Russian Affair

November 4, 2017

Russian Affair

Padmini Arhant

The former FBI director Robert Mueller headed special investigation dominates news on the alleged Russian meddling in the United States 2016 Presidential election.

The special committee targeting then Republican Presidential candidate now elected President Donald Trump’s campaign aides and members’ presumed interaction and meetings with key Russian officials has led to recent indictments on this matter.

The U.S. actions besides the ongoing inquiry includes closing consulate general in San Francisco and annexes in Washington and New York.

Russia in turn has responded by reducing diplomatic service staff at U.S. facilities in Moscow as confirmed by Washington based Russia Today (RT) television network.

Russia Today – the state funded network founded by the state owned news agency RIA-NOVOSTI in 2005 is dedicated in promoting Russian government interests to the likes of mainstream media and others in the U.S. and elsewhere safeguarding oligarchy, political and Secret Society agenda.  

Although RT claims the network is independent, any business especially communication media receiving funding that has surged from $30 million in the beginning to current $300 million from the state obviously inclined to be subjective rather than objective.

RT projecting Russian image to counteract U.S. media versions about Russia and Russian policy is a conundrum for viewers having to deal with two extremes from both sides i.e. one for and the other against amidst missing facts from the content regardless.

On propaganda, RT efforts are on par with prevalent media trend in hyperbole and falsehood in presentation of historic events and entities pertaining to the past and present time conforming to syndicate strategy.

RT transmission in three languages viz. English, Spanish and Arabic attracting 120 million viewership in the United States and other parts of the world is a buffer to syndicate’s media presence via CNN, Fox and BBC worldwide.

The syndicate’s media control and influence on entertainment industry to deny public access to truth and factual information could be anything but freedom of press and free speech.

RT like counterparts are not without collision on not maintaining journalistic standards and ethics that are rare and remains under attack. The journalism with accurate reporting, review and analyses on issues and topics concerning lives and world problems are replaced for political and commercial success ignoring the harm to society and the world at large that eventually hurts the source.

As such, the citizens fatigue in fake news and indoctrination is evident in broadcasting networks declined rating prompting desperate attempts to avert further deterioration. The spin zone is yet another means to continue mindless discussions lacking in substance in anything goes talk shows and programs to fill in time in the 24/7 media.

United States and Russia relations might have strained due to latest developments,

However, the similarities in both nations policies on critical issues such as voting against nuclear disarmament in the UN vote past month, resistance to dissolution of UNSC granted veto power to five permanent members viz. United States, Britain, Russia, China and France and strengthening ties with Saudi Arabia clarify common goals.

In terms of disagreements, United States and Russia have difference of opinion on Ukraine, Syrian conflict, NATO buildup through Eastern bloc and incursion in Baltic Sea. The U.S. occupation in Afghanistan extended into Central Asia that was previously under former Soviet Union is causing uneasiness on regional basis.

Last but not the least, U.S. sanctions on Russia is not appreciated in the wake of 2016 electoral outcome distressing those for change in game plan.

On North Korea, United States sanctions against the south east Asian nation is welcome by Russia. The reaction confirmed in UNSC decision with Russia and China’s consensus to impose embargo on North Korea.

As stated repeatedly on this website on standoff between U.S and North Korea, the de-escalation via diplomacy and constructive dialogue should be the focus on both sides retracting from respective positions with United States and ally South Korea ceasing military exercise and provocative naval drills in Korean Peninsula.  North Korea on its part to suspend nuclear enhancement.

Furthermore, the major nuclear powers stance on North Korea’s nuclear status would be credible upon them in possession of enormous nuclear stockpiles never subject to independent international scrutiny lead other nuclear and non-nuclear states in safe disposal of nuclear weapons freeing the world from nuclear threats that are frequently exchanged in U.S. and North Korea confrontation. U.S. has also issued nuclear warnings against Iran preceding Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) treaty.

In the domestic front, Russia Today (RT) as state represented media is criticized for not providing opportunity to political opponents to Kremlin power. The same is applied towards any political dissent deprived from sharing thoughts and grievance on air to local and foreign audience. They are apparently considered detractors and accordingly excluded in participation on media channel.

