Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

11 July 2012. A Little Footnote to the JP Saga…

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One of the Kitchen Cabinet reported in:

JP called Herman Sunday night, crying and complaining about being forced out. Herman told him, “Now, you know how it feels”.

The worm does turn, doesn’t it? O Fortuna, velut luna

BMD

Russia and Cuba: Old Friendships Never Wither

Cuban President Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz (1931- ) with President Vladimir Putin (1952- )

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Russia and Cuba are strengthening their bilateral relations again after a break that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union supplied Cuba with oil, up to 13 million tons each year, and quantities of arms. In return, it received Cuban tobacco, coffee, fruit, and sugar and enjoyed the right to build and operate military facilities on Cuban territory. However, after the Soviet collapse these exchanges went downhill. The oil was cut off. In the early 90s, Russia shut its military training centre in Cuba. In 2002, it also closed its signals intelligence centre near the Cuban town of Lourdes, withdrawing all 1,000 personnel from the facility.

The millennium turn was the low point of the relationship. However, under Vladimir Putin, Russian-Cuban ties started to pick up again. In 2000, Putin visited Havana. In 2006, during a Havana visit by Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, Cuba’s Soviet-era debts to Russia were finally settled, and Cuba received a 335 million dollar (11.925 billion Roubles. 275 million Euros. 215 million UK Pounds) Russian credit line, which allowed it to procure spare parts for some of its Soviet-made machinery and weaponry. In 2009, Cuban President Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz visited Moscow. This Wednesday, he arrived again, amid summertime heat, which he said reminded him of Havana. After discussing matters with Prime Minister Medvedev, he proceeded to the suburban dacha of President Putin.

President Putin said, “Some time ago, Russia and Cuba marked 110 years since they established diplomatic ties. These 110 years have seen ups and downs in relations, but at present, the relations are on the rise. Although pragmatic, they don’t negate the positive legacy of the past. We’re glad to welcome you. I do hope we’ll be able to review the entire spectrum of Russian-Cuban relations”. President Putin also used the occasion to extend his best wishes to veteran Cuban leader Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (President Castro’s elder brother).

President Castro said he was looking forward to a very productive Moscow visit, saying, “We live in a very complex and rapidly changing world. During my previous visit, we devoted time to the challenges faced by our countries in 2009. Today, we’re discussing the current situation. I’m always happy to meet with my old friends in the Russian capital. I expect my working visit to be very busy and highly productive”. After meeting with President Putin, Señor Castro shall meet with Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the Russian National Security Council.

Annual trade between Russia and Cuba already tops 220 million dollars (7.175 billion Roubles. 180 million Euros. 140 million UK Pounds) and continues to grow. Importantly, it isn’t limited to arms sales. Russia’s Gazpromneft is drilling for oil and gas in the Cuban sector of the Gulf of Mexico. Other Russian companies are helping Cuba develop electricity generation. Last year also saw a 30 percent increase in Russian tourist visits to Cuba. Russian holidaymakers on the island are rapidly catching up with European and Canadian ones.

11 July 2012

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_07_11/Russia-Cuba-old-friendships-never-wither/

Obama Pulling Romney into Fight over Bush-Era Tax Cuts

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In the lead-up to the election, Obama is looking to pull Mitt Romney into a fight over the Bush-era tax cuts. They aim to portray Romney, a strong supporter of the tax cuts for all income levels, as an out-of-touch wealthy American. Back in 2010, Obama heeded Republican demands to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, citing economic reasons. However, he has vowed not to do that again. Currently, Obama plans on only extending the Bush-era tax breaks for one year, and only for those making less than a threshold amount (200,000 USD for individuals and 250,000 USD for families). When Congress comes back into session, Obama also plans on making a case against providing tax cuts to those that are making more than the current threshold.

