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“Picture-Thinking”: Sovereignty and Citizenship in Bangladesh

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:29
1. “Picture-Thinking”: Sovereignty and Citizenship in Bangladesh by Nusrat Chowdhury, Assistant Prof
Categories: International News

A Miracle in South Asia

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:28

With all the terrorism in Europe in recent weeks, a rather extraordinary event passed mostly under the news radar. An election happened in Sri Lanka, and a bullying, corrupt leader was peacably replaced. Sri Lanka, the former colony of Ceylon, is rarely in the news, but it was home to author Arthur C Clark for many years, and the elephants there headed to the hills at the approach of the tsunami a decade ago, so it seems there’s something in the water that tends towards higher intelligence. I don’t do a lot of current affairs on this post, but with so much bad news about, this is some good news that may hold out hope for other parts of the world, from Peter Popham in the i newspaper of last Friday:

“local and international monitors followed the events closely, no serious outbreaks of violence were reported, the votes were properly counted, the incumbent lost by a substantial margin, and vacated the presidential palace, power was peacefully transferred. Everyone did what they were supposed to do.”

This sounds like a fairly normal election in the ‘civilized’ west, but this was no ordinary incumbent:

“Mahinda Rajapaksa had already rewritten the constitution to permit himself a 3rd term in office, who had corrupted the judiciary, intimidated most of the media and who was gradually turning the country into his family’s fiefdom, was halted in his tracks, not by a popular rising, a Sri Lankan so-called spring, but by the ballot box.
Practically since the independence from Britain in 1948, Ceylon as it then was has been consumed in a crucial disastrous debate: whose country is it?

The Tamil minority, today some 15% of the population, concentrated in the north and eaast but with a large presence in Colombo… had done well out of the colonial period, providing European rulers with reliable and well-educated functionaries. Independence meant payback time as the majority Buddhist Sinhalese steadily tilted the playing field in their own direction, in particular marginalising the Tamil language in favour of their own.

As a result, fear gripped both communities: Sinhala fear of a takeover by Tamils, backed by their far more numerous cousins and Hindu co-religionists in southern India, Tamil fear of being turned into a permanent underclass.
Democracy, which was supposed to guarantee equality, perversely encouraged politicians in both communities to adopt truculently sectarian policies. Less than a quarter of a century into independence, the result was civil war.

This disastrous trajectory can be found in plenty of other post-colonial states. The usual result is some kind of dictatorship. Somehow or other Sri Lanka held onto the democratic forms throughout, despite the weeping sore of a civil war that dragged on for nearly 30 years. But behind the democratic facade the evils of civil conflict flourished: emasculation of public criticism, pervasive fear and suspicion, and the polarisation of the population into armed and hostile camps.

The war became a chronic condition. No leader seemed able to end it. The air was thick with rumours of the profits politicians were making from arms sales, encouraging them to let the conflict run and run. The outside world make matters worse by insisting that the only way ahead was peace talks between the elected Colombo government and the Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, despite the fact that the latter was directly responsible for the deaths of the Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, and the Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa, as well as the attempted assassination of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister.. Perhaps it’s true that in the end talks with terrorists are unavoidable, but Prabhakaran’s attempts to re-invent himself post-9/11, as a man of peace with whom the world could do business convinced very few. At his one and only press conference, in a clearing in the jungle in 2002, … he was obviously an unreformed killer.

The Rajapaksa offensive that ended the war in 2010 was brutal and merciless. But they were up against a brutal and merciless enemy: enemies always end up resembling each other. And all Sri Lanka’s communities were crying out for peace, however it might be achieved. Ending the war cut .. Rajapaksa and his brothers a lot of slack.

A wiser man would have made very different use of the peace dividend. Instead of ramming home the fact that the Sinhala ascendancy was here to stay, and his family’s predominance with it, he would have used his popularity to start Sri Lanka’s democratic story afresh: inviting full Tamil participation instead of trading on the festering fears and suspicions of both communities. Thanks to the cunning of his former lieutenant, Maithripala Sirisena, who deserted him in November to stand against him in the presidential election, he will now have plenty of leisure to contemplate his mistakes.

