Monday, March 17, 2014

The Psychology of FAIRNESS

The Psychology of Fairness
Human organisms, 

like members of other social species
appear to arrive equipped to be fair.
Evolution equips us to be fair
Then society and culture step in and we
learn to become less fair.
I want to study that process

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Religion v Childhood

Religion v Childhood
Religion is an early form
of ***psychological violence***
against children....
beginning approximately
around age 5,
when children, because of
innate *curiosity*,
[an attribute of all
mammalian species]
begin to ask questions
about their bodies
and their environment

for use only with attribution
Chithra KarunaKaran

Reason v Religion

Reason v Religion..

There is no society
 in the history of humanity
that does not make
"collective representations"
of its beliefs.

as individuals,
as mammals,
make representations beginning in early childhood.

To make representations
is to demonstrate social-cognitive ability.

The problem arises
when dominant Power is used
by certain members of society (mainly male patriarchs)
to define who can represent,
and who/what will be represented.

Certain religionists (again mainly male)
go to destructive lengths
to define, 

dominate these representations.

Q. Need I name the relatively recent religion
that most displays this destructive power
to control representations, 

especially of women?

Look into your conscience, religionists.

Submission wont help
Reasoning will!

Complying wont help
Reasoning will!
Praying wont help,

Reasoning will!
Reason v Religion..

Chithra KarunaKaran

Friday, November 9, 2012

 Power Parity
Election 2012 is over.
If the WOMEN we vote into power on OUR behalf, are really white males in female clothing, that will not help. 
If we elect women, who have bought into patriarchal rules of dominant and unequal power and they win, that will not help women obtain parity of power.

We need to develop a critical mass of women of will lead and vote smart policy that benefits the Greater Common Good, 
The GCG is gender-neutral.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Q. Is the World Getting Flatter? 
Q. Are we becoming more and more like each other?
Q. Implying possibly that we are gradually losing individuality?
Q. Thomas ("The World is Flat") Friedman has a point but is it the whole point?

Both the short term and long answer is: no, and again, no!

Arguably, people across the entire world are becoming ever more unique and special and one-of-a-kind, however, at the very same time as they are sharing information about daily events in real time.

While there may be homogenity of material culture example, laptops, cellphones, air travel, we are developing varied and numerous subcultures -- vegans, animal activists, transgenders, political hacktivists, artisanal tomato growers, etc etc.

I think there is a danger to individuals when for example, the corporate global culture of fast food produces higher and higher rates of OBESITY in even the poorer counties. 

What can each of us do? 
Choose our lifestyles carefully, think Globally, Act Locally and work nonviolently for PEACE with FAIRNESS towards ALL. 

Fairness towards the poor and the disadvantaged helps lessen inequality of access and increases equality of opportunity

No one should be left behind in the new Global Village that is Planet Earth. 
[If you use my copyrighted statement in any way, please use freely but attribute fully to avoid plagiarism, this blog is protected by Creative Commons Licence]

Saturday, October 20, 2012

DAYTONA BEACH—Mitt Romney accused President Barack Obama of running a campaign based on "petty attacks" and "silly word games" and accused his rival of having "...See More
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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Yeah, tell 'em Karzai, Stand Up, Speak Out
Hey Good work Karzai, stand up and speak out against U.S. invasion and Occupation of Afghanistan.

The U.S. Govt has sent its own young men and women, mainly poor persons of color and not college educated, to die in Afghanistan, and to kill as many innocent Afghans and Pakistanis as possible.

Because the U,S. Govt is Greedy and Violent.
The U.S. Govt is the 1%
We the People are the 99% -- whether we live in Afghanistan, Pakistan or the USA!

Take note -- Afghanistan is a gr8 place for the U.S. Govt to attack Iran and steal her oil, defend Israel, attack Palestine and exploit Pakistan's weak state.
And also steal Afghanistan's enormous extractable resources which have been detailed by the USGS -- United States Geological Survey.

 Remember the U.S. govt is not US!
Never confuse the American govt with the American PEOPLE.

Occupy the USA!

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice Blog

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lashed back at Afghan President Hamid Karzai Friday, saying the Afghan leader should say thank you now and then to the allied forces who are fighting and dying there, rather than criticizing them.
Panetta was responding to Karzai's complaints Thursday that the U.S. is failing to go after militants based in Pakistan, and instead is concentrating on the insurgents in Afghanistan.
"We have made progress in Afghanistan because there are men and women in uniform who have been willing to fight and die for Afghanistan's sovereignty," Panetta snapped, as he spoke with reporters traveling with him to South America. "Those lives were lost fighting the right enemy not the wrong enemy and I think it would be helpful if the president, every once in a while, expressed his thanks for the sacrifices that have been made by those who have fought and died for Afghanistan, rather than criticizing them."
The uncharacteristic shot from Panetta comes as tensions between the two countries have escalated over the increase in insider attacks, where Afghan security forces or insurgents dressed in their uniforms have turned their guns on coalition troops. And it raises the temperature on the heels of the announcement that, as of last weekend, 2,000 U.S. troops had lost their lives in the war.
At the same time, however, there is persistent frustration with the insurgents, including members of the Haqqani network, who wage attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan and can then retreat to their safe havens in Pakistan. U.S. officials have repeatedly pressed Islamabad to more forcefully go after the insurgents, including Haqqani factions in and around North Waziristan.
But, the U.S. also routinely uses drone strikes across the border into Pakistan to target and kill militants.
Karzai spoke at a press conference, complaining that if NATO troops want to go after terrorists they need to go where their safe havens are. And he also expressed frustration that Afghan forces aren't getting the weapons they need from NATO allies, suggesting Afghanistan might have to go to other countries such as China and Russia to get them.
Panetta's sharp retort also comes just days before he and other NATO defense ministers meet in Brussels to discuss the war and the road ahead, as allied forces begin to withdraw and transfer security to the Afghans. And the exchanges could fuel concerns among NATO allies that the insider attacks may be eroding trust between coalition and Afghan troops, making security transition all the more difficult.
Panetta last met with Karzai in May when he traveled to Afghanistan to meet with commanders and visit troops before the holidays. Both Panetta and Marine Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, will attend the NATO meeting.
Asked whether the insider attacks could prompt some allies to seek a faster withdrawal from Afghanistan, Panetta reaffirmed support for the current timeline that has combat troops leaving the warzone by the end of 2014 and turning security over to the Afghan forces. Officials have said that as many as 20,000 U.S. troops could remain over time, to continue training and counterterrorism efforts.
"My goal is to make clear to NATO and to our allies that we are taking all steps necessary to confront this issue and that it should not be allowed to deter us from the plan that General Allen put in place," Panetta said.
To date there have been 53 NATO troops killed in insider attacks, prompting military leaders to briefly curtail some partnered operations and set up a new approval process for those that involve smaller units.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

When Governments Speak instead of PEOPLE

India, the world's largest democracy is kissing U.S. ass

What is our problem?

If the PEOPLE of a postcolonial democracy, familiar with occupation and oppression, cannot stand up for ourselves and speak in our own diverse collective voices and push back against our kissup government, then what is our democracy worth?

When the greedy violent U.S. Govt asks us in India to jump (take the case of U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil), all the Indian govt. seems to be able to ask is:

How high?

