were Catholics. In Nicaragua, leader Daniel Ortega was and still is a practicing Catholic and one of the top leaders of the Sandinistas was Tomas Borge, a Catholic priest. The ELN was led by a former Catholic priest named Camilo Torres, who traded his frock for an AK-47 and led a guerrilla group in the mountains of northwestern Colombia. He was killed soon after he started the ELN in 1964. The ELN has never renounced its Catholic roots and is a de facto “Catholic Marxist” organization.

 

The Eastern Catholic Church or Eastern Orthodox have been much more progressive than the  Catholic hierarchy, but that was not so at the  beginning of the century when the Cheka executed over 12,000 top ranking Orthodox officials in first several years of the Revolution. The Russian Orthodox Church or at least many believers are quite leftwing these days. They often hobnob with Communists, Leftists and even monarchists. Even the monarchists are pretty leftwing in Russia today.  Russia is a place where everyone is leftwing. There is no Right in Russia. Well actually there is,  but the Right has only 10-15% support. Putin’s party is defined as “Russian conservatism” but Putin says he still believes in the  ideals of Communism and socialism which he regards as very similar to the Biblical values of the Russian Orthodox Church. This marriage is not unusual and high ranking Church officials even today regularly make pro-socialist and pro-Communist remarks. Sort of ” Jesus as a Bolshevik” if you will. Stalin himself was studying to be a priest in a sen\minary of the Georgian Orthodox Church when he gave it up to be a full-time bank robber/revolutionary.  The thing is that you cannot understand Stalin at all until you understand his deep background in the Orthodox religion. Although Stalin called himself an atheist, he remained deeply Orthodox in  his mindset until he died. He ever revived the Church during and after the war for patriotic reasons. Stalin was very much a social conservative and his social conservatism was deeply inflected by his Georgian Orthodox seminarian roots, which he never renounced.

The Orthodox Christian churches of the Arab World have always been leftwing, along with the Church in Iran and Turkey. George Habash, founder of the Marxist PFLP in Palestine, was a Greek Orthodox. Many of the rank and file even of the PFLP armed guerrilla have always been Orthodox Christians. The Greek Orthodox SSNP in Lebanon and Syria are practically Communists. Interestingly, this was the first group to widely use suicide bombings early in 1982 and 1983 in the first years of the Lebanese Civil War. Most of the first suicide bombings, up to scores or hundreds in first few years, were by Communists, often Christian Orthodox Communists. Many of these suicide bombers were even women. It was only later that the Shia adopted the technique.

The man who created the Baath Party, the Iraqi Michel Aflaq, was an Orthodox Christian. The party had Leftist roots as an officially socialist party. Tariq Aziz, high-ranking member of Saddam’s Baath party, was an Orthodox Christian and a Leftist. Assad’s party in Syria is a Leftist party. Most Syrian Orthodox Christians are strong supporters of Assad, the Baath Party and Leftism. Recently the Syrian Defense Minister was a Christian.

The few Orthodox Christians left in Turkey are typically Leftists.

Many Greek Orthodox are Leftists. Serbian Orthodox laypeople and hierarchy long supported Milosevic, who was a Communist.

The Russians who violently split away from Ukraine in the Donbass were so Leftist that they called their new states “people’s republics.” Most of the leadership and the armed forces are Orthodox Christians. The armed groups had priests serving alongside in most cases. They often led battlefield burials for the troops.

There are deep roots of this sort of thing in Russia. Tolstoy is very Christian in an Orthodox sense, but he is also often seen as a socialist. Dostoevsky’s work is uber-Christian from an Orthodox point of view and he is not very friendly to radicals. However, before he started writing, he was arrested for Leftist revolutionary activities and sentenced to prison in Siberia. Most of his colleagues were hanged and Dostoevsky only barely escaped by the tip of his nose. Dostoevsky was not very nice to the rich either. No Russian writer of that time was, not even Turgenev. The rich destroyed 19th Century Russia. Anyone with eyes can see that. It would have been hard for any artistic heart above room temperature to not hate the Russian rich and feel sympathy for the peasantry. Turgenev’s first books were paeans to the Russian peasantry, and he was raised on an estate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No Conservatives Allowed on This Website!

We have had a few conservatives posting here in the past few days. These are US-style conservatives, which are the worst kind of all. US-style conservatives are absolutely banned from posting here in any way, shape or form.

Conservatism means different things in different countries, so conservatives from much of the rest of the world (except Latin America and the UK) can continue to post. Even Canadian conservatives can continue to post, as I do not mind them. It’s not conservatism itself that is so awful. Almost every country on Earth has people who call themselves conservatives, and there are conservative parties in almost every country on Earth. But being a conservative just about anywhere outside of the Americas is more or less an acceptable position for me. I probably won’t like their politics much, but I could at least look at them and say that this is an opposition I could live with.

US conservatives and their brethren in the UK, Latin America, the Philippines, Nepal and and Indonesia are quite a different beast.

I have to think hard about conservatives in Eastern Europe, especially Estonia, Latvia and the Czech Republic. These fools had such a bad experience with Communism that they went 180 degrees in the other direction. I would have to see the positions of these conservative parties in those countries to see whether they would be OK or not.

