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Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 1) 599

That is not fully true. At least in East Germany you owned things. You could own a car and the furniture in your house.

Soviet doctrine (and the broader Marxist doctrine) distinguishes between "personal property" and "private property". Things like furniture or car would be considered personal property, and hence okay. Land, means of (large-scale) production like workshops and factories etc, would be considered private property if owned, and that was banned. Houses and other things that straddled the line could be treated differently depending on the country and the era.

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 1) 599

Russia was truly communist for a few years after the Russian revolution, until the Bolsheviks took over and turned everything on its head and forever corrupted the word "communism".

After the first revolution in February, 1917 (the one that saw the tsar abdicate), Russia became a capitalist republic. That lasted for 8 months.

After the second revolution in October, 1917, the power was in the hands of the soviets (councils) of workers and peasants, most of which were under Bolshevik control already.

In 1918, the power was very briefly (and largely nominally) exercised by the Constituent Assembly. It lasted for 13 hours before the Bolsheviks dissolved it.

By the end of 1918, Bolsheviks have purged the only remaining minority party that shared the power with them in the soviets, the left esers.

So, where do the "few years after the Russian revolution" come from?

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 1) 599

If Communism never actually existed, then what the heck was the deal with USSR, China, E. Germany, Vietnam, North Korea, Cambodia, et al.

They didn't call themselves communist. They had communist parties, which were ostensibly dedicated to the goal of achieving communism - eventually, sometime in the future.

As Soviet joke went, a party lecturer holding a class on dialectic materialism in a remote village said to the audience: "Cheer up, comrades! Communism is on the horizon!"

One of the peasants in the audience raises his hand and asks a question, "Comrade, what is a horizon?"

The lecturer answered, "A horizon is an imaginary line where the sky and the earth seems to meet, which always remains the same distance from us as we walk towards it."

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 1) 599

While some countries liked to CALL THEMSELVES communist, they were not.

None of those countries actually called themselves "communist", they were all "socialist". Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, for example. Communism, just as you say, was a label for a hypothetical future society that was just around the corner, kinda like fusion.

The one place where you'd see actual communist countries mentioned was in Soviet sci-fi. E.g. in Strugatsky brothers' Noon Universe, its early stages see an economic and scientific competition before the remainder of the Western world, headed by the USA, and the USCR - Union of Soviet Communist Republics - a result of the merger of all socialist states, with USSR and China as two cores, once communism was achieved in them.

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 1) 599

Yup. The supreme irony is that capitalism did create the conditions for its own demise, as Marx predicted. Where he was wrong is the conditions themselves - he thought that communism would come first, and post-scarcity would only become feasible later. Turned out it's the other way around. Wait and see.

Comment: Re:The problem is... (Score 1) 187

You mean the theocrats that are always talking about bringing the US back to its "christian" roots?

These guys don't need smallpox, because they're doing just fine with plain old JDAMs and Tomahawks.

OTOH, when you're equally insane but don't have billions of dollars to piss off on making things go boom, you might start considering extreme but cheap options.

Comment: Re:Local testing works? (Score 1) 772

Here in the UK we had a 50% tax rate imposed on the very richest a few years ago. There were lots of stories about how this was going to drive away people who were successful abroad but in the end it made very little difference

Was it a personal income tax, or a capital gains tax?

I suspect the latter, which would explain why the very richest were not actually bothered all that much.

Comment: Re: meanwhile overnight... (Score 2) 503

by shutdown -p now (#47484907) Attached to: Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

The original capture report listed two Buks, according to Ukrainians.

I've no doubt that Russia supplies arms to the rebels, but the source of this particular AA remains unclear, and could be either. Now that it has been hastily removed from the scene, and probably destroyed, I doubt we will ever find out.

Comment: Re:meanwhile overnight... (Score 2) 503

by shutdown -p now (#47484161) Attached to: Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

Read these links in order, paying close attention to the dates of each article (use Google/Bing/Yandex Translate if you don't know Russian, it's good enough to understand the meaning). They pretty much answer all the questions: who did it, what they did it with etc. Note that ITAR TASS is the Russian official state media, so while it is obviously propaganda, in this case it only gives credence to the claims, since the result is strikingly not in their favor:

http://itar-tass.com/mezhdunar...
http://itar-tass.com/mezhdunar...
http://www.vz.ru/news/2014/7/1...
http://itar-tass.com/mezhdunar...
http://itar-tass.com/mezhdunar...

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