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(The New Yorker)   Need some lunchtime reading? Here's a good background piece on how democracy stumbled and faltered in the chaos of post 1990s Russia and how it resulted in Putin's steel fist in the iron heel on Russia's throat   (newyorker.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, humans, Samantha Power, Roosevelt Room, Tom Donilon, European culture, soviet period, Alexei Navalny, idealism  
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1291 clicks; posted to Politics » on 08 Aug 2014 at 6:29 PM (1 year ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-08-08 05:03:55 PM  
Guess the Russians screwed up and let the fox run the hen house.
 
2014-08-08 06:28:17 PM  
McFaul went on Twitter to announce in Russian that he was headed to "Yoburg" for an event. He intended a slangy way of saying Yekaterinburg. Unfortunately, yob is the root of the verb for copulation and his tweet came off as "I am headed to farksville."

Lulz.
 
2014-08-08 06:32:56 PM  
Democracy isn't easy to achieve.  We're still working on ours and we've been working on it for the last 200 years.
 
2014-08-08 06:37:53 PM  
Steel fist in the iron heel, eh? I must retire to some quiet corner where the hand of man has never set foot and ponder this.
 
2014-08-08 06:40:27 PM  
Are they talking about Russia's democracy or ours?

/DNRTFA
 
2014-08-08 06:49:42 PM  
How's that working out for them?
 
2014-08-08 06:56:39 PM  

crozzo: Steel fist in the iron heel, eh? I must retire to some quiet corner where the hand of man has never set foot and ponder this.


If you want a vision of Russia, imagine a steel fist stamping on a human face, forever.
 
2014-08-08 07:16:26 PM  
Sobering read.
Long, but sobering.
 
2014-08-08 07:20:29 PM  
Sobering doesn't sound very Russian to me.
 
2014-08-08 07:34:18 PM  
"It has come to my knowledge that during the last months there have been heard in some assemblies of the zemstvos the voices of those who have indulged in a senseless dream that the zemstvos be called upon to participate in the government of the country. I want everyone to know that I will devote all my strength to maintain, for the good of the whole nation, the principle of absolute autocracy, as firmly and as strongly as did my late lamented father."

Nicholas II
 
2014-08-08 07:45:47 PM  
miss me yet?

i.dailymail.co.uk
 
2014-08-08 07:45:55 PM  

Infernalist: Democracy isn't easy to achieve.  We're still working on ours and we've been working on it for the last 200 years.


In which direction?
 
2014-08-08 08:26:31 PM  

xria: Infernalist: Democracy isn't easy to achieve.  We're still working on ours and we've been working on it for the last 200 years.

In which direction?


We'll we're no where near the heady times of 1804.  Goddamn that abolishment of slavery and women's suffrage.
 
2014-08-08 08:29:07 PM  
McFaul was a sunny, eager guy, with a wide-open expression, shaggy blond hair, effortful Russian, and an irrepressible curiosity. He had grown up rough in a mining town in Montana.

www.southbayriders.com
I guess he did get a chance to see Montana...
 
2014-08-08 08:35:34 PM  
Longer read: The Shock Doctrine
 
2014-08-08 08:43:15 PM  
Leontiev said that McFaul had worked for American N.G.O.s backed by American intelligence; he had palled around with anti-Kremlin activists like the "Internet Führer," Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption crusader who had, damningly, spent some time at Yale. (The listener was meant to interpret "some time at Yale" as roughly "some time inside the incubator of Russophobic conspiracy.")

Lulz. I love that the anti-intellectualism of American Conservatism is shared by hard-line pro-communist Russians.
 
2014-08-08 08:50:42 PM  
1. The morons went with a laissez-faire economy.

/which will eventually break the strongest political system
//never mind an upstart like 1990s russia
 
2014-08-08 08:52:27 PM  
The bicameral system that has been passed as "democracy" is a sham.
the brits actually have one of the least worst system since the chamber of the lord cannot (anymore) overrule the lower chamber.

but one would wonder, why two houses/chambers?

one for the rich, one for the common (the brits again, actually, have the guts to call it what it is).

do we still live in a world where the rich and well born have more say?
there are plenty of thoughtful, intelligent people to talk for my ideas who are part of the common (offer does not apply half-termed Alaskan hillbillies) .

