Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?

By David Swanson, Director, World BEYOND War

In 1973 the War Powers Resolution weakened the U.S. Constitution’s placement of the power to start and end wars with the first branch of the U.S. government, the Congress. The new law carved out exceptions to allow presidents to start wars. However, it also created procedures by which a single member or group of members of Congress could force a vote in Congress on whether to end a war. Despite weakening the written law, the War Powers Resolution may finally be about to prove itself to have strengthened the ability of proponents of peace to put an end to mass slaughter.

Since 1973 we’ve seen numerous wars waged in blatant violation of both the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution, not to mention the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact. But we’ve also seen Congress members like my friend Dennis Kucinich force votes on whether to end wars. These votes have usually failed. And the Congress that ended this past December illegally refused (in the House) to even hold such votes. But debates have been created, people have been informed, and the notion that a law still exists that merits respect has been kept alive.

Never yet have both houses of Congress jointly passed a War Powers Resolution bill to end a war. That may soon change. On Wednesday, the House voted 248-to-177 to end one of the many current U.S. wars, that on Yemen. (Well, sort of. Keep reading.) Back in December, during the previous Congress, the Senate passed the same resolution (or nearly identical). So, the big question is now whether the Senate will do it again. If you’re from the United States, I recommend calling (202) 224-3121, telling the operator what state you’re from, and asking to speak with the offices of each of your two senators. Ask them if they will vote to let the people of Yemen live! Or click here to send them both an email.

Now, the Senate passed this in December, and the Senate didn’t change much come January. But a vote to actually pass a bill together with the House, even in the face of a veto threat, is not the same as a vote to pass something the House is blocking. Back in December the hundreds of thousands of lives at stake in Yemen were apparently rendered meaningful by the one death of a Washington Post reporter, whose death has now apparently become old news, while the deaths of hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children (busloads of little children) continue to not be worth much. Partisan pressure is also evident in the House vote, in which every No vote came from a Republican and almost all of the Republicans cast No votes. The Senate has a majority of Republicans.

Still, observers believe there is a good chance of passage, finally, these many weeks into the new Congress, which may at long last do the right thing without effectively communicating that it really grasps the urgency. Yemen continues, day after gruesome day, to be the worst humanitarian disaster on earth, with tens of thousands dead and far worse looming if action is not taken quickly. According to the World Health Organization, 24.4 million Yemenis, 80 percent of the country, are in need of humanitarian assistance, millions of children are suffering, and 16.6 million people lack water and sanitation services.

As in other recent U.S. wars in the Middle East, a result of the U.S./Saudi war on Yemen (just like the result of the U.S. drone murders that helped create the wider war) has been increased terrorism. Along the way, the United States and its allies have in fact sometimes partnered with Al Qaeda. A primary U.S. ally in the region is, of course, Saudi Arabia, a government whose brutality and violence can match that of any entity on earth.

Congress has swallowed enough lies and empty promises from the White House and Pentagon. If this Congress is even the slightest bit more humanitarian than the last one, it will end the U.S. role in the war on Yemen immediately, an action which would make it difficult for Saudi Arabia to continue the war alone.

Let’s look at what the language of the bill says:

“. . . Congress hereby directs the President to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen . . . .”

And:

“For purposes of this resolution, in this section, the term ‘hostilities’ includes in-flight refueling, non-United States aircraft conducting missions as part of the ongoing civil war in Yemen.”

This would seem to suggest that members of the U.S. military cannot participate in any way in the war on Yemen.

Then come the loopholes:

“. . . except United States Armed Forces engaged in operations directed at al-Qaeda or associated forces . . . .”

And:

“Nothing in this joint resolution may be construed to influence or disrupt any military operations and cooperation with Israel.”

The bill lists current participants in the war, with no mention of Al Qaeda or Israel. These two loopholes are ridiculous or dangerous depending on what’s done with them, and what Congress can reasonably be expected to do if they are abused. People who will claim that Venezuela harbors cells of Hezbollah intent on destroying your freedom, that Iran is building nuclear weapons, and that a wall is needed to save you from Mexican rapists might certainly be imagined claiming that the war on Yemen is against Al-Qaeda and/or that Israel has joined the war. Israel, for that matter, might actually join the war. And a Congress that won’t impeach Donald Trump after a long list of impeachable offenses, and with half the Congress claiming Trump was installed by a foreign government, is unlikely to impeach him for violating this new law.

