Voices from Russia

Thursday, 11 August 2011

11 August 2011. “I’m Worried for My Country”… What More is There to Say?

THIS is what Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Bachmann, John Boehner, Sarah Palin, “Citizens United”, S&P, Fox News, the Fed, and Chilly Hilly Clinton advocate… it’s “for our own good”… workers were too greedy, dontcha know!

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Editor’s Foreword:

Mostly, I’m going to give you excerpts from some things that made me think over the past few days. I’m not going to say much at the end… I‘ll confide that hitting people over the head overly much has the opposite effect of what one intends… so, read it, heed it, and make up your own mind. Somehow, I think that we’ll all come to a reasonable consensus in the end, after all.

BMD

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No matter where you look, fewer people are doing the work because fewer are out there buying, ordering, and building. More people are spending their days worrying… not about who’ll get the blame or who’ll win election, but how they’re going to make ends meet. Do they get this in Washington? Do they feel our pain? I know they all claim they do. However, that’s certainly not how it seems. It doesn’t feel like they’re asking us to pull together; if feels like they’re tearing us apart. It doesn’t feel like the various “leaders” are working together, but like they’re scoring points at one another’s expense. …

However, the whole idea of government is that there are some things individuals can’t do, some things we can only do together, some problems that are too big to solve one grain of sand at a time. We’re decent people, but we can’t do it alone. I‘m worried for my country.

http://news.yahoo.com/im-worried-country-070000548.html

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Economic fears are weighing heavily on Americans, with a large majority saying the United States is on the wrong track and nearly half believing the worst is yet to come, a Reuters/Ipsos poll said Wednesday. …

The Reuters/Ipsos poll found 73 percent of Americans believe the United States is “off on the wrong track”, and just one in five, 21 percent, think the country is headed in the right direction. The survey found that 47 percent believe “the worst is yet to come” in the US economy, an increase of 13 percentage points from a year ago when this question was last raised. This is the highest measure since March 2009, when concern peaked at 57 percent, at the height of the recession. Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said the wrong-track measure reflects widespread unhappiness with the economy and frustration at both political parties, but “you can’t say it’s a predictor of how Obama will fare” in 2012. The level of discontent was 10 points higher than a July survey and is the highest in an Ipsos poll since it reached 73 percent in October 2008, at the height of the financial crisis. The polling organisation found 77 percent felt the country was on the wrong track in July 2008, during Bush’s final year in office. Gallup found even higher levels of dissatisfaction at various points over the past 30 years, but it’s rare.

http://news.yahoo.com/most-americans-u-wrong-track-reuters-ipsos-poll-005513321.html

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Obama’s failure to challenge the idiocy demanded by S&P, along with the Republicans… that government spending be dramatically cut in the face of an economic crisis… cast his remarks as terminally tepid. How dare a credit rating agency that got it so wrong, one that we should investigate for malfeasance in the creation of the banking meltdown, dictate public policy? For S&P to insist on massive government cuts that would only increase joblessness is like a burglar shifting blame for his crimes to the poor quality of locks. This from a credit rating agency that, as NYT columnist Joe Nocera pointed out, “has consistently fallen short”. S&P judged Enron to be an exemplary company until shortly before the corporation imploded, and it gave its triple-A seal of approval to the toxic securitised mortgage debt that caused the great recession. There are serious problems with the US economy, but they aren’t the ones that Standard & Poor’s outlined when it sent the stock market into a tizzy. We don’t need draconian cuts in government spending at a time when the economy remains mired in deep unemployment, when state and municipal governments are shedding jobs, and when the housing market is on life support. If some Americans thought that we did, so they voted to put irresponsible Republicans in charge of the House of Representatives, isn’t it the duty of the president and his fellow Democrats in control of the Senate to fight back? That’s called democracy, and we need more of it, not the false unity for which Obama settled.

Sure, it would’ve been much better if a phoney populist movement (the Tea Party), financed by fat cats out to preserve their unseemly tax breaks, hadn’t gained control of the House. That undermined what S&P termed “the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions that have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges…” However, as S&P acknowledged with its downgrade after the congressional vote on the debt ceiling, the fact that the president caved was of no help. The result is that Obama agreed to effectively remove the elected federal government from the battle to restore economic health; instead, he left us to the tender mercies of the banker-dominated Federal Reserve, which, like the folks at S&P, condoned the reckless Wall Street policies that got us into this mess. At a time when we need a full-throated defence of the role of government in protecting the interests of a majority of Americans, suddenly made deeply vulnerable by the chicanery of the financial oligarchy, we’re denied even the logical clarity of a former community organiser who once promised hope.

http://news.yahoo.com/another-bailout-joins-goofball-economy-141133031.html

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Fareed Zakaria, the brilliant CNN/Time foreign policy analyst, really hit the unthinkable head-on. It didn’t make him popular or liked. In short, Zakaria dared to ask whether we should not cut our mammoth military budgets. “It’d be a much-needed adjustment to an out-of-control military-industrial complex. … The Pentagon’s budget has risen for 13 years, which is unprecedented. Between 2001 and 2009, overall spending on defence rose from 412 billion USD (12.178 trillion Roubles. 290 billion Euros. 254 billion  UK Pounds) to 699 billion USD (20.66 trillion Roubles. 491 billion Euros. 431 billion UK Pounds), a 70 percent increase, which is larger than in any comparable period since the Korean War. Including the supplementary spending on Iraq and Afghanistan, we spent 250 billion USD (7.39 trillion Roubles. 176 billion Euros. 154 billion UK Pounds) more than average US defence expenditures during the Cold War… a time when the Soviet, Chinese, and Eastern European militaries were arrayed against the United States and its allies. “Over the past decade, when we had no serious national adversaries, US defence spending has gone from about a third of total worldwide defence spending to 50 percent. In other words, we spend more on defence than the planet’s remaining countries put together”.

This enormous spending on defence… and the phoniness with which we embrace virtually anything military, in which we now go out looking for wars, like Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia… has led to a tragic imbalance between the military and diplomacy. Robert Gates liked to point out that there are more members of military marching bands than men and women in the entire Foreign Service. Therefore, yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to start thinking things through. It’s not just a matter of forming “supreme” councils to tell us what to do… we already know what to do. We need to cut back on all levels, particularly, in military spending. We need to raise revenues from the Americans who are making fortunes off of this country. We need to bring home the earnings of companies such as General Electric, who live off the American body but invest overseas. The question is whether our complaisant young president can do this, for it demands making, well, demands. Nevertheless, if he can’t do it, then, we must.

http://news.yahoo.com/time-cut-defense-spending-223202084.html;_ylt=AkreUBOzSHffRnUYXCmOiVb9wxIF;_ylu=X3oDMTM1a21qczk2BHBrZwM0YWY3MGNjZC1lYzJhLTNmNDMtYjhhYy02NTcxNzk4ZmE2ZTIEcG9zAzUEc2VjA3RvcF9zdG9yeQR2ZXIDNjc1YjJhYTAtYzJkNy0xMWUwLWJmZmItYjY1ODAzYWYyODli;_ylg=X3oDMTIwOGFubmMwBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lfG9waW5pb24EcHQDc2VjdGlvbnMEdGVzdAM-;_ylv=3

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Finally, a descent into the Jabberwockian world of the rightwing:

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who plans to announce whether she will run for president sometime next month, said Monday night that she predicted the credit rating downgrade long ago.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/palin-downgrade-knew-happen-151730478.html;_ylt=AtL7EaGMNNzfIDR4Zi62336s0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNwcjhvM2tjBGNjb2RlA3dlaWdodGVkY3QEcGtnAzUxNDE5Njg3LWVjMTEtM2E4Ny1hMGYxLTUyOGQ5ZjI1NTVjZgRwb3MDMgRzZWMDbW9zdF9wb3B1bGFyBHZlcgM1YjlmYTg5MC1jMmE0LTExZTAtOWZkZC00MTZmZjJhNTM0OTg-;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

In a pig’s arse… there’s nothing else to say of such arrant rubbish… if anything deserves the description of “bollocks on stilts”, this does. It does illustrate the mindset of the ‘baggers… reality need not apply.

