Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

9 October 2013. And Now A Word From Our Sponsor… Reflect on What the Republicans REALLY Want During This Shutdown

00 Luo Jie. China Daily. Gun Control. 16.07.13

Gun Control vs Gun Abuse

Luo Jie

2012

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Do you want the world that the Republicans want to put into place? To help you, I’d advise you to ponder what happened to two people in Florida, one of the states misruled by a Republican junta today. What happens there now is what the GOP wants throughout the country.

Firstly, there was George Zimmerman, a self-appointed vigilante. I asked several cops and a lawyer if what Mr Zimmerman did was within the law and SOP for Neighbourhood Watch groups. To keep it short, it flew in the face of everything that responsible cops teach Neighbourhood Watch volunteers. Volunteers are ordered to NEVER to initiate contact with a suspect. NEVER EVER. The watch is supposed to inform the police, who’ll then send a patrol to make contact with the suspect. The volunteer is supposed to lay back, keep the suspect in sight, but never contact or accost them, ever. Besides which, no Neighbourhood Watch volunteer is supposed to be armed, and especially not with a firearm! In short, Mr Zimmerman flouted all the rules… and the Sanford FL PD supported him! Why? I’ve no doubt that Republican politicos threw their mantle of support over Zimmerman, because it’s what they want (lawless vigilantes beating up “uppity niggers n’ spics”) and because it fits their vision of a Radical Libertarian Anything-Goes Deregulated Paradise. The Sanford PD decided not to buck the politicos… by the way, Zimmerman is part-Cuban, a group detested and hated by all other Hispanic populations in the USA. Cuban-Americans, disproportionately, come from the classes that supported Fulgencio Batista… that is, they helped Batista rape Cuba for the benefit of the Americans. That’s why no Mexican or PR is going to vote for Marco Rubio, not now, not ever.

Secondly, there was Marissa Alexander. Last year, a Florida court convicted Alexander of assault with a deadly weapon with no intent to harm, and under Florida’s mandatory minimum laws sentenced her to twenty years in prison after firing a warning shot to ward off her abusive husband. Alexander attempted to have her case dismissed under Stand Your Ground, claiming her right to protect herself from a man who had repeatedly beat her, but was unsuccessful.

Do you see the Jabberwockian insanity in the above? THAT’S WHAT THE REPUBLICANS WANT THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. It’s why they’re “shutting down the government”. The “right to keep and bear arms” only applies to the people whom the Republicans like… as the Zimmerman and Alexander cases show. The Republicans want a pro-business thugocracy just like the one in Florida… if you doubt my word, ask the union organisers who’ve tried to organise Disney World… the ones who survived, that is.

This is what the shutdown is really all about… it’s all about the Republicans ripping up the US Constitution and putting a Libertarian Hell in its place. I’m against that… and I’m not alone…

BMD

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Russia, Self-Defence, and Trayvon Martin

00 Zimmerman. cartoon stand your ground silence. 16.07.13

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Editor’s Foreword:

This is the best piece that I’ve seen on the Zimmerman fiasco. I agree fully with it, and I give this a “read n’ heed” endorsement… there’s nothing higher in my book…

BMD

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In death, Trayvon Martin became famous. By now, people have even heard of him in Russia… and the “not-guilty” verdict his killer has just won inspired debate here as well. In case you haven’t heard of Trayvon, he was a 17-year-old black teenager who was shot after being followed by zealous neighbourhood watchman George Zimmerman in a gated community in Florida. Trayvon was unarmed. The shooting and Zimmerman’s subsequent not-guilty verdict on the charge of second-degree murder and manslaughter sharply divided American society. I’ll not pretend to be unbiased in the Trayvon Martin case. I think Zimmerman’s actions that night were disgusting. The verdict not only makes me feel deep shame, it also makes me seriously question Florida’s notorious “Stand Your Ground” self-defence laws… and how they’re invoked against black people.

There’s no doubt that there was a confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin that night. Zimmerman claimed that he was only trying to defend himself and that he had no choice but to pull the trigger. Yet, before Zimmerman approached him, Martin did nothing wrong. He was just going home to be with his family… and a strange man was following him in the dark. The kid isn’t around to tell his side of the story, but it appears that Zimmerman terrified the teenager as much as the teenager terrified Zimmerman. Police asked Zimmerman not to pursue Martin, but he did so anyway… armed with the racist assumption that any black kid in a decent neighbourhood is clearly up to no good. As many observers have pointed out since the announcement of the verdict… it seems that, in death, Martin was punished for not playing by the unspoken rules. Black boys must appear deferential to authority figures like Zimmerman. Anything else could get them killed. William Jelani Cobb wrote in The New Yorker, “The most damning element here isn’t that George Zimmerman was found not guilty… It’s the bitter knowledge that Trayvon Martin was found guilty”.

However, for many in Russia, we need better self-defence laws. Just take the case of Aleksandra Lotkova… sentenced to three years for defending her friends with a rubber-bullet gun on the Moscow Metro. A friend told me following the Zimmerman verdict, “Lotkova didn’t even kill anyone, and look what happened to her!” This same friend had been watching the Zimmerman case from abroad and had no doubt that the shooter would be found not guilty, saying, “It’s not just the local mentality, it’s also the laws that are on the books. Florida’s laws are far too loose, and ours are too strict”.

For some Russians, the protests in the USA that followed the verdict were an amazing show of self-restraint… as opposed to the protest that took place on Manezh Square, when an ethnic Chechen shot football fan Yegor Sviridov following an argument on the sidewalk on Kronshtadt Boulevard in Moscow. A good friend of mine, let’s call him Pasha, is a fan of FC Spartak, as Sviridov was. Pasha followed the Trayvon Martin case, struck by what he saw as the similarities between the Moscow shooting and the shooting in Florida. The verdict came as a shock to him. He told me over the weekend, “I don’t understand how the US legal system allows you to shoot a person and just walk away. I understand that Americans are fond of their guns, but don’t you have to draw the line somewhere? They didn’t even convict [Zimmerman] of manslaughter. If the court had found [Sviridov’s killer] not guilty, I can only imagine what would’ve happened in Moscow, the kind of reaction that would’ve followed. The American reaction to the [Zimmerman] verdict was very calm, comparatively speaking”.

A journalist friend of mine, who also asked that I not use his name, told me that the Trayvon Martin case was a stark reminder that senseless death can happen anywhere, saying, “This kid was just 17-years-old. It’s hard to think that something like this can happen in America; you have these illusions about American communities being safe for children. I guess for a kid who’s black, it’s an altogether different story”.

15 July 2013

Natalia Antonova

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/columnists/20130715/182250703/Trendwatcher-Russia-Self-Defense-and-Trayvon-Martin.html

Sunday, 14 July 2013

14 July 2013. Stand Your Ground Law… “If You’re White, It’s All Right; If You’re Black, Watch Your Back”

00 Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman cartoon. 14.07.13

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I found this an à propos commentary on the Zimmerman acquittal:

If this isn’t racism, then, what is? Did you notice the smirk on the face of the judge when the verdict was announced? This judge is the same judge who sentenced a Florida mom to 20 years in prison for firing a gun aimed at the ceiling when her abusive husband was coming after her. Zimmerman was white, the mom was black… draw your own conclusions.

What many people outside of the South don’t know is that its obsession with guns is due to its crank history. Mind you, I’m not talking about hunters or the guys at the local Rod and Gun Club or rural folks who’re shooting chucks (if you’re nice, you can sit down to a meal with a good chuck stew afterwards… I speak from personal experience). White southerners are nutters about guns because they were armed-to-the-teeth in slave days. Slave rebellions weren’t infrequent affairs, so, many whites went armed as a matter-of-course. The white southerner wasn’t fussy… he hated all non-whites… the Trail of Tears occurred in the South. The result was that white southerners became obsessive over guns to a very unhealthy degree. When all’s said n’ done, the convention was, “If a white man shoots a black, it’s OK… if a black man shoots a white, he gets Big Yellow Mama”.

George Zimmerman was guilty of at least criminally-negligent homicide. I don’t believe that what he did fit the definition of murder per se (that requires either premeditation or its commission in the course of a Class A felony). However, it was at least manslaughter or criminally-negligent homicide. Zimmerman was a cracked cop wannabe who went about looking for trouble… and was armed when he did so. He didn’t do what responsible neighbourhood watch members do… call the coppers and keep an eye out on the suspect. He confronted Trayvon Martin, which is a usurpation of the state’s police power. At the very least, he was guilty of improper use of a firearm. Yet, he was white… his victim was black. In the American South, that’s tantamount to acquittal. That’s nasty, but that’s The Way It Is.

The American southerner has a twisted view of “freedom”… do note well that the southern states are known for their nasty attitude to organised labour (I’ve met more than one union organiser who’ve been beaten by southern cops, with no repercussions to the perps). Whether it’s slavery, sharecropping, or Wal-Mart McJobs, the powers-that-be in the South don’t scruple at kicking ordinary folks in the face to enrich the Affluent Effluent. The Republican Party has gone to bed with that element… ponder that. There’s more to the Zimmerman acquittal than what the Corporate Media is telling you. Never forget Dr Johnson’s statement about American southerners:

How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of Negroes?

Dr Johnson was a devout conservative Anglican and a compassionate man. His Christian morality saturated his works, so, he was an opponent of slavery on moral grounds, and once proposed a toast to the “next rebellion of the Negroes in the West Indies“. If you advocate “consistent life ethics” (if you approve of the verdict, you’re no Pro-Lifer, despite all your yelps to the contrary), you’ll find no joy in Zimmerman’s acquittal… he took a life for no good reason. Mark it down well that “conservative” Republicans are rejoicing at the verdict. Watch your back around such sorts… if they countenance Zimmerman, it means that they approve of landshark crapitalism and all of its grasping tenets.

You can have Dr Johnson or you can have Franklin Graham (and all the rest of the Evangelical flotsam n’ jetsam)… do choose well…

BMD

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

18 April 2012. The Russian “Take” on Trayvon Martin is NOT that Expressed by the American Rightwing… Let’s Look at the Facts of the Matter

This is what I believe… if you don’t like it… tough beans. I won’t close my mind to suit any political, social, or religious Neanderthal. I’ll stand for what’s right, come what may. ‘Nuff said!

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As I read the Russian media daily (what I post here is only a smidgen of what I read), the Russian “take” on Trayvon Martin is consistent. NO Russian commentator takes the position of Fox News and the Republican Party. I did post a VOR article by Vladimir Gladkov (click here to read it) that was typical of Russian media reportage of the event. The Russian and Russian Orthodox media publicised the inability of the American authorities to secure any justice in this case. In Russia, there is ALWAYS reference to what Article of the Criminal Code is applicable in serious media reports. I notice that rightwing US media avoid the issue of Criminally Negligent Homicide. George Zimmerman’s shooting of Trayvon Martin, in the technical legal sense, was NOT a “murder” (although in colloquial terms it was such). Murder requires premeditation not present in this case; it wasn’t a killing in the course of a felony, or a killing of a deputised peace officer. Yet, “Murder” isn’t the only form of legally-punishable killing, there’s also Manslaughter and Criminally Negligent Homicide. I believe that Zimmerman committed Criminally Negligent Homicide.

It wasn’t Murder, as it lacked intent. It wasn’t Manslaughter, as it occurred outside the commission of a crime. Yet, a death occurred due to George Zimmerman’s “high recklessness “. After he’d reported the situation to the 911 operator, the operator ordered Zimmerman to back off; the coppers would take care of it. He refused to follow instructions; he stalked Martin in his car, and confronted him, without any approval from any higher authority. Zimmerman was only a civilian member of a neighbourhood watch group, he was NOT a sworn and deputised peace officer authorised to bear and use armed force to enforce the laws of the State of Florida. George Zimmerman lacked the legal authority to confront Trayvon Martin with a firearm and demand that he “cease and desist”. Zimmerman was in his car; Martin was on foot. That means that Zimmerman had the means to “outrun” Martin if he didn’t confront him. In short, Zimmerman provoked the encounter, and that fact alone could justify a conviction under Criminally Negligent Homicide (but not Murder or Manslaughter).

Frankly, much of the brouhaha in the media over this disgusts me. On the right, there’s no discussion of the fact that Zimmerman provoked the encounter, and that he illegally usurped the authority of using deadly force. On the left, there’s too much discussion of racism… it’s there, no doubt on that score, but that’s not what’s ultimately important. What’s pivotal is that Zimmerman usurped the state’s authority to enforce the laws; he was nothing but a self-appointed and reckless vigilante. Yes… I believe that his racism motivated his refusal to pull back from the encounter, but racism isn’t what’s important in a court of law. What matters is that Zimmerman broke the law by taking upon himself the authority of a police officer. Full stop. If we keep racism out of that discussion, it’ll convince many good-hearted and well-intentioned people that not only George Zimmerman, but also the Republican Party in general, winks at gun violence and vigilante injustice (often motivated by a sick racism, to be sure).

I’ll tell you one of the reasons why the US media attacks Russia… I see that the Russian media exposed the filthy hypocritical face of US racism, embodied in white supremacy and ignorant attacks on President Obama’s birth and religion. One of the writers in the Russian press noted that if there really were a problem with President Obama’s birth certificate, the GOP would’ve been in court in a heartbeat; after all, Bush stole the election in 2000 on less of a pretext, didn’t he? On the other hand, take Joe Arpaio… he runs a brutal desert GULag that the American media would cry crocodile tears over if it were in Russia. That’s received much attention in the Russian press, too. Trayvon Martin has received much positive press in the CIS, especially from the KPRF and KPU. It’s something that Putin, Udaltsov, Zyuganov, and His Holiness agree upon (but not the pro-West running-dog Prokhorov… he’s all in favour of the US rightwing).

Doubtlessly, the rightwing will blame it all on “the liberal media”. They’ll call us “hypocrites” and “un-Christian” for supporting justice for Trayvon (and for his family, too). The Republicans have stirred the shit ever since they started to woo racist Southerners in the late ‘60s. The “liberal media” had nothing to do with it… there’s been a worldwide outcry. HH supports Trayvon… that’s why Langley hates him and wants to discredit him (the kafuffle over the blingy watch was a case in point). Indeed, the rightwing’s starting to use discredited terminology such as “race-traitor”. They’re unashamed about it all, too. That’s ugly and creepy! Not only that, it’s against everything that we believe in as Orthodox Christians. Let’s allow the court to act. God willing, the court will find George Zimmerman guilty of (at least) usurping the state’s authority… but this should be a warning to us all. Not only is there racism in the USA, “interested parties” want to exacerbate the situation for low and amoral political ends. Reflect on this… Fox News is owned by the same guy who published News of the World (it wasn’t called “Screws of the World” for nothing!)… like calls unto like, no?

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Albany NY

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