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A Tale of Two Presidents
Putin versus Obama
Putin and Obama

In the American mainstream media fact and fiction frequently diverge, leading to established narratives that bear little relationship to what is actually happening. The recent events in Paris have most often been described as free speech colliding with religious extremism but the reality is that existing French hate crime legislation means that the country has only very limited freedom of expression. In France you can be arrested and imprisoned or fined heavily just for saying something that the government considers to be unacceptable even if you do nothing at all beyond that.

In the United States there has been a virtual media evisceration of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is consistently demonized as an autocratic along the lines of the country’s former Czarist rulers and it is frequently claimed that he is an ex-KGB thug and bully who seeks to muzzle the democracy in his country, to include the press and all independent political forces. He is also invariably depicted as the agent provocateur in the recent upheaval involving Ukraine.

But are the claims about Putin true or are they just the kind of pablum that is convenient to feed to a mass American audience that is essentially blissfully ignorant about what is going on in the world? With that possibility in mind, it would be useful to compare the record of the Russian president with that of our own President Barack Obama. Such an examination might well include their respective interactions in areas that most people would consider part and parcel of the essential liberties pertaining to a democratic society. They should include freedom of the press, ability to associate and organize political parties that oppose the one in power, government accountability, freedom of speech and freedom from arbitrary arrest and punishment. The respective governments should also be judged on whether their interactions with other nations are proportionate and serve actual national interests or not.

Press freedom is tricky. The United States has a notionally free press but it is in reality largely controlled by special and corporate interests that are not prepared to challenge the government in any serious way. It is currently ranked 46th in the world by Reporters Without Borders’ freedom index, just in front of Haiti.

The Obama Administration has initiated twice as many prosecutions for violation of the Espionage Act as all previous administrations combined. The ongoing six year long pursuit of the sources of New York Times journalist James Risen suggests that the freedom to do investigative journalism in the United States is limited when it runs up against government secrecy. In yet another case, a FOX journalist James Rosen had his emails and phone records seized while twenty phone lines used by the Associated Press were monitored by federal law enforcement.

And even what appears to be free is often not really free. Most Americans who want to find out what is going on in government and elsewhere are forced to resort to the alternative media, most notably resources that are internet based, but nearly all the alternative media is itself dependent on donors who frequently influence or even control the content. Obama meanwhile has proposed a “kill switch” which the White House could use in case of emergency to turn off all internet services. The president would decide what constitutes an emergency.

The news media in Russia have it much worse, however. There remains an independent media but government controlled outlets dominate. Putin has used the legal system, which is susceptible to pressure from the government, to crack down on viewpoints that it finds unacceptable, claiming that stories critical of the regime are “defamation” or “extremist” in nature. This forces journalists to self-censor in their reporting. When they persist, they are frequently tried and sent to prison for economic crimes to include extortion, embezzlement, money laundering and tax evasion where it is possible to obtain a conviction based on false or misleading evidence produced by prosecutors. Many Russians resort to internet based news to supplement what they are able to read locally, but the government’s creation of a central telecommunications regulator has resulted in the blocking or shutting down of many sites.

The role of political parties in the respective countries is even trickier, though both have multi-party systems and ostensibly free elections. The United States permits the creation of new political parties but two party dominance means that in fact there are numerous obstacles to their becoming viable. At the local level, rules established by power brokers create impediments to new parties being authorized, recognized and placed on the ballot. The same applies to the internal democracy prevailing within the parties themselves where rules are designed to protect establishment views, witness the marginalization of Ron Paul at the 2012 Republican convention. And new parties are also priced out of contention in local campaigns costing tens of millions of dollars not to mention national campaigns where the costs exceed $1 billion. Because of the influence of money in campaigns, large donors often are able to dictate what positions candidates will take. So the average voter has little choice in reality and is forced to hold his or her nose and select one of two cookie cutter parties, both of which are corrupt, in order not to waste a vote.

ORDER IT NOW

Russia has nearly 200 political parties, some of which are quite vocal in their opposition to the Putin. In the Duma United Russia, Putin’s party, has 238 seats while the three opposition parties have 212 seats. As elections are still relatively cheap, an ordinary oligarch can fund an opposition movement. But the billionaire has to be very careful because the Russian government will be looking at just how he made his billions with an eye on tax evasion and other forms of corruption. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a leading oligarch, was pardoned by Putin in December 2013 after more than ten years in a Russian prison based on convictions for embezzlement and money laundering. Though he was likely guilty of a number of economic crimes in accumulating his vast fortune the real reason for his imprisonment was his attempt to create an opposition political movement.

Russian elections have been relatively free of fraud which is not to say that they have been fair. The government has used its resources and media access to make its own case while denying any similar fora to its opponents. Police have permitted large opposition demonstrations but they have also broken up political rallies and arrested unfriendly politicians. Opposition internet sites have been blocked, including the official website of Alexei Navalny. Navalny, running on a political platform of liberalization and fighting corruption, finished second in the recent mayoral elections in Moscow. The website of opposition leader and former World Chess Champion Gary Kasparov has also been attacked. But at the same time it must be conceded that Putin is genuinely popular and his party United Russia has majority support as indicated by opinion and exit polls, so his electoral successes are not necessarily fraudulent.

Government accountability is all about corruption. Russia has been described as a very corrupt place, but much of Putin’s appeal is that he has turned on the so-called oligarchs who plundered the country under Boris Yeltsin. Corruption came with the rapid democratization and development of a bogus free market that permitted the looting of Russia’s natural resources, earning billions for venal politicians and exploiters of “free markets.” Political corruption undeniably continues to plague the country but one might reasonably argue that Putin has attempted to rein it in even if he simultaneously exploits it to enrich his own inner circle.

In the United States corruption is also endemic but it operates through the existing political networks by making corrupt practices legal. No foreign country has lobbyists and interest groups that operate as brazenly as they do in the United States. President Obama bailed out the banksters and, within the political class, jobs and money are doled out to players within the system to buy loyalty. Political contributors get ambassadorships and senior federal positions. Congressmen and generals become highly paid lobbyists and so on down the line. One might observe that Russia is openly corrupt in the old fashioned way while the United States has legalized and institutionalized corruption through what used to be referred to as the “spoils system.”