The contemporary practice to debar alternative political perspectives especially with Russian elections on the horizon in March 2018 may not bode well for Russia in the post-communist era declared as democratic system premised on free and fair elections allowing contenders upon meeting eligibility criteria to run for office.

Then the incident though eleven years ago involving independent journalist, writer and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya tragic death from gunshot wounds in Moscow in 2006 deter Russian democratic evolution.

The free society would create and nurture environment to question authorities without fear of incarceration, character defamation or danger to their life. The country as vast as Russia with enormous potential in different fields not barring politics would benefit from eclectic representation that could permeate across the spectrum. The transformation is made possible with healthy debates and public forums on all topics relevant to citizens in the province and national level.

Russia’s membership in BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in addition to G20 and WTO serve economic prospects. On security to combat terrorism and any foreign intrusion – the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) comprising Russia and former Soviet republics in Central Asia enable neutralization.

Russian economy, political stability and national security are general expectations amongst electorate. Russia’s role in international disputes are also important whether personally that entails skirmishes at Russian border with NATO or tension related to U.S. and North Korea as well as ending Syrian warfare.

The internal challenges like corruption undermining real progress, Chechnya seeking resolution, immigration and social dilemmas are prominent woes requiring effective measures.

Russia is in the threshold of economic growth and constraints on political choices limits the scope for broader vision necessary to sustain expansion.

Finally, vox populithe voice of the people from all walks of life exercising the right to express views or concerns and journalism in particular not confined to state or external orientation would demonstrate vibrant democracy.

I convey my best wishes to citizens in Russia.

Peace to all!

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Author & Presenter PadminiArhant.com

Spouse in Divine Mission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Session – Corruption And Criminality Rules the World

March 24, 2014

From:  Padmini Arhant

Dear Global Citizens,

You are invited to the session on Corruption And Criminality Rules the World scheduled in approximately 60 mins to your local time.

Your interest is appreciated.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

 

 

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G20 and Global Economy – Fiscal Policy

October 9, 2011

By Padmini Arhant

Amid weak global economy largely contributed to United States and European sluggish growth compounded with other economic woes like high unemployment, inflation and,

National budget confined to austerity and controversial tax hikes or tax-cuts is a phenomenal challenge confronting the industrialized and developing nations.

Beginning with industrialized economies – the economic stimulus since recession onset was aimed at growth surge and job creation, facilitating liquidity to overcome credit crunch following financial markets reaction to derivatives discrepancies in the deregulated environment.

The steps involved Capital supply to salvage targeted high-end manufacturing industry from bankruptcy and banks bailouts in eliminating toxic assets from the balance sheets respectively.

Among the industrialized groups – the two major economies viz. the United States and Japan share mutual setbacks from overheating of the economy in two familiar areas – the stocks and housing market.

Both nations have struggled to jumpstart the economy with steady growth exacerbated by global recession and sovereign debt.

Speculations on European national debt and potential credit default overall impact on euro as the European Union currency and Euro Zone status in the globalized economy foment market volatility.

Economic forecasts and projections weighed in objectivity could avoid unnecessary market turbulence.

Japan is also burdened with U.S debt as the second largest creditor behind China – the primary creditor and the second largest economy.

In order to address various economic problems and avert possible Double-dip recession,

It is necessary to review public policies and economic tools that are available for short term and long-term objectives.

Fiscal Policy (Balancing the Budget), Monetary Policy (Controlling inflation and liquidity), Trade Policy (Growth and Investment),

Additionally Revenue and Spending for efficient government functionality and deficit reduction could broaden perspectives on this critical matter.

Fiscal Policy – Comprising government expenditure and taxation, non-tax revenue from government owned investments and utilizing government assets such as bonds and other suitable financial instruments for borrowing to meet government obligations.

United States and Europe focus is on budget approval with the dilemma on spending cuts along with taxation being contentious leading to opposition’s government shut down ultimatums causing political gridlock in the U.S,

Notwithstanding justified public frustration over fund slashing for education, health care, pension plans and most importantly lack of jobs triggering riots in London, Paris, Athens, Madrid and Lisbon…calling for government actions to deteriorating economic conditions.

United States citizens protest against Wall Street conduct premised on greed driven strategies responsible for the status quo is slighted with –

White House clarification on the issue as –

“Wall Street ill-practices are not necessarily illegal.”