Already the mood in the country has changed for the better. Journalists are once again writing what they actually think, rather than what they think prudent. Rajapaksa has denied the “coup” rumour- the charge that he tried to get the army to enable him to stay in power despite his imminent defeat. The new Foreign Minister ways the transition of power was “anything but” peaceful.

Mr Sirisena’s task now is to start Sri Lanka’s democratic history all over again from scratch, persuading the island’s feuding and estranged communities that they are all in the same boat, and that the playing of zero-sum games will take the nation straight back on the path to war. If he can match the cleverness he has demonstrated in the past 2 months with the sort of wisdom Mr Rajapaksa so sorely lacked, perhaps he will achieve another miracle.”

Maybe the fact that this is an island can help. A degree of isolation from potential trouble makers on the mainland might let the situation settle enough for the inhabitants to realise how nice it is to live in a peaceful state, and once the economy starts recovering, they may be able to focus on how to make it last.

Categories: International News

TO CONQUER, NOT TO SUBSIDIZE from HUMAN EFFORT

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:27

If I had a weakness (and I have weaknesses) I would not say to myself, “Let me indulge this weakness of mine,” but rather I would say, “Let me find the way to conquer this weakness.”

And if I knew another man who had a weakness I would not say to him, “Let us gather together and commiserate upon your weakness, in order to advance, indulge, or subsidize it,” but rather I would say, “Let us analyze and reflect upon your weakness, and then discover the method by which it may be conquered and brought under your control so that you no longer suffer this problem.

Human weakness is a part of human nature, but the willful indulgence of human weakness is an unnatural and corrupting choice of self-degeneration.

No True Man willingly indulges his own faults and weaknesses. Every man should seek to conquer and eliminate his own such faults and weaknesses.

The trouble with modern man therefore is not that he is by nature  weaker than any other type of man to ever walk upon the face of the Earth, but rather that by unnatural and unwise choice he chooses to be so.

Categories: International News

Video: White House Chief of Staff Takes Blame For Paris Rally Absence

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:26
January 20, 2015 Fox News: (Screenshot credit, Fox News)   White House Chief of Staff Denis McD
Categories: International News

Greed - 'The Global 1%'

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:26

poor17

The remaining population accounts for just 5.5% of global wealth, and their average wealth was $3,851 (£2,544) per adult in 2014, Oxfam found’.

‘That compares with an average wealth of $2.7m per adult for the elite 1%’.

‘The wealthiest 1% will soon own more than the rest of the world’s population, according to a study by anti-poverty charity Oxfam’.

‘The charity’s research shows that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the richest 1% increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% last year’.

‘On current trends, Oxfam says it expects the wealthiest 1% to own more than 50% of the world’s wealth by 2016′.

[…]

‘The charity said the research, published on Monday, showed that 52% of global wealth not owned by the richest 1% is owned by those in the richest 20%’.
From : http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/the-global-1/

Categories: International News

Eric Holder May End Unconstitutional Police Seizure of Private Property

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:26

Eric Holder Orders End to Unconstitutional Police Seizure Program *

Not a lot of details out on this yet. If TRUE then it would be a good thing. However, given how CORRUPT our Attorney General is, it would frankly surprise me if this ONE time he was being honest about helping the American people.

For those who don’t know, the Civil Asset Forfeiture Program (CAF) is an unconstitutional property grab. To supposedly “scare” drug dealers, in a nutshell the Federal government said that if the locals called them in on criminal busts, the locals kept 80% of property NO MATTER IF THE OWNER WAS INNOCENT OR GUILTY.

Didn’t matter. Everything became police property. To sell at auction and make lots and lots of money.

Not saying that ALL cops do it, or that it is a driving force in their policy making but it’s not a coincidence that Fed-supported raids rose drastically after implementation of the CAF. It surely financed a lot of new shiny “SWAT” teams. After all, if you can’t afford a SWAT team, call the Feds in a few times, you use the money to set up your own SWAT team and then you can do MORE raids to collect more money… to pay for more cool new police equipment (and maybe another SWAT team.)

Of course having SWAT teams handy makes you WANT to use them to justify their expense to the taxpayer right? Writing speeding tickets and arresting purse snatchers just doesn’t pay the bills or make headlines like big drug busts and asset forfeitures.

