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Nile Bowie is an independent journalist and political analyst based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His articles have appeared in numerous international publications, including regular columns with Russia Today (RT) and newspapers such as the Global Times, the Malaysian Reserve and the New Straits Times. He is a research assistant with the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), a Malaysian NGO promoting social justice and anti-hegemony politics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After two years of negotiations, the geoeconomic grouping of emerging markets known as the BRICS – Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa – have broken new ground by launching a development bank intended to challenge Western-dominated multilateral lending institutions such as the IMF and World Bank.
The New Development Bank (NDB) will be headquartered in Shanghai and will primarily serve to facilitate sustainable development and large-scale infrastructure modernization within BRICS countries, which will each allocate an equal share of $50 billion startup capital with the aim of reaching $100 billion.
NDB loans would not be exclusively for BRICS governments, but also extended to other low- and middle-income countries that contribute to the capital base, which will finance the construction of mega-projects involving electricity supply grids, telecommunications networks, roads and bridges, power stations, shipping infrastructure and ports, and water treatment facilities.
BRICS countries represent 41.6 percent of world’s total population, 19.6 percent of global GDP, and 16.9 percent of total global trade, making the five-member community the world’s largest market. Despite extensive economic clout, the BRICS countries together wield only about 11 percent of the votes at the IMF, an institution that is widely viewed as disproportionately delineating influence to the detriment of the Global South.
The BRICS project is not simply about emerging economic powerhouses striving for a wider international role that traditional Western institutions have thus far denied, but rather, it is an attempt by the Global South to articulate an alternative multilateral global order intended to be more equitable, inclusive, dynamic, and suitable to 21st century realities.
As developed economies find themselves today marred in austerity policies and struggling to tackle unemployment wrought by hallowed-out industrial sectors, trade between economies in the Global South now exceeds trade between emerging and developed economies by some $2.2 trillion, more than one-quarter of global trade. China, Brazil, and India have also begun to displace Western nations as large-scale donors throughout Africa and other low-income countries.
Countries that borrow from institutions such as the IMF are forced to enact structural adjustment policies that scale back on public and social spending, and pressure countries to hurriedly reduce subsides that would better be phased out gradually. Loan conditionalities have also been known to disproportionately favor the private sector and reduce a country’s ability to hedge against speculative capital.
The bloc’s push toward institution building to advance an alternative development vision has been hastened in recent times by several contentious flashpoints in global politics, primarily between Russia and China on one side, and the United States and European Union on the other.
Relations between Moscow and Washington have reached their lowest point since the end of the Cold War, while the US has spearheaded punitive sanctions against Russia for its purported role in Ukrainian conflict. China has also expressed displeasure with US efforts to refocus its naval presence to the Asia Pacific region, which Beijing views as efforts by the US to interfere in the region’s complex territorial disputes.
The increasing pressure from Western capitals on Moscow and Beijing, who also take joint positions on issues in the UN Security Council, has prompted both countries to deepen their involvement in the multipolar project. Russia and China now intend to more forcefully utilize the BRICS framework to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and technology, and diversify political and trade relations with countries throughout the Global South.
The BRICS group will not be solely an economic community, but due to increasingly tense relations with the West, the five-member bloc is increasingly more disposed to cooperate politically to adopt common positions and coordinate joint efforts toward tackling regional issues at the UN level. In contrast to Western leanings toward interventionism, the core principles of BRICS foreign policy thinking centers on respect for sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of countries.
In a recent interview with news agency ITAR-TASS, Russian President Vladimir Putin articulated his intentions to deepen both economic and political cooperation among the BRICS group, primarily by addressing the bloc’s common position against unilateral military interventions and economic sanctions that violate international law, pledging closer coordination and high‑level consultations between the group’s foreign ministries to jointly forge political and diplomatic settlements.
Washington’s calls for heavy economic sanctions on Russian industries and sectorial trade have been met with opposition by most EU states, who are largely dependent on Moscow for their energy needs. European states are also weary that sectorial sanctions against Russia will drastically drive up gas prices.