If the point of the loopholes is not to undo the law, what is the point of them? Are fighting Al-Qaeda and fighting for Israel such sacred ideals that they have to be meaninglessly added into random legislation?

Then there’s the problem that Trump has threatened to veto.

Then there’s the problem that weapons sales to Saudi Arabia could roll on, no more illegal than before, following passage of this bill.

Of course, either house of Congress alone could refuse to allow a dime to be spent on U.S. war-making in Yemen. But there isn’t any mechanism, as far as I know, for a member of Congress to force either chamber, despite its “leadership,” to hold a vote on doing that. This is why making the War Powers Resolution real by finally using it is so valuable. Despite all the caveats, and despite all the steps that will remain to be taken, for Congress — after 46 years and more wars than anyone can count — to finally legislate the end of a particular war is ground breaking.

If Congress can end one war, why not eight more? Why not the ones that are threatened and not yet begun?

If the U.S. Congress can end a war, why not the legislatures of every junior partner in U.S.-led coalition wars?

If the U.S. Congress can end a war, why not also close a base?

If the Congress can end war after war, one by one, why not move some of the money, billion by billion, out of the war machine and put it to good use?

If people can persuade one or more members of Congress to force a vote and persuade a majority of Congress to pass that vote, perhaps people, even in the greatest purveyor of violence on earth, can begin to create the understanding needed to begin dismantling the institution of war altogether.

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The Corporate Lemmings Who Rushed into Mobile/Social Media Ads Are Running off the Cliff

Given that corporations are run by people, and people are social animals that run in herds, it shouldn’t surprise us that corporations follow the herd, too.Take the herd move to forming conglomerates in the go-go late 1960s: corporations suddenly started buying companies in completely different sectors in businesses they knew nothing about, because the herd was forming conglomerates–not because it made any business sense but because it was the hot trend.

Oil companies bought Hollywood studios, and so on. (Ling-Temco-Vought was one of the conglomerates whose success inspired the herd.)

Few if any of the conglomerates hastily assembled in the 1960s survived the 1970s intact. Once the lemming-like frenzy to assemble conglomerates wore off, managers discovered the conglomerates were mostly financial disasters: rarely did the expected synergies or economies of scale emerge, and inexperienced, tone-deaf hubris-soaked corporate managers often destroyed the acquired companies through ill-advised strategies or acquisitions.

In many cases, success was ephemeral: once the economy slumped, growth reversed and debt-laden conglomerates were forced to liquidate, often at a loss.

The dissolution of the conglomerate herd mentality set up the early 1980s frenzy of leveraged buy-outs as predatory financiers staked out the remaining carcasses of flailing conglomerates, bought the conglomerate and profited by selling off its constituent companies piecemeal. The stripped entity was then loaded with debt and sold to the public as an initial public offering (IPO).

Fast-forward to the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the corporate herd was offshoring production to east Asia. On one of my trips to China in the early 2000s, I sat next to a youthful corporate manager in the semiconductor equipment sector. The flight being long (10-11 hours), we were able to have an in-depth conversation about his company’s dismal experience with offshoring production from the U.S. to China and other nascent manufacturing hubs in east Asia.

Since we had friends who worked in the industry, I knew enough to ask specific questions.

It turned out the offshoring had been pushed by top management over the objections of senior managers who actually knew what they were talking about. The herd was running, and top management wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

The offshoring was a disaster. The company lost control of quality, and the units shipped from Asia were chockful of defects, defects that were extremely expensive to fix after manufacture. The company’s intellectual property was stolen (“borrowed”?), triggering costly but useless legal actions against the thieves. Financially, the offshoring cost the company millions’ in direct costs and indirectly in loss of reputation and IP.

Top management buried the disaster, of course, so only insiders knew just how catastrophic the running-with-the-herd had been.

This is not an outlier: many companies experienced catastrophes in following the offshoring-is-great lemmings off the cliff. I have first-hand accounts of pharmaceutical companies closing their China operations due to pirating (worthless knockoff medications sold in packages that were perfect replicas of the company’s products), and of clothing manufacturers who left after entire runs of costly silk clothing lines were rejected for abysmal quality.

Nor was this experience limited to China; all sorts of similar disasters unfolded in SE Asia as the offshoring craze took hold.

Now the corporate lemmings have rushed into mobile/social media advertising. Never mind if the adverts work–we need a mobile presence now, and hang the cost!

The urgency was driven by the consumers’ mass shift to mobile devices, fueled by the rising global addiction to small screens.

