Voices from Russia

Saturday, 21 January 2017

As Seen by Vitaly Podvitsky… An Ideology of Treason

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On Tuesday, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell suggested that Vladimir Putin should make Edward Snowden an inauguration “gift” to Donald Trump. MID RF spokesman M V Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page bashing Morell:

It’s clear that, for the CIA-man’s firm, it is normal to present people as gifts and give up those who seek protection. [Morell’s] comments reveal an ideology of treason in the CIA.

18 January 2017

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/cartoons/201701181049718526-morell-snowden-zakharova-treason-ideology/

21 January 2017. G K Zhukov on the Russian Soldier… Anglos… TAKE NOTICE

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To put it mildly, most invaders of Russia ended up with their bones bleaching on the Russian steppe. There were only two successful invaders… the Mongols, back in the 13th century and the Central Powers in 1918. Do note that the latter was due to a collapse of the central government and not to victory on the battlefield… and it only lasted about a year. The loudmouth Anglo liberals don’t know history. We Russians know that the Western hatred of our state, people, and faith goes back many centuries. In medieval times, the Teutonic Order attempted to conquer Orthodox Russia (particularly Pskov and Novgorod) with the blessing of the Pope of Rome, Gregory IX di Conti, the so-called “Northern Crusades”. However, the Russians threw out the papist aggressors, most signally at the Battle on the Ice in 1242.

In short, in modern times, no foreigner has successfully invaded and put down the Russian state and people. Anglos… take heed. You goad a state and people not only with more maturity and wisdom than you have… they have a solid record of repelling invasion. Will the Anglo-Americans heed history or will they plunge ahead stupidly and arrogantly, as they always seem to do? That’s their choice… I hope that they choose wisely… however, given their history and pigheadedness…

BMD

Thursday, 19 January 2017

How Barack Obama Paved the Way for Donald Trump

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To celebrate its 225th anniversary, the US Mint and Treasury last week unveiled plans to issue a 24-carat commemorative coin depicting Lady Liberty as an African-American woman. With full lips and braided hair tied back in a bun, the words “LIBERTY” above and “In God We Trust” below frame her gold-embossed profile. Elisa Basnight, the Mint’s chief of staff, said:

As we as a nation continue to evolve, so does Liberty’s representation.

Sadly, the representation is evolving far faster than the nation. The coin is worth 100 USD (5,970 Rubles. 690 Renminbi. 6,810 INR. 133 CAD. 132 AUD. 94 Euros. 81 UK Pounds); in 2010, the median net wealth for women of colour was calculated at just 5 USD (298 Rubles. 34 Renminbi. 340 INR. 6.60 CAD. 6.50 AUD. 4.70 Euros. 4 UK Pounds). Black women now earn 65 cents for every dollar made by a white man… the same gap as 20 years ago. Therefore, the Treasury produced a coin in these women’s image that most can’t afford… as the economy is producing low-wage jobs that leave them with liberty without equality.

For the past eight years, American liberals gorged themselves on symbolism. A significant section of the population, including those most likely to support Barack Obama, have felt better about their country even as they have fared worse in it. The young, good-looking, intact, scandal-free black family in the White House embodied a hopeful future for America and beyond. Photogenic, with an understated chic, here were people of colour who looked even better in black and white. With personal stories of progress without privilege, they provided Camelot without the castle… evoking a sense of possibility in a period of economic stagnation, social immobility, and political uncertainty.

As Obama passes the keys and the codes to Donald Trump at the end of this week, so many liberals mourn the passing of what has been, remain in a state of disbelief for what happened, and express deep anxiety about what is to come. It is a steep cliff… politically, rhetorically, and aesthetically… from the mocha-complexioned consensual intellectual to the permatanned, “pussy-grabbing” vulgarian. However, there’s a connection between the “new normal” and the old that one must understand if resistance in the Trump era is going to amount to more than Twitter memes driven by impotent rage and fuelled by flawed nostalgia. This transition isn’t simply a matter of sequence… one bad president following a good one…but consequence… one horrendous agenda made possible by the failure of its predecessor.

It is easy for liberals to despise Trump. He is a thin-skinned charlatan, a self-proclaimed sexual harasser, a blusterer, and a bigot. One needn’t exhaust any moral energy in making the case against his agenda. That is precisely what makes it so difficult to understand his appeal. Similarly, it’s easy for liberals to love Obama. He’s measured, thoughtful, smart, and eloquent… and did some good things despite strong opposition from Republicans. That is precisely what makes it so difficult for liberals to provide a principled and plausible critique of his presidency. One can’t blame Obama for Trump. It was the Republicans… craven to the mob within their base, which they’ve always courted but ultimately couldn’t control… that nominated and, for now, indulges him. Yet, it’d be disingenuous to claim Trump rose from a vacuum that bore no relationship to the previous eight years.

