Voices from Russia

Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Unbearable Awfulness of the 2012 Election Campaign

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When the Republican race for the presidential candidacy started, I thought it’d be fun to write a series of columns tracking the 2012 election campaign race from its beginnings to its conclusion this November. I’d poke fun at fatuous press dribbling, the evasions, and misrepresentations of the candidates, etc. That ended when I realised that the whole Republican race was a freak show beyond parody, consisting of nothing but gimps, lepers, and glue-sniffers. Well, it wasn’t that bad but you get my gist. There was Newt Gingrich, talking about Outer Space; Rick Perry, high as a kite on painkillers; Herman Cain, and his ladies; Rick Santorum, wanting to puke over JFK; Michele Bachman doing her low-budget Sarah Palin schtick; a few other nonentities; and, of course, Ron Paul. All Mitt Romney had to do was stand there, smile, and do nothing to remind people he was a Mormon. He won easily. There was no point writing about it.

Romney’s a preppy, upper-crust CEO type, lacking in people skills. As for Obama, the days when he would appear on TV instead of American Idol and ramble on about whatever he wanted to, Chávez-style, are gone, but he still has a high opinion of his charm and oratorical skills. The president was reportedly delighted with the GOP’s selection. The Democrats set the tone early, as Obama surrogates started digging for filth on this well-groomed, caffeine-dodging executive. Ancient yarns about Romney the teenage school bully and Romney tying his pooch to the roof of a car were unearthed as evidence of his diabolical character. Hacks and media lapdogs ran with both tales, but neither really took off.

Next, the Democrats decided to reignite the “Culture Wars” by making it mandatory for the Catholic Church to provide free contraceptives to frisky young lassies in their institutions and, also, Sandra Fluke. Cue conservative outrage, and lots of media jibber-jabber about the Republican war on women, Republicans tying women to the roof of Mitt Romney’s car, the Republican Taliban, etc. It worked for a bit, but then passed. Then, came attacks on Romney’s business record, as Obama surrogates portrayed the Wooden Mormon as a cackling, top-hat wearing capitalist of the sort Mayakovsky drew in Bolshevik propaganda posters in the 1920s. Apparently, there was nothing Romney loved more than bathing in cash after asset-stripping a firm and firing all its employees. These attacks backfired because there are plenty of gazillionaire Democrat asset-stripping venture capitalists and a few politicians voiced their disapproval of all these attacks on capitalism, which is, after all, a big part of the American Way of Life. So, the strategy then shifted to outright innuendo and lies… a whispering campaign that Romney hadn’t paid taxes since the Mormons practised polygamy in the 19th century, and, oh yeah, that he kinda sorta killed some dude’s wife, while taking a bath in money. Kinda.

That last attack, which appeared in a Democrat ad, and was swiftly revealed to contain no truth whatsoever, impressed me with its sheer chutzpah. The media duly talked about it for a few days, whilst Romney just stood there, wooden, preppy, grinning nervously; eager to escape to the next board meeting where he could perhaps fire some people and take a bath in money. He dispatched an underling to make a weak response, and, then, a few days later accused Obama of running a campaign based on “division and anger and hate”, an assessment not entirely without merit, but then he let the attack slip away and soon we were back to talking about his dog strapped eternally to the roof of his car yipping for release.

How times have changed! I enjoyed the election in 2008 because it made so little sense. Obama talked sweetly, conjuring a magical fluffy cloud out of words, inviting the people to come float away with him to a wondrous land where there was no hate or political division, and where the government didn’t keep foreigners locked up forever at Guantánamo Bay. This time around, it’s all about personal attacks, innuendo, gibberish, and appeals to special interest groups. Still, 2008 and 2012 do have one crucial factor in common… in neither campaign, has Obama run on his record. Four years ago, it was because he didn’t have one, so, it was all hope, change, and millenarian blather; this time around, he does have a record, but it’s clearly not anything he wants to talk about, other than, “Yeah dude, I totally blew a hole in bin Laden’s head”. The media is still pretty friendly to Obama, so they’ll happily run with stories about Romney’s dog or push unfounded accusations about his business record if they get an opportunity. Thus, the election is about everything except what’s important, which is something that rhymes with “economy”. Instead, we get a perpetual side show display of inanity, bumbling, distractions, and general rottenness. I’d say, “Wake me up when it’s over”, but I’m about to leave the country for a few weeks, so, that may not be necessary. I’ll save my nap for when I get back.

24 August 2012

Daniel Kalder

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/columnists/20120824/175419645.html

Editor’s Note:

I’ve noticed a great deal of “battle fatigue” amongst those covering this excuse for a political campaign. No one, but no one, has ANY enthusiasm whatsoever over it. Yes, many of us are willing to vote for “the lesser of two evils”, but there’s no “fire” in it. On the one hand, Mittens is unrepentantly greedy… “Yes, I screwed people unmercifully to get where I am today. I’m secretive, and I don’t owe you a damn thing, except to pay extortionate taxes so that I and my friends don’t have to… and I’m going to cut all programmes for ordinary people because I and my friends don’t want to pay for them”. On the other, Obama’s supremely feckless… “I promised to end the wars and close Gitmo… but that wasn’t expedient, so I didn’t do it. I won’t do anything that’s remotely unpleasant for me and my backers. If you don’t like that, find another planet to live on. I know that the One Percent parties hearty whilst most people suffer, but that’s life. I like the money that my rich backers give me, so I won’t cramp their style”.