Turning to freedom of speech, the United States appears to have the better record in spite of the illegal NSA surveillance program which monitored the emails and phone calls of millions of citizens. This has been due to the First Amendment to the Constitution, which has generally been upheld as a fundamental liberty by the nation’s courts. Efforts to define illegal hate speech have generally foundered and to commit a hate crime it is necessary to actually do something harmful.

But the group most affected by lack of freedom of speech is the more than 3 million federal government employees who, in spite of attempts to create effective whistleblower legislation, are regularly penalized if they go public with information about wrongdoing. Challenges to government illegality are also dealt with through exploitation of the State Secrets Privilege, which has been used to obstruct judicial remedies for institutional wrongdoing. So people in America are generally free to say what they wish but the government itself has a number of mechanisms in place to prevent challenges to its monopoly control of information.

Freedom of speech in Russia is also a constitutional right, but it runs head on into laws that limit what one might say. The courts rely on loosely defined definitions for “extremism” and “defamation,” as noted above, to take legal action against opponents.

Freedom from arbitrary arrest and punishment is far from good in either the United States or Russia. To be sure, American citizens arrested inside the United States enjoy a well-established criminal justice system to prove their innocence but there is the little matter of the killing of troublesome American citizens overseas by executive order, for which there is no legal or historical precedent. Nor is there any legitimate legal basis for the black site prisons complete with the torture and arbitrary detention that have become part and parcel of the War on Terror.

There has also been considerable erosion of liberty in the U.S. due to terrorist legislation that has come into effect since 9/11. Material support for terrorism is a crime and it can consist of almost anything, including a letter to a local newspaper or an immigrant sending money to family in his or her country of origin. Most terrorism cases involve the insertion of an FBI informant who might or might not influence the course of action taken by the group of dissidents being infiltrated, a practice once referred to as entrapment. The informant frequently provides the target with an inoperable weapon or bomb. Convictions are guaranteed. The United States has also established military tribunals to deal with terrorism cases and so-called enemy combatants can be held for years in solitary confinement in places like Guantanamo without being charged or tried.

In Moscow, Putin can correctly claim that he has not ordered on his executive authority the execution of any Russian citizens and his country no longer has any Gulags like Guantanamo prison. But the Sergei Magnitsky case suggests that his judiciary is quite willing to take steps to silence government critics. Magnitsky, an accountant, discovered that there had been a large-scale theft from government funds that was carried out by high officials. He was arrested, imprisoned and died in prison in 2009, allegedly after being denied medical care. He may also have been tortured. The Magnitsky case is symptomatic of the Putin government’s preference to use the judiciary as its principal weapon against the political opposition and critics.

Finally, governments should be judged in terms of what they do in support of the actual interests of the citizens. The area in which the most damage can potentially accomplished in a short time is by engaging in military conflict either directly or by proxy. The Global War on Terror (now called Overseas Contingency Plans) has brought about the United States government’s embrace of preemptive invasion, torture and drone strikes as tools in what has become a simmering multi-front conflict. There is no visible solution to what is occurring in Afghanistan, Syria-Iraq and “liberated” Libya. And there is no way out for the United States, which appears to be blundering its way into yet another intractable conflict with Iran.

Moscow too has its problems with its neighbors, but whereas Washington is preoccupied with relatively minor threats that are largely of its own creation, Russia is dealing with what are vital interests on its very doorstep. The coup in Ukraine was initiated by neoconservatives from the United States, not by Vladimir Putin or his proxies, and Russia’s claim over Crimea is historically and strategically solid. The Russian response to developments in Ukraine might fairly be described as self-serving but also limited and proportionate, not at all like the overextension engaged in by the United States since 9/11. Unlike Washington, Moscow has also played a positive and constructive role in Syria and in dealing with Iran.

So one might well conclude that in Putin’s Russia free speech exists up to a point but not to include criticism that directly challenges the government. The media is similarly restrained and an increasing percentage of it is directly responsive to government direction. But a critical media and a political opposition do exist and free elections do more-or-less take place, even if they are manipulated in favor of those in power. In Russia the risk of being arbitrarily arrested is not high unless one interferes in politics. In the United States it is likewise not high unless one is a member of a targeted group.

I am not for a moment suggesting that living in Putin’s Russia would be better than living in Obama’s America in terms of individual liberties, but the ledger is not as one sided as it is frequently represented to be. Russians have a government that does everything it can to maintain itself in power and shield itself from criticism. So does the United States and Washington’s record on foreign policy and all that pertains to it is far worse than Russia’s. In practical terms there is little to separate Putin’s sense that he is acting aggressively to restore the prerogatives of Holy Russia and Obama’s insistence on extending unconstitutional executive privilege in pursuit of a progressive agenda. Both are convinced that it is altogether right and proper to have great power concentrated in their hands but it would be more correct to argue that both are wrong. They have actually inflicted grave damage on the constitutional liberties that should be prevailing in their respective countries, damage that might well be irreversible.

 
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  1. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Old slogan: “Land of the free, home of the brave.”

    New slogan: “Still not as bad as Russia!”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Simon in London
    LOL, well said. :)
    , @Kiza
    Giraldi just regurgitates most of anti-Russian propaganda he consumed and compares this with the situation in America against which there is no active, professional and organised propaganda, apart from a very weak and highly controlled voice of RT. To put it in another way: the US propaganda works against Russia, but only the internal dissent works against the US.

    I agree with Giraldi that for the US people still the best place is the US - what would they do in a country such as Russia? This applies to most US citizens, except for a few US dissidents, such as Edward Snowed, who are forced to run for their lives.

    Yet, Giraldi is aware that if he criticised US more than Russia, his US audience would dismiss him as they do of Paul Craig Roberts. Thus he writes an empty, regurgitating write up. I have only one question for him: how much Russian money is there in the US elections and how much US money in the Russian political system (billions, just like in Ukraine)?

    , @annamaria
    Sigh.
    Annual press conference of Sergey Lavrov: http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2015/01/annual-press-conference-of-sergey-lavrov.html
    , @Anonymous
    The Latest slogan: " Baikal , Taiga and the Northern Lights look pretty good"
    , @Anonymous
    New slogan: “The worst country on the Planet”
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  2. America is still better than Russia on these metrics. But Russia was starting from a very low base, with no real tradition of civil society or rule-of-law, and has improved since the fall of the USSR, whereas the USA has declined from a generally high standard.
    Where Russia shines relatively is in external relations. Since the fall of Communism Russia has no utopian ideology it seeks to impose on the world, preferring order and stability, whereas the USA is committed to Global Democratic Transformation and the resulting carnage and anarchy.

    Read More
  3. Philip Giraldi is perhaps leaving out a crucial dichotomy between Russia and the United States … and that is the existence of actual outside threats to its body politic. It is a question of whether the suppression of free speech and political opposition in Russia are based on a fact-based paranoia that outside forces are conspiring for regime change and the looting of the economy that would follow (they are), or simply to retain the economic and political privileges of the ruling elite. Russia, I believe, IS threatened by the former and can therefore justify mild suppressions while the latter describes the progressive political and social rot in the Empire of the United States. Russia is under geopolitical, economic, and military attack from the United States as part of its pivot to Asia and the policy to surround and neuter China to retain its “exceptional” role as the world’s foremost military and economic power. The United States is using every economic, political, and military contrivance it can achieve this and maintain its world-wide empire. Russia IS in Washington’s “cross hairs”. Paranoia on the part of the Russian government is justified.

    Read More
  4. US spent $15 million in the 1960′s on a radio cat to spy on Russians. First mission ended when the cat was deployed and hit by a taxi. Russia today has Pussy Riot.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_Kitty
    Wikipedia
    Acoustic Kitty was a CIA project launched by the Directorate of Science & Technology in the 1960s attempting to use cats in spy missions, intended to spy on the …

    They claim it was over $20 million…www.todayifoundout.com/index…/the-cia-once-tried-using-cats-as-spies/
    Aug 7, 2011 – Today I found out that in the 1960s, the CIA spent 5 years and over $20 million training spy cats. I guess it’s not as strange as it might first seem.

    Read More
    • Replies: @KA
    Something of that nature more grotesque happened recently. Rock with hidden camera were left on the street of Moscow by British . It was discovered and put out of commission by Russian intelligence. British ridiculed the idea before admitting it much later .
  5. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Never let the narcissistic Kenyan Foriegner and his advisors define the terms of debate. The Obama Administration doesn’t care a rat’s ass about human rights and free speech in Russia. This is the starting point-framework of the “debate. The owners of the Democratic Party -Mega-White-Liberal CEOs….want 1)the massive mineral and oil-gas resources of Russia and 2) Russia’s Female Population,which they want to force into chattel-sex-slave-prostitution for Billy Clinton and his buddies such as Jeffrey Epstien. The Conservative Orthodox Christian Russian People have a God Given Right to resist being gang-raped by the Obama Adminstration…..This is how we “debate” the Obama Administration. The moment Phil Giraldi engages in a debate with the War Criminal Obama Administration about whether or not Putin is a free speech democrat is the moment Phil Giraldi loses the debate with the War Criminal Kenyan Foriegner and his War Criminal Advisors.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Eileen Kuch
    You're absolutely correct, Bill; you nailed it perfectly. Over 80% of Russia's population give high marks to Vladimir Putin for his overall job performance; whereas, less than 45% do likewise for the narcissistic Kenyan Foreigner, as you describe him. Putin's an outstanding statesman; he's a grand chess master; and he's a master geopolitical strategist. On top of that, he puts RUSSIA and its people first.
    The narcissistic Kenyan Foreigner - Teleprompter Barry - is none of those. He's no statesman; he's no grand chess master; and he's no master geopolitical strategist. He's a mental midget when it comes to dealings with other world leaders - especially Putin, China's Jaoping (sp), and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu. Bibi Boo-Boo humiliated him every time they were face-to-face; Putin and Jaoping put him in his place. Barry, unlike Putin, puts the USSA and its people last; and, he wonders why he's not trusted, even by the majority of Americans.
  6. RT intelligence: Spy Kitty http://i.ytimg.com/vi/d-2uFyrtgTI/maxresdefault.jpg

    The downing of the super-secret RQ-170 drone in Iran resulted in plenty of head-scratching reports about how it happened, so Jon Stewart offered his own theories for why the aspiring nuke nation now has our spy technology. Naturally, Daily Show ideas run the gamut from fictional C.I.A. spy cats named Nutmeg errantly finding their way onto a drone operator’s keyboard, to the notion that the U.S. was crafty enough to give away the “Trojan” drone as one big joke on Iran. Ha, ha, right?

    http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2011/12/jon-stewarts-theory-how-us-spy-drone-wound-iran/45906/

    We’ve got killer kittens! http://www.methodshop.com/picts/tabloid-cats/cia.png

    Read More
  7. “For her last two years in China, Angela Kockritz, a Beijing-based reporter for the German newspaper Die Zeit, worked closely with a 40-year-old Chinese news assistant named Zhang Miao. When pro-democracy protests erupted in Hong Kong last September, Kockritz and Zhang traveled to the territory to cover the story. As the two walked among the demonstrators and spoke to student leaders, Zhang got swept up in the excitement. She pinned a yellow ribbon—a symbol of the movement—to her clothes and uploaded photographs of herself to WeChat, a social network popular in China.

    On October 1, Zhang returned to Beijing while Kockritz stayed behind in Hong Kong. The next day, the news assistant and friends discovered that they were being followed by the police.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/01/chinas-news-assistants-persist-in-danger/384637/

    In East Germany they’d carpool. Four guys would be tailed by two police. They would get out of the car and go four different directions. The two police wouldn’t know what to do. Call in the cats to follow the other two. Use WeCat network.

    Read More
  8. In the American mainstream media fact and fiction frequently diverge, …

    Phil, were this only true!