Just to give you an example, Vladimir Putin is considered to be a right-winger, and his party United Russia advocates a politics called Russian Conservatism. Looking at the party’s platform, this is not only a conservatism that I could live with but one I might even vote for!

Conservatives in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and most other places in Asia are acceptable. The conservatives in the Stans, Georgia, Ukraine, and Armenia can be rather awful, particularly in the nationalist sense, but I will not ban them.

I dislike Indian conservatives, but I will not ban them.

Conservatives from the Muslim World are all acceptable. In the Muslim World, conservatism just means religious and sometimes nationalist. I can live with that. Even the ones in Iran are orders of magnitude better than the US type.

Conservatives in the Arab World are acceptable. They are mostly just religious people.

Turkish conservatives are awful, but I will not ban them. They are just religious and a particularly awful type of nationalist.

African conservatives are OK.

Conservatives in Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany,  the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Italy, the Balkans, Bulgaria, Greece, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania are sometimes good, sometimes pretty bad, but they are all acceptable here. Conservatism in Europe mostly means nationalism. I am actually rather fond of the conservative running Hungary, Orban. LePen conservatives leave something to be desired, but they are acceptable. They’re mostly just nationalists. Hell, I might even vote for Marine LePen! If it was down to LePen versus Macron, I would absolutely support LePen!

Conservatives from Indonesia, Nepal and Philippines are not OK. These are an “everything for the rich elite, nothing for anybody else” type of conservative. Some of them even hide under the labels of Socialist or even Communist.

The word conservative has no real inherent meaning. It means whatever people say it means.

Anyway, the conservatives in the US are pure garbage and recently they have become out and out fascists after moving in that direction for a long time. And a particularly horrible type of fascist at that, a Latin American/Filipino/Indonesian style fascist. I will not allow any US conservatives to post on this board. You all are lucky I even let you lurk here. That’s an idle threat as I can’t ban lurkers, but if they all stopped lurking, I would not mind frankly.

You all really ought to go back to the gutters you crawled out of.

PS This especially applies to Libertarians, the very worst of all the US conservative vermin. We shoot Libertarians on sight here, so you better watch out.

*This applies only to economic conservatives. If you are not an economic conservative, and your conservatism is only of the social variety or you are only conservative on race, religion, guns, law and order, respect for tradition, American nationalism, the military, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity issues, you can stay. I’m not crazy about some social conservatives, but I can live with them. I will probably even let patriotards post as long as they are not economic conservatives.

I am an American nationalist myself. I just don’t like patriotards. Of course, I very much dislike and even hate the country as it is right now, but I sure don’t want to make it worse! I have to live here too you now, and it might as well be as pleasant as possible as long I stay here.

I want what’s best for my country. I don’t want to harm this country or screw it over. That will be bad for me! And believe it or not, most US patriotards do not want what is best for the country! I have dreams of a greater and better America. It’s not impossible, but we will have to undergo some serious cultural changes. One of the reasons I am so against illegal immigration is because it is ruining my country and making this place even worse. Also illegal immigration is terrible for US workers and I am for the workers. I am against H-1B visas for the same reason – they are wrecking my country. IT workers are workers too, so they are my comrades. I want what is best for America and American workers.

I cannot live with economic conservatives. I like cancer way more than I like US conservatives. Cancer is much more decent and respectable.

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Problems of Communist or Socialist Democracy

Steve: I think the worst thing about 20th century communism was not the economic system but the totalitarianism, the police state and the spying and prison camps.

Maybe it was the revolutionary origins, the utopianism, the materialism, the fact the government had too much power because it owned and controlled everything BUT if it were possible to have communism with democracy, free speech, freedom of religion, trial by jury etc it really wouldn’t be so bad, you could live with the economic system.

Remember the communist countries had the cold war and sanctions and stuff to contend with too.

They have a certain amount of free speech in China, Vietnam and Cuba, but maybe not as much as you would like. They have anti-government demonstrations in Vietnam, and there are 100 protests every day in China.

There is critical press in Cuba that no one does anything about (check out Havana Times) and dissidents are mostly allowed to publish openly (check out the famous Cuban woman dissident blogger). There is freedom of religion in Cuba, and believers can now join the Party. They have trial by jury in Cuba. I am not sure how fair it is though. But there are some defense attorneys who are taking anti-government cases right now, people accused of criminal charges, police brutality cases, etc. You can read about them in Havana Times. Nobody does much to them.

In Cuba it was supposedly inside the revolution, total freedom of speech, outside of it nothing. But it never really worked out that way, and they went after a lot of loyal opposition types. In Cuba today, you can’t try to overthrow the government and you can’t advocate getting rid of the socialist system. Outside of that, you can supposedly say what you want, but even that may be limited. Check out Havana Times though. There are some very government-critical people there being published all the time, and I think they are mostly left alone.

Every time they try that, the capitalists go berserk, cause chaos and make endless coup and assassination attempts. Also they engage in mass economic sabotage. But this was only tried in places where the economy was still capitalist. The US starts flooding the country with millions of dollars to the dissidents and spends more millions setting up countless “democratic” pressure group that mostly spend every second of their time trying to overthrow the government. You going to let people own newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations. Guess who’s going to buy up all the media? In Venezuela even today, 75% of the media is privately owned. OK you will allow free elections. How about campaign contributions? Guess who’s going to buy the elections?

