Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Russians Feeling Increasingly Negative Toward USA… Americans’ Distrust of Russia Grows

00 Carlos Latuff. Russia and China Veto against US Intervention in Syria. 2012

Russia and China Veto against US Intervention in Syria

Carlos Latuff



On Tuesday, a new survey showed that, over the past few months, Russians felt more negative towards the USA, and they now view it more pessimistically than at any other point in more than four years. The state-run all-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM) said in an online statement that 35 percent of respondents to the poll, conducted on 24-25 August, said that  they felt “generally poor” or “very poor” about America, compared with 30 percent who felt that way in February. Overall, currently, Russians feel the most negative about America since September 2008, a month after Russia fought a short war against Georgia, whose president had close ties with the USA. The current overall sentiment, though, is more comparable to that of 2009, when the USA and Russia marked a “reset” in bilateral relations. Still, at present, 46 percent of Russians hold a positive view of America, adding that the figure comprised mostly young adults and residents of big cities. The people with the most negative perception of the USA were respondents from small towns or those over the age of 45.

Whilst attitudes toward the USA generally soured, perceptions of bilateral relations stayed relatively the same over the course of this year. The August poll questioned 1,600 Russian residents across 42 regions. Criticism of the USA increased in Russia following America’s push last month to carry out a military strike on Syria in response to allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on civilians during its civil war. The US House of Representatives was days away from voting on whether to approve a strike on Syria… a measure that had already been green-lighted by the US Senate… when Russia backed a deal to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control. After the Syrian government formally agreed to the handover, US President Barack Obama asked Congress to delay its vote to allow time for the transfer to be complete. Officially, the transfer has a November deadline.


A poll published this week shows that Americans’ distrust of Russia increased over the past year, and their confidence in Syria is almost nonexistent, which means few Americans expect the deal hammered out by American and Russian diplomats to get Damascus to give up its chemical weapons will amount to much. the poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that the number of Americans expressing a fair amount to a great deal of trust in Russia fell from 33 percent in 2012 to 24 percent this year, whilst more than two-thirds of Americans… 68 percent… said that they have little if any trust in Russia. Last year, 60 percent of Americans told Pew pollsters they didn’t trust Russia. According to the poll, Americans have the same level of distrust for Russia as they have for Saudi Arabia, and they trust Russia slightly less than they do China. Syria wasn’t included in last year’s Pew poll, but Americans responded in the single digits when asked this year if they trusted the Middle Eastern country… just 8 percent said that they had a fair amount or great deal of trust for Syria, while 85 percent said that they had little confidence in Damascus.

However, when asked if they approved of President Obama’s decision to hold off on military strikes against Syria and seek a diplomatic solution instead, two-thirds of Americans… 67 percent… said yes and 23 percent said no. A majority of Americans (57 percent) were doubtful that Syria would actually give up control of its chemical weapons in response to the diplomatic efforts that culminated in a deal struck in Genève last week after tense negotiations between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Syria’s chemical arsenal. The deal sets a tough timeline for Syria to submit to the international community an inventory of its chemical weapons and details on where they’re stored, and calls for international inspectors to be on the ground in Syria by November, when the first phase of destruction of components used to make Syria’s chemical weapons is set to begin. The agreement stipulated that Syria must remove or destroy all chemical weapons components by the middle of next year, which also calls for tough penalties if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fails to comply with it. Obama said that the USA “remains prepared to act” militarily in the event that diplomacy should fail, but 37 percent of Americans told Pew that they’d back military intervention if the deal fell apart, and 49 percent said that they were against a possible American strike on Syria.

A separate poll conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News came up with similar results, with 48 percent of Americans saying that they’d be against American military intervention in Syria if the deal reached by Kerry and Lavrov were to fall apart, and 44 percent saying that the US Congress had to approve the use of military force against Syria if diplomacy fails. Meanwhile, only 4 percent of respondents to The PostABC poll said that they were “very confident” that Syria would give up all of its chemical weapons, while 68 percent were “not at all” or “not so” confident, and 26 percent were only somewhat confident that Damascus would comply with the deal. Both polls were conducted by telephone from 12-15 September, with Pew interviewing 1,002 American adults and the Washington Post-ABC poll surveying 1,004. The polls came out at the same time as a survey in Russia found that Russians feel more negative about the USA following Washington’s push last month to launch a military strike on Syria in response to allegations that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons on civilians during its civil war. The state-run all-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM) said in an online statement that 35 percent of respondents to the Russian poll, conducted on 24-25 August, said that they felt “generally poor” or “very poor” about America, compared with 30 percent who felt that way in February.

17 September 2013





Friday, 11 January 2013

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Launches Gun Control Campaign in USA

00 Gabrielle Giffords. 11.01.13


On Tuesday, on the second anniversary of the mass shooting in Tucson AZ that left her critically injured and six people dead, former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) launched a high-profile campaign against gun violence in America by taking aim at her former colleagues in Congress. Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, in a USA Today op-ed published Tuesday said, “In response to a horrific series of shootings that has sown terror in our communities, victimised tens of thousands of Americans, and left one of its own bleeding and near death in a Tucson parking lot, Congress has done something quite extraordinary… nothing at all. Special interests purporting to represent gun owners, but really advancing the interests of an ideological fringe, have used big money and influence to cow Congress into submission… as a result, we’re more vulnerable to gun violence”.