Police are generally a good group of people. However, they’re also practical. Why do you think tiny police forces feel the need for oversized SWAT teams? It pays the bills.

Well, not anymore. Granted they’re still getting tons of aid and surplus military equipment from the Feds. They’re also being courted by a multidue of Federal agencies hell bent on intruding on their local police work. But, this is a start.

At the very best, all this move would do is “fix” a problem CREATED by the Federal government in 2000. Now if they could stop giving automatic weapons and armored vehicles to police, equipping them like an army instead of police.

That’d be great.

* You will note I say “Unconstitutional” and not “Illegal.” Any law passed is technically “legal” until it is overturned by the courts. That doesn’t mean it is “moral” or “constitutional.” It just means that the government is obeying the law…. be it a good law or a bad law.

Slavery was legal. Internment of Japanese Americans was legal. The Holocaust was legal.

But that didn’t make them legitimate.

Categories: International News

OBAMA STATE OF THE UNION RATINGS: IT STARTED WITH HOPE AND SUNK

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:25

State of the union ratings:
2009 – 52.4 million viewers
2014 – 33.3 million viewers
The first time people were watching for hope. Now people watching are hoping it’s over early. Obama’s approval has fallen into the 40’s and his focus is on tax hikes.

Taxes have risen throughout his first 6 terms and what has changed? The voters changed Congress and what will Obama change?

Who is not listening?

.

Categories: International News

Some of Bobby Jindal and Smart Power

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:24

Bobby Jindal on Smart Power

 

Former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) traveled to London England to address the Henry Jackson Society.  This British think tank, named after the anticommunist defense hawk Sen. “Scoop” Jackson (D-WA), is dedicated to support a strong military and a “forward strategy” (involving diplomacy, culture, economics and politics) to make the world safe for modern liberal democracies.

***

Jindal chose to focus his remarks on the dangers of political Islamism both in global hot zones as well as within Western democracies.

Jindal alluded to no go zones in Europe.  After the speech, Jindal was pressed by a CNN reporter to name a No Go zone in London, the presumed Republican presidential hopeful refused to give specifics.

So instead of concentrating on the substance of the speech, a politically correct media inclined to destroy any rivals to the second coming of the Clintons to the Oval Office, played a media game of Gotcha’.

***

Jindal sought to properly define “Smart Power” to pursue American political and economic security.  But since the two term Louisiana Governor is considered in the hunt for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, the Lamestream Media will use political language to shape the race as they will.

SEE MORE at DistrictofCalamity.com 

Categories: International News

Novel New Law Prompts Towns to Rescind Gun Control

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:24

There is a novel state law that makes it easier for gun-rights groups to challenge local firearms measures in court is already sparking change: Nearly two dozen Pennsylvania municipalities have agreed to get rid of their potentially problematic ordinances rather than face litigation.

Joshua Prince, an attorney for four pro-gun groups and several residents, cited the new law in putting nearly 100 Pennsylvania municipalities on notice that they would face legal action unless they rescinded their firearms laws.

At least 22 of those municipalities have already repealed them, or indicated they planned to do so, according to Prince, who specializes in firearms law and is based in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania has long prohibited its municipalities from enforcing firearms ordinances that regulate the ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of guns or ammunition.

Also, rights groups complained that scores of municipalities have ignored the 40-year-old prohibition by passing their own, mainly unchallenged gun measures. The new law states gun owners no longer have to prove they have been harmed by the local measure to successfully challenge it, and “membership organizations” like the National Rifle Association can stand in to sue on behalf of any Pennsylvania member. The challenger can also seek damages.

Florida, also permits a membership organization to file suit over local gun regulations.

Meanwhile Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Lancaster have sued to overturn the Pennsylvania law, saying the legislation was passed improperly. That lawsuit is pending in Commonwealth Court. Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFirePA, is encouraging municipalities with gun laws to stand pat, at least until the legal challenge is resolved.

“We certainly understand that they feel threatened and concerned. We feel like they have been put in a terrible position by their representatives in Harrisburg,” she said.

Newsmax

Reading City Council signaled last week it intended to repeal laws that ban firing weapons within city limits and require owners to report lost or stolen weapons. Officials said the city could ill afford a legal fight.

“We get ourselves in trouble in terms of trying to circumvent a state law,” said Councilman Jeff Waltman. “We’re not going to solve this with a local gun law anyway.”

Newsmax

But gun activist Dave Dalton said no municipality has a right to flout Pennsylvania law. He said the law gives gun owners a tool to hold municipalities accountable.

“What gives a town or a city the authority to say, ‘We’re in Pennsylvania, but we don’t care about Pennsylvania law?’ It’s laughable,” said Dalton, founder of American Gun Owners Alliance in the Pocono Mountains, one of the groups represented by Prince.

Newsmax

The NRA has not yet contacted any municipality, but said it’s reviewing local ordinances to ensure they comply with Pennsylvania law.

Categories: International News

Obama’s Community-Broadband Plan: 4 Ways to Understand His State of the Union Pitch

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:23

You’re going to hear words in tonight’s State of the Union address about “community broadband,” Internet connections built by cities or counties for their citizens.

After the State of the Union, if you stay tuned in to the news, you will then hear more than a few arguments against President Obama’s sales pitch. For example, you may hear that collective ownership of the means of watching cat videos is a taxpayer-funded boondoggle.

And, yes, at its worst, taxpayer-funded or municipal broadband can be just that. But it can also by a sane way for a community to respond to being left with only one broadband provider. Here are four things to realize about community broadband.

1. We Don’t Have Enough Broadband Choices

Last week’s White House white paper on community broadband gets to the point quickly: “Nearly forty percent of American households either cannot purchase a fixed 10 Mbps connection […] or they must buy it from a single provider,” it says. “And three out of four Americans do not have a choice between providers for Internet at 25 Mbps.”

Across much of the U.S., that one high-speed provider is the cable company. The “competing” phone-based DSL connections run far slower. Verizon’s FIOS fiber-optic service is great (it’s my home service — I love it), but the company quit bringing that to new markets in 2010.

DSL doesn’t have to be terrible, but recent speed boosts like “VDSL”have seen much more adoption overseas than in the U.S. One of the largest DSL providers, Verizon, also decided in 2010 to forgo major DSL upgrades and hasn’t changed its mind since, spokesman Harry Mitchell said.

Faced with that situation, if a city or county can build its own fast broadband for its taxpayers, why shouldn’t it?

2. Muni Broadband Is No Sure Thing
The community networks President Obama touted in a speech last Wednesday in Cedar Falls, Iowa, have met much of their promise. In that city, as well as in Chattanooga, Tenn., Wilson, N.C., Lafayatte, La., and elsewhere, municipal broadband has brought ultra-fast downloads at terrific rates — for instance, 100 megabits per second for $58 a month in Chattanooga.

And incumbent telecom firms have responded to competition from City Hall by improving services and lowering costs.

Municipalities that own an electric utility do seem well-positioned to offer broadband as well: Having a grid of overhead wires and underground conduits greatly eases the process of getting broadband to people’s homes.

But publicly owned broadband can also fail.  Some jurisdictions worked with the wrong company; perhaps the single most gullible thing I’ve written was a look at municipal Wi-Fi networks in 2007 that praised EarthLink’s pioneering role only months before that dial-up-centric company ditched the effort.

More recently, Provo, Utah, paid Google $1.7 million to take its fiber network off its hands after its partner ISP didn’t get enough customers — perhaps because residents had to pay $700 for installation. In Burlington, Vt., a botched fiber-broadband initiative torched the city’s credit rating.

3. It’s About Competition, Not Speed
The president’s broadband banter emphasizes the lure of gigabit fiber — the billion-bits-per-second connections on tap in a few touted cities. But a gigabit per second is often overkill, as I learned when looking at Sonic’s groundbreaking service. A tenth of that speed suffices to make much of the Internet seem instantaneous; it’s even enough for 4K ultra-high-def streaming.

Put another way, I’d rather have 10 providers offer 100 Mbps service than one providing 1 Gbps. And, ideally, municipal broadband would allow that: Your town would build the infrastructure and then wholesale that capacity to other Internet providers.

