Monday, July 23, 2012

FREE SPEECH: Tough Nugget For KREMLIN To Absorb

  For 20th Century Russian/Soviet History fans, the recent revival of Show Trials made famous by Joseph Stalin, is too much nostalgia for the well crafted prosecution. Persecution. Pictured from left are three members of the punk band Pussy Riot, Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, and Maria Alyokhina, 24, at their hearing on Friday in Moscow where they’re currently on trial for theatrics of their own. The New York Times story titled Punk Band Feels Wrath of a Sterner Kremlin, has reporters ELLEN BARRY and ANDREW ROTH describing how when four young women in balaclavas performed a crude anti-Putin song on the altar of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in February, it seemed like just one more episode in a season of audacious, absurdist and occasionally offensive protest. Instead, this case is becoming a bellwether event in the Russian capital, signaling an end to the Kremlin’s chilly tolerance of the winter’s large demonstrations. The three women arrested after their February performance have been held in custody for more than four months, that was extended on Friday by six, through next January and they could be sent to prison for seven years.
  The Times and Reuters compared their preliminary hearings to the trial of Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky which took place in the same building. While that case tested Russians’ feelings toward a billionaire businessman, this one targets slender young women with hooded sweatshirts and Twitter accounts who are avatars of the protest movement itself.
  Stanislav O. Samutsevich, 73, whose daughter is one of the defendants, said he was appalled when he heard of the church performance. But the government’s response is so disproportionate, he changed his mind. His voice shaking, while waiting outside the courtroom, Mr. Samutsevich said, “They led the girls into the courtroom in handcuffs. These small girls … half the size of the officers. There is something especially disturbing about it for me. It seems absurd.”
  The criminal prosecution rests on the performance’s inciting religious hatred. An argument supported by Orthodox activists who say the women are Satanists. There are ten witnesses, considered victims in the court proceeding, who’ve said they suffered “moral damage.” A cathedral security guard, “had trouble sleeping after the crime in the cathedral,” said his lawyer, Mikhail Kuznetsov who was interviewed by the newspaper Moskovskiye Novosti. Mr. Kuznetsov said, the band “is only a tiny visible tip of the iceberg of extremists who are trying to destroy the thousand-year-old basis of the Russian Orthodox Church by provoking a schism and using lies to lead the flock not to God but to Satan.” The newspaper further quoted Mr. Kuznetsov as saying, “Behind this stand the real enemies of both our state and Orthodoxy.” The performance at the cathedral “could soon grow into events comparable to the explosion of the twin towers in America.”
  So are we to believe the exaggerated distrust following America’s tragedy emanates from Stalin’s police state protectionism too? Or that basically people can believe whatever we want, whether the PR of governments acceptably promotes a peaceful, compassionate, cooperative humanity, or not? Because in court Friday, lawyers for the victims argued the February 21st performance unleashed a wave of extremism that culminated in a terrorist attack on two Muslim leaders in Tatarstan on Thursday. Though it’s doubtful an omnipotent God/Allah needs help from any of us at all. But go team nonetheless.
  The Times said the government picked a ripe opportunity to crack down since many Russians found the cathedral performance offensive. It’s taken months to provoke support for the women, even in opposition-minded Moscow. But the balance seemed to shift last month, when a roster of famous artists and musicians, including some vocal supporters of Mr. Putin, signed a petition contending the case “compromises the Russian judicial system and undermines trust in the authorities.” Though a poll released Friday by the independent Levada Center found a substantial proportion of 37 percent of Muscovites viewed the prosecution positively and 50 percent negatively. Meaning a jury would rule what on the government’s behalf?
  “When it began to turn into this fantastic biblical story, social attitudes toward the girls changed radically,” said Marat Guelman, a former political consultant and gallery owner whose projects have been denounced by religious activists. “Most of the population now are not so much talking about what Pussy Riot did as much as their fear that these people want to introduce some kind of Orthodox Taliban to Russia, that they will take power,” Mr. Guelman said. “So now I think the authorities are making a big mistake, taking revenge in this way. Society will not support this.”
  Lev Rubinstein, a poet, said, “We are seeing an attempt to return the country not to the Soviet period, but to the 17th century.” So apparently still, especially now, it’s not sufficiently understood how that was also Stalin’s authoritarian direction, too.
  Andrei Damer, an Orthodox missionary, said the performance had crossed the line that separated political speech from blasphemy. “One can criticize the authorities, but one cannot scold the authorities like these girls did. From God’s point of view, where they are now is just.” Right. Free speech be damned is what Allah/God can be credited with through the mouths of man. Uh huh.
  Friday’s hearing was closed to the public and defense lawyers said court officials brought a Rottweiler and scolded them for posting updates on Twitter. The defense filed a motion requesting Patriarch Kirill I and President Vladimir V. Putin testify in court. Mark Feigin, one of the lawyers, said, “As Mr. Putin in a decisive manner influences the decision of this court, it would be proper from the legal standpoint to interrogate him.” Though it’s hard to see how antagonizing the court benefits the women who’ll ultimately pay the price for men deciding their fates.
  Pyotr Verzilov, Ms. Tolokonnikova’s husband, said his wife had long understood public protests carried serious risks in Russia. Both were active in Voina, a radical art collective that gained widespread popularity recently with a series of politically tinged actions, such as a punk-rock performance in a Moscow courtroom, or a 210-foot penis painted, guerrilla-style, on a St. Petersburg drawbridge that rose up pointing at the offices of the state security service, F.S.B. But those penalties turned out mild since the penis project actually won a contemporary art prize sponsored by the Ministry of Culture.
  Neither Mr. Verzilov nor his wife thought the authorities would react so harshly this time. He took the couple’s 4-year-old daughter to a hearing this month when it was rumored the three women might be released. On Friday he went without their daughter. “She understands what is happening,” he said. “She tells everyone that Putin put Mother in a cage and now we have to fight so that they’ll let her out.” Please Vladimir?
  Today Reuters’ headlined Putin will not testify. Printing the court rejected a request to call President Vladimir Putin and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church to testify in the trial of the three women held in jail on hooliganism charges since storming the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February to stage a “punk prayer” to the Virgin Mary to “Throw Putin Out!”
  The court ruled at Monday’s preliminary hearing, the trial will start in a week, on July 30, and will be broadcast on the court’s website. But contrary to that possibility for openness, defense lawyer Mark Feigin said the court had rejected a list of 34 people he wanted to call as witnesses, including Putin and Kirill. The court gave no reason but said the defense would be able to make further applications to call witnesses during the trial, Feigin told Reuters, adding, “So for now only the prosecution side’s witnesses will take part.” While predictably, the case has drawn criticism from human rights groups and opposition activists and U.S. rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ frontman Anthony Kiedis performed in a “Pussy Riot” T-shirt at concerts in St. Petersburg and Moscow last week. If only free speech were enough, then maybe the Kremlin’s exercise of that right could also lead all of us past the past’s tragic future we’re still humanly, godforsakenly experiencing NOW.

FREE SPEECH: Tough Nugget For KREMLIN To Absorb
7/23/2012 concluded: If only free speech were enough, then maybe the Kremlin’s exercise of that right could also lead all of us past the past’s tragic future we’re still humanly, godforsakenly experiencing NOW.
March 27 - May 1, 2018
Logical Threads
  April 17th. Politics' circus-tral aspects include insight, such as Sean Hannity hardly needing the publicity. What America's Public Forum doesn't seem to lack is a script.
  April 19th. "Pompeo and Kim Jong-un got along" news readers announced, ... 
History's Not Changed At All? 
Looking Forward To Tyrants Getting Along?
  Yes, variables are happening, from which, hope's derivable. Except the idea's taking hold that these are the people capably doing this, when their just reinforcing each others' position they're the power, right or wrong. 
April 16
  I either, don’t believe, or don’t particularly care, whether Russians have incriminating evidence on the president. Beyond individuals, ruthlessness's larger picture is the more perplexing question. The root of our disjointedly not being a, completely, whole ethical humanity. Beyond which laws, that only reach so far in their defense of morality, are exploited. The ethical lapse embraced, and forged, by countless self-serving, self-satisfied, generations. That peccadillo greed we can see, but are far from officially cutting open on an operating table. 
  And so it goes. Crap. 
Fanfare For The Common Person
  I love the Aaron Copland tune. Especially as done by Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The calm steady beat rolling up to anthemic chords. How political influence also cascades in waves across, even the most, serious agendas and public opinions. Where discord and blind obedience are worked to feverous pitches, pausing to unleash again and producing The News', general overall, message of overloaded numbness. The problem, as such, being, that the perpetually dilemma riddled world's photogenic tragedies are victimized by the conflicts of power so far removed from individuals' experiences, life's commonly not fair and arbitrarily poised against any us. Justice's blindness. 
  Notice now, that when commending the noble knights of war who're defending us, the crescendo hits such pitches, it's as if General Jack D. Ripper himself were saving our "vital bodily fluids." No? Well maybe. Still, eerily close.
  So the CBS Radio Bloomberg Business spokesperson repeated their pitch that the president's negotiating style is hard, soft, hard. Yep, news business. The mantra already cascades the land. What politician doesn't crowd, and devour, the plate? Free Speech seems a tough nut to crack, even outside the Kremlin. 
  Page 523 - An industrialist describing his media company's relationship with ownership. 
  Elliot retreated to his desk and sat down behind it. He waved Margot to a chair as he said, "The danger of thinking writers or reporters are something special. They aren't, although they sometimes believe they are and get exaggerated ideas about their own importance. The fact is, there's never a shortage of writers. Cut one down, two more spring up like weeds." 
Explaining President Trump's En Vogue 
  Well, isn't this an era of provocative headlines? Besides FREE SPEECH: Tough Nugget For KREMLIN To Absorb, Explaining President Trump's En Vogue sounds like a troublemaker. While both hint of the preference for thinking about things a little more. Then maybe corruption needn't be so ingrained, that the law's an incapable refuge for perpetrators and victims alike. Maybe it's best not to forget more reminders from the local CBS Radio National Business News moderator explaining the president's negotiating style. Hard, soften, then come back hard again. Like baking cookies with a cookie cutter? Not when there's so much to world leaders' agreements that don't even make it to small print. It's an Italian film, Dante's CircusThe trampoline excitement on instant repeat
  Speculating, the limits and constraints on free speech are universal. So prohibitively expensive, opinions are silenced or owned, no matter the purported ideology. A crisis long endured, that the freedom of the internet was supposed to break but instead reinforced. To a degree? Degrees. Nothing about anything's set in stone, except power ruling triumphantly. As long as ruthless enough to win, is this planet's operating premise. We are, what's colloquially called, up s___'s creek.
  Will history have lax judgement concerning the legacy of the current head of the EPA for dissolving pollution standards rather than pollution? One person, with powerful allies? Pooh. The ball was dropped on transitioning long ago. Where's the mobile throne industry on transitioning all automobiles to electric? And electric engines that self-charge? Scott Pruitt? Unimaginative pawn. 
  ... Controlling what people think is what happens when forced to have an opinion.  Don't Be Anyone's Sycophant. Patriotism's more than being that. And may Stalin rest as distressed as any of us. Amen. 

  Publications noted: Nearly two decades before the deadly fire on the 50th floor of Trump Tower, President Trump was among the most prominent New York developers lobbying against legislation that would have required sprinklers in all residential buildings.
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