Odysseus's recent activity

  1. Comment on Last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev dies aged 91 in ~news

    Odysseus
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    I thought for a bit about how to respond and whether to respond at all, because for the most part, I agree with you. It's just that I don't see how saying "America did bad too" is particularly...

    I thought for a bit about how to respond and whether to respond at all, because for the most part, I agree with you.

    It's just that I don't see how saying "America did bad too" is particularly relevant or useful in assessing the legacy of a Soviet statesman. In a lot of ways, I think it's incredibly hard to draw comparisons considering just how centralized the Soviet system was in comparison to the American one.

    When I mentioned that he violently suppressed peaceful protests, I was referring to when he sent in Soviet troops and rolled in tanks against an unarmed populace in Riga and Vilnius in 1991. I was referring to how an estimated 200 people lost their lives in Kazakhstan during a mass protest 1986. This wasn't just a bad thing he did, this was the norm for the Soviet Union. While far more common than it should be, violence against protestors isn't policy in the United States, and is certainly not directed by the federal government.

    The MOVE bombings, as horrific as they are, occurred during a firefight, and city had to pay damages for committing such an atrocity. I'm not saying that there was justice in the end, far from it, but it's a lot closer than the former Soviet republics will ever get from Russia. They're debating whether or not Gorbachev is worthy of a state funeral or a monument.

    The Soviet Union was not the backwards dystopian nightmare that American Cold War propaganda likes to paint it as (except perhaps under Stalin). I know it's anecdotal, but my wife's grandfather retired early due to injury, collects a pension he can live on, and was given an apartment in Moscow because he was one of the construction workers who helped build them. His healthcare is free and his public transport is subsidized heavily. These are all things he received under the Soviet system that's carried over to today. It would be unheard of in the United States.

    But that isn't to say that the US and Soviet systems were equivalent. Freedoms were heavily restricted in the Soviet Union. Corruption was rampant, even at the lower levels. The police could beat you to death for not paying a bribe to get out of a crime you didn't commit, and your family would have zero real recourse. We talk about police brutality in America as a rampant issue, especially for minorities, because it's a very real, very terrible thing. People agitate and march in the streets to what can feel like deaf ears. But in Soviet times, you couldn't even talk about it, except in whispers between neighbors.

    As a side note, I know Americans like to tie every issue and world event back to themselves, but I think we need to be careful about creating any semblance of equivalence between authoritarian regimes and the free world. Russian and Chinese propaganda thrive when they can get the people to draw comparisons create equivalences.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't interrogate our own systems or expose and pick apart our own injustices and flaws, but I do believe we should be mindful of the contexts in which we do them. If we're assessing the wrongdoing of any system or actor, it can be a detrimental distraction to draw attention towards different issues in a different place, if that makes sense.

    I do want to say that despite all that, I'm grateful that you took the time to share your views and added citations. I think it definitely adds value to the community to have voices like yours around.

    16 votes
  2. Comment on Last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev dies aged 91 in ~news

    Odysseus
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    He was definitely a divisive leader. On one hand, he introduced great reforms that relaxed the tools of subjugation that the Soviet Union wielded against its people, worked to substantially reduce...

    He was definitely a divisive leader. On one hand, he introduced great reforms that relaxed the tools of subjugation that the Soviet Union wielded against its people, worked to substantially reduce the number nuclear weapons in the world, ended the cold cold war, and by most accounts genuinely wanted the best for his people. On the other hand, he consolidated power within the politburo, violently suppressed peaceful protests within the Soviet world, and allowed the collapse of the Soviet empire, ushering in a decade of strife for millions. Even after his time in power, he embraced the annexation of Crimea despite his reservations about Putin's imperialist proclivities.

    he was a complex dude

    8 votes
  3. Comment on How are things in your country right now? in ~talk

    Odysseus
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    Yeah. They still require a fixed guided itinerary for tourists. According to a friend of mine working for one of the major Japanese airlines, they're supposed to ease up on it sometime in...

    Yeah. They still require a fixed guided itinerary for tourists. According to a friend of mine working for one of the major Japanese airlines, they're supposed to ease up on it sometime in September, but there's no guarantee they'll follow through.

    3 votes
  4. Comment on How are things in your country right now? in ~talk

    Odysseus
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    Things are... stable. There's lots that can be improved on, but none of it is really new. Mostly problems that have been around for decades. Japan's economic outlook isn't particularly great, but...

    Things are... stable. There's lots that can be improved on, but none of it is really new. Mostly problems that have been around for decades.

