Voices from Russia

Thursday, 28 November 2013

No Flat Earth Theories, Thanks



Editor’s Foreword:

This punchy editorial encapsulates my editorial philosophy. It illustrates how I view criticism from certain quarters. Of course, reasoned well-founded criticism is quite good; I don’t mind that (it does keep me out of the bog and on the straight n’ narrow)… but the hyperclericalist cheering section (and the konvertsy peanut gallery) can kiss my arse. I like the “attitude” conveyed here… God willing, I hope that I can do likewise…



I think, by now, everyone knows that this newspaper has its share of detractors. Editorials and opinion pages in this publication are under constant attack, particularly in certain quarters. Most of our sworn enemies are of the nattering nabob set of so-called Liberal Oppositionists. There’s hardly a need to elaborate. If one can recognise ducks by their bills… one can size up these folks by their biliousness. One might also add that, often, this sub-set is anyway not difficult to recognise as they fall into a distinct type; it’s hackneyed, perhaps, but it’s worth saying… even though we might repeat ourselves… that if they walk like ducks and quack like ducks, they’re ducks. This caravan moves on despite the curs or other wildlife that we might agitate on the wayside, but it’s also worth considering what separates us ideologically from our detractors. This can be edifying, because it’d show up the qualitative difference between what we seek to do, and what they do.

We, here in these pages, whatever others may accuse us of, don’t offer an echo chamber for the pundits of international media or the purveyors of conventional wisdom. Our credo is that we question things. In the process, we come up with what one might call alternative journalism, almost. In that way, some here at the Daily News were proud when a reader described us recently as being “niche”. Despite our being very mainstream, this means that we aren’t “lamestream”, as progressives in some developed countries refer to their own media. Whatever we do, one thing’s very clear, and it’s that we don’t follow the [prevailing] orthodoxy at all.

This holds true in our approach to local as well as international news. For instance, look at the way many newspapers treated the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. Most carried articles that either romanticised the so-called Kennedy era in the USA, or treated the issue in a rather airy-fairy scholarly fashion differentiating the Kennedy era positives from the contemporary negatives in US politics. However, in the Daily News, we gave you new “mind-blowing” facts about who might’ve killed Kennedy. Currently, the article is running as a serial in our pages. It goes to the root of many issues other than the simple “who killed Kennedy?” It goes into such matters asking how they affected global politics then and now. In the same way, we’ve sought to challenge those who give us bald statistics, who want us desperately to arrive at certain pre-agreed conclusions about this country, for instance. Take the canard about the 25 Sri Lankan journalists dead since 2005. We deconstructed that and showed that only a very few of these were real journalists, most were LTTE cadres killed in battle.

It isn’t simply a matter of contradicting the facts, however. That’s the easy part. In these pages, we try to keep questioning the unquestioned and probe what so many take for granted. Sometimes, as a result, we might come up with a startling new vision, albeit almost accidentally, besides sometimes presenting startling facts, even though we say this ourselves! For example, we took on the silly notion that one couldn’t call a spade a spade when journalists write about world leaders such as David Cameron. We observed that the Premier’s conduct was buffoonish when he was here in Sri Lanka; then, we proceeded to substantiate minutely the extent of his hypocrisy. Now, we know that there are enough English language writers who’re willing to fairly fall over each other after the fact, saying that Cameron behaved ridiculously and was either rude or bordering on the rude in the general way he treated our leadership, and, by extension, our people.

The result of that was that we might’ve forced some people to remove their blinkers about the “benign coloniser” that could do no wrong, that they considered a force for good! All that our detractors seem to be able to do is to make loud sucking sounds and other snappy noises in response. We may not be faultless, and if anybody points to any mistakes we make, we’d be the first to admit them. However, in contrast to our detractors, who form a chorus line for the tired and effete opinion makers and sundry pundits of the world, we daresay that we don’t accept flat earth theories here in these spaces… and are the happier for it!

28 November 2013

Daily News (Sri Lanka)


Editor’s Afterword:

Note this:

Whatever we do, one thing’s very clear, and it’s that we don’t follow the [prevailing] orthodoxy at all.