Chris Savage, writer and founder of electablog, told VOR, “I think extending tax cuts for incomes under 250,000 dollars is a sound choice given the current state of our economy. Generally speaking, that money would go right back into our economy because people that make less than 250,000 dollars don’t usually have a great deal of savings. It’d also avoid hurting middle and lower class Americans at a time when they are already struggling”. Many Americans share Mr Savage’s opinion. According to a poll released by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, only 18 percent of the middle class would like tax cuts kept in place permanently for all income levels, whilst 28 percent would like tax cuts to be extended for a year for the middle class. Chris Savage added, “Extending the tax breaks for income over 250,000 dollars, however, is unconscionable. It’s clear that these budget-busting tax breaks aren’t creating jobs, as the Republicans constantly tell us they will, and wealthy folks aren’t likely to spend more than they already are because they’re already spending a great deal compared with average Americans; their needs are already being met very nicely”.

Whilst many Americans agree with Obama, some of his own party members don’t see eye-to-eye with his plan. Nancy Pelosi, House Minority leader, proposed her own extension to the Bush tax cuts by raising the bar to those making under one million dollars, saying, “Democrats believe that tax cuts for those earning over a million dollars a year should expire and that we should use the resulting revenues to pay down the deficit”. Republicans believe that what Obama is proposing is actually a tax hike for Americans. Chris Stirewalt, writer for Fox News, believes “they’ve been selling a tax hike on individual incomes above 200,000 dollars for years as a way to make so-called millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share”.

By doing so, Obama hopes to portray Romney as a billionaire who’s out-of-touch with the American people. They’re also calling on Romney to release years of back tax forms to prove their point. Chris Savage noted, “The fact that he won’t release these records suggests that he’s hiding something. We already know he’s stashing income in offshore tax havens. The question is how much and why? All the currently available evidence suggests he’s doing it to avoid paying taxes in the US and, if that’s true, it calls into question his loyalty to our country”.

If Obama can pull Romney into a fight over the middle class, he looks like he’ll come out the victor in the upcoming election. However, Republicans think they have an ace up their sleeve. Chris Stirewalt wrote, “Republicans will counter that Obama is calling for a small business tax and Romney will be able to say that his economic plan includes an across-the-board tax cut”. Because of Obama’s poor performance at creating jobs, Romney can go on the attack, claiming that the tax cuts don’t go far enough and can even use those Democrats that oppose the small tax extension to help him prove his point. Whatever the outcome may be, we’ll be sure to see the fight grow more and more intense over the coming weeks as the election draws closer. Mitt Romney will be sure to bring up the job market sector, and Obama will likely bring up the tax problems that America is facing because of the small percentage of wealthy Americans.

Jared DeLuna

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_07_11/Obama-pulling-Romney-into-fight-over-Bush-era-tax-cuts/

11 July 2012. Pro-Fathausen Spin Appears on Website of the Men Faction in Russia

Pay no attention to the First Family members behind the curtain! They’re doing it all to you! OOPS! They’re doing it all FOR you, you ingrate bastards…

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JP is lying again, as is Lyonyo. They’re using Pravmir, one of the more… ahem… “interesting” Russian Orthodox websites. Pravmir is the official mouthpiece of the Aleksandr Men faction… that is, squiffy Renovationists in the mould of the SVS slimers. Many things there are not in the mainstream of Church tradition, to say the least. I don’t recommend it to novices at all, and it isn’t the best source for grounded people. I’d suggest Pravoslavie.ru or Interfax, along with VOR’s church reporting, along with patriarchia.ru, the official MP website.

However, let’s return to the topic at hand. Pravmir posted a gushing article, Митрополит Ион (Паффхаузен): Хороший человек в Сайоссете (Metropolitan Jonas Paffhausen: A Good Man in Syosset) (click here to access the article in Russian), the title of which tells you that it’s pure fluff and BS. In it, JP changes his story about his “elder” in Russia yet again… he’s gone back to claiming that Vladyki Pankraty Zherdev at Valaam was his starets.

There are factual inaccuracies in this post. Firstly, it claims in its initial paragraph that the Holy Synod issued a statement on JP’s resignation on Saturday. That’s a bald-faced lie, as no statement was issued until after midnight EDT 8 July. The parish that received JP isn’t a very large one; an MP friend of mine assures me that it has an “interesting” reputation. He repeats the lie that he was working on his (non-existent) doctoral dissertation when he went to Russia, but it doesn’t claim that Russky Palomnik was a production of the MP or that Fathausen worked for the MP Publication Department, as that would be noticed at the Centre. Also note that this particular article does NOT claim that JP was a novice at Valaam (again, that would be noticed in Russia).

