Friday, March 23, 2012

Russia to the Rescue!

If, like many progressive Americans, you despair of the major news channels, but are lucky enough to live either in the Northeast, D.C., California, the Chicago area, or the Carolinas, you have an alternative:  Russian Television, coyly known as ‘RT’ has been available since October on your local MIND TV channel.  Staffed with American, British and other native English speaking newscasters and hosts, and featuring progressive writers like Chris Hedges, Thom Hartmann, and many others, RT  broadcasts 24/7 to over 100 countries on five continents from its studios in Moscow and D.C.  It’s motto is: “Question More”.

Of course you’ll get Russian news with a Russian slant, but you can allow for that, whereas the world news covered by RT is usually absent form MSNBC or Democracy Now (though some of it may be found on Grit TV - I haven’t checked).

Today, Friday, March 23, I learned that the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, unanimously approved a new law which should make it easier to create and register political parties, requiring only 500 members instead of the 45,000 threshold that contributed to widespread dissatisfaction with the last election.  Also, major Russian energy companies have been trying to delay or opt out of the government’s ambitious privatization program ahead of an imminent power change in the Kremlin.  (You can see these stories at

In international news I learned that a European Security Conference is wrapping up in Moscow, at which President Medvedev called on the United States to get with it: although the U.S. is participating in this conference, Americans don’t hear about it.  Someone may mention in passing that the Russians want our guarantee that a projected missile defense shield will not be targeted at them in writing, making it sound like an unreasonable demand.  This item is particularly interesting because it illustrates the fact that other major players, such as the European Union, are increasingly united and bold in their opposition to America’s plans to rule the world.

RT reporting on the Syrian crisis tends to mirror Russia’s support of President Assad, but it also features members of the opposition.  Of late it has been highly critical of Al-Jazeera’s handling of the crisis, which tends to mirror the American position.  About a week ago RT reported with obvious glee that several anchors and at least one high-ranking manager had quit over what they considered ‘the supposedly third-world friendly’ Dubai-based channel’s pro-Americana bias.

In American news, RT reported today that a woman was injured Wednesday during a police crackdown on OWS, and that the Occupy Movement is calling for a general strike on May first.  This date will probably not mean anything to most Americans, but it has been the rest of the world’s Labor Day for decades.  The call itself is highly significant, since the last time a general strike affected large parts of the U.S. was in 1877 with the Great Railroad Strike.

There is a lot of business news on RT, including what sounds like pretty detailed analysis by several of the channels young, female anchors perched on high stools in short tight skirts.  (Most of the male feature anchors tend to be older and not very attractive...)

Who would have thought that some day Americans would have to rely on Russian Television to find out what’s going on in the world - and at home:


A Marine based in Camp Pendleton, California, created a Facebook page called “Armed Forces Tea Party,” which currently has approximately 19,000 likes and slogans such as “NObama” and “One Nation, under Obama, with poverty and unemployment for all.” Authorities say he has been under the microscope since 2010.


Serendipitously, only days after it cleared Congress, President Obama signed H.R. 347, which makes it a felony to cause a disturbance at certain political events — essentially criminalizing protest in the States.


A feature currently being shone analyses our infatuation with guns, featuring lengthy interviews with Virginia gun owners on the occasion of that state’s lifting of the law the limits gun purchases to one a month.


In sum, all our dirty laundry is hung out to dry by the country we think we defeated twenty years ago. Worldwide.


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