Got to find our voice, the PEOPLE's voice at home and abroad. No govt can be allowed or expected to speak on behalf of its PEOPLE.

Same problem for my fellow Americans.

Occupy was a good start but not really grassroots or deeply, rigorously democratic. The core value of American individualism currently impedes collective endeavor.
In the Occupy movement this hyperindividualism is apparent among the majority of participants. 
Too many people saying in effect, "Watch me do me." 
Instead of Watch me do WE."

Q. Where's  OUR PEOPLE's pushback in India and the U.S. the world's largest democracies, when our allegedly elected govt. becomes oppressive or subservient to military/corporate vested interests?

The fault lies not in our stars, but with US, the PEOPLE.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ethical Energy* Gandhi used to begin his workday by cleaning latrines in a community. Every elected and nominated official and everyone of US 99ers might want to come up with *their own variation of Gandhi's example*. As for me, I clean my neighborhood Park EVERY DAY while I am walking my dog BabyBax. Y' know, pick up litter, broken beer bottles, cigarette butts in a plastic bag that I bring from home. The NYC Parks&Recreation people love me because I work right along with them and I don't accept money for my COMMUNITY SERVICE which is my dutiful obligation in a LIVING DEMOCRACY. Yaaay, i'm just sayin' note: (my coined phrase Ethical Energy is copyrighted in Creative Commons which covers this blog)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The One is the Other The Other is the One

Advaita is one source of universal humanism.
Q. What is the philosophical source of the Sanskrit phrase vasudhaiva kutumbakam? [ the Earth is One Family]?
The main point of philosophies of the universal condition, is not necessarily even the phrase vasudhaiva kutumbakam which is an existential fact (Hitopdesa 12 century CE ) but the philosophy of advaita itself ( 7th century CE) — nondual consciousness points to this universality — if we practice nondual consciousness which is our true self, atmam, then the One is the Other, the Other is the One, therefore vasudhaiva kutumbakam The Earth is One Family
Think about the connectedness of these ideas with African (ubuntu), Native American (Great Spirit) and other ancient philosophies of a possible human trajectory that develops us rather than limits or even destroys us, through our own thoughts and actions. We face a choice -- universality vs implosive nihilism.

In fact the ideal of vasudhaiva kutumbakam is preceded and predated by Advaita and is both evolutionary and revolutionary, like advaita itself.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Separation -- A Film for US the 99%

A Separation is a film for US. the 99%

A Separation -- Film by Asghar Farhadi, Country: Iran,
A Separation is an extraordinary Film that illustrates the human condition.
It is simultaneously personal, psychological, political, religious, economic and universal.
The film deservedly won the Golden Bear and the Golden Globe.
I saw it yesterday in Manhattan.

The official response from the Govt of Iran to the awards, is to be expected. No surprise there.
It is a government of a country, a government that has been made reactionary, because it has long under siege, first by colonial interests, then by neo-imperial manipulation by the U.S. Govt, -- not by US, but by the U.S.

Such governments become distorted, even to themselves and their peoples, in their actions and responses. Ditto U.S., Ditto Iran. However, whatever, no matter that that government (and especially its oppressor, the U.S. Govt.) , no matter what they say or do, cannot lessen the power of the film.

A Separation manages to vividly tell a human story about perceptions of truth, affection, power, class, loyalty, tradition and loss, a film hat has the capacity to touch US -- that is, if we are not fooled [by propaganda from the govt. of U.S. which is the principal perpetrator OR by the govt of Iran, which is in turn reactionary to neo-imperial assault], and if WE are receptive to the conditions and challenges that WE the People face, no matter where we live, in the process of becoming FAIR members of the Global Social, Economic & Political Order.

A Separation is a film for US. the 99%

Friday, January 6, 2012

CORPORATE google vs. Creative Google

CORPORATE google vs. CREATIVE google
Shame on Corporate Google for BLOCKING access to my gmail mailbox.
Millions of mailboxes have been similarly blocked. Millions of users have complied as if they were sheep.
My gmail inbox continues to be BLOCKED for the 4th day.
That's corporate dictatorship!

Hey Corporate Google, Learn a lesson from Yahoo! Yahoo! has never coerced its users into viewing Yahoo! product promos as a pre-condition for using their email.
I know. I have had a Yahoo! mailbox for over 10 years.
i say Shame on ugly CORPORATE Google, while admiring the innovative CREATIVE side of Google operations example your search and research engines.
you have blocked access to my inbox until i watch your stupid video claiming your "new look' . Guess you have to try to impress your shareholders.

As someone who thinks deeply and ACTS proactively about democracy I maintain there is a significant difference between shareholders and STAKEHOLDERS in a democracy.

For those in your corporate operations who might argue that I have a choice -- either comply with corporate google or lose access to my mailbox -- my Q is: Is that a legitimate choice?

I am a STAKEHOLDER in civil society in democracy, NOT a shareholder in your corporate operations.

1. CORPORATE google, You have no legal or moral right to block access to my gmail inbox

2. CORPORATE google, You have no legal or moral right to coerce me into watching some corporate video about how new and improved your product is, as a prerequisite to having access to my gmail inbox.

I REFUSE to WATCH YOUR VIDEO about your self-proclaimed 'new look'

A Corporation is NOT a person! Therefore -- what 'new look'?!

Are you less totalitarian than China? They've been kicking your butt. You deserve each other! That's what totalitarianism looks like, boardroom mirror anyone?

If my mailbox continues to be BLOCKED by Corporate Google, I will take recourse.

Professor Chithra KarunaKaran
City University of New York [CUNY]
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
Google's alleged "new look"
Here's my point:
Even the most forward looking corporates attempt to control individual action. In other words, they think they can tell you what you want and what you need.
Today I found Google blocking access to my gmail inbox
Google wanted me to view the 'new look' they supposedly have imparted to their email services.
Google does not provide a simple "No thanks, I'm happy with my service just the way it is",
Instead, Google BLOCKED access to my Inbox.
You are required to watch their dumb video telling you about their "new look"
For now. I am refusing to comply with Google's dictatorial approach.
Hey Google, I don't watch to watch your enforced video about how great your 'new look' is.

Corporate Google,Allow me to say "No thanks" to your new look and stop BLOCKING my inbox.

What Corporate google policy is this? Sanctions? Embargo?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Walmart Invades India

See how the CORRUPT Govt. of India Collaborates with Corporate LOOTERS to destroy the PEOPLE's ECONOMY?

Walmart Invades India

See how CORRUPT Govts. collaborate with Corporate LOOTERS to destroy what has the potential to become a PEOPLE's Economy in the world's largest democracy?

The Indian Government has never helped its farmers or its small retailers, the two largest sectors of the Indian economy.

Now India's govt. bends over backwards to give favorable terms to the world's largest corporation.

Walmart withdrew its operations from Germany because, the German govt.'s antitrust lawyers would not allow Walmart to undercut prices charged by local retailers. Or to remain open long hours, because of Germany's worker protection laws.

While Walmart operates in 27 countries besides the U.S. it does not have stores in ANY of the following countries that have a high UN Human Development Index (HDI) -- Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, France

In contrast Walmart has made headway in Africa.

In the U.S. Walmart has not (yet) succeeded in bringing its operations into New York City! A recent study showed that New York city would lose jobs and hurt small retailers.