You can’t have Communist democracy. That’s why Lenin talked about parliamentary cretinism.

You can’t have somewhat socialist democracy in a lot of places. Look what happened in:

  • Brazil (military coup, parliamentary coup)
  • Guatemala (military coup + 200,000 murdered over 40 years)
  • Iran (military coup + 150,000 murdered)
  • The Congo (military coup + assassination)
  • Haiti (military coup + chaos + contras + 3,000 plus murdered)
  • Dominican Republican (US invasion to topple regime)
  • Guyana (regime toppled by British)
  • Honduras (military coup + 1,000 murdered)
  • Syria (military coup)
  • Greece (military coup)
  • Italy (election fraud)
  • Indonesia (military coup + 1 million Communists murdered)
  • Colombia (assassination + death squads)
  • Panama (assassination)
  • Mexico (election fraud)
  • Afghanistan (contras)
  • Nicaragua (contras + sanctions)
  • El Salvador (military coup followed by 75,000 murdered)
  • Chile (economic sabotage, chaos, military coup, 15,000 murdered, defense attorneys tortured to death)
  • Venezuela (military coup, economic coup, constant riots and chaos), endless assassination plots, assassinations and murders, death squads, economic sabotage)
  • Argentina (military coup, 30,000 murdered)
  • Uruguay (military coup, 300 murdered)
  • Peru (military coup, 1.5 million arrested)
  • East Timor (military coup, invasion to topple regime, 300,000 murdered),
  • Paraguay (legislative coup + death squads)
  • Zimbabwe (sanctions)
  • Ukraine (coup)

Mao warned about this. He said there were always capitalist elements in the party trying to restore capitalism. That was the reason for the cultural revolution. Mao thought you would have to have cultural revolutions all the time to keep weeding out the reactionary elements in the party because they would keep springing up again like weeds.

Look what happened when Mao died. The reactionaries in the party around Deng took over and restored capitalism (sort of). Mao was right.

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Alt Left Manifesto

From the Alt Left Manifesto group on Facebook, a post by Ryan England.

If I personally had to decide upon one single definitive statement of what the Alt-Left is, I’d go with this entry in the Beyond Highbrow blog – Dealbreakers: What the Alternative Left Is Not. Firstly, I think this movement owes Robert Lindsay a hat tip for blazing this trail for us. Agree with him or not on any given issue, respect is owed the first (to my knowledge) blogger and online presence to use the Alt-Left label.

I don’t think we have to agree with every last qualification Lindsay lists in the post. But he does state with perfect succinctness what I think the overarching defining principle is:

The Alternative Left should be for people who are mostly liberal, Left or progressive in their characters, souls, politics and voting. However, we are disenchanted with some aspects of Left, especially the Cultural Left in the US. On those issues, we feel that the Left has gone too far. So while we are more conservative than the Cultural Left, we are not all the way to the social conservatism of the US Right, which mostly appalls us. So Alt Left types would be more centrist on cultural issues, not as leftwing as the Cultural Left but at the same time repulsed by the cultural reaction of the Right.

However, on economics, most Alt Left types would feel that the Western liberal/Left has not gone far enough. The Democratic Party in the US, Labor in the UK, the “Socialist” Party in France, and the “Social Democratic” PASOK in Greece have all sold the workers out badly for the rich, the corporations and capital in general. They claim to represent the working people, but instead they are traitors to the working class.

So the Alt Left would be for people who feel that the Western Liberal-Left in governments of the West is too rightwing on economic issues but too leftwing on social issues.

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The Hell with the Pentagon

As the agency which enforces US foreign policy at gunpoint, the Pentagon has always blown.

First of all, there is no such thing as the Defense Department. When has the Pentagon ever defended the country? Pearl Harbor? They did a fine job there, huh?

Obviously the task of the Pentagon is not to defend the US mainland, which is all it ever ought to do anyway.

Its task is to running around the world starting wars and killing people in other countries. Leaving aside whether that is sometimes a good idea (and I think it is,) what’s so defensive about that?

The real name of the Pentagon is the War Department.That’s what it was always called until World War 2, which the War Department won. After that in a spate of Orwellian frenzy, we named an army of aggression an army of self-defense and comically renamed its branch the Defense Department.

It’s like calling cops peace officers. You see anything peaceful about what a cop does in a typical day? Neither do I?

There was a brief glimmer of hope there in WW2 when we finally starting killing fascists and rightwingers instead of sleeping with them, but the ink was barely dry on the agreements before we were setting up the Gladio fascists, overthrowing Greek elections and slaughtering Greek peasants like ants.

Meanwhile it was scarcely a year after 1945 when the US once again started a torrid love affair with fascism and rightwing dictators like we have always done. We were smooching it up right quick with Europe’s fascists, in this case the former Nazis of Germany (who became the West German elite), Greek killer colonels, Mussolini’s heirs, actual Nazis in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, Jew-Nazis in Palestine, Franco (who we never stopped sleeping with anyway), Salazar, the malign Mr. Churchill, the true repulsive Dutch royalty and disgusting European colonists the world over, who we showered with guns and bombs to massacre the colonized.

