Voices from Russia

Thursday, 17 November 2016

17 November 2016. Vox Pop on the “Orthodox” Rightwing

00 fidel castro and patr kirill


A friend sent me this. I need add nothing, save, “Hear, hear!”



My grandfather didn’t support racists and fascists before and during World War II. He fought them… he shot them. He followed the lead of his father who was active during the Battle of George Square. Despite his populist rhetoric, the fact is that Trump is indicative of the bosses, their screws, and their un-Christian way of dealing or doing business. Trump deprived his workers or contractors due wages/compensation… a sin according to the Law that so many fundies and Convertadox from those traditions love to, selectively of course, laud. Ayn Rand and the whole of what now is the GOP espouse Greed, an ideology anathema to the Gospel. I’ll not call them Republicans out of respect for the great many true Republicans who opposed such nonsense as they espouse, but rather supported helping the poor, regardless of race or creed. Equally evil is trying to hide behind one’s cassock to deflect criticism of one’s Antichristian anti-Orthodox views. Fact is, the whole history of the Church, its traditions (both big and little T) and Scripture oppose the fascist tomfoolery espoused by the likes of Whiteford, Peck, Hughes, Trenham, and a host of others. You don’t preach the Gospel by supporting Mammon. Period. You do it by recognising that God created every human being in His image and likeness, and admitting that gross inequities in any economic system are an affront to that. St Basil the Great gave his views on that subject in On Social Justice. St Chrysostom taught likewise in his series of sermons called On Wealth and Poverty. Sadly, I think most of the aforementioned clergy, along with too many quislings, ignore them in favour of Ayn Rand, her followers, and their patently Antichristian views. I’ll add in closing that I agree with a few of Hagee’s statements… God’s judgement is looming, but it’s less to do with abortion or gay marriage as opposed to our wilful ignorance of the fact the USA worships wealth and the acquisition of it. Here are a few scriptural citations that show precisely God’s opinion of Mammon and its workings.

Deuteronomy 24.14-15

Thou shall not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: at his day thou shall give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and sets his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be sin unto thee.

Leviticus 19.13

Thou shall not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

Leviticus 25.50

And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of jubilee: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him.


Note well that the Mother Church condemns neoliberalism (“conservatism”), neocolonialism, and the inequities of the so-called Free Market. Also, note that most of the loudmouth rightwing konvertsy spit on that teaching of the Church… “Cafeteria Christianity”, wot (isn’t it delicious when you can turn a bigot’s words against them)? HH pals around with Comrade Fidel… Trenham and Whiteford pal around with godless Republican greedsters. One of these things is NOT like the other…



The Green Party is the Answer to this Rotten Election

00 electoral fraud, 27.10.14


We’re the answer to stopping climate change. We’re the answer to massive unemployment with a Green New Deal providing 20 million good jobs to replace and repair our crumbling infrastructure. We’re the answer for liberating hundreds of thousands of students trapped in insurmountable debt and the answer for people who desperately need health care, but can’t afford it under our current system. The Green Party is the answer to so many problems plaguing our nation and our world. That’s likely the reason our party membership is growing like wildfire. Our victories are growing, too… including victories in this past election. There were over 1.2 million votes for the Stein/Baraka Green Party ticket nationwide. Washington State passed Initiative 735, and California passed Proposition 59, calling for a constitutional amendment to abolish the illegitimate court-created concepts of “corporate constitutional rights” and “money equals political speech”. We’re proud of that record. We also elected Greens at the local level! We elected 3 in Minnesota, 5 in Michigan, and 10 to 13 in California, and one in Florida. However, our victories haven’t been isolated to just this election. They’ve been happening all along.

When Jill announced her run for President early in 2015, announcing so early gave us enough lead-time to fight ballot access battles and build a winning campaign team as well! Speaking of ballot access, this year, the national electorate was able to vote for Jill and Ajamu in 48 states (45 plus 3 write-ins). No other Green Party candidate in history… including Ralph Nader in 1996 and 2000… was on that many ballots! It was unprecedented. Our campaign also qualified for federal matching funds in March of 2016, which was another victory… because thousands of supporters all over the nation pitched in to make it a reality. Until 8 August, federal funds matched every dollar for our campaign 1:1. This meant hundreds of thousands in desperately needed campaign funds. On 1 August, it overjoyed our campaign when Jill asked Ajamu Baraka to be her Vice-Presidential running mate. As an internationally recognised human rights activist, organiser, and geopolitical analyst, Ajamu was a huge asset to our campaign.

After the Green Party convention in Houston, our “press” absolutely swamped us. Some of that coverage was historic. Highlights included our CNN Town Hall… the first time Jill and Ajamu were on primetime… as well as the first debate livestream when we made history and inserted Jill’s answers during the debate in between the non-answers of the establishment candidates. We reached over 26 million people – the biggest audience for an alternative party candidate since Ross Perot was in the debates in 1992! Then, there was also the history-making PBS forum/debate with Gary Johnson… it was the first third-party forum on a major broadcast channel… ever.

Overall, the Green Party has many victories! We plan to continue this great momentum. Green Party activists are hitting the ground running by organising and calling for actions against harmful policies, as well as for much-needed reforms to the political system. Nothing has changed for us. Nothing has changed about our leftist party-building directives. We were going to have to fight either way, and resist “empire” no matter what. We thank you for being the engine of this revolution. Our movement is growing… this is the beginning, not the end. Greens are organising! Will you continue onward and upward with us? There’s much to be thankful for and much more to do…

It’s in our hands.

16 November 2016

Gloria Mattera

Stein/Baraka 2016 Campaign Chairman

(no URL available… email)

What to Do About Trump? The Same Thing My Grandfather Did in 1930s Vienna

00 god told us to hate you. 190715

Here’s a shocking fact… most of the Trump supporters who mouth racist and other hateful rhetoric call themselves “Christians”. Fancy that… would the Carpenter of Galilee bless such? I think not… and I’m not alone…


My grandfather Siegfried wasn’t a sophisticated man. When he bought a car… always the same car, a blue Peugeot 305, replaced every few years with a newer model of the same make… he kept the seats covered in plastic to keep them eternally clean. When you asked him for an apple, he’d hold the fruit in his hand and rotate it like a tiny globe, peeling it with his pocketknife and making sure to remove only the skin and none of the flesh. When I ran away, as a child of 6 or 7, to explore a park nearby, he dashed out the door, wearing nothing but his underwear, and ran until he found me and hugged me tight. He didn’t even hear the passersby who pointed and laughed. Nothing mattered to him but his family.

He died when I was very young, so I know his life’s story only as a broad outline… educated in a conservatory in Vienna, he was a promising young violinist and composer when the goosesteps of Hitler’s goons spooked him. He convinced two of his sisters to trade in a continental future for one less tender on the shores of Palestine. Some of his friends, maybe, even members of his family, pointed and laughed then, too, telling him he was hysterical, that he was getting it all wrong, that it couldn’t possibly be that bad. Nevertheless, grandpa Siegfried wouldn’t listen…his simple heart advised him to take the thugs at their word and leave. At least, that’s how I imagine it… he never spoke of those early days, and they soon seized, deported, and murdered all his family and friends. I’m not sharing this particular story at this particular point to make a historical analogy. Those are rarely useful even under the best of circumstances, and to compare Donald Trump to the Führer or his ascent to the rise of the Third Reich is an absurd and reprehensible proposition. However, I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandfather’s story this past week, and in it, I find three simple commandments I can’t bring myself to dismiss.

The first, and most obvious, is this… treat every poisoned word as a promise. When a bigoted blusterer tells you he intends to force members of a religious minority to register with the authorities… much like those friends and family of Siegfried’s who stayed behind had to do before their horizon grew darker… believe him. Don’t try to be clever. Don’t lean on political intricacies, legislative minutia, or historical precedents for comfort. Don’t write it off as propaganda, or explain it away as just an empty proclamation meant simply to pave the path to power. Take the haters at their word, and assume the worst is imminent.

Do that, and a second principle follows closely… you should treat people like adults, which means respecting them enough to demand that they understand the consequences of their actions. Explaining away or excusing the actions of others isn’t your job. Vienna in the first decades of the 20th century was a city inflamed with a desire to better understand the motives, hidden or otherwise, that move people to action. Freud and Kafka, Elias Canetti and Karl Kraus, Stefan Zweig and Franz Werfel… these eminences crowded the same cafés Siegfried and his musician friends most likely frequented. However, whilst these beautiful minds struggled to understand the world around them, simpler and more vicious appetites consumed the world around them. Don’t waste any time, then, trying to understand… then, as now, the demagogue amused many and his vile vision moved them. Some have perfectly reasonable explanations for their decisions, while others have little to go on but incoherent rage. It doesn’t matter. Voters are all adults; all have made their choices, and now you must brace for impact. Whether you choose to forgive those, friends and strangers alike, who cast their votes so deplorably is a matter of personal choice, and none but the most imperious among us would advocate a categorical rejection of millions based on their electoral actions, no matter how irresponsible and dim. So while you make these personal calculations, remember that what matters now isn’t analysis… It’s survival.

Which leads me to the third principle, the one hardest to grasp… refuse to accept what’s going on as the new normal. Not now… not ever. In the months and years to come, decisions will be made that may strike you as perfectly sound, appointments announced that are inspired, and policies enacted you may even like. Friends and pundits will reach out to you and, invoking nuance, urge you to admit that there’s really nothing to fear, that things are more complex, that nothing is ever black or white. Of course, it’s a perfectly sound argument, but it’s also dead wrong… this isn’t about policy or appointments or even about outcomes. This isn’t a political contest… it’s a moral crisis. When an inexperienced thin-skinned demagogue rides into office by explaining away immensely complex problems whilst arguing that our national glory demands we strip millions of their dignity or their rights, our only duty is to resist by whatever means permitted us by law.

The demagogue may boost the economy, sign beneficial treaties, and mend our ailing institutions, but his success can never be ours. Our greatness, to use a tired but true phrase, depends on our goodness, and to succeed, we must demand that our commander-in-chief come as close as is possible to reflecting the light of that goodness. There’s no point indulging in the kind of needlessly complex thinking that so often plagues the intelligent and the well-informed. There’s no room for reading tea leaves, for calculations, projections, or clever takes. The only thing that matters now is the simple moral truth… this isn’t right. As long as we never forget that, we can never lose… as grandpa Siegfried knew all too well, those who refuse to gradually put up with the darkness are making a very safe bet… if you’re wrong, there’s no harm, but if you’re right, you win more or less everything. So forgive me if these next four years I’m not inclined to be smart. When it comes to the task ahead, I’ve no interest in deep dives, shades of grey, or mea culpas. Like my grandfather, I’m a simple Jew, and like him, I take danger at face value. When the small hands of hateful men seize the levers of power, you work hard, you stand with those who are most vulnerable, and you don’t give up until it’s morning again. The rest is commentary.

14 November 2016

Liel Leibovitz



Why Trump Must Slay the Beast of Neoconservatism

00 evil uncle sam. 28.05.14


Donald Trump’s pledge to embark on a new direction when it comes to American foreign policy is both welcome and necessary. However, if he is to succeed, he’ll first have to slay the beast of neoconservatism in Washington. No one should be in any doubt as to the enormity of the task president-elect Donald Trump faces if he is to undertake the new course in foreign policy he outlined during his campaign for president. Over 800 US military bases across the globe tells their own story, evidence of an empire of which the Romans would’ve been proud. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman summed up most succinctly the nature of this American Empire:

The hidden hand of the market can never work without the hidden fist… McDonald’s can’t flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the US Air Force F-15. The hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley technologies to flourish is the US Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.

The point is that the economic hegemony enjoyed by the USA around the world couldn’t exist without the military power that both protects and acts as its guarantor. This military power is both a key driver of the economy, on the grounds set out by Friedman, and a major drain on the nation’s federal budget, hoovering up a mammoth 53 percent (600 billion USD (38.8 trillion Roubles. 4.12 trillion Renminbi. 40.8 trillion INR. 806 billion CAD. 802 billion AUD. 562 billion Euros. 484 billion UK Pounds) of US federal discretionary spending. One can’t downsize its bloated budget and power without a fight, what with the vast network of vested interests dependent on it being maintained. Dealing with those vested interests in Washington is going to be crucial if Donald Trump’s words are going to manifest in the sort of action they herald going forward.

Though the president-elect is no neocon, the neocons haven’t gone away because of his election; and not more importantly has their belief in a world operating to the beat of America’s drum. The likes of John McCain, Victoria Nuland, John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz, etc., along with their fellow travellers in Washington… working within the myriad of think tanks and foundations that constitute an industry all by themselves… remain very much a fixture within the American political, security, media, and military establishments. When we talk about neocons, we aren’t only referring to Republicans either. Hillary Clinton was as neocon as they come with regard to her vision of America’s place in the world, as was Obama throughout his tenure in the White House… something to which the people of Libya, Afghanistan, and Syria would readily testify. To their credit, Trump and his team refused to avoid confronting the ugly and uncomfortable truth that Washington’s foreign policy in the wake of 9/11 bore all the hallmarks of a drunk giant lumbering around a china shop, smashing and destroying everything in its path, lacking any direction or coherence. In a statement as succinct as it was profound, the newly-elected US President said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal:

My attitude was you’re fighting Syria, Syria is fighting ISIS [Daesh], and you have to get rid of ISIS… now, we’re backing rebels against Syria, and we have no idea who these people are. If the USA attacks Mr Assad, we end up fighting Russia, fighting Syria.

Compare this simple yet cogent analysis to the imperial arrogance that fuelled the case for the now infamous Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the neocon doctrine that emerged in response to the demise of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. PNAC’s statement of principles, drawn up in 1997, read in part:

We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership. As the 20th century ends, the USA stands as the world’s preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the USA have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the USA have the resolve to shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests?

As the world knows by now, these crazed US neocons weren’t interested in advancing democracy or human rights, it was domination, hegemony, and the crushing of any and all opposition to their perverse vision of a Pax Americana. Herein lies the real motive behind the war in Iraq, régime change in Libya under the auspices of NATO, and the attempt to effect régime change in Syria by proxy. Indeed, though never a signatory to or member of PNAC, Bill Clinton’s presidency operated to the same philosophy with the break-up of Yugoslavia, again, utilising NATO as a club to smash opposition to Washington’s imperial interests.

Indeed, the only significant difference there was between Democrat and Republican administrations in pushing this agenda was in method and not aims. Democratic Party presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama opted for a multilateral approach, using NATO as that “mailed fist” described by Friedman and not the US military on its own, or in alliance with other junior partners, such as the UK. Meanwhile, for the Republican Bush administration, it was a case of “you’re either with us or against us”. Regardless of the method employed, the result was the same… the arrogance and tyranny of a superpower gone mad. Now, with Trump’s election to the White House, this neocon doctrine suffered a seismic ideological, intellectual, and political setback. However, as mentioned, neoconservatism is far from dead, which is why Trump can look forward to a major struggle in Washington in the course of acting on his vision of a step-change in the direction of US foreign policy. The 45th President of the United States has no choice. In 2016, America is no longer the world and the world is no longer America.

15 November 2016

John Wight

Sputnik International


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