Kremlin offers Silicon Valley a Russian Internet with Chinese characteristics

Like I said, the biggest problem here, or anywhere, that needs solving before we can hope to make a dent in any of this sort of shit, is that everybody’s operating on extrinsic motivation, engendered by large piles of stuff accumulated by arseholes.

So it doesn’t matter a damn what makes the most sense, as long as folks continue to be swayed from acting on their intrinsic motivations.

But it’s entirely possible that we could make this biggest of all problems go away, by just ignoring it - like John Oliver says here, we just need to hold hands and all jump at once, and magic happens.

…Actually, when I say, ‘we all’, I don’t mean everybody; just enough to kick-start a co-opernation. When others see the vast difference it makes to have your sovereignty, growing it past a certain critical point will be passively exponential.

Maybe Google should say to themselves "We just lost billions of dollars as we can no longer cater to the Russian market. We face the same threat with every other worldwide market. Maybe we should fund some Tea-Party anti-Orwellian-State candidates to run for office and reign-in the NSA. Google paid over $800k to the Obama campaign, a top contributor, and look where that got them.

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Yes… We already lost any hope for good… Nothing is going to change in coming years… Anyone who is talking back is going to be tortured and killed in police cell even before any trial… After that, newspapers will write that it was suicide or weak heart…

Trying to explain the entire history of a country by invoking “national identity” is seriously misguided, at best (I hope I don’t have to explain what it is at worst). One could just as easily point out that Americans would never go for any kind of nationalized health care, due to their characteristic (rugged?) individualism, ignoring that the ACA is exactly a step in that direction.

To put it another way, it is one thing to say, “My good sir, your nation’s policy on public stoning leaves much to be desired” and completely another to posit, “Your people are a bunch of stoners!”

You’ll just be invited to a plutonium tea party.

Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. I was trying to talk about cultural history. What have the Russian people been subject to? What do they see as acceptable given what they’ve been subject to? Tsarist Russia with its secret police and gulags. The “communist” era with its mass executions, secret police and overt militarism. The current crony capitalist era secret police, overt social and political control, etc. Societies become inured to this sort of stuff.

That’s why I’m so disturbed by what’s been going on in the US for the past few decades. We are beginning to accept overt corruption, cronyism, lemon socialism, torture, mass surveillance, etc. Once this corruption becomes ingrained in our culture we’re in seriously trouble. Just like the Russians.


Quite true. Modern Russia seems to be the dream state of US’ far right conservative movement.


Exactly and the irony escapes them.

Corruption is already ingrained in American culture. It is ingrained in every culture. You can pick your flavor of graft - crony capitalism and lobbying or blatant theft and outright bribery. The subtlety might make one more palatable than the other, but crookedness is inevitable when it comes to politics.

Looking from the outside in, one is often tempted to make assumptions concerning how other people think (were the Germans living under Hitler all antisemitic?), but I find it is more productive to focus on the similarities instead of the differences. People are, on a fundamental level, the same everywhere. There’s no magic quality that makes Russians have shitty governments any more than there’s one that promotes systemic racism in the US.

To be specific, the transition from the era of Tsarist secret police and labor camps to the era of Soviet secret police and gulags was facilitated by dissidents unhappy with the monarchic regime. Similarly, Putin’s hard-line approach worked particularly well as a reaction to the no-limit capitalism of the 90s. As in, these various people managed to acquire power precisely because society wanted change.

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So your friend will just invent another kind of currency, and bam, same thing all over again?

All revolutionaries want to be emperors.

I agree, but I still maintain that the historical circumstances, what the people have experienced and come to expect, matters greatly. The furor and noise over Snowden’s revelations would barely receive mention in Russia. Its just assumed that Putin surveills the Russian citizenry. The one seriously embarrassing moment for Snowden was when he asked Putin if he spies on the Russian people as if he would receive an honest answer. There is no 4th amendment to break in Russia. Cultural norms matter.