The sub-prime mortgage activities having deprived more than million homeowners ownership and economies facing insolvency in the hedge fund debacle,

Financial institutions’ exorbitant fee on banking transactions and consensus to stranglehold consumers despite banking industry dependency upon them is a kamikaze effort given the flawed tradition proved detrimental to global economy.

Corporations and finance industry consumer-friendly approach would not only guarantee significant consumer base but also enhance good will – a valuable asset in the competitive setting.

Fiscal policy effectiveness is largely related to both spending and revenue trends with immediate requirement on tax reform.

They are summarized as follows:

Closing loopholes used in tax evasion,

Tracking funds in offshore tax havens for individuals and corporations.

Mandatory disclosure of financial assets for high profile and rank and file public figures on taxpayers funded income viz. legislators, Parliamentarians, Cabinet secretaries, Political party leaderships regardless of hierarchy, kickbacks donors and recipients in the private and public domain.

Easing tax burden on the middle class,

Tax exemption for the lower income groups and,

Tax structure readjustment – the bipartisan Super committee appointed for fiscal management in the United States could enforce repealing the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest passed in 2010 and implementing the popular Buffet Rule in 2011 through legislation.

In a broader sense, consumption tax could be marginally raised with the exception of essential food items and reallocated to health hazard products as well as luxury goods.

Taxes being predominant revenue source for government operation and capital formation yielding future benefits through infrastructure investments, research and development with patent law protecting consumer and investor interests, the ultimate target is job growth.

Passing the jobs billbeginning with small business, medium and large corporations, manufacturing and service industry incentivized with capital interjection in the form of commercial loans at affordable rates and/or various taxes like payroll taxes reduction, deferments where applicable is a top priority transcending political partisanships and myopic view on the economic problems in the near and foreseeable term.

Exploring non-tax revenue in government owned corporations or quasi undertakings (public and private sector ventures) and,

Central Banks monitored sovereign wealth funds (SWF) primarily invested in global equity markets maximizing long term return alongside Foreign exchange reserves typically held in international floats e.g. U.S. dollar, euro, yen and sterling pound facilitate short term liquidity flow for capital infusion.

Spending is the balancing act that requires eliminating wasteful expenditures, trimming or downsizing overheads costs, maintaining and restoring entitlements programs especially –

Social SecurityReiterating the fact as the only safety net for American families enduring tough economic situation and non-interference in this regard would continue to deliver the desirable result.

Privatization would seriously jeopardize the financial security sustained in the current profitable investment for continuous payments necessary to stimulate the economy via consumer spending and growth expansion.

Medicare Senior citizens and low-income demography – the two key consumer categories would be forced to spend meager savings and income on expensive health care costs other than prescription drugs that could otherwise be diversified in retail consumption.

Norwegian model in this respect has successfully integrated essential social services like retirement, medical and disability benefits to all with capital investment in public trust.

As part of income redistribution the island nation with GDP per capita $53,269 ranked 3rd highest in the world consisting high living standards compared to European counterparts has managed against poverty, hunger and disease – the three survival factors posing impediments in progress for developed and developing nations.

Norway affected by European debt crisis is experiencing decline in high-end manufacturing similar to Germany with 40% GDP attributed to exports relying on global demand.

Defense Spending United States Global Empire established far and wide with 737 U.S. Military bases and more than 2,500,000 personnel deployed overseas in different locations is astounding and,

Unfortunately escapes the fiscal conservatives attention preoccupied in terminating social security, Medicare, Children nutrition… and other vital provisions in the entitlements for vulnerable population at home.

Not to mention the no-exit strategy wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan with extended proxy wars in Yemen and Somalia taking human and economic toll to serve the defense industry profitability.

It is high time to review and reevaluate the defense budget saving trillions of dollars by ending foreign occupations and military warfare.

Instead upgrading national security mechanisms and facilities with sophisticated forces would be a formidable deterrent to potential threats.

Simultaneously defense divestments in economic and social development achieved with political stability in war torn nations would be more effective in containing terrorism considering the military aggression thus far has failed to produce any positive outcome.

Furthermore, the prolonged military intervention has contributed to terror networks proliferation and instigated violence against fellow citizens causing regional tension and instability witnessed in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.

Hence retracting military aspirations to accommodate all-encompassing domestic goals is desperately needed to expedite national and global economic recovery.

