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A sense of perspective - Input Junkie
April 26th, 2009
08:32 pm

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A sense of perspective
I wasn't expecting to outlive the Soviet Union. Do you think you'll outlive the United States?

I'm talking about something as definitive as what happened to the USSR.

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From:thnidu
Date:April 27th, 2009 01:10 am (UTC)
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No.
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From:anton_p_nym
Date:April 27th, 2009 01:15 am (UTC)
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I don't expect to, but then again I didn't expect the USSR to tank as it did back then. Now that I'm older and more cynical wiser, it wouldn't surprise me nearly as much should it happen.

-- Steve still doesn't rate a break-up as a high probability event. A big shake-up in the political structure, on the order of more constitutional amendments or a valid third political party, is far more likely.
From:n5red
Date:April 27th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC)
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There certainly is a lot of really strange stuff going on. With the loss of the Soviet Union as an opponent, has that destructive energy turned inward?

I don't know what is going to happen, I just pray it doesn't become violent.
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From:nancylebov
Date:April 27th, 2009 10:58 am (UTC)
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I don't know if the loss of the Soviet Union as an opponent has been a big problem.
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From:siderea
Date:April 27th, 2009 01:37 am (UTC)
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I don't think so, but I admit to having quite the blindspot here.
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From:util
Date:April 27th, 2009 01:49 am (UTC)
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What would you define as the end of the US? Would Texas breaking off being enough? I would still be very surprised if even that happened.
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From:nancylebov
Date:April 27th, 2009 10:59 am (UTC)
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Texas breaking off wouldn't be enough, though Texas being allowed to leave would probably indicate some sort of large change.
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From:malkingrey
Date:April 27th, 2009 02:26 am (UTC)
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No. I see the underlying structures of the United States as more inherently stable than that. (Which is not to say that the USA is immune to hard times, or bad behavior, or weird shit in general. But there's a framework to fall back on that I think was lacking in the USSR.)
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From:nancylebov
Date:April 27th, 2009 11:01 am (UTC)
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I don't know how much it's underlying structures and how much it's mental/emotional habits, but the US has a longer record of stability, and Americans are very used to it.
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From:redneckgaijin
Date:April 27th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
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No. The US will survive.

However, I do now expect a second civil war sometime during my lifetime, when the Confederate states, the last stronghold of theoconservatism, attempt to secede and are brought back in- again- by the rest of the Union.

No, that's not a joke.
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From:nancylebov
Date:April 28th, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
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Do you think a neo-Confederate secession movement would get enough support from southern cities to make a plausible attempt? IIRC, all ports and cities above a certain size vote blue.
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From:bradhicks
Date:April 27th, 2009 03:27 am (UTC)
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I don't see how. The cases aren't really parallel. The Soviet Union, at the time of its death, was a bit younger than the US was at the time of the Civil War. I think we passed our dissolution crisis; if anything, I half expect to see the United States expand by one or more states in what's left of my lifetime.

Besides, you're counting the Soviet Union out too early. The "end" of the Soviet Union was only 20 years ago, and at no time since then has it been out of the hands of the old Communist nomenklatura. There's substantial nostalgia for the Soviet Union throughout the Russian Federation; nothing would surprise me less than to see the Soviet Union return to that name before I die.
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From:nancylebov
Date:April 27th, 2009 11:02 am (UTC)
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Fair point about the Soviet Union. Do you think there'll be something much like the original Soviet Union, or just the name?
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From:regalpewter
Date:April 27th, 2009 05:22 am (UTC)
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Honestly, I've been expecting the process of balkanization of the US to proceed especially as we move away from our founding priciples for quite some time now. I a have said that the US will not be the same in 50 years and am starting to think that it may not be in 20. I think that some sort of North American union will be tried and that will hasten our downfall.
In the meantime; Good old Vlad. Putin will continue the rebuilding of his new Soviet state out of the Russian Federation. Just look at how they have been fighting to get control of the energy supplies in their part of the world. Add to that the Georgia Invasion last year and the short range missles placed around Poland the Morning after last year's election.
YIS,
WRI
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From:tahkhleet
Date:April 27th, 2009 09:19 am (UTC)

Btw, the Russian leadership is dirty...

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...but the American leadership on this issue is dirtier.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Georgian_War

It outlines how Georgia _attacked Russian force first_. Moreover, the Georgians made the capital of South Ossetia a battleground. Their opening move was to capture the city, where the majority of all Ossetians in Georgian territory lived. The Georgians conducted their operation with reckless disregard for civilian casualties (at best) or committed out and out war crimes (at worst, BBC and Human Rights Watch push this viewpoint). The Georgian forces started all this "by coincidence" just after finishing a so-called "defensive" exercise with US armed forces. It was an exercise paralleling an admittedly saber rattling exercise by Russia. But the point is Russia, while hardly honest and forthright on all matters, did not attack first and did not perform any military action that would justify a preemptive attack.

