Feb. 6th, 2012

  • 2:52 AM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Via [personal profile] delux_vivens. Listening to African Queers.

A few weeks ago, I broke a longstanding personal rule and left a comment on a mainstream, very popular, award-winning U.S. gay blog. A long string of comments by mostly gay men (if web identities count for anything) supported the U.K.’s decision to consider sexual rights in granting aid. Many of the commentators condemned not simply homophobia and transphobia in Africa, but African governments and African citizens, the former explicitly the latter implicitly. “My tax dollars should not fund homophobia,” was a typical comment.


More to the point, and to repeat something I’ve written before: positioning African queers as economic threats or as economic competition to other local, regional, and national projects renders us more vulnerable. In a country like Kenya where money is King, telling government agencies that money will not show up for a government project because queers are not treated well will most probably not result in better legislation or, more practically, better living conditions for queers. (Given Kenya’s strategic importance in the region and that we are happily killing Somalis for the Americans, I think our aid is safe.)

I realize that aid conditionality often has nothing to do with those populations deemed to be at risk. Or, rather, is based on information provided by “experts” who have “conducted studies” to “determine what is needed” and rarely, if ever, takes into consideration local needs and local situations, except as these are filtered through really fucked up lenses. I have sat through multiple presentations where so-called “experts” diagnosed Africans—yes, such collective terms are used too often—and heard myself described in ways I found utterly bewildering, reduced to a helpless, clueless child. When one speaks up at such meetings, one is told that one is an exception; no doubt, my U.S. education helped me grow toward civilization.

Please. This is basic knowledge, and I think I also have said a hundred of times. It doesn't even has to do with culture. "Sanctions" will only increase the crisis in countries already in crisis. Burst your privilege bubble. You will be just hurting the most vulnerable people in the nation.


  • Jan. 19th, 2012 at 8:58 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
They closed MU. The FBI closed it and arrested the owners for piracy. The company operated worldwide, but its owners worked in places like Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Do I need to say it? DO I? We kind of had the piracy discussion some... time ago (months? years?), but. Fuck you, USA. I could say a lot of things, but I'm childishly sore, the kind of sore of someone who had their pretty things taken away, and I feel kinda vindictive. Just going to say that it SO doesn't go both ways. In the matter of things big companies in the US can do, and things everyone else can do.

Also? Don't come butthurt at me? I have had in this journal lately some shitty comments going on about how REALLY some thing or another is also happening and it shows some experience isn't really privileged, and WHY don't you care about this, and... I don't want to hear it. I'm going to ban you if you come with shit like that to me. I'm sore.

(Yes, I can like my pretty things, and I can't have them like you people can thanks to some of the shit YOU -I mean, YOUR GOVERNMENT- and your companies put around here, and DID around here. So be quiet.)

I don't know if I already linked it some time ago, but if you really, really need to say something? Please, read this first: Media Piracy in Emerging Economies.

Vote for the Worst Companies in the World

  • Jan. 10th, 2012 at 6:40 PM
la_vie_noire: (Clare-killing)
Public Eye Awards.


Against its better judgement, Tepco, Japan’s largest energy company, grossly neglected the structural safety of its atomic power plants in order to cut costs.

In its factories, Samsung uses banned and highly-toxic substances without informing and protecting its workers. The result: cancer.

Barclays, banking giant and the world’s fastest-growing food speculator, drives up global food prices at the expense of the poorest.

In the midst of Amazonas rainforest Vale is constructing the Belo-Monte-Dam. 40’000 people are suffering forced eviction.

Despite being banned in Europe Syngenta markets its herbicide Paraquat in the Global South. Thousands of farmers have already died due to the use of the product.

For 45 years the US-mining corporation Freeport McMoran pollutes with its mine the environment in West Papua. Those who raise their voice get tortured or killed.

Vale is my personal favorite. But Freeport is a close second.

Uhm. The world disgusts me today

  • Dec. 9th, 2011 at 12:28 AM
la_vie_noire: (Stop with the idiocy)
Are people in this post actually proud?

Your left is a joke. No kidding.

Here is why I have been out of lj, or out of english-speaking media/blogs.

Fuck yeah, you fucking killers. And no, I don't have Operación Condor on my back. I may play that card.

ETA: And no, this is hardly my only reason for being disgusted today. But you people may not care about what shit some local bishop spew around.