Putin has said that any economic sanctions on Russia will eventually boomerang back to harm US interests, and called on BRICS countries to introduce “a system of measures that would help prevent the harassment of countries that do not agree with some foreign policy decisions made by the United States and their allies, but would promote a civilized dialogue on all points at issue based on mutual respect.”
The primary interest of the BRICS countries is to begin the gradual process of reforming the international monetary and financial system, which remains heavily dependent on US monetary policy. The emerging multipolar alternative being championed by developing states, with varying degrees of antipathy toward Washington, is propelled forward by perceptions that global management on the basis of genuine and equal partnership cannot be realized under current circumstances.
The BRICS countries face an uphill battle and have yet to firmly establish internal decision-making mechanisms, and there are hurdles to address before the bank begins lending in 2016. The NDB can play an important role in channeling capital into industrial assets rather into bubbles and financial markets, thus improving investment confidence, reducing risk, and advancing a productivity-focused development agenda.
The failure of Western-dominated institutions to address their asymmetric influence over global political and economic affairs is the primary factor that has given rise to an alliance of developing countries that intend to correct this imbalance, and one can only hope they work toward bringing about a more equitable and just world order.
The title of this video is 100% accurate. Now that Obama has successfully murdered three American citizens with barely a peep from Congress - and has successfully installed the author of his legal justification for the extra-judicial killings of American citizens onto the federal appeal's bench - it is not a stretch to believe that he will eventually use this power domestically. One reason is because Attorney General Eric Holder and CIA director John Brennan have both refused to assure the American people that drones will not be used to kill American citizens without charges inside the United States.
On September 30th 2011, Barack Obama became a Tyrant when he ordered the deaths of American citizens Anwar al-Alawki, Abdulrahman al-Alawki, and Samir Kahn. On September 30, 2011 the Republic of the United States fell and was replaced with what Madison correctly defined as a tyranny – and the ACLU agrees.
|DeLynn and our grandson Conner|
|The Old Ball & Chain dragging me to garage sales.|
But the situation here at Casa Powell has reached the point where my wife needs skilled, in-home care; she needs hospice. She’s pretty much confined to bed, as her bed sores will attest, depending on me to steady her and provide what measures I can to make her comfortable. I’m “on-call,” literally 24 hours a day, unable to even leave the house to shop for groceries unless there is another adult available to stay with her.
|Chemo-weakened bones break from simply walking|
|Our 25th anniversary gift; a night in a B&B|
Bobby and DeLynn
Ronald Reagan once famously wondered what would happen if the world were presented with the prospect of an alien invasion. It was Reagan’s belief that humanity would be able to put aside all of their differences and come together to oppose such a common threat. We may soon see if he was correct.
Why should I care about the situation in the Ukraine? Good question! Glad you asked.
- · A retreat to protectionism and disengagement from being the world’s policeman?
- · Economic collapse and civil war and martial law?
- · Major terrorist attacks (foreign or domestic) on nuclear facilities or power grids?
- · Major catastrophes like an EMP, or pandemic, or earthquakes, volcanic eruption (as may be the case in Yellowstone)?
- · Or perhaps a total political collapse as states rebel and leaders exposed lose public trust and we fragment into troubled regions? …
EDITOR'S NOTE: I have received confirmation from Col. Harry Riley, the founder of Operation American Spring, that Maj. Gen Vallely has no connection to OAS or Col. Riley's planned march on Washington D.C. on May 16th. Col. Riley will be a guest on TTiVLIVE! in the very near future to talk about his plans.
|Lt. Col. Michael Aquino, "Temple of Set" Founder|
Aquino has never been convicted of any crime, but his name keeps on popping up in child sex scandals at military installations all over the country, prompting this writer to wonder if he is not being protected by the Dark Lord. You know what they say, “Where there’s smoke there’s fire,” and Aquino’s career is nothing if not densely smoke-filled.
MUST READ FOR ALL TTiV SUBSCRIBERS BELOW:
Please keep us in your prayers. Pray for the protection of my family and lift us up to the Lord asking that He comfort and defend us as we go through this period of tribulation, brought on by my stubborn refusal to shut my mouth. I swore to my little girl and to my Father in Heaven that I would do everything in my power to save lives and win souls for Jesus Christ in these very last days, and that is exactly what I intend to do.