The Russians clearly never had any intent of conquering Georgia. There is no reason to think they could not have militarily accomplished this during the 2008 war. It is unlikely that anyone would have nuked them over it, either, and nothing less could have restrained them against their will. Yes, they were helping secessionists...like the US has helped the Kurds in Iraq and the Albanians in Kosovo. Doesn't mean the Russians are a wonderful friendly neighbour but their behaviour in respect to international affairs is no worse than any of the other "Great Powers" or the USA. As opposed to during the USSR days when they were formally the enemy of every non Marxist gov't on earth (and a few Marxist gov'ts like Yugoslavia and eventually Vietnam, to boot). I despise how Putin runs the country but I don't think you can make a valid claim that he's re-enacting Soviet political and military strategy.
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From:interactiveleaf
Date:April 27th, 2009 05:53 am (UTC)
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No. But I do hope for some changes.
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From:tahkhleet
Date:April 27th, 2009 08:59 am (UTC)

I'll be contrary

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...as the outsider who's still studied American history and culture, I'd say in one sense: absolutely Heck, I expect to still have my natural hair coloring (I'm 39, my mom and Dad didn't fully grey till their mid 50's.) I do not mean in the sense "the formal apparatus of gov't abdicates, is overthrown, or formally declares a new phase (a la the French with their Windows like Nth Republic)". I mean in the same sense as the _substance_ of what happened to the USSR: there is underway a united bipartisan effort to abandon all responsibility and duty and _loot the Nation_, transferring public assets to private wealth and private fiefdoms. Will there be a rebirth of responsible, tolerable gov't after most people are reduced to the same standard of living as "the third world"? (at least that standard is slowly rising) (and many Americans are already there, too) Will there be a reckoning where the thieves and looters are brought to account? I very much doubt it. But not as much as I doubt NOT seeing :
--> infrastructure collapse/severe degeneration
--> record levels of fiscal corruption (yes, even compared to _right now_)
--> widespread administrative incompetence (ditto)
--> the zenith of dysfunctional delusion-ridden narcissistic leaders (ditto, sigh)
... I expect to see these things take the USA (and Canada and Mexico along side it and possibly most of the OECD) to a new low. A new low that will only look tolerable compared to the hopefully preventable greater horrors:
A Global Second Dark Age or
A transnational, literal class war of genocide by the elites upon the "useless eaters" (that's what one of America's administrators called "the rest of us" 30 or 40 years ago) (now that mechanization has reached a degree where very few of "us" are necessary relative to however many of "them")

I think people are underestimating the power of what I dub "the plague of insanity". It seems ubiquitous among all administrators...political, business, NGO (May the Islamic Hell exist just for you, United Way managers!), and bureaucracy...everywhere. Basically, the plague of madness is the condition where overbearing leaders _lie_ in an absolutely non-credible fashion (state things as "on record" and you check the record and there is either no mention of it, or the opposite claim is true, for example)....and they push these lies on anyone who resists their agenda. And when called on these lies, they seem to honestly believe they have not uttered a palpable, unquestionable falsehood. It is SPOOKY. I'm not just talking about what I've seen, this is what I'm hearing from the stories my friends and family and even acquaintances tell me. You only need a few bad apples with THIS particular contamination to ruin the barrel that is society. We have too many crises and issues that require absolute clarity and resolve...and these insane egotists are subverting any attempt at achieving clarity much less appropriate remedy.

(A particularly common lie is they think "I have done something to address problem X". When in fact they have done nothing to help. Furthermore, they have plenty of information to tell them that they have done nothing to help...or information telling them they've clearly made things worse by the criteria they are using. This ranges from the Victoria City Council thinking their clever little plan to subvert the Federally decreed sewage treatment plant is really "a way of complying with the federal gov't" when its a bald faced series of obfuscations and delays....to President may-Hell-exist-for-his-sake Obama and his responses-of-substance to nearly every major issue since inauguration. (Btw, I'm not a rightist of any sort.)

You think the current problems are an aberration? They are not. They are the result of the systematic disillusionment of the population (to the point everyone is proud of expecting NOTHING of government or authority)intersecting with the elites frequently having driven themselves insane. We don't want to stop them because we disbelieve our power to do so. Moreover, they have no desire to stop. They are happy to lie that they are not bending us over and having their way with us while they get their jollies.
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From:nancylebov
Date:April 27th, 2009 11:12 am (UTC)

Re: I'll be contrary

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Very interesting, and I do believe that not bothering to craft a credible lie is a serious sign of disrespect.

Would you be willing to expand on your opinion of Obama? In email (nancyL@panix.com) if you prefer? And I realize there are plenty of people on the left who don't like him-- rather more now than before he was elected, and there were plenty then who just thought he was better than McCain/Palin.

There's a degree of corruption in business as shown by the financial crisis that spooks me, too. "Bankers" that don't even bother to keep records?



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From:madfilkentist
Date:April 27th, 2009 10:15 am (UTC)
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No. The federal government is more powerful that ever. There are no significant secessionist movements; all the state governments routinely grovel for more money. The resistance to Real ID was more about lack of federal financing that resistance to a badly planned national ID; the feds will finance it next time around, and everyone will salute Big Brother.
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From:dglenn
Date:April 27th, 2009 10:49 am (UTC)
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I expect to outlive the Republican party (at least I hope to). I may outlive the Democratic party (wouldn't be shocked but I don't really expect it). I do not foresee outliving the US. But siderea's caveat regarding blind spots applies to me as well.
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From:ice_hesitant
Date:April 27th, 2009 01:54 pm (UTC)
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I don't know.

To me:
- US under a military dictatorship would still be US, because governments come and go in many countries.
- US with Florida underwater would still be US, because that's just a natural disaster.
- US with a seceded Hawaii or Texas or Alaska wouldn't be US, because that would have precedent set for further division.
- US without electricity and thus communications for months at a time wouldn't be US, because that would necessarily devolve into smaller countries.
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From:ice_hesitant
Date:April 27th, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
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I am a Canadian of ex-USSR birth.
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From:sethg_prime
Date:April 27th, 2009 03:48 pm (UTC)
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The Governor of Texas, who a few weeks ago was making approving noises about secession, asked the CDC to send 37,430 doses of Tamiflu. That should tell you how much interest he really has in declaring independence from Washington.
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