That’s how it has worked elsewhere in the world (see Ars Technica’s breakdown of one “open access” project in Amsterdam) but many muni-broadband projects in the U.S. don’t offer a choice of Internet services. One longtime advocate blamed that on how local governments pay for them by selling bonds to investors who then must be repaid on time.

“It is extremely difficult to fund the network infrastructure with just the revenues after splitting them with ISPs,” said Christopher Mitchell, director of community broadband at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “If local governments actually used taxpayer dollars to build open access networks, it would be comparatively easy.”

4. It’s Foolish to Ban Cities From Trying
The most compelling part of the White House’s newfound community-broadband advocacy could be the hardest to implement: Having the FCC overturn the outright bans and lesser obstacles thrown up against municipal networks in 19 states — much of the time, in response to extensive statehouse lobbying by Big Telecom.

(The fierce opposition to community broadband may be the surest signal that it can work.)

But it’s not so clear that the FCC has the legal authority to do that. This isn’t an issue like writing net-neutrality rules for Internet providers, in which the commission proposes to exercise authority Congress gave it long ago.

Rather, court precedent may put a stop to White House and the FCC’s hopes. Berin Szoka, head of the libertarian-minded group TechFreedom, said that’s a certainty, and Free Press policy director Matt Wood (who agrees with Szoka on little else) has worried that may happen.

Cities hoping to build the banned broadband may be stuck waiting for a court opinion to download their way — on a connection that’s too slow and costs too much.Obama’s Community-Broadband Plan: 4 Ways to Understand His State of the Union Pitch.

Via: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/obamas-community-broadband-plan-4-ways-to-108594152784.html

Categories: International News

VeriCoin with Integrated SuperNET (DeCentralised New Thought Technology)

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:21
VeriCoin Wallet 1.5 coming Friday, January 23rd

January 23rd the new VeriCoin Wallet 1.5 will be available for download.

The new wallet 1.5 brings many new, exciting features that are sure to surprise and delight the Digital Currency Community. There are a multitude of new Tabs Sections including: SuperNET, Chat, Forums and BlockChain. The team introduced a Real Time scrolling News Ticker, the option to set the number of Decimal Places, as well as, added more avenues to acquire VeriCoin with the Get VRC Tab.

Underpinning these new features are two fantastic additions to the latest Wallet, Auto-Update will make future updating a breeze and with Turbo Bootstrap you’ll be syncing to the BlockChain in mere minutes. Also, in addition to these great, new features, the team has overhauled the GUI to help the average “every day” end.

New Wallet 1.5 Features:

vericoin_new_wallet_released_features

Categories: International News

Here's How Obama Is Planning To Improve Your Internet

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:20
shutterstock_128934440

America’s Internet infrastructure is terrible. By every measure, we could be doing vastly better. And it seems likely that Obama is going to make getting everyone the Internet a key provision of his State of the Union address. But what’s the plan, and what will you hear?

First off, expect him to pick a fight with your cable company. Obama wants to make it possible for any municipality to build their own broadband network if they so choose, something cable companies loathe because it’d force them to pay for infrastructure upgrades. One of the key problems is that several states have laws in place specifically banning any sort of government broadband network; take a guess as to which companies are behind these laws.

In other words, he’ll be starting a long, complicated legal fight that the cable companies are eventually going to to lose. And might be rendered moot anyway by new technologies, but hey, if we can stick it to Comcast, tax dollars well spent.

Next, expect net neutrality to come up. We’ve talked about Obama’s ambitious ideas for keeping the Internet neutral, and in fact, he’s pulled his usual institutional judo routine to create actual change: The GOP is currently trying to get net neutrality legislation passed after finding themselves lumped in with the single most profoundly disliked companies in America. Of course, they also want to ban the FCC from regulating broadband, but it’s unlikely this bill will pass in its current form anyway.

It seems unlikely Obama will propose anything specific; he’s already done that, and made it clear to the FCC what he wants. But he will bring it up.

As for what effects you’ll see… good question! Net neutrality is almost certainly coming: The FCC has been trying to make it happen for a while and new rules are due in February. The public sentiment is strongly for net neutrality, and the consequences of it are obvious to anybody trying to watch Netflix on a Verizon connection.

