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Just when you think it couldn't get worse

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10 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Variations of democratic socialism or well regulated capitalism work pretty well for the vast majority of people.

Certainly, based on demonstrated results they are the best systems of all that have been tried.

Yes they are the best we have tried.  

And look how lovely the world is.  The rich are getting richer, the middle class is gone, and everything is lovely.  Well regulated capitalism is an oxymoron, it almost sounds like communism when you say it that way.  

I am tired of hearing that capitalism is the best system of all the others.  That's like saying sorry you have gonorrhea, but it's better than syphilis, eh?  Capitalism is based on greed and the survival of the fittest.  The logical pinnacle of capitalism is that one player will end up with all the marbles.  The board game Monopoly is a great example of how capitalism works;  There is only one winner that ends up with everything.  Economics isn't rocket surgery, they only want you to think it is as they dream up a bunch of bull shit to explain it.

People suck at living in a society.  Greed rules the world That is Eva Dent. 

When people care more about other people, then the world might be a better place.  And there are people that feel that way.  But the people that control the money and have the power don't give a shit about other people.  And that isn't ever going to change.  

There aren't any natural laws about human nature.  People are not naturally endowed with the desire to be good or bad.  They are just people.  The only rule there is is the survival of the fittest.  It's a dog eat dog world and most people are wearing Milk Bone™️ underwear.

I don't see any signs that anything is going to change for the better.  Eventually the human race will destroy itself, if some natural cataclysm doesn't do it first.  I think that's pretty obvious.

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7 hours ago, Shortforbob said:

If I *told* you to read Winnie the Pooh would you do it?

You'd better not make that suggestion in China.

One way to separate good governments from bad ones is: do they censor speech? Or cen$or $peech, which has the same result?

china-bans-winnie-the-pooh-after-compari

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13 hours ago, Ed Lada said:

Communism doesn't work because people aren't selfless enough to work together for the common good.

Capitalism doesn't work because people are too greedy to work together for the common good

There is no middle ground system that will work because too many people fit into one of the two categories above.

The world is well and truly fucked.

Quote

Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite.

 

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11 hours ago, Cal20sailor said:

Kent, who are you bitching about?  I want to pile on.

Meli is lonely or something, trying to wind everyone up with her "Dog's twin from Australia" act. I think I'll let her be for a bit, I hate it when people who are not idiots pretend to be. If you want some attention, ask her to explain why The Gulag Archipelago and Cool Hand Luke are the same thing.

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4 hours ago, Ed Lada said:

Yes they are the best we have tried.  

And look how lovely the world is.  The rich are getting richer, the middle class is gone, and everything is lovely.  Well regulated capitalism is an oxymoron, it almost sounds like communism when you say it that way.  

I am tired of hearing that capitalism is the best system of all the others.  That's like saying sorry you have gonorrhea, but it's better than syphilis, eh?  Capitalism is based on greed and the survival of the fittest.  The logical pinnacle of capitalism is that one player will end up with all the marbles.  The board game Monopoly is a great example of how capitalism works;  There is only one winner that ends up with everything.  Economics isn't rocket surgery, they only want you to think it is as they dream up a bunch of bull shit to explain it.

People suck at living in a society.  Greed rules the world That is Eva Dent. 

When people care more about other people, then the world might be a better place.  And there are people that feel that way.  But the people that control the money and have the power don't give a shit about other people.  And that isn't ever going to change.  

There aren't any natural laws about human nature.  People are not naturally endowed with the desire to be good or bad.  They are just people.  The only rule there is is the survival of the fittest.  It's a dog eat dog world and most people are wearing Milk Bone™️ underwear.

I don't see any signs that anything is going to change for the better.  Eventually the human race will destroy itself, if some natural cataclysm doesn't do it first.  I think that's pretty obvious.

Ed, you're being a bit too "student union coffee shop nihilist" here. Sure humans are a mess and pretty much cause problems always and forever, but the modern liberal democracy and free trade system has done more to improve the human condition than anything else ever has. I was in Berlin when someone was killed trying to get over the wall. They were westbound, no one ever died trying to climb into East Berlin because West Germany was not a prison - you could just walk over if you wanted to.

What you see now is the 1% gaining firm control of the apparatus and trying their best to convert liberal democracy to oligarchy. Here is a cheat sheet if it helps:

Dictatorship - one guy in charge, but he doesn't own everything and everyone does not work directly for him, but he is in charge of the oligarchs.

Communism - one guy in charge, he does own everything, and everyone does work directly for him.

Oligarchy - a few of the right people in charge, they own everything worth owning, and you do work for them in one way or another and that includes whomever is the "government" they allow.

Meli's Library - Her dog is in charge, the staff decided he was smarter than she is and pees on the carpet less.

 

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20 hours ago, Ed Lada said:

I'm more than a a bit skeptical about that book.  I am not denying that there were some abuses of German POWs after the war but I don't think that it was near 1,000,000.  I am also skeptical about any information coming from the KGB archives in Moscow.  I am especially skeptical of Bacque's claim that Eisenhower did it on purpose.  Bacque is not an historian and many of his claims sound much like the far right conspiracy theories that are so popular nowadays. 

I doubt any reasonable, well informed scholar of WW II history takes this book very seriously.

A few years ago I read up on the controversy over the Bacque book. 

One of the "well informed scholars" who took the lead in trashing it was Stephen Ambrose, who organized an entire conference aimed at attacking Bacque. 

Unfortunately for Ambrose, he was found to be guilty of plagiarism shortly thereafter. 

https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1266

There are lots of very well known academic spear carriers for the empire who are ideologues in disguise. Another is John Lewis Gaddis, now at Yale. 

That being said, I do recommend Isaac Deutscher's work on Trotsky and Stalin. 

My point is to be skeptical of any and all sources . .  

And most of all, try to avoid the kind of knee-jerk belief in the propaganda now being used to stoke hate and fear about Iran. 

Vet for Peace 

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11 minutes ago, AJ Oliver said:

A few years ago I read up on the controversy over the Bacque book. 

One of the "well informed scholars" who took the lead in trashing it was Stephen Ambrose, who organized an entire conference aimed at attacking Bacque. 

Unfortunately for Ambrose, he was found to be guilty of plagiarism shortly thereafter. 

https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1266

There are lots of very well known academic spear carriers for the empire who are ideologues in disguise. Another is John Lewis Gaddis, now at Yale. 

That being said, I do recommend Isaac Deutscher's work on Trotsky and Stalin. 

My point is to be skeptical of any and all sources . .  

And most of all, try to avoid the kind of knee-jerk belief in the propaganda now being used to stoke hate and fear about Iran. 

Vet for Peace 

I am an amateur historian and I agree with you completely.  I have spent at least 50 years reading about the history of WW II in Europe and other history as well, mainly focused in Europe.  

I have developed a pretty good bull shit detector when it comes to European history, after years of reading, you can start to decide what's accurate and what isn't.  I never trust a single source for any historical information.  There is a shit ton of bad history out there.  As you say there are a lot of ideologues,as well as apologists, fantasists and all kinds of other miscreants out there.  The same for all reports of world wide events, past or present.