If Walmart cannot enter the NYC business arena why does it receive landing rights in India?

The India of Gandhi's highly pragmatic ideal of local self-reliant sustainability deserves a more ethical government and more ethical business practices.

Neither India's govt nor Walmart meets the Gandhian standard

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Predatory Capitalism -- the 21st century U.S. type

Predatory Capitalism -- the 21st century U.S. type

Predatory Capitalism -- the 21st century US type -- is represented by the US Corporate-Military-Govt complex (CMG).

US Govt. manipulation of the market to protect the 1% vs. the 99% , had led to this problem. Now, we have become Occupiers like our govt at home and overseas!

Let us be careful, 99%.

I blame the US govt. rather than Goldman Sachs, for creating and expanding this monstrous problem.

By Govt. I mean BOTH houses of Congress and the White House.
My Govt. is acting in cohesion with their fellow corporate 1%ers, to benefit themselves and each other -- the 1% --, while pretending to have opposite views, while pretending to represent the Greater Collective Good (GCG) of We the 99%.

So it's the GCG of the 99% vs. the CMG of the 1%.

You and I did NOT elect Goldman Sachs.

You and I elected the US Govt.

In democracy we elect govts. not corporates.

So what does the US GOVT. do? The US govt. uses and abuses my ballot to act against me, a member of the 99%.

Demonizing GS, while temporarily useful, even just to vent our collective rage, will not help us to fully understand and completely overhaul, step by step, the US Corporate-Military-Govt. complex (CMG).

EVERY, yes EVERY, institution or formation, including the academy, army, business, under the US model of PREDATORY CAPITALISM, is controlled and managed by a 1% that acts against the 99%.

The academy has its 1% that produces a 2-tier system of inequality in education.

The army has its 1% that sends poor young people to war to kill other poor people else

You and I are reduced to commodities.

You and I are sows' ears futures to be traded in a commodities market for predatory gain by the 1%!

We the 99% are fighting back as hard as we can to reclaim our human capacity and dignity and our claim to a Fair Share.

Let us not become the 1%.

Throughout history, Rebels became Tyrants.

Let us be careful, steadfast, truthful, caring, 99%.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Opportunistic Obama

Opportunistic Obama

The U.S. President is both politically pragmatic and politically opportunistic.

He knows he can't win in 2012 on the Economy because of his abysmal, dismal performance on JOBS. That is a campaign promise he made but did not keep. Instead he prioritized Healthcare. If you don't have a job can you pay for healthcare?

So today, Obama's trying to capture the anti-war, anti-GREED, peace and unity vote that has coalesced at OWS -- Occupy Wall Street.


I feel relieved the USCIA is supposedly planning to get out of Iraq.

USCIA -- Get out of South Asia too.

Enough already.

Get out already.
NYTimes copyright
by Mark Lander


My sign at OWS!
Be there.

The Occupation

Personal Accountability+Collective Responsibility = Ethical Democracy

see YOU at OWS!

Be there, YOU ARE the Movement against Corporate, Military & Govt. GREED.

YOU are the Movement for Equality of Strength & Power.

Be there.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

Friday, October 21, 2011

Does Occupy Wall Street Endorse Religion?

Ethical Values that benefit Humanity and promote the GREATER COLLECTIVE GOOD ***neither need nor require religion to bolster such universal human values***.
Organized Religion frequently undermines Ethical HUMAN Values that promote Redistributive JUSTICE and advance the GREATER COLLECTIVE GOOD (GCG).
Occupy Wall Street -- One Breath at a Time.

Breath is a pre-religious activity of all species and living beings -- Breath!
Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Rockets' Red Glare -- from Pak Against the US!

The Rockets' Red Glare -- from Pak Against the US!
The USCIA manipulated Pakistan's military and govt for 60+ years, since the early 50's, the US got Pakistan to fight its US-invented Cold War, trained terrorists on Pakistan and Afghan sovereign soil.
Both Pakistan and Afghanistan's internally weak post-colonial governments took the US bait but also engaged in war profiteering and terror against their own people.

These US-initiated marriages were headed, from the word go, for Divorce Court, way way before the PAKISI and its proxy, the Haqqani,started firing the rockets on US posts (read occupation), mentioned in your article.

You sow what you reap, US.
Ditto Pak and Afghanistan.

In India, we did not allow one US soldier to set foot on Indian soil. We stayed out of your fabricated Cold War. We maintained cordial relations with both the US and the Soviets, and signed a strategic "treaty of friendship and cooperation" with the Soviets while building a vibrant democracy based on our own Gandhi-led liberation struggle.

See the resulting difference?
Learn from this, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The USCIA will not.
New York Times copyright

Thursday, October 13, 2011

OCCUPY Wall Street -- or somewhere close to it

Occupy Wall Street -- or somewhere close to it.
So I went downtown today in a light drizzle to check out the Occupy Wall Street activities. The US govt OCCUPIED Iraq & Afghanistan, now the American PEOPLE, or at least a disgruntled few hundreds, are daily occupying Wall Street.

Well not exactly Wall Street -- but close to it.
Zucotti Park to be precise, several blocks down and over. Those of us who actually are the 99%, who have been cheated by the banks and defrauded by the Govt. who stole our money and bailed out the financial houses, not just the banks.

At Zucotti, there's a lot of singing, dancing and free food. Blue tarps cover sleeping protesters and their belongings. Lots of banners and placards and flyers ranging from American Indian issues to the World Socialist Movement.

What's missing? I wish Zucotti had a Discussion Tent, where people could gather in small, decentralized groups to try to understand the many complex interrelated issues and then take the action back to their neighborhoods and to DC.

My sense is you can't talk about greed and corruption without aiming at those rabid Republicans and Tea Partiers who have just defeated Obama's Jobs Bill.

Regrettably, Obama offered TLTL -- Too Little Too Late -- he did not come up with ANY Job Action in his first 90 days in office, instead here he is,3 years later, 3 years too late, trying to get a Jobs Bill passed, in the heat of a re-election bid against those same Republicans. Good luck with that, hocus POTUS.
Yeah Yeah you will be re-elected because your opposition borders on suicidal lunacy or at the very least cynically simplistic solutions.

But to return to the Occupiers. Mainly they seemed to be feeling the moment and zen-like, were in the moment. Hope the moment can stretch and gain depth. That's essential.

Q. How did Zucotti ever become a PRIVATE Park, right off Broadway? I was shocked to research and discover that Brookfield Properties owns it.

Property IS Theft from the 99%.
Privatizing PUBLIC spaces, especially scarce green spaces, is THEFT of Public Resources, by the 1%, from the 99%.

Interestingly, Mayor Bloomberg's girlfriend, Diana Taylor, is on the Board of Directors of Brookfield Properties. She is a high-flying capitalist, who is shrewd enough to makeexcessive piles of money, access power, move with the movers and shake with the shakers, and then also sit on the boards of a fistful of PUBLIC-spirited non-profits, how shrewd is that.

So, is that why the Mayor came down yesterday to tell the Occupiers that they are ordered to vacate "temporarily" so the Park can be cleaned? Actually, it's relatively clean and well-maintained, today it's raining so Nature is cleaning as well, I saw Occupiers wielding brooms.

So my guess is the Mayor had a motive which had little to do with Lysol.

Help we really really need a cleaning crew during a Revolution! After we've been cleaned OUT already.