God bless and Semper Fi,
The Truth Is Viral
|Bobby & Jaiden Daniel Powell|
I wish I could be more forthcoming about the circumstances of my arrest, and indeed I will as soon as the case has been adjudicated; but for now I hope that you will believe me when I say that I did what any reasonable person would do to ensure the safety of my children from an imminent threat.
Please click the Paypal button on the right to donate whatever you can afford, whatever you will not miss, to my defense fund. I would never ask anyone to put themselves out for me, but if you have a few dollars to spare they would most certainly be appreciated. If you do not have a credit card, or if you are wary of using the internet to conduct financial transactions, you can also send your donation to:
The Truth Is Viral
P.O. Box 91
Thank you in advance for your donations, and for sharing this post with others that might be able to help; but most importantly, please keep me and my family in your prayers. We need those most of all.
God bless and Semper Fi,
Two years ago my family had not a care in the world. Although my wife and I had ongoing medical issues they were being properly managed and between Medicare and Medicaid our treatments were completely paid for. With both of us living on Social Security Disability, we have lived below the official "poverty line" for more than 20 years; but we adjusted our lifestyle accordingly so even though we were "poor," we were able to survive. That all changed when I started getting serious with The Truth Is Viral.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” ~ Ephesians 6:12
|Connor Christian Powell|
|Jaiden Daniel Powell remains in NICU|
When he does come home, it will be to two teenage parents, sophomores in high school, 15-year-olds barely able to take care of themselves much less an infant with medical problems. Who do you think is going to be responsible for the day-to-day raising of this child? Me, that’s who.
Until he does, I intend to continue doing exactly what I'm doing now: Saving lives and winning souls for Jesus Christ.
|Photo by Arjan Richter|
“[The Odds of] Longer Term Chronic Effects, Cancer Or Genetic Effects … Cannot Be Said To Be Zero” It is very difficult to obtain accurate information on the dangers from Fukushima radiation to residents of the West Coast of North … Continue reading →
What Is The ACTUAL Risk for Pacific Coast Residents from Fukushima Radiation? was originally published on Washington's Blog
Building on a tradition that stretched back to nineteenth century literary social criticism, early twentieth century investigative journalism, utopian community newspapers, and early radical magazines like The Masses, the modern American alternative press had emerged in mid-50s New York with The Village Voice and Dissent. Within a few years, Paul Krassner launched the irreverent Realist, publishing “diabolical dialogues” that mixed fantasy and reality.
Traditionally, temporary agency work was highly regulated in Germany and mainly used by companies to respond flexibly to short-term challenges in the production process. It was the 2003 change in legislation by a coalition government of Social Democrats and the Green Party deregulating temporary agency work, which facilitated the change in employers’ strategy. Now, several key companies have moved towards employing a significant number of their workers through temporary work agencies in order to be able to respond flexibly to changes in the economy and, thereby, to secure their short-term financial profits. Unsurprisingly, from 2003 until 2007, temporary agency work was the largest sector of employment growth, while it then became the largest sector of dismissals in the global economic crisis from 2007 onward. The risks of economic recession have been passed from employers to workers.
To date, only four per cent of the overall German workforce are temporary agency workers. However, the fact that there are between 10 to 20 per cent temporary agency workers of the overall workforce in large manufacturing companies such as Mercedes or BMW signifies the overall importance of this type of workers for German industrial relations. The most drastic example of the use of temporary agency workers is the brand new BMW plant in Leipzig in East Germany, where 40 per cent of the workforce is made up of temporary agency workers.
|Photo by International Transport Forum|
The increasing use of temporary agency workers has drastic implications for workers and trade unions. First, being a temporary agency worker becomes less and less a route into permanent employment. Companies have to some extent stopped employing directly new workers themselves. Second, the fact that temporary agency workers are employed on lower salaries than their colleagues, although they are doing the same jobs, and that they face the constant threat of dismissal, should there be an economic recession, has a disciplining effect on permanent workers. The latter know that should they become unemployed, the only way back into employment may be as a temporary agency worker on less good conditions. This will affect their position on whether to criticise management and, unsurprisingly, it has become more difficult for trade unions to organise strike action.