    Read More
  9. @rustbeltreader
    US spent $15 million in the 1960's on a radio cat to spy on Russians. First mission ended when the cat was deployed and hit by a taxi. Russia today has Pussy Riot.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_Kitty
    Wikipedia
    Acoustic Kitty was a CIA project launched by the Directorate of Science & Technology in the 1960s attempting to use cats in spy missions, intended to spy on the ...

    They claim it was over $20 million...www.todayifoundout.com/index.../the-cia-once-tried-using-cats-as-spies/
    Aug 7, 2011 - Today I found out that in the 1960s, the CIA spent 5 years and over $20 million training spy cats. I guess it's not as strange as it might first seem.

    Something of that nature more grotesque happened recently. Rock with hidden camera were left on the street of Moscow by British . It was discovered and put out of commission by Russian intelligence. British ridiculed the idea before admitting it much later .

    Read More
  10. Good article by Phil, but I would also add the chilling effects of PC to the hazards of those of us who would practice free speech in the USA. The difference between de facto and de Jure, as they say. Journalists like Helen Thomas can testify to this.

    Read More
  11. Priss Factor [AKA "Andrea Ostrov Letania"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    That the press situation is bad in Russia is true.

    However, there is one justification for it. If media in Russia were to be entirely privately run, they would be monopolized by Russian Jews with the backing of globalist Jewry.

    I would like to see a totally free press in Russia, but it’s not doable because Jewish oligarchs could take over the entire media like they nearly took over the entire economy under Yeltsin. Remember the election of 1996 when Yeltsin relied on the ‘free press’ of Berezhovsky?

    Whereas Russia has no media presence in the West(except the very minor player of RT), the US has great presence in Russia through all kinds of connections, esp of Jewish nature.
    Because global Jewry is waging a war on Russia, Russia must maintain a degree of political independence in the media. US uses media less as source of information than as propaganda vehicle. Why has the US media promoted pussy riot and Masha Gessen?

    Also, while media freedom may be worse overall in Russia, it is in some respects worse in the US for certain voices.
    In the US, there is no room at all in the media for those deemed as ‘racists’, ‘anti-semites’, and ‘homophobes’. Rick Sanchez, Helen Thomas, and Clancy got the ax right away. That certainly sent a message to rest of Americans working in the media.

    Adelson can say outrageous things–nuke Iran–but is hardly condemned by the media. And from the Donald Sterling case, we know the media has no respect for privacy rights.

    Anyway, during wartime, it’s difficult for a nation to have a free press. Lincoln limited press freedom. During WWII, press freedom was proscribed in the US.

    There is a Jewish War on Russia. This war aims to take over the media in Russia to spread nonsense like ‘gay marriage’. If America is all about press freedom, how come the media only hires supporters of ‘gay marriage’? Why does NYT say that the debate on ‘gay marriage’ must be ended and we should all shut up about the neo-sanctity of sodomites ‘marrying’ sodomites?
    Because globalist Jews try to take over all the elite institutions of Russia, there has to be some degree of political potection of Russia’s own media. This leads to many abuses, but the alternative would be worse as the Jewish-run media in Russia will promote pussy riot and Gessenism as the ‘new normal’, as already happened in the US that now fines and imprisons Christian bakers who won’t make ‘gay wedding cakes’. And those bakers get no support from Conservatives either who are too busy sucking up Jewish/homo oligarchs of Goldman Sachs and Sheldon Adelson.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    "they would be monopolized by Russian Jews with the backing of globalist Jewry"

    It's like I'm in 1910's Russia.

    Checking calendar. Nope. 2014. Anti-Jew/Anti-Gay curtain twitchers are posting on an world-wide electronic bulletin board. Alternate Reality shurely has arrived.
  12. @Anonymous
    Old slogan: "Land of the free, home of the brave."

    New slogan: "Still not as bad as Russia!"

    LOL, well said. :)

    Read More
  13. Excellent article, Phil. You vividly captured Obama’s peril to freedom of the press & speech. I shudder to think how bad things might become here after Eric Holder is no longer serving as Attorney General and assuring that Americans’ rights & liberties are not violated.

    Read More
  14. @Anonymous
    Old slogan: "Land of the free, home of the brave."

    New slogan: "Still not as bad as Russia!"

    Giraldi just regurgitates most of anti-Russian propaganda he consumed and compares this with the situation in America against which there is no active, professional and organised propaganda, apart from a very weak and highly controlled voice of RT. To put it in another way: the US propaganda works against Russia, but only the internal dissent works against the US.

    I agree with Giraldi that for the US people still the best place is the US – what would they do in a country such as Russia? This applies to most US citizens, except for a few US dissidents, such as Edward Snowed, who are forced to run for their lives.

    Yet, Giraldi is aware that if he criticised US more than Russia, his US audience would dismiss him as they do of Paul Craig Roberts. Thus he writes an empty, regurgitating write up. I have only one question for him: how much Russian money is there in the US elections and how much US money in the Russian political system (billions, just like in Ukraine)?

    Read More
  15. Philip Giraldi writes: “In the United States corruption is also endemic but it operates through the existing political networks by making corrupt practices legal. No foreign country has lobbyists and interest groups that operate as brazenly as they do in the United States. President Obama bailed out the banksters and, within the political class, jobs and money are doled out to players within the system to buy loyalty. Political contributors get ambassadorships and senior federal positions. Congressmen and generals become highly paid lobbyists and so on down the line. One might observe that Russia is openly corrupt in the old fashioned way while the United States has legalized and institutionalized corruption through what used to be referred to as the “spoils system.”

    It is interesting to note that the text that was early referred to in some circles as “the President’s book” mentions such a system: “The ideals of statehood must be attained by evolution, by the slow growth of civic consciousness, the recognition of the obligation and privilege of social service. At first men assume the burdens of government as a duty, following the end of the administration of political spoilsmen, but later on they seek such ministry as a privilege, as the greatest honor. The status of any level of civilization is faithfully portrayed by the caliber of its citizens who volunteer to accept the responsibilities of statehood.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Truth

    President Obama bailed out the banksters
     
    This is actually a great misnomer favored by vibrant and colorful right wingers such as yourself. The "bankster" bailout, otherwise know as TARP was actually initiated by Boy George:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/more-americans-think-obama-not-bush-enacted-bank-bailouts-poll-shows/
  16. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Priss Factor
    That the press situation is bad in Russia is true.

