Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

15 October 2013. Some Thoughts Provoked by Reading Dr Johnson

01 woman reading

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  • A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilisation.

Reflect on this. Traditionally, the American South, true to its slaving and sectarian roots, REFUSES to make a decent provision for the poor. This tells us much about the region… its history, its “faith”, its mores, and its society. The American Civil War didn’t happen for nought… slavery was only one of the causes. This is one reason why the contemporary Republican Party is evil… it panders to a group that has always treated the poor like dirt under their feet. Sectarianism teaches that only the “elect” will gain salvation and that one of the ways that one can tell the “elect” is that they’re well-off financially. To speak honestly, Jean Calvin would’ve been horrified at how his ideas turned out. Mistrust all who preach that we must “balance the budget” on the backs on the poor, aged, and unemployed. They usually have low motive…

  • To let friendship die away by negligence and silence is certainly not wise. It is voluntarily to throw away one of the greatest comforts of this weary pilgrimage.

THIS is why I value my Cabinet so. I’m always open to them, whenever they need me. I value my friends, whether I agree with them on this or that point. Love (agape) doesn’t require agreement… it requires respect, a very different and better thing.

  • I will be conquered; I will not capitulate.

That is, death does come for us all. This is at the bedrock of my belief. I will NOT succumb to fear or let the knowledge of my personal demise paralyse me. This is our common heritage… no matter what we believe in (and secularists ARE believers, they’re simply not theists). Life IS worth the candle, and there ARE things that one should fight for, even though all of us will face our personal end at one time or another (yes, I AM a religious believer… but I also realise that I must die and leave this life).

  • Sir, your levellers wish to level down as far as themselves; but they cannot bear levelling up to themselves.

Always beware those who push simplistic and enticing nostrums… probably, there’s a hook hidden somewhere. They want to level all of the rest of us to a low level… so that they can lead the pack. Always beware ambition… it lies behind most strident calls to “equality”.

  • I am a great friend to public amusements, for they keep people from vice.

I hate bluenoses and their censorious attitude to drink, cards, the theatre, the racetrack, and all the other innocent amusements that life has to offer. True, one can abuse all of the above. However, abuse is ABUSE… it isn’t use. Blue comedy isn’t sinful; it’s simply a violation of petite bourgeois decorum (Chubby Brown shouldn’t be on before the watershed… but he isn’t “sinful” in the strictest sense)… a very different thing, wot?

  • As I know more of mankind, I expect less of them, and am ready now to call a man a good man, upon easier terms than I was formerly.

One can more readily be tolerant to “sinners” the more one is aware of one’s own sinfulness! Life teaches us that we aren’t any great shakes, either, so, one learns that one’s fellows are worthy of forgiveness. Mind you, forgiveness doesn’t mean “forgetting” or “absence of consequence”. That comes as it will, and our attitude towards an action doesn’t change what it does nor does it transform the impression that it leaves. However, it does deliver us from judgementalism and hate… no small beer, that. Most of all, life teaches us that we commit actions that leave consequence and impression… and that we can’t change them, no matter what we do. The Pharisee or the Publican… whom do YOU prefer?

  • The law is the last result of human wisdom acting upon human experience for the benefit of the public.

One must always mistrust those who speak of “deregulation”. Life teaches us that people are in want of regulation, and that many run rampant if not checked in one way or another. Anyone who tells you that “deregulation” will lead to a paradisiacal nirvana has an agenda… one that doesn’t augur well for their fellow man. We don’t live in the Garden. Mistrust all who worship Ayn Rand.

  • Let us take a patriot, where we can meet him; and, that we may not flatter ourselves by false appearances, distinguish those marks which are certain, from those which may deceive; for a man may have the external appearance of a patriot, without the constituent qualities; as false coins have often lustre, though they want weight.

Look at how contemporary Republicans beat the war drums. Also, note how few of them served in the forces themselves. Richard Cheney said, “I had better things to do”. Mr Cheney was honest, but does “honesty” make one a “patriot?” I think that you see my point. Willard Romney refused to serve in the forces and had his rich daddy “buy” him a bogus clergy deferment (he was a “missionary” in darkest France). Pete Seeger was proud to serve; he served in the Pacific Theatre of World War II (“To tell you the truth, I’m not a pacifist. If an army invaded this country of mine, I’d be the first one up on the firing line”). Beware all those who wrap themselves up in the flag.

  • How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of Negroes?