In 1945, a war against fascism, reaction, Nazism and malign colonialism had ended, and for some reason America had fought against these things instead of supporting them as usual.

1946, and we were back in old style again, hiring Nazis by the busload for the CIA, overthrowing democratic governments and putting in genocidal dictatorships, becoming butt buddies with fascist swine everywhere.

So you see we have always pretty much sucked. World War 1 was fought amidst one of the most dishonest propaganda campaigns the world had ever seen, the Korean War was a Godawful mess where we turned North Korea to flaming rubble with the population cowering in caves while slaughtering 3 million North Koreans.

The horrific catastrophe called the Indochinese Wars, such as the Vietnam War, the Secret War in Laos and the Cambodian Massacre, where we genocided 500,000 Cambodians with bombs, driving the whole place crazy and creating the Khmer Rogue.

Panama and Grenada were pitiful jokes, malign, raw, naked imperialism at its worst.

The Gulf War was a brief return to sanity but turkey shoots are sickening.

Of course that followed on with the most evil war in US history, the Nazi-like war on aggression called The War on the Iraqi People (usually called the Iraq War), the Afghan rabbit hole which started out sensibly enough but turned into another Vietnam style Great Big Mess.

I suppose it is ok that we are killing Al Qaeda guys and I give a shout out to our boys over there fighting ISIS or the Taliban and Al Qaeda in South-Central Asia, Somalia and Yemen. Some people need killing.

But I sure don’t feel that way about their superiors, the US officers who fund and direct ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. out of an Operations Center in Jordan with Jordanian, Israeli (!), Saudi, UAE, and Qatari officers.

And it was very thoughtful of the Pentagon to cover up the Ukrainian Air Force shootdown of the jetliner which we saw on the radar of our ships in Black Sea.

And it was nice of the US to relay the flight path of the Russian jet to the Turks 24 hours in advance so they could shoot down that Russian jet and kill that pilot.

One hand giveth and the other taketh away. For every good thing we do in Syria and Iraq, we do 10 or 20 bad things. Pretty much the story of the Pentagon.

Sure if you fought in WW2 or one of the few other decent wars, you have something to be proud of, and I can even say, “Thank you for your service,” but the main thing is that you signed up for the rightwing army of the rich that is dead set against the people and popular rule everywhere on Earth. Sure, it’s a great army, professional, super-competent and deadly, but it’s generally tasked with doing lousy things. Why anyone would sign up for that reactionary nightmare of an institution is beyond me. America needs to level the Pentagon and put in a true People’s Army instead. Like that would ever happen.

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“Western Moral Decline or Capitalist Decadence?,” by John Kovas

This is a good piece. You can find it at Kofas’ website, or I got it off of Academia.edu. Looking at his website, it appears that the rest of his stuff is pretty good too. I need to read this guy more.

I actually think he is onto something here, and you need to be hip to this argument because the Right is always trotting out this “moral decline” argument that I think needs to be countered.

Western Moral Decline or Capitalist Decadence?

by John Kofas

Historically, during periods of economic contraction, the intelligentsia, politicians, business, academic, community and church leaders invariably try to steer the debate away from what has gone wrong with the political economy to the subject of values.

This was certainly the case during the 19th century when the depressions of the 1840’s, 1870’s and 1890’s took place. Well-meaning individuals as well as opportunistic propagandists questioned society’s values, despite the fact that structural causes in the political economy accounted for the economic contraction and social ills.

A somewhat similar situation existed during the Great Depression of the 1930’s when novelists, philosophers, politicians and others decried the values of the 1920’s. There are similarities between those historical periods and the economic contraction and diminishing of the Western middle class that started during the Reagan-Thatcher era and continues to the present.

The universal topic of values served its purpose when the Industrial Revolution was causing socioeconomic problems, and it serves its purpose today when Western Civilization is captive to banks and corporate capital that are concentrating capital while weakening the social fabric and democratic institutions.

The very elites suggesting to the masses redirection toward reexamination of values are the same ones that:

1. do not practice the values that they preach;

2. are responsible for the widening socioeconomic gap and sociopolitical instability that ensues;

3. benefit by deflecting the focus of the masses from the essential problem in the systemic flaws of the political economy to values.

Naturally, there is the salient question of the vast differences in value systems between societies and individuals; differences between religious and secular values within a pluralistic society, or the differences/nuances of values within a community whether it is predominantly religious or secular.

That scholars, politicians, businesspeople, priests, and the laity have been concerned about western civilization’s decline is a story as old as Oswald Spengler who wrote about the topic after the German Empire lost the First World War, and Europe as the world’s global power center began to give ground to the US and USSR.

But are the values of Bismarck and his generation of imperialist politicians and business titans the ones that Spengler’s generation lamented against the background of the Bolshevik Revolution and its global impact? Is it the Western values of imperialism, nationalism and militarism that led to global war in 1914 that were lost along with the decline of Western Europe?

