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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Republic of Cuba in the Twenty First Century

July 23, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

The Caribbean nation has been through many political and social challenges in the past three centuries. Beginning with colonization leading to revolutions, military coups and the unfortunate communist rule prevalent until today, the 11 million Cuban population continues to suffer in silence without any hope on the horizon.

From the Cuban revolution, Bay of Pigs invasion to Cuban Missile crisis and Guantanamo bay, Cuba has remained a significant Latin American nation.

With the political system modeled after the former Soviet Union and China the three nations’ paradoxical images in the new millennium are striking.

China as a Communist nation is regarded the emerging economic power with extraordinary privileges prominently – permanent membership at the U.N. Security Council, ‘Most Favored Nation’ status renewed regardless of the Republican or Democratic administrations at the White House. China is also a WTO, G-20 and ASEAN member.

Russia shares equivalent position with China among the international community and currently has the United States endorsement for WTO membership at the Toronto G-20 meeting held in June 2010.

Cuba, on the other hand is isolated with various sanctions particularly the economic embargo crippling the island nation in the Western Hemisphere.

Under the previous U.S. administration, there were restrictions on foreign remittances and travel by the Cuban expatriates. However, President Barack Obama reversed it in 2009 along with the resolution adopted in June last year to end the exclusion of Cuba from OAS (Organization of American States). Cuban leaders apparently expressed their lack of enthusiasm in the OAS readmission.

Cuba’s isolation is attributed to the appalling human rights abuse from the international standpoint and nationally the political oppression combined with the state controlled failed economic policies having a drastic impact on the once prosperous middle class in the society are the reasons considered for the Cuban exodus.

The parallels and the ironies between Cuba and other nations in this context are noteworthy.

Haiti – Another Caribbean nation and Cuba’s neighbor on the east was systematically deprived of self-sustenance and economic success during the currently exiled democratically elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide due to the U.S. imposition on Haiti to allow imported crops over the national rice production and other consumer goods resulting in Haiti’s status quo.

Whereas Cuba as a Communist authority holds direct control over two-thirds of the economy with the private sector functioning under federal governance on capital investments approval to hiring policy and wage distribution.

With the exception of public education and universal health care, the state’s macro management of the economy proved to be inefficient on various accounts such as food rationing and inadequate housing for the growing urban population.

Cuba is reported to have found large oil reserves through the environmentally devastating “oil exploration” in North Cuba Basin.

It’s time for nations to realize that the planet sustenance is dependent upon the clean renewable energy resources viz. solar, wind, bio-fuel, hydrothermal projects. Pursuing other sources despite the catastrophic damages to the economy and the environment is denying reality.

On Cuba’s foreign relations – Strong ties with China and Venezuela in the aftermath of the Soviet Union collapse seemingly eased the economic sanctions impact.

National health care in Cuba guarantee free medical aid to all in the rural and urban areas.

Therefore, the infant mortality rate and maternal care are either comparable or better than some developed countries.

The trade embargo affecting the core services like the health care facilities is reportedly deficient in latest medical equipments, drugs and essential supplies undermining the expected standards.

Mandatory education at the basic and higher levels including vocational training appears to be beneficial for Cuba with the highest per capita medical personnel available to serve within and outside the country.

Notably, Cuba is acknowledged for the medical professional help in the disaster relief programs – witnessed recently to Haiti earthquake victims.

Human rights violation is not uncommon in any form of government. If not towards the majority, it is often directed against the minority or the ethnic groups in a society.

Arguably, the repressive governments’ conspicuous abuse of power against their nationals is well known.

Cuba is believed to rank only second to the People’s Republic of China in the imprisonment of journalists voicing their concern against government agenda.

Per Wikipedia.org – Thank you.

“The Cuban government has been accused of numerous human rights abuses including torture, arbitrary imprisonment, unfair trials, and extrajudicial executions (a.k.a. “El Paredón”).

The Human Rights Watch alleges that the government “represses nearly all forms of political dissent” and that “Cubans are systematically denied basic rights to free expression, association, assembly, privacy, movement, and due process of law”.

Cuba was the second biggest prison in the world for journalists in 2008, second only to the People’s Republic of China, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an international NGO.

As a result of computer ownership bans, computer ownership rates are among the world’s lowest.

Right to use Internet is granted only to selected people and these selected people are monitored.

Connecting to the Internet illegally can lead to a five-year prison sentence.

Cuban dissidents face arrests and imprisonment.

