Friday, March 9, 2012

Pussy Riot desecrates Putin in a church

How will the newly empowered Putin handle civil unrest? We're getting a taste of it after Putin's re-election on March 4th. Two members of an all-girl punk band Pussy Riot have been jailed and may face stiff prison sentences for a prank-like performance inside Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral last month.

Five members of the group filmed themselves dancing in front of the cathedral altar, playing electric guitars and singing a hymn-like punk song, “Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin, drive Putin out!”
Pussy Riot band member dancing in front of the altar.
Rocking up the church.
"Negative," was how Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov described Putin’s reaction to the scandal in an interview with Dozhd internet television channel. “Honestly speaking, as far as what happened in the cathedral, there's no other way than ‘disgusting’ to describe it, with all the consequences that implies,” he said.
Sign reads: "Freedom for
While the girls managed to escape the cathedral of Christ the Saviour without being arrested, several members of the band were detained during the weekend, though all but two were released pending trial. The remaining two are possibly facing a stiff jail sentence. A number of bloggers have signed an internet petition asking for leniency for the two, other petitioners are bringing the issue to light by holding up signs in front of various government buildings.

The amusing thing is the reaction of the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church: "Even the Bolsheviks, in their time didn't allow themselves such sacrilege, which occurred during the punk-prayer," says Vladimir Legoyda. According to him the difference is that "the godless soviets at least ushered people from the church before attempting to destroy, or defile it", while the girls for Pussy Riot carried out their "protest" right in front of the congregation. What is really curious about this position, which implicitly sides with Putin in its harsh criticism of the protest is the language used by the relatively young (38-year old) Legoyda. The soviets did in fact remove people from the church before destroying it, quite literally.
Explosive demolition of Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
Moscow, 1931.
In 1931, almost a decade and a half after the November revolution, the Soviets decided to blow up the ancient church. The current church is a (cheap) reconstruction build in 1990's that already needs restoration to make up for the hasty construction of this replica. 

How short the memories are, even by people like Legoyda, who should know better and be more careful with their words. There is a saying: "The struggle of freedom against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetfulness." That also applies to Putin's nature. We already know what to expect from him - Putin is going to put an end to this Pussy Riot in Russia.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Muted opposition in Russia

In Russian elections, Vladimir Putin, the former KGB spy who has dominated Russian politics for the past dozen years  secure a comfortable victory in the first-round with almost 64per cent of the vote.

Putin's closest challenger, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, got slightly more than 17%, and the other three candidates -- including Mikhail Prokhorov, the owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team -- were in the single digits.

The only surprise was Putin's tearful acceptance of the "people's trust". However, there were some irregularities, which the foreign and internal observers blasted denying Putin's resounding victory the cleanliness it needed to ensure stability.
Putin shed a tear during his victory celebration. 
As scheduled, on Monday after the elections the opposition held it's protest in the Pushkin square. About 20 thousand people attended the meeting, which commenced at 7pm; they came after work, to stand in the darkness and cold. The opposition leaders have vowed to continue protests alleging widespread irregularities in the voting, but there was a palpable resignation of the redundancy of their demands. The opposition already declared the Duma elections last fall to be illegitimate, and now they transition smoothly into disputing the latest election. They can even reuse their signs demanding fair elections. But, that also makes these signs and slogans seem trite. 
Opposition protest in the Pushkin square, March 5th.
"They robbed us. Putin is a thief," Navalny, a 35-year-old anti-corruption blogger.  "Who's the power?" "We are the power," he chanted with the crowd. Some of the special police brought in force into the capital muttered under their breath "we're the power here". And they proved it by detaining Navalny and 500 other protesters.

The show of democracy is over, challenges to the legitimacy of Vladimir Putin's victory in the presidential election will not be tolerated.
Sign reads: "Moscow doesn't believe in tears."
Meanwhile, the Russian protesters amused themselves, like this protester to the right who invoked a famous (and very good) movie "Moscow doesn't believe in tears" to express the feelings of the capital towards Putin. In Moscow only about 50% voted for Putin, and that figure includes the imported voters from the suburbs and the carousel voting and other fraud.

The truth is that Putin has outmaneuvered his Russian opposition. Despite the fraud, the fractured opposition has received a clear drubbing at the polls. In the national election liberal leaders are struggling to break double digits. The opposition's hopes that in a few months it could seriously challenge the Putin's machine was shown to be wishful thinking.

The cause of throwing Putin out of power seems lost. In the midst of general ennui and resignation there is no source of motivation required to wage a persistent battle against a strategist politician like Putin.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Election monitors in Russia

Kremlin is ready for the presidential election.
With almost 80% of precincts in Russia reporting Putin is on track to collect nearly 2/3 of the votes in the presidential election, easily winning in the first round over his hapless opposition. Although, according to the exit polls, in Moscow less than 50% voted for Putin.

So, in case the (rigged) voting is not sufficiently convincing Putin is ready to restore order by other means. Behold this assembly of military reinforcements outside of the Kremlin below. Similar reinforcements of army and regional police were brought to all major cities where there is a chance of protests by the opposition.

Obama's transformation of the U.S.

President Obama has been in full campaign mode for about nine months now. Foxnews noted the frequency of fundraisers:
The president has been engaged in somewhat of a fundraising frenzy lately, having held roughly 100 events this election cycle. That's twice as many held by former President George W. Bush at this point in his 2004 reelection battle, and more than three times former President Bill Clinton's total in the 1996 cycle.
In one of the latest fundraising events Obama invoked Mandela and Gandhi in appeal for second term. The surprise of Fox that "Obama compared himself to Gandhi, Mandela!" are anachronistic. Reporting that Obama arrogantly compares himself to great historical figures (Lincoln, FDR, Martin Luther King), is like a "dog bites man" headline - trite line, lacking in novelty.

There was something important beneath the surface of Obama's words:
Around the world, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela–what they did was hard. It takes time. It takes more than a single term.
In addition to the sweeping arrogance of this comparison in Obama's appeal at the fundraiser the is a reference to his promise to "fundamental transform" the U.S.A made in 2008. Obama used Reverend Wright's words "A white man's greed run a world in need" in one of his books. In an unguarded moment before the election Obama opined that "when you spread the money around, it's good for everyone." In other words Obama believes in government redistribution, and a managed economy.

There's a bigger point here. A nod to the progressive Illuminati who came to the fundraiser that Obama believes the current system of government of the U.S. is fundamentally unfair and comparable to the colonialism in India or the apartheid in the South Africa.

That is the question that everybody fears to touch - is Obama's redistribution policies have a well-hidden racial motivation. Mandela, Gandhi - they were transformational emancipators who fought against dominance of the whites against blacks and Indians. This country has emancipated blacks. Women have received suffrage almost a hundred years ago. Gay, lesbian, transgender any many other groups have protection so solid it borders on over-zealousness. Who is left to emancipate? If we're not emancipating anyone, what are we transforming?

If there was a logical way to explain the preference for black over white by the Obama administration, including the U.S. Justice department (see black panther case) it would have been made already. Placing whites from the head of the line to its back is what "social justice" is all about for Obama.

What "social justice" pretends to be
Obama's rhetoric lends support to the view that he finds that he prefers "social justice" to plain, universal justice through equality before the law. He seems to be playing to the favoritism of progressives in general - including other groups, such as women, gays, "workers"/unions, etc.

Intelligently, Obama has not attempted to put this issue high on his agenda. In his second term Obama's transformation make take 'affirmative action' (I hate that lying euphemism with a passion) and pushing it towards reparations for slavery. It's unlikely Obama would overtly institute reparations in his second term (if we're so unfortunate as to deserve one), but he could certainly "spread the money around" in other ways, where "social justice" with racial overtones will dominate.

What "social justice" really is
What Obama promised was a completion of his socio-economic ;transformation based on redistribution, such as public investment in Fannie and Freddie, banks, automakers, and last, but not least - healthcare.

If my concerns about racial overtones of Obama's redistributional policies are overblown, where's the "fundamental transformation" if not in centralized planning of the economy?

Having been born in Moscow, I am a U.S. citizen by choice, and although I see many flaws nowadays, the system as envisioned and preserved by the U.S. Constitution is better than any other. The fundamentals are great. Market economies consistently outperform planned economies. The problem is the malignant growth of human corruption on this solid foundation that hides behind euphemisms like "social justice" and is driving this great country towards a socio-economic suicide.

As another aside, I live close to Salem, where the famous witch trials took place. That is an example of "social justice" from the 17th century. It is arrogant to think that modern "social justice" will be more just, however. Sure, we don't burn people these days. Still, "social justice" to "justice" what "mob rule" is to "rule" - each combination is a contradiction in terms. Rule of the mob is just cruel anarchy of a pack before it the stability of dictatorial rule of the strongest. There's another connection between the two pairs of terms above -"social justice" is "mob rule" in that it is the dictatorship of the majority (or the strongest faction) who hypocritically claim privilege the deny to others, and is the weak-point of any democratic system.

Dems says: "Social Justice is not
Obama's choice of leaders to compare himself with clearly shows he sees himself fighting against a fundamental social injustice, which in the USA is primarily racial injustice. The Democrats like to pretend that "social justice is not socialism". In case of Obama that is true to a degree: his "social justice" is more about racism than socialism.

Unfortunately for Obama, the U.S. Constitution, based of the foundation of plain "justice", without regard to the social niceties is in the way of his transformation. This summer, the U.S. see the first engagement in this epic battle over the country's soul and future when the Constitutionality of Obamacare is considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

If Obama does get re-elected for a second term despite his performance he will be emboldened. How much further will he then go to make "social" justice the dominant form of justice in the U.S. when he no longer is limited by concerns over re-election?