Spengler focused on Western decadence, but the question is one of the underlying assumptions of what constituted decadence and what constituted ascendancy, the degree to which humane and communitarian principles rested behind assumptions. Was it dreadful that imperialist Europe of the old elites began to decline as a result of militarist confrontation, or was it tragic that millions of people died, injured, displaced, impoverished as a result? If one values power, then one laments the decline of Europe’s power. But what if the value system is human-centered, instead of power-based?

When the Great Depression erupted to cripple societies across most of the planet, why was there a sharp turn to a discussion of values, whether by US President Roosevelt who favored a quasi-communitarian orientation that mirrored the New Deal or ultra-nationalist one that Hitler advocated who was interested in ethnic cleansing as a means of restoring the purity of the mythological Aryan race as Alfred Rosenberg conceived it and the NAZI party practiced it.

In a very strange way, the NAZI regime’s populist ethnic collectivist approach intended to achieve the same goal as that of FDR and for that matter Josef Stalin who advocated superimposed collectivism.

The Third Reich manufactured a value system that a large percentage of Germans and Austrians, accepted and lived under with the hope that it would propel them to greatness as the NAZI party defined the concept. Why did millions of people accept an utterly barbaric and inhumane and racist value system under Hitler, and why did they not retain humane principles based on the wider philosophical framework of the Enlightenment that revolutionized European culture in the 18th century?

Is it merely a question of brainwashing – no matter how good German propaganda was – or one that a large segment of the population actually embraced values because they perceived benefits accruing to them – everything from keeping their jobs to feeling great that the ruling party told them they were ‘superior’ to other races.

From the end of World War II that marked the end of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and militarist-imperial Japan until the end of the Vietnam War, Western and non-Western (Communist regime) societies operated on broader values – in theory and certainly not in practice – of communitarian principles as part of an ideological mix.

Certainly in Western societies, led by the US, the value system of individualism, business progress, consumerism, commercialism of culture, and hedonism were prevalent, but the existence of the welfare state entailed tangible evidence that communitarian values mattered. The beginning of the breakdown of that value system comes when the US and the West in general begin to gradually eliminate the communitarian aspect in the societal mix because it interferes with finance capitalism and the neoliberal model of capital accumulation.

More than political trends, material conditions influence evolving value systems, something that is evident in the consumerist values (to which we must add hedonist and atomistic) of much of the world in the last fifty years. After all, values too are class-based. The relative decline of compassion for humanity, and a rise of alienation which many try to cure by going to therapy and with legal and illegal drugs, has been sharply on the increase in the last half century to the degree that we now have a Western culture of therapism thriving.

Ethical ambiguity naturally translates into ambiguity of values, thus reflecting cultural relativism. In a recent public opinion poll, the vast majority of the people in Finland agreed that if their close friend committed murder, they would notify the authorities. In the same poll, the vast majority of Greeks agreed they would not turn in their friend. Not surprisingly, Greek elites, including academics, praised the virtue of honoring friendship, while the people of Finland stressed the virtue of social conscience.

What accounts for the absence of convergence in the values of the two societies? History, tradition, religion, culture, etc., and what does this example teach us about the values of ambiguity? How could any human being with an once of moral fiber not report a case of murder? How could someone betray their friend, even in case of murder?

Beyond values of ambiguity, there is a much clearer case regarding basic values that are time-tested and transcend time and place.

1. Lying is clearly immoral. Not the kind of lying involving little lies that cause no harm but big lies that bring about great harm to a great many people. Yet, lying is at the core of both business and politics, but it is passed on as public relations. Lying to an entire nation about the reason for going to war is acceptable because it is a matter of national security. Lying to consumers about a product is acceptable because it is in the name of peddling a product or service.

2. Stealing is clearly immoral. I was hardly surprised to read stories about people across southern Europe actually stealing food because of the current hard times. However, stealing in the framework of institutionalized ‘appropriation’ of government subsidies to make banks stronger, is morally acceptable. Yet this is a process that forces people to steal food. Are we back in the era of Victor Hugo’s Jean Val Jean?

3. Killing is clearly immoral. However, mass killings of collateral damage victims in time of war is just fine. Why do human beings categorically reject the individual who kills her husband that abuses her but accept mass killings in wars? What does this tell us about our values and how they are molded?

How does a politician, a journalist, an academic, or much less a leading businessperson tell the masses to reexamine their values against the background of austerity economics that benefit those preaching reexamination of values?

For more than half a century, the same elites now preaching reexamination of values were advocating consumerism, commercialization of culture, hedonism, and atomistic proclivities, all in the name of an open society when in reality the only interest was the thriving of the market economy.

Having conditioned citizens as consumers steeped in that frame of mind and value system, how do elites now try to tell them that embracing everything from nature to God, everything from family values to community values, filter down, and even if it did, what exactly does that do for the high structural unemployment and underemployment, low wage structure, lack of opportunities for college graduates, and lack of job security?

When Ronald Reagan was beginning to dismantle the welfare state and strengthen the corporate welfare state, his administration, various think tanks, journalists, academics, clergy and business leaders began to speak of values, namely ‘family values’.

One odd thing about many of the people advocating ‘family values’ is that they themselves were not practicing them. Another odd thing was that these values advocates were interested in pushing society in the direction of conformity to the changing status quo, so value discussion was one tool they used.