In the 1990s, Human Rights reported that Cuba’s extensive prison system, one of the largest in Latin America, consists of some 40 maximum-security prisons, 30 minimum-security prisons, and over 200 work camps.

According to Human Rights Watch, political prisoners, along with the rest of Cuba’s prison population, are confined to jails with substandard and unhealthy conditions.

Citizens cannot leave or return to Cuba without first obtaining official permission.”

Upon viewing the economic and political conditions in Cuba, it’s clear that the real beneficiaries in the economies under authoritarian rule and the democracies run by Corporations are not the average citizens, instead the ‘selective-powerful’ focused on self-interest rather than national interest.

Yet another irony is the statehood declaration as the “Republic” –

Whether it’s Republic of Cuba, Republic of North Korea, Islamic Republic of Iran, or People’s Republic of China and those not truly representative of the republic in the electoral and legislative process confirm the connotation.

A nation’s progress is measured by the political freedom, economic opportunities and social equality.

All are born to be free and economic prosperity in the absence of freedom is life without a purpose.

In the twenty first century, the people of Cuba and others facing persecution for their freedom quest deserve international support.

Liberty especially the freedom of expression is the inalienable human right.

Leadership is honorable when committed to celebrating life and not suppressing it.

Democracy is imminent with a bright future for the people of Cuba.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Globalization

October 16, 2008

By Padmini Arhant

The twenty first century paved way to a new era in trade and commerce.

In the economic sector, the twentieth century policies such as NAFTA, CAFTA, and MFN… implemented to benefit the trading nations.

The economic model carried out on trial and error basis with deficiencies within yielded the net outcome.

The long-term strategy was to promote mutual economic growth and development.

There are different views and opinions on these trade policies.

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Source: http://news.thomasnet.com/IMT/archives/2004/01/the_pros_and_co_1.html – Thank you.

The Pros and Cons of NAFTA

By Katrina C. Arabe -Thank you.

Here are both sides of this raging debate:

Supporters say:

? The accord has stimulated democratic reform and opened markets in Mexico.

? According to the Bush administration, the agreement has been “improving lives and reducing poverty in Mexico.”

? The administration also claims that NAFTA has led to income gains and tax cuts amounting to about $930 each year for the average U.S. household of four.

? Many of the 20 million new jobs the U.S. generated from 1993 to 2000 can be attributed to the free-trade bloc that NAFTA created, the administration continues.

And negatives such as the escalating U.S. trade deficit and three years of dwindling factory jobs should be pinned on feeble demand abroad and the U.S. recession, certainly not on NAFTA, the administration contends.

? NAFTA brought in a flood of foreign investment and contributed to a 24% rise in Mexico’s per capita income. “NAFTA gave us a big push,” Vicente Fox, President of Mexico, tells Business Week. “It gave us jobs. It gave us knowledge, experience, technological transfer.”

Detractors contend:

? The agreement has taken a toll on both U.S. and Mexican jobs, according to the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). While real wages for Mexican manufacturing workers declined 13.5%, more than half a million U.S. employees have entered government retraining programs after their companies moved production south or north of the border, says IPS.

? NAFTA has wiped out Canadian social programs, purports IPS.

? The pact has also destroyed Mexico’s small farmers, says IPS, bringing in an influx of subsidized U.S. food imports. In fact, about 1.3 million farm jobs have been lost since 1993, indicates a recent report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “NAFTA has been a disaster for us,” remarks pig farmer Julian Aguilera to Business Week.

? The Carnegie report also concluded that the pact has generated few new jobs in Mexico and might only be credited for a “very small net gain” in jobs in the U.S.

? The new study also found that NAFTA has been ineffective in stemming the tide of illegal Mexican immigrants entering the U.S. to find jobs. In fact, according to most estimates, the number of Mexicans working illegally in the U.S. surged to 4.8 million in 2000, more than twice the 1990 total.

What’s the Verdict?

So is NAFTA a success or a failure? While its backers and bashers continue to take impassioned positions, many choose the middle ground. In a recent Business Week article, Jeffrey Garten writes,

“When it came to job generation vs. destruction in the U.S., NAFTA’s impact has been pretty much a wash.” And the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace comes to the same conclusion, calling the pact “neither the disaster its opponents predicted nor the savior hailed by supporters.”

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The Pros and Cons of CAFTA –

Source: http://www.allbusiness.com/north-america/united-states-new-york/1057929-1.html
Thank you.

By Cantor, Martin – Thank you.

Publication: Long Island Business News

Now that the Central American Free Trade Agreement-Dominican Republic is law, the question that lingers is whether it benefits Long Islanders.

For certain, CAFTA benefited President George W. Bush and congressional Republicans, who are trying make the GOP the place for the growing and politically influential Hispanic community. This strategy has helped Bush with the regional Hispanic population, who believe that great economic and job growth will result from CAFTA.

There is no doubt that eliminating tariffs and removing trade barriers makes commerce efficient, less costly and more profitable while also bringing hope that the profits would result in better working conditions and higher worker wages. CAFTA will succeed for global businesses, many of which call Long Island home.

But it may not live up to the hype of creating jobs and safer workplaces.

For Hispanics, who are Long Island’s fastest growing minority group, the hope was that the savings generated from eliminating trade barriers would be reinvested in plant and equipment in their countries of birth. The belief was that this reinvestment would expand manufacturing capacity and create a demand for jobs, thus improving living standards for the families and friends left behind.

Supporters of CAFTA say jobs and higher wages would reduce the flow of the undocumented workers because there would be little reason to come to this region in search of better salaries. Additionally, since many of these individuals work on Long Island to send money back home, some of the wages earned on Long Island could now remain here and help the local economy.

However, the reality is that there’s skilled labor at lower costs in the Far East. All of those locations present stiff competition.

With Long Island’s growing Hispanic community becoming an important regional economic segment that desires goods from Central America, one benefit may be that regional Hispanic entrepreneurs can use free trade to import lower cost goods for this expanding consumer market.

This may be the lasting legacy of CAFTA. That the United States, Canada, Central America, Mexico and the Dominican Republic have united in a trading bloc offering Long Island and its Hispanic entrepreneurs an opportunity for new economic growth.

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Source: http://www.fas.org/man/crs/92-094.htm#back – Vladimir N. Pregelj, Economics Division. –

CRS – Issue Brief – Thank you.

Most-Favored-Nation Status of the People’s Republic of China.

On May 31, 1996, President Clinton issued his determination to extend China’s waiver and most-favored-nation (MFN) status for another year; and, on June 21, 1996, he issued a determination renewing the trade agreement with China for another 3-year term (through January 31, 1998).

On June 27, 1996, the House failed to pass H.J.Res. 182, which would have disapproved the extension of China’s waiver and MFN status, thus allowing both to remain in force through July 2, 1997. The House did, however, adopt a resolution (H.Res. 461) calling on various committees to hold hearings and report out appropriate legislation to deal with China on a variety of issues, including trade, weapons proliferation, human rights, and military policy.

Effects of Withdrawing China’s MFN Status —

Termination of China’s MFN status would result in duty increases on about 95% of U.S. imports from China. The cost effect of the increases would vary among the various product groups, but would on the whole be substantial.

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Source: http://www.cyfuture.com/pro-and-cons-of-outsourcing.htm – Thank you.

Pro and Cons of Outsourcing

Outsourcing has many advantages but at the same time it has some disadvantages that cannot be ignored. So let us look at some outsourcing pros and cons.

Pros of Outsourcing

Outsourcing as a trend has come into major scrutiny by the workers and media alike in the developed countries.

But most economists are sure that this condition is just a temporary one and will die down as conditions develop and people start taking a mature outlook towards outsourcing.

The Outsourcing advantage lies in the fact that it helps companies cut costs and stay ahead in the competition.

Outsourcing also benefits the citizens in developed counties as it provides high quality products at a cheaper rate also with better customer service.

Advantages of Outsourcing

• Companies can save up on operational costs. In fact most companies can cut their operating costs to half by outsourcing

• Get access to cheaper and more efficient labor

• Cut up on labor training cost

• Get access to better technologies at a cheaper cost

• Increase productivity

• Concentrate on core competencies

Companies today want to make use of the outsourcing advantage in order to progress and stay abreast of the competition.

This is the reason why more and more companies irrespective of certain failures are entering the race of outsourcing.

Cons of Outsourcing

Outsourcing is seen by companies in developed countries and workers in developing countries as a boon. But is the situation really that green? Let us look at some disadvantage of outsourcing.