Discretionary Spending Congressional discernment in appropriations act preserving job oriented and community enrichment projects would supplement remedies for economic revival.

Equilibrium in fiscal policy with spending streamlined and revenue boosted through fair taxation and,

Other avenues like penalties in environmental damage,

Hikes in licensing fee where appropriateanything endangering life and economic opportunity without aiming at average citizens or natural endowments for direct public use could complement measures in economic meltdown reversal.

Macroeconomic, Monetary and Trade policy together with European Sovereign Debt Crisis centralized on (PIGS) Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Iceland, Greece and Spain economies will be presented individually for clarity.

Meanwhile, getting the fiscal house in order to promote jobs with government and business cooperation would prevent economic crises escalation.

Peace to all!

Thank you.

Padfmini Arhant

Federal Republic of Germany – Bundestag Election

September 28, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

Congratulations! to the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and the FDP leader Guido Westerwelle on the re-election of CDU-CSU (Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union) in grand coalition with the Free Democratic Party in the 17th German Federal election on September 27, 2009.

As a major economic power and the largest exporter as well as the second largest importer of goods, Germany is significant to the global economy and the international progress. The export-oriented nation has been drastically affected from the global economic crisis. It experiences the common woes like the financial market failure leading to the government bailouts; massive job loss in the manufacturing sector especially the automobiles and heavy industrial equipments…having a ripple effect on other sectors in the economy.

However, Germany has contained the crisis from further deterioration due to the various government run programs viz.

The comprehensive system of social security, universal health care established in 1883 – now comprising 77% government funded and 23% privately funded health care system, public or affordable housing in suburban settings providing decent dwelling for the lower income originally created in the early twentieth century by the Social Democrats to curtail visible poverty.

The recent victory by the conservative coalition attributed to the poor voter turnout with the sizable electorate not having confidence in the major or minor political parties, although the ‘Green’ party focused on vigorous environmental policies gained impressive margin against others.

It would be interesting to monitor the measures adopted by the winning coalition in the economic recovery, given the FDP’s economic policy subscribed to the government involvement ‘as extensive as necessary’ and ‘as limited as possible.’ Otherwise, the party embraces the free market structure with privatizations, deregulations, restraining public subsidies – the predominant source of the present global economic meltdown, while maintaining the strong unionized work force and the vast government social infrastructure. Perhaps, the platform contributed to the surprise emergence of the once minority party successfully eliminating the Socialist Democrats that took a severe blow in the latest election.

With the rising unemployment causing much frustration among the population, the coalition has a tough balancing act to leverage the situation in the four-year term offered by the German electorate as a second chance to transform the campaign promise into a reality.

Regarding other issues of national concern, the electorate appears to be less enthusiastic in their country’s involvement as a NATO member in the eight-year old Afghanistan war. This is despite the relatively minimal troops’ presence in the region proving the unpopularity of the Afghanistan war.

Germany like the rest of the world is confronted with the economic, social and environmental issues and the industrialized nation’s rapid revival is crucial for the global economy as a member of OECD, G8 that is appropriately the present G20, besides being the biggest development aid in the world.

I take the opportunity to wish the leaderships and the people of Germany lasting peace and prosperity to share with the rest of the humanity.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Stock Market Performance

October 14, 2008

The Stock Market came roaring back on October 13, 2008 and was a major cause for celebration across the globe.

The collective and collaborative effort by the “Heads of Government” through G7 and G20 meetings, in coordination with the global monetary authorities like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund yielded the much-required morale boost in the financial markets. Their immediate action to respond to the crisis is praiseworthy.

Despite the consolidated action to jumpstart the markets, the stock market is struggling to sustain the momentum gained on the previous day. Obviously, the indication is that the measures in the past hours and days to guarantee the smooth functioning of the financial system is not adequate.

A selective opinion highlighting the reasons for the problems currently experienced in the credit markets –

Source – http://www.americaneconomicalert.org – Thank you.

Why Federal Reserve Policy is Failing

Monday, October 06, 2008

Commentary by Thomas I. Paley, Ph.D.

The Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury continue to fail in their attempts to stabilize the U.S. financial system. That is due to failure to grasp the nature of the problem, which concerns the parallel banking system. Rescue policy remains stuck in the past, focused on the traditional banking system while ignoring the parallel unregulated system that was permitted to develop over the past twenty-five years.