    However, there is one justification for it. If media in Russia were to be entirely privately run, they would be monopolized by Russian Jews with the backing of globalist Jewry.

    I would like to see a totally free press in Russia, but it's not doable because Jewish oligarchs could take over the entire media like they nearly took over the entire economy under Yeltsin. Remember the election of 1996 when Yeltsin relied on the 'free press' of Berezhovsky?

    Whereas Russia has no media presence in the West(except the very minor player of RT), the US has great presence in Russia through all kinds of connections, esp of Jewish nature.
    Because global Jewry is waging a war on Russia, Russia must maintain a degree of political independence in the media. US uses media less as source of information than as propaganda vehicle. Why has the US media promoted pussy riot and Masha Gessen?

    Also, while media freedom may be worse overall in Russia, it is in some respects worse in the US for certain voices.
    In the US, there is no room at all in the media for those deemed as 'racists', 'anti-semites', and 'homophobes'. Rick Sanchez, Helen Thomas, and Clancy got the ax right away. That certainly sent a message to rest of Americans working in the media.

    Adelson can say outrageous things--nuke Iran--but is hardly condemned by the media. And from the Donald Sterling case, we know the media has no respect for privacy rights.

    Anyway, during wartime, it's difficult for a nation to have a free press. Lincoln limited press freedom. During WWII, press freedom was proscribed in the US.

    There is a Jewish War on Russia. This war aims to take over the media in Russia to spread nonsense like 'gay marriage'. If America is all about press freedom, how come the media only hires supporters of 'gay marriage'? Why does NYT say that the debate on 'gay marriage' must be ended and we should all shut up about the neo-sanctity of sodomites 'marrying' sodomites?
    Because globalist Jews try to take over all the elite institutions of Russia, there has to be some degree of political potection of Russia's own media. This leads to many abuses, but the alternative would be worse as the Jewish-run media in Russia will promote pussy riot and Gessenism as the 'new normal', as already happened in the US that now fines and imprisons Christian bakers who won't make 'gay wedding cakes'. And those bakers get no support from Conservatives either who are too busy sucking up Jewish/homo oligarchs of Goldman Sachs and Sheldon Adelson.

    “they would be monopolized by Russian Jews with the backing of globalist Jewry”

    It’s like I’m in 1910′s Russia.

    Checking calendar. Nope. 2014. Anti-Jew/Anti-Gay curtain twitchers are posting on an world-wide electronic bulletin board. Alternate Reality shurely has arrived.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wally
    [look, I keep on telling commenters to AVOID SOCKPUPPETRY. Posting numerous comments, often rather off-topic, under a variety of different names is improper behavior and I'm going to have to start cracking down on it]

    ---Ron Unz
  17. @Michael Gillespie
    Philip Giraldi writes: "In the United States corruption is also endemic but it operates through the existing political networks by making corrupt practices legal. No foreign country has lobbyists and interest groups that operate as brazenly as they do in the United States. President Obama bailed out the banksters and, within the political class, jobs and money are doled out to players within the system to buy loyalty. Political contributors get ambassadorships and senior federal positions. Congressmen and generals become highly paid lobbyists and so on down the line. One might observe that Russia is openly corrupt in the old fashioned way while the United States has legalized and institutionalized corruption through what used to be referred to as the “spoils system.”


    It is interesting to note that the text that was early referred to in some circles as "the President's book" mentions such a system: "The ideals of statehood must be attained by evolution, by the slow growth of civic consciousness, the recognition of the obligation and privilege of social service. At first men assume the burdens of government as a duty, following the end of the administration of political spoilsmen, but later on they seek such ministry as a privilege, as the greatest honor. The status of any level of civilization is faithfully portrayed by the caliber of its citizens who volunteer to accept the responsibilities of statehood."

    President Obama bailed out the banksters

    This is actually a great misnomer favored by vibrant and colorful right wingers such as yourself. The “bankster” bailout, otherwise know as TARP was actually initiated by Boy George:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/more-americans-think-obama-not-bush-enacted-bank-bailouts-poll-shows/

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  18. Freedom of speech? Yes, but if say something against Israeli foreign policy, or any Israeli interest and lose your job. So there is free speech, but the consequences make that freedom just an illusion. And democracy? Not with a two party system, a non-parliamentary form of government, the electoral college, and gerrymandering. In fact the American ideals are now viewed as a great hypocrisy by the rest of the world and no longer serve as model of good government. Now American power is the power of military might, and not that of its ideals. This has been a great loss, since to be constantly at war is eroding the society.

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  19. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Since I am ferociously antiwar… I want to register my utter disgust with the comments of Peter Brimelow on vdare.com today where he writes that bombing burning the Vietnamese Civilian Population during the Vietnam war was worth it……..and so must have been the destruction of 60 thousand American Teenagers who died horrible deaths so the chickenhawk English Foriegner metal trader from Sussex England can enjoy his freedom in the bucolic countryside of New Hampshire………….of course winning the Vietnam War ultimately would have meant nuking Vietnam……..this is what we call genocide!!!!!

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  20. Good article leading to a good conclusion. Neither the U.S. govt nor the Russian govt can be trusted with the immense power they have. Acton — Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely — True then, true now, true always.

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  21. “Obama proposed a “Kill-Switch” to turn off the internet in case of an “Emergency”, defined by himself, of course”. This Kill-Switch was originally proposed by the evil bastard Sen. Lieberman of Connecticut. His version included more than the president with their hands ready to toggle the switch to OFF.