Disadvantages of Outsourcing

• The company that outsourcers can get into serious trouble if the service provider refuses to provide business due to bankruptcy, lack of funds, labor etc

• Outsourcing requires the control of the process being outsourced by transferred to the service provider. Thus the company may loose control over its process

• The service provider in developing countries generally services many companies. So there are many chances of partiality owing to more payment by other parties

• The current employees in the company that outsourcers may feel threat due to outsourcing and may not work properly

• The attitude of people in the developed countries against companies that outsource is generally bad

These disadvantages are the reasons why companies should think twice before outsourcing.
Companies should adopt a planned approach towards outsourcing taking into account the interests of employees and customers alike and come up with a balanced advance.

Outsourcing services simply to beat competition or to follow your competitors can lead to problems in the future.
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Source:http://econpapers.repec.org/article/eeejpolmo/v_3A30_3Ay_3A2008_3Ai_3A5_3Ap_3A725-735.htm

GLOBALIZATION AND INCOME INEQUALITY: IMPLICATIONS FOR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

Samuel Adams – Thank you.

Journal of Policy Modeling, 2008, vol. 30, issue 5, pages 725-735

Abstract: This paper examines the impact of globalization on income inequality for a cross-section of 62 developing countries over a period of 17 years (1985-2001).

The results of the study indicate that globalization explains only 15% of the variance in income inequality.

More specifically, the results show that (1) strengthening intellectual property rights and openness are positively correlated with income inequality; (2) foreign direct investment is negative and significantly correlated with income inequality but this is not robust to different model specifications; (3) the institutional infrastructure is negatively correlated with income inequality.

The study’s findings and the review of the literature suggest that globalization has both costs and benefits and that the opportunity for economic gains can be best realized within an environment that supports and promotes sound and credible government institutions, education and technological development.
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Review and Analysis: By Padmini Arhant

The current unemployment rate in the United States is 6.1 percent.

All of the above factors combined with the serious financial crises contribute to the decline in the job market.

The current Stock Market volatility is a reaction to the multifaceted problems surrounding the economic infrastructure.

With the interventional policies by the governments and the monetary authorities worldwide, the U.S. and global markets should stabilize slowly but steadily.

Meanwhile, the equity and liquidity markets with cash and lending instruments should facilitate the required rebound in the market.

It was determined that the credit markets’ resistance is from the weak sales projection by the Retail industry, which is related to reduced consumer spending resulting from high unemployment rate.

It is imperative for the business groups to focus on the employment situation now, hurting their operation and survival in the global economy. The depletion of capital resources and credit crunch is one of the factors for the massive layoffs at present.

Restoration of American jobs is paramount to the revival of the U.S economy.

The stabilizing of the U.S. economy will boost market confidence and the performance level.

This would also contribute to the strengthening of the U.S. dollar much required to offset Trade deficits.

The Corporations and the governments must coordinate their efforts to review,

1. Policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, MFN, Outsourcing … with fundamental flaws and reestablish a renewed structure to benefit the American workforce and the international competitive labor.

2. Renegotiate treaties and agreements with WTO members and other agencies…ILO at home and overseas to redesign models with fair trade policies, employment practices and environment laws.

3. Prioritize and protect American jobs and labor laws over shareholders interests and corporate profits. By doing so, the increased productivity would yield the desired stock value for the Corporations.

4. International labor force is equally important in the equation. Appropriate measures … required to curb the exploitation of cheap labor in poorer and under developed nations by the multinational corporations.

5. The developing nations currently benefiting from U.S corporate investments through outsourcing should reciprocate with return investments on U.S. goods and services. The general options are to purchase high-end products and engage U.S. companies for infrastructure projects.

The concern for the loss of American jobs is legitimate. Any frustration and anxiety by the American work force is also normal.

Since, U.S. economy is the foundation of the global economy; idle American work force is counter-productive for Corporations shipping jobs overseas in pursuit of market share of the emerging economies.

The sluggish U.S. economy will not serve well for the global economies dependent on U.S. trade.

On another serious note, the print press and media have an ethical and moral responsibility to portray the global economic environment and the activities in a fair and responsible manner.

Any rhetoric diminishing the economic progress/status and professional talent of other nations such as the one recently cited by the researcher specializing in globalization in San Jose Mercury News article, will hinder the new world order effort — aimed at providing prosperity for all.

Ironically, both the news organization and the consultants fail to identify the real beneficiary i.e. the Corporations in the outsourcing deals and other trade policies.

It would be more appropriate for these individuals to be part of the solutions rather than a problem.

Inevitably, U.S. prosperity is vital for global progress.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant