The United Russia party of former President and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has suffered a setback at the hands of the CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation), which won about 20 percent of the vote in Sunday's elections to the state Duma, the lower house of parliament. The BBC noted that "United Russia won the election, but with a sharp drop in its support ahead of Mr. Putin's bid to return to the presidency next March." Putin served as President from 2000 to 2008, but the Russian constitution prohibited him from running for a third consecutive term.
Egyptian voters delivered a powerful victory to Islamists and the long-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in the first round of parliamentary elections, with hard-line Islamic parties winning around 65 percent of the vote. The news sparked widespread fears among Christians and others that Egypt could be plunged into tyranny once again while jeopardizing the security of neighboring Israel.
Official election results released on Sunday showed the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) garnering a sizeable lead with almost 37 percent of the vote. The more radical Salafi Muslim party Al Nour did far better than expected with close to 25 percent of the 10 million votes cast in the first of three rounds of elections.
The most significant secular party, the Egyptian Bloc, won less than 14 percent and came in third overall. But smaller moderate Islamic and secular parties performed poorly.
Questions are growing about what the new Egyptian government might look like after the first real elections in decades. It remains unclear whether the Brotherhood’s FJP will ally itself with the even more radical Islamist parties or form a coalition with liberal groups.
Mainland China remains Communist China. Marxism, or perhaps Maoism, remains the political philosophy of government in this giant nation. Although Marxism has been a resounding failure everywhere it has been tried — except, of course, for the party elites — communists still propound the virtues of their system. One of those virtues is that the “dictatorship of the proletariat” means that strikes do not exist under communism because the workers hold power.
Someone forgot to tell the workers at the Hi-P International plant in Shanghai. More than 200 of these workers have gone on strike, and the strike entered its third day on December 2. The workers were chanting slogans and carrying banners that demanded answers from management. The strike was principally prompted by fears of big layoffs, and it was part of more general labor unrest in China.
Thousands of workers have gone on strike or begun work stoppages at factories that are part of China’s export industries. This has interrupted the supply of such products as shoes, bras, watches, and electronic equipment. The companies claim to operate on a razor thin profit margin and that there is no room for pay hikes, and, indeed, the workforces in some facilities may be reduced.
Leaders of Latin American and Caribbean governments gathered in Caracas, Venezuela, on Friday and Saturday to forge a new regional organization that includes representatives from every country in the Western Hemisphere except the United States and Canada. According to socialist rulers backing the new scheme, it is aimed at providing a counterweight to U.S. “imperialism” in the region while promoting “integration.” The communist regime ruling mainland China celebrated the news and vowed to support the group.
The budding 33-member alliance — dubbed CELAC, the Spanish initials for “Community of Latin American and Caribbean States” — is reportedly the brainchild of Venezuelan socialist strongman Hugo Chavez. Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who founded the shadowy but immensely powerful socialist cabal known as “Foro de Sao Paulo” with dictator Fidel Castro and the Sandinistas, also played a key role.
CELAC represents the most recent integration scheme in a region already plagued by a costly patchwork of expensive intergovernmental alliances, including the relatively new Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the socialist Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA), Mercosur, the Caribbean Community, and many more. Among the most prominent is the largely U.S.-funded Organization of American States (OAS), which includes every nation in the hemisphere except Cuba.
JBS CEO Art Thompson's weekly video news update for December 5-December 11, 2011.
An interim Prime Minister with a socialist background was selected on November 27 after U.S.-backed Yemeni “President” Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to step down last week. But after months of chaos and turmoil by competing factions rocked the Arabian nation, violence has still not subsided.
Hundreds of thousands of anti-regime protesters — socialists, Islamists, students, democracy advocates, and more — poured into the streets again in recent days, too. The demonstrators have refused to back down despite Saleh’s apparent departure from power.
At the top of the list of grievances: They want the tyrant and his minions to be prosecuted for corruption and the deadly crackdowns on protesters. At present, Saleh is supposed to leave power in peace — along with his assets plundered from the nation. Many of the people still demonstrating also believe the emerging "new" regime is too similar to the old U.S.-backed dictatorship.
Deadly fighting intensified over the weekend, just days after dictator Saleh signed a United Nations-backed deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) agreeing to completely hand over power in the coming weeks. The deal allows Saleh to officially resign once his “vice-president,” who has apparently taken charge, swears in a new government and passes legislation granting the despot and his cohorts immunity.
When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced last Tuesday the imposition of new price controls on a long list of consumer items, he expressed optimism that they would help curb inflation. This is a law to protect the people from capitalism. We have a tough battle ahead [because] inflation is one of the biggest problems we have.
I’m at the front of this operation, and we’re going to occupy factories and companies. We’re going to nationalize what needs to be nationalized. The bourgeoisie hoard milk, sugar and cooking oil and then [they] blame me. But it’s their fault, the hoarders.
The citizens were smarter than Chavez. Having lived under a regime enforcing price controls on cooking oil and sugar with its natural and predictable resulting shortages, they looked at the list of household items about to be “fixed” and went shopping before the items disappeared. Evangelina Guerra, standing in line to get into the Dulcinea market in Caracas, said, “This is more regulation on top of regulation, and what we have is sky-high inflation and a lack of products.” In fact, cars were parked two rows deep and even onto the sidewalk in front of the store. Shelves normally full of toothpaste, soap, and toilet paper were being cleaned out faster than stockers could replenish them.
Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin — the formal head of the Russian government — has launched a campaign to become President, or head of state, a position currently held by Dmitry Medvedev. Putin had already served two terms as President before becoming Prime Minister; now he has decided that he wants to become President again and swap offices with Medvedev, a protégé of his.
Putin, in his campaign, has warned Europe and America not to interfere in the Russian elections. In the 2008 elections, Medvedev received 71 percent of the vote, and the United Russia Party, the vehicle of Putin, won 315 out of 450 seats in the Duma (the Russian national legislature).
Even otherwise meek governments in Europe did not consider these elections fair or honest. The Czech government commented that the "election campaign did not conform to democratic standards.” The German government said, "Russia was not a democracy and Russia is not a democracy.” The British Foreign Ministry stated that there were allegations that, “if proven correct, would suggest that the Russian elections were neither free nor fair." Even those governments that congratulated Putin’s party on its victories did so with deeply expressed reservations.
Despite not being a member of the European Union, Switzerland is under intense pressure from Brussels to raise taxes as companies flee high-tax EU welfare states in favor of more business-friendly Swiss cantons. And if the nation refuses to bow down soon, so-called “eurocrats” are threatening retaliation.
The Swiss government has been in discussions with EU bosses for over a year regarding Switzerland’s non-compliance with the “EU Code of Conduct for Business Taxation.” The EU’s goal, according to the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, is to eliminate what the supranational regime in Brussels calls “harmful tax practices” — low taxes which attract capital, businesses, jobs, and workers away from the crumbling European super-state.
Outraged over a weekend U.S. and NATO attack that killed 25 Pakistani soldiers and wounded more than a dozen others, the government of Pakistan has taken prompt retaliatory action. Supply lines through the nation for the American-led coalition occupying Afghanistan were shut down immediately and, according to the Interior Minister, permanently. Pakistani officials are also demanding that U.S. air bases in the country be vacated within two weeks.
"Pakistan's sovereignty was attacked early this morning," said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani the day of the incident. "This is our Pakistan and we have to defend it." Other Pakistani officials also vented their fury over the attack and demanded swift retaliation.
Citizens were outraged, too. Headlines in national newspapers spoke of “murders” and an act of war. According to news reports, thousands of Pakistanis protested the attack as well, shouting “down with America” at U.S. diplomatic posts across the country.
"America is attacking our borders. The government should immediately break ties with it," a Pakistani housewife at an anti-American demonstration in Karachi was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency. "America wants to occupy our country but we will not let it do that."