Nov. 20th, 2011

  • 8:27 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Transnational Corporate Control over the Global Economy.

Although Republicans and President Obama are said to disagree about economic policies, there is one initiative that they both enthusiastically support: free trade agreements.


One answer is the enormous economic power of transnational corporations (TNCs), the main beneficiaries of these agreements. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development:

TNCs worldwide, in their operations both at home and abroad, generated value added of approximately $16 trillion in 2010, accounting for more than a quarter of global GDP. In 2010, foreign affiliates accounted for more than one-tenth of global GDP and one-third of world exports.

The largest transnational corporations are from developed capitalist countries. These corporations also tend to be among the largest and most powerful firms in their respective home countries. At the same time, as the table below shows, their international operations now account for a majority of their assets, sales, and employment. Looking at all TNCs, the United Nations reports that the value added by their foreign affiliates generated approximately 40% of their total value added in 2010, up from 35% in 2005.

Now, transnational corporations generally rely on complex cross border production networks that involve the linking of production across many countries, with final sales often taking place in still other countries. Most importantly, these networks often include “independent” partner firms that undertake various activities according to an overall transnational corporate strategy. While some of the partner firms may themselves be transnational corporations, many are not, which means that TNC controlled activity is greater than the combined activities of parent and affiliate firms.

Transnational corporations use a variety of so-called “non-equity modes” (NEMs) of control to direct the operations of their partner firms, with contract manufacturing and service outsourcing among the most important. Cross border activity involving NEM relationships is conservatively estimated to have generated over $2 trillion of sales in 2010. The United Nations reports that some 18–21 million workers are directly employed in firms operating under NEM arrangements. Around 80 per cent of NEM-generated employment is in developing and transition economies.

As the following figure reveals, cross border production activity anchored by NEM relations now dominates a number of key export industries. For example, NEM production now accounts for more than 50% of all toy, footwear, garment and electronics exports.

People should read the rest of the article, to understand some things.
la_vie_noire: (Stop with the idiocy)
WikiLeaks Haiti: The Aristide files

US officials led a far-reaching international campaign aimed at keeping former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide exiled in South Africa, rendering him a virtual prisoner there for the last seven years, according to secret US State Department cables.

The cables show that high-level US and UN officials even discussed a politically motivated prosecution of Aristide to prevent him from “gaining more traction with the Haitian population and returning to Haiti.”

The secret cables, made available to the Haitian weekly newspaper Haïti Liberté by WikiLeaks, show how the political defeat of Aristide and his Lavalas movement has been the central pillar of US policy toward the Caribbean nation over the last two US administrations, even though—or perhaps because—US officials understood that he was the most popular political figure in Haiti.

They also reveal how US officials and their diplomatic counterparts from France, Canada, the UN and the Vatican tried to vilify and ostracize the Haitian political leader.


President Obama and Kofi Annan’s successor, Ban Ki-moon, also intervened to urge Pretoria to keep Aristide in South Africa. The secret cables report that Aristide’s return to Haiti would be a “disaster,” according to the Vatican, and “catastrophic,” according to the French.

But the regional and Haitian view was quite different. US Ambassador James Foley admitted in a confidential March 22, 2005, cable that an August 2004 poll “showed that Aristide was still the only figure in Haiti with a favorability rating above 50%.”

Uhm. But of course.

Good links found in various places

  • Mar. 18th, 2011 at 10:45 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Don’t Be Like Che.

Every time I see some privileged person protest touring, I think of Che. Every time I hear about some insurrectionists starting shit in other people’s neighborhoods, I think of Che. Every time some twenty-something white dudes audaciously roll into a room like they have all the answers – summarily dismissing the experience and knowledge of everyone else there – I think of Che. Every time I see some supposed radicals who can’t recognize how inappropriate it is to “lead” or “save” or “help” the poor people or black people or brown people, without bothering to ask their opinion about it, I think of Che.

I do admire Che’s willingness to give up so much of his privilege, to suffer and sacrifice for his beliefs. But a person can never give up all their privileges. And he certainly didn’t lose the false sense of superiority that comes with having been told all your life that you are at the top of the food chain. We don’t need more arrogance, racism, cultural insensitivity, machismo, violence, and sexism. That might get your mug on a t-shirt someday, but it isn’t going to make the world a better place.

