NORTH KOREA PUT ON NOTICE: DON'T PUSH ME.

NORTH KOREA  PUT ON NOTICE: DON'T PUSH ME.
"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. As I said, they will be met with the fire and fury and, frankly, power." - President Donald John Trump. ICHEOKU says the Michelin Tire midget at Pyongyang is definitely courting trouble and messing with the wrong man. He probably thinks Barack Obama the redline president is still in office; but unbeknownst to him there is a new sheriff in town and his name is Donald John Trump and he does not mess around. Hopefully China can rein in the little man before he commits mass suicide with his North Korean people.

HILLARY CLINTON LOST THE ELECTION - CHARLES SCHUMER

HILLARY CLINTON LOST THE ELECTION - CHARLES SCHUMER
"When you lose to somebody who has a 40 percent popularity, you don’t blame other things — Comey, Russia — you blame yourself. So what did we do wrong? People didn’t know what we stood for, just that we were against Trump. And still believe that." - Senator Charles Schumer, Senior Senator from the State of New York and Democratic Minority Leader in the Senate. ICHEOKU says the statement spoke volume and it spoke for itself. Finally it seems the Democrats have finally turned the corner and are now ready to face up to their abysmal performance in the last presidential election by acknowledging that the American people indeed choose Trump over their Hillary Clinton. Thankfully, they will also now rest their "Russians Did It" cockamamie and find a message they can present to the people and for the good of the country.. Time to move the process forward is now as American people did not buy into the crap of a Russian collusion which they tried unsuccessfully to sell to them.

IT IS GAME ON: MAYWEATHER FIGHTS MCGREGOR

IT IS GAME ON: MAYWEATHER FIGHTS McGREGOR

ICHEOKU says August 26 is the day history will be made as two of the world's most interesting athletes square off in the ring. Boxing champion Floyd MayWeather and mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor, will fight on August 26 in Las Vegas, Nevada. ICHEOKU says not in a position yet to place bet on who will win the fight. Salute


BIAFRA EXIT FROM NIGERIA: A CALL TO DUTY

BIAFRA EXIT FROM NIGERIA: A CALL TO DUTY
ICHEOKU says the time has come and the time is now for the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra to be allowed to choose their self governance and exit from Nigeria going forward.. A referendum on the future of Biafra is a legitimate demand of the people and it is their right to so do. The people of the Nation of Biafra want to of their own way because of the hostilities from other member nations of Nigeria. Let the United Nations order a referendum and let the people decide in their own Biafraexit.

PDJT ISSUES VERDICT ON ISLAMIST TERRORISTS


"There can be no coexistence with this violence. There can be no tolerating it, no accepting it, no excusing it, and no ignoring it. Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith. Terrorists do not worship God; they worship death. If we do not act against this organized terror, then we know what will happen and what will be the end result. Terrorism's devastation of life will continue to spread, peaceful societies will become engulfed by violence, and the futures of many generations will be sadly squandered. If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing, then not only will we be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, but we will be judged by God." - President Donald John Trump.


BBOB: BRING BACK OUR BIAFRA

ICHEOKU says it is worth fighting for, self determination and it is not a crime for a people to aspire for self governance. Indigenous Peoples of Biafra are marching forward and hopefully they will soon get to the promised land. Viva Biafra.
#BringBackOurBiafra.




"When two raging fires meet together, they do consume the thing that feeds their fury. Though little fire grows great with little wind, yet extreme gusts do blow out fire." - William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew


WHAT REALLY MATTERS IN LIFE - STEVE JOBS

“I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success. However, aside from work, I have little joy. Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me. God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth. Memories precipitated by love is the only true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on. The most expensive bed in the world is the sick bed. You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear sickness for you. Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost – Life. Treasure Love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends. Treat yourself well. Cherish others.” - SJ

EVIL CANNOT BE TRULY DESTROYED.