And while its true, as far as it goes, that dissidents facilitated the revolution in Russia, the fact that they set up gulags and essentially a police state was possible because that’s basically what existed before the revolution. If a government set up gulags and started mass arresting dissidents in the US there would be armed insurrectionists in the streets, and you’d find a lot of the military going awol against the government. There’s only so much they can get away with at any given time, and that is based on cultural historical norms. You could argue that’s what they did to Occupy Wall Street and you’d be partially right. But first of all it wasn’t a mass movement. And instead of throwing the protesters in prison for decades, disappearing the leaders, etc., those arrested are all walking free at this point. Different nation, different history, different norms.

Of course those norms can change. Just look at what Obama has gotten away with coming after Bush/Cheney. Bush/Cheney was a coup that stood much of the political norms of the US on their head, and there were massive protests and a lot of unrest during that period. That’s what was so pernicious about what Obama did in '08. Instead of reforming and returning us to our historical norms as he promised he instead continued and expanded on the post-constitutional era Bush ushered in, while simultaneously deflating the unrest that propelled him into office. History will not look kindly on him. In fact its arguable that Obama has broken more of the constitution that Bush/Cheney did. When Bush’s cronies got into financial trouble they went to jail (Enron). Obama not only let them off with no prosecutions but rewarded them with unlimited Fed money. Bush claimed the right to indefinitely detain American citizens. Obama claims the right to assassinate us (not on American soil). Why not on American soil? They are ratcheting us towards the same place the Russians are in relation to their government, and the only thing that might stop them is our outrage at what’s being taken away from us.


Not all, but most. Uruguay’s president, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, and some others as well, are former revolutionaries leading their nations but have not grabbed supreme power.

Just because the political climate wont allow it.

I know perfectly way that the NSA isn’t going to put me on their drone target list because I say critical things about the USA on this extremist board

Oh, they wont drone you right away. But you might have a bit of trouble getting a government job or contract, or a credit rating or maybe getting on an airplane or entering/leaving the country. That’s how authoritarian regimes work - drones and death squads are a last resort for those who ignore the less violent hints.

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Actually, I took the USA off my “want to travel there again” when they introduced mandatory fingerprinting, So, no big deal. Lots of nice scenery and culture all over the globe.

Take Japan off your list, too.

Actually, you can probably enter the US through Canada without being fingerprinted.

Oh, thanks. I was actually considering visiting Japan, but I would have checked the requirements first, of course.

What I don’t get is why my &/%/&%&/%&/% government doesn’t „retaliate“ in kind.

Cursory reading of implies otherwise.

The United States was created under significantly different circumstances and by people who had a pretty clear conception what they wanted to avoid. The resulting government is very decentralized, which makes extreme/rapid change difficult, for good or ill. No revolution, but also no decisive action on global warming.

I am significantly less troubled by the Obama presidency. It may not be remembered fondly, but it is hardly the first to do some incredibly sketchy shit. American history is full of examples of abuse of power. The stuff with Obama happened more recently, so it looks worse, but compared to slavery, Native American ethnic cleansing, Japanese internment, communist witch hunts, and all the absolutely heinous things the CIA has done during the Cold War, it’s still small potatoes.

Anyway, this is getting anyway from my point. That is: the way Russia is now may be attributed to a historical necessity, rather than a cultural one. People afraid to speak up (although, many do anyway) because they fear arrest or execution is a global phenomenon. People buying into government propaganda because they are isolated from the outside world is one as well. In short: you can worry about America becoming more like Russia (although, I find that concern to be unfounded), but you can’t worry about Americans become more like Russians.

Nah, I’m more of an asymmetric warfare guy. No point in playing a game that give the advantages to the worst of us, is there?

There are better solutions, it’s just that the solutions aren’t the same for all the people and having a birth-nation-lottery rather than governance and economics of choice is just wasting all of our time.

A collection of diverse whole-life-solutions made by the people themselves placed inside the hollowed out legal shell of a corporation with a collection of outward facing entities focused on profit and gobbling up the supply chain so everybody else doesn’t have to worry about it is my preferred approach.

We have enough examples of all the pieces in play individually, we just need to assemble them and then let people choose between unemployment, Wal-mart, or raising the bar to a non-asshat level and reaping the benefits.

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