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  22. The Western news media (MSM) operates on the “free press” principle. Meaning that individual reporters in the field are free to submit articles and stories to editors on any subject they desire. In turn, local editors who receive the stories are free to ignore entire reports or edit individual reports until they no longer resemble the original. Since all editors and news directors at the state and national level answer to the same power structure in Washington, DC, it stands to reason that in order to retain highly paid and prestigious jobs, it is entirely up to them to produce news that will fit neatly into the national narrative decided by editors in Washington and on Wall Street. This is a short and incomplete explanation of how a self-censored “free press” functions in keeping the American public in a state of blissful ignorance as to what is actually happening in the world around them.

    Read More
    • Replies: @rustbeltreader
    MSM! FAIL!
    "As we learned last year during the war between Georgia and Russia, the world of new media often failed to deliver on its promises, and citizen journalists often merely amplified local propaganda rather than delivering facts. " http://www.wired.com/2009/06/iran-reporting-msm-fail/

    It appears that we aren't any better at delivering facts now. We are improving at self censoring. All our rustbelt mills are gone along with the jobs. Now we are targeting the malls
  23. @Anonymous
    "they would be monopolized by Russian Jews with the backing of globalist Jewry"

    It's like I'm in 1910's Russia.

    Checking calendar. Nope. 2014. Anti-Jew/Anti-Gay curtain twitchers are posting on an world-wide electronic bulletin board. Alternate Reality shurely has arrived.

    [look, I keep on telling commenters to AVOID SOCKPUPPETRY. Posting numerous comments, often rather off-topic, under a variety of different names is improper behavior and I'm going to have to start cracking down on it]

    —Ron Unz

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    • Replies: @Carroll Price
    About the only thing you might consider positive about sock puppetry (which is far more obvious than the sock puppets realize) is that it lets you know you are not preaching strictly to the choir. And that informative articles like the ones you publish in the Unz Review are being monitored by Zionist trolls who report back to their masters that an increasing number of excellent writers, and intelligent readers have caught onto their game-plan and strategy for world domination. For that reason alone, I would suggest (up to a point) ignoring the Hasbara trolls, who in addition to showing their ignorance and lack of education through the disjointed comments they post, are obviously becoming worried by the fact that a Zionist elite is no longer able to exercise total control over what gets disseminated as news to the general public.
  24. Different countries, different histories, different cultures, different people; making head-to-head comparisons is useful but inherently limited. It’s a snapshot that captures a moment in time but says little in terms of the roads travelled by the respective parties to get to that point. Also, it’s not just where they’ve been and where they are now but where are they headed, which is of course a much more difficult question to try to answer. Thirty years from now what would a comparison look like? Being viewed as a competitor, or rival, there’s a tendency to tout one’s own brand as being superior.
    Is Putin good for the majority of Russians? Is Obama good for the majority of Americans? I leave that up to others to answer. Agreed, the attacks on Putin have been childishly personal and add nothing towards clarifying whatever issues there happen to be. Perhaps the purpose is to demonize him and his country as a way of laying the groundwork for an envisioned possible future conflict, conditioning the mindset of the American public. Howling at Putin is like howling at the moon: it doesn’t matter nor does it change anything. If he suddenly left the policies would probably be continued by whoever takes his place. People have to understand that the Russians have been around for a thousand years or so, depending on how one wants to view it, and aren’t going to go away just because others don’t like them. Also, it has to be understood that they are independent and are looking out for themselves just like everybody else. They aren’t taking orders from anyone and are strong enough to defend themselves and will act to do so. Reality is the ultimate taskmaster; ways of constructive engagement have to be found, mutually destructive actions avoided. Many people are living in the past. It’s not a uni-polar world anymore and probably will never be so again.

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  25. @Wally
    [look, I keep on telling commenters to AVOID SOCKPUPPETRY. Posting numerous comments, often rather off-topic, under a variety of different names is improper behavior and I'm going to have to start cracking down on it]

    ---Ron Unz

    About the only thing you might consider positive about sock puppetry (which is far more obvious than the sock puppets realize) is that it lets you know you are not preaching strictly to the choir. And that informative articles like the ones you publish in the Unz Review are being monitored by Zionist trolls who report back to their masters that an increasing number of excellent writers, and intelligent readers have caught onto their game-plan and strategy for world domination. For that reason alone, I would suggest (up to a point) ignoring the Hasbara trolls, who in addition to showing their ignorance and lack of education through the disjointed comments they post, are obviously becoming worried by the fact that a Zionist elite is no longer able to exercise total control over what gets disseminated as news to the general public.

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  26. @War for Blair Mountain
    Never let the narcissistic Kenyan Foriegner and his advisors define the terms of debate. The Obama Administration doesn't care a rat's ass about human rights and free speech in Russia. This is the starting point-framework of the "debate. The owners of the Democratic Party -Mega-White-Liberal CEOs....want 1)the massive mineral and oil-gas resources of Russia and 2) Russia's Female Population,which they want to force into chattel-sex-slave-prostitution for Billy Clinton and his buddies such as Jeffrey Epstien. The Conservative Orthodox Christian Russian People have a God Given Right to resist being gang-raped by the Obama Adminstration.....This is how we "debate" the Obama Administration. The moment Phil Giraldi engages in a debate with the War Criminal Obama Administration about whether or not Putin is a free speech democrat is the moment Phil Giraldi loses the debate with the War Criminal Kenyan Foriegner and his War Criminal Advisors.

    You’re absolutely correct, Bill; you nailed it perfectly. Over 80% of Russia’s population give high marks to Vladimir Putin for his overall job performance; whereas, less than 45% do likewise for the narcissistic Kenyan Foreigner, as you describe him. Putin’s an outstanding statesman; he’s a grand chess master; and he’s a master geopolitical strategist. On top of that, he puts RUSSIA and its people first.
    The narcissistic Kenyan Foreigner – Teleprompter Barry – is none of those. He’s no statesman; he’s no grand chess master; and he’s no master geopolitical strategist. He’s a mental midget when it comes to dealings with other world leaders – especially Putin, China’s Jaoping (sp), and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu. Bibi Boo-Boo humiliated him every time they were face-to-face; Putin and Jaoping put him in his place. Barry, unlike Putin, puts the USSA and its people last; and, he wonders why he’s not trusted, even by the majority of Americans.

