Showing posts with label foreign aid. Show all posts
Showing posts with label foreign aid. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Trump Signs Feminist Foreign Aid Policy Into Law


Sources: White House, Congress, Center for Family and Human Rights, USAID

Trump signed the little noticed Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act January 9th, likely at the behest of his daughter, who lobbied for it in congress where it was put on hold in the senate. While the new law seems well meaning and does contain some good provisions, it also gives professional feminists or 'gender advisers' power to dictate foreign aid policy mired in inter-sectional feminist restrictions on the design and implementation of all USAID policies, grants and programs.

As the Center for Family and Human Rights noted, it is very ironic that Trump would enact Obama's gender policies, especially ones informed by a radical left-wing cultural perspective that includes the whole spectrum of LGBTQ (and whatever other letters they'll add in the future). It is very likely that he didn't even read the bill and just signed it to make his princess happy. Whether he agrees with the law or not is irrelevant at this point. He approved it; he put his name to it; he owns it now, especially the parts that seem to run counter to his domestic policies. The Obama era gender policies in question are outlined in ADS chapter 205. The document details steps for implementing 'gender integration' through all USAID programs, making gender equality the main focus of all USAID projects, and by equality they don't mean legal equality or equality of opportunity. Apparently, the goal is to close gender gaps in status, access to resources, participation in the labor force, and leadership positions, presumably until they are about the same. The Bureau for Policy Planing and Learning, which shapes development policy, is mandated to have a full time gender adviser for this purpose.

Section 3 of the law subjects all USAID strategies, projects, and activities to 'gender analysis' and 'gender integration'. Gender analysis is defined as:

a socioeconomic analysis of available or gathered quantitative and qualitative information to identify, understand,
and explain gaps between men and women which typically
involves examining differences in the status of women and men and their differential access to and control over assets, resources, education, opportunities, and services

This could be interpreted in several different ways, but it seems to imply that the goal is equal outcomes between genders, rather than equal opportunities or more practically equal liberty. If they meant to imply equal opportunities or equal liberty they could have made this clearer by wording it different by, for instance, stating their goal was to remove legal and cultural market barriers for women in developing nations; however, this is not the case. It becomes clear that the goal is equal outcomes in section 4 (b), which introduces a gender quota for financial assistance.

50 percent of all small and medium-sized enterprise resources shall be targeted to activities that reach enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women.

However well meaning this may be for women's' empowerment abroad, it will also have the unintended consequence of hurting entrepreneurs in developing countries where women are nowhere near 50% of total small and medium-sized enterprise owners or managers. Hypothetically, lets say a certain developing country x has 20 small and medium-sized businesses in need of financing; 15 of them are owned by men and 5 are owned by women. Under the provision in section 4 (b), we would only be able to provide financial resources to 5 businesses owned by men and 5 owned by women, leaving 10 small and medium sized businesses without assistance. This is especially damaging given the fact that the authors' of this bill own findings that '50% of small and medium-sized businesses, in emerging markets, lack access to formal credit'. Imposing a gender quota on these businesses isn't going to make it any easier for them to get credit through any USAID development program.

Monday, February 19, 2018

This is Who Trump Wants To Sell Weapons To


Communists and capitalists are laughing all the way to the bank while their useful idiots argue over the trivial details of their respective fiefdoms.

Mongabay: 14 Year Sentence For Vietnamese Activist Over Chemical Spill Protest

Refresher: Trump Pursues Weapons Deal With Totalitarian Communist Regime

During the APEC conference in Hanoi last year, Trump aggressively tried to sell U.S. missiles to Vietnam’s communist regime and oversaw the signing of two memorandums of understanding between Vietnam’s state owned gas company, PetroVietnam Gas, and two American gas companies: AES Corp and Alaska Gasline Development Corp. These events transpired as the result of Obama lifting the arms embargo against the country in 2016. Relations between the two governments have been thawing after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Congress began providing foreign aid to Vietnam in 1991 and Clinton ended the trade embargo against Vietnam in 1994. USAID currently spends about $68M per year on the country (as of FY 2016).

We are once again met with crickets on Capitol Hill in the face of intolerable human rights abuses, but since they are being committed by a government that currently has profitable business partnerships with major U.S. industries, they apparently don’t matter. Of course, the same could be said of the Chinese government’s persecution of religious minorities and organ harvesting of political prisoners.

