China Given the Red Carpet

Anyone who is paying any attention knows a bit about how China is bankrolling the ballooning US debt, on a government and individual citizen level. If this somehow shocks you I can recommend a dose of Karmabanque Radio, who cleverly titled their recent program Mao-santo… hahah.

Then of course we hear about China’s role, bankrolling the genocide in Darfur in their mad rush to buy up enough oil for their newborn hyper consumer economy.

Yesterday I noticed the Chinese state’s latest push to control Europe’s money, buying a chunk of shares in Barclays Bank in order to get in on its acquisition of ABN-AMRO. (Stay with me here)

ABN is a huge bank in Europe, owning lots of little ones under different names in different countries. My money is in that dam bank, all be it probably the tiniest account they’ve got. And so now I see how the world works, my money is now funding a genocide in Darfur, the stealing of organs from prisoners in China, the murder of Falun Gong, the raping of the environment around the world. All with the help of my checking account. And soon.. yours too.

Obviously my money has gone to evil before. Things I’ve consumed and probably still consume, but this is one of those I hope to avoid… as long as possible. Though I know it would have no effect, I should write a letter to the European Trade Commissioner urging him, as my respresentative and a HUMAN that respects the rights of people to live a proper life and not be exterminated-en-masse, to NOT allow China to take control of European banks… and my little bank account.

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Engagement Over Isolation

Well my dear Portugal has taken over the EU presidency, and there is quite a buzz about their inviting Zimbabwe’s elected dictator Robert Mugabe to the upcoming Africa summit.

The UK and associated countries are upset, since there has been an ongoing travel ban on him and members of his government. Portugal is reportedly doing this because the African Union insists that every country be treated equally. But really this comes back to a classic debate in life, politics, you name it.

Isolation or engagement? Do you try to engage in dialogue with those you disagree with or those that have done something terrible? Or do you try to shut them out and find ways to punish or limit their capacity to act. And if you do either of these, what are the risks?

One of the common reference points is always the late Saddam and sanctions against Iraq. Then again there was also Qaddafi in Libya, which turned out quite differently.

At this point, taking into account this travel ban and the tactics adopted by governments critical of Mugabe, there doesn’t seem to be much change in terms of suffering Zimbabweans. He still does as he wishes and uses his office to carry out destructive policies and practices.


So maybe this is more than just pressure from the African Union. Maybe it’s time to try something else, including inviting the dictator you don’t like to some meetings; engaging in dialog. After all, he certainly wouldn’t be the only tyrant from Africa attending the meeting, and if you invite him, he has one less excuse during the next speech about how the “whole world wants to destroy him and the country”.

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Victims of the Tea Industry

In the 90’s there was the big collapse of coffee prices, and the millions of farmers whose lives were ruined while their story was barely covered in the mainstream.

Today I’ve been reading more and more about the collapse of tea prices in the last 10 years; ruining the lives of tea farmers in India. Between 1998 and 2004 the price of tea dropped dramatically, and now the major tea companies are buying each other up… once again.. leaving tea farmers to pick up the pieces.

Tea seed

It is yet another one of those stories we never hear about. We drink coffee, tea, expect dirt cheap prices, and put little more thought into how it gets to us.

This will be a topic for an upcoming podcast, just as soon as I get a hold of some people with some experience or knowledge related to this topic. In the meantime it reminds me of a recent post about the Development of India by Dilip over at Death Ends Fun.

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bm206 Debt Relief Lies and the G8

They call it debt relief, but it is not as simple as it sounds. As the elite club of G8 nations meets and the people protest outside, more plans are being laid out to squeeze developing nations in ways that are rarely reported about in the mainstream. My guest on this podcast is Ceri Dingle of Worldwrite, an education charity that challenges stereotypes and lies on issues like debt relief.

We talk about:
– What Worldwrite does
– How it views the G8
– Debt relief and what happens to countries that “get it”
– Live 8, Bono, and the real result of such campaigns
– Difference between development aid from western countries and China
– The prospect of new and worse conditions for debt relief
– The Film: Damned by Debt Relief
– A Debt Relief Quiz to see if you can spot the truth
– What should be done with the G8 summit

Also my recommendation, watch G8-TV for video directly from the streets


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