Wall Street, the street itself was pretty much cordoned off, lots of police and barricades, no singing, dancing, free food and overnight sleepers there. A union Local of building workers was protesting today with banners and a bullhorn, they repeated somewhat robotically "We are the 99%."

The bankers undoubtedly have central a/c, so could they hear the noisy % claim?

Then I walked over to Broadway and Morris to observe the famed Bull of high capitalism. I note he has surprisingly modest testicles. NYPD was guarding him while impressed tourists took pictures of themselves posing with him.

I asked a cop, Officer Feliciano, while leaning against a barricade and taking in the rock band, back again at Zocotti:

"How long do you figure this will last?"

He looked at his watch with a grin "Till tomorrow -- or maybe till it turns cold."

That's at least 3 months away.

Dr. Chithra Karunakaran
City University of New York [CUNY]
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

Monday, October 10, 2011

Infant & Child Rape in Sierra Leone

Infant and Child Rape in Sierra Leone . Do UN Women UNICEF or UNIFEM interact directly with UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) to REDUCE/Eliminate the rape o finfants and children? There are so many UN agencies and so little coordination among them, to the extreme and unacceptable point that this issue of Infant and Child Rape is being insufficiently addressed.

Do whatever it takes, UN agencies,especially the women-focused UN Agencies, you have the resources, you have the access, now show you have the guts to do the job you are paid to do.

Q. What Can UN Women do to overturn this horror?
A. UN Women must use their status-conscious, safe, comfortable UN jobs to ACT, not just talk endlessly. Earn your salary and perks, UN Women! You are a very privileged group that is employed by the UN out of my salary, as a citizen of a member-state. We ordinary folks from all the member countries, pay you UN folks. from our wages to ensure your salaries and perks and lifestyle.
***Infant & Child RAPE in Sierra Leone***

Sunday, October 9, 2011

China Manipulates its Currency to Cheat Workers Everywhere

China's Currency Manipulation Cheats Workers Everywhere
by Chithra KarunaKaran on Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 4:11am

China's Currency Manipulation hurts the world's workers and small businesses.

China's currency manipulation cheats workers in EVERY country, including China.

Yesterday the Dalai Lama called China's totalitarian rulers "liars" and "hypocrites" in the context of South Africa (China's largest trading partner and newest member of BRICS) refusal to grant a visa to the Dalai Lama on the occasion of fellow Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday. Presumably, South Africa was fearful of China's disapproval.

Here's the point however -- Whether it is Human Rights abuses or manipulating its currency value at the expense of workers and small businesses everywhere, China leads!

For China, Performing as Sweatshop Nation to the World is finally beginning to expose its ugly downside.

None of the BRICS, India included, have spoken out against China's artificial lowering of the value of its yuan.

Great for China, bad for workers everywhere, bad for small businesses everywhere, very profitable for bankers, multinational corporations and fat cat Republican legislators in the US Congress.

Why has the US Congress taken so long to wake up to China's faux role in the world economy?
Why has currency manipulation by China been tolerated by the US for so long?

Because America's biggest businesses have profited and made Republicans richer? While small businesses in the US have suffered and millions of Americans are jobless or underemployed?

Those who are occupying Wall Street in my city of New York need to add China's currency manipulation to their manifesto against bankers and multinationals.

China's rulers are unethical.
The US Govt, especially House and Senate Republicans, through delaying action against China, is also unethical.

The time is now for the renminbi to reflect the actual value of the yuan, and if the Chinese keep balking on upward revision, through punitive action against China for cheating workers and small businesses everywhere.

the Hill copyright
Ignoring Chinese currency manipulation costs America jobs

By Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) - 10/03/11 06:44 PM ET

In the 15 months since China announced that it would float its currency, the renminbi (RMB) has appreciated a paltry 6 percent against the U.S. dollar, well below what economists say it should. In fact, according to one reputable estimate, the RMB is still 28 percent below its true value.

The impact on America is clear. The currency manipulation by China costs at least 1 million American jobs, according to Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Bergsten has said it “is by far the largest protectionist measure adopted by any country since the Second World War — and probably in all of history.” Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman estimates that the cost of China’s action is closer to 1.5 million jobs.

As our manufacturers compete with Chinese companies to produce the products of the 21st century — from solar panels to battery cells — currency manipulation is one of the most egregious tools China is using to give its exporters an upper hand.

Yet in the face of compelling evidence for action, Republican leaders have offered no plans to bring up the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act that I reintroduced this year together with Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio and Republican Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania. The bill is designed to rein in China’s currency manipulation and has more than 200 co-sponsors. A virtually identical bill passed the House a year ago with support from the majorities of both parties.

What’s more, the Senate is preparing to act on legislation this week that includes the central components of the House bill.

Meanwhile, China continues to purchase U.S. Treasury bills in order to leverage its currency and maintain its low value. Combined, the practices artificially lower the cost of imported Chinese products and increase the cost of American exports to China.

The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act (H.R. 639) would allow countervailing import duties for U.S. industries that are injured by the undervalued RMB. The Commerce Department, as a result of the legislation, would have the authority to impose import tariffs to offset the negative consequences of China’s undervalued currency. The bill reverses a current Commerce Department practice that has precluded it from treating foreign government currency practices as an export subsidy while also directing the department on how to measure subsidies provided to foreign producers through currency undervaluation.

Overall, the measure could help reduce our trade deficit by $200 billion.

Our nation’s workers and businesses deserve a level international playing field, and this measure provides concrete action to help make that a reality. With 14 million Americans still looking for work, it is far past time that Republican leaders took up legislation that has a history of bipartisan support and will help strengthen the hands of American workers and businesses.

There is no excuse for inaction. The specter of a “trade war” has been raised by opponents, as it is so often used against action. It masks the fact that there is economic competition — indeed, a battle — among nations and it is unwise to let the other nation refuse to abide by long-ago-developed international rules to help prevent trade wars, including rules against currency manipulation.

House Republican leaders argue that the focus should be on other Chinese practices, relating to lack of protection of intellectual property and technology transfer requirements. We should be pursuing action on all fronts — instead of playing one off against another — especially since there has been no legislative action by the House majority on any.

Levin is the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee.
AP copyright
WASHINGTON — In one of Capitol Hill’s longest running battles, opponents of China’s trade policies have used threats, negotiation, protests from small American businesses and even the occasional Peking duck dinner in a failed effort to stop China from manipulating its currency.
Enlarge This Image
J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press
Lindsey Graham, left, and Charles E. Schumer proposed a tariff on Chinese goods.

After eight years, that campaign is on the verge of a breakthrough, as the Senate appeared ready Thursday to approve a get-tough approach that had stalled numerous times before: a bill to punish China with high tariffs on some exports if it fails to adopt a market-driven exchange rate.

Economists say China’s artificially cheap currency has cost the United States jobs and billions in lost trade. But opponents of tariffs, including major manufacturers doing business in China, warn that penalizing China could start a trade war that would hurt American businesses even more.

“We’re already in a trade war,” Senator Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat who has led the push for tariffs, said in an interview. “We can’t afford to just do nothing. This is a message to China that the jig is finally up.”

The American jobless problem have combined to give the tariff proposal newfound momentum, as the Senate spent much of the afternoon Thursday debating it.