In short, many people want to vote for “none of the above”. Neither the GOP or Dems are trusted… NEITHER. The Dems are seen as having turned their backs on New Deal square-dealing and the GOP’s seen as violating the principles of its most-revered leaders (Lincoln, TR, and Ike). Both are seen as greedy and grasping enablers of the rich… the Dems are simply less blatant about it (and will keep the social safety net somewhat intact). That’s why no one has any “fire in their belly” over the present campaign. NOBODY GIVES A SHIT. Everybody just wants it all to end, and we all know that we’re stuck with this shit for two more excruciatingly-long months. I think that the turnout this year will be the lowest in decades, if not in history. That’s sad… and it vitiates every criticism that American “conservatives” and “liberals” hurl at Russia… especially, if the turnout at the American presidential election is less than that in the late Russian election (65 percent of eligible Russian voters actually cast a ballot in 2012, compared to 63 percent of American voters actually voting in 2008). Vova will lift a glass and smile… and he’ll have every right to.

Mr Kalder’s struck a vein of pure gold here. However, who’s going to listen?

BMD

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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

2 August 2011. RIA-Novosti Infographics. The Top 20 Debtor Countries

Which country throws bombs around like confetti and then “pays” for it with “plastic” so that the rich can have hefty tax cuts? It’s NOT Russia! Hmm… who’s the “rouge nation?” I’d say it was the one that drops bombs for no good reason all over the world and kicks two million families out on the street at home so that the swinish oligarchs can party on undisturbed. I wonder what country that one is? I don’t think that you have to guess hard, do ya? You know its “face”… how d’ya spell “P-A-L-I-N?” Or, how ’bout “M-U-R-D-O-C-H?” Toss your pinch of incense on the Altar of the Almighty Dollar and do a reverence before the icon of Ayn Rand… Paul Ryan, Michelle Bachmann, and Glenn Beck do! It’s the AMERICAN thing to do!

BMD

2 August 2011

RIA-Novosti

 http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20110802/165522108.html

Monday, 25 July 2011

25 July 2011. Anders Breivik Isn’t Alone… Look at the Spirit of the New GOP/Tea Party…

The rightwing does NOT cavil at this… they’ll do ANYTHING to seize power… they believe that “might makes right”… any questions?

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Read these:

http://news.yahoo.com/wall-street-freakout-041400535.html

http://news.yahoo.com/gops-sick-priorities-070000758.html

http://news.yahoo.com/cain-evidence-prejudice-knows-no-bounds-003204316.html

http://news.yahoo.com/texas-ed-board-compromises-evolution-materials-163423128.html

Note this:

However, Republicans also grievously underestimate what will unfold both short and long term in financial land if they push this anywhere close to 2 August. We’re already seeing, as of this weekend, cracks in the global consensus that even a troubled US can ultimately be counted on to “do what’s right”. The UK Business Secretary referred to the Tea Party radicals advocating no increase in new debt as “nutters” who threaten the global economy. The Chinese have been notably quiet in public, but are apparently quite concerned behind the scenes that their trillion dollars (give or take) in US Treasuries might lose value should the US face a debt downgrade from the ratings agencies. Even the Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner piled on and made some passing remarks about the American Dream becoming a nightmare. …

It’s absurd that Medicaid, along with Medicare and Social Security, is on the chopping block when there’s no serious effort to find savings in a defence budget equal to that of the rest of the world’s nations combined, and still at Cold War-era levels despite the lack of a sophisticated military enemy. That the GOP-led House has gotten a supposedly progressive president to consider doing serious damage to our most vulnerable population in order to placate Republicans determined to continue massive tax breaks for the wealthy is morally obscene. …

However, [Cain’s] candidacy will prove costly. He’ll leave the campaign trail having tarnished not only his personal reputation, but also having contributed to the GOP’s difficulties with voters who aren’t white Christians. Ironically, Cain has managed to worsen the problems that the party has reaching outside its homogeneous ranks. Indeed, he perfectly illustrates the GOP’s current moment… an ever-shrinking tent of narrow-minded know-nothings who insist that those who come inside pledge absolute fealty to their most ludicrous pronouncements. As a black man, for example, Cain draws enthusiastic applause from right-wing audiences for his insistence that the tea party movement holds not a shred of racism. Perhaps Cain really believes that, but it sounds like the price of admission. …

The Texas State Board of Education delivered a blow to social conservatives Friday, giving final approval to supplemental high school science materials after a brief flare-up over some lessons teaching the principles of evolution. The lessons in question included a lab comparison on chimpanzee and human skulls, the fossil record and cell complexity. A board-appointed reviewer had called the lessons errors and recommended changes, but a group of scientists objected on Friday, threatening to re-ignite a fierce debate over teaching evolution in Texas public schools. The board’s social conservatives compromised when it appeared they would lose a vote to reject the reviewer’s changes in favour of the original lessons. Instead of a showdown vote on evolution, the panel agreed to approve the material and have Education Commissioner Robert Scott continue working on the lessons in question with publisher Holt McDougal. “Today, we saw Texas kids and sound science finally win a vote on the State Board of Education”, said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, a group that supports mainstream scientists in the teaching of evolution and has repeatedly sparred with board conservatives over education standards.