Now that tens of billions of dollars have been poured into mobile/social media adverts and marketing, enriching the quasi-monopolies (Facebook, Google et al.), sober managers are starting to ask: but do they work? Did all this treasure poured into mobile/social media adverts actually increase sales and profits? Which campaigns worked and which ones didn’t? Nobody seems to know how much of their advert millions have been squandered on click fraud.

Is this any way to run a marketing division? Of course it isn’t. The lemmings rushed into mobile anything / everything, heedless of cost or value, and now as the lemmings race off the cliff, questions are being asked about the efficacy of the headlong rush into mobile/social media advertising.

What if it turns out a significant chunk of sales derive from SMS (text) messages between consumers, i.e. “word of mouth”? (Thank you, Mark G., for alerting me to this largely unexplored topic.) What if all this “behavioral advertising” turns our to be high-falutin hooey?

We’ve already read about some corporations trying the most basic experiment: withdrawing their mobile campaigns from the quasi-monopolies and monitoring the withdrawal’s effect on sales. All of this is of course a deep dark secret within HQ, because as we know, top managers will bury whatever reflects poorly on their lemming-like herd behavior, and the failure of mobile advertising is equally secret, amounting to a sort of marketing trade secret: let our competitors run off the cliff, wasting their marketing budgets on mobile/social media campaigns.

Reading the runes made public, it seems sales were unaffected by the withdrawal of huge chunks of mobile / search / social media adverts. Efforts to actually measure and track click fraud are turning up gigantic losses: advertisers’ money is being siphoned off by click fraud on an immense scale.

What happens when the corporate herd wakes up the failure of mobile and social media advertising? The herd will dissipate, and actually making a profit will matter more than establishing a mobile/social media presence.

NOTE: it seems lemmings don’t actually run off cliffs in herds, and so please note that I reference lemmings only as a popular cultural device, not as a reflection of biological fact. My abject apologies to any lemmings reading this essay. 

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print): Read the first section for free in PDF format. 

My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. 

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Talk Nation Radio: Ana Maria Gower on Art Against Militarism

Ana Maria Gower is a Serbian-British mixed media artist focusing on the themes of memories, life path, and experiences of war. The origin of her artistic interests goes back to her own experience of surviving the NATO bombings of Yugoslavia and its capital – Belgrade. Being a 10-year-old in a war zone, she witnessed the destruction caused by NATO involvement both during the conflict and for years after. A graduate of Central Saint-Martins (London, UK), she has participated in numerous exhibitions in the UK, Serbia, and the United States. She currently lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. And she will be exhibiting her art and speaking at the No to NATO – Yes to Peace Festival in April in Washington DC (See NotoNATO.org).

Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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2019: The Three Trends That Matter

Among the many trends currently in play, Gordon Long and I discuss three that will matter as 2019 progresses2019 Themes (56 minutes)

1. Final stages of the debt supercycle

2. Decay of the social order/social contract

3. Social controls: Surveillance capitalism, China’s Social Credit system, social globalization

The basic idea of the debt supercycle is simple: resolving every crisis of over-leveraged speculative excess, evaporation of collateral and over-indebtedness by radically increasing debt eventually leads to an implosion of the entire credit-based financial system.

The final stages of the current debt supercycle are manifesting all sorts of interesting cross-currents: de-dollarization and the unprecedented expansion of debt in China to name just two.

De-dollarization describes the efforts of many nations to reduce their dependence on U.S. dollars for trade and reserves. Since the USD remains the largest reserve currency in both trade and reserves, this trend threatens to reorder the entire global financial system, with potentially disruptive consequences not just to the USD but to a variety of institutions and norms.

China’s total systemic debt has soared from $7 trillion in 2008 to $40 trillion in 2018. This is of course only a rough estimate, as China’s enormous Shadow Banking System is famously opaque, as are many of its institutional and corporate balance sheets.

China has embraced the narrative of “growing our way out of stagnation by quintupling debt,” but the banquet of consequences of this speculative orgy is finally being served: China’s dramatic slowdown in 2018 is just the appetizer course of the banquet of consequences.

This excerpt of a recent (and immediately censored) talk given by a Chinese economist illuminates the result of debt-fueled mal-investment and speculation on a grand scale:

A Great Shift Unseen Over the Last Forty Years:

Look at our profit structure. To put it plainly, China’s listed companies don’t really make money. Then who has taken the few profits made by China’s more than 3,000 listed companies? Two-thirds have been taken by the banking sector and real estate. The profits earned by 1,444 listed companies on the SME board and growth enterprise board are not even equal to one and half times the profit of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. How can this kind of stock market become a bull market?