"We the people"?

why is there two kinds of "We"?

please someone explain me the benefit of the bicameral system and its relevance in our political system.

thank you

/I used to love Russia
//Аня
 
2014-08-08 08:56:35 PM  

le dernier des maudits cons: The bicameral system that has been passed as "democracy" is a sham.
the brits actually have one of the least worst system since the chamber of the lord cannot (anymore) overrule the lower chamber.

but one would wonder, why two houses/chambers?

one for the rich, one for the common (the brits again, actually, have the guts to call it what it is).

do we still live in a world where the rich and well born have more say?
there are plenty of thoughtful, intelligent people to talk for my ideas who are part of the common (offer does not apply half-termed Alaskan hillbillies) .

"We the people"?

why is there two kinds of "We"?

please someone explain me the benefit of the bicameral system and its relevance in our political system.

thank you

/I used to love Russia
//Аня


I used to admire Nebraska's unicameral, thinking they only had to pay half the nitwits the rest of us do.

But, no, especially after they introduced term limits the most clueless legislation gets passed without another house to say "lol. no". No, there is only Ernie Chambers shaking his head while mumbling about the idiocy of whitey.
 
2014-08-08 08:57:44 PM  

gameshowhost: 1. The morons went with a laissez-faire economy.

/which will eventually break the strongest political system
//never mind an upstart like 1990s russia


I sincerely doubt that there was much foreign interest in seeing Russia become a thriving dependable democracy with a regulated economy.  I saw a lot of foreign countries and companies engaged in investment in those cut-throat businesses the former USSR, pillaging and looting and polluting like there was no tomorrow.
 
2014-08-08 09:13:34 PM  

Omahawg: le dernier des maudits cons: The bicameral system that has been passed as "democracy" is a sham.
the brits actually have one of the least worst system since the chamber of the lord cannot (anymore) overrule the lower chamber.

but one would wonder, why two houses/chambers?

one for the rich, one for the common (the brits again, actually, have the guts to call it what it is).

do we still live in a world where the rich and well born have more say?
there are plenty of thoughtful, intelligent people to talk for my ideas who are part of the common (offer does not apply half-termed Alaskan hillbillies) .

"We the people"?

why is there two kinds of "We"?

please someone explain me the benefit of the bicameral system and its relevance in our political system.

thank you

/I used to love Russia
//Аня

I used to admire Nebraska's unicameral, thinking they only had to pay half the nitwits the rest of us do.

But, no, especially after they introduced term limits the most clueless legislation gets passed without another house to say "lol. no". No, there is only Ernie Chambers shaking his head while mumbling about the idiocy of whitey.


That is interesting.

could you please expand on the impact of "term limit" on the democratic process (and see no malice in it, I am truly interested).

Also, as an experiment, what were the drawback of the unicameral system?

thank you
 
2014-08-08 09:16:32 PM  
I've been reading a book about Stalin.  Stuff that happened only a couple generations ago.

You could know me over with a feather that they haven't been able to establish democracy.
 
2014-08-08 09:21:12 PM  
Something something exceptionalism something.
 
2014-08-08 09:34:30 PM  

Kibbler: I've been reading a book about Stalin.  Stuff that happened only a couple generations ago.

You could know me over with a feather that they haven't been able to establish democracy.


do you mean that western style democracy may not be the political system that fits everybody?

or that Stalin did things that would prevent democracy from being feasible in the present?

it took almost 200 years for the French to get some kind of democracy.
and they were pretty hardline on the concept back in 1790, just ask Robespierre.
And yet only to give the right to vote to woman after WW2 for instance.

who is the "demos"?
 
2014-08-08 09:43:55 PM  
you mean the 'capitalism run amok' sort of Democracy? yeah that's awesome for everybody.
 
2014-08-08 09:43:58 PM  
Omahawg:

I used to admire Nebraska's unicameral, thinking they only had to pay half the nitwits the rest of us do.

But, no, especially after they introduced term limits the most clueless legislation gets passed without another house to say "lol. no". No, there is only Ernie Chambers shaking his head while mumbling about the idiocy of whitey.


When the "other" chamber is populated by yahoos who represent dirt rather than people, the stupid legislation that we're saved from doesn't balance out the desperate needs that get vetoed by the minority. Unicameral based on population is the only way to go. If the legislature does something stupid, the next batch can fix it. Our system was designed so that Southern planters could veto legislation. And it's killing us.
 
2014-08-08 10:03:48 PM  
WWWTL;DNR.
 
2014-08-08 10:14:59 PM  

yakmans_dad: Omahawg:

I used to admire Nebraska's unicameral, thinking they only had to pay half the nitwits the rest of us do.