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8 hours ago, Ed Lada said:

Yes they are the best we have tried.  

And look how lovely the world is.  The rich are getting richer, the middle class is gone, and everything is lovely.  Well regulated capitalism is an oxymoron, it almost sounds like communism when you say it that way. 

Look at the countries that have actually done what I referred to.

Canada

Norway

Sweden

Finland

Denmark

Even Singapore - which is a bunch too Benevolent Dictatorship for my taste - works extremely well and lots of people like it despite what I regard as the oppressiveness.

Well regulated capitalism is NOT an oxymoron - just look at Canadian regulations for the financial sector. Well developed reg's and most importantly, enforcement of them works pretty well here. Workplace reg's via the Labour Code work here too. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Having lots of reg's but bending over for the bankers like in the States - not so much.

The fact that most countries do not practice what I referred to does not make it invalid.

You tell us what works better instead of complaining about how shitty the world is and wringing your hands about it..

 

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55 minutes ago, Ed Lada said:

I am an amateur historian and I agree with you completely.  I have spent at least 50 years reading about the history of WW II in Europe and other history as well, mainly focused in Europe.  

I have developed a pretty good bull shit detector when it comes to European history, after years of reading, you can start to decide what's accurate and what isn't.  I never trust a single source for any historical information.  There is a shit ton of bad history out there.  As you say there are a lot of ideologues,as well as apologists, fantasists and all kinds of other miscreants out there.  The same for all reports of world wide events, past or present.

Are you implying that Churchill's 6 volume history of the war is flawed? :D

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10 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

Look at the countries that have actually done what I referred to.

Canada

Norway

Sweden

Finland

Denmark

Even Singapore - which is a bunch too Benevolent Dictatorship for my taste - works extremely well and lots of people like it despite what I regard as the oppressiveness.

Well regulated capitalism is NOT an oxymoron - just look at Canadian regulations for the financial sector. Well developed reg's and most importantly, enforcement of them works pretty well here. Workplace reg's via the Labour Code work here too. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Having lots of reg's but bending over for the bankers like in the States - not so much.

The fact that most countries do not practice what I referred to does not make it invalid.

You tell us what works better instead of complaining about how shitty the world is and wringing your hands about it..

 

Those countries don't control the vast amount of wealth that China and the US do, nor do they have much impact on the world's economy.  And the US isn't going to adopt any kind system that hose countries have, no matter what the Bernie Bros say.  The US can't even provide a reasonable health insurance system FFS.

I don't know what will work, I just know that the status quo sucks.  So I will continue to complain, thank you very much.  I can say one thing for sure, if I become emperor of the world, there will be changes.

 

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18 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

Are you implying that Churchill's 6 volume history of the war is flawed? :D

Not at all, the entire work is flawed!   :lol:  

I will say that Winnie could give good oral.

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18 minutes ago, Ed Lada said:

@SloopJonB  BTW, that Downvote really hurt.  :(

It was well considered and well deserved. ;)

I think you need a few drinks today - you're really on a bummer.

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13 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

It was well considered and well deserved. ;)

I think you need a few drinks today - you're really on a bummer.

Uh huh, well deserved.  Sez you!  :P

Maybe I'll ask the wife to make me a Bombay Sapphire and tonic. 

Yeah, thanks for the suggestion, I just ordered one.  

 

Edit:  My drink arrived and it's great, like always.  Gin and tonic, it's not just for summertime.

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2 hours ago, AJ Oliver said:

A few years ago I read up on the controversy over the Bacque book. 

One of the "well informed scholars" who took the lead in trashing it was Stephen Ambrose, who organized an entire conference aimed at attacking Bacque. 

Unfortunately for Ambrose, he was found to be guilty of plagiarism shortly thereafter. 

https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1266

There are lots of very well known academic spear carriers for the empire who are ideologues in disguise. Another is John Lewis Gaddis, now at Yale. 

That being said, I do recommend Isaac Deutscher's work on Trotsky and Stalin. 

My point is to be skeptical of any and all sources . .  

And most of all, try to avoid the kind of knee-jerk belief in the propaganda now being used to stoke hate and fear about Iran. 

Vet for Peace 

Germany was treated far worse *by western powers* than most people realize right after the war. It wasn't until around 1947 maybe that the USSR started looking like a threat and we decided to go all Marshall Plan and rebuild the place into what it is now.

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20 minutes ago, Ed Lada said:

Uh huh, well deserved.  Sez you!  :P

Maybe I'll ask the wife to make me a Bombay Sapphire and tonic. 

Yeah, thanks for the suggestion, I just ordered one.  

 

Edit:  My drink arrived and it's great, like always.  Gin and tonic, it's not just for summertime.

As always, you are correct. I am something of an authority on the subject of requesting one's favorite libation from the loving wife no matter the season. In the spirit of the academic discussions above: I am not a book learned drinker as you likely are. Rather I am indebted to the patient tutoring of the unquestioned expert elders at my YC. Cheers!

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38 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Germany was treated far worse *by western powers* than most people realize right after the war. It wasn't until around 1947 maybe that the USSR started looking like a threat and we decided to go all Marshall Plan and rebuild the place into what it is now.

I for one will not entertain any criticism or revisionist history of the Marshall Plan. In my view it was by far the most generous and unselfish act by any nation or government in human history - especially by a victor over the vanquished.

Obviously there were many interests served by the Marshall plan - it was not purely altruistic. Be that as it may, the facts remain the facts - there almost certainly would have been more European wars without it, not to mention the incalculable human misery that it averted.

If you need any evidence of that, just examine the aftermath of the First War that was handled "the regular way".

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30 minutes ago, El Boracho said:

As always, you are correct. I am something of an authority on the subject of requesting one's favorite libation from the loving wife no matter the season. In the spirit of the academic discussions above: I am not a book learned drinker as you likely are. Rather I am indebted to the patient tutoring of the unquestioned expert elders at my YC. Cheers!

Some of the best knowledge doesn't come from books.

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16 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

I for one will not entertain any criticism or revisionist history of the Marshall Plan. In my view it was by far the most generous and unselfish act by any nation or government in human history - especially by a victor over the vanquished.

Obviously there were many interests served by the Marshall plan - it was not purely altruistic. Be that as it may, the facts remain the facts - there almost certainly would have been more European wars without it, not to mention the incalculable human misery that it averted.

If you need any evidence of that, just examine the aftermath of the First War that was handled "the regular way".

I don't think Germany was treated particularly badly post WW II.  Most of Europe suffered terribly after the war.  Of the combatant countries England and France probably got off the easiest.  But of course the end of WW II was also the last nail in the coffin of the British Empire, not that that was a terrible loss to anyone but the Brits.  The French just ignored the Vichy collaboration and pretended every French man, woman and child risked life and limb to resist the Nazis.  Eastern Europe got screwed.

Thank goodness for the Cold War or Germany would have been treated much worse probably.

I have to agree with SJB, that the Marshall plan was probably one of the greatest economic and humanitarian accomplishments of the 20th century.  The money invested helped to create a stable and prosperous western Europe and also enabled the US to transition from a war time economy to a peacetime economy, and incredible prosperity for the entire US, since a lot of the money came back to the US to purchase needed goods for the reconstruction of western Europe.  Marshall plan funds  were also offered to the Soviet Union and it's satellites but Stalin flatly refused.

