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

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Obama's Fascist Legacy

Obama's Police State
I am more relieved than ever that the Obama presidency is over, not because I think anything will improve under a Trump presidency, now complacency towards the march of tyranny will finally die. Every leftist crying that the inevitable Trump presidency will bring fascism here has apparently been asleep for the past eight years because they have failed to grasp that the Obama Administration has set the precedent for fascism. He didn't just continue the Bush era police state; he expanded it and made it much worse. The fourth and fifth amendments have been obliterated under his administration; he not only extend the Patriot Act twice and left the PRISM program in place, he broadened it by allowing the NSA to share the private information of American citizens with federal law enforcement if they come across evidence of a crime, giving way to the use of parallel construction in prosecutions. It was also not too long ago that he signed the amendments to Rule 41, allowing judges to issue search warrants for computers outside of their jurisdiction. It was under his administration that the subpoena power of FBI field offices were expanded to include email data and browsing history and the Cybersecurity Internet Surveillance Act was passed, eliminating liability for tech companies that share Americans' data with the DHS and requiring the DHS to, in turn, share this data with the NSA, DOD, and Director of National Intelligence. Lets not forget that it was this administration that signed indefinite detention into law through a provision in the 2011 NDAA. The same administration assassinated four American citizens, through drone strikes, without a jury trial, around the same time. Now that the dictatorial powers to indefinitely detain American citizens accused of abetting terrorism, without a criminal trial, and executing them via drone strikes has been handed over to Trump, I am sure the left will start paying attention to the exponentially growing executive powers. Under his administration, civil asset forfeiture revenue ballooned from 1.5B in 2008 to a peak of 4.5B in 2014, exceeding the aggregate value of property stolen by common thieves (3.9B). The same administration brokered more weapons sales than any other since World War II, and lifted the arms embargo on the totalitarian socialist regime of Vietnam. On his watch, local and state police received more surplus military weapons than under previous administrations, and non-military federal spending on guns and ammunition jumped from 55M in 2006 to 112M in 2011. Even administrative agencies such as the FDA,  the EPA, the United States Mint, and the VA bought 335M in military gear and weapons. The EPA, for instance spent 3.1M on guns and ammunition from 2006 to 2014.

Obama's Imperialism 

The Obama admin destabilized three near east countries through three illegal wars, conducted without congressional authorization, in Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Libya has been turned into a wasteland overrun by warlords and Salafists; Yemen has been bombed into oblivion and starved by the Washington backed Saudi coalition, and Syria might have shared the same fate as Libya were it not for 'Russian aggression.' You would think that out of anyone, a noble prize winner would be repulsed by the usual excuses of collateral damage and cheap appeals to expediency, which is best exemplified by his arming of 'moderate rebels' i.e. Salafi terrorists who invaded Syria from the surrounding Gulf states and coopted the early protests.

Authoritarian domestic policies tend to be correlates of perpetual warfare either at home or abroad; historically, there is a high degree of comorbidity between the two. At present the Obama admin has deployed special forces in four different countries (Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq) and is conducting the CIA drone program, that has killed hundreds of civilians during Obama's tenure, in seven different countries. It is no wonder that he has ramped up the war on terror propaganda and ramped down our constitutional rights.

Side Note: A popular misconception is that Obama ended the war in Iraq, which is false on two grounds: the agreement with the Iraqi parliament to withdraw all troops by 2011 was negotiated under the Bush admin and there are at present still a couple hundred special forces in Iraq.

The Trans Pacific Partnership 

The so called 'free trade' agreement that Obama tried to push through congress, but failed, would have had the same effect as his foreign policy, which is the consolidation of corporate power on a global scale (i.e. globalism). Had Obama been successful in this endeavor, the Trans Pacific Partnership would have dealt a single death blow to our national sovereignty. Even though it died with Clinton's loss, it still had a significant impact on our laws; the Country of Origins Labeling Act was repealed, the DARK Act was signed into law, and the executive office was given fast track authority on future trade agreements.

Final Note

I do not believe that the election of Trump has saved our republic, but it has, for the time being, slowed the political momentum towards despotism by sowing discord between the press and the executive office. Perhaps a hostile press will unwittingly bring the Obama administration's abuses to light when Trump inevitably capitalizes on them for his own agenda.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Misguided Empathy: The Truth About The So Called Refugee Crisis

I am tried of bleeding heart liberals and do gooders of every stripe whining about a lack of acceptance for refugees when they don't even have the decency to acknowledge the cause of the refugee crisis. The Obama administration's imperialistic foreign policy destabilized the countries they are fleeing from. He turned Libya into a wasteland ruled over by competing warlords and created a vacuum for ISIS to gain a foothold in Libya. He's done the same thing in Syria by arming salafist terrorist groups and placing economic sanctions against Syria. Assad isn't fighting against 'moderate rebels', he's fighting Al Qaeda splinter groups like Al Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, and of course ISIS. He's worsened the crisis in Yemen by continuing to provide tactical support and weapons to the barbaric Saudi Royal Air-force that have murdered thousands of civilians and the Saudi Navy that has blockaded the Yemeni ports preventing desperately needed humanitarian aid and food from reaching their victims. He's placed special forces in four countries without congressional authorization for any of them, which is illegal. It's time to stop pretending he's deserving of his nobel peace prize or any praise he's received for addressing the refugee crisis. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