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Editor’s Afterword:

Let’s say that I want you to think on all of that above. If we were to cut the defence budget by 50 percent, it would still be one-third of total world spending on war material and war. S&P thought Enron was a good deal… why should we trust their “credit rating?” It does stink of a partisan coshing of a political opponent, doesn’t it? Only government can do MANY things… a society of over 300 million individuals can’t have a “minimal” government… if it did, anarchy would result, and only the ruthless and evil would prosper. That’s why a “Reuters/Ipsos poll found 73 percent of Americans believe the United States is ‘off on the wrong track’, and just one in five, 21 percent, think the country is headed in the right direction. The survey found that 47 percent believe ‘the worst is yet to come’ in the US economy”. Sobering stuff, eh? Note the Palin idiocy… however, there ARE ignoranuses who eat that up… don’t turn your back on them. They’re ignorant… they’re fanatics… and they have leaders who know what they want… and what they want is a theocracy where all non-Born Againers would suck hind tit (if they’d allow us to live at all). It’s up to us to fight them and kill their Satanic movement. It’s our God-given duty…

BMD

Monday, 8 August 2011

8 August 2011. Let’s STAND UP for what’s Right! Please, DO Read the Link…

THIS is the God of the Tea Party and the New GOP… Almighty Mammon the Great… don’t be fooled by their cries of “Jayzuss”… they’re about as Christian as Anders Breivik was… that is, not much…

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Read this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/opinion/sunday/what-happened-to-obamas-passion.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3

Here are the guts of it all:

“I know you’re scared and angry. Many of you have lost your jobs, your homes, and your hope. This was a disaster, but it wasn’t a natural disaster. It was made by Wall Street gamblers who speculated with your lives and futures. It was made by conservative extremists who told us that if we just eliminated regulations and rewarded greed and recklessness, it would all work out. However, it didn’t work out. Moreover, it didn’t work out 80 years ago, when the same people sold our grandparents the same bill of goods, with the same results. Nevertheless, we learned something from our grandparents about how to fix it, and we’ll draw on their wisdom. We’ll restore business confidence the old-fashioned way… by putting money back in the pockets of working Americans by putting them back to work, and by restoring integrity to our financial markets and demanding it of those who want to run them. I can’t promise that we won’t make mistakes along the way. But I can promise you that they’ll be honest mistakes and that your government has your back again”.

A story isn’t a policy. However, that simple narrative… and the policies that would naturally have flowed from it… would have inoculated against much of what was to come in the intervening two-and-a-half years of failed government, idled factories, and idled hands. That story would’ve made clear that the president understood that the American people had given Democrats the presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress to fix the mess the Republicans and Wall Street had made of the country, and that this wouldn’t be a power-sharing arrangement. It would’ve made clear that the problem wasn’t tax-and-spend liberalism or the deficit… a deficit that didn’t exist until George W Bush gave nearly 2 trillion dollars (58 trillion Roubles. 1.4 trillion Euros. 1.2 trillion UK Pounds) in tax breaks largely to the wealthiest Americans and squandered 1 trillion dollars (29 trillion Roubles. 700 billion Euros. 600 billion UK Pounds) in two wars. Perhaps, most important, it would’ve offered a clear, compelling alternative to the dominant narrative of the right; our problem isn’t due to spending on things like the pensions of fire-fighters, but to the fact that those who can afford to buy influence are rewriting the rules so they can cut themselves progressively larger slices of the American pie while paying less of their fair share for it.

However, there was no story… and there’s been none since. In similar circumstances, Franklin D Roosevelt offered Americans a promise to use the power of his office to make their lives better and to keep trying until he got it right. Beginning in his first inaugural address, and in the fireside chats that followed, he explained how the crash had happened, and he minced no words about those who had caused it. He promised to do something no president had done before… to use the resources of the United States to put Americans directly to work, building the infrastructure we still rely on today. He swore to keep the people who had caused the crisis out of the halls of power, and he made good on that promise. In a 1936 speech at Madison Square Garden, he thundered, “Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me… and I welcome their hatred”.