|Photo by IG Metall|
Workers themselves are ambivalent about their own situation, Hajo Holst reported. On the one hand, permanently employed workers regard temporary agency workers as a guarantee for their own jobs. In times of crisis, it is the latter who are made redundant. On the other hand, however, there is still a feeling of injustice about the fact that their co-workers do the same jobs for less money and under the constant risk of unemployment. Perhaps it is this ambivalence, which provides the seeds for an alternative trade union strategy based on solidarity? Equally, important, manufacturing workers are often high-skilled and cannot be replaced that easily. The power of workers in production should not be underestimated by trade unions.
|Photo by IG Metall|
Clearly, the first precondition for a more active trade union position is to drop this idea of co-responsibility for company performance. Is this perhaps the time to re-politicise German trade unions and the process of collective bargaining? The continuing sense of injustice and solidarity amongst workers as well as the fact that highly-skilled workers cannot only not be replaced easily, but often know better how to run the production process itself may provide the basis for a more radical position against capital.
Dr. Garrow, revealed earlier this year that Obama was giving General officers in the United States military a "litmus test," a loyalty test, asking if they would fire on American citizens. Over thirty high-ranking Admirals and Generals have been removed from duty in the past year, including teo Three-star generals in charge of nuclear weapons in just the past few days.
On Friday the Air Force fired Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, who was in charge of its nuclear missiles., citing "alcohol abuse." Two days earlier the Navy deep-sixed Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, SAC's second-in-command. The reasons given for his dismissals was "gambling."
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified my guest as Dr. Jim Garrison in a couple of places; his name is Dr. Jim Garrow. I apologize for the confusion. ~ Bobby
We, the citizens of Alpena Michigan, want this pilot’s wings clipped. If an investigation reveals that the pilot was ordered to fly his helicopter with the intent of intimidating the source and his family, we expect the United States government to punish the person who issued those orders to the fullest extent of the law.
|Photo by infomatique|
|Photo by FuturePresent|
At the peak of the Asian crisis, millions of people were thrown out of work and faced abject poverty in Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea (called the Asian Three thereafter). Due to the IMF’s insistence on austerity measures, the Asian Three found their hands tied, unable to help mitigate social unrest resulting from massive unemployment and increased poverty. The situation developed into full blown social crises, resulting in major political upheavals in the Asian Three. In Thailand, tapping into the pervasive anti-IMF populist nationalism during the Asian crisis, Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai Party seized power with strong support from the wider population. Although neoliberal restructuring continued under his administration, the Thaksin government moderated destabilizing impacts of neo-liberalism by extending social welfare measures. In Indonesia, a nationwide anti-austerity movement eventually forced the pro-IMF Suharto regime to resign. The new administration, now more responsive to popular demands, did not implement many austerity measures previously planned. In South Korea, anti-IMF sentiments contributed to the electoral victory of the opposition party leader, Kim Dae-Jung who was most critical of the International Monetary Fund program. As in the case of Thailand and Indonesia, the Kim administration did moderate the scope of neoliberal restructuring and introduced an extensive social welfare program.
|Photo by photoAtlas|
|Photo by furlin|
|Photo by AndyRobertsPhotos|
President Obama called for a modest raise in the federal minimum wage to $9 in his State of the Union Address, and several Democratic legislators have upped his bid with a proposed increase to $10.10.Prevailing wage laws, which protect local construction sector workers from private sector undercutting, are the kind of legislation that ALEC-affiliated state legislation would dismantle. (Photo: Rubber Dragon / Flickr / Creative Commons)
But an insidious effort to lower the wage floor is already underway much closer to the ground—in the state legislatures where right-wing lobbyists have been greasing the skids for years for an onslaught of anti-worker policies.
An extensive analysis recently published by labor advocacy organization the National Employment Law Project tracks more than 100 bills introduced in 31 states since January 2011 that “aim to repeal or weaken core wage standards at the state or local level." Each bears the fingerprint of notorious super-lobbying organization the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which acts as a forum for “private sector leaders” to advise public officials. Most of the anti-worker bills were proposed by lawmakers directly linked to ALEC and include language that echoes that of "model legislation" developed by ALEC. Among the proposals are measures to undercut minimum wages for teenage workers, restrict overtime pay and repeal or ban local laws to improve working conditions.
ALEC has been called out by activists for pushing legislation that advances a classic right-wing agenda, from school privatization to rolling back healthcare reform. But the “wage suppression” tactics are a particularly callous attempt by ALEC-affiliated legislators to feed corporate profits by starving workers.
The wage-suppression laws are the latest strike in a war of attrition waged by ALEC and “private sector leaders” (as the organization calls them) against labor and workplace rights, aimed at forcing low-wage workers into even deeper economic insecurity.
While efforts to pass pro-worker policies in Washington have met with resistance, ALEC-sponsored bills seek to outlaw protections for workers at the state and local level, such as living wage ordinances and paid leave mandates. In several states, including Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland and Michigan, lawmakers have introduced ALEC-associated legislation to preempt prevailing wage laws, which ensure workers receive relatively fair wages in government-contracted work, including the public infrastructure projects that fuel local construction sectors.
NELP points out that only a minority of these bills have actually been enacted, but the sheer volume of anti-worker legislative proposals is nonetheless alarming at a time when the labor movement, which has traditionally struggled to beat back pro-corporate legislation, is weaker than ever.
The ALEC-inspired bills to weaken state minimum wage laws strike directly at state’s efforts to lift workers above the absurdly low federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. Some states have set base wages significantly higher than the federal minimum—like Vermont's minimum hourly wage of $8.60, adjusted automatically to keep pace with the cost of living.
Noting that conservatives will hold majority control of most state houses this year, NELP analyst Jack Temple says, “Since legislation to raise the federal minimum wage usually depends on momentum from the states, bills like these that weaken or repeal wage standards at the state level serve to undercut the momentum needed to pass national legislation in Congress.”
The measures to prevent local officials from raising the bar for workers betrays ALEC’s underlying agenda. Though the organization purports to champion the “rights” of local authorities to act independently of “big government,” NELP reports, it’s really more about emancipating big business from regulation:
Despite ALEC’s putative support for limited government and local sovereignty, living wage preemption proposals would establish state-wide mandates that severely restrict the freedom that city governments have to set standards for businesses that receive public support.
According to Temple, with so many wage-suppression bills clogging state legislatures, even if many do not pass:
The significance of these bills for advocates at the state level concerns the sheer amount of energy and time that must be spent fighting back bills like these, which drains the time and resources that could otherwise be dedicated to improving wage standards rather than just protecting the laws already on the books.
A bill creeping through the Florida legislature seems poised to undercut emerging efforts to improve workers’ lives. HB 655 would ban towns and cities from taking local initiatives to raise wages and give workers paid leave time, thus blocking key policies that could improve the lives of workers surviving on the state’s threadbare minimum wage of $7.79 (about a third of what a single parent of two would need to earn a decent living). On the heels of a recent campaign, led by local labor groups, to establish paid sick days in Miami-Dade County, the bill would effectively block local officials from granting workers the basic protection of not having to lose wages for calling in sick.
Florida is just one battleground in a nationwide movement to improve protections and wage standards for the working poor, as labor advocates push for raises in state and federal minimum wages in tandem with the White House's proposal. But NELP's report reveals how groups like ALEC have already gotten a head start in our state legislatures.
Without strong unions or even an adequate social safety net, minimum wage laws are the last line of defense between low-wage workers and abject poverty. So it makes sense that ALEC is now driving to pull the floor from under them; they might as well kick them when they’re down.
The man accused of murdering two police officers in a gun and grenade attack has dramatically changed his plea to guilty.
After initially denying the killings, Dale Cregan unexpectedly admitted the offences after a break in his trial at Preston Crown Court.
The court heard last week how the 29-year-old ambushed PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes after making a 999 call to report a bogus burglary from a house in Hattersley, Greater Manchester, on September 18.
The jury was told that he opened fire on the policewomen as they approached the front door of the house and that as they lay on the floor, he threw a hand grenade at their bodies.
