Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

5 November 2013. Some Takes on the Tea Party from the NYT Commboxes

00 05.12 Political cartoon slashing spending 02


The remarks in the commboxes for a NYT article made more sense than the article itself! I present them below, as is, without comment. I found them thought-provoking… I think that you’ll find them likewise.



There’s much overlap between folks who identify themselves as Tea Party and who also identify as some flavour of rightwing Christian. This identification is especially strong in states where the most radical elements have done best (in the South and Midwest). The real unholy alliance here is the Republican Party and rightwing religion. The latter cherishes a belief system that sees opponents as purely evil, and compromise with them means that you’re surrendering to the forces of evil. The list of evil people is very long for them (the equivalence of poverty with evil remains a mainstay of Calvinism). Politics becomes a holy war, not a way to resolve competing interests in a society and economy. They’re also perfectly fine with the destruction of the world, because their religion anticipates it with glee. The Republican Party will be stuck until they sever this relationship. As with any divorce, short-term pain will be very great. However, they can’t participate in the 21st century, and solve the problems of the 21st century, until they make this painful step.


Nashville TN


Much of the Tea Party is Astroturf and is composed of Republican activists. It’s about time that the funders who fuelled this plastic revolution realise that their money’s wasted. As for the push back on the poor, I suspect that this comes at the behest of the other power centre in the GOP, the Catholic bishops, who form the backbone of the Pro-Life movement, who’re finding it increasingly difficult to hide their political affair with the GOP from Pope Francisco. They’re in danger of violating that other Eleventh Commandment… “Don’t get caught”.

Michael Bindner

Alexandria VA


While conservatives and Republicans “sought to harness its energy”, the Tea Party was no grassroots movement; it was a top-down movement started by the Koch brothers and friends. It sought to “harness” racist rage, which was evermore powerful after the election of our first black president, towards a GOP/corporate agenda. Hate is a most powerful motivator. Now, the corporate bigwigs have lost control of the Tea Party… I have no sympathy for them. A split in the Republican Party and its subsequent weakening is welcome, as is a move towards the centre in the general electorate.


Brookline MA


If the Tea Party disintegrates, the Republican base will absorb most of the detritus, and, unfortunately, the base and the Tea Party share many of the worst elements. They want “their” country back, and it’s clear that “their” country is patriarchal, White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, and feudal in nature. Resentment of the loss of white privilege… whether it’s recognised as such or not… is the driving factor. There are Republican Party members who talk about a big tent and changing their message, but its window dressing at best. Meantime, the result of a generation of trickle-down economics has all but destroyed the country’s infrastructure, whether transportation, education, or healthcare, because of Republican Party resentment towards benefits to the common good that help too many people… they disapprove of such.

Vanessa Hall

Millersburg MO


Read n’ heed, kids… the Tea Party’s EVIL…



Saturday, 11 May 2013

Kansas’ Road Likened to Mao’s

00 Louis Lozowick. Strike Scene. 1935

Strike Scene

Louis Lozowick


THIS is the world of the Republican Party… any questions?


00 William Gropper. Study for 'Construction of a Dam'. 1938

Study for “Construction of a Dam”

William Gropper


THIS is what we have to return to… “One for all and all for one”… “He ain’t heavy; he’s my brother”… NOT “Greed is good”… NOT “The race goes to the swiftest”… NOT “I earned it… its MINE”. In any case, the Apostle said, “The love of money is the root of all evil“, NOT “The love of social justice is the root of all evil”… my, my, my... note well that the Republicans are trying to stuff this part of our history “down the memory hole“.


Editor’s Foreword:

This letter to the editor well-summarises what the libertarian idiots and chowderheaded “culture warriors” are doing to our country. That is, they’re cutting into “social capital”, the reserves that society built up from the time of the New Deal to the inauguration of Slobberin’ Ronnie in 1981. For 32 years, the Affluent Effluent has partied hearty by preying on the rest of us. The top 5 percent have 275 percent of their 1981 incomes in real terms… the rest of us have only 85 percent. None dare call it “class warfare”… of the country club set against all others.

However, it can’t go on much longer… lately, in December 2012, Jim DeMint, one of the more-unhinged rightwing nutters, resigned his Senate seat to head a District-based stink-tank. He’d won re-election in 2010, so, he had four more years left in his term. Recently, he said that the GOP couldn’t count on “angry white men” forever… you see, at present, the most-solid GOP bloc is white men over 70… and they’re dying off steadily. Have some patience… the rightwing scourge may soon be over. After all, DeMint resigned a “safe” seat… that says something. I believe that extremist (and wrongheaded) Tea Party policies are going to lead to further meltdowns in GOP-run states as basic government functions become unaffordable due to tax cuts favouring the Affluent Effluent. That won’t be pretty…

When the Tea Party tanks, it’ll take “social conservatism” along with it. That is, those who allied themselves with the GOP due to its anti-abortion platform will founder at the same time as the greedsters do. Whether one likes it or not, the rest of us outnumber the troglodyte Evangelical stormtroopers of the GOP. After all, Our Lord Christ didn’t use the cudgel of the state’s police power to spread His message… neither should we. That’s what HH said recently… we should follow him… NOT certain loud parties in the District. Read n’ heed…



In 1966, Mao Zedong initiated the Cultural Revolution in China. It was an ideologically-based movement to replace capitalism and certain traditional practises with Maoist orthodoxy. The result was a fiasco. Characteristic features of the movement were the eviscerating of universities and intelligentsia, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, public humiliation, and property seizure. The abuses continued until after the death of Mao in 1976. China’s Cultural Revolution has been seen… even in Communist China today… as an unmitigated failure.

Today, in Kansas, we see eerie parallels. Governor Sam Brownback and the Legislature are in the process of destroying education, social services, scientific research, infrastructure maintenance, and the ability of low wage-earners to improve their lot. They’re trying to eliminate the progressive income tax from which the state gets half its revenue in favour of continuing and expanding the regressive sales tax. Brownback tries to convince people that we need the sales tax to continue funding higher education, but the truth is that his reduction of the income tax created the need to do so. Another result of no- or low-income tax in a state is higher property taxes. This self-inflicted wound benefits only those with significant wealth to start with. The conservative Tax Policy Center rated this programme as the worst in the nation.

Other Brownback initiatives include reduction of university faculties, evisceration of such social services as mental health, children’s food programmes, and Medicaid, making abortion totally unavailable, expanding the presence of guns in society, and disdain for the suffering of the less well-off. He’s doing this in the name of ideology and extremist orthodoxy. So far, we haven’t suffered as badly as Mao’s China, but we’re well on the way.

10 May 2013

Douglas B McGaw

Emporia KS

Topeka (KS) Capital-Journal


Saturday, 25 August 2012

25 August 2012. Which Do You Want… Do You Want the America of FDR or Do You Want the America of Rush Limboob and the Tea Party? Choose Well…


THIS is why I refuse to vote for ANY Republican candidate for ANY office. THIS is what “rugged individualism” and “economic freedom” means to the GOP. Remember this when you vote in November. Obama‘s no prize package, but the alternative is FAR worse…


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The US Primaries: Will Emotions Decide the Outcome?


Editor’s Foreword:

This piece uses Anglosphere political terminology… that is, he doesn’t use “liberal” for “conservative”, or “conservative” for “nationalist”. That’s rare in a Russian writer, and it bespeaks Mr Makarkin’s familiarity with the American scene. His conclusion is interesting. However, I doubt that the GOP’s going to turn away from its lemming-like march to the cliff (you can’t respect any group that adulates Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin). Most foreign observers see President Obama winning handily in November… you can’t rip yourself apart in internecine conflict and then regroup for the general election.



A week before the Republican primary in South Carolina, Mitt Romney was everyone’s favourite to win the upcoming primary. However, in a matter of days, the situation flip-flopped. Newt Gingrich was the clear—cut winner of the election…

Conservative Passions

I must say that in the period between the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries, Romney had no luck at all. A more accurate count of the votes in Iowa showed that he lost that contest, being 34 votes behind former US Senator Rick Santorum. Thus, the victorious march of the favourite stopped in its tracks… Romney suffered a severe psychological blow, at the most inopportune moment. Fact is, Romney’s momentum led to a strong vigorous mobilisation of the most conservative Republican voters, who want another Reagan in the White House, not someone who made concessions to liberals during his tenure as Governor of Massachusetts; they want a regular Christian, not a Mormon.

The conservative wing of the party winnowed its list, consolidating its forces. After her failure in Iowa, Tea Party-favourite US Representative Michele Bachmann backed out of the race, and, after New Hampshire, another loser, Texas Governor Rick Perry, dropped out, throwing his support to Gingrich. It seems that the exit from the race of John Huntsman, the former US Ambassador to China, balanced out these moves, as he urged his supporters to vote for Romney. However, in South Carolina, Perry was popular enough (he had the backing of 6 percent of the Republican voters), whilst the more-liberal Huntsman didn’t really bring Romney all too many additional voters in that state.

Thus, conservative voters coalesced around two candidates… Santorum and Gingrich. No one really takes libertarian Ron Paul very seriously, he’s only interested in advancing his ideas in a public forum; he’ll stay in the primaries until the bitter end. In the last week before the primaries in South Carolina Santorum made a bid for the religious faction, as 150 leaders of influential American Evangelical Christian organisations tapped him as their choice for the Republican nomination for president. However, this “anti-Mormon” initiative didn’t fill up Santorum’s war chest. Big-money backers, in contrast to Iowa voters, don’t believe that Santorum, an uncompromising opponent of abortion and gay marriage, has a chance of success even in the Republican race, not to mention the November election, where the Republican nominee will face Barack Obama.

The Gingrich Factor

Unlike Santorum, before the primaries in South Carolina, Gingrich received strong financial support. US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a close friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the owner of the newspaper Yom Yisrael, donated 5 million dollars (154.8 million Roubles. 3.85 million Euros. 3.2 million UK Pounds) to the Super-PAC Winning Our Future, which backs Gingrich’s campaign. Adelson agreed with Gingrich’s statement that Palestinians were an “imaginary people”, saying to those who disagreed with him that they had to “brush up on their history”, to see where the name of Palestine came from, and to find out who has the right to call themselves Palestinians. Conservative Israeli politicians want to help Gingrich to “punish” Obama, whose relations with Israel soured recently. President Obama approached Arab régimes, being cool towards the Netanyahu government, which is too far to the right for the Democrat Obama.

In South Carolina, Gingrich received 40 percent of the vote (Romney had 28 percent, Santorum got 17 percent, and Paul brought the rear with 13 percent). In his campaign, he relies on an image of a “man from the heartland”, which he contrasts with an American élite that he considers too liberal and too self-absorbed. This is in spite of the fact that he spent two decades in the US Congress, and was the Speaker of the US House of Representatives for four years (1995-98). However, Gingrich’s political career didn’t exactly follow the career path typical for a professional American politician. He isn’t a lawyer or an economist, but a historian; he has a PhD, and he taught at a small-time college in Georgia. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress twice, but finally won election in 1978, when he was 35-years-old. Two years later, Ronald Reagan became the US President, and Gingrich became one of his advisors, but didn’t hold any formal executive office, so, now, his opponents reproach shim for a lack of managerial experience.

In 1994, Gingrich led a very successful electoral campaign; the Republicans won a majority in both houses of Congress for the first time since 1952. Gingrich put forward a conservative alternative to the “modernist” proposals of the Clinton administration, but his activities as Speaker were disappointing, as he was found guilty of using tax-free funds for political purposes, he had to pay a large fine. In addition, Gingrich faced accusations of adultery, which was especially frustrating for a conservative Republican politician. As a result, Gingrich left Congress, and he left politics, to which he returned only last year when he announced his intention to be a Republican presidential candidate (before that, he was engaged in consulting and teaching). Over time, the accusations against him lost relevance (after his divorce, Gingrich married his girlfriend), but before the primaries in South Carolina, he was reminded of it. Gingrich’s ex-wife televised revelations about their family life, but they didn’t perceptively affect the results of the voting.

Emotions and Rationality

Gingrich won in South Carolina, riding on a strong emotional tide of conservatives who don’t trust Romney and who’re looking for a new Reagan. Nevertheless, a rational approach suggests that Gingrich is too conservative for “swing voters” who decide the outcome of national elections. These voters voted for Reagan in 1980, but that was in an extreme crisis, not only economic but moral as well. Today, Obama’s popularity is down, but it hasn’t yet collapsed, there hasn’t been a “New Reagan” yet. In addition, no one has been elected US president after leaving political office due to scandals, which will come back more than once during the election campaign. Finally, even during the primaries, a negative factor for Gingrich may well be his religion. He was born in a Lutheran family, for a significant part of his life he was a Baptist (including during his political career), but his current wife persuaded Gingrich to convert to Catholicism. Not surprisingly, evangelical preachers prefer Santorum to him. In US history, there was only one Catholic elected president, a Democrat from the East Coast, John F Kennedy (however, no Mormon has ever been elected President).

Now, Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum and will compete in the Florida primary on 31 January, one of the most important states in the American South. Then, it may be clear which tendency will prevail… will it be “the vote of rationality” (for the not-much-loved, but more promising Romney), or, will it be “the vote of the heart” (for one of his conservative opponents). In the meantime, the continued sharp controversy amongst the Republican Party weakens it, which, therefore, benefits Barack Obama, the single candidate of the Democrats.

23 January 2012

Aleksei Makarkin

Voice of Russia World Service


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