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There it is in a nutshell. One of the reasons that we’re in the straits that we’re in today is that Barack Obama is trying to be kind to those who have no other desire but to slice off his balls. He’s trying to conciliate the irreconcilable. Look, these people are greedy and grasping nutters, that’s all there is to say. They want to gut social welfare programmes to enrich the affluent, and that’s that. They want a world were everyone is the Step n’ Fetchit of the Five Percenters. In short, they want a plutocratic dictatorship based on Ayn Rand’s perverse philosophy… a dictatorship that would make the solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short life available to one under the state of Hobbes’ Leviathan look positively alluring. Ponder this… most of those who follow this perverse credo also claim that they have “a personal relationship with Jayzuss” (an aside to my Orthodox readers… good examples would be phonies like Jonas Paffhausen, Terrence Mattingly, and Rod Dreher). THAT tells you much about American religiosity. You don’t honour God by kicking the unemployed full-force in the face! That’s all that there’s to say on the matter. We can fight for what’s right, or, we can bow down before Satan and worship naked greed… that’s the alternative. What do you want? I know what I want… and it’s not THAT!

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Monday 8 August 2011

Albany NY 

Thursday, 28 July 2011

28 July 2011. Brent Bozell Has a Temper Tantrum and Hissy Fit About the Rich Being Overtaxed and How There’s a “Hate-GOP” Machine

Income Distribution in the USA, 1947-2007, in 2007 dollars… it’s clear from this that Brent Bozell is a well-paid liar, there’s no other way of putting it. The above graph is clear… the Republican Party/Tea Party is lying to you… you know what to do.  

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Read this:

http://news.yahoo.com/hate-gop-machine-070000918.html

Note this:

In round numbers: In fewer than four years, Obama has increased the debt by 4 trillion USD (110.5 trillion Roubles. 2.79 trillion Euros. 2.442 trillion UK Pounds). He proposes we raise it another 2.3 trillion USD (63.6 trillion Roubles. 1.6 trillion Euros. 1.4 trillion UK Pounds). This makes Obama responsible for almost half the debt of the United States. But it’s “unreasonable” to say so.

Yes… there’s a deficit because taxation on the top people is amongst the most lightest in the world! The Republican Party refuses to allow a reasonable level of taxation on the rich. The Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Five Percent are the cause of the mess that Mr Bozell “cites”.

See this:

http://news.yahoo.com/low-taxes-high-health-costs-us-choices-tough-080137550.html

Note this:

This year’s federal tax revenues are forecast to equal 14.4 percent of gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic output, according to the Office of Management and Budget. That’s the lowest share since 1950, long before Congress approved expensive programs such as Medicare. Tax collections have been reduced by the recession and by tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003. Among 29 countries ranked by the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation, only Japan and Spain take in less tax revenue than the US as a percentage of GDP.

In 1950, the top marginal tax rate was 90 percent… under Richard Nixon, it was 70 percent… under Clinton, it was 39 percent… today, after Bush’s tax giveaways, it’s 35 percent. In short, the rich ARE getting a “free ride”, and Mr Bozell is nothing but a well-paid running-dog lackey of the Five Percenters. You see, if the Top One Percenters have 35 percent of the income, under a progressive tax structure (as is used by all developed societies), they’d be paying at least 50 percent of the taxes. As they’re not, the US tax structure is highly regressive, with the government collecting a MUCH greater proportion of sales taxes, fees, fuel taxes, and payroll taxes from moderate-income households… data that the Tax Foundation ignores (it IS a rightwing Neoliberal outfit, after all).

