Look In The Mirror, America!

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by L. Todd Wood of LToddWood.com,

Listening to the media gleefully hype the numerous construction flaws and rumors of corruption at the Sochi Olympics, I couldn't help thinking that Americans in general have no clue about Russia.  Since I spend a lot of time in Moscow, I thought I would point out some of the similarities and differences.

So let's talk about corruption.  Yes, Russia has systemic governmental corruption from the local to the national level; politicians up and down the line have their hand in the pie.  Yes, there were billions stolen in Sochi.  This corruption pushes up the cost of everything in Russia and prevents her economy from modernizing.  That is why Russia was recently voted 92nd in ease of doing business by the World Bank.

However, these billions don't come close to the $800+ billion that was wasted by the economic stimulus the Obama administration enacted in 2009.  Most of the money went to pay back supporters and lined public service union pockets--attempting to head off the rightsizing of state governments that will eventually have to take place.  What about the auto bailouts where again billions were paid to unions and bond holders were left holding the bag, preventing the rationalization of labor costs that would have taken place in a normal bankruptcy process?  How about the Federal government using the IRS and other government agencies to target the opposition?  And come on, does anyone believe the case against Dinesh D'Souza was brought as a result of a normal FBI review?  What about the $600+ million that was spent on the website for the Affordable Care Act?  There is a strong case to be made that corruption in the United States siphons more money out of our economy than in Russia. Luckily the American economy has been resilient enough to overcome this hurdle.

Yes, Putin and other officials have palatial dachas in the countryside.  But I wonder if they were more expensive than all of the global vacations the Obama's have taken?  And yes, Putin has stifled the free press in Russia; in America, the corrupt press does the bidding of the Democratic Party.  Which is worse?

Moving on to infrastructure, Russia has serious infrastructure deficiencies, especially outside the major cities.  However, if you ever want to see a true, massive work of art, ride the Moscow metro.  Every station is a gleaming architectural masterpiece with marble, statues, mosaics, and chandeliers.  And, it's clean and well maintained and safe.  All one has to do is ride the New York subway once to see the difference.  Talk about third world!  The tiling is falling off, escalators often don't work, riders are accosted by the homeless and panhandlers, the elevators stink of urine, etc.  And I have to agree with Joe Biden, LaGuardia is a third world disgrace.  JFK and Newark are second world.  I wish Americans could see Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, then they would understand.  It's a gleaming metropolis of modernity with a very nice Aeroexpress train to the capital city.

Let's take a look at culture.  In Russia, most people speak several languages.  Education is valued.  Kids are loaded down with work every night in mathematics, literature, the sciences, history, etc.  The Russian historical appreciation of the arts is well documented.  And I'm not talking about a canvas smeared with feces, I'm talking about ballet, classical music, and theater.  I heard recently a young girl tell her mother in Moscow, "Mom, there was a girl in my class today who hadn't heard of Vivaldi.  Can you imagine not knowing Vivaldi?"  I think that question speaks for itself.  Just ask your child who Vivaldi was.  In contrast, the American education system is collapsing under a union driven agenda of dumbing down our children and the promotion of socialist values.  It was recently reported that one fourth of Americans don't know the Earth revolves around the Sun, case closed.

And speaking of airports, one notices another thing getting off the plane in America.  We are fat.  We are not sturdy, or strong, or plus -sized.  We are fat.  There is no obesity epidemic in Russia.  People spend time cooking with things like fresh vegetables and enjoy the taste of things rather than filling themselves to the gills with processed carbohydrates and sugars.

And last but not least, yes there is organized crime in Russia.  It's a problem.  Like any country, there are places that are not safe.  But what you don't see are gangs of teenagers looking to knock out someone of a different race.  Instead of looking for who is committing crime in America, the administration looks to remove the consequences of one's actions by making it illegal for employers to conduct background checks and campaigns for felons to be able to vote (to garner more Democratic votes).  I haven't even brought up our refusal to enforce immigration law.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a patriot.  I served my country.  I'm proud of her history and what she used to represent.  But I'm not proud of what's going on today.  I don't recognize America.  She is sinking into a moral and cultural black hole of corruption.  Russia is regaining her rightful, historical place in the world that was sidetracked by the communist revolution.  America is spending her days thinking of ways to pick your pocket--we'll cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you.

Russia is rising.  Maybe we can give her a high five on our way down.  Instead of criticizing others, look in the mirror America.

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HulkHogan's picture

Comedy night on ZH. I hope you're joking when you compare the US to Russia as equals (or soon to be equals).

kaiserhoff's picture

He's a typical coastal idiot.  Russians are thin because they are dirt poor, and always have been.