But, no, especially after they introduced term limits the most clueless legislation gets passed without another house to say "lol. no". No, there is only Ernie Chambers shaking his head while mumbling about the idiocy of whitey.

When the "other" chamber is populated by yahoos who represent dirt rather than people, the stupid legislation that we're saved from doesn't balance out the desperate needs that get vetoed by the minority. Unicameral based on population is the only way to go. If the legislature does something stupid, the next batch can fix it. Our system was designed so that Southern planters could veto legislation. And it's killing us.


I am only but a transplant here.

I can explain/rationalize the system as it is in Europe.

if you were so kind, could you succinctly explain how the farkedup system that we have in Europe came to existence in the new world?

thank you
 
2014-08-08 10:31:55 PM  
Democracy ain't for everyone.
 
2014-08-08 10:47:06 PM  
Did subby mix his own metaphors, or did they come in a ready-mix package?
 
2014-08-08 10:47:27 PM  

le dernier des maudits cons: yakmans_dad: Omahawg:

I used to admire Nebraska's unicameral, thinking they only had to pay half the nitwits the rest of us do.

But, no, especially after they introduced term limits the most clueless legislation gets passed without another house to say "lol. no". No, there is only Ernie Chambers shaking his head while mumbling about the idiocy of whitey.

When the "other" chamber is populated by yahoos who represent dirt rather than people, the stupid legislation that we're saved from doesn't balance out the desperate needs that get vetoed by the minority. Unicameral based on population is the only way to go. If the legislature does something stupid, the next batch can fix it. Our system was designed so that Southern planters could veto legislation. And it's killing us.

I am only but a transplant here.

I can explain/rationalize the system as it is in Europe.

if you were so kind, could you succinctly explain how the farkedup system that we have in Europe came to existence in the new world?

thank you


The Americans invented it based on the UK constitutional monarchy idea but with an elected king.

Then, the French borrowed the American system, then the rest of Europe thought it would be a good way to avoid the extermination of their ruling classes.
 
2014-08-08 11:13:18 PM  

le dernier des maudits cons: Omahawg: le dernier des maudits cons: The bicameral system that has been passed as "democracy" is a sham.
the brits actually have one of the least worst system since the chamber of the lord cannot (anymore) overrule the lower chamber.

but one would wonder, why two houses/chambers?

one for the rich, one for the common (the brits again, actually, have the guts to call it what it is).

do we still live in a world where the rich and well born have more say?
there are plenty of thoughtful, intelligent people to talk for my ideas who are part of the common (offer does not apply half-termed Alaskan hillbillies) .

"We the people"?

why is there two kinds of "We"?

please someone explain me the benefit of the bicameral system and its relevance in our political system.

thank you

/I used to love Russia
//Аня

I used to admire Nebraska's unicameral, thinking they only had to pay half the nitwits the rest of us do.

But, no, especially after they introduced term limits the most clueless legislation gets passed without another house to say "lol. no". No, there is only Ernie Chambers shaking his head while mumbling about the idiocy of whitey.

That is interesting.

could you please expand on the impact of "term limit" on the democratic process (and see no malice in it, I am truly interested).

Also, as an experiment, what were the drawback of the unicameral system?

thank you


term limits ends any kind of background knowledge of the legislative process. Anytime some newb gets elected trying to change the world by the time they figure out how things really work they are out of office. It gives the governor more power over the process of what bills get voted on (although it's officially non-partisan).

Like I said, the drawback is there isn't another legislative body to stop foolish or unconstitutional laws passed by a bunch of newbs who aren't really sure what they are doing because they haven't been around long enough to learn the ropes.
 
2014-08-08 11:24:46 PM  

Infernalist: gameshowhost: 1. The morons went with a laissez-faire economy.

/which will eventually break the strongest political system
//never mind an upstart like 1990s russia

I sincerely doubt that there was much foreign interest in seeing Russia become a thriving dependable democracy with a regulated economy.  I saw a lot of foreign countries and companies engaged in investment in those cut-throat businesses the former USSR, pillaging and looting and polluting like there was no tomorrow.


I suppose I can't blame Russians for wanting to jump into the world economy instead of wading in, but... so it goes.
 
2014-08-08 11:26:51 PM  

le dernier des maudits cons: do we still live in a world where the rich and well born have more say?


Yes. So long as fiscal libertarians/conservatives have a say, yes you will continue to. Because ideology over methodology.
 
2014-08-08 11:31:40 PM  

gameshowhost: le dernier des maudits cons: do we still live in a world where the rich and well born have more say?