Take this in its widest sense, not merely that of racial bias (bad as that is). Those screaming loudest for “freedom” are those who wish to deprive others of it for personal gain and profit. For instance, “economic freedom” means the “freedom” to abuse others for personal gain, with no government regulation to prevent it. They scream for “the right to keep and bear arms”, yet, when a black woman merely fires a gun in the air to scare off an abusive husband, they sentence her to twenty years in the slam (but they acquit a white man who killed someone in an incident that the shooter provoked). I’m not the only one to find that hypocritical… and evil. If you hear yelps for “freedom”, ask yourself, “Does this person benefit from a relaxation of the law?” If so, fight that hypocritical bastard with all your might. God expects that of you…

BMD

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

1 October 2013. The Republicans Shut Down the Government at the Behest of their Oligarch Paymasters… Patriotism at its Best, No?

00 Republicans Shut Down Government. 01.10.13

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The Republicans shut down the government at the behest of their oligarch puppeteers. They always tell us how PATRIOTIC they are; they wrap themselves up in the flag at every opportunity. Yet, John Boehner served in the US Navy for only eight weeks, he didn’t even finish basic training… he had a “bad back”, poor baby. By the way, that “bad back” didn’t stop him from playing American football during high school, nor did it hinder him from working and going to college at the same time. Interesting, ain’t it… his back was bad enough to prevent him from serving his country in the forces during the Vietnam War, but good enough to take slams playing football. That sounds fishy to me. Interestingly enough, Boehner’s actually one of the BETTER Republicans, at least, he covered his ass by signing up.

The Republicans don’t live up to their rhetoric… Rush Limbaugh refused to serve during the Vietnam War; he claimed that he had a cyst on his arse… Wet Willy Romney had his gazillionaire daddy buy him a phony “clergy deferment” during the Vietnam War; he was a Mormon “missionary” in darkest FrancePaul Ryan refused to serve at all (but he did read and admire Ayn Rand!)… but you have to admire Richard Cheney for honesty, “I had better things to do with my life”. Oh, yes… Clint Eastwood was a lifeguard at Ft Ord during the Korean War (as anyone who served knows, if you volunteer for the combat zone, you get it… that is, Eastwood was a yellow gutless coward who stayed home whilst others faced the danger… typical contemporary Republican, by the way).

John Boehner is one of the main beneficiaries of political contributions from Big Insurance. That is, he’s a bought n’ paid-for whore. Keep that in mind as you hear his fulminations about the ACA. If we had single-payer healthcare in this country, John Boehner would lose one of the largest sources of his boodle (like most congressmen of all political stripes, he’s corrupt to the bone). That’d be a tragedy, wouldn’t it? Follow the money… it leads to interesting places…

BMD

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Republicans in the Pursuit of Foreign Policy

America can’t sustain the burden of continuous warfare in foreign parts… not the monetary cost (astronomical) nor the human cost (incalculable… what’s the “worth” of a life?), especially as the wars being fought have nothing to do with American defence or true national interests.

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Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) are now the official Republican nominees for President and Vice President. As always, the election battle will focus on economic issues, since Americans have little, if any, interest in foreign policy. America’s influence on the world is now stronger than ever, but its dependence on other countries has also grown. Indeed, Americans’ indifference to the world around them doesn’t correspond to global reality. This year’s Republican nominees are a perfect example of this contradiction.

Traditionally, one of the two nominees should have more foreign policy experience, or should at least have an interest in foreign affairs. One can’t say this of either Romney or Ryan. Mitt Romney tried several times to prove that he’s no stranger to foreign policy and strategic issues. He recently addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention and visited several European countries and Israel. This hasn’t helped him form an international profile, but rather showed that he’s kept in line with Republican views of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, seeming to be a cross between Ronald Reagan and George W Bush.

Romney has nothing new to say about foreign policy. Mostly, he’s spoken of the need to restore America’s undisputed greatness (“This century must be an American Century”) and to stop bemoaning its demise, as Republicans claim Barack Obama’s doing. Romney claims that America has no alternative but to be the global leader. This is axiomatic for any American politician, and the only question is what they’re ready to do to ensure that America keeps its leadership. Romney’s advocating a harsh and principled approach because until relatively recently this was a successful policy, less than 25 years ago.