This parallel banking system financed vast amounts of real estate lending and consumer borrowing. The system (which included the likes of Thornburg Mortgage, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers) made loans but had no deposit base. Instead, it relied on roll-over funding obtained through money markets. Additionally, it operated with little capital and extremely high leverage ratios, which was critical to its tremendous profitability. Finally, loans were often securitized and traded among financial firms.

This business model has now proven extremely fragile. First, the model created a fundamental maturity mismatch, whereby loans were of a long term nature but funding was short-term. That left firms vulnerable to disruptions of money market funding, as has now occurred.

Second, securitization converted loans into financial instruments that could be priced according to market conditions. That was fine when prices were rising, but when they started falling firms had to take large mark-to-market losses. Given their low capital ratios, those losses quickly wiped out firms’ capital bases, thereby freezing roll-over funding.

In effect, the parallel banking business model completely lacked shock absorbers, and it has now imploded in a vicious cycle. Lack of roll-over financing has compelled asset sales, which has driven down prices. That has further eroded capital, triggering margin calls that have caused more asset sales and even lower prices, making financing impossible for even the best firms.

Though the parallel banking system engaged in riskier lending than the traditional banking system, those differences were a matter of degree. Traditional banks like Washington Mutual, Wachovia, and Citigroup have also all lost huge sums. However, the traditional banking system is more protected for two reasons.

First, traditional banks are significantly funded by customer deposits. Ironically, such deposits can be withdrawn on demand and are in principle even more insecure than short term roll-over funding. However, they stay in place because of federally provided deposit insurance.

Second, traditional banks are significantly shielded from mark-to-market accounting because they hold on to many of their loans. These loans are therefore priced by auditors on a mark-to-realization basis. However, if they were securitized their market value would be significantly lower owing to current disruptive market conditions.

The bottom line is that the banking system is in better shape not because of its virtues, but because of policy. Deposit funding is safe because of deposit insurance. Banks are spared mark-to market losses because of different accounting rules. And the Federal Reserve is providing banks with massive liquidity infusions through its discount window and its various emergency auction facilities.

Policy has therefore ring-fenced traditional banks. But in the meantime it has left the parallel system in the cold, leaving a gaping hole in the policy dyke.

This policy stance reflects the Fed’s continuing attachment to an antiquated view of the system whereby it takes responsibility for traditional banks and nothing else. Such a policy makes no sense and will fail. The Fed encouraged development of the parallel system, and that system undertakes many of the same activities as traditional banks. Meanwhile, failure of the parallel banking system will continue putting downward pressure on asset prices and lender confidence.

The Treasury’s proposed seven hundred billion dollar asset purchase program will help put a needed floor under asset prices. However, it does nothing to tackle the parallel banking system’s roll-over funding crisis that is crimping lending and pushing firms into bankruptcy. That is causing distress to spread far beyond the mortgage market, undermining the ability of any asset purchase program to put a floor under asset prices.

The urgent implication is the Fed (and other central banks) must extend its safety network to include the parallel banking system. Just as the traditional banking system needs liquidity assistance, so too does the parallel system. That assistance can be provided through such vehicles as the discount window and Federal Reserve auction facilities, and it should be allocated to qualified firms able to post appropriate collateral.

A credit based system is a chain, and a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The Federal Reserve’s antiquated view has it protecting links connected to the traditional banking system while neglecting everything else. That is a recipe for failure.

Dr. Thomas Palley is a widely published economist and was formerly Chief Economist at the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
____________________________

Analysis: Certainly, the emphasis is on the oversight with effective policies for the entire financial structure to alleviate stagnation in the liquidity markets. The investor confidence overall is marred with concerns and skepticism despite stunning performance on October 13, 2008.

The resistance from the free market system towards proposed measures is one of the factors for the current trend. However, the necessary action could eliminate many underlying problems surrounding the entire financial infrastructure, contributing to the volatility in the markets.

Meanwhile, the investors’ active participation to restore momentum and strengthening market gains across all sectors is important for the common good and benefit in the short and long run.

An optimistic approach to the crisis with an absolute integrity in the implementation of policies will assist the markets to rebound now and in the future.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant