Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

“I Feel Betrayed”: Iraq War Vet Dr Tony Snow on US Government Shutdown



On Tuesday, American veterans upset with the US government shutdown showed up to voice their displeasure at the World War II Memorial in DC. Thousands of veterans might not receive their disability benefits beginning 1 November. To get a better picture of the issue, VOR correspondent Crystal Park spoke to Dr Tony Rice, one of those who might be affected directly by the shutdown. Rice is a US Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom; he’s now a family physician practising in West Virginia. On Tuesday, he joined his fellow veterans in DC to send a message of compromise to Congress and the President.

Crystal Rice

You’re a practising physician; tell us a little bit about your thoughts on the Affordable Care Act, and about how it’s all come to be on Capitol Hill. Why did it practically shutdown our government?

Dr Tony Rice

I’m a great supporter of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act. I believe that, anyway, our government can increase the ability of the American people to afford healthcare, short of completely taking over healthcare, as it’s done in many other industrialised nations in the world. It’s a good idea. Certainly, there are a lot of details in the law that I think not too many people understand, but the fact that many people will benefit, will have coverage for healthcare, for example, students in college that had previously not been eligible for healthcare under their parents after the age of 21 now have until age 26… that’s important because a lot of post-secondary students take longer than 4 years to complete their degrees now. That’s a known fact.


Let’s go back to today. The demonstration collectively called the Military Coalition Unites to End the Government Shutdown… it’s a meeting of veterans from various different coalition groups deciding to meet in front of the World War II Memorial today. Can you tell us a little bit about the scene down there? How many were gathered? What exactly was the mood down there?


There was a lot of anger, to be honest. There were a lot of different sentiments that were being expressed regarding specifically the ongoing effects on the war memorials, specifically the World War II Memorial. I think the reason that that siting was chosen is obvious when you’re there, that the fountains that are normally running there aren’t running, they have barricades surrounding it and placards that declare that unless you’re there specifically expressing your First Amendment rights, you aren’t to be there.


Where do you think the anger is being directed?


From what I’ve seen, from the different groups that were represented, I think it’s about evenly split between the President and the Congress. To me, that seems like an accurate way to place the blame on.


As a military veteran, Dr Rice, you, along with your colleagues, served this country with great honour. The fact that our own Government isn’t able to serve you at this time, how do you feel about that?


I feel betrayed, to be honest.

16 October 2013

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

“I feel betrayed”… the Tea Party’s a dead duck. They gambled… and they lost. Money can buy a lot of things… including votes… but you can’t buy cred or restore lost “face”. The Tea Party’s lost both. Except for amongst evangelical nutters and racist loons, it’s lost traction. I’m not crying any tears over that… and neither are many others. Sic transit gloria mundi


Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Separated States of America


A petition campaign for secession launched in several American states is gaining momentum. A day ago, Texas succeeded to collect more than the 25,000 signatures needed for the petition to receive a go-ahead. Now, there are already seven states where the number of signatories has exceeded the needed threshold… besides Texas, they’re Louisiana, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida. Although in any foreseeable future any secessionist move by the above states (and an unknown number to follow) is unlikely to bear fruit in terms of real secession, one should regard the move as a signal that the question is being included on the American political agenda.

The US Constitution doesn’t allow the possibility for any state to secede from the Union. The memories of the Confederation of 11 Southern states and the Civil War that followed are still fresh in the national memory. Probably, no one in the USA would like to repeat that experience, although in regional popular perception (most overtly expressed in Gone with the Wind) the southerners have the reputation as people of honour defending the core values of a free society.

The only state that has a formal exemption from the constitutional provision banning secession is Texas, which joined the Union as an independent state, and is still nicknamed the “Lone Star State”. It’s hardly surprising that the deeply-conservative state was the pioneer of the current secessionist campaign and was the first one to exceed the 25,000 threshold. It’s collected more than 100,000 signatures. However, even Texas, legally speaking, is highly unlikely to be granted independence… as far back as 1868, the US Supreme Court ruled in Texas v White case that states lacked the power to unilaterally secede from the Union.

Some critics of the petition campaign point out that the underlying reason for it is purely political and that this is nothing more than just a reaction of Romney supporters to their electoral defeat. In this sense, one can compare the campaign to the proclamation of the Confederation in 1860 as a reaction to Abraham Lincoln’s election. Nevertheless, one should not only note that Barack Obama is far from being a second Lincoln, but one should consider another small fact. Amongst the seven states that have so far collected 25,000 or more signatures, Obama defeated Romney in Florida on 6 November.

Other critics say that the secession of the states seeking it would serve the Union well and badly affect the states themselves. According to this point of view, the states seeking secession are amongst the weakest in terms of economy. “The Confederation of Takers” is what the Washington Post commentator Dana Milbank called the possible (or, rather impossible) future composition, writing, “If Obama were serious about being a good steward of the nation’s finances, he’d let them” secede, further including into the Confederation such relatively-poor states as Alaska, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Well, the above states may be relatively poor, but amongst them, only Tennessee is among the seven that have collected the needed amount of signature. Definitely, the label of “poor state” can’t be applied to states like Florida, and even less so to Texas, whose economy is booming due to vast oil reserves, and who would become the world’s 15th ranking economy in case it succeeded in gaining full independence.

Again, for the time being, such considerations don’t constitute anything more than wishful thinking. Still, the very idea of secession may not be ripe, but they’ve definitely sown the seeds for it. Back in mid-90s, I saw a map published in one of the American newspapers depicting the country in 2017. Apart from the Lone Star Texas as an independent, it showed sovereign entities like the Dixieland Confederation, Theocratic Kingdom of Utah, the Wild West and New England Republics, and some others.

However, seriously, even if one may disregard the idea of secession for the time being, one shouldn’t exclude it altogether. Do you remember what enthusiasm surrounded the enlargement of the EU some eight years ago, in May 2004? What’s become of European integration now? It’s best if we didn’t dig deeper into it, in order not to frighten the Americans. Lastly, supporting secessionist movements in countries that aren’t eager to follow American policy has become one of the basic principles of Washington‘s attitude towards global issues… from Kosovo and other parts of former Yugoslavia, to Baloch separatists in today’s Pakistan. Maybe, Washington strategists should remember the old maxim… “One who lives in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones?”

15 November 2012

Boris Volkhonsky

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

Texas isn’t “rich”… it has one of the most pronounced gaps between the Affluent Effluent and the rest of us in the USA. Its labour laws are laughable and union organisers are beaten and killed in the state regularly, with the perps never found. If the federal military bases and the federal government apparat were to leave Texas, it’d fatally harm its economy, and the Texas Grand Old Perverts know it. The other states of the Old Confederacy are even deeper at the federal slop chute. You see, the “conservatives” who scream about “rugged individualism” would be sunk if they weren’t sucking off “libtards” in New York, New Jersey, California, Washington, and New England. If we didn’t have to support the rightwing parasite states, we’d be in far better shape. Such is the TRUTH of America…

I say, “Let the bastards secede! Go! It’ll destroy the rightwing in what’s left of the USA”. Besides that, we could erect trade barriers against the “New Republic” (as they wish so badly to be “rugged individualists”). (sigh) Let’s be honest… these thieving holier-than-thou sanctimonious mofos aren’t going to leave us… their leaders realise that if they left, their personal finances would be affected, and that’s paramount to the greedy and godless (especially those who maintain a “religious” veneer).


Sunday, 30 September 2012

1951 American Police Report May Solve Renoir Painting Mystery

On the Shore of the Seine

Pierre-Auguste Renoir



A decades-old theft report discovered by police in the USA on Friday could be the clue that links a piece of artwork purchased for 7 USD (220 Roubles. 5.50 Euros. 4.40 UK Pounds) to a costly Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting that was stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1951. The report, dated 17 November 1951 described Renoir’s On the Shore of the Seine, as a “river scene in pink and blue”. It confirmed that someone stole the painting from the museum, and noted that police found no evidence of forced entry. Police never solved the case.

A Virginia woman purchased a painting that matches the description in a box of junk at a West Virginia flea market two years ago, and had the piece valued by The Potomack Company auction house this summer. Experts there confirmed it was the Renoir masterpiece On the Shore of the Seine, worth up to 100,000 USD (3.125 million Roubles. 78,000 Euros. 62,000 UK Pounds), and found that the frame contained a plaque with the famous painter’s name on it. Where the artwork came from was a mystery, and the owner… who hasn’t publicly revealed her name… made plans to sell it at an auction scheduled for Saturday.