Fukushima 50 battle radiation risks as Japan nuclear crisis deepens.

Between 50 and 70 employees – now known in English as the Fukushima 50 – all in protective gear, were left at the plant to battle myriad problems. Some are assessing the damage and radiation levels caused by the explosions, while others cool stricken reactors with seawater to try to avert a potentially catastrophic release of radiation.

The workers are the nuclear power industry's equivalent of frontline soldiers, exposing themselves to considerable risks while about 800 of their evacuated colleagues watch from a safe distance. Fifteen people on the site, including members of the self-defence force, have been injured in the blasts.

Zimbabwe’s blood diamonds.

Much has been written about conflict—or "blood”—resources such as coltan, a mineral used in the manufacture of electronics, and diamonds, from Zimbabwe to the Democratic Republic of Congo to Sierra Leone. Far less information, however, has been provided about the broader processes that facilitate and finance conflicts in these places. It is rare that the questions "In whose interest?" or "For whose benefit?" are posed.

Feb. 22nd, 2011

  • 7:32 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
[personal profile] colorblue has an amazing post about Libya: libya note.

A couple of notes. When judging the international response, what it comes down to is what it always comes down to, oil.

The UN lifted sanctions on Libya in 2003, the US lifted sanctions in 2004, and Western oil companies poured into the country to reclaim their holdings, led by ConocoPhillips & Marathon Oil & Amerada Hess, which used to operate in Libya decades ago as the Oasis group. And what must be kept in mind, what is the unstated assumption that drives much of Western policy in the Middle East, is that it is almost always easier to negotiate oil rights with dictators and monarchs than it is with democracies.

Jan. 18th, 2011

  • 9:59 PM
la_vie_noire: (Anthy flower)
[profile] color_blue is awesome and has an awesome post:

this is not a post about yoga! And really, it isn't (or not only, at least).

It's what so many people, all over the world, have been saying for so long. The current system of intellectual property rights, embedded in the racist classist hegemonic individualist capitalist Western ownership system that by now has been imposed, in one way or another, on everyone, with or without their consent - this system is not just completely fucked up, it is a weapon wielded by those who have power, a weapon aimed directly and deliberately at the hearts of the people and communities and cultures that are considered lesser.

In this way, it is a system that does exactly what it has been designed to.


But, Internets, be it known. Making a black-and-white moral issue out of piracy, and in the process defending capitalist, imperialist Western notions of intellectual property rights, is unlikely to make me sympathize with your concerns.

Doing so while completely ignoring just how dangerous and destructive these capitalist, imperialist Western notions of intellectual property rights have been, for indigenous and other underprivileged minority communities in the West as well as for the rest of the world, is unlikely to make me sympathize with your concerns.

Doing so while being a white author who has written a book based on the Maori culture, an indigenous culture which has directly suffered from the Western legal system and its concept of intellectual property rights, is unlikely to make me sympathize with your concerns.

Rebuking a reader by saying that they are using the tone argument against you, when as a writer there is no structural or systemic inequality you have historically faced from your readers, when as a writer you are the one in a position of relative authority in that situation, when as a writer your voice is the one heard, and given attention and weight to, is unlikely to make me sympathize with your concerns.

Rebuking a reader by saying that they are using the tone argument against you, when you are the only white person in the convo, when there is no other oppression at work, is unlikely to make me sympathize with your concerns.

ETA: Asghsajkgs, because I fail like that, you better go read [personal profile] troisroyaumes entry where she linked all the awesome posts everyone wrote:

On piracy and copyright.

Things I liked today

  • Jan. 17th, 2011 at 6:40 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
ebook piracy. Because I'm tired of white first-worlders these days.

The part that is set in stone for me -- the following principles.

1) Pirating ebooks infringes authors' (and publishers') intellectual property rights (IPR) and is therefore unlawful in all the jurisdictions I know of.

2) Something being illegal does not make it immoral. Plenty of legal things are immoral and plenty of illegal things are moral or morally neutral. That doesn't mean ebook piracy is morally neutral, but if you want to argue that it is immoral, you'll need to rely on a reason other than "it's illegal". (You'll also need to rely on a reason other than "it hurts my self-interest".)

