Those who Visit the Blog

Monday, June 08, 2015

International News and other News.

There have been a lot of developments as it relates to the FIFA scandal. There is no doubt that corruption is found in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). It has been documented that corruption has existed in FIFA for decades. The FBI’s charges of corruption, bribery, and vote rigging in FIFA are serious charges. If someone from FIFA is guilty, then they must be held accountable for their actions. The U.S. justify the many charges sent to people overseas since they claim that the RICO statue gives them legal authority (and the U.S. accuses some FIFA people of using money laundering in American soil for years). Soccer is the most watched sport on Earth. Yet, we know that there is more slick geopolitics at play involving the FIFA scandal too. The U.S. authorities are targeting FIFA, because the US wants to expand its hegemony. They especially don’t like how Moscow will host FIFA world cup on 2018 and Qatar will host the FIFA world cup in 2022. Massive arrests against many FIFA officials started in 2015. Corruption should be opposed, but this issue has to do with geopolitics too. The U.S. and its allied countries don’t like the policies of Russia. Even back in 2005, Joseph Blatter refused to surrender to the U.S. Department of State’s demands to block the Iranian team from participating in the World Cup 2006 or demands that Palestine not be admitted into FIFA. Joseph Blatter was re-elected by a majority of delegates as heading FIFA on May 29, 2015. Later, Blatter stepped down in front of the 65th FIFA Congress. The U.S. wanted Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein bin Al-Talal bin Abdullah of Jordan to win the Presidency. Prince Ali was the FIFA Vice-President for Asia. Delegates from Africa, and Asia voted for Blatter instead of Ali. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Britain, Israel, and America are allies. Blatter wanted to promote investments in Africa, Latin America (whose delegates support Blatter too), and Asia as a means to expand soccer and develop nations at the same time.  Even critics admit that the equal division of profits between the two hundred and nine members of FIFA generated by revenues and tournaments "has prompted many a genuine football revolution in the developing world"  Mauritania has benefited from this investment plan too. Even after the democratic process allowed FIFA world cup games to exist in Russia and Qatar, the U.S. and British officials want to derail it. That act is anti-democratic. It is no secret that the U.S. led NATO encirclement of Russia. So far, nine top FIFA officials and five corporate executed were arrested by the U.S. Department of Justice. The feds started this investigation in 2009. The arrests at the Baur au Lac hotel in Switzerland are historic. It is hypocritical for Western authorities to condemn some in FIFA for corruption, but not arrest and jail many Wall Street bankers who were involved in overt financial corruption and manipulation. So, any criminal in FIFA involved in corruption should have due process, convicted, and be punished for any documented criminal behavior. Likewise, we don’t need imperialism either.

