Voices from Russia

Sunday, 2 January 2011

2 January 2011. A Point of Unity… Soldiers of Faith…

Filed under: Christian,Orthodox life,patriotic,religious,Roman Catholic,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Byelorussian paras venerating the cross…

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Soldiers of the Spanish Legion hoist up the Paso during Holy Week celebrations in Málaga (Spain)…

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Historical Christianity isn’t a bunch of knee-jerk pacifists… no, siree! If you hear otherwise, those folks are falling off the log on the left side (those who claim that the Church approves of the Neoliberal ideology of Permanent Warfare fall off the log on the right side).

The Church has always blessed warriors… and always shall. That doesn’t mean that it sanctions those who wish to use war as a means of first resort. The Church blesses Christian warriors… it blesses wars of national defence… it doesn’t bless foreign wars of aggression such as the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia, the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, or the NATO-led dismembering of Federal Yugoslavia.

It’s clear to all right-thinking people… ’nuff said!

BMD

2 January 2011. A Point to Ponder…

Filed under: Christian,moral issues — 01varvara @ 00.00

There are many reasons why someone can find themselves homeless… family breakdown, unemployment, drug or alcohol abuse, or falling on desperately hard times, often through no fault of their own. Nevertheless, the effect of homelessness is the same for everyone… a crushing sense of hopelessness and despair. The emotional consequences for the individual can be utterly devastating… sometimes more so than the stark fact of being homeless.

Charities, churches, governments, and other bodies can all help with the basics… a roof under which to shelter from the elements, heating, and security… but without hope, an individual cannot rebuild a life. Furthermore, for there to be people with no hope living right alongside us is surely a blight on our societies.

Prince William of Wales (1982- )

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Yes… “For there to be people with no hope living right alongside us with no hope is surely a blight on our societies”. I know of people who avoid this truth… they say abominable absurdities about those who’ve used up their benefits… “It’s their fault, after all… they’re lazy… they’re not really looking for work”… yadda, yadda, yadda. That’s why you must fight the Neoliberal (“conservative”) “dragon” with your every faculty and strength… you must expose the supporters within the Church of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Anne Coulter, and all the other loudmouthed Neoliberal Free Marketers as the heartless and cruel poseurs that they are.

Give no quarter to the Fredericas, Whitefords, Drehers, Nelsons, Brums, Honeycutts, and Paffhausens, and all the rest of their scurvy crew. I’d say to outsiders, “These wingnut paladins don’t represent us… the Orthodox Church isn’t a conventicle of comfortable suburban pseudo-intellectuals spinning excuses for the oligarchs. It’s the People’s Church… it always has been”. As a friend of mine said, “We Russian Orthodox people were here before these upstarts came in, and we’ll be here after they leave”. That’s right… Russian Orthodoxy survived the persecutions of the 20s and 30s… why? It lived in the hearts of the people, that’s why! That’s why we’ll be able to rebuild Russian Orthodoxy in this country after the wingnuts leave us.

It still lives… and we still have the traditional Russian compassion for the downtrodden… the American Neoliberal “converts” can’t take THAT away from us. As His Holiness Patriarch Kirill said, “Public solidarity and joint labours for the attainment of common goals are impossible without overcoming selfishness, without forcing oneself to do good, without the renunciation of exclusive attention to our needs and interests”. THIS is why the Church will never bow the knee to Mammon… this is why the Church will never approve the imbecilic maunderings of Limbaugh and Palin… it’s something well-worth fighting for!

You can have Compassion… or you can have Greed… His Holiness on the one side… Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin on the other. Is that so hard a choice?