3) It's impossible for me to get overly het up over piracy. Part of the reason for this is, obviously, the issue of ebook piracy has no bearing on my livelihood at all. The larger reason is that I am Malaysian. I'll talk about the disparity in purchasing power between nations later; that's another thing I'm not interested in arguing about.

Not social justice from where I'm standing.

I almost always see asexuality brought up as a negative and inaccurately. For example, a disabled character or character of colour in a television show might be denied sexuality or coded as non-sexual. Someone critiquing this portrayal from a social justice perspective might condemn it as "asexualising" or some such, as though asexuality is an oppressive tool rather than an orientation.


The upshot here is that asexual people get hit particularly hard as being repressed or messed up, standing in the way of a singular social justice narrative around sexuality. I don't want to set up sex positivity and asexuality as oppositional; I want to point to how an image of an appropriate sexuality leads to a widely misunderstood and scoffed at group becoming even more so. I mean, I thought the idea of an appropriate way of doing sexuality is what we're trying to fight against, right? Perpetuating ideas of asexuality as fake, as always a result of trauma, the domain of prudes who just have to come out of their shells, and so forth, doesn't look like positivity or justice to me.

Jan. 15th, 2011

  • 11:04 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
A must read, because I can't quote it all. The Denial of Self Determination: The International Community and Haiti.

If any nation in the history of humanity has been terrorized by the naked brutality and hypocritical logic of modernity, it has been Haiti. One would assume that the Haitian Revolution in 1804 would be looked upon as a pivotal moment which helped to shape the ideas of freedom, equality and justice. This was not the case. Haiti has been the victim of both history and hypocrisy, since it’s independence in 1804 as the small nation who fought for the freedom, dignity and justice has been met with a nightmarish hell of slavery, genocide, racism, isolation, extreme oppression and economic terrorism exercised in the name of modern civilization that has not disappeared in the 500 years since Christopher Columbus first landed on the island. The recent turmoil surrounding the Haitian elections on November 28th must be seen as an extension of international support in the undermining of the Haitian people’s right to self determination.


It was within this debt riddled framework of the new global economic order, fighting against the unjust demands of the IMF, World Bank and the United States, that led a Roman Catholic Priest named Jean Bertrand Aristide to become Haiti’s first democratically elected president in 1991. Aristide’s grassroots support among the poor of Haiti led to his landslide victory with Fanmi Lavalas receiving 67% of the vote.

Aristide led calls for reparation of Haiti’s odious $21 billion debt to France, and was against further rounds of privatization of the Haitian economy. These concerns did not sit well with the United States or France resulting in a coup in September 1991. Due to international as well as internal pressure, Aristide was placed back in power by the Clinton administration but was not allowed to complete a full 6 year term or run for re-election in the next available term. In 2000, Aristide was elected once again, with 91.8% of the vote.


The devastating earthquake on January 12th and the tragic aftermath is being used as a backdrop of excuses to mask the engineered irregularities of the recent election. The November 28th election is the most recent step in the international community’s attempt to stifle the demands of self determination by the Haitian people. Fanmi Lavalas, by and large the nation’s most popular political party has been banned in every election since the overthrow of Aristide in 2004. The exclusion of Lavalas continued into the November 28th elections based on the party failing to meet last minute technicalities invented by the highly controversial Haitian Provisional Electoral Council – heavily influenced by current President Rene Preval. Fanmi Lavalas and 14 other political parties were excluded from participating in the November 28th elections without any transparent reasoning.

Ignoring reports highlighting the irregularities of the November 28th election from civil society organizations both domestically and abroad, the international community continued to support and finance the highly flawed process. As early as June, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti issued a comprehensive report titled The International Community Should Pressure the Haitian Government for Free and Fair Elections (http://ijdh.org/archives/13138) but the international community did not pay attention to the warnings of political turmoil resulting from their backing of highly flawed elections.

The reasoning behind such vehement support for Haiti’s current flawed elections is simple. There is over $10 billion in reconstruction contracts, an amount too large to be trusted to any independent, or heaven forbid progressive candidate who would channel the money into the building of much needed public services and infrastructure which served the Haitian people. What the international community demands from these elections is a President which will rubber stamp any of their self serving development projects. An article in the Washington Post titled “Would be Haitian Contractors Miss out on Aid” further demonstrates the self serving nature of aid to Haiti stating that of every $100 of US contracts, only $1.60 makes it into the hands of Haitian contractors.

Jan. 11th, 2011

  • 10:36 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Guerra, Drogas y Política. Elementos del Mundo Bipolar. Conferencia de Chomsky en México. (Y sí, le cito a él simplemente porque de este asunto nadie habla. Pft, los Estadounidenses ni saben qué es Acapulco, pero menos mal que hablamos de sus vecinos.)

El pretexto es la guerra contra las drogas, pero es difícil tomar eso muy en serio, aun si aceptáramos la extraordinaria suposición de que Estados Unidos tiene derecho a encabezar una guerra en tierras extranjeras. Las razones son bien conocidas, y fueron expresadas una vez más a fines de febrero por la Comisión Latinoamericana sobre Drogas y Democracia, encabezada por los ex presidentes Cardoso, Zedillo y Gaviria.

Su informe concluye que la guerra al narcotráfico ha sido un fracaso total y demanda un drástico cambio de política, que se aleje de las medidas de fuerza en los ámbitos interno y externo e intente medidas menos costosas y más efectivas.

Los estudios llevados a cabo por el gobierno estadounidense, y otras investigaciones, han mostrado que la forma más efectiva y menos costosa de controlar el uso de drogas es la prevención, el tratamiento y la educación. Han mostrado además que los métodos más costosos y menos eficaces son las operaciones fuera del propio país, tales como las fumigaciones y la persecución violenta.

El hecho de que se privilegien consistentemente los métodos menos eficaces y más costosos sobre los mejores es suficiente para mostrarnos que los objetivos de la guerra contra las drogas no son los que se anuncian. Para determinar los objetivos reales, podemos adoptar el principio jurídico de que las consecuencias previsibles constituyen prueba de la intención.

Y las consecuencias no son oscuras: subyace en los programas una contrainsurgencia en el extranjero y una forma de limpieza social en lo interno, enviando enormes números de personas superfluas, casi todas hombres negros, a las penitenciarías, fenómeno que condujo ya a la tasa de encarcelamiento más alta del mundo, por mucho, desde que se iniciaron los programas, hace 30 años.

México: Saldo rojo

Y la obstinación ha sido el tenor del calderonismo: ante el fracaso de la guerra contra el crimen organizado, el Ejecutivo persiste en legitimarse y gobernar mediante la imposición de la violencia, sin considerar los daños colaterales de esta guerra inútil y desgastante: las autoridades estatales en el municipio de Ciudad Juárez y zonas circunvecinas indicaron que 158 menores de edad, algunos con apenas meses de nacidos, sucumbieron ante la violencia de la guerra contra el narco; aunque en la mayoría de los casos se presume que han sido víctimas circunstanciales, en otros hay claros indicios de que los ataques fueron directos contra sus familiares.


¿Por qué? ¿Por qué campesinos latinoamericanos se preocupan por producir coca, aparte de su propio uso, como lo han hecho siempre? Las razones tienen sus raíces en las políticas sociales y económicas impuestas al Tercer Mundo. Las reglas han dispuesto que ellos deben dejar de producir para sus propias necesidades y cambiar a la exportación. Estas naciones deben abrir sus mercados a los países ricos y especialmente a las exportaciones subsidiadas de los Estados Unidos, las cuales socavan la producción doméstica. Los agricultores locales se deben convertir en “productores racionales” según los preceptos de la economía moderna, sacando cosechas para exportar. Y, siendo racionales como son, ellos giraron hacia el cultivo que produce más dinero.

Efectivamente, la producción de cocaína se disparó de manera impresionante, ayudando a sustentar “milagros económicos”. En 1985 Bolivia estaba atravesando por serias dificultades económicas y Jeffrey Sach, de la Universidad de Harvard, les enseñó la teoría apropiada del mercado libre; rápidamente la situación se arregló y aparecieron buenas estadísticas macroeconómicas. Pero hubo algunos efectos laterales. Uno fue que el “milagro” dependía fuertemente de las exportaciones de coca. Esto ha ocurrido también en Perú.

I'm so hiatusing here

  • Dec. 10th, 2010 at 10:25 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
[personal profile] eccentricyoruba shared this wonderful article that talks about Wikileaks, Freedom of Speech, Nigeria and Shell. This is a MUST read, people.

Julian Assange in Nigeria.