There is the G7 meeting. More than 20,000 police standby as a German ski resort hosts the meeting of world leaders. There are thousands of activists there in the German Alpine resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen to protest the G7 summit too. These protesters want to end poverty and climate change. They are peacefully engaged in protest. Simon Ernst is one organizer of the Stop Elmanu demonstration. He called the G7 leaders of Germany, France, the U.S., Italy, Britain, and Japan as the “henchmen of bankers and corporations.” More people know that ISIS and these other terrorist groups have been originally existed as a product of Western imperialism in the Middle East. One of the major issues that will be discussed in the meeting is about the sanctions against Russia (because the West disagrees with the policies of Russia as it relates to Ukraine). There is no participation of Russia in the 67 summit either. The meeting will allow the members to back a right wing regime in Kiev while denouncing the Moscow for supporting the Crimea people in using self-determination. The meeting will also talk about climate change the global economy, etc. The West has desired to increase tensions with Russia. America has been working with Germany and other European powers in backing the violent, fascist spearheaded February coup that ousted Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych. The West pushed economic sanctions against Russia and deployed U.S. warplanes in Poland, and dispatched Americans paratroopers to Poland (plus three former Soviet Baltic republics). There have been warships sent into the Black Sea, which bring U.S. military forces to Russia’s borders. The encircling of Russia and pacifying it is a goal of U.S. hegemony in Eurasia and the Middle East. The meeting of the G7 is based on hypocrisy. It has hailed the election of Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, but they denounce the election in Syria as a sham. The West ignores the Kiev regime executing war crimes in Eastern Ukraine. Moscow reported Thursday that over the previous 24 hours over 8,300 Ukrainian refugees, most of them women and children had crossed into Russia to escape continuous artillery and aerial bombardment carried out by regime forces. The Kiev regime have used weapons which are outlawed by international conventions like cluster bombs being dropped on the Luhansk regional administration which killed 8 civilians. And it has been reported that after heavily shelling the town of Krasnyi Lyman, southeast of Slavyansk in the Donetsk Region, members of the National Guard, a force that has recruited heavily from neo-fascist elements connected to the Right Sector and Svoboda party, overran the local hospital and executed 25 wounded people they found there. This is a humanitarian crisis. Austerity policies continue in Ukraine with IMF sanction. Hollande has sold to Moscow 2 advanced Mistral warships that can be used in amphibious invasions. This is part of the French/U.S. disagreements. There was a criminal investigation brought by the US Justice Department against the French banking giant BNP Paribas over alleged violations of US sanctions against Sudan, Iran and Cuba. There have been reports that the bank could face a fine of over $10 billion, which Hollande has argued is “disproportionate” and could have a severe impact on France’s economy. Putin represents a ruling group of billionaire oligarchs with wealth invested in the West. He wants to compromise on Ukraine.  He ordered Russian forces to withdraw from Ukraine’s border and will allow a Russian ambassador to attend Poroshenko’s inauguration. Putin has recognized the May 24 elections. Putin said that he is ready for dialogue. The G7 summit and the upcoming Bilderberg Group meeting are coming soon.

There is the historic event of the city of Los Angeles raising its minimum wage from $9 an hour to $15 an hour by 2020. This measure passed in the LA City Council by an overwhelming 14 to 1 vote. It represents the massive sea change in public opinion on the minimum wage. The current minimum wage from the federal government is $7.25 an hour, which is an unlivable wage in any American city or town. The fight for 15 movement didn’t get all of their demands like an an immediate $15 minimum wage and increased protections for union organizing in low-wage workplaces. The measure is the strongest to date in any city of America. This is a new chapter in the labor rights movement. The LA legislation doesn’t exempt smaller firms from paying the higher minimum wage. Small businesses will have one additional year for implementation. It ties the minimum wage past 2022 to the Consumer Price Index, which will help to make sure that the buying power of workers’ wages doesn’t’ lag behind increases in prices. Almost half of Los Angeles workers will be affected by the wage increase. This applies to the city of Los Angeles and its 3.9 million residents. Yet, it could spread into its metropolitan area which has about 18.5 million people. Many organizers, protests, and job actions contributed to the Los Angeles City Council to adopt this change. Many people were tired of rampant sexist and racist job harassment in the fast food industry, etc. Workers nationwide not only want living wages. They want fair scheduling, child care and other forms of stability in the world. There was a time 2 years ago that 15 dollars an hour minimum wage was called unwinnable. Now, most Americans support it. Many activists have done walkouts, sit ins, marches, occupations, and other actions. The union movement has made a comeback. But in a bizarre move in the wake of the City Council decision, Los Angeles labor leaders, who had been among the ordinance's supporters, suddenly began advocating for an exemption that would allow workers covered by a union contract to earn wages below the mandated citywide minimum. This is strange, but the movement for change continues. The battle is not over. We want universal health care, immigrant rights, and other changes in society.