Stripping the cable companies of their monopoly on Internet access is inevitable, but it’s going to be a vicious and long fight. For one thing, these are individual laws passed state by state, so they’re all different and thus have to be addressed differently. That said, the clock is ticking for cable; Elon Musk is launching 700 satellites to blanket the entire Earth with an Internet connection, for example. White space broadband becoming widely available is increasingly a matter of when, not if. And the whole infrastructure could crap the bed; already, all it takes is some idiot flipping the wrong switch and 11 million people lose their Internet connection.

In other words, net neutrality will happen quickly. But improving the Internet itself will take a much longer time. Expect this to keep coming up in State of the Union addresses, even when Obama’s out of office.

Categories: International News

America Better Start Listening To Republican Economic Lies Before It Is Too Late

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:20

Today the President will give his State of The Union Address.  During the speech, it is expected he will announce his plan to raise taxes on the top 1% earners.  These taxes mostly come in Capital Gains Taxes and inheritance taxes.  According to reports, he plans to use these extra taxes to help pay for tax breaks on the middle-class.  Yet, the Republicans are already wailing that these proposals will hurt jobs.

The Democratic leadership in the Senate has introduced a plan to tax financial transactions.  They are proposing a 0.1% tax on stock trades.  The intent is to help reduce the type of “speculative” trading that caused the 2008 economic collapse.  Additionally, it will generate anywhere between 70 and 90 billion dollars per year.  Since the financial industry will be almost entirely responsible to pay these new transaction taxes, you know they are against them.

The Republicans have been against taxes for generations.  They are also against pensions, social security, health care, and other social projects that help those who are not part of the top 1% earners.  During the 2008 collapse, pensions funds were almost entirely wiped out for the middle-class.  Now, the Republicans have set their sights on Social Security, again!

So, let’s take a look at how Republicans are really “fighting” budget problems.  We shall take a look at what most Republicans call a “moderate” Governor.  That Governor is Chris Christie in New Jersey.  Christie was on national TV yesterday defending his $32.5 Billion budget by touting his veto of Democratic tax hikes  and railing against public employee benefits he says threaten to bankrupt the state.

Christie said he had to fight against those “crazy things” Democrats are trying to push through, like an increase in state income taxes for those making more than 1 million dollars per year to help fill an unexpected hole in his budget.  Rather than approve that tax increase, Christie has decided to instead delay contributions to the public employees’ pension fund to fill the gap, which his administration estimated at $2.75 billion over the current and previous fiscal year. The contributions had been part of a 2011 deal forged in exchange for higher pension and health care contributions.

On CNBC’S “Squawk Box” when explaining the need for drastic pension cutbacks and savings in health care he said: “What you’re going to see me do all summer is to be out across the state of New Jersey making the argument that we need to fix this system or it will eat us alive,” he said. “We need to speak in stark, plain, understandable terms to people.”

He further promised to release his plan later this summer, expecting it will cause an outcry.  But, not to be held back, he said:  “Whenever it’s released, it will be universally criticized. And the reason it will is because it will inflict pain, because there is no other way to fix a severe problem like this but with pain.”

At a town hall gathering yesterday, he said that health benefit costs for public workers are “completely out of control.” He warned the state “is heading towards catastrophe” and could be driven to bankruptcy if entitlement spending isn’t reined in.

This is the kind of rhetoric that Republican donors love to hear.  First slash taxes for the rich, and then cut the pensions and health care coverage of the working class.  This is also another attempt to make the unions representing state workers the scapegoat in budget fights.  It is the unions who wish to protect their members future, not the wealthy who just want more money.

There are a lot of states that are facing problems with their pensions.  But, the problem is not the fault of the workers.  It is that states are slashing taxes, thus reducing revenue, and failing to properly contribute to their pensions.  It is the state governments’ fault that these pensions and health coverages are in trouble financially.  Not to mention that most states are also paying exorbitant fees to the financial industry who “manages” these funds.