A little known dirty secret is that the CIA received 5% of the Marshall plan funds, which it used to set up front businesses to further US political aims in Europe.

In a lovely bit of irony, George Marshall was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1953 for his effort.  He was and is to date the only career Army officer to receive the Nobel Peace prize.

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22 minutes ago, Ed Lada said:

I have to agree with SJB, that the Marshall plan was probably one of the greatest economic and humanitarian accomplishments of the 20th century ever. 

Corrected. ;)

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43 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

Corrected. ;)

I essentially agree but I think Gandhi's effort in India was greater.  

I have a cousin in Italy that is my age.  He is quite brilliant and studied economics in university.  Eventually he became an economics professor at the Sapienza University of Rome, a pretty well respected institution.  After some years he left academia and took a position with the Bank of Italy, the Italian state bank, as an economic historian.  He wrote an extensive scholarly study on the effect of the Marshall Plan on the European economy, and he sent me a copy translated into English.  It was quite remarkable.  Unfortunately I lost the document in one of my many moves.

I used to play a lot of chess when I was young and I was reasonably good at it.  My cousin and I would play when I visited as a teen and in my early 20s.  We would sit at the chess board and sometimes he would say, I will beat you in 4 moves or some other low number.  And then he would.  I learned a lot about chess from him whooping my ass repeatedly.  I think I even managed a draw once!  But he probably was just feeling charitable.    

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Interesting you bring up Gandhi - because it wasn’t just decolonization, it was also  anti-capitalism - because “capitalism” worked hand and whip with colonialism.

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3 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

I for one will not entertain any criticism or revisionist history of the Marshall Plan. In my view it was by far the most generous and unselfish act by any nation or government in human history - especially by a victor over the vanquished.

Obviously there were many interests served by the Marshall plan - it was not purely altruistic. Be that as it may, the facts remain the facts - there almost certainly would have been more European wars without it, not to mention the incalculable human misery that it averted.

If you need any evidence of that, just examine the aftermath of the First War that was handled "the regular way".

That may be, but it is worth knowing what really happened. The Marshall Plan did everything you said it did and then some, but it did NOT roll out 20 minutes after the war ended. There were some tough times for Germans between the surrender and the Marshall Plan getting going. It is worth knowing the true history.

One issue was in unified Germany industry was more in the west and farming more in the east. This caused an obvious problem in the winter of 1946/7, known in Germany as the "hunger winter". Food wasn't moving around like it had before and the Allies initially didn't give much of a shit.

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1 hour ago, Mismoyled Jiblet. said:

Interesting you bring up Gandhi - because it wasn’t just decolonization, it was also  anti-capitalism - because “capitalism” worked hand and whip with colonialism.

Good point.  

If I have learned one thing in life, it is that the world is full of paradoxes.

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21 minutes ago, Ed Lada said:

Good point.  

If I have learned one thing in life, it is that the world is full of paradoxes.

That gave me a belly laugh and I love belly laughs.

It's fun to listen to smart guys debate respectfully, I learn from you guys.

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7 hours ago, El Boracho said:

As always, you are correct. I am something of an authority on the subject of requesting one's favorite libation from the loving wife no matter the season. In the spirit of the academic discussions above: I am not a book learned drinker as you likely are. Rather I am indebted to the patient tutoring of the unquestioned expert elders at my YC. Cheers!

I've learned to...but what I learned is it's better not to ask...

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Ed Lada said:

I essentially agree but I think Gandhi's effort in India was greater. 

Sorry but I fail to see the comparison - non-violent rebellion against a colonial master VS the reconstruction of war ravaged countries of defeated enemies?

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13 hours ago, AJ Oliver said:

A few years ago I read up on the controversy over the Bacque book. 

One of the "well informed scholars" who took the lead in trashing it was Stephen Ambrose, who organized an entire conference aimed at attacking Bacque. 

Unfortunately for Ambrose, he was found to be guilty of plagiarism shortly thereafter. 

https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1266

There are lots of very well known academic spear carriers for the empire who are ideologues in disguise. Another is John Lewis Gaddis, now at Yale. 

That being said, I do recommend Isaac Deutscher's work on Trotsky and Stalin. 

My point is to be skeptical of any and all sources . .  

And most of all, try to avoid the kind of knee-jerk belief in the propaganda now being used to stoke hate and fear about Iran. 

Vet for Peace 

Thank you :)

That's all I was saying. 

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15 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Meli is lonely or something, trying to wind everyone up with her "Dog's twin from Australia" act. I think I'll let her be for a bit, I hate it when people who are not idiots pretend to be. If you want some attention, ask her to explain why The Gulag Archipelago and Cool Hand Luke are the same thing.

Get fucked. :)

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20 hours ago, Ed Lada said:

Yes they are the best we have tried.  

And look how lovely the world is.  The rich are getting richer, the middle class is gone, and everything is lovely.  Well regulated capitalism is an oxymoron, it almost sounds like communism when you say it that way.  

I am tired of hearing that capitalism is the best system of all the others.  That's like saying sorry you have gonorrhea, but it's better than syphilis, eh?  Capitalism is based on greed and the survival of the fittest.  The logical pinnacle of capitalism is that one player will end up with all the marbles.  The board game Monopoly is a great example of how capitalism works;  There is only one winner that ends up with everything.  Economics isn't rocket surgery, they only want you to think it is as they dream up a bunch of bull shit to explain it.

People suck at living in a society.  Greed rules the world That is Eva Dent. 

When people care more about other people, then the world might be a better place.  And there are people that feel that way.  But the people that control the money and have the power don't give a shit about other people.  And that isn't ever going to change.  

There aren't any natural laws about human nature.  People are not naturally endowed with the desire to be good or bad.  They are just people.  The only rule there is is the survival of the fittest.  It's a dog eat dog world and most people are wearing Milk Bone™️ underwear.

I don't see any signs that anything is going to change for the better.  Eventually the human race will destroy itself, if some natural cataclysm doesn't do it first.  I think that's pretty obvious.

I think part of the problem stems from the USA's perception of what "living well" means.

Most Europeans I know have absolutely no desire for a McMansion on a handkerchief and a two car garage. 

I've stayed in two "pensions" in the eastern block when they were still commy. Very comfortable well built places.

Ladies renting rooms in their own apartments. What for  them is  a spacious comfortable 1930's apt (Three bedrooms, a kitchen, a lounge with pretty balcony, dining room and a single bathroom. Many americans would call a dog box. They just dont get how "normal" people live and how the generational local cafe culture, the evening stroll with family and shared spaces is what they like.

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1 hour ago, Shortforbob said:

I think part of the problem stems from the USA's perception of what "living well" means.

Most Europeans I know have absolutely no desire for a McMansion on a handkerchief and a two car garage. 

I've stayed in two "pensions" in the eastern block when they were still commy. Very comfortable well built places.

Ladies renting rooms in their own apartments. What for  them is  a spacious comfortable 1930's apt (Three bedrooms, a kitchen, a lounge with pretty balcony, dining room and a single bathroom. Many americans would call a dog box. They just dont get how "normal" people live and how the generational local cafe culture, the evening stroll with family and shared spaces is what they like.