Look at the vast center of the country, between the Blue Ridge and the High Sierra, and you will see that America hasn't changed that much.  Neither has the ignorant, drunken, cruel Russian peasant.

unununium's picture

What a pile of feces is this post.  Seriously, $800B worth of roads and bridges is the problem?  $20T handed over to banksters - now you're getting warm.

LetThemEatRand's picture

And the small detail in the article about the Press doing the bidding of the Blue Team?  How about the Press is doing the bidding of the fake Team paradigm funded by the international corporations and banksters who literally own the press and who foster the illusion of choice so they can keep their foot on the throat of the American economy.  Sad to see ZH give voice to articles like this.

johnQpublic's picture

raise your hand if you have been to russia before you critisize

kaiserhoff's picture

Never been to Russia, but I have been behind the Iron Curtain, and worked with several Ruskies.

I was never impressed.  The women are hard as nails.  The men are arrogant, but clueless like Obama, free of any real experience or expertise, they bluff and bluster about everything.  There is a fatalism, a deadness of spirit about the Russians, which I always associated with long term prisoners, probably for similar reasons.

HulkHogan's picture

Kaiser, it looks like ZH is run by RT, so in a few moments you'll get a bunch of down votes for speaking the truth about Russians.


...and, btw, I've been to Russia. It's a shit hole. 

kaiserhoff's picture

It's not easy to explain to those who haven't traveled, how hopeless and primitive some of these places are.  Any small Midwestern town has a depth of field, men who know what they are doing with electricity, plumbing, road work, whatever, and if they don't know, they will figure it out.  In the third world, orders are given from on high, and nothing works for long, because no one will maintain it. 

The idea that Russia is sustainable is hilarious.  Without it's oil and gas money, and nukes, it would quietly sink back into the middle ages.

Anyone want to argue that Russian women are NOT hard as nails?  Thought not.

johnQpublic's picture

ok , even i wont argue some of your points

tough women...driven towards a survival bent i'd say

fatalism , most assuredly

though i felt it had somewhat of a midwestern feel

and an ability to engineer and repair

considering they just dont have much they do well with it

and are quite inventive and 'git er done'

hard working

fun to drink with

but russians are ethnically diverse and it definitely depends where you are in the country  

johnQpublic's picture

i have seen hopeless and primitive places

just not in russia...maybe just depends where you go

i have seen it in the ozarks though...my friend poe never owned a shoe til he joined the army

seen it in saudi arabia, zaire, haiti, dominican republic, s. africa, s. korea

and it varies by degree...you can have a backward shit hole without hopelessness

kaiserhoff's picture

Fair enough.  The whole world is getting pock marked with diversity.  Not always a bad thing, but it makes predictions tricky, and the drug abuse scares the shit out of me.  Showing up everywhere.

I wish we had more reliable allies left in the world, and a little free speech.  The financial collapse may be the least of our worries.

Advoc8tr's picture

and the drug abuse scares the shit out of me

Why ?  Most of the really horrid stuff is from the "alternatives" manufactured with kitchen chemicals and driven by the cost. A direct result of drugs being illegal. The best ones grow on trees and would be practically free if there were no laws making them illegal. All would prefer straight opium, heroin, cocain if they could get it and the health effects are nowhere near as bad.  Finally ... people who can't control their addictions will eventually die out peacefully and it is called eveolution - is this so bad ?   Drugs have been unregulted and openly legal for 95% of our recorded history and we managed to get from the dark ages to a not so bad place by the 1900's.


I agree some of the desperation seen with these kids making drugs from kitchen chemicals and injecting intraveinously ... terminating their lives in front of their own eyes is heartwrenching ... a tougher appraoch will only ever make it worse. Ban the kitchen chemicals and they use nuclear waste if you force them to.

Curiously_Crazy's picture

+1 but the bloody site won't let me click on your comment!

Bearwagon's picture

Leftclick into the grey field (not the name), hit 'tab' two times, until the "'" is shown at the up-counter, and hit return - there he goes one up.

Skateboarder's picture

Damn. This magic doesn't work for me.

N2OJoe's picture

Well i got it to work but wtf is up with that?

StandardDeviant's picture

Something to do with the italic text in the first line, I believe.

PT's picture

If drug dealers weren't such assholes then it would be so much easier to agree with you.  And don't try to tell me that I can "just say no".  I've been saying "no" for decades now and the social pressure associated with such a legitimate request is mind-boggling.  It also explains why I have NEVER SEEN ANYONE ELSE say "no".    I guess what I really want is the right to hospitalize any heap-of-shit fuckwit who won't take no for an answer when I speak to them politely. 