However, an investigation by The Washington Post this week found that the Impressionist painting might have been stolen from the BMA. The Post reporter also discovered evidence that the painting was on loan to the museum from 1937 until 1951, it belonged to an art collector named Saidie May, whose ex-husband bought the painting in 1926 from a Paris gallery. BMA Director Doreen Bolger said in an interview with the Washington Post, “Obviously, we take our responsibility for our collections and the things entrusted to us very seriously. We have to do more research and get to the bottom of the real story, and we’re still in the midst of that process. We have a lot of written and printed records, and they’re filed in many areas of the museum”.

In light of the new information, The Potomack Company cancelled the auction of the Renoir painting scheduled for Saturday, whilst the US Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case to confirm the painting’s rightful owner. Robert Wittman, a former FBI investigator of art thefts, said, “I just figured it’d be a matter of time before somebody made a claim, because those things just don’t disappear”.

29 September 2012

Jaclyn O’Laughlin



Sunday, 12 December 2010

12 December 2010. Quotes to Live By…

Editor’s Foreword:

One of my friends sent me the following… think on them… then, think of those who support the Christian Atheism of the Tea Party… enlightening, no? I can’t say that these are MY choices, but they all made me THINK hard… that’s what friends are for… they make you see the OTHER. Give these a whirl, yourself… and THANK YOU to my friend for sending these on! This is MUCH longer than my usual production, but I wanted to give two longish quotes from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and from the Pope of Rome at the end.



When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they’re poor, they call me a communist.

Dom Hélder Pessoa Câmara


I don’t want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.

Mohandas K Gandhi


Those who give nothing back, but preach to the rest of us, are just Christohol­ics, they are complete fakes and frauds.



Euthanasia‘s a long, smooth-sounding word, and it conceals its danger, as long, smooth-sounding words do, but the danger’s there, nevertheless.

Pearl S Buck


Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it with religious conviction.

Blaise Pascal


If logic tells you that life’s a meaningless accident, don’t give up on life. Give up on logic.

Rav Shira Milgrom


Of all bad men, religious bad men are the worst.

C S Lewis


I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Ecclesiastes 9.11


As editor of the largest newspaper in West Virginia, I scan hundreds of reports daily and I’m amazed by the frequency with which religion causes people to kill each other. It’s a nearly universal pattern, undercutting the common assumption that religion makes people kind and tolerant.

James Haught


No can make history who is not willing to risk everything for it, to carry the experiment with life to its bitter end.



When religion is in the hands of the mere natural man, he’s always the worse for it; it adds a bad heat to his own dark fire, and helps to inflame his four elements of selfishness, envy, pride, and wrath. Hence, worse passions, or a worse degree of them, are to be found in persons of great religious zeal than in others that made no pretences to it.

William Law


In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.

Czesław Miłosz


The Institutional Church (ecclesia) has killed only two kinds of people… those who don’t believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ, and those who do.

Will Durant


A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company.

Charles Evans Hughes


We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.

Jonathan Swift


Brooks become crooked by taking the path of least resistance. So do people.

Harold E Kohn


Organised Christianity has probably done more to retard the ideals that were its founder’s than any other agency in the world.

Richard Le Galilénne


Learn from the waves…  back up, but just to come back, to insist, tirelessly, ceaselessly, night and day, until God’s hand has waved, giving the sign of the plenitude of the high tide living waters.

Dom Hélder Pessoa Câmara


The human race, in the course of time, has taken the liberty of softening and softening Christianity, until at last we have contrived to make it exactly the opposite of what it is in the New Testament.

Søren Kierkegaard


I love people. I love my family, my children … but inside myself is a place where I live all alone, and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up.

Pearl S Buck


He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother…


Editor’s Afterword:

If we call ourselves Christians, we have obligations to our fellow man… if you’ve any doubts on that score, I’d suggest that you listen to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and Benedict XVI the Pope of Rome (by quoting him,. I’m NOT saying that he’s “Orthodox”, simply that he has something good to say)… they agree on this topic; in fact, their agreement is total and absolute. Look at what they say:

The modern economy is built largely on fraud; it creates money out of thin air. Money’s a token of human labour and of our God-given resources, such as coal, ore, and oil, along with our intelligence, physical labour, culture, and spirituality. However, every company produces its own money in the form of shares, which is passed onto the secondary market, becoming not just simple securities; they are traded and used as items of speculation. If these mere phantasms earn billions, not even backed by labour or real capital, then, how can such an economy exist? Who’s going to pay for all of this? Why, the simple worker is going to, who produces the value behind all of this bubble. We need a fair economic system where money and capital are equivalent and are the expression of real work.

An economic system built only on the striving for profit, on indifference to the fate of people, on disregard for moral norms, is deprived of stability, and can collapse at any moment, burying the fate of people under its rubble.

If society embarks on the road of such recklessness consumption, our earth will go under. It’s already been proven that if the average level of consumption of the whole world matches that of the United States… our basic resources will run out in 40 to 50 years. God didn’t give us these resources to live like this. In this sense, the crisis may teach us much… such as restraint and rational use of our financial opportunities. The most important thing is to learn Christian asceticism. This doesn’t mean life in a cave or permanent fasting. It’s the ability to regulate one’s consumption and the condition of one’s heart, and win victory over one’s passions and instincts. It’s important that the rich and the poor alike possess these qualities. The trinkets of modern life make one giddy, and inebriate the human consciousness. People believe in advertisement, fashion, stereotypes, and this virtual world as if it were reality.

In Liberalism {His Holiness speaks of the ideology behind American “conservatism” (a European Liberal believes in laissez faire capitalism and hates traditional structures): editor}, every person’s autonomous, both from God and from other people. He creates his own system of values and this ultimately leads him to losing his inner control. There’s hope for an East-West dialogue, but the dialogue shouldn’t be between a “horse and rider”, but, rather, between equal partners. Holy Russia is a huge civilisational project. Others shall not guide it, it must generate its own ideas, it must offer another outlook, to which other cultures must give an answer.

His Holiness Kirill Gundyaev

Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias


How could the idea have developed that Jesus’ message is narrowly individualistic and aimed only at each person singly? How did we arrive at this interpretation of the “salvation of the soul” as a flight from responsibility for the whole, and how did we come to conceive the Christian project as a selfish search for salvation that rejects the idea of serving others?

We must also acknowledge that modern Christianity, faced with the successes of science in progressively structuring the world, has, to a large extent, restricted its attention to the individual and his salvation. In so doing, it has limited the horizon of its hope and has failed to recognise sufficiently the greatness of its task… even if it has continued to achieve great things in the formation of man and in care for the weak and the suffering.

A society unable to accept its suffering members and incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through “com-passion” is a cruel and inhuman society.

The atheism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is… in its origins and aims… a type of moralism… a protest against the injustices of the world and of world history. A world marked by so much injustice, innocent suffering, and cynicism of power can’t be the work of a good God. A God with responsibility for such a world wouldn’t be a just God, much less a good God. It’s for the sake of morality that this God has to be contested. Since there’s no God to create justice, it seems man himself is now called to establish justice. If in the face of this world’s suffering, protest against God is understandable, the claim that humanity can and must do what no God actually does or is able to do is both presumptuous and intrinsically false. It’s no accident that this idea has led to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice; rather, it’s grounded in the intrinsic falsity of the claim. A world which has to create its own justice is a world without hope.

Spe Salvi

Benedict XVI Ratzinger

Bishop of Rome, Pope and Patriarch of the West


As you can see, you can have the ideology taught by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and by Benedict the Pope of Rome, based on hope in God and His Providence, or, you can have the ideology of the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, based on the love of filthy lucre and worldly power… is that a hard choice, really? Get your mind right and get with Christ and His Church! Reject the Tea Party, reject Mammon, reject the GOP, and reject the Republican adoration of Filthy Lucre (and reject their endless and pointless wars all over the globe)… and accept Justice, Right, Mercy, and Charity (and accept the fact that there is much rebuilding to be done, not only abroad, but here in America)… your soul DOES depend on it!


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