Another way of seeing how the Post Reagan New GOP/Tea Party raped ordinary people in the US is to look at the index of the richest 10 percent as compared to the lowest 10 percent, the higher the figure, the more income inequality there is. Here’s a list of representative countries, going from most inequality to least inequality:

1.  USA

15.9

2.  Georgia

15.4

3.  UK

13.8

4.  Russia

12.7

5.  Australia, New Zealand

12.5

6.  Canada

9.4

7.  France

9.1

8.  Poland

8.8

9.  Kazakhstan

8.5

10. Denmark

8.1

11. Armenia

8.0

12. South Korea

7.8

13. Germany, Austria, Byelorussia

6.9

14. Slovakia

6.7

15. Sweden

6.2

16. Norway

6.1

17. Finland

5.6

18. Hungary

5.5

19. Czechia

5.2

20. Japan

4.5

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“Undeveloped” countries weren’t considered, as their R/Ps are VERY high.

Look at the above table… the USA has a very high R/P. Do note how high Georgia’s R/P is? Saakashvili is aping the USA, he and his cronies are living high whilst they crush under the ordinary people… the R/P says so! Now, you see why the Western media just LOVES Georgia. Russia’s R/P is going down; the USA’s is going up. That’s one of the reasons that Fox News HATES Russia. In short, this table just simply proves that Brent Bozell, Rush, Michelle, Dropout Scott Walker, and all the rest are lyin’ sacks o’ shit. No representative democracy can function with an R/P as high as the Anglosphere states have (except for Canada). In short, the Neoliberal “conservatives” are raping ordinary folks to fatten the boodle bags of their oligarch paymasters. It’s time to do something about it. Income inequality in the USA was going down until the time of Ronnie the Drooler. How do you like being lied to? Remember… petrol went up 20 percent in the USA, whilst it only rose an average of 8.6 percent in Europe, over the past six months. Somebody’s getting richer… and it sure as hell isn’t us!

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Thursday 28 July 2011

Albany NY   

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

26 July 2011. This is From “Forbes”… Read it and WEEP

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The 400 richest Americans used to pay 30 percent of their income on the average to Uncle Sam. Today, they pay 18 percent on the average, according to Steve Rattner, a Wall Street financier, who just presented these figures on Mornings with Joe on MSNBC. The main reason for the drop in their tax rate of some 40 percent is the tax cuts by George Bush in 2003, taking the rate paid on dividends and capital gains down to 15 percent. This reduction in the investment class’s taxes powered the bull market in stocks from the fall of 2003 until the fall of 2007. Shockingly, the plan to raise the debt ceiling collects nothing from the wealthiest Americans to reduce our budget deficit. The Republican rightwing holds the Obama White House hostage. It’s a sad day for the principle of sharing the pain equitably.

http://blogs.forbes.com/robertlenzner/2011/07/25/the-400-richest-americans-pay-an-18-tax-rate/?partner=yahoofeed

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John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Rush, Michelle, and Lil’ Mizz Sarah all scream that the rich are overtaxed, and that we can’t raise their taxation levels. THIS proves them to be bald-faced liars… it’s from Forbes, of all sources. It shows that the political/media duopoly, at least the New GOP/Tea Party and the rightwing commentariat, are bought-and-paid-for running-dog lackeys of the oligarchs. Rush Limbaugh earns 150,000 USD (4.136 million Roubles. 104,000 Euros. 92,000 UK Pounds) a DAY. Do you make that in a year? It’s time to put the axe to the Bush tax cuts. Return taxation to the levels of 2000… that’s fair. The Five Percenters won’t be able to afford to buy a new McMansion or hire an illegal wetback Mexican nanny… BOO HOO! Close your hearts to pity… these bastards gave themselves a 29 percent pay increase, profits went through the roof, yet, ordinary Americans suffered, hell, two million American families were tossed out on the street via foreclosure (per Val Zorin of VOR, a 50-year veteran of watching the American scene). What’s wrong with that picture? Bernie Sanders looks like a better president candidate than any other… and he looks better every day, with each example of greed we see from the oligarchs, with each brazen lie uttered by their political/media lapdogs. It’s a Jabberwockian world, the District is… send them a CLEAR message… vote AGAINST the New GOP/Tea Party in 2012… otherwise, do stock up on Vaseline… you’re gonna need it…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Tuesday 26 June 2011

Albany NY

 

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