"The threat of evil is ever present. We can contain it as long as we stay vigilant, but it can never truly be destroyed. - Lorraine Warren (Annabelle, the movie)


ONLY THE POOR WISH THEY HAD STUFF?

“I’m not that interested in material things. As long as I find a good bed that I can sleep in, that’s enough.” - Nicolas Berggruem, the homeless billionaire.

Monday, February 15, 2016

PUTIN'S RUSSIA ON THE CUFF - CROWLEY

Russia is facing economic disarray — and with that has come a spike in protests by workers and others. The Kremlin has reason to be worried.
What’s causing this Russian economic crisis? International economic sanctions because of the occupation of the Crimea; a decline in the ruble; and above all the collapse in oil prices are all to blame. With the pinch, the government will be forced to continue to raise taxes and cut benefits, which will almost invariably lead to more protest.
Russian workers — a group often seen as supportive of Putin and his regime — are already protesting wages that are shrinking and sometimes not being paid at all. Most recently, a nationwide protest by thousands of truck drivers caused panic when they descended on Moscow to protest a new tax. Russia’s liberal opposition hopes — and the Kremlin fears — that Russian workers from the heartland might join with middle class protesters from Moscow and St. Petersburg. In 2011-12, tens of thousands of those urban  liberals took to the streets in Russia’s two main cities, donning white ribbons to protest what they alleged were fraudulent elections that led to Putin’s return to the presidency.
Such a combination, across class and region, might lead to a colored revolution of the kind that drove corrupt leaders from power in post-Soviet countries like Ukraine and Georgia. Putin has sought to inoculate himself from such an event, in part by championing workers who denounced the Moscow protesters, and portraying himself as real Russian muzhik — a regular guy who hangs out with biker gangs.
But is a “colored revolution” on the horizon in Russia? Despite some commentators‘ suggestions, that’s quite unlikely. But Putin is no doubt concerned. The economic crisis and the prospect of growing protests pose substantial challenges to his leadership. 