Supporters, casting the measure as a way to spur job growth, were confident the Senate would approve it. Even the measure’s fiercest opponents were grudgingly predicting passage in the Senate, and probably the House.

But 11-hour resistance by leading Republicans has clouded the outcome in the House, where the speaker, John A. Boehner, this week called the tariff plan “dangerous,” and it is unclear if the issue will even come up for a House vote.

China itself voiced strong objections this week and charged that meddling by the United States in Chinese currency violated world trade protocols. The Chinese Embassy has retained one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying shops, Patton Boggs, to represent its interests for $420,000 a year.

Lobbyists for General Motors, Caterpillar, steel producers, textile manufacturers, toy makers, poultry farmers and other businesses have also weighed in, supporting or opposing the tariffs depending on their own business relations with China.

Generally, large manufacturers like Caterpillar that operate in China have opposed it, warning of a backlash. Smaller businesses, like a tube maker in Ohio or a ceramics maker in upstate New York, have supported tariffs because they say China has artificially lowered its prices and gained an unfair edge.

While the Chinese renminbi has risen 6 percent against the dollar since China loosened currency controls last year, economists say it is still vastly undervalued. Meanwhile, China’s trade surplus with the United States stands at $273 billion — more than triple the gap a decade earlier.

In Senate testimony this week, the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, went so far as to link China’s undervaluing of its currency to the slow economic recovery worldwide.

“The Chinese currency policy is blocking that process,” Mr. Bernanke testified. “And so it is to some extent hurting the recovery process.”

The Obama administration, however, has been noncommittal about the tariff proposal.

At a news conference on Thursday, President Obama would not say whether he would veto the bill it if it passed, but he raised concerns.

On the one hand, he said, “China has been very aggressive in gaming the trading system to its advantage,” and “it is indisputable that they intervene heavily in the currency markets.”

But he cautioned that he did not want to see the World Trade Organization strike down any steps the United States might take. “Then suddenly U.S. companies are subject to a whole bunch of sanctions,” Mr. Obama said.

Both supporters and opponents of the tariffs see the outcome as hugely significant financially and politically.
Page 2 of 2)

That was evident this week when the Club for Growth, a conservative free-market advocate that has led opposition to the bill, warned lawmakers that a vote supporting tariffs “will count heavily as an antigrowth action” on the group’s Congressional “scorecard,” which helps determine the group’s level of support.
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Club for Growth’s political muscle is already being felt. In the House, 99 Republicans supported a tariff plan last year. But after the club intensified its opposition, Representative Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat who favors tariffs, complained this week that “all of a sudden you can’t get a lick of Republican support.”

Early in the week, Chris Chocola, a former congressman who leads the Club for Growth, was pessimistic about chances of stopping the bill.

“It’s not politically expedient to defend China, so you won’t find many who will do that in words or deeds,” he said.

By midweek, after sharply critical remarks from Mr. Boehner on Tuesday, Mr. Chocola’s outlook had brightened.

“I give Boehner a lot of credit,” he said. “He clearly doesn’t want to bring it to the floor. And we’re trying to do everything we can to prevent it from getting to the floor.”

The maneuvering reflected the stops and starts on the issue as a whole since 2003, when Mr. Schumer and Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican, first proposed a 27.5 percent tariff on Chinese goods.

The two senators visited China in 2005 to press economic officials there to allow their currency to rise to market rates. They were greeted with a high-level banquet at the Great Hall of the People — Mr. Schumer pronounced the Chinese dishes “extraordinary” — and by China’s assurances that it would begin liberalizing monetary policies and allowing market forces to determine values.

The United States saw some early signs of improvement, but progress stalled. The Bush administration, after avoiding confrontations with China for years on the issue, took it to the World Trade Organization in 2007 over trade barriers.

The United States imposed tariffs on Chinese tires in 2009, and China followed the next year with steep tariffs on American poultry imports. Tariff opponents see the tit-for-tat as a small-scale version of the kind of trade wars they predict will break out en masse if the current plan becomes law.

“Every time we engage in protectionist behavior,” Mr. Chocola said, “bad things happen.”
NYTimes copyright
As Its Economy Sprints Ahead, China’s People Are Left Behind

Shiho Fukada for The New York Times
A shopkeeper napping on a busy shopping street in Jilin. While Western companies look at China as a potentially huge market, consumers in Jilin and other heartland cities mostly settle for what state-run department stores and mom-and-pop shops offer.
Published: October 9, 2011
JILIN CITY, China — Wang Jianping and his wife, Shue, are a relatively affluent Chinese couple, with an annual household income of $16,000 — more than double the national average for urban families.
Endangered Dragon
The Price of Growth
This is the second in a series of articles examining China’s system of government-managed capitalism and the potential weaknesses that could threaten the nation’s remarkable economic growth.
China’s Reluctant Consumers

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Shiho Fukada for The New York Times
Yang Yang and her son, Guo Liming. To save money, Ms. Yang, her husband and son recently moved in with her parents.
They own a modest, three-bedroom apartment here in this northeastern industrial city. They paid for their son to study electrical engineering at prestigious Tsinghua University, in Beijing. And even by frugal Asian standards, they are prodigious savers, with $50,000 in a state-run bank.
But like many other Chinese families, the Wangs feel pressed. They do not own a car, and they rarely go shopping or out to eat. That is because the value of their nest egg is shrinking, through no fault of their own.
Under an economic system that favors state-run banks and companies over wage earners, the government keeps the interest rate on savings accounts so artificially low that it cannot keep pace with China’s rising inflation. At the same time, other factors in which the government plays a role — a weak social safety net, depressed wages and soaring home prices — create a hoarding impulse that compels many people to keep saving anyway, against an uncertain future.
Indeed, economists say this nation’s decade of remarkable economic growth, led by exports and government investment in big projects like China’s high-speed rail network, has to a great extent been underwritten by the household savings — not the spending — of the country’s 1.3 billion people.
This system, which some experts refer to as state capitalism, depends on the transfer of wealth from Chinese households to state-run banks, government-backed corporations and the affluent few who are well enough connected to benefit from the arrangement.
Meanwhile, striving middle-class families like the Wangs are unable to enjoy the full fruits of China’s economic miracle.
“This is the foundation of the whole system,” said Carl E. Walter, a former J. P. Morgan executive who is co-author of “Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise.”
“The banks make loans to who the Communist Party tells them to,” Mr. Walter said. “So they punish the household savers in favor of the state-owned companies.”
It is not just China’s problem. Economists say that for China to continue serving as one of the world’s few engines of economic growth, it will need to cultivate a consumer class that buys more of the world’s products and services, and shares more fully in the nation’s wealth.
But rather than rising, China’s consumer spending has actually plummeted in the last decade as a portion of the overall economy, to about 35 percent of gross domestic product, from about 45 percent. That figure is by far the lowest percentage for any big economy anywhere in the world. (Even in the sleepwalking American economy, the level is about 70 percent of G.D.P.)
Unless China starts giving its own people more spending power, some experts warn, the nation could gradually slip into the slow-growth malaise that now afflicts the United States, Europe and Japan. Already this year, China’s economic growth rate has begun to cool off.
“This growth model is past its sell-by date,” says Michael Pettis, a professor of finance at Peking University and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “If China is going to continue to grow, this system will have to change. They’re going to have to stop penalizing households.”
The Communist Party, in its latest five-year plan, has promised to bolster personal consumption. But doing so would risk undermining a pillar of the country’s current financial system: the household savings that support the government-run banks.
Here in Jilin City, where chemical manufacturing is the dominant industry, the state banks are flush with money from savings accounts. The banks use that money to make low-interest loans to corporate beneficiaries — including real estate developers, helping fuel a speculative property bubble that has raised housing prices beyond the reach of many consumers. It is a dynamic that has played out in dozens of cities throughout China.
As Its Economy Sprints Ahead, China’s People Are Left Behind
Published: October 9, 2011
(Page 2 of 3)
Meanwhile, China’s central bank in Beijing also depends on the nation’s vast pool of consumer savings to help finance its big investments in the foreign exchange markets, as a way to keep the currency artificially weak. The weak currency helps sustain China’s mighty export economy by lowering the global price of Chinese goods. But it also makes imports unaffordable for many Chinese people.
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Shiho Fukada for The New York Times
Wang Shue and her husband live frugally and put much of their income into savings.
Endangered Dragon
The Price of Growth
This is the second in a series of articles examining China’s system of government-managed capitalism and the potential weaknesses that could threaten the nation’s remarkable economic growth.
China’s Reluctant Consumers

