Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 7th Jun 2013 11:40 UTC
Legal This story is getting bigger and bigger. Even though most Americans probably already knew, it is now official: the United States government, through its National Security Agency, is collecting the communications and data of all American citizens, and of non-Americans using American services, through a wide collaboration with the large companies in technology, like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and so on. Interestingly enough, the NSA itself, as well as the US government, have repeatedly and firmly denied this massive spying on Americans and non-Americans took place at all.
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bhtooefr
Member since:
2009-02-19

Really, the people in the USSR were better off.

Their bread and circuses were at least nutritious and intellectually enriching.

And they knew they could get their bread, unlike here. (And healthcare, too.)

Edited 2013-06-07 12:57 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

v_bobok Member since:
2008-08-01

There were certain drawbacks to both soviet socialist and western capitalist systems. Yes, current free market economy and big corporations are very good at producing cheap entertainment for ignorant masses, unnecessary types of gadgets and services and, of course, on-demand custom luxury for 1% of "lucky people". USSR's system was rather focused on universal healthcare and total (or should I say totalitarian?) education for all (it says in Constitution as guaranteed citizen's rights to be educated and healthy), everyone was forced going to elementary-to-high school and at least learning one profession. You'd have the opportunity to choose any University you like if you want to get high education. Of course you should work hard and know your stuff inside-out to be chosen out of many, but at least you're not out of the picture if your parents are dirt poor and you came to Moscow or Leningrad or Novosibirsk from the very distant village.

Both capitalism and socialism are deeply flawed, in great part because of corrupted, greedy, overindulgent nature of human being, breeding and spreading corruption everywhere is what that type of humans do best. There will be no Utopian future with the society of universal peace and harmony until we keep that "devil" inside us alive and well. Something must be changed in our mentality and behavior, otherwise there will be no answer to prayers and cries of many suffering. Unfortunately, there are people, that believe humanity is TOTALLY ALRIGHT and it should be kept as it is currently - forever, securing the status Quo of those, who think of themselves as the modern-day aristocracy.

Oh well, I guess the saying is right - "People get the rulers they deserve". Who am I to say anything against the all-agreeing society of cheap entertainment consumers, too afraid to look beyond Tomorrow and face the biggest challenges the life itself presents before our fragile modern civilization.

Reply Parent Score: 7

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Really, the people in the USSR were better off.


You can't possibly mean that. Think. The Soviet Union murdered tens of millions of it's own citizens, maintained a vast complex of slave labour camps for most of the 20th century, suppressed all dissenting political activity, delivered shabby and poor living standards, prevented it's citizens from travelling abroad or freely accessing foreign culture, news and information, and managed to devastate the environment. It also imposed all of that on many other countries in Europe through the use and threat of military force.

Western liberal democracy may be flawed and may have it's own shabby moments but it delivers a quality of life and a degree of personal freedom that no other system comes close to.

Reply Parent Score: 9

bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

The Soviet Union murdered tens of millions of it's own citizens

I'll grant you that (you could argue that the US has a similar body count of its own citizens, but it's a stretch. That said, the US does murder its own citizens without due process).

maintained a vast complex of slave labour camps for most of the 20th century

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-pentagon-and-slave-labor-in-u-s-pr...

suppressed all dissenting political activity

Check. (No source, but have you ever seen mainstream coverage of, say, the Green or Libertarian parties?)

delivered shabby and poor living standards

Check.

prevented it's citizens from travelling abroad or freely accessing foreign culture, news and information

I'll partially grant you that one, but the corporatocracy in charge has done an excellent job of discouraging its citizens from doing so.

and managed to devastate the environment.

Check.

It also imposed all of that on many other countries in Europe through the use and threat of military force.

s/Europe/the Middle East

Western liberal democracy may be flawed and may have it's own shabby moments but it delivers a quality of life and a degree of personal freedom that no other system comes close to.

Except the US isn't a democracy (and I'm not sure which definition of liberal you're using), it's a corporatocracy with a sham democracy.