Yes. So long as fiscal libertarians/conservatives have a say, yes you will continue to. Because ideology over methodology.


Only one side is bad.
 
2014-08-08 11:36:47 PM  

gameshowhost: Infernalist: gameshowhost: 1. The morons went with a laissez-faire economy.

/which will eventually break the strongest political system
//never mind an upstart like 1990s russia

I sincerely doubt that there was much foreign interest in seeing Russia become a thriving dependable democracy with a regulated economy.  I saw a lot of foreign countries and companies engaged in investment in those cut-throat businesses the former USSR, pillaging and looting and polluting like there was no tomorrow.

I suppose I can't blame Russians for wanting to jump into the world economy instead of wading in, but... so it goes.


Ordinary Russians saw the wealth that the West enjoyed, and wanted it for themselves.  When the Soviet Union collapsed they were sold out by their own elites, who enriched themselves at the expense of the 99% of ordinary people.

So it goes, indeed.
 
2014-08-08 11:39:58 PM  
stumbled and faltered?  try "stillborn"
 
2014-08-09 12:21:21 AM  
"This is a great country with only arbitrary borders," Prokhanov said. "People grabbed up our territory, chopped it up into bits. Some people got used to this state of affairs and didn't notice that their extremities had been chopped off-including the very pleasant extremity between your legs-and so it was with Ukraine. . . . Russians had to choose: ruin their relationship with the West, which was the very axe that chopped Russia into bits in the first place, or act without fear, because now Russia has an axe of its own."

"When you see what is going on in Iraq, you can see that America is powerless to respond," Prokhanov went on. "America brought chaos to the Middle East. Al Qaeda has its own state. And now Obama doesn't want to send bombers to destroy it. We poor Russians have to go destroy it. Aren't you ashamed?"


He sounds nice.

It awesome how when the US proceeds military intervention, we are called meddling, blood-thirsty, imperialist.

And when we don't?  We are called weak.
 
2014-08-09 12:34:32 AM  

Brokenseas: gameshowhost: Infernalist: gameshowhost: 1. The morons went with a laissez-faire economy.

/which will eventually break the strongest political system
//never mind an upstart like 1990s russia

I sincerely doubt that there was much foreign interest in seeing Russia become a thriving dependable democracy with a regulated economy.  I saw a lot of foreign countries and companies engaged in investment in those cut-throat businesses the former USSR, pillaging and looting and polluting like there was no tomorrow.

I suppose I can't blame Russians for wanting to jump into the world economy instead of wading in, but... so it goes.

Ordinary Russians saw the wealth that the West enjoyed, and wanted it for themselves.  When the Soviet Union collapsed they were sold out by their own elites, who enriched themselves at the expense of the 99% of ordinary people.

So it goes, indeed.


so, they really are the same as us.
 
2014-08-09 12:36:29 AM  
To be fair, the west and the US do a lot of meddling in Russia's back yard, and rarely with any tact. The Ukraine war has been made much worse by both sides having outside supporters that push them towards extremes, with western Ukraine imagining itself in the EU and shed of their own Russian heritage, and eastern Ukraine imagining itself as an eternal part of Russia rather than a sort of redheaded stepchild which has at times been treated rather badly by "mother Russia".

The article is interesting at least partly because it shows how the west has an idea of what Russia should be that seems utterly divorced from reality... Calling Russia a kleptocracy from the country which had the citizens united and hobby lobby rulings seems pretty rich. But it's still true. Russia is farked up and Putin is basically a modern day tsar.
 
2014-08-09 01:40:46 AM  

Infernalist: Democracy isn't easy to achieve.   We're still working on ours and we've been working on it for the last 200 years.


fixed.
 
2014-08-09 07:27:04 AM  

Infernalist: Democracy isn't easy to achieve.  We're still working on ours and we've been working on it for the last 200 years.


You don't "achieve" Democracy. It's like perfection. Once you get past the low-hanging fruit, any direction you go in to achieve "perfection" takes you further from someone else's definition of "perfection."

Take the "perfect" car. A Formula-One is perfection itself. If you need speed. A mini-van with third row seating is perfection. If you need to get 4 kids and a spouse to the mall. An electric car is perfection. If you only drive a finite number of miles every day that falls with it's range, and are looking to save on gas.

The brilliance of the American system is how half-assed it was. The President is the head of state/head of government. If you don't like him, vote him out, and there's a new head of state/head of government. He/She can't make laws, only carry them out. And while he/she is the head of the military, he/she can't actually declare war.