In some countries, cocaine tea is legal and is used to combat altitude sickness.   Cannabis is said to prevent glaucoma.  As long as drugs are illegal, any decent investigation of any good they can do will not be investigated.  Legalize the shit and take the money out of it.  Then perhaps we can investigate what the drugs really do and what the "backyard additives" really do.  Let anyone grow whatever they like in their own backyard.  But I still think that won't solve as many problems as it creates.  Make it legal to grow it but illegal to sell it - or don't enforce theft laws if illegal drugs are involved.  That should increase supply and prevent big money being associated with the drugs.  (Note use of weasel-word "should".)  Ex-husbands are forced to pay alimony.  Can we force dealers to pay for the addicts and zombies they create?  Can we stop using drug-use as an excuse for crime?  Or even triple the penalty for crimes performed under the influence given that they could so easily been avoided?

I think the drug problem will always be here in one form or another.  How do civilisations collapse again?  Something about a drunken orgy? ...


johnQpublic's picture

the diversity thing appeared to me to be something that had always been there

other places seem to 'import their diversity'

and with that you lose commonality of purpose

which is worrisome

and the drug abuse thing is scary

heroin here and abroad is brutal....they had something there...reminded me of alligator or something similar...there was an area of the town that was rife with it...the addicts appeared to be straight up rotting from it

Advoc8tr's picture

It's called "Crocodile" and is made from household chemicals on the kitchen stove to replicate heroin because they cannot afford the real stuff. Horrific side effects.

fockewulf190's picture

Saw a documentary about that.  One big reason why it is an epidemc is because it is so cheap to make...much cheaper than heroin as well.  After just a few months, you end up looking like a zombie from the Walking Dead.  I shit you not.

Johnny Cocknballs's picture

You want to see unsustainable - fix your eye on New York City when the food shortages start. Or Las Vegas when the water supply to it is turned off.


Food, Water, Energy are things Russia has in spades. 


As for the midwest - I think you've watched too many truck commercials.  Most of those people, outside the big cities, are inbred idiots not derided as such because they aren't Southerners.


Ever been to rural Indiana?  That place would be White Somalia if the electricity went off for more than a week.

TheMeatTrapper's picture

@Johnny Cocknballs:

Absolutely 100% spot on. People need to read, then re read, and then commit to memory his comments. 

You want to see unsustainable - fix your eye on New York City when the food shortages start. Or Las Vegas when the water supply to it is turned off.


When it comes to survival in a rural area - stick close to the old folks. The old folks know how to feed themselves. The young folks know how to collect free shit just as well as their ghetto counterparts. 

Free Food - From an Old Man

TBT or not TBT's picture

The land area we call Russia may have those things in spades, but the people we call "Russian" are dying out fast while the non Russians breed to replace them.

kaiserhoff's picture

I grew up in the Midwest, not far from Indiana, two farms in the family, and Amish neighbors coming into town to trade.  I know a thing or two about self-reliance. 

When the lights go out, things will get interesting, but I sure as hell wouldn't want to be in any city or around any Russian thugs.

FredFlintstone's picture

Johnny, I have to disagree with you on this one. Maybe Satoshi would agree with his meth head characterization of rural America. I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in Jasper Indiana that is full of industrious German immmigrants. I grew up in the rust belt as the son of a professional. There is a normal distribution of intelligence in the country as in the city. My classmate who showed me how to do long division in 4th grade drives a truck, but he is quite intelligent. I went on to study a STEM discipline and left the area I grew up in. I am now a corporate slave in suburbia. The top student in my 6th grade class went to cosmotology school, cuts hair and now owns a little salon just like her mom. She could have been a chemist. She was smart and got the top grades.

Graph's picture

First you drive through Barstow - for that "depth of field" if your gage is low on it and get inspired by  watching men "who know what they are doing".

And then road gets to Las, most beautiful City ever built.

Tradehard's picture

As someone who too has lived behind the Iron Curtain. I'm amazed to see the true colors of ZH. Anything to make America look bad..A N Y T H I N G. I always thought ZH was sort of libertarian leaning. Now it's clear this is nothing but a yellow journalism for doomers.

I mean seriously ask anyone (not Russian) in a former Soviet country what they think about Russia and Russians. You will get the same answer everywhere. No one will believe when you say Russia will ever surpass the United States. I've been to both countries several times. And it does not even compare. Most McDonalds workers in the U.S. have more buying power than the average Russian specialist worker. It's not even close.

Plus the corruption truly is on EVERY level. It's impossible to do business in Russia without greasing someone...

This article is BS pure and simple..

Anusocracy's picture

I've been to Detroit dozens of times.

It's the biggest, most heart-breaking shit hole in the world.

It took about a half-century to go from one of the best cities to one of the worst.

Johnny Cocknballs's picture

luckily for you, if you want gratuitous Russia bashing, you can find it in spades all over the media, from Fox News to the NY Times... so one wonders why you have to cry and stamp your feet about it when people here are wise enough to notice said media blitz and hold the United States to the same sorts of standards people like you pretend to care about.

You've "been to" Russia - the largest country on earth - and saw enough to declare it a shithole? 

I have to wonder what foreigners would think if all they saw of the US was Detroit or D.C. away from the tourism, or East New York, NY.


Fuck you.

Winston Churchill's picture

Aye.Back when it was the USSR.

Also dealt with burocratic DC. more recently, reminded me of the USSR.

A lot.Even down to looking down upon you with suspicion at all times.

kaiserhoff's picture

I went to the local court house to file some real estate documents.  There were four deputy Sheriffs, starring at my keys and loose change as I went through the metal detector.  Of course, no cameras or cell phones are allowed.  Why, you could probably take out a whole division with a cell phone, if you fling it like Bat Man.

WTF?  This is back woods no where.  Is someone gonna steal the damn building?  If so, what will they do with it?

FredFlintstone's picture

Maybe you are some sort of domestic terrorist wannabe who reads and posts on sites like ZH.

kaiserhoff's picture

No way.

But for future reference, my all wood cross bow and rattle snake went through their detector without a hitch;)

Milestones's picture

I was in Moscow about 10 years ago. They must have found a lot of money lately. The airport was a disaster--crowded, cold, and stunk both coming and going. The subway system ditto though they were trying. Crystal--in a subway system; IN MOSCOW. Surely you jest. Not on my tour of duty.

Overall, other than around the Kremlin, the city was mostly depressing.                     Milestones

mess nonster's picture

I went to Russia. The women are beautiful and the men are free. What's not to like?


Calmyourself's picture

Ahh yes the old "Fake Team paradigm"  dodge, no one gets targeted for removal from the apparatchik class, dated but clever, bravo..

There are always predominant paradigms to be vigilant against say those for example who would build their powerbase with parasites, now both parties fund supporters but go ahead, make a judgement call.. bot

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


And the small detail in the article about the Press doing the bidding of the Blue Team?

Yeah, I gotta take a point off for that as well. Of course, that's the brilliance of the US political system. A guy like this author, who can see the squalor and decay both in Russia and in the US, and who can perceive the ongoing decline of the US, is still utterly hoodwinked about the illusionary two-party scam.

The mainstream media aren't doing the bidding of anyone except The Owners.

The Owners also own the US political party, the only party in the US one-party political system (which masquerades as a two-party system). Of course the media are going to do the bidding of the party.

He's dead-on when it comes to crime and corruption, though. The US government is as rotten and hypocritical as any that have come down the pike.

Johnny Cocknballs's picture

Who are the owners?


Who are the donors?

barroter's picture

Yep, entire article made NO mention of the thieves inhabiting our banks, corps or who infest Wall St.

SoberOne's picture

The poor people here are fat and have better cellphones than me.

RafterManFMJ's picture

So eat more, exercise and earn less; what are you, a retard?

mrpxsytin's picture

Kaiserhoff, you obviously do not see the correlation between education and obesity. In the USA, the least educated citizens are the fattest. This is the same in most parts of the developed world. Obesity is a health problem, therefore to be willfully obese is akin to self-harm. And only mental and/or ignorant people engage in self-harm. Given that most Americans are both mental and highly ignorant, it is little wonder that there is an obesity problem in the USA. 

Russia has ample food for its people. Do you really think that they are so poor as to be starving? I have no doubt that the Russian peasant is ignorant, but I would have to say that their intellect must be leagues above the intellect of the American welfare zombie. I think you will find that the difference between obesity rates of the USA and Russia is driven by differences in intellect. It has nothing to do with poor vs. rich. Both countries have plenty of food for their people. 

kaiserhoff's picture
 "In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread.
   Anatole France. In many respects, I agree with you.  Obesity is mostly a problem of ignorance, and laziness, but there was plenty of food when Stalin was starving the Ukrainians, and we see the memories of that being played out today. Some of the spoiled mom's basement crowd, have no idea what a real dictator is like.  I'm afraid you are about to find out.  If you find Putin attractive and amusing, god help you.
mrpxsytin's picture

Fortunately (or unfortunately?) I live in Australia; a total Fool's Paradise. I live next to some of the poorest people in my country (welfare recipients) and they are living in apartments worth about $500k just 1.5km from the CBD. I have absolutely NO idea of what a dictator is like. 

However, I reserved no comments for Putin. I was simply challenging your claim that Russians are thin because they are dirt poor. But for the record, Putin, while being a bit on the short side, is quite attractive for a man of his age... :P



kaiserhoff's picture

I think we should let the Sheilas be the judge of that, Mate;)

Anusocracy's picture

You're in Sydney? Paddington?

mrpxsytin's picture

Perth, East Perth area.  

Curiously_Crazy's picture

Nice to meet ya. Perth, Western area :)