The terrible airstrikes in Yemen by Saudi Arabia (who is backed by the U.S.) has caused a massive humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The U.S.-backed war against Yemen has caused some 20 million people (or 80 percent of Yemen’s total population) to be without food, water, and medical care. This has been discussed by the United Nations top aid official informed member nations of the UN Security Council. UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien called the situation in the poorest nation of the Arab nation as “catastrophic.” He placed much of the blame on the Saudi-led air strikes that have devastated Yemeni cities. There has been a massive blockade of Yemen’s ports. This has prevented not only the arrival of emergency relief supplies. It has also blocked the basic flow of goods that existed before the war. “The blockade means it’s impossible to bring anything into the country,” Nuha Abdul Jaber, Oxfam’s humanitarian program director in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa told the Guardian newspaper. “There are lots of ships, with basic things like flour that are not allowed to approach. The situation is deteriorating; hospitals are now shutting down, without diesel. People are dying of simple diseases. It is becoming almost impossible to survive.” The Guardian cited a report by the aid group called Save the Children. This report said that hospitals have closed down in at least 18 of the country’s 22 governates. There has been a closing of 153 health centers that provided nutrition to at risk children and 158 outpatient clinics that treated children under five.  “At the same time, due to lack of clean water and sanitation, cholera and other diseases are on the rise,” the paper reported. “A dengue fever outbreak has been reported in Aden.” The Saudi monarchy had provided none of the $274 million for an emergency humanitarian fund that was promised to create. Saudi Arabia organized “Operation Decisive Storm” to go from military operations to the political process. Yet, they have supported a blockade of Yemen and a continuation of the military strikes against Yemen. Many civilians have died by the air war against Yemen’s population. The Obama administration has given the Saudis with logistical and intelligence support in helping them select targets for bombardment. The U.S. has sent refueling planes. These planes will keep Saudi Arabian bombers and its Gulf monarchy allies in the air and rushing bombs plus missiles to replace those dropped in Yemen. The Houthi rebels have agreed to attend the UN brokered peace talks in Geneva on June 14. Agence France Presse quoted Daifallah al-Shami, a politburo member of the Houthi militia’s political wing as saying, “We accepted the invitation of the United Nations to go to the negotiating table in Geneva without preconditions.” The rebels don’t want to submit to a one sided resolution pushed through the UN Security Council in April by the U.S. including its allies (with Russia abstaining) to impose an arms embargo against the Houthi rebels. The West wants the puppet leader Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to rule Yemen. The Saudi air strikes against civilians are in violation of international law. The Houthis have been accused of getting military aid from Iran. Iran has denied the charges. The Houthi want an independent South Yemen, which was a former British colony. It unified with the north in 1990. Ali Abdullah Saleh is allied with the Houthis too.

The Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. is one of the most solemn places on Earth. It commemorates the people who passed away from Vietnam War. It has been a place of grief, reflection, and prayer. It’s a place where some folks can be educated on the fact that war is nothing to be played with. War changes lives and it will affect lives forever. Its history was a very interesting one. A college student, back then, named Maya Lin won the memorial design contest. She was a 21 year old Yale University student. She created her design or a class. This was after the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund held a design contest. The guidelines said that the memorial will have to contain the names of every American who died in Vietnam and remained missing in action, it would make no political statement about the war, and it would be in harmony with its surroundings. It would be contemplative in character. Maya Lin won the contest after over 1,400 submissions came about. Maya Lin is the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Unfortunately, she was suspected to racism, because of her design. Yet, she was courageous and stood her ground. The Vietnam Veteran Memorial was first unveiled on November 13, 1982. Over 4.2 million visitors came to the location in 2012 alone. There was a U.S. flag and a statue of three servicemen added to the memorial too. There was another sculpture of three women caring for an injured solider too. Soon, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will be very popular in America. Names have been added to the Memorial too. There was a recent 2006 addition to the Memorial of a marine corporal whose 2006 death from a stroke was determined to be the result of wounds received in action back in 1967. Photographs, bracelets, military medals, dog tags, religious items, etc. are placed at the memorial in remembrance too. The memorial was built without government funds. Jan C. Scruggs is a wounded Vietnam War vet. He studied post-traumatic stress disorder when he returned to America. He called for a memorial to help with the healing process for the roughly 3 million Americans who served in the conflict. After watching the movie “The Deer Hunter,” Scruggs used $2,800 of his own money to form the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in 1979. People used their own money to help construct the memorial. Ordinary people, corporations, foundations, veterans groups, civic organizations, and labor union have given 8.4 million dollars to the project. The money was worth it, because we have to remember. The names of the soldiers on the wall have been read in 1982, 1992, 2002, and 2007. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a fitting location where people can use reflection and remembrance about the Vietnam War.

By Timothy

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