BMD

2 January 2011. Why are the Palestinian Police in Force at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem?

The Palestinian coppers are there to separate the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic clergy. It appears that the two groups have had disagreements that escalated into fisticuffs. This didn’t please the Palestinian Authority one little bit… indeed, what government wants such mayhem going on? Ergo, John Law is on the scene whenever it appears that there may a repetition of such unseemliness… and it’s worked… there hasn’t been a repetition of the brouhaha. There’s nothing wrong with a “show of force”… often, it means that violent means needn’t be resorted to, and it “keeps the peace”. That’s as good as it gets in this fallen world…

BMD

Bradley Manning: One Soldier Who Really Did “Defend Our Freedom”

Filed under: politics,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

If Bradley Manning is “innocent until proven guilty”, why is he being kept in conditions that would cause the US State Department to protest if it were imposed in any other country?

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All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer

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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong.

Freedom includes the right to say what others may object to and resent. The essence of citizenship is to be tolerant of strong and provocative words.

A question which can be answered without prejudice to the government is not a fit question to ask.

He who does not know the past can never understand the present, and he certainly can do nothing for the future.

The Rt Honourable John Diefenbaker

Canadian Prime Minister (1957-63)

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Editor’s Foreword:

There are elements that are incorrect in this submission… they don’t impair its conclusion. For instance, let’s look at the assertion in the first paragraph, “I think the last time American soldiers actually fought for the freedom of Americans was probably the Revolutionary War… or, maybe, the War of 1812, if you want to be generous”. World War II in Europe was a “just war”… it was a life-or-death struggle with Nazism. Had the Nazis won, our world would have been quite different… and much uglier than anything done since 1945 by the USA.

I’m not an anarchist… I’m not a member of the Left… I’m not a knee-jerk pacifist… I AM a “Red Tory”… I AM a One Nation Conservative aghast at what has happened to the West since 1991. Neoliberal Free Market Statism is now the regnant ideology in much of the West… all decent people must stand together to slay this “dragon”… if we don’t, it’ll devour us. That’s all there is to say.

BMD

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When I hear that soldiers “defend our freedom”, my immediate response is to gag. I think the last time American soldiers actually fought for the freedom of Americans was probably the Revolutionary War… or, maybe, the War of 1812, if you want to be generous. Every war since then has been to uphold the powers-that-be and to make the rich folks even richer.

However, I can think of one exception. If there’s a soldier anywhere in the world who’s fought and suffered for my freedom, it’s PFC Bradley Manning. Knuckle-draggers on right-wing message boards frequently portray Manning as some sort of spoiled brat or ingrate, acting on an adolescent whim. Yet, that’s not quite what happened, according to Johann Hari. Manning, like many young soldiers, joined up in the naïve belief that he was defending the freedom of his fellow Americans. When he got to Iraq, he found himself under orders “to round up and hand over Iraqi civilians to America’s new Iraqi allies, who he could see were then torturing them with electrical drills and other implements”. The people he arrested, and handed over for torture, were guilty of such ”crimes” as writing “scholarly critiques” of the US occupation forces and its puppet government. When he expressed his moral reservations to his supervisor, Manning “was told to shut up and get back to herding up Iraqis”. The people Manning saw tortured, by the way, were frequently the very same people Saddam had tortured… trades unionists, members of the Iraqi Freedom Congress, and other freedom-loving people… who had no more use for Halliburton and Blackwater than they had for the Baath Party.

For exposing his government’s crimes against humanity, Manning has spent seven months in solitary confinement… a torture deliberately calculated to break the human mind. We see a lot of “serious thinkers” on the op-ed pages and talking head shows, people like David Gergen, Chris Matthews, and Michael Kinsley, going on about now Manning’s leaks have impaired the ability of “our government” to act. He’s impaired the ability of the US government to conduct diplomacy in pursuit of a fabled “national interest” that I supposedly have in common with Microsoft, Wal-Mart, and Disney. He’s risked untold numbers of innocent lives, according to the very same people who’ve ordered the deaths of untold thousands of innocent people. According to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Manning’s exposure of secret US collusion with authoritarian governments in the Middle East, to promote policies that their peoples would find abhorrent, undermines America’s ability to promote “democracy, open government, and free and open societies”.

