Archive for October, 2010
By Nils Klawitter and Wladimir Pyljow
Every autumn, children in Uzbekistan are forced to work in the cotton harvest, for little pay. German companies are among those profiting from this violation of human rights.
In Uzbekistan, summer vacation begins in mid-September, when the heat subsides. It lasts about two months, but many schoolchildren hardly even see their parents during this time. Instead they are required to serve their country by picking cotton.
An obscure ritual dating back to the former Soviet command economy unfolds during the autumn harvest season in the Central Asian republic, when President Islam Karimov mobilizes the masses. About 2 million schoolchildren are then ordered to work in the fields and harvest the “white gold,” as cotton has been known since the days of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. In addition to natural gas and gold, cotton is one of the most important sources of hard currency for the Uzbek elite. The price of cotton is currently at its highest since trading began 140 years ago.
Not that the young cotton pickers see much of those profits. Nazira was just 11 when she worked in the fields last year. For an entire month, she, her teachers and the other children from her class in a village near Andijan in eastern Uzbekistan would start picking at 7 a.m. and worked until the early evening hours.
The children were told to meet their quota of 10 kilograms per day. “I was barely able to pick three kilos,” Nazira reports. She was paid 60 sums per kilo (3 euro cents). After a month’s work, she gave the money to her mother. “She used it to buy me a winter cap, but it wasn’t enough, so she had to pay a little extra herself.”
Beaten For Not Reaching Quotas
The slightly older schoolchildren who were sent out to work in the area were even worse off. Their teachers simply kept some of the children’s monthly wages. Those who didn’t make their quotas were also beaten. The few parents who objected to the forced recruitment of their children found themselves being harassed by teachers visiting their homes.
In October 2008, Umida Donisheva, a 17-year-old girl, hung herself from a tree on the edge of a cotton field. According to the brief report on an Uzbek Internet news site, Umida had been unable to handle the pressure coming from her teachers to pick more and more cotton.
According to Joanna Ewart-James of Anti-Slavery International, what is happening in Uzbekistan is nothing short of “child slavery.” Although Uzbekistan has since signed the United Nations convention against the worst forms of slavery and denies any wrongdoing, little has changed for children in rural areas, says Ewart-James.
Well, he can either debate or deny a very large donation of food to poor, starving people in New York. Like any conscientious liberal, I’m sure the Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist and NY Times pundit from Princeton will choose to debate… but if he doesn’t, you can up the ante by adding to the (potential) donation total.
See Paul Krugman debate Robert Murphy on Keynesian versus Austrian business cycle theory! Moderated by Ezra Klein, or another moderator of mutual choosing. All proceeds (less The Point’s 5% fee) will be donated to the Fresh Food Program of FoodBankNYC.org, a non-profit dedicated to feeding the hungry of NYC.
The idea for this debate is the brainchild of Dr. Robert Murphy, author of the Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism and the Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal. It is a wonderful idea because Murphy is uniquely qualified to take on a stimulus-loving Keynesian like Krugman. But what makes this especially intriguing is that no matter what someone donates, their card doesn’t get billed unless the event, in this case the Murphy-Krugman debate, actually happens. This allows people to donate without feeling like they are throwing their money away. After all, if Krugman doesn’t debate, they aren’t out anything. Of course, the Fresh Food Program of the Food Bank for New York City will be.
Here’s a funny teaser video put out by Murphy showing him “working out” for the debate, the campaign for which has already generated almost $45,000 as of this posting:
Oct 21, 2010
WASHINGTON — Special codes that allow the US president to order a nuclear attack went missing “for months” during Bill Clinton’s time at the White House, his former top military officer says in a memoir.
The nuclear authorization codes, known as the “biscuit,” are supposed to remain close to the US president at all times and are safeguarded by one of his aides.
“At one point during the Clinton administration — and until this day, to my knowledge this has never been released — the codes were actually missing for months,” former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Hugh Shelton wrote in his newly-published memoir, “Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior.”
“This is a big deal — a gargantuan deal — and we dodged a silver bullet.”
The aide assigned the sensitive job of keeping the “biscuit” managed to lose track of the codes in 2000, the retired general said.
When a colleague from the Pentagon came to the White House to confirm the codes as part of a monthly routine procedure, the aide put him off, saying Clinton had the codes and was busy with an urgent meeting.
“This comedy of errors went on, without President Clinton’s knowledge I’m sure,” Shelton said, until it was time to replace the codes with a new set, which is done every four months.
“At this point we learned that the aide had no idea where the old ones were, because they had been missing for months.
“The president never did have them, but he assumed, I’m sure, that the aide had them like he was supposed to,” he added.
When he learned of the disaster, Shelton rushed to the offices of then-defense secretary William Cohen, saying: “you are not going to believe this.”
Do you people understand what is happening in this country?
The politicians and the banksters say we have been out of the recession for more than a year now.