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The above speaks for itself. Anders Breivik has many “fellow travellers”. He’s NOT alone… his sick hatred is shared by many others. In Norway, you find them in the so-called Progress Party (FrP), in the USA, they vote Republican; in Canada, they vote Conservative… the knuckle-draggers are spitting on the legacy of Ike and Dief, of TR and McDonald. I fear that the description of “an ever-shrinking tent of narrow-minded know-nothings” is completely spot-on. The so-called Tea Party only won the last US congressional election because many people “sat out” the election, and Harper’s bizarro crew only won the last Canadian parliamentary election because the Liberals and the NDP split the opposition vote. However, as the tragedy in Norway proved, we can’t be complacent about this lot. They’re violent, they’re armed, and they feel both aggrieved and entitled at the same time. That’s dangerous.

After spending a whole weekend with the heartrending story of the Norwegian mess (if you weren’t affected by it, you have a heart of stone, and aren’t fit company for decent people), I’m no longer ambivalent about the rightwing. They’re dangerous… they’re nutters… we have an obligation to oppose them wherever we find them, for they oppose a considerate, educated, rational, and compassionate society. They stomp on the common good for their private enrichment, and, then, they have the goddamn gall to claim that such behaviour is beyond reproach. Yes… give me an honest atheist such as Jens Stoltenberg in preference to such greedy and grasping “Christians” as GWB, Michelle Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin, Reinhardt Priebus, Scott Walker, and John Boehner. At the least, I wouldn’t have to fear if had to bend over to pick something up… Jens would help me… as for the others, you’d best carry a LARGE jar of Vaseline…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Monday 25 July 2011

Albany NY 

Sunday, 24 July 2011

24 July 2011. Norwegian Terrorist Action Showed Us the Violent Ideology of the Rightwingers… They TRULY Believe this Shit…

Read this:

http://news.yahoo.com/lawyer-norway-suspect-wanted-anti-muslim-crusade-115344430.html

Note this:

A manifesto published online… which police are poring over, and said was posted the day of the attack… ranted against Muslim immigration to Europe and vowed revenge on “indigenous Europeans” who he accused of betraying their heritage. It added that they would be punished for their “treasonous acts”. …

More was coming to light Sunday about the suspect of Friday’s attacks, who chose targets linked to Norway’s left-leaning Labour Party, and authorities have said Breivik held anti-Muslim views and posted on Christian fundamentalist websites. “He wanted a change in society and, from his perspective, he needed to force through a revolution”, Geir Lippestad, his lawyer, told public broadcaster NRK. “He wished to attack society and the structure of society”. …

Police spokesman John Fredriksen confirmed that the essay was posted the day of the attacks. The document signalled an attack was imminent, “In order to successfully penetrate the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist media censorship, we are forced to employ significantly more brutal and breathtaking operations, which will result in casualties”.

I’ll not bore you with a long rant… that’s unnecessary; it’s counterproductive. The above crapola is EXACTLY what the rightwing in the USA and Canada believe in… they want to change the social order violently… they want to scrap the social safety net, decrease taxes on the rich, wage countless and pointless wars in foreign parts à la Orwell’s 1984, discard all workplace safety regulations, drop all laws regarding child labour and minimum wages, and put TSA gropers at every bus stop, train station, and thruway toll plaza, in addition to those found at the airport. Ponder this… in Europe, the average rise in the price of petrol since December was 8.6 percent, with many countries falling under that. In the USA, it was a bit over 20 percent. Market forces are equally at work in the EU as they are in the USA… one can easily see that the oil trust engaged in price gouging… and the New GOP/Tea Party drooled a slack-jawed idiot’s grin of approval at it all. Fox News didn’t issue a peep of protest at it, either.

Anders Breivik was a wakeup call. Do you want the entire USA to be like Texas? It leads the country in executions and is at the bottom of the heap in funding schools. The two are NOT unrelated. A REAL conservative like Aleksandr Aleksandrovich only used the gallows rarely (for instance, to execute the regicides who murdered his father), and he didn’t bluster like Rush, Michelle, Ryan, or Cantor do (he thought that being vigilant would deter war, and he was right… there were no foreign wars in his reign). Anders Breivik is the face of the “nice” Sectarians next door. Truly, they wish a dictatorial theocracy, “for our own good”… we’ve got to stop that. Vote next November… remember… “Anders Breivik”… “terror”… “right-wing”… “social change”. That’ll help you to keep your mind right and mark the correct box (the one on the left, dear)…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 24 July 2011

Albany NY

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