This image of “the desirable past” is the source of Mitt Romney’s attitude to Russia, which is out of place in 2012. He’s denounced it several times, calling it the USA’s main geopolitical enemy, surprising even his supporters, because no matter how much you may dislike Russia and its authorities, the time when it was America’s Enemy Number One is long past. The USA now faces a different set of threats and challenges, and Russia isn’t at the top of that list. Romney unwittingly advocates a return to the old bipolar world order, in which everything was simple and easy to understand. The biggest challenge in today’s world is that the strategic field is blurred and diffused, with no clearly defined frontline, where it is unclear who’s friend and who’s foe, as they keep switching places.

Romney’s foreign policy adviser is neoconservative historian Robert Kagan. Ten years ago, he wrote about the breakup of the trans-Atlantic relationship due to ideological and psychological differences between America and Europe (“Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus”), which accounted for Washington’s unilateral actions on the global stage. Four years later, Kagan called for America and Europe to reunite in the face of the growing “authoritarian capitalism” represented by China and Russia. In fact, he completely overturned the old precept according to which America best stands alone. In his new book, The World America Made, Kagan writes not about authoritarian capitalism (which has since been proved to be a totally artificial notion), but about the rising alternative centres, such as BRIC, and the need to cut short encroachments on American leadership. He isn’t as outspoken as 10 years ago, when he claimed that soft power is another word for weakness and that military power is always the decider. This new approach is “Bush Lite”, an admission that America won’t achieve its goals by hard force alone and that it should try to win over minds as well.

Kagan’s book is not Mitt Romney’s election programme, but the two have one thing in common. The growing “myth of America’s decline” calls for vigorous and uncompromising actions to turn things around. In this, he differs radically from Barack Obama, who believes that America must act flexibly and make compromises with alternative centres to fortify its leadership. In any case, neither Romney nor Kagan have a clear notion of how America should act to achieve its goals in the new world. They just churn out slogans, not ways to implement them.

A case in point is the choice of Romney’s running mate. Since the 1980s, America’s Vice Presidents usually held a special influence and prestige in foreign affairs… George H W Bush, Albert Gore, Dick Cheney, and Joe Biden. Ill-wishers claim that Paul Ryan knows nothing of foreign affairs and is only interested in figures and budgets. This knowledge could be useful for domestic policy, but the only time he would be able to use it on the international stage is during financial discussions at G7 meetings, although Romney, whose strengths lie in economics, could actually take care of this himself.

Ryan’s a firm believer in spending cuts; given America’s sovereign debt problem, pledges of budget cuts could be a powerful weapon in the battle against Obama. Possible cuts in military spending are a fundamental foreign policy issue. Republicans are usually ready to approve any cuts, but not to the defence budget. Romney pledged to reverse defence cuts, and ballistic missile defence is a sacred cow to him because President Reagan thought so. Paul Ryan may make all the right statements about America’s security, but he’s far from being truly interested in it and he doesn’t have significant knowledge of it.

The Romney-Ryan team election platform will be based on Robert Kagan’s views. However, a running mate who is indifferent to foreign policy is deeply symptomatic (the choice of Sarah Palin in the previous election isn’t indicative, because presidential candidate John McCain was a foreign policy pundit himself). Putting Paul Ryan forward for vice president shows that even the Republicans are coming to see that relying on hard force could be beyond America’s means in the 21st century.

30 August 2012

Fyodor Lukyanov

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/columnists/20120830/175517810.html

Monday, 3 September 2012

As John Robles Sees It… RNC Unified the People Against a Common Enemy

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The Republican National Convention will soon be history, but the resonance of what occurred in Tampa may live on for a long time. For the first time in decades, police and protestors found a common ground and mutual respect. Now, that’s something that the élites who met to plan their divisive foreign and internal policies and to continue and expand the influence of their party of exclusion, can’t be at all happy about. There are still a few people out there who haven’t forgotten the plethora of crimes committed by the Bush Administration, even though many people who questioned 9/11 and the aggressive wars launched by the USA against countries that had nothing to do with it were marginalised and written off as kooks, some are still able to make themselves heard and are still fighting for those responsible for everything from the Guantánamo detention centre to the Bush torture programme to be brought to justice.

Although a majority of the American people are too scared to stand up and protest, a growing number of Americans feel that they have nothing to lose and that it’s time to take their country back from the rich élites who have gutted the American Dream for the many and have destroyed the USA’s image. Many Americans are waking up; they realise that there isn’t any real democracy in the USA and that both parties are exactly the same. Despite this, the US Republican Party has been classically and unapologetically the party of rich white elitists, so, it’s now become the focus of protests by protest groups and the majority of Americans who’re truly suffering.