JP repeated the lie that there are 400,000 members in the OCA, but it correctly notes that JP was only made an archimandrite in Spring 2008… only months before his “elevation” to the white hat. It includes a gushing reference to his support of so-called Family Values, but doesn’t mention his deep involvement in Far Right American politics (American Enterprise Institute, Washington Times, et al… all enemies of the rodina). It mentioned the canard that JP was attacked for being “too loyal” to Moscow. JP is as far from Orthodoxy as it’s practised at the Centre as it’s possible to be. Don’t forget JP’s pal Brum and the Brum Doctrine… that is, all power rests in the hands of the Metropolitan. Compare that to HH’s sensible collegiality and decentralisation, and it’s clear that JP has no inkling of the meaning of the word sobornost… indeed, his haughty attempts at dictatorial rule were more papist than anything else (without the checks and balances that the actual papacy has).

Then, it plays the violin prettily over JP’s visit to Freddie M-G’s parish in Maryland. Of course, such ungrounded rightwing konvertsy are his last base of support. The ignorance of the writer of the article is shown in the fact that Rod Dreher is called a “famous American journalist”… Rod Dreher is an ignorant toddler still shitting in his nappies, as far as Orthodoxy’s concerned. Literally, he doesn’t know his arse from a hole in the ground, and his attempt to reconcile Orthodoxy and Hard Right American politics is impious at best, blasphemous at worst. However, this smarkach was right on one point; he wrote that the Holy Synod signed the death warrant of the OCA by kicking out Fathausen. Yes, the OCA’s a dead duck, Rod… are you going to come home to the Centre with us, or are you going to run to such offbase konvertsy gurus as Freddie M-G and Patrick Reardon?

Most of the rest is offensive treacle in the same vein… the Schmemanndorf duo were “charismatic”, don’t ya know! It claims that Feodosy Lazor resigned due to charges of financial impropriety… not true… the word out there has it that Feodosy’s homosexuality had gotten to be too much of a liability to the First Families. Likewise, Herman didn’t get the boot for financial impropriety, per se; he got the axe for secrecy and overstepping the proper bounds of a hierarch (Herman was the first to subscribe to the heretical Brum Doctrine), quite another thing completely.

A total unknown, Tatiana Veselinka, wrote this article; supposedly, she’s from New York… it smells like something ginned up by Lyonyo and Gan… their parishes are in the same town, dontcha know.

There was also a so-called “interview” with Lyonyo on Pravmir (click here for the Russian text), it’s not clear whether it was face-to-face or over the phone, it’s not given, but I believe it was the latter. In it, Kish hints that there might be MORE than a three-month wait for a Sobor, if the First Families have their way. Lyonyo drags in the so-called 1917-18 Sobor, which has no validity for anyone, as it left no canonical acts. Lyonyo claims that JP resigned of “own free will”, but everyone knows that JP resigned under duress… the Holy Synod asked for the resignation unanimously (an MP priest-friend noted correctly that such means that Holy Synod shitcanned him). He ends with a stale repletion of the same old SVS line. The interviewer is a 28-year-old unknown, probably with no real knowledge of the American situation… give her a break… immaturity and lacking knowledge aren’t sins.

Kish’s interview is also on Portal Credo (click here for confirmation)… he couldn’t get anything on patriarchia.ru, he couldn’t get Interfax, he couldn’t get Pravoslavie.ru, and he couldn’t get Milena Faustova at VOR. All that he got were two of the more questionable websites out there. In short, the main Russian sources don’t trust Lyonyo. To be frank, Kish is hated at the Centre; he’s mistrusted as a Langley stooge, he’s even more disliked than Victor Potapov is. Fun n’ games from the First Families, but I don’t think that anyone’s buying.

Pass the jug… the situation’s crank, and getting more crook with each report. Bozhe moi!

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Albany NY

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