The House of Representatives is there to placate the masses. With a 2 year election cycle, it's constantly churning.

The Senate is the Old-boys network. 6 year terms. Only 1/3rd is up for election at a time. And back in the day, Senators were nominated by state governments. (Now it's direct election.)

Any law has to get past both the teeming masses and the old-boys network. AND the President. That's a pretty damn good filter. (Didn't stop goofy things like Prohibition, but hey...)

And the final leg of the stool is the Supreme Court. The chamber of fuddy-duddies. The Institutional Memory of the Federal Government. (Even if it is a bit senile...) It's power is to clean up the messes the legislature and president create, so that there is only ever one supreme set of laws on the books. (Or 51 supreme sets of laws compartmentalized to the states and federal territories...)

It's a really shiatty system if you are trying to get something done. It's saving grace is stability. Stability to the point of absurdity.... but hey.
 
2014-08-09 09:00:51 AM  
I guess you missed the fact that the President can send troops around the world without having to declare war, so that passage is meaningless. And the U.S. is stable up to the point where states decide to secede.
 
2014-08-09 09:43:09 AM  

Infernalist: I sincerely doubt that there was much foreign interest in seeing Russia become a thriving dependable democracy with a regulated economy. I saw a lot of foreign countries and companies engaged in investment in those cut-throat businesses the former USSR, pillaging and looting and polluting like there was no tomorrow.


Read the book that Tofu suggested to understand WHY that happened.

And the former Soviet Union wasn't the first country that they tried that in.
 
2014-08-09 11:46:28 AM  

TofuTheAlmighty: Longer read: The Shock Doctrine


And for the Russia specific tale of the people that took advantage of mass privatization with no regulation, this book is excellent as well  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_9?url=search-alias%3Daps&fie l d-keywords=the%20oligarchs&sprefix=the+oliga%2Caps%2C251&rh=i%3Aaps%2C k%3Athe%20oligarchs
 
2014-08-09 11:48:06 AM  

jchuffyman: TofuTheAlmighty: Longer read: The Shock Doctrine

And for the Russia specific tale of the people that took advantage of mass privatization with no regulation, this book is excellent as well  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_9?url=search-alias%3Daps&fie l d-keywords=the%20oligarchs&sprefix=the+oliga%2Caps%2C251&rh=i%3Aaps%2C k%3Athe%20oligarchs


Whoops. just the first result on that search.  http://www.amazon.com/The-Oligarchs-Wealth-Power-Russia/dp/1610390709 / ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407599226&sr=8-1&keywords=the+oligarchs
 
2014-08-09 02:14:42 PM  

fusillade762: McFaul went on Twitter to announce in Russian that he was headed to "Yoburg" for an event. He intended a slangy way of saying Yekaterinburg. Unfortunately, yob is the root of the verb for copulation and his tweet came off as "I am headed to farksville."

Lulz.


Did he also come up with that "overheat" button?
Now that was a real knee-slapper.
 
2014-08-09 03:59:13 PM  

le dernier des maudits cons: The bicameral system that has been passed as "democracy" is a sham.
the brits actually have one of the least worst system since the chamber of the lord cannot (anymore) overrule the lower chamber.

but one would wonder, why two houses/chambers?

one for the rich, one for the common (the brits again, actually, have the guts to call it what it is).

do we still live in a world where the rich and well born have more say?
there are plenty of thoughtful, intelligent people to talk for my ideas who are part of the common (offer does not apply half-termed Alaskan hillbillies) .

"We the people"?

why is there two kinds of "We"?

please someone explain me the benefit of the bicameral system and its relevance in our political system.

thank you

/I used to love Russia
//Аня


Just randomly remembering: the US has a bicameral legislature because it was the only way to keep the USA from splitting apart into multiple nations the instant the revolutionary war was over. It was a compromise, to keep big, heavily populated states from running roughshod over the smaller, punier states in Congress. It's kind of the same reason we have an Electoral College; it keeps a regionalist or secessionist president from being elected to office, since the smaller states are disproportionately represented in the electoral college, and they can team up against the big states if they feel their interests are being attacked. Also, it makes it so you can't be elected president by appealing to just the big states. Otherwise, nobody campaign outside the top ten or so states.
 
2014-08-09 10:07:59 PM  

Gyrfalcon: Did subby mix his own metaphors, or did they come in a ready-mix package?


I guess the shoe is on the other hand now, eh?
 
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