On February 6th, Hoang Duc Binh was given a 14 year prison sentence for the heinous crime of vlogging about and protesting the government’s hesitant response to the 2016 Formosa chemical spill, or as the kangaroo court put it ‘slandering authorities and abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on state interests (in the same way that a slave may infringe on the interests of a slaver). During the same trial, a fellow activist was given a 2 year stint for ‘opposing officers on duty’. Six other activists have also been convicted of similar thought crimes related to the chemical spill. Perhaps the most famous case, which received temporary corporate media coverage, was that of journalist Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, who went by the pseudonym Mother Mushroom. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison in connection to her coverage of human rights abuses and environmental issues in Vietnam. Since Trump doesn’t really believe in free speech I doubt he would take issue with anything the communist regime has done. He probably wishes he could emulate that here, but for now he is consigned to calling unfavorable coverage of himself fake news and threatening to revoke broadcasting licenses on twitter.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Bushmen Genocide in Botswana: U.S. Involvement Uncovered

See Previous post for context


USAID supports 'conservation' efforts in Botswana through a little known program called the Tropical Forest Conservation Fund. The TFCF was established through the Tropical Forest Conservation Act, which Bill Clinton signed into law in 1998. The Bush Admin established the TFCF in Botswana in 2006, a year after a third wave of Bushmen were forcibly removed from Kalahari Park. The TFCA creates a debt-for-nature agreement with participating countries whereby, for instance, Botswana can have their debt to the United States reduced while USAID simultaneously provides funds for the main conservation organization in Botswana: FCB. The federal government initially contributed $7 million to the TFCF in Botswana, and its board includes U.S. representatives that oversee 'conservation' activity.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Haiti Open for Plunder: Neocolonialism in Haiti

Some things never seem to change. The manner in which multinationals plunder the resource wealth of third world countries and exploit their populace for cheap labor, enabled by institutions like the IMF and World Bank as well as Washington, is not much different from the colonialism that predominated Herbert Spencer’s time. The only difference is that it is now done under the pretense of ‘humanitarianism', a phony ideology cooked up in executive board rooms to justify egregious violation of moral law; it is the tired tactic of bypassing people’s rational faculties (lateral prefrontal cortex) by appealing to their passions (amygdala). Behind every self-proclaimed philanthropist is an ulterior motive, hidden from public view by the media’s omission. A more startling example of this could not be found outside of Haiti, which for the last century has persisted under the iron fist of Washington, and especially in the after math of the 2010 earth quake.

Out of the billions spent on the recovery effort, most of the funding went to for-profit U.S. contractors, U.S. NGOs, and foreign multinationals.The state department awarded the vast majority of rebuilding contracts to American instead of Haitian contractors and Washington spent $156,380,000 on development of Caracol Industrial Park and another $170,300,000 on its power plant and port, a quarter of the USAID budget for disaster recovery. The plan to build a venue for foreign manufacturers, especially textile and garment contractors, had been conceived well before the earth quake.

The World Bank, that bastion of neoliberal orthodoxy, along with the Inter-American Development Bank and a few Haitian officials rewrote Haitian mining laws, in a closed door meeting, to make extraction more convenient and cheaper. Specifically, they waived the requirement to have a mining convention ratified by parliament, privatized Haitian subsoils (previously considered the state’s domain) and removed environmental protections.

Canadian mining company Eurasian minerals has a license to 1,770 square kilometers or about 1/3 of Haiti’s North.

Another Canadian company, Majescor, and a small U.S. company, VCS Mining, and their subsidiaries have licenses or conventions for tracts totaling over 750 square kilometers.

Altogether, about 15 percent of Haiti’s territory is under license to North American mining firms and its partners. The price for being handed the privilege of controlling Haiti’s gold mining industry and 15% of its land is a paltry 2.5% royalty rate.

Before the industrial park was built, some 720 farm workers were evicted from their land, an aggregate of 246 hectares, without due process and only a pittance in compensation for lost wages. Evicting hundreds of farm workers to make room for the industrial park not only had the immediate effect of depriving them of both their present and future earnings, it also raised food prices in Caracol by making them more dependent on food imports, for which they already depend on for 50% of their food, and put downward pressure on all wages by lowering the margin of production, effectively creating conditions not far removed form their pre 1804 circumstances. To further elaborate on the last point, I’d like to bring to the readers attention that there is a very good reason why USAID, the State Department, and the World Bank, among other criminal enterprises, did not choose to build the industrial park on land devastated by the 2010 earthquake or any other less valuable site: two words, cheaper labor.

Cinic Antoine Iréné, a farmer who lost his land when the Caracol Industrial Park was constructed, said:“The land at Caracol was used for food production for all the North East – plantain and other food. They’ve taken these lands and put concrete on them. The industrial park is the biggest injustice done to the North East because they could have chosen other, less productive places”.

What this farmer does not understand is that by monopolizing all of the valuable land in Haiti, which includes the 15% licensed to mining companies, foreign corporations reduce the margin of production, the wages Haitians could earn working on rent free land. By the law of rent, wages are determined by the productive capacity of free land, and thus the margin of production is the floor for wages. The intended consequence of monopolizing the most valuable land is to reduce the bargaining power of labor, and thus wages. And despite what the Inter-American Development Bank and USAID have said about 65,000 jobs, the foreign manufacturers will eventually leave when wages rise and they find cheaper labor elsewhere, as they have historically done.

Evicting farmers from their land, agricultural dumping and allowing foreign companies to monopolize the most valuable land had the intended effect that anyone could have foreseen: higher food prices and lower wages for industrial workers. And that is exactly what unfolded, the current wage is $0.64 per hour ($5 per day), most of which is depleted by the cost of transportation and food. But even this low wage floor had to be mandated by Haiti's parliament, a mandate that USAID and then secretary of state Clinton fiercely opposed in favor of a much smaller increment of $0.31 per hour.  Add to these atrocities the fact that Haiti is currently under the foreign military occupation of 10,000 UN 'peacekeepers', keeping the 'peace' through rape and disease, one finds a frightening resemblance to the bygone era of European colonialism.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Four Dictatorships And Despotic Regimes Supported By Washington

As every rank and file neocon will tell you, their wars spread freedom and democracy abroad (while oddly crushing it at home) and protect U.S. interests (by which they mean corporate interests). If by freedom they mean the freedom of military contractors to plunder the tax cattle through congress, the federal government's 'freedom' to trample on your natural rights, and if by democracy, they mean voting for a corporate puppet every two years, then they are right. But if we are using plain English instead of Newspeak, then the entire narrative falls apart under the slightest scrutiny.

While the hawks we're screaming Assad must go and Syria should be balkanized  and drumming up public support for their 'humanitarian intervention' through the likes of White Helmets propaganda videos, they forgot about all those other countries where they could be promoting freedom and democracy like Egypt, which has been ruled by a military Junta, who 'kills his own people', since the 2013 coup, or Saudi Arabia, which has been ruled by an absolute monarchy, who kills his own people, since it was formed, or in the Kingdom of Bahrain, where a despotic Sunni regime invites Saudi troops to help them repress democratic protests, or Vietnam, which still languishes under the heal of totalitarian communism. Maybe we need a second Vietnam war to promote freedom and democracy.

The House of Saud


This is by far the easiest one to spot. Riyadh beheads twice as many people as ISIS, and usually for imaginary crimes like sorcery and homosexuality. Add to this the fact that Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy that imposes sharia on its subjects, at sword point, and that they are in the process of  murdering Yemeni civilians, its not hard to see how Saudi Arabia is ripe for a color revolution. Of course, as long as they prop up the petrodollar system setting oil prices in dollars and recycling those dollars through treasury bonds (some 750,000,000,000 USD worth) and U.S. defense contractors like Textron Systems, General Dynamics and Boeing, they will remain in good standing with the
leviathan.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi


After seizing power in a 2013 coup, al-Sisi has never restrained his security forces and army, both under his command, from silencing opposition through brute force. His goons have crushed freedom of speech, expression, assembly and the press through mass murder, indefinite detentions, military trials of civilians, and the false arrests of protestors or anyone who dares criticize him, even high school students. Some 124 Egyptians died in detention, from August 2013 to 2015, as a result of medical negligence and torture perpetrated by his security forces. And as a result of his edict expanding military court jurisdiction over all public facilities, some 2300 civilians have been sentenced in military tribunals. Of course none of his atrocities have discouraged Washington from providing his regime with billions in military aid (about 1.3 billion annually) and crowd control weapons.

The Vietnamese Communist Party


Yet another repressive government that receives Obozo's flattering support, in more ways than one; not only has he lifted the arms embargo against and promoted a TTP partnership with Vietnam, they also receive $122,000,000 in foreign aid from Washington. The Vietnamese Communist Party, which control a political monopoly with an iron fist, like their ideological brethren in North Korea, meet the slightest dissent with indefinite detention, imprisonment and sometimes death. The Communist state enslaves its own people through labor camps, where drug offenders, who are not even given a jury trial, are forced to work without compensation, and are often beaten and starved if they fail to meet daily quotas.

Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa


Bahrain, like Saudi Arabia, is a Sunni monarchy, and yet another Washington ally that responds to political dissent with brute force. Freedom of speech, expression, association, and assembly are all non-existent there. The government conducts internet censorship and sets up check points where security forces search citizens' phones. Even dissent on social media is met with indefinite detention, often torture, and sometimes capital punishment. During the 2011 'Arab Spring' the government called on the Saudi military to help them suppress democratic protests by the Shiite majority. But none of the state's atrocities have discouraged Washington from providing them with 11.9 million in foreign aid, even as the regime continues to imprison Shiite protesters for thought crimes.

Conclusion 


Out of all the despots and dictators Washington supports, they wouldn't have to invade even one of them to make them embrace greater 'freedom and democracy' in their own countries; they could use economic coercion to make them comply with the UN Declaration of Human Rights, so there's really no excuse.

The real motive for ousting Assad is not 'humanitarianism', a shoddy veil that is easily seen through. The real motive is to isolate Iran and maintain Israel's nuclear monopoly in the region, just like the real motive for the war against Qaddafi was not 'humanitarianism', like the talking heads of msm would have you believe, but to prevent him from creating a gold backed pan-African currency and keep francophone Africa dependent on neocolonialist institutions like the IMF and World Bank. This narrative, unlike the 'humanitarian intervention' narrative, is corroborated by known facts; the fact that both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are regional rivals of Iran makes them convenient allies (the enemy of my enemy is my friend) and thus clients of the U.S. defense industry.