With that, the husband-and-wife team announced their new Americans for Responsible Solutions initiative, which aims to raise enough money to balance the influence of the powerful pro-gun lobbying group the National Rifle Association (NRA) and others in the gun industry. The announcement comes just days after Giffords and Kelly had an emotional meeting with family members of those killed in the December shooting massacre that claimed the lives of 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. They said, “We can’t just hope that the last shooting tragedy will prevent the next. Achieving reforms to reduce gun violence and prevent mass shootings will mean matching gun lobbyists in their reach and resources”.

The couple is pushing for comprehensive background checks for anyone purchasing private firearms, and advocate more effective treatment for those who are mentally ill. Kelly said in an interview with ABC News, “I bought a gun at Wal-Mart recently and I went through a background check. It’s not a difficult thing to do. Why can’t we just do that and make it more difficult for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns?”

The man who shot Giffords was deemed incompetent to stand trial and was sentenced in November to seven life terms plus 140 years in prison without parole. Giffords wrote, “America has seen an astounding 11 mass shootings since a madman used a semiautomatic pistol with an extended ammunition clip to shoot me and kill six others. This country is known for using its determination and ingenuity to solve problems, big and small… but when it comes to protecting our communities from gun violence, we’re not even trying… and for the worst of reasons”.

The new initiative launches as the national debate over gun control heats up with a series of White House meetings this week on how best to curb gun violence in America. The administration invited gun owners, victims’ groups, educators, mental health experts, and video-game industry figures for high-level discussions on possible changes in policy. A task force on gun control led by Vice President Joe Biden is set to submit recommendations to President Barack Obama by the end of the month.

8 January 2013



Saturday, 8 December 2012

Rotting Whale Stinks Up California Coast Near Celebrity Homes

00 dead whale. 08.12.12


This week, a rotting whale carcass washed ashore in California just a stone’s throw from the multimillion-dollar Malibu homes of some of Hollywood’s richest and most famous stars. It’s creating a stink between the various government agencies in the area over just who’s responsible for cleaning up the mess. Tamara Dunn, who lives right next to Paradise Cove, where the young whale landed, said in an interview with KNX Newsradio, “He’s pretty funky now. I don’t know how they’re gonna get him out. They talked about taking him out in pieces because he’s so big, the Coast Guard can’t drag him back out to sea”. The smelly problem’s 40 feet (12 meters) long, and weighs 40,000 pounds (18,000 kilograms).

Marine experts performed a necropsy and said it was a young fin whale (an endangered species). It might’ve fallen victim to one of the many ships that pass through the nearby port of Long Beach, one of the busiest on the West Coast. Cindy Reyes, executive director of the California Wildlife Center, according to local news service Malibu Patch, said, “The traumatic injury that we discovered is consistent with a ship strike”. Meanwhile, KTLA television reported the City of Malibu thought that Los Angeles County would take care of it… but the county says the pristine sandy shores of Little Dume where the carcass washed up is a private beach, so, it isn’t their responsibility. Whilst the various government entities scramble to find the proof that the animal didn’t come to rest in their particular jurisdictions, some locals told RIA-Novosti it wasn’t that bad… or that unusual.

Nevertheless, the thought of a stinky, rotting carcass fouling the pristine sands and ocean airs that cool the beachfront homes of megastars like Barbara Streisand, Bob Dylan, Martin Sheen, and more? It was just too tempting for the media to resist. A few local news agencies reported the story; then, national media from the AP to ABC News quickly picked it up. There are photos and videos, but there’s no easy solution. A Malibu PD cop told RIA-Novosti, “It still stinks. It’s not getting any better. In fact, it’s getting worse”.

Of course, whilst the debate rages on, the whale’s body is decomposing… that means that towing it out to sea as is sometimes done in such cases is no longer an option. The area is also rocky, which makes for a difficult burial. That means option three may be the most likely scenario… just letting the rotting creature stay where it is until it slowly rots away. That’s not likely to make homeowners in the area very happy. The Malibu cop, who declined to give his name, said, “These are the upper echelon of the upper echelon”. As for the stars who live nearby? The cop joked, “They always complain, but nobody else really cares. It’s not like anyone’s talking about this at Starbucks”.

7 December 2012



Editor’s Note:

I’ll bet you any amount that a local pol is getting even with a personal enemy here. It sounds like a chronic complainer is getting their comeuppance. “I’m sorry… the county only has jurisdiction over public lands. That’s private property, and it’s not a health or safety hazard. You’ll have to take care of it yourself”. That’s the way of it in the real world…


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

19 July 2011. JP and Michelle Bachmann… Two Peas in a Single Diseased Pod

You don’t need Social Security, Medicaid/Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, welfare cash payments, bank deposit insurance, public schools, or workplace regulations… Michelle Bachmann and Jonas Paffhausen say so! What you really need are foreign wars, more tax cuts for the wealthy, more givebacks from you, more TSA agents to grope you as you board your plane, bus, or train, and more overseas torture centres. The Invisible Hand of the Market will take care of you (in more ways than one)!