Families of PCs Bone, 32, and Hughes, 23, wept in court as details of the murders were outlined. They heard a recording of the call made by Cregan and watched CCTV footage of the two officers leaving their police station in response.
None of their relatives were in court to hear Cregan admit the murders.
Cregan, of no fixed address, continues to deny murdering a father and son in two separate attacks earlier in the year.
Mark Short, 23, was shot at the Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden, Manchester, on May 25, while his 46-year-old father David was found dead on August 10 following a blast a house in nearby Clayton.
The trial continues tomorrow.
Before September 11, 2001, more than half the border crossings between the United States and Canada were left unguarded at night, with only rubber cones separating the two countries. Since then, that 4,000 mile “point of pride,” as Toronto’s Globe and Mail once dubbed it, has increasingly been replaced by a U.S. homeland security lockdown, although it’s possible that, like Egyptian-American Abdallah Matthews, you haven’t noticed.
The first time he experiences this newly hardened U.S.-Canada border, it takes him by surprise. It’s a freezing late December day and Matthews, a lawyer (who asked me to change his name), is on the passenger side of a car as he and three friends cross the Blue Water Bridge from Sarnia, Ontario, to the old industrial town of Port Huron, Michigan. They are returning from the Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference in Toronto, chatting and happy to be almost home when the car pulls up to the booth, where a blue-uniformed U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent stands. The 60,000-strong CBP is the border enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security and includes both customs and U.S. Border Patrol agents. What is about to happen is the furthest thing from Matthews’s mind. He’s from Port Huron and has crossed this border “a million times before.”
After scanning their passports and looking at a computer screen in the booth, the agent says to the driver, as Matthews tells the story:
“Sir, turn off the vehicle, hand me the key, and step out of the car.”
He hears the snap of handcuffs going around his friend’s wrists. Disoriented, he turns around and sees uniformed men kneeling behind their car, firearms drawn.
“To my disbelief, situated behind us are agents, pointing their guns.”
The CBP officer asks Matthews and the remaining passengers to get out of the car and escorts them to a waiting room. Thirty minutes later, he, too, is handcuffed and in a cell. Forty-five minutes after that another homeland security agent brings him into a room with no chairs. The agent tells him that he can sit down, but all he sees is a countertop. “Can I just stand?” he asks.
And he does so for what seems like an eternity with the door wide open, attempting to smile at the agents who pass by. “I’m trying to be nice,” is how he put it.
Finally, in a third room, the interrogation begins. Although they question Matthews about his religious beliefs and various Islamic issues, the two agents are “nice.” They ask him: Where’d you go? What kind of law do you practice? He tells them that a former law professor was presenting a paper at the annual conference, whose purpose is to revive “Islamic traditions of education, tolerance, and introspection.” They ask if he’s received military training abroad. This, he tells me, “stood out as one of their more bizarre questions.” When the CBP lets him and his friends go, he still thinks it was a mistake.
However, Lena Masri of the Council of American Islamic Relations-Michigan (CAIR-MI) reports that Matthews’s experience is becoming “chillingly” commonplace for Michigan’s Arab and Muslim community at border crossings. In 2012, CAIR-MI was receiving five to seven complaints about similar stops per week. The detainees are all Arab, all male, all questioned at length. They are asked about religion, if they spend time at the mosque, and who their Imam is.
According to CAIR-MI accounts, CBP agents repeatedly handcuff these border-crossers, often brandish weapons, conduct invasive, often sexually humiliating body searches, and detain people for from two to 12 hours. Because of this, some of the detainees have lost job opportunities or jobs, or given up on educational opportunities in Canada. Many are now afraid to cross the border to see their families who live in Canada. (CAIR-MI has filed alawsuit against the CBP and other governmental agencies.)
Months later, thinking there is no way this can happen again, Matthews travels to Canada and crosses the border, this time alone, on the Blue Water Bridge to Port Huron. Matthews still hadn’t grasped the seismic changes in Washington’s attitude toward our northern border since 9/11. Port Huron, his small hometown, where a protest group, Students for a Democratic Society, first famously declared themselves against racism and alienation in 1962, is now part of the “frontline” in defense of the “hom