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    • Replies: @Truth
    Nice patriotism there, Elieenski Mushmouthavich.

    Now tell me, do really believe that that clown is a Chess Grandmaster, an 8th degree black belt, a master horseman, or any of this other bullshit he claims to be? Or that he legitimately has 80% approval?
  27. @Carroll Price
    The Western news media (MSM) operates on the “free press” principle. Meaning that individual reporters in the field are free to submit articles and stories to editors on any subject they desire. In turn, local editors who receive the stories are free to ignore entire reports or edit individual reports until they no longer resemble the original. Since all editors and news directors at the state and national level answer to the same power structure in Washington, DC, it stands to reason that in order to retain highly paid and prestigious jobs, it is entirely up to them to produce news that will fit neatly into the national narrative decided by editors in Washington and on Wall Street. This is a short and incomplete explanation of how a self-censored "free press" functions in keeping the American public in a state of blissful ignorance as to what is actually happening in the world around them.

    MSM! FAIL!
    “As we learned last year during the war between Georgia and Russia, the world of new media often failed to deliver on its promises, and citizen journalists often merely amplified local propaganda rather than delivering facts. ” http://www.wired.com/2009/06/iran-reporting-msm-fail/

    It appears that we aren’t any better at delivering facts now. We are improving at self censoring. All our rustbelt mills are gone along with the jobs. Now we are targeting the malls

    Read More
  28. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    What in the world is the author trying to say here?

    “Russians have a government that does everything it can to maintain itself in power and shield itself from criticism. So does the United States and Washington’s record on foreign policy and all that pertains to it is far worse than Russia’s.”

    I mean, what dreck. PUTIN is running a government and has no plans to hand over power now or in the near future, unless someone literally takes it away from him by force. Obama’s term comes to an end on Jan 20th, 2017, and he will literally walk out of the WH a civilian, and hand the keys over to the person that got elected President. Unless the author thinks Obama is going to refuse to leave office or something.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Giraldi
    You don't get it Nick - Obama is working to maintain his party in power just like Putin is. Has Bill Clinton disappeared? Hello Hillary. Staying in power is what it is all about both in Moscow and in Washington.
  29. “In practical terms there is little to separate Putin’s sense that he is acting aggressively to restore the prerogatives of Holy Russia and Obama’s insistence on extending unconstitutional executive privilege in pursuit of a progressive agenda.”

    What is a ‘practical term’ here? I consider it very practical to try to save a country as a whole.

    That is what Putin is trying to do.

    Obongo is trying to save a mere piece of the US, that of the more or less useless folks with very low IQs and very high Demands: no justice, no peace. Recall the “non-neotiable demands” made by the Black Panthers, first vintage. And Welfare for the Useless and Shiftless as well as the Mexicans who work but are still on welfare. Obongo is waging civil war against Whites.

    Putin arguably is trying to put a country back together again after 70 years of Communist insanity and consequent cynicism and corruption, much of it coming not only from communism but from the Yeltsin years. Total it at about 100 years of societal political insanity.

    Obongo is trying to start a civil war, while Putin is trying to achieve unity. Obongo says anything goes while Putin says to that cultural anarchism: no way!

    Pussy Riot is celebrated by the Culture Destroyers here, read Hollywood, etc, and Putin locks them up. He should have locked them up for at least a year, and removed their tats…obscene body mutilation.

    Obongo hates Whites and Putin loves Whites…I could go on. But one more: Obongo is an Internationalist Liberal Killer of genuine diversity of peoples thru international Consumerism, while Putin in a nationalist, putting his people first , before consumerism and Americanism. Obongo tolerates our thousands of tycoons ruining the US, while Putin demands that they work for Russia…is that ‘practical’ or what? then what is Theoretical? Iguess what is theoretical is the philosophy of the State.

    The US is not a State, it is some kind ahistorical marketplace for Money. Pluralism it is called. That is not a State. There is no There there. However after years of Obongo’s Black nationalism Whites are starting to awaken…maybe there will be a State here, like Russia. A White State, with a White agenda, not a Money agenda and a multi-racial swamp. The only thing one can claim for the US is that we still have free speech, the only place in the world apparently. Of course Free Speech is largely obscured by Money and Jews, I have to say it. Jews got the media and the little websites like this are just the gnat at best which the horse-tail flicks away. But we do not go to jail yet here…like in Europe

    Hopefully, Russia will lead the way since we are in the gutter culturally and the sewer racially, and moribund economically due to International Liberal Free Trade, etc. See my piece on the economics article by Whitney…wiht the graph pictured.

    Joe Webb

    Joe Webb

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  30. “The state as hostile tropism is Mencken’s central philosophic notion as a journalist. Whether the state is used to deport or imprison people for their ideas or the color of their skin (as in the case of the Nisei) or simply to harass citizens who drink whisky, he was that malevolent state’s hard critic. He illuminates our marvelous Bill of Rights, no sooner promulgated than struck with the first of those sets of alien and sedition acts that continue, in one form or another, to this day. He is very funny about the Noble Experiment to prohibit alcohol (1913-33), which made the United States the world’s joke-nation, a title still unceded.
    As for America’s once triumphant mass-production of the automobile, he notes that this achievement promptly became a pretext for the persecution of the citizenry by creating “a body of laws which fills two courtrooms to suffocation every day (in Baltimore), and keeps three judges leaping and tugging like fire-engine horses. The situation is made more intoxicating by the fact that nine-tenths of the criminals are persons who would not otherwise fall into their toils — that the traffic regulations tap whole new categories of victims…. The ideal of the Polizei, at all times and everywhere, is to get their hands upon every citizen at least once a day.” Today the tobacco smoker is at risk. Tomorrow, who knows who will fall victim to the state’s endless sense of fun.”

    http://theamericanmercury.org/2012/09/gore-vidal-on-h-l-mencken/

    Fuel prices are down so we can run whisky in airplanes again. The fun never ends.

