Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

23 May 2012. A Photo Essay. From the Russian Web… Photographs Brimming with Love and Humanity

The Smile of a Child…


A Small Life in the Midst of Much Death…


‘Till Death Do Us Part…


A Brother’s Love…


A Love for Old Lost Comrades…


In the Midst of Pain… Hope… the Love of Life…


The Love of God… “And a Little Child Shall Lead Them”


I want to say that, even with wars, turmoil, and political upheaval, there’s really a point to life in this world. The main thing is to keep hold of our humanity, no matter what occurs. In all the confusion, we sometimes don’t seem to notice the most important things. Let’s take pleasure in and be thankful for all that we do have…



State at War

If the financial markets are, indeed, losing their place as the dominant force in the economy… then, those who profit from the current arrangement shall NOT “go quietly into that dark night”… yes, they might even try to keep the status quo alive by force. Experience has taught me that those infected with money-hunger will do ANYTHING to get it… and if the present system were to go by the boards, why, they’d resort to violence in a trice in a vain attempt to hold back the tide… and they’d do so with the name of Christ on their lips. God do spare me…


There is a war raging inside the US State Department now, between those who back the Real (Energy) Economy and those who back the Financial (Dollar) Economy. In the course of my strategic advisory work at Wimpole International, I ran headlong into this war. In the 20th century Dollar Economy, we use currency created by banks as our unit of account, in this case the USD. People make investment decisions “for profit” on the basis of the least dollar cost per unit of production… this is the Dollar Economy, which we take for granted. However, the emerging 21st century Energy Economy is very different. When we use an absolute unit of energy as the unit of account, or energy standard, we make a very different value judgement based upon the least energy cost per unit of production. In the Energy Economy, we naturally gravitate to the most efficient use of energy.

We can also see the battle between Dollar Economics and Energy Economics as Conflict Economics versus Consensus Economics. Dollar Economics, by its very nature, is adversarial because all currencies compete in price against the national currency issued and controlled by the United States. As the world’s reserve currency, the USD is also the world’s price benchmark, backed up by the overwhelming power of the greatest military might the world has ever seen. On the other hand, Energy Economics is about consent, and the fact that a unit of energy is neutral, objective, and independent of all nations. When we use an energy unit as the basis for price, then, consumers immediately seek energy savings, using new technology, new ways of working, and even new ways of living. What we don’t value, we waste… whilst energy producing-nations like Saudi Arabia waste energy on a cosmic scale, countries like Denmark with minimal energy resources can be the most ingenious in conserving it. Nevertheless, in truth, we’re all in the same boat. In fact, producers and consumers have a common interest in working together to make the most efficient use of the crucial resource of energy. The problem is that the middlemen who own and control the financial system and markets have a vested interest in volatility… for them, price stability is death, and transparency is the enemy of profit.

Those in the State Department who favour the Financial Economy over the Real Economy are fighting a losing battle. The cracks appearing in the US banking giant JP Morgan Chase appear ominous for the US banking system. Indeed, whilst JP Morgan Chase is too big to fail, it’s definitely not too big to nationalise. As the black hole at the dark heart of J P Morgan Chase’s balance sheet gets bigger, the Obama Administration may have no choice but to nationalise the bank, and, then, slowly unwind and sell off its constituent parts. As if J P Morgan Chase’s fragility doesn’t put the global financial economy under enough stress, Europe’s imploding day by day, with Greece leading the race to the exit. Greek banks are already having serious liquidity problems, and Spain is not far behind them. With a new French government calling for less austerity not more, those who favour the Financial Economy over the Real Economy have lost the battle, and are about to lose the war.

This brings me to the sanctions on Iran, which the pundits tell us are the last chance to avoid war. In coming days, the 5 + 1 World Powers and Iran will assemble in Baghdad to discuss the Iranian nuclear programme. At the heart of these discussions are the physical and financial sanctions on Iran. The financial sanction scheme has led to an intra-State Department war. Whilst many believe that the US sanctions on Iran relate only to US companies, meaning that US companies can’t do business with Iran, actually, they go much further. For the Dollar Economists at the State Department, who do the banks’ bidding and who favour the Financial Economy over the Real Economy, it’s a simple calculation… “You’re either with us or against us”. Therefore, India, Japan, and South Korea have all recently come under physical sanction pressure to reduce or altogether cease buying Iranian oil and if they do not, then US financial institutions may cease to do business with them. Unless foreign institutions cease to deal with Iran, the flow of US dollar loans will cease, and US shareholders will pull out their investment, collapsing their share price. This is… as any Godfather would say… an offer they can’t refuse.