Be that as it may be, I’ll tell you what Manning’s deed really did to the government’s ability to act. He impaired the US government’s ability to lie and lead us into wars where thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of foreigners are murdered. He’s impaired its ability to use such wars… under the guise of promoting “democracy”… to install puppet governments such as the Coalition Provisional Authority, to rubber-stamp Neoliberal “free trade” agreements (including harsh “intellectual property” provisions written by the proprietary content industries) and cut special deals with American crony capitalists. He impaired its ability to seize good decent people who… unlike most soldiers… are really fighting for freedom, and hand them over to thuggish governments to be tortured with power tools.

Let’s get something straight. Bradley Manning may be a criminal by the criteria of the American state. On the contrary, by all human standards of morality, the government and its functionaries that Manning exposed to the light of day are criminals. Moreover, Manning is a hero of freedom for doing it. Accordingly, if you’re one of the authoritarian state-worshipers, one of the grovelling sycophants of power, who’re cheering on Manning’s punishment and calling for even harsher treatment, all I can say is that you’d probably have been there at the crucifixion urging Pontius Pilate to lay on the lashes on a little harder. You’d have told the Nazis where Anne Frank was hiding. You’re unworthy of the freedoms that so many heroes and martyrs throughout history… heroes like Bradley Manning… have fought to give you.

1 January 2011

Kevin Carson

Center for a Stateless Society

http://c4ss.org/content/5587

Editor’s Afterword:

Firstly, I give my thanks to the correspondent who sent me the link to this post.

I don’t believe that Bradley Manning is the ultimately-guilty party. Rankers don’t have access to that sort and amount of information… someone higher up in the chain of command fed Manning… and Manning is being quiet to protect them. I believe that the government is keeping Manning in solitary to “break” him so that he “sings” and reveals his source. They don’t see Manning’s deed as an isolated action… if they did, the government would’ve had Manning before a hastily-assembled court martial board and he’d already be doing hard time in Leavenworth. What scares the authorities is that this affair signals a possible breakdown in unit cohesion and morale in the forces that would be fatal to the current wars abroad. Note well that Manning is keeping his silence under detention equivalent to that of the NKVD’s isolation prison at the Sukhanovka… that bespeaks great moral courage; that testifies to impressive internal resources.

You see, the brunt of the current wars have fallen on the relatively-small mercenary (“professional”) forces maintained by the USA. There are many self-serving reasons why the power élite rejects a conscription–based “people’s army”… one is that “citizen soldiers” are much less easy to bully than mercenaries who’re dependent on their long-service contracts for economic survival. Another is that short-service men are drawn from the full spectrum of society; ergo, it’s harder to hop them up for a war in some godforsaken hell-hole or another, and knowledge of what was truly happening in the combat zone would spread faster in society. Lastly, short-service troops don’t have a “warrior ethos”… that doesn’t make them bad soldiers, look at the US Army of World War II, they were “citizen soldiers” who were fully the equals of their “professional” opponents.

Therefore, the government is concerned that its Praetorians are losing their stomach for the “permanent warfare” of the Beltway Commandoes. Don’t forget… Richard Cheney, Zbigniew Brzeziński, George W Bush, Dan Quayle, Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh are all card-carrying Chicken Hawks… they all advocated “permanent warfare”, yet none was shot at… strange, ain’t it? Every real combat vet I know is against going to war lightly… most of the loudest pro-war VFW sorts you hear are those who served in rear echelon slots (known in military slang as REMFs). If the mercenaries crack… there’s no armed force left to sustain the Neoliberal Permanent Warfare State.

There’s much more to this than what’s reported in the Corporatist Media… but as the evidence is slim, there’s not much to hang a speculation upon. This much is clear, though… Manning scares the bejesus out of the authorities… what his act represents scares then even more. Is there a possible meltdown in unit cohesion, individual morale, and institutional culture in the forces? Are the mercenaries cracking and going feral? What is the actual state of mind present in combat units that have seen multiple deployments to operational zones without proper rest and stand-down? This is something that no other commentator is touching… one wonders why. After all, it’s the heart of the story… a story well-worth attending to, no?

BMD

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