Yeah, sure statistically may be, but for many citizens that are unemployed it doesn’t feel like we are.
The government spend almost a trillion dollars to create jobs… and there are still nowhere to be found.
The government even spend more money for our common good – propped the car market, the housing market, the banks, some failing businesses…
And in the end many people are still out of work, but now they and their children will be on the hook to pay back the irresponsibly wasted money that were supposed to create jobs.
Do you need more evidence that we are banana republic in a Depression.
The official unemployment is 10%, the broader measure including the underemployed is more than 17%.
Why aren’t these numbers making the news?
But more and more people see and feel the pain. They can figure it out without watching the cable news or reading the news paper.
THE PEOPLE ARE PISSED OFF!
And the politicians, the government, the big business and the banks, they all know that.
They are afraid, very afraid…
May be they see that the day of reckoning is coming.
The day when we hold politicians accountable for mismanagement of this country,
the day when we ask the government to rethink and define “who is serving who”,
the day when people show, that the big business is big because we decide to buy their products or services,
the day when we lock the banksters in the jail cells, for cheating us out of our hard earned money.
INDIANAPOLIS — Armed security guards will be on hand at 36 unemployment offices around Indiana in what state officials said is a step to improve safety and make branch security more consistent.
No specific incidents prompted the action, Department of Workforce Development spokesman Marc Lotter told 6News’ Norman Cox.
Lotter said the agency is merely being cautious with the approach of an early-December deadline when thousands of Indiana residents could see their unemployment benefits end after exhausting the maximum 99 weeks provided through multiple federal extension periods.
“Given the upcoming expiration of the federal extensions and the increased stress on some of the unemployed, we thought added security would provide an extra level of protection for our employees and clients,” he said.
Some offices have had guards for nearly two years but those guards were hired on a regional basis, meaning some offices had armed guards while others did not, Lotter said.
The cost of the armed guards varies dramatically around the state. Lotter said the agency is trying to be more consistent and that it plans to employ armed guards in all 36 offices where unemployment insurance benefits are handled.
The overall cost for the security is $1 million, paid for with federal funds designated for administration of the unemployment system, Lotter said.
Other agency offices that provide job training or are not full-service branches will continue to have unarmed guards.
Lotter said state employees in the affected offices have also recently gone through stress-management training in which they learn how to respond appropriately to angry clients.
“This is a stressful time for people in the economy,” he said. “That’s why we’re not only taking this step (of hiring guards), but we’re also increasing our training for our staff to be able to help people as they’re trying to cope with these changes.”
College tuition costs climbing again this fall – College tuition costs shot up again this fall, and students and their families are leaning more on the federal government to make higher education more affordable in tough economic times, according to two reports issued Thursday.
As College Fees Climb, Aid Does Too – The good news in the 2010 “Trends in College Pricing” and “Trends in Student Aid” reports is that fast-rising tuition costs have been accompanied by a huge increase in financial aid, which helped keep down the actual amount students and families pay.
Why are college tuitions continue to go up? Because the government continues to pay up.
Entrepreneurs May Make Ireland Europe’s `Comeback Kid’ – Bloomberg’s John Cookson reports on Irish entrepreneurs and foreign technology firms that are starting to draw investment back to the country, helped by the skills of the local workforce.
Don’t discuss the deficit. Instead, call borrowing “stimulus.” Trillions are not much different from billions. Debt can be paid back with more borrowing and someone else’s higher taxes. Ignore the lessons of Greece and California. To appear noble, call for more unemployment benefits, free medical care and more entitlements. To sound cruel, talk about borrowing to pay for them.
Keep silent about Social Security and Medicare. If the system is insolvent, it cannot be because we are living longer, retiring earlier, often taking out more than we paid into the pot, abusing disability provisions, or facing an aging and soon-to-be-shrinking population. Instead, rail at fat cats who need to pay more payroll taxes, and at wasteful programs like defense that can be cut to ensure more for the elderly and needy. The checks will always come in time, and “they” will always pay for them.
Gold Will Outlive Dollar Once Slaughter Comes: John Hathaway -The world’s monetary system is in the process of melting down. We have entered the endgame for the dollar as the dominant reserve currency, but most investors and policy makers are unaware of the implications.
Printing press prosperity – The term “inflation targeting” sounds deceptively benign, like “quantitative easing.” While printing money sounds offensive to most Americans, quantitative easing sounds like a spa treatment. Inflation targeting does not sound as vulgar as “We are going to print money indiscriminately until inflation reaches a target level, no matter how much it takes.”
On Wall Street: All Reward, No Risk – For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Wall Street bankers, traders and executives get paid so much money year after year for doing jobs that rarely require them to innovate, enlighten or put their own capital at risk, and have the nasty habit of periodically sinking our economy.
Where are the Jobs? The Parallels between Today and the Great Depression