One of these groups, Code Pink, a predominantly-female anti-war group, has attempted to make citizen’s arrests of various members of the previous Bush Administration for years, but there’s a lack of legal entities willing to bring charges against entrenched political figures, came out in force at the RNC in Tampa. Code Pink’s methods may seem to be questionable, and some might even call them outrageous, but they’re effective in getting attention, and, then, using the attention to get their message out, in particular, their attempts to stage what Americans call a “citizen’s arrest”. Along with the Occupy Movement and over 40 other protest groups, they descended on the “Convention of the Élite”, who gathered in Tampa to select an already chosen candidate, to ogle beautiful women stripping in front of them, listen to speeches, to plan policy demonising Russia and other “evil” countries, and to pat each other on the backs and tell each other how wonderful they are.

Code Pink was very active at the RNC, for example, at a speaking engagement tied to the Republican National Convention, members of Code Pink protested outside of the venue whilst Condoleezza Rice was speaking inside. The protestors carried handcuffs and said they had come to arrest the former Secretary of State for war crimes. The Co-Director of Code Pink Rae Abileah and Code Pink Member Colonel Ann Wright, US Army (retired), managed to enter the building where Rice was holding her speaking engagement and disrupt her speech regarding “compassion”. At the beginning of the speech, the Colonel stood up and shouted, “You can’t be compassionate, and kill people in a war of choice, the war in Iraq!” Then Ms Abileah stood up and shouted, “The blood of Iraqi children is on your hands!” Then, guards escorted the women from the building. Code Pink later confirmed on Twitter that the activists tried to prevent Condoleezza Rice from making a political speech.

The group also managed to pull off one of the most successful disruptions of their 10-year existence by infiltrating and getting through the intense security of the Republican National Convention and disrupting a speech by the vice presidential contender Paul Ryan. The group also heckled Rick Santorum, pulling off more than the Occupy Movement and the other protest groups who’d also gathered to protest at the RNC. According to Code Pink, they’ve “become famous for confronting the warmongers, whether in the halls and hearing rooms of Congress, the national conventions of both the Republicans and Democrats, George Bush‘s fundraisers, the publicity tours of Karl Rove, Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, and others and even at Nancy Pelosi‘s house”.

Code Pink compiled a long list of Bush-era war criminals, it’s available on their website, including Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Stanley McChrystal, George Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Karl Rove, John Bolton, Michael Chertoff, John Ashcroft, I. Lewis Libby, Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, Dick Cheney, and George Tenet. They call for the arrests of all of the aforementioned. What’s more, according to Tighe Barry, an actor and a Code Pink activist, in an interview with VOR, the group approached and attempted to carry out a citizen’s arrest on all of the individuals on their list. Although the group is active regarding some of the most serious issues of our times, their tactics, such as the wearing of costumes designed to look like female genitalia, some say does not help their credibility and is actually insulting to women, others say this helps them get attention.

An organizer with Occupy the RNC, a local group that assisted and coordinated all of the groups that have come to protest the RNC, including Occupiers from all over the USA, said there were few if any incidents of violence between the peaceful protestors and the police. The organiser, Amos Miers, even said that, on Thursday, the Occupiers at the Occupy camp ran out of food and water and the Tampa Police themselves brought the Occupiers dozens of cases of food and fruit and dozens of bottles of water. Code Pink activist Tighe Barry also had many kind words for the police, who’re reported to have prepared for the worst, and who he said behaved professionally and without the use of violence or excessive force. Miers said that, according to police, they’d been told that they would be going up against violent anarchists and violent protestors and that the police were surprised at the peaceful and temperate nature of the Occupiers and the other protestors.

The Republican National Convention is coming to a close, and barring last minute and unexpected events, the RNC has accomplished one thing, for the first time in recent memory, the so called 99 Percent were looked after and have even found common ground with the police and the authorities, who until now appeared to be solely the servants of the One Percent.

31 August 2012

00 John Robles. VOR 06.12John Robles

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_08_31/RNC-unified-the-people-against-a-common-enemy/

Editor’s Note:

It doesn’t surprise me that the coppers acted like decent men… they’re working-class Joes, too. They’re not of the Affluent Effluent, and we shouldn’t act as though they are. They have eyes and ears… and brains. The One Percent’s actually losing its grip… and everyone knows it. The coppers aren’t ogres… let’s face it; if you got thrown in the drunk tank Saturday night, you probably deserved it.

BMD  

 

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