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  31. @Eileen Kuch
    You're absolutely correct, Bill; you nailed it perfectly. Over 80% of Russia's population give high marks to Vladimir Putin for his overall job performance; whereas, less than 45% do likewise for the narcissistic Kenyan Foreigner, as you describe him. Putin's an outstanding statesman; he's a grand chess master; and he's a master geopolitical strategist. On top of that, he puts RUSSIA and its people first.
    The narcissistic Kenyan Foreigner - Teleprompter Barry - is none of those. He's no statesman; he's no grand chess master; and he's no master geopolitical strategist. He's a mental midget when it comes to dealings with other world leaders - especially Putin, China's Jaoping (sp), and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu. Bibi Boo-Boo humiliated him every time they were face-to-face; Putin and Jaoping put him in his place. Barry, unlike Putin, puts the USSA and its people last; and, he wonders why he's not trusted, even by the majority of Americans.

    Nice patriotism there, Elieenski Mushmouthavich.

    Now tell me, do really believe that that clown is a Chess Grandmaster, an 8th degree black belt, a master horseman, or any of this other bullshit he claims to be? Or that he legitimately has 80% approval?

    Read More
    • Replies: @War for Blair Mountain
    To state the obvious:since the Narcissistic Kenyan Foriegner doesn't believe in democracy and free speech except for the violent psychopathic gangster billionaires he wants to impose on The Conservative Orthodox Christian Russian People...your comment exists in the entangled state of being both a lie and being irrelevant..a linear combination of BS!!....
  32. @Anonymous
    What in the world is the author trying to say here?

    "Russians have a government that does everything it can to maintain itself in power and shield itself from criticism. So does the United States and Washington’s record on foreign policy and all that pertains to it is far worse than Russia’s."

    I mean, what dreck. PUTIN is running a government and has no plans to hand over power now or in the near future, unless someone literally takes it away from him by force. Obama's term comes to an end on Jan 20th, 2017, and he will literally walk out of the WH a civilian, and hand the keys over to the person that got elected President. Unless the author thinks Obama is going to refuse to leave office or something.

    You don’t get it Nick – Obama is working to maintain his party in power just like Putin is. Has Bill Clinton disappeared? Hello Hillary. Staying in power is what it is all about both in Moscow and in Washington.

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    • Replies: @War for Blair Mountain
    The Kenyan Foriegner....the violent psychopathic serial rapist Billy Clinton from Hot Springs...and his wife,the violent fat ankled-testosterone-flushed hairy bulldyke Hillary Clinton...all three of them,would never have been elected POTUS if the 1965 Immigration Reform Act had never been passed. The Democratic Party has been importing its highly racialized-high fertility voting block since 1965.

    Compared to the Kenyan Foreigner, and the violent psychopathic gangsters The Clintons...Putin is a Saint...that's if you think risking thermonuclear war and the subsequent permanent mass extinction of the Human Species is a monumentally evil thing to do.

    1962+1965=2015....10....9....8....7....6....5....4....3...2...1.....?....don't let the cockroaches( Billy Clinton and Hillary Clinton) inherit and rule the planet earth...that's what will happen if the countdown goes below below 1....
  33. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Philip Giraldi
    You don't get it Nick - Obama is working to maintain his party in power just like Putin is. Has Bill Clinton disappeared? Hello Hillary. Staying in power is what it is all about both in Moscow and in Washington.

    The Kenyan Foriegner….the violent psychopathic serial rapist Billy Clinton from Hot Springs…and his wife,the violent fat ankled-testosterone-flushed hairy bulldyke Hillary Clinton…all three of them,would never have been elected POTUS if the 1965 Immigration Reform Act had never been passed. The Democratic Party has been importing its highly racialized-high fertility voting block since 1965.

    Compared to the Kenyan Foreigner, and the violent psychopathic gangsters The Clintons…Putin is a Saint…that’s if you think risking thermonuclear war and the subsequent permanent mass extinction of the Human Species is a monumentally evil thing to do.

    1962+1965=2015….10….9….8….7….6….5….4….3…2…1…..?….don’t let the cockroaches( Billy Clinton and Hillary Clinton) inherit and rule the planet earth…that’s what will happen if the countdown goes below below 1….

    Read More
  34. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Truth
    Nice patriotism there, Elieenski Mushmouthavich.

    Now tell me, do really believe that that clown is a Chess Grandmaster, an 8th degree black belt, a master horseman, or any of this other bullshit he claims to be? Or that he legitimately has 80% approval?

    To state the obvious:since the Narcissistic Kenyan Foriegner doesn’t believe in democracy and free speech except for the violent psychopathic gangster billionaires he wants to impose on The Conservative Orthodox Christian Russian People…your comment exists in the entangled state of being both a lie and being irrelevant..a linear combination of BS!!….

    Read More
    • Replies: @Truth

    To state the obvious:since the Narcissistic Kenyan Foriegner doesn’t believe in democracy and free speech except for the violent psychopathic gangster billionaires
     
    I thought he was a Communist.

    Oh, and maybe you should look of the definition of the word "lie." It's a little difficult to lie when one's statement ends with a question mark.
  35. @War for Blair Mountain
    To state the obvious:since the Narcissistic Kenyan Foriegner doesn't believe in democracy and free speech except for the violent psychopathic gangster billionaires he wants to impose on The Conservative Orthodox Christian Russian People...your comment exists in the entangled state of being both a lie and being irrelevant..a linear combination of BS!!....

    To state the obvious:since the Narcissistic Kenyan Foriegner doesn’t believe in democracy and free speech except for the violent psychopathic gangster billionaires

    I thought he was a Communist.

    Oh, and maybe you should look of the definition of the word “lie.” It’s a little difficult to lie when one’s statement ends with a question mark.

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  36. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    you fail to point out Navalny’s history of economic fraud……

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  37. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anonymous
    Old slogan: "Land of the free, home of the brave."

    New slogan: "Still not as bad as Russia!"

    The Latest slogan: ” Baikal , Taiga and the Northern Lights look pretty good”

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  38. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anonymous
    Old slogan: "Land of the free, home of the brave."

    New slogan: "Still not as bad as Russia!"

    New slogan: “The worst country on the Planet”

    Read More
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