So - you stayed in 2 pensions in apartments built in the 1930's.

And you did this while the country was still 'commy'.

Just *which* countries were this, and were they 'commy' before WW2?

Because, if not, those apartment buildings had NOTHING AT ALL to do with communism.

FFS, Meli, the Soviets were *notorious* for their shoddily built brutalist concrete apartment buildings. Surely even you know that.

FKT

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2 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Sorry but I fail to see the comparison - non-violent rebellion against a colonial master VS the reconstruction of war ravaged countries of defeated enemies?

That's the point.  Gandhi led a non-violent movement to liberate more than 300 million people from the tyranny of the British Empire.  Earlier in his life he championed a movement in South Africa for better treatment of the Indians there and also for the natives of the region.  He did this at a time when the world was involved in one devastating war and getting into another one. 

Under Gandhi's leadership, the country gained independence without a huge amount of bloodshed, (with the exception of the bloody conflict between the Hindus and Muslims during the British mandated creation of Pakistan) during very turbulent times.  Not only that, but his message and his methods encouraged other oppressed people in the world to start their own civil rights and liberation movements.  Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King were but 2 of the influential leaders of successful civil rights movements that were greatly influenced and inspired by Gandhi.  Gandhi was one individual, a simple, humble, stubborn man without access to might and resources of a powerful nation to support his ideals.  

The fundamental message of Gandhi's ideals were that everybody in the world is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and should be free to determine their own fate.  While he wasn't a perfect man, Gandhi's principles of basic human rights and non-violent resistance still inspire and impact the world to this day.   

The Marshall plan was developed with the idea that by injecting large amounts of capital to friends and former foes to rebuild a war ravaged continent it would hopefully bring some kind of peace and stability to a contentious part of the world.  In addition it would cement the position of the US as the new dominant power in the world to spread the principles of freedom, democracy and capitalism.  

While both Gandhi and the Marshall Plan were both successful in achieving their goals to a great extent, the underlying principles and ideals are diametrically opposed.  One based on the principle of recognizing inalienable human rights, and the power of non violent resistance to achieve this goal, the other recognizing inalienable human rights, enforced with the power of military might and money, to to achieve the same goal.  I don't think it would be unreasonable to reframe the idea by stating that it's a case of idealism vs realpolitik.  Both principles are active in the world today with decidedly mixed results.  I believe it's a fundamental paradox of human nature that has no resolution.  

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8 minutes ago, Ed Lada said:

That's the point.  Gandhi led a non-violent movement to liberate more than 300 million people from the tyranny of the British Empire.  Earlier in his life he championed a movement in South Africa for better treatment of the Indians there and also for the natives of the region.  He did this at a time when the world was involved in one devastating war and getting into another one. 

Under Gandhi's leadership, the country gained independence without a huge amount of bloodshed, (with the exception of the bloody conflict between the Hindus and Muslims during the British mandated creation of Pakistan) during very turbulent times.  Not only that, but his message and his methods encouraged other oppressed people in the world to start their own civil rights and liberation movements.  Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King were but 2 of the influential leaders of successful civil rights movements that were greatly influenced and inspired by Gandhi.  Gandhi was one individual, a simple, humble, stubborn man without access to might and resources of a powerful nation to support his ideals.  

The fundamental message of Gandhi's ideals were that everybody in the world is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and should be free to determine their own fate.  While he wasn't a perfect man, Gandhi's principles of basic human rights and non-violent resistance still inspire and impact the world to this day.   

The Marshall plan was developed with the idea that by injecting large amounts of capital to friends and former foes to rebuild a war ravaged continent it would hopefully bring some kind of peace and stability to a contentious part of the world.  In addition it would cement the position of the US as the new dominant power in the world to spread the principles of freedom, democracy and capitalism.  

While both Gandhi and the Marshall Plan were both successful in achieving their goals to a great extent, the underlying principles and ideals are diametrically opposed.  One based on the principle of recognizing inalienable human rights, and the power of non violent resistance to achieve this goal, the other recognizing inalienable human rights, enforced with the power of military might and money, to to achieve the same goal.  I don't think it would be unreasonable to reframe the idea by stating that it's a case of idealism vs realpolitik.  Both principles are active in the world today with decidedly mixed results.  I believe it's a fundamental paradox of human nature that has no resolution.  

Very well-stated. I have read everything Gandhi wrote. I might add that the Moslems and Hindus had layers of dynamic friction in place before the separation of Pakistan.

In overview, there's a creative tension between these two ideas. These two ideas contrast as the Joe vs. Tom deal.

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My daughter, who is ex-airforce, has pointed out several times that the US military is one of the more practical examples of a modern socialist society.  From job assignments to food to health care to living arrangements, a central organization provides for the needs of the many while pyramiding up though a bureaucracy and a chain of command.  There's an innate culture, a dress code, and a way of looking at the world that comes from belonging.  There are merit systems for promotion, internal feedback loops, and both free and compelled activities.  The US military exhibits all the benefits and weaknesses of that kind of governance.

 

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3 minutes ago, cmilliken said:

My daughter, who is ex-airforce, has pointed out several times that the US military is one of the more practical examples of a modern socialist society.  From job assignments to food to health care to living arrangements, a central organization provides for the needs of the many while pyramiding up though a bureaucracy and a chain of command.  There's an innate culture, a dress code, and a way of looking at the world that comes from belonging.  There are merit systems for promotion, internal feedback loops, and both free and compelled activities.  The US military exhibits all the benefits and weaknesses of that kind of governance.

 

As an Army vet I completely agree.  While I was serving I often contemplated the irony of the very socialist military structure defending the capitalist system. 

I will also say it was the best job I ever had, and I was very sad that I had to leave well before I could retire from it.

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59 minutes ago, Ed Lada said:

That's the point.  Gandhi led a non-violent movement to liberate more than 300 million people from the tyranny of the British Empire.  Earlier in his life he championed a movement in South Africa for better treatment of the Indians there and also for the natives of the region.  He did this at a time when the world was involved in one devastating war and getting into another one. 

Under Gandhi's leadership, the country gained independence without a huge amount of bloodshed, (with the exception of the bloody conflict between the Hindus and Muslims during the British mandated creation of Pakistan) during very turbulent times.  Not only that, but his message and his methods encouraged other oppressed people in the world to start their own civil rights and liberation movements.  Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King were but 2 of the influential leaders of successful civil rights movements that were greatly influenced and inspired by Gandhi.  Gandhi was one individual, a simple, humble, stubborn man without access to might and resources of a powerful nation to support his ideals.  

The fundamental message of Gandhi's ideals were that everybody in the world is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and should be free to determine their own fate.  While he wasn't a perfect man, Gandhi's principles of basic human rights and non-violent resistance still inspire and impact the world to this day.   

The Marshall plan was developed with the idea that by injecting large amounts of capital to friends and former foes to rebuild a war ravaged continent it would hopefully bring some kind of peace and stability to a contentious part of the world.  In addition it would cement the position of the US as the new dominant power in the world to spread the principles of freedom, democracy and capitalism.  

While both Gandhi and the Marshall Plan were both successful in achieving their goals to a great extent, the underlying principles and ideals are diametrically opposed.  One based on the principle of recognizing inalienable human rights, and the power of non violent resistance to achieve this goal, the other recognizing inalienable human rights, enforced with the power of military might and money, to to achieve the same goal.  I don't think it would be unreasonable to reframe the idea by stating that it's a case of idealism vs realpolitik.  Both principles are active in the world today with decidedly mixed results.  I believe it's a fundamental paradox of human nature that has no resolution.  

Don't forget Gandhi had the assistance of a lot of violence courtesy of Japan. The deal was India was in WWII as an ally of the UK and the UK wasn't going to try real hard to control them after the war. He also could have possibly succeeded going the other way, but history would look on him very differently now. The UK wasn't holding onto India either way.

 

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43 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Don't forget Gandhi had the assistance of a lot of violence courtesy of Japan. The deal was India was in WWII as an ally of the UK and the UK wasn't going to try real hard to control them after the war. He also could have possibly succeeded going the other way, but history would look on him very differently now. The UK wasn't holding onto India either way.

There was quite a bit of contention during both world wars of the Indians that chose to fight with the British. 

The entire situation was incredibly complex, like any important historic event. 

It is always easy to play what if, but to use the overused phrase, 'it is what it is'.  If it weren't for Gandhi the entire situation of the British granting India it's independence would have played out in any number of different ways and there is no sense in speculating what they might have been, except to say that there was a good chance that it could have been much uglier.

The British Empire was an institution that was rotten to the core and is responsible for many terrible ills in the world that endure to this day.  Of course it was doomed to fail, it just should have happened much sooner.  I don't think there was ever a greater display of incredible arrogance and abuse of military and economic power in the world, and the British have never had to answer for it in any meaningful way.  To me it is appalling that people are still proud of the Empire and all of it's ills and still support a monarchial lineage that was the fundament of the Empire.  It is similar to the refusal to accept the ills of slavery by some people in the US to this day, except several orders of magnitude greater.  At least the majority people in the US have recognized and  accepted the immorality of slavery, and don't revel in the glory of its ill gotten gains.  The Germans have accepted the burden of guilt for Hitler.  The Soviets accepted that Stalin went of the rails and 'de-Stalinized' the Soviet Union under Khrushchev.  Brezhnev instituted 'glasnost' and 'perestroika' which ultimately led to the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of communism in eastern Europe.  The Chinese recognized the terror and errors of Mao.  The British continue to sing God Save the Queen.

The bottom line is Gandhi was the principle instigator for what occurred, and it ended reasonably well.  Gandhi certainly deserves the admiration and respect that endures to this day, for his actions.

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All true, but Gandhi would have been shot down like a rabid dog in earlier times and hardly been noticed by anyone. He used the right tactics at the right time. A less principled man might have made a deal with Japan looking for aid instead. The UK hardly had the resources to deal with a revolt in India in 1941. Can you imagine the mess that would have resulted? Also note India as a nation is not averse to violence, the country did not become a beacon of pacifism by any means!

 

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5 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

So - you stayed in 2 pensions in apartments built in the 1930's.

And you did this while the country was still 'commy'.

Just *which* countries were this, and were they 'commy' before WW2?

Because, if not, those apartment buildings had NOTHING AT ALL to do with communism.

FFS, Meli, the Soviets were *notorious* for their shoddily built brutalist concrete apartment buildings. Surely even you know that.

FKT

Are you calling me a liar? What do you reckon? everything in East Berlin, Hungary and Czech were raised in WW2?

Have you actually ever lived in Europe? It makes one wonder. It was pretty common in the mid eighties for people in eastern Europe to offer rooms in their homes to tourists. And very welcoming and cosy they were too.

And theres more than a few countries built shoddy concrete blocks for their poor. I was born on a council estate , Literally, in the front Bedroom of 52 Dungannon Rd, Clifton Estate, Nottingham ,Prior to that,my elder sister was born in a bedsit, a single room in a house, sub letted from the tenant (and have lived in Hackney Towers, Hackney for a short time. 

Across the river in the town where I was born was an area known as "The Meadows" what a joke. Post ww2, they raised the old slums, those 2 up 2 down victorian brick structures with weeping walls and a shared toilet in the back lane and raised pretty much the same concrete blocks, with damp walls and smelly corridors that you seem to be claiming are a soviet specialty .Fuck off. 

The only difference after 20 years was the number of people one could pack into the space,

and I pass our concrete tower blocks in Melbourne every day. 

My post was i response to those insisting that those living in communist countries somehow all lived in shitholes.

It's far from the truth. And the only difference between those living in inner city towers and estates in the west, and those that lived in the same conditions in the east, it those in the east are probably less likely to get robbed, mugged or gunned down. 

Ain't Capitalism just grand.

As for you Ed, I note you can "like " my posts but are too chicken to challenge the boys club and back me up. 

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22 minutes ago, Shortforbob said:

Are you calling me a liar? What do you reckon? everything in East Berlin, Hungary and Czech were raised in WW2?

Have you actually ever lived in Europe? It makes one wonder. It was pretty common in the mid eighties for people in eastern Europe to offer rooms in their homes to tourists. And very welcoming and cosy they were too.

And theres more than a few countries built shoddy concrete blocks for their poor. I was born on a council estate and have lived in Hackney Towers for a short time. 

Across the river i the town where I was born was an area Known as "The Meadows" what a joke. Post ww2, they raised the old slums, those 2 up2 down victorian brick structures with weeping walls and a shared toilet in the back lane and raised pretty much the same concrete blocks, with damp walls and smelly corridors that you seem to be claiming are a soviet speciallity .Fuck off. 

The only difference after 20 years was the number of people one could pack into the space,

and I pass our concrete tower blocks every day. 

My post was i response to those insisting that those living in communist countries somehow all lived in shitholes.

It's far from the truth. 

As for you Ed, I note you can "like " my posts but are too chicken to challenge the boys club and back me up. 

Not too chicken, sorry if I don't do it on your schedule.

I agree with you completely.  People have many misconceptions about tte former Warsaw Pact countries if they have never been there.

People seem to think the Soviet communism in the Warsaw Pact countries was monolithic.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Each country retained a lot of it's traditions and culture, people didn't become mindless zombies under their communist governments.  For example, communism implies atheism, yet Poland is a very Catholic country and has been for centuries.  The Polish communist government left the church alone, in spite of it's anti communist activism, because they knew that was a fight that they couldn't win.   Karol Wojtyła was a young activist priest, rose to become the head of the Polish Catholic church before his elevation to the papacy when he became Pope John Paul II.

Some buildings might have been built shoddily by the Soviets but here in Poland few if any of the concrete, block apartment buildings have ever fallen down.  The town I live outside of is full of them like any Polish town and some are old, some are newer but they are all standing and occupied.  Of course  there are also buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s when the town was a part of the German city across the river that now marks the border.  The concrete buildings are ugly but functional and it would be an incredible and needless expense to tear them down and replace them with something easier on the eye.

And there are exceptions to every rule.  Not far away, across the river is the German town of Eisenhuttenstadt, which means 'steel mill city' .  In the early 1950s, in a show of solidarity the Soviet Union built one of the largest steel mills in the world at the time. A new city was built next to the mill and it was named Stalinstadt.  It was built as a model city for the workers paradise.  The buildings were built in a square configuration with very nice apartments with large spacious rooms, and a communal courtyard in the middle of each complex. Schools, a performance theater, a downtown shopping area were some of the amenities.  

A typical block of the original city.  Not ugly at all.

image.png.9837c04845b45ee1659ea47721f632b4.png

Here is a rather limited aerial view of Słubice and Frankfurt-Oder.  It's enough to get an idea of how things look.  Slubice is in the lower part of the video in the opening shot, Frankfurt is the larger city.

 

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One also needs to ask what were those "Shoddy" tower blocks replacing.:rolleyes:

Some people seem to live in this fantasy world where the Soviets hated the people so much, and had such a desire to control their every living moment that they tore down pretty little villages with thatched cottages and duck ponds..deliberately I tells ya..to deliberately make those happy ruddy faced villagers miserable in ugly tower blocks.

Fucking morons.

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10 minutes ago, Shortforbob said:

One also needs to ask what were those "Shoddy" tower blocks replacing.:rolleyes:

Some people seem to live in this fantasy world where the Soviets hated the people so much, and had such a desire to control their every living moment that they tore down pretty little villages with thatched cottages and duck ponds..deliberately I tells ya..to deliberately make those happy ruddy faced villagers miserable in ugly tower blocks.

Fucking morons.

Yes except that's fucking morans.

In many cases, especially in the bigger cities, the block buildings replaced buildings damaged or destroyed in the war and it was necessary to quickly erect shelter for the population and new shops.

There are also exceptions there.  Nearly every building in Warsaw was destroyed or rendered uninhabitable during the war.  Partly due to bombing and shelling and what was left was deliberately destroyed by the Nazis out of vengeance, after the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.  In the early 1950s, the historic old town was rebuilt as it used to be before the war.

image.png.c3030c3c05aaf5cd4b8802c54cee3565.png       Warsaw Old Town Market Square 1945image.png.35a809144ddb09dcc88eead1ec2c5c61.png   Warsaw Old Town Market Square today

Where I live there wasn't a lot of war damage.  The new buildings were built to accommodate a rapidly growing population.  Buildings built since 1950 mingle among much older construction.  Frankfurt-Oder at it's peak had well over 100,000 inhabitants, there was a large microchip factory there that made things for the Soviet defense industry.  After the fall of communism, due to the flight to the west for more opportunity, and the closing of the microchip factory, the population today is around 60,000.  Słubice on the other hand continues to grow, there is almost no empty land left in the city and new homes are being built at a rapid rate in the surrounding area, which is where I live, about 5 miles from the town in an 800 year old farm village.  When we moved into our newly built house in 2009, the population of our village was about 700 people.  In the last 10 years it has nearly tripled and it continues to grow.  The same holds true all around our area.  The hard working, industrious Polish people like capitalism.  

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11 minutes ago, Shootist Jeff said:

Yeah, because Communism worked out so well for all those who've tried it.  

You walked away from your house didn’t ya? Ever actually worked outside of government/mic? It appears like with many of the titsuckers here what’s bad is when you have to share.

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The USSR had a city renovation program you could apply for and they would send a whole crew to get it done. Hungary applied in 1956 and discovered it wasn't all that good and the USSR Urban Renovation Company had few customers after all the bad Yelp reviews.

Hungary2.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

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9 minutes ago, Shootist Jeff said:

Yeah, because Communism worked out so well for all those who've tried it.  

It's a thing at a certain age. One of my friends kids was all about "abolish private property" wearing Che hats and so on until I hid his $5K carbon fiber bike in my shed. I told him I sold it because he had no right to own something like that IMHO and he should have been riding a bike anyone could afford. The look on his face when he screeched "THAT WAS MINE I SPENT A LOT OF MONEY ON THAT" was priceless :lol::lol:

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6 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

The USSR had a city renovation program you could apply for and they would send a whole crew to get it done. Hungary applied in 1956 and discovered it wasn't all that good and the USSR Urban Renovation Company had few customers after all the bad Yelp reviews.

Hungary2.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

Few WILLING customers, you mean

This is what Al Capone had in mind when he said "You can make a lot more money with a smile and gun, than you can with just a smile." Of course, he preferred businesses with a lot less capital outlay.

I always though it was kind of ironic that communist countries invested so much money in expensive weaponry... kind of the definition of capitalism

- DSK

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5 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

It's a thing at a certain age. One of my friends kids was all about "abolish private property" wearing Che hats and so on until I hid his $5K carbon fiber bike in my shed. I told him I sold it because he had no right to own something like that IMHO and he should have been riding a bike anyone could afford. The look on his face when he screeched "THAT WAS MINE I SPENT A LOT OF MONEY ON THAT" was priceless :lol::lol:

It’s like people who’ve sucked on the government tit their whole life telling you how horrible government is between luxury dive trips :ph34r:

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3 minutes ago, Shootist Jeff said:

Yeah, because Communism worked out so well for all those who've tried it.  

What most of the communist world practiced was a far cry from the communism that Marx described.  In the Soviet Union it was called Marist-Leninist communism, and then Stalinism, and then communism but by then it had been bent and tortured far form the original philosophy.  In China it was Maoist communism.  Human nature being what it is, the practioners quickly corrupted the original ideals for their own benefit.  The few remaining communist countries in the world today are anything but. China is almost as capitalist as the US and North Korea practices 'juche' or 'self reliance', a home grown despotic, totalitarian version of communism whose sole purpose is to continue the survival of the hereditary ruling family at the expense of the countries people.

I am not defending communism per se but the world has never experienced the communism that Marx and Engels invented.

The brand of enlightened socialist-capitalism practiced in many countries in western Europe seems to work quite well.  The disparity between wealthy and the rest of the people is much smaller than the US, and there is little true poverty.  Good health insurance is universal and affordable, schools are generally excellent and post secondary education is free or low cost, infrastructure is generally very good.  Labor unions are common and well run.  Taxes are high but people generally enjoy a good standard of living and most report a high level of satisfaction and happiness.  By golly, it's almost like they have realized that everyone working together, sharing the burdens, and contributing to a common goal is a really good thing.  

But you enjoy living in countries run by despotic oil oligarchs, because they pay mercenaries well, so screech on.

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Ed - no one practices "true communism" on a national scale because IT DOESN'T WORK. Too many shitheads and too few selflessly sacrificing for the collective. Social Democracies figured out how to let people be people AND take care of the population, as you state.

Things made by communists:

maxresdefault.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

Things made by socialists:

6531874_20180220091544669_1_XLARGE.jpg%2

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1 minute ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Ed - no one practices "true communism" on a national scale because IT DOESN'T WORK. Too many shitheads and too few selflessly sacrificing for the collective. Social Democracies figured out how to let people be people AND take care of the population, as you state.

Things made by communists:

 

Things made by socialists:

 

Still made by former communists.  One of the cheapest, most capable and robust 4x4s ever made.  And I share the manufacturers name!  :D

image.png.ed73d6b5c62de25f60b28c6b57b6b723.png

I fully understand your point and I have said repeatedly that I am no fan of communism of any flavor.

But it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to see that the end game of capitalism is that one individual or a small group of individuals will end up controlling everything.  Look at the growth of Wal Mart and Amazon.  How many small and medium businesses have they destroyed?  Where will it end?  While capitalism in the short term is a hell of a lot better than communism, capitalism will ultimately fail.  I don't think Marx was wrong when he said that capitalism contains the seed of its own destruction.  He just thought it would happen sooner rather than later.  I think that the time is not far off now.

The trouble in the US is that saying socialist is like Kryptonite to Superman.  Yet the lemmings happily order everything on line from Amazon and shop at Wal Mart for made in China shit, as they lose their jobs.  It can't possibly end well.

Power to the proletariat!  ;)

 

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WalMart is a great example of corrupt capitalism supported by socialism.  A good portion of their employees depend on government subsidies to be able to exist and work there while the Waltons are so rich that it is just scorekeeping.

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8 minutes ago, bridhb said:

WalMart is a great example of corrupt capitalism supported by socialism.  A good portion of their employees depend on government subsidies to be able to exist and work there while the Waltons are so rich that it is just scorekeeping.

Socialize loss

Privatize profit

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Some of ya be drinkin' the empire's kool-aid propaganda. 

While the Marshall Plan was going on, the US was also rehabbing Nazis in Germany, siding with murderous fascists in Greece, 

organizing fascist gangs in Italy, grossly meddling in European elections, and more. 

Not to say that the Soviets were good guys in any sense, but lets keep some balance. 

It was two vicious empires in conflict. 

Be skeptical my friends. 

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8 hours ago, Shortforbob said:

Are you calling me a liar? What do you reckon? everything in East Berlin, Hungary and Czech were raised in WW2?

Meli, it was a real simple question.

WHICH COUNTRY(s) did you stay in? You know, those nice 1930's apartment blocks? The ones that you brought to the discussion?

WHICH ONES?

It's a really simple question.

Because, you see, if it was East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland or any of the Baltic States, THEY WERE NOT COMMUNIST IN THE 1930's AND THEREFORE COMMUNISM HAD *NOTHING* TO DO WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OF THOSE BUILDINGS! They were built under a completely different political system, undoubtedly privately owned at the time of construction.

*Now* do you get the point?

The rest of your ranting ignored as it had nothing to do with the point.

FKT

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5 hours ago, Ed Lada said:

Still made by former communists.  One of the cheapest, most capable and robust 4x4s ever made.  And I share the manufacturers name!  :D

You *really* should have used the purple font when you posted that.

Those 'cars' had the reputation of being the worst built and most unreliable of any in its class. 

They were pretty cheap, true. But as a lot of people found out, cheap doesn't help when the thing falls apart early. They were truly terrible car shaped objects.

FKT

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6 hours ago, Mismoyled Jiblet. said:

You walked away from your house didn’t ya? Ever actually worked outside of government/mic? It appears like with many of the titsuckers here what’s bad is when you have to share.

Jeff is still sucking on that teat

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6 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Ed - no one practices "true communism" on a national scale because IT DOESN'T WORK. Too many shitheads and too few selflessly sacrificing for the collective. Social Democracies figured out how to let people be people AND take care of the population, as you state.

I think the problem with communism is essentially it requires an unobtainable level of trust.  You can trust your neighbor.  It's very hard to trust everyone.  And that's what communism ultimately takes - a cult-like level of trust.  You have to believe in your heart of hearts that the guy sitting over there eating his lunch really did try as hard as he could to do what he could when it was his turn on the clock.  You have to believe that the guy that made the cake for you put forth all the effort that he could making the cake and wasn't holding back or skimping on your ingredients.  And you have to have enough personal discipline to expend that level of commitment when it's YOUR turn on the clock.  Otherwise, everything slowly - and sometimes not so slowly - decays.

Two people can trust each other.  A family can trust everyone within that family.  A religious group can trust everyone within that group. But much beyond that is just unrealistic.

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19 minutes ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Meli, it was a real simple question.

WHICH COUNTRY(s) did you stay in? You know, those nice 1930's apartment blocks? The ones that you brought to the discussion?

WHICH ONES?

It's a really simple question.

Because, you see, if it was East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland or any of the Baltic States, THEY WERE NOT COMMUNIST IN THE 1930's AND THEREFORE COMMUNISM HAD *NOTHING* TO DO WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OF THOSE BUILDINGS! They were built under a completely different political system, undoubtedly privately owned at the time of construction.

*Now* do you get the point?

The rest of your ranting ignored as it had nothing to do with the point.

FKT

The fact that all countries in Europe and the UK built shabby monolithic blocks has nothing to do with Comunism. We were talking about SJB's contention that people in the comunist countries always had a lower standard of living than those in Capitalst countries. I point out that that is not so..so you chang the subject to Brutalist towerblocks. 

You're dishonesty is equal to Dog's if a tad more sophisticated.

I'm done with you.

Ugly or Beautiful? The Housing Blocks Communism Left Behind

Zupagrafika's new book captures modernist and brutalist architecture in Germany, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia.

  • The House on Chicken Legs was built in 1968 in the Alexeyevsky District of Moscow Russia.
  • A hochhaus  built in the 1970s on the Herzbergstrae in Fennpfuhl Lichtenberg Berlin.
  • The Hammer highrise on Smolna street in Srodmiescie Ponocne Warsaw Poland was completed in 1976.
  • The Torwar Estate on Fabryczna street in Solec Srdmiescie Warsaw Poland. It was built between 1971 and 1973.
  • A Soviet mosaic adorns a tower block built in the late 1960s on Prospekt Peremohy in Shuliavka Shevchenkivskyi District...
  • Za Zelazna Brama Estate on Marszakowska Street in rdmiecie Pnocne Warsaw Poland. It was constructed between 1965 and 1972.
  • Residential tower blocks built on Obolonskyi Prospekt in Obolon Obolonskyi District Kiev Ukraine in 1981.
  • The Russian State Scientific Center for Robotics and Technical Cybernetics towers above the Kalininsky District in Saint...
  • A reinforced concrete housing complex near Novosmolenskaya Embankment in Vasileostrovsky District Saint Petersburg...
  • The Novoyasenevskiy Prospekt housing complex was built in Yasenevo District Moscow Russia in the mid 1980s.
  • Shevchenko University was built from 1972 to 1980 in Holosiivskyi District Kiev Ukraine.
  • Club100 property of the Russian embassy in Warsaw is located on Sobieskiego Street in Sielce Mokotw.
  • A 1970s housing complex located near Mrkische Allee in Marzahn Berlin Germany.
  • Plattenbau on Frankfurter Allee in Lichtenberg Berlin Germany.
  • Tower blocks loom near Sonyachne Lake in Darnytskyi District Kiev Ukraine.
1 / 15

ZUPAGRAFIKA
"The House on Chicken Legs" was built in 1968 in the Alexeyevsky District of Moscow, Russia.