That’s what I do here, especially, as far as Church news is concerned. I challenge the “orthodoxy” (with a small “o”) of the OCA/ROCOR First Family narrative, and I’d argue that it isn’t very Orthodox (with a large “O”) at all. Indeed, I only insist they stick to “whole truth and nothing but the truth”… and they don’t. I won’t mince my words… expediency and opportunism reigns amongst us in the American Russian Orthodox diaspora. We need to clear this away… it’s the only way for us to survive, let alone move forward. The conclusion to the above editorial illustrates my own editorial philosophy to a tee:

We may not be faultless, and if anybody points to any mistakes we make, we’d be the first to admit them. However, in contrast to our detractors, who form a chorus line for the tired and effete opinion makers and sundry pundits of the world, we daresay that we don’t accept flat earth theories here in these spaces… and are the happier for it!

We must clear away the First Family lies or we won’t survive here… and that’s that.




Thursday, 22 November 2012

President Obama Pardons Turkeys as the USA Marks Thanksgiving


As millions of Americans sit down to turkey dinner today, US President Barack Obama pardoned two birds in an annual White House Thanksgiving ceremony to mark the national holiday. Now, the birds will live at George Washington’s restored Mount Vernon estate. Two 40-pound turkeys, named Cobbler and Gobbler, came from Virginia. Gobbler’s role was to replace Cobbler, should the latter be unable to fulfil his duties. Obama pardoned both birds. Whilst granting his ‘presidential’ pardon, Obama joked about his recent re-election, saying, “You know, they say that life is all about second chances. This November, I couldn’t agree more. So, in the spirit of the season, I have one more gift to give. It goes to a pair of turkeys named Cobbler and Gobbler. The American people have spoken, and these birds are moving forward”. Americans chose the turkeys through an online vote.

According to the White House website, the traditional pardon dates back to President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s son Tad begged his father to write out a presidential pardon for the bird meant to be the main dish in the First Family’s Christmas feast. The young boy argued that the turkey had as much right to live as anyone. However, not all US Presidents followed this tradition. Some didn’t pardon their gift turkeys; they ate them. In November 1963, just four days before his assassination, President John F Kennedy spontaneously spared a turkey. The bird he was presented wore a sign reading, “Good Eatin’, Mr President”. Kennedy responded, “Let’s just keep him”. Since 1989, the tradition was formalised.

The estimated number of turkeys that Americans will eat on Thanksgiving 2012 exceeds 46 million. Some 13 percent of Americans won’t be feasting on turkeys this Thanksgiving season, as they’re dependent of food stamps. Officials say the figure will only increase, given the economic slump and the devastation in the Northeastern USA caused by the recent Hurricane Sandy. According to a new report by the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit government watchdog group, today, as many as 42.2 million Americans, which equal the population of California and Connecticut combined, are in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). According to the report, SNAP estimates that a meal costs 1.00 to 1.25 USD (31 to 38 Roubles. 0.80 to 1.00 Euros. 0.65 to 0.80 UK Pounds) per person.

The number of Americans dependent on SNAP has increased by 70 percent since 2007. Last year, it involved approximately 44.7 million Americans and cost the US government a record 72 billion USD (2.25 trillion Roubles. 56 billion Euros. 45 billion UK Pounds). Meanwhile, due to past summer’s drought food prices have skyrocketed while supplies remain low. For some low-income families, a turkey for Thanksgiving is an unaffordable luxury.

22 November 2012

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

The main cause of the increase in SNAP cases is the meltdown caused by Republican deregulation and crackbrained giveaways to the Affluent Effluent (coupled with inordinate spending on unnecessary warfare in foreign parts). Another reason is the “givebacks” demanded by management as they increase their own pay and bonuses (case in point being Hostess, where the management gave themselves an 80 percent pay hike and demanded “concessions” of the workers). Many of those “employed” at Wal-Mart are on SNAP… bear that in mind as you hear fatcat investors bleat about the cost of the ACA. I find that reprehensible and vile. Yet, they’re going to sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner without a care and with the lunatic notion that they’re the oppressed in this nation. If nothing’s done, there’ll be an explosion… and they’ll have no one else to blame but themselves (the same was true in 1917… ponder that).

By the way, the cost of SNAP is only some 10 percent of the bloated war budget. If there are 42.2 million people on SNAP, and the entire programme costs 72 billion USD, that means, if all monies were spent on benefits (and they’re not, for there’s administrative overhead in that figure), each individual on SNAP would receive 1,707 USD (53,300 Roubles. 1,325 Euros. 1,070 UK Pounds) a year, which works out to 142.25 USD (4.440 Roubles. 110 Euros. 90 UK Pounds) a month. That’s not a princely sum; all the bloviating that you hear about “welfare queens” and “welfare Cadillacs” is lies, and what’s more, those who spread such falsehood, do so knowingly. That’s called evil, kids.