Of course, there was a contradiction between ‘family values’ rhetoric and policies – government and business – that were contributing to undermining the family by forcing both parents to work, in some cases at second jobs to make ends meet.

At the same time, reorientation to values discussion did not mean that workers must stop shopping, given that the population remained under the spell of increasingly intrusive advertising that helped shape consumerist and atomistic values. Are we witnessing a Western moral decline or merely a decline of the capitalist system and its apologists trying desperately to distract the masses by shifting the focus to values?

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Neoliberalism Kills

Here.

Gee, it only kills 850,000 per year every single year in the US. What’s so bad about that? Now you see why some of us hate capitalism so much. The prevailing view is that it is ok to kill 850,000 people/yr. in  the US just so we can have more money and more stuff. In other words, let’s kill a million people a year so I can have more stuff. But wait! What if we don’t do that? What if we say, no, it’s not ok to kill a million people a year so you guys can have more stuff? Let’s put in some policies that at the very least lower that rate, ok? How about that?

Oh no! We can’t have that! If you kill fewer than 850,000 people/yr., then I will end up with less stuff! You cannot kill one person less! That means I won’t get as much shit!

You capitalist supporters think it is ok to out and out kill almost a million Americans a year so the rest of you get more money and more stuff.

Well…screw you.

You know what? That’s not a moral system. I am queasy about the notion of killing even one person so I can get more shit. I know 90% of the population says we have to kill all these people so we can have more money, but I might just object. Or if I go along, it might be reluctantly.

Now capitalist society makes great claims about being the ultimately moral society. This is because in capitalism, freedom = morality. Never mind that capitalists don’t even believe in freedom in the first place. No one believes in freedom less than the capitalist. He’s quite a totalitarian fellow. And capitalism as an ideology is damned undemocratic. True, it’s not as undemocratic as slavery or feudalism, but when the only good thing you can say about your system is that it’s better than being a slave, I’d say you have a pretty lousy system.

Capitalists have a very twisted, dishonest, hypocritical and ultimately nonsensical attitude towards freedom. In capitalism, freedom is defined as the right of the capitalist, business, corporation or investor to do whatever the damned Hell he wants to without interference from the state. Anything less that, the Heritage Foundation insists, is somehow “not free.”

See that factory dumping all that polluted water in that river? That’s called freedom in capitalism. See that government passing a law to force the corporation to spend lots of money so it pollutes the river a lot less? That’s called “unfree.” Hence, in capitalist ideology and the media, “free” countries and the joke called the “Free” World are any countries that let the capitalists do whatever the Hell they want. “Unfree” countries, dictatorships or autocracies are defined as countries that try to regulate business by placing limits on the profits of the capitalists.

So the next time some politician or media organ starts going on and on about “freedom” or criticizing some regime as “not free” or a “a dictatorship,” keep that definition of freedom in mind. That’s the sort of freedom they are talking about.

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Manufacturing Consent: What Good Is Freedom If No One Uses It?

SHI writes:

You do realize that Russia isn’t free in any sense of the word. That makes any comparison with the current situation in the West totally pointless.

Maybe the Russians have always preferred it that way but for last three centuries, that entire expanse of land called Russia has settled for nothing but one strongman dictator after another. From the autocratic Tsars to tyrannical leaders like Stalin, Khrushchev and Putin now, if you’re a child growing up in Russia, you have not known freedom the way a Western child does. There are exceptions though, Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin broke away from Russian iron man traditions and tried to be benign leaders but their short-lived experiments failed.

There is no disputing the fact that Vlad the Putin is the biggest autocratic tyrant at the moment, not very different from Gaddafi, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, Assad or Pinochet. This man oppresses his own people. Given a choice, most Russians would want to escape their country but they can’t as the State still puts a restriction on emigration. If you were born in Russia, you simply can’t defect to another country unless you’re married to a person over there. That is why the Russian mail order bride business has always been booming.

Why do you think the Polish, Lithuanian, Romanian and Hungarian people like to distance themselves so much from Russia? Not only are their countries most active NATO members but the people themselves are anti-Russia. Why do you think Ukrainians want to escape the shadow of Russia to merge with Western Europe and the Schengen region? While Britain can’t wait to escape from EU as the overall sentiment over there favors Brexit, the former countries of the Soviet Bloc can’t wait to join the Western Hemisphere.

Thing is, people in the West take their freedoms for granted. They simply have no concept of what it feels like to raise your child in a tyrannical, dictatorial regime. There are things like internet censorship, forced incarcerations and murders that you take as “normal”.

Maybe the recent US elections seem like a complete joke when you find that your Final 2 happen to be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But that’s a problem that can be fixed within four years. If you were born in Russia, you don’t have that choice in the first place. You have to put up with your autocratic government day in and day out. And so will your children.

It might sound cliched but the US is indeed a free society. Just check the annual rankings of Freedom House. There are other freedom indices including the UK-based Democracy index, Canada-based Fraser Institute’s “Index of Freedom in the World” and Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters without Borders. Countries like China, Russia and Islamic countries are consistently scoring “not free” in every independent assessment each year the rankings are prepared. Just check this year’s Freedom House map, no one really emigrates to any country that isn’t marked “blue”.

Let us take this apart one by one.

You do realize that Russia isn’t free in any sense of the word. That makes any comparison with the current situation in the West totally pointless.

Russia is far freer than we are. There is a huge dissident media, mostly funded by the West. There are large dissident websites that are very popular, and there are a number of dissident newspapers, radio stations and even TV from outside. You can buy dissident newspapers anywhere you want in Moscow. Dissidents are quoted every single day in the Russian media.

How many large dissident websites do we have? How many dissident newspapers are there in the US? How many dissident newsmagazines? How many dissident radio stations? One, Pacifica, and no one listens to it. How frequently are dissidents quoted in the US media. Never.

Maybe the Russians have always preferred it that way but for last three centuries, that entire expanse of land called Russia has settled for nothing but one strongman dictator after another.

Yes, they like it that way.

From the autocratic Tsars to tyrannical leaders like Stalin, Khrushchev and Putin now, if you’re a child growing up in Russia, you have not known freedom the way a Western child does.

It is far freer under Putin than it ever was under Communism.

There are exceptions though, Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin broke away from Russian iron man traditions and tried to be benign leaders but their short-lived experiments failed.

Yeltsin looted the country. The Communist Parliament was blocking all of his free market reforms, so he dissolved Parliament by decree and when they refused to accept his decree, he called out and the military and he attacked his own Parliament with tanks and guns. 600 people died, including a lot of legislators. That would be like Obama calling out the US military to open fire with tanks and guns on Congress and killing a bunch of Congressmen. Hell, even Putin hasn’t done that.

The US media cheered wildly. Not one single outlet failed to cheer. They had an election and the West sent over moneybags guys with literal suitcases full of illegal money for the campaign. These guys were photographed walking down the street carrying literal boxes of money. They flooded the campaign with illegal money and he won. 100% of the US media cheered for this. Yeltsin sold out the country to the US. He sold the whole place for 10 cents on the dollar to a bunch of Jews in the UK, the US and Israel and bankers in the US, UK and Frankfurt. They looted the whole country bare until there was nothing left to steal. Why do you think Putin came in. The Yeltsin supporters now have 1% support in the population.

87% of the population loves Putin. The opposition is miniscule.

Yeltsin was NOT a Democrat. He was way worse than Putin. Things are much freer under Putin than they were under Yeltsin.

There is no disputing the fact that Vlad the Putin is the biggest autocratic tyrant at the moment, not very different from Gaddafi, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, Assad or Pinochet.

Those are actual dictatorships. And they also killed a lot of people. Putin has hardly killed anyone. Putin does not have a dictatorship. There are free elections, however most media is state media, and the state media is biased for Putin, but how is this different from the West? Putin wins all the elections because the dissidents are all seen as traitors.

This man oppresses his own people.

How can you oppress people with 87% support?

Given a choice, most Russians would want to escape their country but they can’t as the State still puts a restriction on emigration.

My understanding is that you can walk out of that place anytime you wish. Anyone can leave, it’s just that most do not want to. If 87% support the President, why would they all want to leave?

Why do you think the Polish, Lithuanian, Romanian and Hungarian people like to distance themselves so much from Russia?

Because they were formerly under the thumb of the USSR which more or less forced Communism on them. They got rid of Communism, and they have been mad at Russia ever since, although the Hungarian leader is pretty pro-Russian. They’re all just drinking the Koolaid.

Of those countries listed, only Poland and Lithuania are Russia-haters, and the Lithuanians are Nazis. They have statues of Nazis up all over the country. All of their big heroes are Nazis.

The Poles are simply insane. They hate Russia far more than they hate Nazis. The Nazis war on Poland killed 10 million Poles. The Soviets killed 275,000 Poles. So the Poles hate Russians. The Poles are insane.

Not only are their countries most active NATO members but the people themselves are anti-Russia.

Everyone in the West is anti-Russia because of the brainwash. There is not one single dissident pro-Russia media outlet anywhere in the West. With anti-Russian propaganda on every media outlet, how do you expect people to think?

However, most Hungarians are particularly anti-Russia because they elected a pro-Russian leader. Most Romanians don’t care about Russia.

Why do you think Ukrainians want to escape the shadow of Russia to merge with Western Europe and the Schengen region?

Because they hate Russia.

But they didn’t even want to join the EU. The EU supporters never had more than 35%. Ukraine was split between pro-EU and pro-Russia factions until the Nazi coup. After the coup, all of the pro-Russian parties were outlawed and a number of their legislators were murdered. The leader of the biggest pro-Russia party, the Party of Regions, fled to Russia after the regime tried to kill him by setting his house on fire, but they set his neighbor’s house on fire instead. Before the coup, the country was badly split between pro-Russian and pro-EU factions.

The Ukies think they will join the EU and get rich. But they are poor because all of their leaders have been stealing from them since Independence, not because they are close to Russia. They won’t get rich by joining the EU.

While Britain can’t wait to escape from EU as the overall sentiment over there favors Brexit, the former countries of the Soviet Bloc can’t wait to join the Western Hemisphere.

They’ve all already joined, not that it’s done them much good. The Greeks want out too.