When we buy stocks, we are buying the profits of the company, not hype and rumors. I recently read a report comparing the profits of China’s listed companies with those in the U.S. There are many U.S. public companies with tens of billions dollars in profits. How many Chinese tech and manufacturing companies are there that have accomplished this? There is only one, but it’s not listed, and you all know which one that is. [Xiang is referring to Huawei, the Chinese tech company.]

What does this tell us? As Yale professor Robert Shiller said: stock market performance may not work as a barometer of the economy in the short run, but it does for sure in the long run. So I think that the terrible stock performance only demonstrates one thing, which is that the real economy in China is in quite a mess. Where is the stock market rebound? I think it’s obvious that investor confidence has yet to recover.”

Look no further than Brexit in Britain, the yellow vests in France and the Deplorables in the U.S. for manifestations of a broken social contract and decaying social order. The politically invisible / financially vulnerable have declared we’re still here to their globalized elite aristocrats, and this rebellion against elite domination and profiteering is being demonized by the corporate-state media as populism rather than what it really is: a full-blown revolt of the working class.

In response, the ruling elites have instituted social controls via ramped up official propaganda, Social Credit Scoring in China and private-sector Surveillance Capitalism in the U.S.

All these forms of social control seek to marginalize, suppress and censor dissent, alternative sources of information, alternative narratives and financial independence: hence the sudden elitist interest in Universal Basic Income (UBI) and similar central-state dependency programs: nothing suppresses a working class revolt quite like free money for keeping quiet, passive and obedient.

But some sectors of the working class are not willing to accept the bribes; they’re holding out for actual political power, and this is why the ruling elites of France have responded to the yellow vest movement with such savagery.

Gordon and I discuss these trends and much more in our podcast 2019 Themes(56 minutes).

 

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print): Read the first section for free in PDF format. 

My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. 

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

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John Helmer Reports Apparent Termination of Constitutional Rule and Democracy in Russia

Eric Zuesse

The highly trustworthy and independent Moscow reporter John Helmer recently reported that a putsch or coup by the Russian Orthodox Church supported by the Russian President Vladimir Putin has terrified Russia’s constitutional lawyers so that none have been willing to respond to his questions about whether this is at all consistent with the Russian Constitution.

The full text of Helmer’s ominous full report follows here (with boldface emphases added by me):

http://johnhelmer.net/putin-promotes-patriarchs-putsch/

PUTIN PROMOTES PATRIARCH’S PUTSCH

Posted By Editor, John Helmer, On February 5, 2019 @ 11:15 pm

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill (lead image, 2nd from left), has proclaimed his church the sovereign equal of the Russian state, and himself the political equal of the Russian president. The power transfer took place at a Kremlin ceremony last week in front of President Vladimir Putin (left).

“For the first time in Russia’s history,” Kirill’s declaration was reported [2] by the state news agency Tass, “such a relationship has established itself between the Church and the state. Because even in the times of the Russian Empire, the church did not have an equal partner in the face of the government. It had always been subordinate to certain government institutions.” 

Russian politicians and constitutional lawyers are slow, and also fearful, to publicly challenge the combination of Kirill and Putin. From a survey of these sources in Moscow, one responded: “Does  the Pope claim to be the equal of the Italian President or Prime Minister? The Archbishop of Canterbury the equal of the British Queen? The Saudi King in a power-sharing deal with the Grand Mufti? Or Netanyahu the equal in Israel of the Chief Rabbi? The answer is obvious. Only in Russia would a churchman dare to make this claim, and violate the rights of all Russian citizens in the Constitution.”

“Nobody may usurp power in the Russian Federation”, proclaims Article 4 [3] of the Russian Constitution. The Church may regard the patriarch as divinely appointed, but Vladimir Gundyayev, the civil name of Patriarch Kirill, qualifies constitutionally to be that nobody. So too are his senior associates on the Church’s ruling body, the Holy Synod [4]  – Metropolitans Varsonofy (Anatoly Sudakov,  2nd left), Chancellor of the Synod and Finance Minister; Tikhon (Georgiy Shevkunov, 3rd left) , National Security Advisor; and Hilarion (Grigoriy Alfeyev, right), Foreign Minister. According to the Constitution, “the seizure of power or usurpation of State authority shall be prosecuted under federal law.”