Reply Parent Score: 10

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Ditto everything you just said. Nice to have the opportunity to agree with you for once ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

jigzat Member since:
2008-10-30

The Soviet Union murdered tens of millions of it's own citizens,


Like US does with American soldiers in nonsense wars like Vietnam Irak and Afganistan

suppressed all dissenting political activity,


Guantanamo anyone? Or how about the concept of the domino effect that murder many foreign politicians like Salvador Allende

prevented it's citizens from travelling abroad or freely accessing foreign culture


Like traveling to Cuba

It also imposed all of that on many other countries in Europe through the use and threat of military force.


Like still USA does on the rest of the world.

USA is no better or worst than the Soviet Union, all governments act the same, and those who don't will if they face similar circumstances.

I will rather not take a side on this one since is a really complex matter, is not that simply as saying "Oh no the government is reading my tweets".

Hmm, now that I read my own post it looks like I did choose a sideā€¦ interesting, I just became Switzerland.

Edited 2013-06-08 06:09 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

reez Member since:
2006-06-28

suppressed all dissenting political activity


I want to point out just this, because it is a really, really bad comparison in the context of the 20th century and since this is something no historian or the official US denies I think it should simply be known as a fact.

The US did indeed kill, murder and torture political activists at least from the 50s to 70s, which appears to be fall into the period you are talking about. There have been multiple operations, but the most famous and well documented one is COINTELPRO.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO

Okay, I hope whatever you think about the US, I think it is good to know some history. Personally I come from a country that basically was the root of both world wars, so really not judging anyone.

Just a comment about this discussion in general. We could go on and on discussing which country is better or worse, but lets be honest there isn't a country which has a lot of bad history and there also isn't a country without many, many amazing people, just like I guess everyone knows someone that is pro-<something you consider bad> and you still know that person is a good, reputable person.

Also this doesn't really get you anywhere. You can't be like "uh, but it's still worse there" and comparing usually doesn't bring you far. It would mean if you are the best then you have nothing to do and that's simply not true, because if you act like that you will eventually stall and then go backward and that's the opposite direction you wanna go, because really, there isn't a point where you have enough freedom, security, wealth to just sit down and do nothing and I think this discussion and this article shows that we are all far from where we wanna be.

Reply Parent Score: 5

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

58,000 Americans dead and probably over a million in the area (no way to know for sure, people are still dying thanks to the millions of pounds of mines and bombs dropped there) over the "non event" or false flag, whichever you prefer, that was the Gulf Of Tonkin incident.

You have the deaths under the Shah (put in by the USA) and another dozen or so dictators, you have COINTELPRO targeting minorities and those that didn't follow the system, so yes the USSR killed more of their own people, the USA prefers to kill brown and yellow third world people.

Look up the "CIA and military interventions post WWII" map and look at how many countries have gotten a taste of that USA way of doing things, whether you think its better to kill your own people or kill other people? Well dead is dead, and while I doubt anybody will top Stalin on body counts just because you can't beat the champ doesn't make those deaths not count.

As an American I can say the country certainly doesn't look anything like what I grew up in, you go to the flyover states and frankly it looks like the depression, boarded up buildings and closed down business districts, its really scary. It would be too easy to get someone like the crazy Austrian in power here, we even have our own replacement for the Jews, the illegals.

Reply Parent Score: 2

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Really, the people in the USSR were better off.

Their bread and circuses were at least nutritious and intellectually enriching.

And they knew they could get their bread, unlike here. (And healthcare, too.)


The Soviet healthcare system was utterly abysmal. It was literally 100 years behind the best practice in Western countries. The Soviet medical staff were typically poorly trained, very poorly paid and unmotivated. Medical equipment was usually outdated and totally inadequate. Pharmaceuticals supplies were limited and frequently of poor quality.

Reply Parent Score: 1

aligatro Member since:
2010-01-28

Can you show me the source of that information or you just pulled it out of your ass? Medicine wasn't as bad as you described it. Yes, it was technologically behind the capitalist countries, but there were many good specialists.

Also, I think they were actually more motivated to do their jobs than in capitalist countries. Why? Because doctors there had just above the average salary and not super-sky-high salary that doctors had(and still do) in the capitalist countries.

Therefore many of those USSR specialists were people who had genuine interest in the profession itself and not just the money they could get from it. There were even studies about this phenomenon. It turned out that people who do something purely for the money tend to produce poorer results than those who have enthusiasm for their field of work

Reply Parent Score: 3