Enlarge This Image

Shiho Fukada for The New York Times
Left, a billboard announcing Jilin Fortune Plaza, a real estate project in Jilin, China. Local governments have come to view such projects as a source of easy riches.
News reports of the nouveaux riches in Beijing and Shanghai snapping up Apple iPhones, Gucci bags and Rolex watches may conjure Western business dreams of China’s becoming the world’s biggest consumer market. But consumer choice here in Jilin and many other heartland cities is confined largely to the limited offerings of dingy state-run department stores and mom-and-pop shops. Any sales of global “brands” come mainly in the form of the counterfeits and knockoffs often sold at outdoor markets.
On a recent weekday at the Henan Street flea market, crowds sifted through stacks of clothes that included $3 T-shirts with images of Minnie Mouse and $5 imitation Nike sports jerseys. Just a few yards away, an authentic Nike store selling the real thing for $35 had nary a shopper. Because consumers have so little spending power, many global-brand companies do not even bother to open stores in cities like Jilin.
With the faltering economies of the United States, Europe and Japan limiting China’s ability to continue relying on growth through exports, the Chinese government knows the importance of giving its own consumers more buying power. Already, the central government has pushed to raise rural incomes and has even offered subsidies to buy cars and household appliances.
The question is whether the government can change its entrenched economic system enough to truly make a difference. “The central government is committed to increasing the share of consumption in G.D.P.,” says Li Daokui, a professor of economics at Tsinghua University and a longtime government adviser. “The issue is what is going to be the means.”
Frugality Born
Of Necessity
If China is to make consumer spending a much larger share of the economy, it will need to encourage big changes in the habits of people like Mr. Wang, 52, a highway design specialist, and Ms. Wang, also 52, who retired as an accountant seven years ago because of health problems.
“We’re quite traditional,” says Ms. Wang, who draws a pension. “We don’t like to spend tomorrow’s money today.”
But tomorrow’s money may not be worth as much as today’s — not as long as their savings account earns only a 3 percent interest rate while inflation lopes along at 6 percent or more.
Yet the Wangs see no good alternatives to stashing nearly two-thirds of their monthly income in the bank. They are afraid to invest in China’s notoriously volatile stock market. And Chinese law sharply limits their ability to invest overseas or otherwise send money outside the country.
Nor do the Wangs feel flush or daring enough to join the real estate speculation that some Chinese now see as one of the few ways to get a return on their money — risky as that might prove if the bubble bursts.
Mainly, like many in China, the Wangs save because they worry about soaring food prices and the high cost of health care, which the People’s Republic no longer fully provides. They also worry about whether they can afford to buy a home for their son, a cost that Chinese parents are expected to bear when their male children marry.
“If you have a daughter, it’s not so expensive,” Wang Shue said. “But with a son you have to save money.”
Housing prices have become crucial in pushing up savings rates. Here, too, analysts say government policies are shifting wealth away from households.
In the case of the Wangs, they are being forced to move to make way for a new real estate development authorized by municipal authorities — the sort of project that local governments throughout China have come to regard as an easy source of riches.
Although the Wangs and other current residents have received some cash compensation for the apartments they are leaving, the Jilin City government has sold the land to a developer that plans to demolish the current dwellings and erect a new complex with more, and more expensive, apartments.
(Page 3 of 3)
The Wangs are not sure they will be able to find a home comparable to their current apartment from the money they are being paid. But the developer and the local government are expected jointly to earn a profit of more than $50 million.
Endangered Dragon
The Price of Growth
This is the second in a series of articles examining China’s system of government-managed capitalism and the potential weaknesses that could threaten the nation’s remarkable economic growth.
China’s Reluctant Consumers

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Averting a Crisis,
But Forming a Habit
Why would China, which hopes eventually to surpass the United States as the world’s biggest economy, deliberately suppress the consumer market that might help it reach that goal?
Some analysts trace the current policies to habits formed in the late 1990s. That’s when the bloat of China’s giant, uncompetitive state-run corporations nearly brought China’s economic expansion to a standstill. Suddenly, with state-owned companies facing bankruptcy, the state banks were saddled with hundreds of billions of dollars in nonperforming loans; many banks faced insolvency.
To avert a crisis, Beijing allowed state-owned companies to lay off tens of millions of workers. In 1999 just one of those companies, the parent of PetroChina, a big oil conglomerate, announced the layoff of a million employees. And to shore up the banks, Beijing assumed tighter control over interest rates, which included sharply lowering the effective rates paid to depositors. A passbook account that might have earned 3 percent in 2002, after inflation, would today be effectively losing 3 to 5 percent, once inflation is factored in.
That is how Chinese banks can provide extremely cheap financing to state-owned companies while still recording huge profits. It has also helped the banks provide easy financing for big public works projects, which besides the high-speed train system have included the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the monumental Three Gorges Dam.
It was during this same period that the Communist government discarded the longstanding “iron rice bowl” promise of lifelong employment and state care. Beijing shifted more of the high costs of social services — including housing, education and medical care — onto households and the private sector.
Together, these measures added up to the managed-market system now known as state capitalism. They worked so well that they not only helped resuscitate China’s failing banks and state companies, but also fueled the nation’s economic boom for more than a decade. But the system also took an enormous economic toll on personal pocketbooks.
“We’d like to spend, but we really have nothing left over after paying the bills,” said Yang Yang, 34, a school administrator who lives in Jilin City with her husband, a police officer, and their son, 10. “Even though our son goes to a public school, we need to pay fees for after-school courses, which everyone is expected to take. Almost every family will do this. So there’s a lot of pressure on us to do it, too.” To save money, Ms. Yang, her husband and son recently moved in with her parents.
Nicholas R. Lardy, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, calculates that the government policies exacted a hidden tax on Chinese households that amounted to about $36 billion in 2008 alone — or about 4 percent of China’s gross domestic product. Over the last decade, Mr. Lardy says, that figure probably amounted to hundreds of billions of dollars — money that banks essentially took from consumers’ hands.
The distortions may have actually cost households far more, because his figures do not include hidden costs like artificially high prices for imports.
For many Chinese economists, the state capitalism that helped jump-start growth has become counterproductive.
“China is already beyond the point where the law of diminishing returns starts biting,” said Xu Xiaonian, an economist who teaches at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai.
Mr. Xu argues that China risks repeating the mistakes Japan made in the 1980s and early 1990s, when it relied too long on a predominantly export economy, neglected domestic markets and allowed real estate prices to soar. Since Japan’s bubble burst in the mid-1990s, its economy has never really recovered.
“If we don’t change, we will follow those same footsteps,” Mr. Xu said. “We have already seen the early signs of what we might call the Japanese disease. China invests more and more, but those investments generate less and less growth.”
A Radical Overhaul,
But Within Reach
Some economists predict major changes, noting that the Chinese government has the cash and the power to alter course as drastically as it did in the late ’90s, this time in the people’s favor.
“China has faced more daunting challenges in the past,” said Wei Shangjin, a professor at the Columbia Business School. “I don’t doubt that they want to do it. The question is, Can they successfully engineer such a major restructuring of the economy?”
Certainly, multinationals like McDonald’s, Nike and Procter & Gamble are still betting billions of dollars that China will grow into the world’s biggest consumer market within a few decades.
But raising consumption will require a radical overhaul of the Chinese economy — not just weaning state banks off household subsidies but forcing state-run firms to pay much higher borrowing rates. It would also mean letting the currency rise closer to whatever value it might naturally reach. It would mean, in other words, a significant dismantling of the state capitalism that has enabled China to come so far so fast. “To get consumption to surge,” said Mr. Pettis, the Peking University lecturer, “you need to stop taking money from the household sector.”