New Jersey isn’t alone in their attack against the workers of the state.  Many states are cutting back on pensions and health coverage.  These are benefits that the people “earned” through their dedication and hard work.  But, because the big donors are looking for more tax breaks, that “pain” the Governor is talking about, is always forced on the working people.  Never on the wealthy of this country.

It is a simple math problem.  You cannot recklessly slash tax revenue without causing budget problems.  We have lived through “trick-down” economy.  We have witnessed how reckless and out-of-control banks and financial institutions can wreck the economy.  We have seen income inequality grow by leaps and bounds.  During this recovery, over 95% of all gains have gone to the top 1% of the earners.

These budget crises at the state level can, and probably will, have a very negative impact on the overall economy.  Especially when the seniors who are expected to live on minimum fixed income see that income cut because Governors like Christie believe they are far less worthy of protection than wealthy donors.

That is the big Republican “Economic Lie” that America better wake up to.  If not, our children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences.  This s all part of the Republican plan to establish a feudal system in America.

Categories: International News

A lesson to take home: An interview with Asari Dokubo

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:18

Given the experience Nigeria has gone through in the last six years of present administration, characterized by a high deterioration level of public service, law and order and security, I strongly doubt if President Good Luck’s capabilities is comparable to General Buhari’s, as it is clear, leadership requires more than just an impractical humility to ox a diverse and convoluted country like Nigeria.

Nevertheless, in this interview by Laylah Aliyu Mai (Voices of the Youth), a more evenhanded I have never seen granted by Alhaji Mujahid Asari Dokubo, there is a lesson to take home, if fellow Northerners put off emotion and read between the lines. In my opinion, at least in this interview, this is someone who combines pride in being a Muslim, an Ijaw man and a Nigerian – all inclusive – and ready, without predisposition, to sit on a dialogue table!

Again, in my opinion, Goodluck surprisingly appears to have far less in evidence to convince Nigerians to risk another four years of a plodding collapse, perhaps, we may with a more competent Nigerian-Ijaw. For now, we have every reason to believe, Buhari, irrespective of his regional and religious identities, remains a reliable hope of a drowning country.

Categories: International News

Hey, James Blunt...

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:17

It looks like James Blunt got rather annoyed with a Conservative minister for suggesting that there were too many people from privileged backgrounds in the arts world (this, in itself is odd, given that most Conservative MPs come from privileged backgrounds).

So, he did what any sensible person does and wrote a letter to the MP to put him right on some points.

10/10 for initiative (after all, politicians do need to be more aware of how the world works for non-politicians).

10/10 as well for making his points pretty clearly.

But…

Minus several million points for some of his choice of language.

It’s creative, I’ll grant you. I think I’ve rarely seen the word ‘wazzock’ in a formal letter before.

But I struggle to imagine that anyone, let alone someone who probably considers themselves to be in a position of power, is going to take too kindly to being called a ‘classist gimp’. I doubt very much that Chris Bryant is going to feel inspired to change his mind when a letter, albeit impassioned, attacks him (and becomes very publicly available).

Which leaves me wondering what the letter has achieved.

Categories: International News

Republican Fitzgerald, Democrat Barca lead in expenses

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:15

MADISON (AP) – Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca claimed the most in daily expenses last year out of 132 state lawmakers.

Records released last week show that Fitzgerald, of Juneau, collected $14,168 while Barca, of Kenosha, claimed $13,024.

Only one other member of the Senate, Democratic Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, of Alma, claimed more than $10,000 in expenses. She got $10,208.

Two other Assembly members claimed more than $10,000. Democratic Rep. Andy Jorgensen, of Milton and Democratic Rep. Leon Young, of Milwaukee, each claimed $10,208.

In 2014, lawmakers were able to claim $88 per day when they came to Madison for state business. Those living close to the Capitol got just $44.

The Assembly this year voted to increase reimbursements to $137.70 for those staying overnight.

Categories: International News

আজকের উপলব্ধিতে বাংলাদেশ [২০.০১.১৫]

World politics news from blogosphere - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 21:15
রাজনীতি #SayNoToCorruption তারেককে দেশে ফেরত পাঠানোর অনুরোধ জানিয়ে চিঠিটি যুক্তরাজ্যের পররাষ্ট্র মন
Categories: International News

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