Constitutional experts also believe Kirill’s declaration violates the Russian Constitution’s Article 14:  “The Russian Federation shall be a secular state. No religion may be established as the State religion or as obligatory.”

Kirill’s declaration was part of a speech last Thursday at a ceremony held in the Great Hall of the Kremlin Palace. The occasion, according to the website of the Moscow Patriarchate., was the 10th anniversary of the “enthronement” of Kirill as the Church’s leader. Tass headlined the story politically: [5]

In the Church version of the speech, Kirill set out in detail his plan for the Church, having defeated the Roman Empire and its successors in Europe, as the new political force to defeat its contemporary enemies. Read the original here [6].

“How could the first Christians dare to come up with their more than modest forces against these colossi [ancient Greece, Rome], which to this day largely determine the specifics of European culture and civilization? We know that in the end Christianity turned out to be stronger and that it won, becoming a new leaven and transforming all these seemingly inviolable and self-sufficient foundations of social life, state structure, philosophical heritage, ancient culture. The Church, from the day of its Foundation, has all the necessary means to save the world, and Christians are called to inform the world, even if we are today pushed to silence and inaction.”

His target is secularism, Kirill fulminated. “Since the beginning of Christianity, the enemy of the human race has rebelled against the Church of Christ in various ways: from open persecution and persecution of Christians to attempts to declare Christianity obsolete and irrelevant. Today’s secular society is not averse to establish the place for an ‘ethnographic Museum’,  where [Church] believers are no more than  keepers of traditions that are not related to the real life of their contemporaries.”

Kirill also inveighed against atheism, science, and digital technologies. “The second challenge is the increasing attempts to interpret the data of scientific disciplines, especially such as psychology, sociology, neurophysiology and many others, in an ideological rather than scientific way. Scientific atheism of the Soviet time is a thing of the past, but the ideologists of modern ‘scienticism’ (i.e. belief in the omnipotence of science, absolutization of its role in culture) believe that all problems of man in the modern world can be solved by science. This approach significantly goes beyond the limits of the possible action of science in human life and artificially contrasts science and religion.”

“In the minds of contemporaries through movies and literature there is constantly invested the idea that a person requires ‘alteration’, ‘update’, or using the expression of the computer industry — ‘upgrade’. This is a new form of anti-Christianity, which declares sincere concern for the good of man, but in fact fundamentally destroys the true idea of humanity and man as the image of God.” [7]

At the January 31 Kremlin ceremony [8], listening to the speech of Patriarch Kirill, from left to right: President Putin;  the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch (Syria),  Ioann X, and to his left, Irinej, Patriarch of Serbia

Kirill was responding to Putin’s opening speech [9].   

“In December 2017,” Putin began with a veiled attack on the Bolshevik Revolution,  “we came together to celebrate the centenary of the restoration of the patriarchate in our country and recognised the decisive role played by the primates of the Russian Orthodox Church in many respects in the destiny of the Fatherland, the greatness of their devotion and service to our people.”

Putin was emphatic in his personal endorsement of Kirill’s 10-year rule, despite widespread reporting in the press of the corruption of the Church’s banks and financial affairs  — click to read more [10] — and of voter opposition to the transfer [11] of state property to the Church. Putin took no note of public criticism of his own role which surfaced in an unguarded question from a shipyard worker in St. Petersburg during the president’s Direct Line [12] television broadcast in June 2017. [13]

Source: [14] Asked [on 15 June 2017] to explain why the Kremlin had ordered St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg to be handed over to the Church, Putin replied: “I did not expect this question, especially from the Baltic Shipyard. What I can say is that Russia is a secular state. This is the way it was created, and it will stay this way. This is my first point.”

Last week Putin did not mention the secular state provision of the constitution. Instead, he backed the Church’s state roles and its exceptionalism. “I would like to offer special thanks to Patriarch Kirill and the Church for the spiritual guidance of the Russian army. Your sincere, heartfelt words help the soldiers and officers to defend their homeland with honour, instil in them confidence in their military prowess and moral righteousness. … Today, as for many centuries before, the high purpose of the Russian Orthodox Church remains exceptionally important. I emphasise that the state will continue to actively promote constructive partnership with the Church in all significant areas, primarily, bringing up younger generations, preserving cultural heritage and solving pressing social problems…” [15]

September 19, 2018: Patriarch, President, and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu at the consecration ceremony [16] for the foundation stone of the main church of the Armed Forces at Patriot Park, a new military theme park [17] at Kubinka.

Putin also condemned political interference in church affairs; he was speaking of the autocephaly controversy in the Ukraine. For details, read this [18].