    Japan's economic outlook isn't particularly great, but that's been the case for a very long time now. Stagnant wages, declining birth rate, sustainability of social programs are under question. Inflation is still fairly low, although the yen is the weakest it's been in over 20 years. For an export economy like Japan's, that's not necessarily a bad thing, although the price of imported goods like beef have gotten a lot more expensive.

    Socially, things are the same as they've ever been. There's a labor shortage, so immigration quotas have been increased. While they are loosening border restrictions for tourists, they're still limiting tourists to prearranged tours a la the DPRK. While this hits the tourism sector, the COVID border controls have been fairly popular so the government isn't exactly facing a lot of public pressure to open the floodgates.

    All in all, while things could be better, things are actually pretty peaceful. Not too much anxiety for the near term. Energy prices are expected to increase a bit. Inflation is a thing, which is unusual for Japan, but it's not nearly as high as it is in the west. Japan's democratic institutions aren't threatened. Things are fine.

    9 votes
  5. Comment on Is Japan's whaling industry going under as demand sinks? in ~enviro

    Odysseus
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    Most likely local corruption. It's a lot more common in Japan than it should be

    Most likely local corruption. It's a lot more common in Japan than it should be

    2 votes
  6. Comment on ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ catapults past $1B at worldwide box office in ~movies

    Odysseus
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    I just watched it last night. The movie VERY much avoids anything remotely controversial. There is no mention of religion, there's barely a romantic subplot, and even the "rogue state" mentioned...

    I just watched it last night. The movie VERY much avoids anything remotely controversial. There is no mention of religion, there's barely a romantic subplot, and even the "rogue state" mentioned in the film is entirely fictitious, bearing little resemblance to any actual country. I think that's probably why it did so well. The movie offends no one by going out of its way to avoid anything that could be seen as "taking a side" in today's polarized political climate.

    7 votes
  7. Comment on Turkey will now be known as Türkiye (at least at the UN) in ~news

    Odysseus
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    Please don't call me a "Tildean". But for now, I think I'll probably stick with the old name. It's what people know and what people are familiar with. I don't feel like explaining to people that...

    Please don't call me a "Tildean".

    But for now, I think I'll probably stick with the old name. It's what people know and what people are familiar with. I don't feel like explaining to people that Turkey is now called Turkiye, even if I remember in the moment that they rebranded.

    2 votes
  8. Comment on Megathread for news/updates/discussion of Russian invasion of Ukraine - March 7-8 in ~news

    Odysseus
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    The Pentagon has said that the Polish offer is "not tenable". Escalation aside, getting the planes into Ukraine is a major logistical hurdle that needs to be considered

    The Pentagon has said that the Polish offer is "not tenable". Escalation aside, getting the planes into Ukraine is a major logistical hurdle that needs to be considered

    3 votes
  9. Comment on ICANN rejects Ukraine's request to block Russia from the internet in ~tech

    Odysseus
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    Blocking Russia from the internet would've ultimately done more harm than good. It's because of the internet, the people within the country can see and hear news beyond what the state dictates

    Blocking Russia from the internet would've ultimately done more harm than good. It's because of the internet, the people within the country can see and hear news beyond what the state dictates

    15 votes
  10. Comment on Putin is trying to take down the entire world order, the veteran Russia watcher said in an interview in ~misc

    Odysseus
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    I shared this in the megathread, and I'll share it here again. If there's any doubt in anyone's mind that Putin wants to dismantle the existing rules-based world order, I encourage them to read...

    I shared this in the megathread, and I'll share it here again. If there's any doubt in anyone's mind that Putin wants to dismantle the existing rules-based world order, I encourage them to read through this accidentally released article from RIA Novosti, a Russian state-run news agency.

    It was written with the assumption that Ukraine would be taken quickly and that the world would simply let it happen.

    Some key quotes (translated) picked out by Ukrainian media. :
    — Ukraine has now returned to Russia. This does not mean that its statehood will be liquidated, but it will be reorganized, re-established, and returned to its natural state as a part of the Russian world.

    — Did anyone in the old European capitals, in Paris and Berlin seriously believe that Moscow would give up Kyiv? That the Russians will forever be a divided people?

    — The operation in Ukraine is Russia returning its historical space and place in the world.

    — Russia has not only challenged the West—it has shown that the era of global Western domination can be considered fully and completely over.

    — The new world will be built by all civilizations and centers of power — naturally, together with the West (united or not) — but not on the Western terms or according to its rules.

    18 votes
  11. Comment on Hi, how are you? Mental health support and discussion thread (March 2022) in ~talk

    Odysseus
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    Stressed. I've been unable to focus on work lately with all that's been going on in the world. All signs point to further escalation. I worry about my wife's family in Russia. While it's nothing...