Undeniably, some of that relationship mingles with what Obama is… a black man, with a lapsed Muslim father from Kenya. That particular constellation of identities was like catnip to an increasingly strident wing of the Republican Party in a time of war, migration, and racial tumult. Trump didn’t invent racism. Indeed, race-baiting was a staple of Republican Party strategy for more than 50 years. Remember, Richard Nixon told his chief-of-staff, HR Haldeman:

You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognises that while not appearing to.

Nevertheless, as he refused to observe the electoral etiquette of the Nixon strategy, his campaign descended into a litany of brazen racist taunts. One shouldn’t underplay racism’s role, but arguably, one can overstate its impact. While Trump evidently emboldened existing racists, it isn’t obvious that he created new ones. He received the same proportion of the white vote as Mitt Romney in 2012 and George W Bush in 2004. It doesn’t follow that because Trump’s racism was central to his meaning for liberals, it was necessarily central to his appeal for Republicans. There is a deeper connection, however, between Trump’s rise and what Obama did… or rather didn’t do… economically. He entered the White House at a moment of economic crisis, with Democratic majorities in both Houses and bankers on the back foot. Faced with the choice of preserving the financial industry as it was or embracing far-reaching reforms that would’ve served the interests of those who voted for him, he chose the former.

Just a couple of months into his first term he called a meeting of banking executives. One of them told Ron Suskind in his book Confidence Men:

The president had us at a moment of real vulnerability. At that point, he could’ve ordered us to do just about anything and we would’ve rolled over, but he didn’t… he mostly wanted to help us out, to quell the mob.

People lost their homes while bankers kept their bonuses and banks kept their profits. In 2010, Damon Silvers of the independent congressional oversight panel told Treasury officials:

We can either have a rational resolution to the foreclosure crisis, or we can preserve the capital structure of the banks. We can’t do both.

They chose the latter. Not surprisingly, this wasn’t popular. Three years into Obama’s first term 58 percent of the country… including an overwhelming majority of Democrats and independents… wanted the government to help stop foreclosures. His Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, did the opposite, setting up a programme that would “foam the runway” for the banks. Therefore, when Hillary Clinton stood for Obama’s third term, the problem wasn’t just a lack of imagination… it was that the first two terms hadn’t lived up to their promise.

This time last year, fewer than four in 10 were happy with Obama’s economic policies. When asked last week to assess progress under Obama 56 percent of Americans said the country had lost ground or stood still on the economy, while 48 percent said it had lost ground on the gap between the rich and poor… against just 14 percent who said it gained ground. These were the Obama coalition… black and young and poor… who didn’t vote in November, making Trump’s victory possible. Those whose hopes aren’t being met… people more likely to go to the polls because they’re inspired about a better future than because they fear a worse one.

Naturally, Trump’s cabinet of billionaires will do no better and, in all likelihood, do far worse. Moreover, even as we protest about the legitimacy of the “new normal”, we shouldn’t pretend it’s replacing something popular or effective. The old normal wasn’t working. The premature nostalgia for the Obamas in the White House isn’t a yearning for Obama’s policies. As any recipient of the new coin will tell you, there’s a difference between things that look different and make you feel good, and things that make a difference and actually do good. One shouldn’t dismiss symbols as insubstantial… but one shouldn’t mistake them for substance either.

16 January 2017

Gary Younge

The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/16/how-barack-obama-paved-way-donald-trump-racism

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Xi Jinping’s New Year’s Speech Says a Lot About What to Expect in 2017

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This year’s 2017 New Year’s speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping speech was rich in symbology, by intentionally portraying a much different mien than in previous years of his leadership. While most Westerners wouldn’t notice the change, it was definitely not lost on the citizens of the People’s Republic. The modern art of reading the tea leaves quickly moved into the conversation on China’s streets and social media. His presentation shouted out to them and the rest of the world what Xi and the Communist Party of China (CPC) are expecting in this New Year of the Fire Rooster.

In earlier years, Xi was in a warm looking, wood-panelled office, seated comfortably behind a huge bureau. On it were notebooks to show studiousness, as well as several red and white phones, to suggest ongoing and urgent lines of communication with all concerned. A pen holder and an open-faced calendar exuded the daily rigours of being leader of the world’s most populous country, whilst burnishing his already well-deserved reputation of outworking even the most dedicated Party member.

Almost all the camera shots were up close and personal, his upper torso above the big desk filling up most of the screen. He mostly kept his hands clasped together, like an avuncular Confucian scholar, leaning into the camera to make important points, and often making hand gestures, in a relaxed, personal style. Surrounding him were walls of books, many obviously being series of old Chinese classics, projecting sagacity and learning, two highly prized traits of all top historical leaders. Group family photos with Mom, Dad, brother and sisters were prominently shown, as well as an old black and white photo of his father sporting a Red Star of Communism on his People’s Liberation Army field cap, all facing the cameras. The implied message: family man, respect for elders and the legacy of his family in the CPC. In the middle of these bookshelves and right behind him was a smallish ancient painting of the Great Wall, offering subdued strength and protection for the people. Also behind him to his right was a standing national flag of China, with the famous five-star arrangement proudly turned toward the viewers (CPC at the helm of farmers, workers, small- and large businesspeople).

For the last three years, a very similar speech, in the exact same panelled room, with identical accoutrements, was given, all signalling to Xi’s 1.4 billion citizens continuity, stability, and harmony, the perfect definition of the much coveted historical Heavenly Mandate. All was good and predictable. My, oh my, what a difference does a crazy global geopolitical year and a new US president make, and Xi’s speech this week showed that in spades. Gone were the warmness, intimacy and friendly, familial ambience. This year, Xi strode sombrely into a large open high-ceilinged sumptuous room with plush carpeting. He stood behind a modern podium that came to a narrow triangular point at the base. Two microphones were on the podium top, whilst on its front was the national seal of China staring into the cameras. No more Uncle Xi. This year it was President and Chairman of the CPC and Central Military Commission (CMC) writ large. He looked like has was riding a mighty steed, or steering the country’s ship, looking out for treacherous waters, from the captain’s deck.

The carpet had lotus flower floral designs, which symbolise rectitude, purity, and honesty in Chinese lore. It wasn’t lost on careful observers that Xi’s podium was in the centre of one of these floral patterns, like a presidential lotus bloom rising above the troubled and murky seas of world geopolitics. Gone were Mom and Dad and all the hundreds of books that used to ensconce Xi. This year, all that was behind him was a massive four-metre-wide by three-metre-tall classic painting of the Great Wall and the national flag. This immediately represented danger outside the boundaries of the Motherland, foreign invaders massing on the outside. After walking straight to the podium, he put his two hands on its sides and never moved them during the nine-minute speech, as if he were helping maintain control of the circumstances, holding down the fort. Much more rigid and serious than the previous three years, he looked like a dead serious general preparing his officers for a great and challenging battle.

Even last year, after China’s mighty military muscle flexing at Beijing’s huge, 70th anniversary World War II Victory Parade (with Vladimir Putin at his side), there was no need to acknowledge the West’s never-ending efforts to destabilise and overthrow China’s communist government, nor the USA’s obviously aggressive maritime pivot off its shores. But this year, with President-Elect Donald Trump making Sinophobic appointments in his cabinet and suggesting that Taiwan is a bargaining chip for future discussions and negotiations, Xi unequivocally reassured his people and let Uncle Sam know the obvious:

We’ll resolutely safeguard our territory and sovereignty, as well as our maritime rights. No matter who seeks to make an issue of this, the Chinese people will never give way.

What this year’s change in speech ambience, tone, and message means is that Xi Jinping and the CPC are battening down the hatches; preparing to fight the USA and its NATO and regional allies. Diplomacy and dialogue are de rigueur, but in the meantime, psychologically preparing the citizens is critical. The Western Huns are encircling their great nation and it’s time to assume the worst. Hopefully, on 20 January, at his first national security meeting, a bright spark will ask President Trump:

Sir, are you prepared to go to war over Taiwan? Because China is.

16 January 2017

Jeff Brown

Greanville Post

http://www.greanvillepost.com/2017/01/16/xi-jinpings-new-years-speech-says-a-lot-about-what-to-expect-in-2017/

Editor:

The Sino-Russian alliance is a reality, and China is the senior partner. VVP knows and accepts this reality. He had a choice… he could be China’s junior ally or he could be America’s lickspittle colony. It’s not rocket science to figure out his choice. China isn’t an arrogant nation like the USA… proud, yes… stiff-necked at times, yes… but inflexibly arrogant as are the Anglos are, no. China needs Russia as an ally to secure its western flank… Chinese are nothing if not pragmatic and realistic. However, Chinese don’t make a practise of making their allies grovel, as do the Americans. The Chinese ARE communists; make no mistake on that, they’ve abandoned imperial pretence. No, they haven’t renounced the substance of power… but they’ve abandoned the practise of making their lessers kowtow incessantly.

The alliance works for both sides… there’s no way that the USA can break it, short of offering concessions that’d be unacceptable to the American Establishment and Deep State. God willing, this alliance will keep the peace… it’s the only hope that we have, in the face of a toddler ravening America armed with nukes…

BMD

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