According to Putin, “unfortunately, we can see other examples as well where speculation, politicking and parasitism on matters of religious life have led to disunity among people and provoked anger and intolerance. Precisely such a project that is unrelated to faith and is false through and through, focusing on the struggle for power, is unfolding in Ukraine. Regrettably, the Patriarchate of Constantinople got dragged into it. In fact, we are witnessing flagrant interference in church life. Its initiators seem to have taken after the godless people of the previous century, who expelled believers from churches and attacked and persecuted the clergy. To reiterate, the state, the Russian authorities consider any interference in church affairs to be absolutely intolerable. We have and will always have respect for the independence of church life, all the more so in a neighbouring sovereign country. Nevertheless, we reserve the right to respond and do our best to protect human rights, including freedom of religion. [19]

On December 15, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (left)  congratulated Metropolitan Epifaniy (Sergiy Dumenko) of the Kiev Patriarchate as the head of a new Ukrainian church, following a synod election. “This day will go down in history as a sacred day,” Poroshenko declared [20], “the day of the final independence from Russia. Glory! Glory! Glory!”

An informal poll of constitutional law experts in Moscow has identified [3] ten articles in the Russian Constitution which the lawyers believe subordinate the Church to the state, subject its property to the civil law, and disallow exceptional privileges for church doctrines over the rights of individuals to disbelieve or ignore them. [21]

Source: https://www.constituteproject.org/ [3]

The lawyers were asked to comment on Kirill’s declaration of equality with the state and his attack on secularism and atheism. Not one Russian constitutional expert agreed to respond, either on or off the record. One, a professor of constitutional and administrative law at a provincial university,  begged off the telephone on account of pressing business, but promised to respond quickly to emailed questions. He didn’t.

Members of the Federation Council’s Committee on Constitutional Legislation, and the State Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building were asked the same questions – do Kirill’s declaration of equality of Church authority with state power and his attacks on secularism, science and atheism amount to violations of the Constitution? Ekaterina Polnyakova, deputy head of the staff of the Federation Council committee, and Senator Yelena Mizulina, deputy chairman of the committee, refused point-blank to answer. So did Vladimir Pligin, chairman of the Duma committee. [22]

Left to right: Senator Yelena Mizulina, deputy chairman of the Federation Council’s committee on constitutional legislation; Deputy Vladimir Pligin, chairman of the State Duma committee on constitutional legislation; and Alexander Yushchenko, spokesman for the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in the State Duma. For more reporting on Mizulina’s record in parliament, read this [23].

Spokesmen for each of the parties in the State Duma were asked the same questions. United Russia, the ruling party, the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, and Just Russia all refused to answer.

The Patriarch in Moscow was asked to respond to the questions through his press service. A spokesman requested the questions by email, and then did not reply.

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: https://johnhelmer.online/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2191.jpg

[2] reported: http://tass.com/society/1042720

[3] Article 4: https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Russia_2014

[4] Holy Synod: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Synod_of_the_Russian_Orthodox_Church

[5] Image: https://johnhelmer.online/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2.png

[6] here: http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/5364415.html

[7] Image: https://johnhelmer.online/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/3.png

[8] ceremony: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/59757/photos/57646

[9] speech: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/59757

[10] click to read more: http://johnhelmer.net/the-wages-of-sin-er-wages-for-sin-patriarch-kirill-presents-state-duma-with-initial-prayer-offering-ipo/

[11] transfer: http://johnhelmer.net/church-gets-last-laugh-and-takes-st-isaacs-in-st-petersburg-plus-the-money/

[12] Direct Line: http://johnhelmer.net/president-putins-homily-on-atheism-politics-and-property/

[13] Image: https://johnhelmer.online/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/4.png

[14] http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54790

[15] Image: https://johnhelmer.online/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/5.png

[16] consecration ceremony: http://en.kremlin.ru/catalog/persons/445/events/58595/photos/55583

[17] military theme park: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_Park

[18] this: http://johnhelmer.net/the-autocephaly-controversy-between-backing-the-church-and-violating-the-constitution-what-does-the-kremlin-think-its-doing/

[19] Image: https://johnhelmer.online/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/6.png

[20] declared: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/ukraine-creates-orthodox-church-independent-russia-181215171220016.html

[21] Image: https://johnhelmer.online/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/7-1.png

[22] Image: https://johnhelmer.online/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/8.png

[23] this: http://johnhelmer.net/?s=mizulina

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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