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dalai Lama Criticizes China's Totalitarian Govt. for Censorship

The Dali Lama is a contemporary icon of nonviolence and peace. The entire world knows him.
For China, to put pressure on South Africa to deny a Nobel Peace Laureate a chance to visit with his fellow Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu shows how petty, cynical and coercive China's rulers are.

[I say -- Boycott Chinese goods to the extent possible, if you and I have the same willpower and courage. Note the Dalai Lama wisely, for the sake of the Tibetan People and for the Govt and People of India has not called for such an action. But it is up to us to act.]

Bravo India Govt and India's people for giving safe haven to the Dalai and exiled Tibetans since the late 50's. The India Govt did not (yet) censor Dalai Lama's remarks.

That is what makes India a democracy, following the Gandhian path despite many continuing flaws and failings.

Q. Which nation-state has shown that degree of courage as well as diplomatic acumen against a more powerful and aggressive neighbor?

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
Dalai Lama criticizes China in S.African address
By DONNA BRYSON - Associated Press | AP – 3 hrs ago


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South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, second left back, listen during a live video …

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, sitting at left, speaks during a live video …

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The Dalai Lama on Saturday sharply criticized China, which is accused of blocking him from traveling to South Africa to celebrate Archbishop Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday.

The Tibetan spiritual leader spoke with Tutu and answered questions via a video link, instead of attending an event honoring South Africa's anti-apartheid hero a day after his birthday. Tutu asked the Dalai Lama why the global giant and South Africa's main trade partner China feared his fellow Nobel peace laureate.

The Dalai Lama, sitting in a room decorated with orchids and silk hangings in his home in exile in India, was playful at first. He said communist propaganda portrayed him as a demon, as he raised his index fingers to his temples.

"Yes, I have horns," he said, drawing laughter from Tutu and others watching him on a video screen at the University of the Western Cape, near Cape Town. The encounter was streamed live on the Internet, but not broadcast by South African state television as had been expected.

The Dalai Lama said for communist officials and those in other totalitarian systems, "telling lies has unfortunately become part of their lives." He said he made Chinese officials "uncomfortable" because he tells the truth.

He added the Chinese people should be able to hear his views and judge for themselves.

"Censorship is immoral," he said.

He also called for legal reforms in China.

"The Chinese judiciary system must raise up to international law standards," he said.

The Dalai Lama earlier this week called off his South Africa visit after waiting weeks for a visa. South African officials deny they stalled because of pressure from China, which accuses the Dalai Lama of being a separatist. The Dalai Lama insists he is only seeking increased autonomy for Tibet.

Tutu, often described as South Africa's conscience, had called the African National Congress-led government worse than the country's former oppressive white regime for not issuing the visa. Tutu accused the government of failing to side with "Tibetans who are being oppressed viciously by the Chinese."

South African foreign ministry officials said the visa process was delayed by problems with the timing and completeness of the application. Officials from the offices of Tutu and the Dalai Lama have denied the application was late or incomplete.

Tutu's anger appeared to have abated Saturday. For more than an hour, two old friends brought together by technology giggled and teased one another as they exchanged views on politics and spirituality.

Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his nonviolent campaign against white racist rule in South Africa. The Nobel committee recognized the Dalai Lama in 1989 for his peaceful efforts to "preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people."

The Dalai Lama said he missed seeing Tutu at international events. Tutu has traveled less since retiring from public life after his 79th birthday, but remains outspoken.

"I can see your face," the Dalai Lama said to Tutu, gazing at a monitor. "I really feel very, very happy."

The Dalai Lama said he was looking forward to Tutu's 90th birthday.

"Don't forget to send me an invitation," he said. "Then we can test your government."
NYtimes copyright Reuters opyright
Dalai Lama: China Is Built on Lies, Run by Hypocrites
Published: October 8, 2011 at 12:18 PM ET

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - China is built on lies and its officials are hypocrites, the Dalai Lama said Saturday, speaking via videophone after visa problems prevented him from joining Archbishop Desmond Tutu's birthday celebrations in South Africa.

"Some Chinese officials describe me as a demon," the Tibetan spiritual leader said to loud applause as he put his index fingers either side of his head to mimic devil's horns.

"In reality, for the communist totalitarian system ... hypocrisy (and) telling lies has unfortunately become part of their lives."

He said the Chinese government was "uncomfortable" with people who tell the truth, adding that honest people live longer and he would like to attend Tutu's 90th birthday.

"At that time, don't forget to send me an invitation ... then we can test your government," he said to Tutu in an apparent reference to his visa debacle with South African authorities.

The government's failure to allow the Dalai Lama into the country has been seen as bowing to pressure from China, South Africa's largest trading partner that pledged to invest $2.5 billion in Africa's largest economy last week.

The 80-year old Tutu retired about a year ago from most public duties but has remained a prominent figure and is still seen as a voice of integrity.

(Reporting by Shafiek Tassiem; Editing by Phumza Macanda; and Louise Ireland)

Friday, October 7, 2011

US/CIA -- Stay out of Myanmar

US/CIA -- Stay out of Myanmar

The New York Times headline is misleading or at best overly sanguine about US motives.

The Myanmarese PEOPLE, yes PEOPLE, can effect their own Change.

They have already proved they can. They know how to choose their own leaders.

For the US this is an opportunity to appear they are promoting democracy, but in fact trying to gain strategic depth in South Asia, and yes to supposedly contain China.

Let South Asia and South East Asia, neighbors with common borders, negotiate their own creative, sustainable, sovereign nation-state geopolitical solutions.

US, stay out.
The argument I am making is NOT to ask the US govt. to return to an earlier unproductive policy of "isolationism."
However, a policy ff "interventionism" which is what the US has done pretty much across the world for the past 55 years is unwarranted and counterproductive.

Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
NYTimes article follows, their copyright

Detecting a Thaw in Myanmar, U.S. Aims to Encourage Change
Published: October 6, 2011

WASHINGTON — The United States is considering a significant shift in its long-strained relationship with the autocratic government of Myanmar, including relaxing restrictions on financial assistance and taking other steps to encourage what senior American officials describe as startling political changes in the country.
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Nyein Chan Naing/European Pressphoto Agency

Myanmar's new government has met with the opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, center.

Burmese Wary of ‘Democracy,’ After Decades of Oppression (August 26, 2011)
Times Topic: Myanmar

The American special envoy to Myanmar, Derek Mitchell, met with government and opposition leaders in Yangon last month.

The thawing, while in its early stages, follows a political transition in Myanmar after deeply flawed elections last year that nonetheless appears to have raised the possibility that the new government will ease its restrictions on basic freedoms and cooperate with the repressed opposition movement led by the Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The new president, U Thein Sein, a former general who was part of the military junta that ruled the country for two decades, has in six months in office signaled a sharp break from the highly centralized and erratic policies of the past. Mr. Thein Sein’s government is now rewriting laws on taxes and property ownership, loosening restrictions on the media and even discussing the release of political prisoners.

The apparent shift offers the United States the chance to improve ties with a resource-rich Southeast Asian nation that after many years of semi-isolation counts neighboring China as its main ally. Last week, Myanmar’s new leadership unexpectedly halted work on a $3.6 billion dam strongly backed by China, prompting angry criticism from the Chinese government and the state-owned Chinese company that was building it.

The Obama administration, though skeptical, has responded to this new openness with a series of small diplomatic steps of its own, hoping that a democratic transition in Myanmar could bring stability and greater economic opportunities to the region at a time of increasing American competition with China over influence in Asia.

“We’re going to meet their action with action,” the administration’s newly appointed special envoy to Myanmar, Derek Mitchell, said in an interview. “If they take steps, we will take steps to demonstrate that we are supportive of the path to reform.” Mr. Mitchell spent five days last month in Myanmar, meeting with senior leaders in the government and opposition. That visit was followed by two meetings in New York and Washington last week between senior State Department officials and Myanmar’s new foreign minister, U Wunna Maung Lwin.

Mr. Wunna Maung Lwin, whose travel in the United States is normally sharply restricted, was the first foreign minister from Myanmar invited to the State Department since the military junta took power.

The motivation for the changes has baffled American officials and others, but Myanmar appears eager to end its diplomatic isolation and rebuild a dysfunctional economy that has trapped the country’s population of 55 million people in poverty, which the government acknowledged for the first time in Mr. Thein Sein’s inaugural address in March.

Members of Mr. Thein Sein’s government have since met several times with Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, who was released from years of house arrest last November and whose name was so demonized by the previous junta that it was typically whispered in public. She, too, has expressed cautious support for what appears to be a political opening.

The government has also for the first time discussed with her and American officials the possibility of releasing hundreds of political prisoners, after years of denying there were any at all. The government has even assembled a list of those it is considering releasing. About 600 people are on it, though opposition leaders and diplomats say that there are nearly 2,000 political prisoners listed in a database compiled by an organization in Thailand. “We told the government we cannot accept their list,” said U Win Tin, a founding member of the National League for Democracy, Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party. “We gave that message to the government, but we don’t know yet whether they will change their list.”

Even so, the senior administration official said that the mere acknowledgment that Myanmar held political prisoners reflected a significant shift in the new government’s attitude. Signals like that, even if tentative, have begun to win over skeptics who have seen false dawns before in Myanmar.

“It’s very exciting,” said Priscilla A. Clapp, who was the chief of mission at the United States Embassy in Myanmar from 1999 to 2002. “They are moving into a more pluralistic form of government. I wouldn’t call it totally democratic. But things are changing very rapidly.”

Steven Lee Myers reported from Washington, and Thomas Fuller from Bangkok.

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(Page 2 of 2)

Ms. Clapp and others warned that the changes, which are exceeding expectations inside Myanmar and abroad, remained a work in progress. “Any transition this dramatic is a recipe for instability,” she said. “Anything can happen. There could be a coup, a counterrevolution.”

Burmese Wary of ‘Democracy,’ After Decades of Oppression (August 26, 2011)
Times Topic: Myanmar

Senior Gen. Than Shwe, who led the junta for nearly two decades and stepped down in March, remains an uncertain factor in the tumultuous transition. It was under General Than Shwe’s leadership that the government carried out a deadly crackdown on protests led by Buddhist monks in 2007 and restricted foreign aid in the aftermath of a cyclone that killed more than 100,000 people.

The reasons that General Than Shwe ceded power to the current government have not been fully explained beyond the notion that he was ready for retirement. In leading the drive for reforms, Mr. Thein Sein appears to be siding with a younger generation of military officers who believe that maintaining the junta’s oppressive policies and hermetic attitudes toward the outside world would be a dead-end path for the country.

The decision by Mr. Thein Sein last week to suspend work on the giant hydroelectric dam on the Irrawaddy River was interpreted by many as a sign that the president was moving out from under the shadow of General Than Shwe.

Obama administration officials are now debating additional steps to support the nascent changes and encourage more, including the creation of a truly democratic political system and an end to violence against Myanmar’s ethnic minorities. The outreach is being closely coordinated with Congress, with other countries, including members of the European Union, and with Myanmar’s opposition.

“We’re not looking to move I think any faster than anyone else here,” Mr. Mitchell said. “I think we’re all looking to move step by step. We are going to test. There is no single point where we are absolutely certain that reform is going to be sustained and irreversible.”

Myanmar faces American sanctions first imposed in 1997 and expanded as recently as 2008. One hundred senior officials or businesses remain on the Department of the Treasury’s list banning any commercial trade. Lifting those sanctions would require new legislation in Congress. That is unlikely to happen unless Myanmar convinces its critics that its transformation is fundamental.

In the meantime, though, the administration is considering waiving some restrictions on trade and financial assistance and lifting prohibitions on assistance by global financial institutions, like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. An I.M.F. team is scheduled to visit this month for consultations on modernizing the country’s exchange rate system and lifting restrictions on international transactions.

Assistance like that is needed to overhaul what for years was a Soviet-style planned economy, where the military ran factories producing soap and bicycles. Ancient-looking cars still ride on potholed roads, and some buildings look as if their last coat of paint was applied during the days when Myanmar was a British colony, known as Burma.

Many in Myanmar remain unconvinced that genuine democracy has arrived.

“All these Western countries are hearing about some changes and they are very happy and keen,” said Mr. Win Tin of the opposition party. “I think that’s wrong. They should listen very carefully and wait to see whether what this government calls change is real and genuine.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton echoed that caution. She recently noted what she called “welcome gestures” but raised a series of issues. “We have serious questions and concerns across a wide range of issues — from Burma’s treatment of ethnic minorities and more than 2,000 prisoners to its relations with North Korea,” she said, using Myanmar’s colonial name, which is official American policy.

She added that the day before she spoke, a 21-year-old journalist was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Myanmar.
Steven Lee Myers reported from Washington, and Thomas Fuller from Bangkok.