However, the cost of keeping the Financial Economy alive is now so great, and income and wealth inequality so pervasive, that the Real Economy has been suffocated. The Arab Spring and street protests around the world… like Occupy Wall Street… are the manifestations of this reality. Austerity has become unbearable. So it is with sanctions. The effect of financial sanctions on multinational companies operating in the Real-World Economy have led to part of the State Department becoming an arm of the banking system, effectively declaring war on another part of the State Department, which is responsible for keeping the lights on. This very secret war at the State Department is concluding, and there can only be one winner. At the end of the day, the Fed can’t print oil, and I believe we will see the pragmatic realists in the State Department backing the global transition to an Energy Standard.

The 20th century State Department is dead! Long live the 21st century State Department!

23 May 2012

Sam Barden



23 May 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. The Tiger’s “Muscle”

The Tiger’s “Muscle”

Sergei Yolkin



Patangrao Kadam, Minister for Forestry and Nature in Maharashtra state in central India, announced to the press the establishment of a special squad of over 500 armed guards to fight poachers who hunt tigers.

23 May 2012

Sergei Yolkin



Editor’s Note:

Will Smith was just in Moscow flogging his new Men in Black flick… so, you can see the tie-in in the cartoon… I thought that you’d like to know that. You see, it was in KP… “all the shit that’s fit to print”… the “Screws of the World” wasn’t the only spicy rag out there, kids… and we Russians LOVE rascally scoundrels (but they MUST be charming rapscallions… in the mould of Ostap Bender)… “A Russian is NOT a German”… ’nuff said!


Ukrainian Orthodox Leader Kept Close To Followers


Despite serious health problems that put Metropolitan Constantine Buggan in the hospital several weeks ago, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA didn’t want to disappoint the people planning to attend last weekend’s celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of his consecration. Archbishop Antony Scharba of South Bound Brook NJ, who heads the church’s Eastern Diocese, said, “We talked to him about postponing the events for a while, but he wanted to go through with it because so many people would be coming to Pittsburgh from around the US and several countries. He told me that we should go through with it because he didn’t know if he’d be around in a month or two. I believe he had a premonition of what was going to happen and saw it as an opportunity to say goodbye to all the people he knew”.

On Monday, Metropolitan Constantine Buggan of the South Side, whose secular name was Theodore Buggan, died from congestive heart failure. He was 75. A native of the South Side, he grew up across the street from St Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Parish on Sidney Street. Constantine graduated from the Ukrainian Orthodox seminary at the College of St Andrew, in Winnipeg MN (affiliated with the University of Manitoba) in Canada, from which he graduated in 1959. He also studied at St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers NY and Duquesne University, receiving a doctorate in philosophy from the latter. He became a priest in 1967, serving parishes in Chicago IL and Troy NY. In 1972, he became the first American-born bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. Constantine served as Bishop of Chicago until 1993, when he became the First Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. According to church officials, they have nearly 10,000 parishioners in 14 Western PA and Ohio parishes.

Fr Timothy Tomson, who was ordained by the Metropolitan and played host to one of the anniversary celebrations at St Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Church in McKees Rocks PA, where he is pastor, said, “Constantine had a certain local charm that easily won people over”. Tomson said he and his family are “still a little bit numb” from the news of Constantine’s death, saying, “Every life has an exit, and our job is to help people prepare for that exit. But it’s a little difficult to realise that last Saturday we were celebrating his life in ministry, and this Saturday we’ll be placing him in the ground. Life is truly but a shadow and a dream”.

Archbishop Antony, who was ordained by Constantine in 1972, said that whilst the Metropolitan had a variety of interests, his main focus was encouraging young people to carry on the traditions of the faith, saying, “He searched for every opportunity to motivate our youth to not only participate within the walls of the church, but to go out and get involved in their communities”, noting that Constantine played a critical role in establishing All Saints (youth) Camp in Emlenton PA in Venango County. Archbishop Antony further noted, “Reaching out to the young people was at the core of his soul, and I believe were truly the most joyous days of his life”. Funeral services will be on Friday and Saturday at St Vladimir parish, 1810 Sidney Street, on the South Side.

22 May 2012

Tony LaRussa

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


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