    Stressed. I've been unable to focus on work lately with all that's been going on in the world. All signs point to further escalation.

    I worry about my wife's family in Russia. While it's nothing like what the people in Ukraine are going through, as they are safe in Moscow, they're poor and in poor health. I know that sanctions are going to make things much worse for her elderly grandparents. With the banking systems cut off, we have no way of sending them any money or support. While I believe the sanctions are wholly justified, I pray that the war ends soon. Not just for the people of Ukraine, but for the people of Russia as well.

    6 votes
  12. Comment on Daily megathread for news/updates/discussion of Russian invasion of Ukraine - March 1 in ~news

    Odysseus
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    Not sure if this was shared already, but RIA Novosti, a Russian state-owned news agency, accidentally released an article on the 26th declaring victory in Ukraine, with the planned reorganization...

    Not sure if this was shared already, but RIA Novosti, a Russian state-owned news agency, accidentally released an article on the 26th declaring victory in Ukraine, with the planned reorganization of Ukraine into the Russian world, detailing how it signaled the beginning of a new world order.

    No doubt this was written under the assumption that Russia would be able to quickly force Ukraine to capitulate, and it describes a frightening new reality where "centers of power" will create a new world with a divided west, unconstrained by the existing rules-based order.

    13 votes
  13. Comment on Putin recognises Ukraine rebel regions, sends troops on what Moscow calls peacekeeping mission in ~news

    Odysseus
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    Oh absolutely, I didn't mean to insinuate that the North Atlantic nations are paragons of virtue who've moved past such barbaric acts, just that it isn't the norm to strive for those ideals. With...

    Oh absolutely, I didn't mean to insinuate that the North Atlantic nations are paragons of virtue who've moved past such barbaric acts, just that it isn't the norm to strive for those ideals.

    With that said, for all the wrongs that those western nations commit, I don't want imply some sort of equivalence between them and the more openly imperialistic and revanchist nations like Russia and China.

    4 votes
  14. Comment on Putin recognises Ukraine rebel regions, sends troops on what Moscow calls peacekeeping mission in ~news

    Odysseus
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    Like any place, you're going to have opinions across the board, but at least the way my wife tells it, pretty much no one wants war with Ukraine and that according to Russian media, it's western...

    Like any place, you're going to have opinions across the board, but at least the way my wife tells it, pretty much no one wants war with Ukraine and that according to Russian media, it's western media that's hyping up the potential for war with Ukraine. With that said, there are Russian reports that the Ukrainians are shelling the separatists in Eastern Ukraine and that it's becoming a humanitarian crisis. She says that on social media, there are claims that Russia is preparing to/has taken in refugees from the region.

    8 votes
  15. Comment on Putin recognises Ukraine rebel regions, sends troops on what Moscow calls peacekeeping mission in ~news

    Odysseus
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    Sad to say, but I reckon the rest of world is probably a lot more like Russia than it is like the wealthy nations you were likely referring to. Hell, even Japan is run in large part by...

    Sad to say, but I reckon the rest of world is probably a lot more like Russia than it is like the wealthy nations you were likely referring to. Hell, even Japan is run in large part by ethnonationalists, albeit peaceful ones. South Korea as well. Hungary is a notable friend to Russia, and they exist within the EU. The big difference is that, unlike Russia, most of these other players do not have the military capability to behave as Russia does. The ones that do (China), act much in the same way.

    It's not Russia that's the outlier. It's the wealthy North Atlantic countries.

    18 votes
  16. Comment on What's up with the NFT hate? in ~tech

    Odysseus
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    My biggest gripe is that NFTs (and crypto in general for the most part) solve a problem that doesn't exist, causes great harm to the environment, while simultaneously benefiting no one except the...

    My biggest gripe is that NFTs (and crypto in general for the most part) solve a problem that doesn't exist, causes great harm to the environment, while simultaneously benefiting no one except the lucky few who stand to turn a profit.

    33 votes
  17. Comment on Dollar Tree makes it official: Items will now cost $1.25 in ~finance

    Odysseus
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    Dollar twenty-five tree just doesn't have the same ring to it... I suppose that's inflation for ya.

    Dollar twenty-five tree just doesn't have the same ring to it... I suppose that's inflation for ya.

    3 votes
  18. Comment on YouTube will no longer publicly display the dislike count on videos in ~tech

    Odysseus
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    Which is why I wouldn't be against doing something like requiring a person watch a certain percentage of the video before they like/dislike it. By increasing the amount of effort required to...

    Which is why I wouldn't be against doing something like requiring a person watch a certain percentage of the video before they like/dislike it. By increasing the amount of effort required to like/dislike, it should discourage a large portion of that kind of mob behavior

    3 votes