Thing is, people in the West take their freedoms for granted.

What freedoms? If you have no dissident press, you have no free press. If you have no dissident press, you have no freedom of speech. If you have no dissident politicians, you do not have a free politics. Russians are far freer than any Western country.

They simply have no concept of what it feels like to raise your child in a tyrannical, dictatorial regime.

Yes but that’s not Putin.

There are things like internet censorship, forced incarcerations and murders that you take as “normal”.

There is no Internet censorship in Russia. The Russian-language web is flooded with dissident sites, all paid for by the West.

Hardly any dissidents go to jail in Russia. They might arrest a few from time to time, but dissidents are quoted in the Russian media every single day. Most of them are free to yap along all they wish.

Yes, there have been a few killings of dissidents, but Putin was not involved in the most recent notorious one outside the Kremlin. There have been a few killings of journalists, but there were many more killings of dissidents under Yeltsin than under Putin. Yeltsin had many of his opponents killed.

Maybe the recent US elections seem like a complete joke when you find that your Final 2 happen to be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But that’s a problem that can be fixed within four years.

No dissident politician ever runs in the US, or at least one never gets very far. Trump is very interesting in that he is an actual US dissident politician who has made it into the final round. I cannot remember the last time that happened, but it was probably Kennedy, and he was murdered by the Deep State who run the US. See what happens to dissident politicians in the US? See what happens when the American people elect a dissident? The Deep State kills them. That’s why few politicians go against the Deep State and the System because they are afraid of getting the “Kennedy treatment.”

If you were born in Russia, you don’t have that choice in the first place.

Actually elections in Russia are quite fair other than the media issues. The worst dissidents you could possibly imagine run against Putin. I mean almost out and out traitors. We never have any dissidents like that running for President. Putin wins overwhelmingly because the population thinks the Opposition are traitors.

You have to put up with your autocratic government day in and day out. And so will your children.

Sure, but this is how they like it. I know Russians, and they tell me they are fine with the system.

It might sound cliched but the US is indeed a free society.

It isn’t. There is no dissident press, so there’s no freedom of the press. Because there’s no free press, there’s no freedom of speech. There are no or almost no dissident politicians, so we don’t have free politics, although Trump is changing that.

Just check the annual rankings of Freedom House.

You realize that Freedom House is run by the reactionary Reaganite Republican nuts, and their joke indexes are worthless, right?

There are other freedom indices including the UK-based Democracy index, Canada-based Fraser Institute’s “Index of Freedom in the World” and Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters without Borders.

Like I said, what good is some abstract freedom of press if you have no dissident media? What good is freedom of the press if there is no dissident media to voice it in? What good is free politics if there are few if any dissident politicians? You might as well be living in a dictatorship. Freedoms are no good if you can’t use them or if nobody ever uses them. When everyone goes along with the program automatically, you’re no different than North Korea.

Countries like China, Russia and Islamic countries are consistently scoring “not free” in every independent assessment each year the rankings are prepared.

I would agree that China is not free, however, there are many political protests. There are 100 political protests every single day in China. The authorities just let almost all of them go on, and they don’t do anything about it. There is no free press though, I agree.

Islamic countries are not free because they can’t handle freedom, and they do better under dictatorships. Look what happens when they try to do democracy in the Arab World. It doesn’t work. Malaysia is a pretty free country, and Pakistan does have dissident political parties that regularly get 15% of the vote. There is a large dissident political party in Turkey, though they are under siege. Lebanon is a free country, as is Tunisia. Algeria is free.

Yemen is such a free country that a dissident movement just overthrew the government by force! You can’t get much freer than that. In Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, dissidents are armed to the teeth and are threatening to overthrow the government. You can’t get much freer than that in a sense anyway! The Iraqi Parliament is split; Sadr’s party and the Sunni parties are very much dissident parties.

Just check this year’s Freedom House map, no one really emigrates to any country that isn’t marked “blue”.

This is not true. There is a lot of immigration to China from all over the world. There is also a lot of immigration to Russia from Ukraine and the former Soviet states to the south and east. Under Ghaddafi there was huge immigration from Sub-Saharan Africa. Egypt was the same – mass immigration from Black Africa to Egypt. There is huge immigration to the Gulf nations from all over the world to work. Before the crash, many Colombians had immigrated to Venezuela for a better life. There is huge immigration of Central Americans to Mexico.

Just check this year’s Freedom House map, no one really emigrates to any country that isn’t marked “blue”.

That map must be some sort of a joke. Venezuela is the freest country in Latin America. The opposition has many media unbelievably outlets, and they all resemble Fox News X10. They tell constant lies, and they have regularly called for assassinating the President. They continue to do so now, and now all of the Opposition press is agitating for a coup. Could you imagine if the US had huge media outlets that told the most vicious lies on a regular basis and regularly called for the assassination of Obama, and now were screaming for the US military to stage a military coup and overthrow Obama to put in a military dictatorship? Venezuela is a 10X freer than the US.

The Opposition has taken over Congress and stages constant demonstrations/riots in the streets. And recently the Opposition is armed and has started assassinating government officials.

Venezuela has the fairest elections on Earth.

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