In 2016 Vote For No One

"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal." - Emma Goldman 


The choices offered in this presidential election are just as abysmal as they have been in previous elections. And who are people really voting for? The next figure head of the empire: someone who will oversee the continuation of phony wars (e.g. terror and drugs) perpetrated against the American people under the guise of protecting our 'freedoms': someone who will oversee the doling out of favors, which is made incumbent by the norm of reciprocity: someone who will oversee the further concentration of power, via upward wealth redistribution, into fewer hands. No matter who is elected president in November, the same system will remain in place. At most he/she may tweak it a bit; Clinton might get paid family leave implemented or Trump might push through his tax cuts, but the same neoliberal system will be left in place, the same police state will be left unabated (and probably made even more repressive given the leading candidates attitudes toward civil liberties), and the same imperialist wars will be continued.

It might be worth it to mention some of our candidates' positions just to demonstrate what most people should already know. I've listed the candidates and some of their positions in descending order, from worst to least worst.

Clinton's policies
supported war in Iraq
supported war in Afghanistan
supported Libyan rebels who carried out an ethnic cleansing of black Libyans
after Gadhafi’s death 
wants
supports CIA drone war (now in 7 countries)
will probably start WWIII as president (as indicated by her hawkish tone on Syria)
supported TARP bailout
supported repeal of Glass Steagall Act (under her husband's admin)
supports Import-Export bank: provides low interest rate loans to multinationals
supported Patriot Act and its extension
supports NSA prism program
supports terrorist watch list
supports no fly list and wants to use it to also curtail 2nd amendment rights
supports the Trans Pacific Partnership (in fact she advocated it as secretary of state)
supports ruthless dictators like former Egyptian president Mubarak, King Salman bin Abdulaziz (and former King Abdullah) and Al Sisis
her top campaign donors include JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, BOA, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley

Trump's Policies
supported war in Iraq (as indicated in 2002 Howard Stern Interview)
supported TARP bailouts
wants a national 'stop and frisk'
believes American citizens accused of terrorism should be tried in military courts
he is ok with using eminent domain to take property from one private citizen and give it to another (Kelo vs. City of New London)
supports NSA prism program 
proposed looting people's bank accounts as a way to pay down the national debt in a 2000 CNN interview
supports terrorist watch list
supports no fly list and wants to use it to also curtail 2nd amendment rights
supports reauthorization of Patriot Act
supports Obama's drone wars in seven countries
wants to deploy 30,000 troops, and God only knows how many private mercenaries, to Iraq and Syria

But....
He opposed the reauthorization of Import-Export Bank 
Is the only candidate, besides Jill Stein, who has spoken out against the Trans Pacific Partnership
Wants to reinstate Glass-Stegall Act
Is less hostile to Russia and the Syrian government
and unlike Hillary, he isn't bought off by the finance industry

Trump is by far the lesser evil, but the lesser evil is still a bad choice. Neither of the two sincerely believe in the neoconservative ideology they are peddling; their true ideology is egotism. The biggest difference is that Trump is at least open to compromise.

Gary 'bake the cake' Johnson's Policies

or perhaps he could be more aptly called Gary 'what is Aleppo?' Johnson 

He wants to replace the federal income tax with a 23% national sales tax which is worse in some regards because it is a tax specifically on labor and would shift most of the burden of taxation onto the working class. Soak the poor is what Johnson's so called fair tax amounts to.

He supports the Trans Pacific Partnership, like any quintessential neoliberal who's concept of freedom amounts to cheap labor for multinationals and often bonded labor, since five of the twelve countries that have signed on are havens for human trafficking.

He opposes campaign finance reform and is opposed to any of the current limits on campaign donations, despite the fact that he would have a much better chance if political campaigns were only allotted public funding and SuperPacs were prohibited.

And did I mention he thinks jewish bakers should be forced to bake nazi cakes, even though political affiliation isn't a protected class in any civil rights legislation. I think what he was actually trying to convey was that Christian bakers, and christian wedding planners, and christian ministers should be forced to celebrate homosexual marriage against their conscience. If that is the case then it undermines any other objection he may have to any other forms of forced labor.

I probably agree with the vast majority of Gary Johnson's platform, especially when it comes to foreign policy and civil liberties, but his position on the TTP and tax reform, his wack-a-doodle demeanor, and his gross ignorance on current events makes him untenable as a candidate. I could tolerate some of his atrocious policies, but his support for the Trans Pacific Partnership was a deal breaker. Its pretty sad that this clown is the best candidate the Libertarian Party has to offer. 

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.