Who’s the greedy man? One for whom plenty does not suffice. Who defrauds others? One who keeps for himself what belongs to everyone. Aren’t you greedy, don’t you defraud, when you keep for yourself what was given to give away? When someone steals a man’s clothes, we call him a thief. Shouldn’t we give the same name to one who could clothe the naked but doesn’t?

St Basil the Great


I’ve experienced two dictatorships in my life, those of Hitler and the Communists. I don’t wish to experience a third, from America.

A Russian Orthodox bishop


More and more I pray for the Prodigal Son’s brother. A persistent contemplation prods me… the Prodigal awoke from his life of sin… as for his elder brother, will he awake from his life of virtue?

Dom Hélder Pessoa Câmara


In such a Church, the world finds a cheap covering for its sins; no contrition is required, still less any real desire to be delivered from sin. Cheap grace therefore amounts to a denial of the living Word of God, in fact, it’s a denial of the Incarnation of the Word of God.

Dietrich Bonhöffer


Read this:


Note this:

Oliver Duggan at Britain’s Independent said, “For every politician and pundit who shuns Bachmann’s front for religious proselytising, and every Republican who looks to distance themselves, there’s a handful of powerful and unacknowledged voters that rejoice in it”. Last week’s ABC News expose actually validated these voters’ feelings about homosexuality, and Bachmann’s “ultra-conservative, ultra-Christian” base “will coagulate around her as her candidacy is bloodied from all directions” over her views on homosexuality. 

Firstly, in the above quote, “Christian” means “Radical Sectarian”, and “conservative” means “Radical Neoliberal”… these slimers bear no relationship to real Christians and real Conservatives. They’re certainly not like Dom Hélder Pessoa Câmara, Dietrich Bonhöffer, or Aleksei Rediger, nor are they akin to Disraeli, Bismarck, Stolypin, Dief, or Ike. Yet, both JP and Bachmann style themselves “Christians” and “Conservatives”. Neither one is the latter, nor is JP the former save in the most formal sense (it’s clear that he never converted in his heart-of-hearts from Broad Church Anglicanism). DO reread the quotes I placed at the head of this post… they prove that JP and Ms Bachmann are enemies of the Lord Christ, no question on it (especially, the quote by Bonhöffer… it’s a classic description of the godless and anti-Christian Sectarian conventicle). The diseased credo pushed by Michelle Bachmann is the most common one found amongst Orthodox konvertsy, and they don’t care that it’s against the true social teaching of the Church, and they don’t care that they spit on His Holiness every time that they repeat any of the Tea Party/New GOP nonsense. In fact, they want to contaminate the Church with this corrosive ideology… both rightwing political Corporatism and Radical Sectarian heresy. I don’t care whether Sectarians do this or that… we’re the Church, we’re different from them, so, we don’t do things the same way that they do. Most particularly, we don’t do “mission” as the “born-againers” do… Our Lord Christ isn’t a box of soap powder that we market using the latest methods of Madison Avenue. Like it or no, God DOES “give the increase”… and He does so only if we’re faithful to our roots (and don’t use slimy and false Sectarian methods).

Yet, the most important thing to take away from all of this is that not only are Michelle Bachmann and Jonas Paffhausen total strangers to True Christianity and True Conservatism, they’re purveyors of pure and undiluted hate and bigotry. That tells us volumes about all the konvertsy… Whiteford, Nelson, Freddie M-G, Mattingly, Reardon, Dreher, et al. HATRED motivates what passes for “religion” amongst them… they’re “culture warriors” attempting to use Christ’s Church for their petty and narrow-minded fanatical ends. Not all converts are konvertsyFrank Schaeffer comes to mind, for one. Unfortunately, you can smell the rank ordure of undisguised Anglicanism and Sectarianism in most konvertsy… they refuse to take the time necessary to convert in their souls, and, then, they have the damned gall to sit in judgement of Orthodoxy! Don’t argue with them… know that they applaud such bigots as Ms Bachmann, and simply let them be. Oppose them, don’t let them run rampant, but don’t argue with them… they’ll refuse to listen, ESPECIALLY if you inform them of the actual teachings of the Church as they’re spoken by our leaders (JP doesn’t count as such… he’s only an incredibly minor and mud-ignorant backwoods bishop of no standing whatsoever). They’ll block their ears and keep shouting their rightwing shibboleths at you. Don’t frustrate yourself… pray for them; it may do them some good. Arguing with such sorts won’t do them… or you… any good at all.

It’s certainly not boring… pass me the jug, yes, I know that the world’s crook, but must it be SO crook? Have a friendly swaller, yourself…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Tuesday 19 November 2011 Albany NY

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