The cost to taxpayers is 240 USD (7,500 Roubles. 186 Euros. 150 UK Pounds) a year per person… the US war budget eats up 2,500 USD (78,000 Roubles. 1,941 Euros. 1,566 UK Pounds) per person per year (much of that is kickbacks to corrupt pols and bloated management compensation)… now, can you tell me where the fat in the budget is? It’s NOT in “entitlements!” It’s not quite what the rightwing fanatics are telling you, is it? Reflect on that as you hear such unrepentant greedy cretins as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity scream about “entitlements”. They spend more than that on their country club dues or on one meal out. Let God see and judge…


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

American Students Choose Obama in Mock Presidential Election


The votes are in! Students in the USA chose President Barack Obama as the winner of the upcoming presidential election in a mock vote held by Scholastic, one of the largest publishers of children’s books and magazines in America. Elliott Rebhun, editor and publisher of Scholastic’s Social Studies Classroom Magazines, said in an interview with CNN, “Students made their voices heard once again, and it proved to be a tight race”. Scholastic has been conducting mock US presidential elections since 1940, and this year Obama, the Democratic nominee, received 51 percent of the vote, while former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, received 45 percent. Four percent of students also cast votes for other candidates, such as their mothers and fathers, Republicans John McCain and Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Scholastic invited people under the age of 18 to cast a vote for the president by voting on the organisation’s website or mailing in a paper ballot that students could find in one of its classroom magazines. Almost 250,000 students throughout the USA in elementary through high school participated in the Scholastic Student Vote, which took place from 15 August until the online poll closed on 10 October. A majority of students who live in swing states critical in the election, such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Ohio, chose Obama, while Romney won Virginia by a slim margin in the mock election. The results of Scholastic’s mock elections have reflected the correct outcome in all but two presidential races. Students voted for Thomas E Dewey, who lost the election to Harry S Truman in 1948, and they chose Richard Nixon, who lost to John F Kennedy in 1960. Rebhun said, “The Scholastic Student Vote shows us that students are engaged and excited about the election, and provided classroom teachers with a tool to bring current events to life and teach students about our country’s democratic process”.

18 October 2012 (MSK)



Thursday, 26 January 2012

US Presidential Hopeful Newt Gingrich Promises Lunar Base by 2020


On Wednesday, in an address to a crowd of over 700 people on Florida’s “Space Coast”, US Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich promised to build a lunar base by 2020 if he becomes the next US President in November. “By the end of my second term, we’ll have the first permanent base on the moon and it’ll be American”, Gingrich promised to an applauding crowd, as well as saying that he would push to develop “the first continuous propulsion system in space” that would enable humans to travel to Mars, Politico.com reported. The topic of the latest wrinkle in Gingrich’s campaign struck a particular chord with the residents of Florida’s “Space Coast”, as they’re still struggling economically after recent US federal cuts to the space programme. CBC News quoted Gingrich as saying, “We’ll have commercial near-Earth activities that include science, tourism, and manufacturing, and we design to create a robust industry precisely on the model of the development of the airlines of the 1930s, and the Chinese and the Russians will never come anywhere close to matching it”.

Gingrich’s rival, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, mocked the idea of a lunar settlement, but Gingrich simply commented, “Here’s the difference between romantics and so-called practical people”. He referred to John F Kennedy, who first spoke of a national mission of landing a man on the Moon in a Joint Session of Congress on 25 May 1961. On Wednesday, Gingrich said, “John F Kennedy was grandiose, I accept the charge that I’m grandiose, and that Americans are instinctively grandiose”. Both Gingrich and Romney are campaigning to win Florida’s primary next Tuesday.

Special Bonus:

Click here for an interactive lunar globe from RIA-Novosti.

26 January 2012



Editor’s Note:

Newt’s a space cadet, but literally? There’s NO money… none… busted… Mutha Hubbard’s Cupboard… American cosmonauts are going into space on Soyuz vehicles from Baikonur… and he’s going to found a lunar base in seven years. R – I – I – G – H – T. Newt’s known for his pixie-dust bloviating, but this takes the prize. It does take all kinds, and this proves it. The reality would be rather more prosaic… Newt would preside over a Robber Baron Oligarchy that wouldn’t allocate enough money for NASA to build a kiddie ride in Disney World, let alone a lunar base.

If you needed proof that Newt’s crackbrained and quackers, this is it. This proves that his link to reality, as it’s commonly known, is tenuous and frayed. It proves the gullibility of the average GOP base voter… scary, isn’t it?


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