As global oil and gas prices plummet, the Russian government is in crisis. As recently as 2013, revenues from that sector accounted for 50 percent of the federal budget. The loss of that revenue not only puts a crimp in Russia’s economy; it changes the very relations between the Russian state and society.
When oil prices were high the Russian government could afford to use oil industry “rents” to help maintain the legitimacy of the regime. That’s what Nikolay Petrov, Maria Lipman and Henry E. Hale (among others) have termed a “non-intrusion pact”: The government offers economic growth and a certain level of social benefits and subsidies and otherwise leaves citizens alone, so long as they stay out of politics.
With oil income dropping, however, the Russian government can’t keep up its end of the bargain. Now it needs citizens to accept fewer benefits and to pay higher taxes just as their incomes are dwindling.
And Russians aren’t happy, turning out for a surge in economic protests throughout the country. Petr Bizyukov at the Center for Social and Labor Rights in Russia found 409 labor protests in Russia last year, the highest since the center began keeping records in 2008. That’s a 40 percent increase from 2014 and 76 percent higher than the average from 2008-2013 (which included Russia’s economic crisis of 2008-09).
Other databases are reporting a similar increase in labor protests. Many workers clearly weren’t going to follow the traditional Russian pattern of quietly supplementing lower wages with larger potato gardens and vodka binges, as Andrei Kolesnikov of Carnegie Moscow had suggested they might.
Then, last November, came a nationwide protest by Russia’s long-haul truck drivers, when the government moved to implement a new road tax on load-bearing tractor-trailers. The fee charged might seem small — four rubles per kilometer for trucks weighing over 12 tons —  but many truckers argued that they were barely breaking even before the new tax.
Drivers in 43 of Russia’s 85 regions and more than 70 cities took to the streets in various forms of protest. In some cases, they drove in “snail” convoys at less than 10 miles per hour. In other cases they blockaded highways altogether. The protests persisted through December, with truckers in some regions refusing to drive in January. Trade with neighboring countries was temporarily disrupted.
The truckers were especially furious that the fees would be collected by a private company owned by the son of Arkady Rotenberg, one of Putin’s longtime cronies. Last December, as truckers drove to Moscow with a threat to blockade the city’s ring road, some carried signs saying “Rotenberg is worse than ISIS.” Another proclaimed, referring to the earlier middle-class protesters in Moscow, “We are not like those white-ribboned dreamers in 2011. We have crowbars, and we won’t hesitate to use them when we are pushed to the wall.”
Although the protests were largely ignored by state-run media, opinion polls showed that almost two-thirds of the population supported the truckers.
But the truckers’ revolt did not portend a coming colored revolution. The authorities prevented most truckers from reaching central Moscow, intercepting several convoys along the way. Their protests have largely died out, even though the government offered only limited concessions, such as a reduction in the fine for noncompliance.
But what’s more significant is that, despite some angry slogans, the truckers mainly demanded changes in the tax system, not the political system. Rather than denouncing Putin, most truckers appealed to him. “President, help us!” was one of the most prominent slogans. Some of the opposition groups that had been behind the 2011/2012 protests — both on the left and the right — tried to unite with the truckers, in order to combine economic with political demands to bring about substantial change in Russia. But the truckers would have none of it.
There is still a wide gap in Russia between the growing economic concerns of many, on the one hand, and the strong levels of support for Putin as a leader, on the other. That suggests that most Russians are a long way from calling for regime change. Many still credit Putin with “raising Russia from its knees” after the disastrous 1990s. They remain convinced by state media that colored revolutions like the 2014 Maidan revolution in Ukraine lead to anarchy.
Labor hasn’t been especially powerful in Russia. Most of those hundreds of labor protests cataloged by the Center for Social and Labor Rights have been small and isolated, only affecting a particular city or company. Russian unions are generally weak, and in the past most strikes were spontaneous events in private firms in far-flung regions or in “monotowns” — one-industry towns left struggling after the Soviet collapse.
When wider protests do happen, it’s because government actions hurt disparate workers as a single category, as happened with the truckers. Coordinated, cross-regional labor protests are indeed increasing, led not by industrial workers but most often by “budget sector” employees such as teachers and medical workers who are being hit by money-saving reform plans, cuts in state budgets, or sometimes the nonpayment of their wages.
Citizens protest, too, when the Kremlin tries to cut benefits and raise revenue. In 2005 the government attempted to replace Soviet-era benefits like free public transportation and energy subsidies for the elderly with cash handouts that many felt didn’t make up for the loss.
After spontaneous protests among the elderly in several Russian regions, the government quickly backed down, in the end spending more than the reforms would have saved.
Similarly, in 2008, a government attempt to tax imported cars brought protesters out in the streets in dozens of cities. The protests were eventually dispersed, and the tax remained, but costly compensation was provided to the cities with the greatest protest.
As with the truckers, the Putin regime survived these protests with some combination of concessions and repression. But the protests revealed that the state can only demand so much from the population.
And now labor protests in Russia’s industrial regions are on the rise, becoming less isolated, as protesters from one firm clump together with strikers from another.
These new protestors come from Putin’s base of support
When Putin survived the protests in 2011 and won the March 2012 presidential election, some speculated that he did so by pitting “rural and Rust Belt Russia against urban and modernizing Russia.”
Yet the very presence of worker protests challenges Putin’s claim to be the guarantor of stability. Russia’s working class is said to be Putin’s electoral base, and parliamentary elections loom in September. While workers may not be ready to join anti-Putin protests, economic discontent will certainly impact support for United Russia, the Kremlin-backed party long dominating parliament.
So what can the Russian government do? The government has been subsidizing many factory towns that are teetering on bankruptcy — but that money is going away. With the steep drop in oil revenues, the Russian government will be compelled to raise taxes and cut spending. And that will almost inevitably lead to more protests.
In short, barring a sudden jump in oil prices, the Putin regime must renegotiate its relationship with Russian society, and the results may not be pretty.

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