Voices from Russia

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Japan Remembers 2011 Tsunami Victims

00 Japan. tsunami. statue in Miyagi of Jizo Bosatsu. 10.03.13

A statue in Miyagi Prefecture (Tōhoku Region. Honshu) JAPAN of Jizō Bosatsu, one of Buddha‘s disciples, who guides dead children to heaven. People leave offerings here nearly every day.

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Two years ago, a devastating earthquake and tsunami laid waste to the northeast coast of Japan, causing an accident at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Memorial events commemorating victims of the disaster will be held throughout the country. Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō and his Cabinet members will attend the main ceremony in Tokyo. At 14.46 local time (09.46 MSK), there’ll be a moment of silence. That was the precise time of the first tremors of the quake. Recovery efforts continue in Japan, with officials estimating they might take anywhere from three to 15 years. Amongst the main problems are the slow rate of the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure and the depopulation of the affected areas.

Almost two years after a destructive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on 11 March 2011, devastating the northeastern portion of the country, 300,000 Japanese remain in evacuation housing. Many of them have to live in spartan conditions. Some 80,000 former residents of the towns of Okuma and Futaba in the Futaba District of Fukushima Prefecture, evacuated because of quake damage at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, still don’t know when they’ll be able to return to their homes, due to radioactive contamination. The effort to repair the aftermath of the natural disaster in different parts of the country may take anything between 3 and 15 years. The tragedy of 11 March 2011 killed 15,881 people and 2,668 more are still missing.

Japan will need another five to ten years to rebuild and recover from the consequences of the 2011 earthquake. This follows from a poll conducted by the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun of 42 Mayors of the cities affected. The Mayors pointed up that some of the major problems were a large population outflow and the disposal of the debris from the quake and tsunami. The M 9 quake and the ensuing tsunami occurred off the northeastern coast of Honshu on 11 March 2011. The elements claimed almost 19,000 lives. The earthquake and tsunami destroyed entire cities and damaged the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, which resulted in widespread radioactive contamination.

11 March 2013

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_03_11/Japan-remembers-quake-victims/

The New Pope of Rome: Shall He be One of the Expected Papabili or Shall He be a “Dark Horse?”

01 canadian catholic at st anne de beaupre

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On 12 March, a conclave of 112 Roman Catholic cardinals will gather in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel to elect a new, the 266th, Pope of Rome. Observers expect that the name of the new pope will be known before Catholic Palm Sunday (this year, on 24 March), or, at the latest, before Catholic Easter (31 March). Pope Benedict XVI Ratzinger retired on 28 February. He’s the first pope in the last 600 years who’s left the Fisherman’s Throne before his death. At present, Vatican watchers name five men as the most-probable winners of the upcoming papal conclave (all are cardinals):

However, it’s still hard to guess with certainty who will be the next Pope of Rome. Not long before his retirement, Benedict changed the procedure of electing a new pope. Aleksei Bukalov, a Russian expert on Vatican affairs, said, “The new conditions are very demanding. According to the amendments made by Benedict, a new pope needs a two-thirds majority of votes to win election. One should mention that Benedict’s predecessor John Paul II Wojtyła, contrariwise, simplified the procedure. According to the rules that he introduced, after a certain number of ballots, a new Pope could be elected by a simple majority of votes”. The amendments made by Benedict might hamper the process of electing a new pope… although, of course, there was an instance in the 13th century when it took three years for church leaders to elect a new pope… that’s unlikely to recur.

If none of the above-mentioned five candidates gets two-thirds of the votes, an alternative figure might arise, as it was in the case of Benedict’s predecessor John Paul II. During the elections for a new pope in October 1978, at first, no one predicted any serious chances for Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyła (John Paul II’s secular name). Many of his rivals seemed to have much better chances to win. However, Wojtyła won the election in the end. By the way, he was the first non-Italian in more than four-and-a-half centuries to ascend the papal throne.