 

Picture a suburb and you probably imagine cookie-cutter houses with two-car garages and over-fertilized lawns. But in formerly communist countries, they look a little different. Think towering apartment blocks, prefabricated concrete panels, and loads of gray.

Such structures dominate the peripheries of cities across what was once the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. They go by varying names, from Plattenbau in East Germany to Panelház in Hungary to Brezhnevki in Russia. All were built after World War II to cheaply house the masses in a way that jived with communist ideology. Near-identical two- and three-bedroom apartments included amenities like central heat, private bathrooms, and elevators. Standardization and mass production were paramount, though idiosyncrasies—a pop of color here, a geometric motif there—inevitably crept in.

https://www.wired.com/story/communist-housing-blocks-gallery/

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All those concrete towers reminds me of a story.  

Allegedly when the new DFW airport opened part of the opening ceremonies included the British-French Concorde landing at the airport.  Some reporter/newsman/local bigshot, proud of this new gigantic airport and all things Texan asked the pilot what he thought of this great, new, wonderful airport.  The pilot, a Frenchman, replied ”concrete must be pretty cheap around here.”

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Bruce Cockburn (cited above for the "Rocket Launcher" song) 

also wrote the best ever anti-neoliberalism tune.  

I used to play it for my classes - gave other perspectives their due of course. 

 

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A little more Canadian music for ya all...

 

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On 1/26/2020 at 10:35 AM, SloopJonB said:

 

Even Singapore - which is a bunch too Benevolent Dictatorship for my taste - works extremely well and lots of people like it despite what I regard as the oppressiveness.

 

~snip~

Spot on, & why your countryman William Gibson titled his essay: "Disneyland With the Death Penalty".

 

 

 

 

 

 

I gather they haven't been too welcoming after that review.

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On 1/27/2020 at 2:09 AM, Shortforbob said:

I think part of the problem stems from the USA's perception of what "living well" means.

Most Europeans I know have absolutely no desire for a McMansion on a handkerchief and a two car garage. 

I've stayed in two "pensions" in the eastern block when they were still commy. Very comfortable well built places.

Ladies renting rooms in their own apartments. What for  them is  a spacious comfortable 1930's apt (Three bedrooms, a kitchen, a lounge with pretty balcony, dining room and a single bathroom. Many americans would call a dog box. They just dont get how "normal" people live and how the generational local cafe culture, the evening stroll with family and shared spaces is what they like.

I have a multilingual sign I stole from a Prague hotel (people to people exchange) in the late 80s.   Maybe I’ll look for it tomorrow.   It was the nicest hotel of the trip, but half the floors were empty,    The sign apologized for the inconvenience, but there would be no hot water for two weeks.   Imagine a super 8 motel without hot water.    During my sort stay there I walked past a retaining wall full of cracks.    On the second day the road was blocked off and the concrete was patched.   On the final day I walked past the wall again,    The patches were cracked.     I found the eastern block full of paradoxes.   

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27 minutes ago, Lark said:

I have a multilingual sign I stole from a Prague hotel (people to people exchange) in the late 80s.   Maybe I’ll look for it tomorrow.   It was the nicest hotel of the trip, but half the floors were empty,    The sign apologized for the inconvenience, but there would be no hot water for two weeks.   Imagine a super 8 motel without hot water.    During my sort stay there I walked past a retaining wall full of cracks.    On the second day the road was blocked off and the concrete was patched.   On the final day I walked past the wall again,    The patches were cracked.     I found the eastern block full of paradoxes.   

Sounds like plenty of places in Prague still.

the “west” was better at producing vast quantities & types of consumer goods; how much better is a complicated question to answer.

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25 minutes ago, Lark said:

I have a multilingual sign I stole from a Prague hotel (people to people exchange) in the late 80s.   Maybe I’ll look for it tomorrow.   It was the nicest hotel of the trip, but half the floors were empty,    The sign apologized for the inconvenience, but there would be no hot water for two weeks.   Imagine a super 8 motel without hot water.    During my sort stay there I walked past a retaining wall full of cracks.    On the second day the road was blocked off and the concrete was patched.   On the final day I walked past the wall again,    The patches were cracked.     I found the eastern block full of paradoxes.   

If you haven't been to Prague since then, you wouldn't recognize the place.

Yes, of course all of the neo Gothic churches and old Baroque buildings are still there as is Wenceslas square,, and the Charles bridge, etc.  However the city is a huge tourist attraction, prices have risen dramaticaly.  No more 'Czech Platter' (roast pork loin, dumpling and red cabbage) and a 1/2 liter beer for a $5.00 lunch.  There are plenty of large and small hotels of all qualities all with running water.

It is a lovely city but it is so packed with tourists that I don't like to go there any more anymore.

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10 minutes ago, Mismoyled Jiblet. said:

Sounds like plenty of places in Prague still.

the “west” was better at producing vast quantities & types of consumer goods; how much better is a complicated question to answer.

I don't think that's true in the old city.  In the other areas of town, yes.  

 

"the “west” was better at producing vast quantities & types of consumer goods; how much better is a complicated question to answer."

I think 'how useful' is the better question.  Many people in the old Warsaw Pact countries still don't earn a lot of money.  They spend what they have wisely.  People here in Poland don't buy useless shit just because.  In my experience people in the US often buy a lot of useless junk for god knows what reason.  Wal-Mart et al count on that and it keeps the Chinese economy going.  No wonder many people in the US live from paycheck to paycheck, and have massive credit card debt.  Mass, crass materialism is probably one of the biggest reasons I will never live in the US again.

Our house in Poland is about 1400 sq ft., with an attached 2 car garage, and no basement.  We have one bathroom and 2 bedrooms upstairs, the bathroom is 280 sq ft., the master bedroom is about 300 sq ft. and has two exterior balconies.  My efficient kitchen is 100 sq ft. with an island and a typically small euro refrigerator..  One time some friends of ours looked at the bathroom with big eyes and commented only half jokingly that they could have a nice apartment in there.  Polish people marvel at why we have such a big house for only 2 people.  I go to the US and people ask why we have such a small house.  

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On 1/29/2020 at 12:33 AM, Mismoyled Jiblet. said:

Sounds like plenty of places in Prague still.

the “west” was better at producing vast quantities & types of consumer goods; how much better is a complicated question to answer.

There are many other interesting differences too. They did studies of the east and west german populations, and found that east germans were way better at sex.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/nov/09/why-women-have-better-sex-socialism-kristen-ghodsee-review

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They didn't have much else to do. :D

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40 minutes ago, Battlecheese said:

There are many other interesting differences too. They did studies of the east and west german populations, and found that east germans were way better at sex.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/nov/09/why-women-have-better-sex-socialism-kristen-ghodsee-review

Doesn’t surprise me at some level. There’ve been recent things discussing how French women are, in general, more satisfied than US women, because in France the state may handle some of the child care burden (as well as the health care burden). There’s also an ability to have a work life, and a social life, and a family life in Europe which benefits women. Of course big trucks are more expensive :rolleyes:

The problem w/ East & west is that authoritarian states are almost always patriarchal; independent agency - especially for women - is a grave threat to shitheads west (trump) and East (various scumbags).

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