Russian analyst Pavel Svyatenko said, “It’s practically impossible to predict now who’ll be the next pope. In fact, the list of the allegedly most-probable candidates isn’t very reliable. It’s quite possible that none of them would get enough votes, and the conclave would suggest an alternative candidate”. Judging by several statements by some of the cardinals who’d vote for the new pope, they’ve divided into two parties. Both parties recognise that the Roman Catholic Church needs a certain amount of modernisation, but one faction believes that only a person who knows life in Vatican very well “from the inside” would be able to reform the Church properly. However, others believe that the Church needs a leader who has no earlier links with the Vatican bureaucracy, and who, thus, would have a fresh, non-prejudicial, approach to the Church’s problems. Theoretically, according to Catholic canon law, any male Roman Catholic can become Pope of Rome, even if he’s never been a priest or a monk. However, since the 14th century, only cardinals have become popes.

10 March 2013

Andrei Fedyashin

Aleksei Lyakhov

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_03_10/New-Pope-predictable-candidate-or-dark-horse/

10 March 2013. What’s Sergianism? Here’s One Definition…

01 favours from the devil

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Although they’re usually completely off the beam, the ROCOR (V), the former ROCOR faction centred around the late Vitaly Ustinov, did offer a good definition of Sergianism. Here’s the relevant part:

It disturbs and distorts the teachings and canons of the Christian moral laws; it commands Christians to worship an atheist régime, as if it were God-given. It commends believers to serve it not out of fear, but out of conscience… blessing all its iniquities, justifying the persecution of the True Church of Christ by the godless, thinking thereby to serve God. In fact, such are committed followers of heresy.

http://www.russianorthodoxchurchinexile.com/russian%20site/off200412.html

When one sees this in general, rather than in particular, terms, it’s obvious that the faction centred about Victor Potapov and James Paffhausen in the District fits this definition to a tee. They’re rabid supporters of the Hard Right wing of the Republican Party, they’re willing to compromise the Faith by common action with godless Evangelicals, Mormons, and Moonies, and they support the “Greed is Good” ideology of the GOP élite. In short, it’s American Sergianism… and it’s high time that we condemned it as such.

Potapov and Paffhausen commend us to bless the warmongering, greed, and demonic social ideology of the GOP (using “Pro-Life” rhetoric as a moral fig-leaf to cover over the ghastly and corrosive dogma of the Right)… on the other hand, HH condemns American warmongering and blesses a full state-provided palette of social-welfare benefits. One stance is holy and god-pleasing… the other position is wicked Sergianism and devilish deception. I don’t think that I have to tell you which one is which…

BMD

A View from Moscow by Valentin Zorin… Republicans in Congress Won’t Allow Steps to Stop the Sequester

00 Paul Ryan. Politics. 08.12

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Americans hoped until the last moment that the US government would save them from the threat hanging over the US economy, but it didn’t happen. The crisis that’s loomed over the US economy is now reality. After fruitless attempts to secure cooperation from the US Congress to cut the budget deficit, President Obama imposed across-the-board cuts. By presidential order, budget cuts will slash spending by 1.2 trillion dollars (37 trillion Roubles. 920 billion Euros. 800 billion UK Pounds). This will spell major disaster for millions of Americans. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be out of work, still hundreds of thousands more will lose their medical coverage and social benefits. Schools and day-care centres will close, which will see teachers swell the ranks of the unemployed. Job cuts amongst air traffic controllers will upset normal air travel and the public won’t be able to take tours of the White House. Sadly, this doesn’t exhaust the list of evils due to fall on the heads of ordinary Americans.

The reason for such extraordinary measures was a crippling 17 trillion USD (525 trillion Roubles. 13 trillion Euros. 11.4 trillion UK Pounds) federal government debt and an annually-increasing budget deficit. This disproportionately-huge debt and the government’s annually repeated failure to keep within budgetary limits is largely the result of excessive military spending. Once the Republican administration of George W Bush took office in 2001, it resumed the arms race that ended with the conclusion of the Cold War. Immediately, growing debt replaced deficit-free budgets. By the time that Barack Obama arrived in the White House, the debt had mounted to 13 trillion USD (400 trillion Roubles. 10 trillion Euros. 8.7 trillion UK Pounds). Nevertheless, the arms race didn’t stop. As military spending in Fiscal Year 2013 exceeded 630 billion USD (19.5 trillion Roubles. 500 billion Euros. 425 billion UK Pounds), the US federal debt continues to increase. According to the US Department of the Treasury, the US federal debt may hit a whopping 19 trillion USD (586 trillion Roubles. 14.6 trillion Euros. 12.75 trillion UK Pounds) in the foreseeable future.

However, the US government will do everything possible to mitigate the effects of sequestration. In a search for a solution to this situation, President Obama put forward a plan of far-reaching savings, including the abolition of the substantial Bush tax breaks for major corporations and the richest individuals. Given that large corporations and the “Billionaires Club” account for the bulk of national wealth and yearly revenues, this Democratic proposal was bound to ease the growing US federal debt, if not help the ailing US economy.

However, Obama had no such luck. The Republican-dominated Congress continued to dig in its heels obstinately. Negotiations lasted for many weeks. The President tried to reason with them, he even offered concessions to them, and he sometimes blustered, but nothing worked. The debate continued literally until the last minute, until, on the night of 1 March, President Obama ordered a compulsory reduction in government spending by 85 billion USD (2.6 trillion Roubles. 65 billion Euros. 57 billion UK Pounds), the consequences of which are hard to foresee at present. In its present configuration, the US Congress is mostly an élitist club of ultra-right conservatives, which makes it unable to express the interests that benefit the greater American society. Now, congressmen approve exorbitant military spending, launch unlawful bills like the Magnitsky Act, and doggedly stick to Cold War stereotypes. Big Business interests dictated the budget sequester provoked by the US Congress; as many of the lawmakers take its money, ergo, they serve its ends. In addition, it runs counter to US national interests; it may have serious consequences for the welfare of the USA and for the global economy. Apparently, it looks like those who consider themselves the American national élite couldn’t care less.

zorin_v9 March 2013

Valentin Zorin

Voice of Russia World Service

http://rus.ruvr.ru/2013_03_06/Respublikanci-v-Kongresse-SSHA-ne-pozvolili-predotvratit-sekvestr/

Editor’s Note:

Let’s keep it simple. American war expenditures are 46 percent of the world total. If we cut it in half, it’d still dwarf the next-nearest rival (the PRC) by THREE TIMES. Most of this money is either spent on pointless adventuring in foreign parts or its outright boodle and corruption (the US Congress is well-known for having been a world-class champion in graft since the time of Mark Twain). For instance, the USA spends BILLIONS on “private for-profit armed corporations” to guard convoys and facilities in combat zones; we should be using regular troops to do so (regular troops are more disciplined and accountable than private mercenaries are… but the US government uses mercs to avoid the political fallout from having to reinstitute conscription in a time of “war”).

The American national interest would be best-served by the defence of the maritime lines of communications of the so-called Anglosphere (USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand), which would require a ocean defence belt based on the GIUK GapBritish home islandsGibraltarAzores line in the Atlantic zone and the AleutiansGuamAustralia line in the Pacific zone. The only Continental navies that have bases outside of the GIUK Gap/English Channel choke-points are France, Spain, and Portugal (all American allies at present). Note well that the Anglosphere home defence isn’t based on the army, as is so on the Continent or in Russia, China, and India, but on the navy. That is, NATO is completely irrelevant to American home defence… the wars on the Asian mainland only knackered the US economy (as General Omar Bradley famously put it, it was “the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy“)… they didn’t add one whit to American national security. The only thing that the Bush Wars did was to transfer an obscene amount of dengi to the already-rich.

In short, the Republican drive for global hegemony, to make the world safe for unrestrained corporate profit, provoked and precipitated the current financial crisis. After all, grounded people know that you don’t go to war and CUT taxes (that is, the Republicans increased war spending exponentially, but cut the revenue flow to pay for it… DELIBERATELY). That’s what the Republican Party did… such reckless and notional foolishness had the inevitable result; it crashed the economy. Reflect on this… the Right stands for personal gain above all else… that means that they’re unpatriotic to the bone, and that they’re grasping cretins. Ironic, ain’t it… those who wrap themselves up the most in the flag are the least patriotic. Don’t forget, Willy Romney was an unrepentant draft dodger and Paul Ryan refused to serve in the forces. In the end, most leftists are more patriotic… but the corporate media says otherwise. Whom do YOU believe? Do you believe what the corporate media tells you, who owe their well-compensated jobs to toeing the “party line” of the plutocrats, or, do you believe the reality that’s in front of your face? Do choose well…

BMD   

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