[...]The theory goes something like this: freedom of speech no longer has political traction in the west, in contrast to other parts of the world. It doesn’t really matter what is said in America in the press or elsewhere; it has little consequence for a system that is buried from view, circulating via diplomatic cables and a (mostly) secure corporate communications infrastructure. In contrast, freedom of speech remains a matter of life and death for hundreds of millions of other people, where the communications infrastructure is less sophisticated and inconvenient truths are harder to hide.

The trick is to realise that the two versions of freedom of speech are intimately related: what cannot be said in one part of the world is often conditioned by the interests at work in another. [...]

The lesson for those looking in at Wikileaks from a Nigeria perspective is clear. Those that dismiss Nigeria as the home of 419 and the submarine vent of originary corruption with a tired flick of the hand fail to see the enduring handiwork of the transational corporation, attacking a fragile state like an opportunistic virus against a weakened immune system. The dismissive ones have yet to listen to Fela and allow his words to make sense in their heads. As it was in the 1960s and 1970s, so it is today, it seems.
la_vie_noire: (Stop with the idiocy)
Mako me mandó esta página de "Médicos Sin Fronteras" muy iluminante, si alguien tenía alguna duda: Pastillas Contra el Dolor Ajeno.

En el primer mundo, si te duele algo hay pastillas para mitigar casi cualquier dolor. Pero... ¿qué pasa si lo que te duele es el dolor ajeno, el dolor de los que no tienen pastillas para curar su sufrimiento?

¿No es genial, que nosotros que tenemos pastillas de casi todo, podamos tomarnos una para calmar el dolor de los que no tienen?

Uhm. Uuuuhm.

Si decides colaborar en esta causa, es porque seguramente sufres de dolor ajeno, una dolencia que afecta, de forma casi endémica, al mundo desarrollado. Si sientes molestias, irritabilidad, sensibilidad... ante el sufrimiento de los enfermos más desfavorecidos, puede que estés contagiado.

O sea que, déjenme ver esto. La metáfora de esta campaña es "curar" la "dolencia" de la gente primermundista rica que tiene que "soportar" vivir en el mismo mundo que esos pobres tercermundistas.

O, como Mako dijo:

Si, para, tan emocionales los primermundiastas que se compadecen ante sus inmigrantes, y sienten tanto dolor ajeno que se quejan cuando sus paises presionan y boicotean las industrias, economias y recursos de "los pobres paises sin desarrollo" XD
son tremendos -.-

Y ni tengo que decir cuan insultante son esta clase de cosas, en quién se centran y a quién deshumanizan y convierten en El Otro.

El video es sobre un rico director de cine y como "toma sus pastillas" para ayudar a disminuir el "dolor ajeno" y lo bien que le hacen. Con mucama y todo. Significa: debemos sentir inspiración, admiración y agradecimiento por la forma en que ayudan desde sus mansiones.

Y de verdad, forma de trivializar la estructura de la falta de medicamentos en los países en desarrollo.

Justo ahora Privilege Denying Dude no está disponible porque tumblr se ha caído.

LJ down, Google evades taxes like whoa

  • Nov. 16th, 2010 at 3:38 PM
la_vie_noire: (Claymore9 standing)
To nobody's surprise, LJ is down for me again (and yes, it's only me).

Corporate Tricks Of The Trade. Or how big Corporations evade paying the taxes they should pay.

The story begins by noting that: “Google has made $11.1 billion overseas since 2007. It paid just 2.4 percent in taxes. And that’s legal.” This is pretty incredible because Google does business in many advanced capitalist countries with high tax rates. For example, “The corporate tax rate in the U.K., Google’s second-largest market after the U.S., is 28 percent.”

[...] So, how did Google get its profits to Bermuda? Businessweek explains:

Google’s profits travel to the island’s white sands via a convoluted route known to tax lawyers as the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich.” In Google’s case, it generally works like this: When a company in Europe, the Middle East, or Africa purchases a search ad through Google, it sends the money to Google Ireland. The Irish government taxes corporate profits at 12.5 percent, but Google mostly escapes that tax because its earnings don’t stay in the Dublin office, which reported a pretax profit of less than 1 percent of revenues in 2008.

Irish law makes it difficult for Google to send the money directly to Bermuda without incurring a large tax hit, so the payment makes a brief detour through the Netherlands, since Ireland doesn’t tax certain payments to companies in other European Union states. Once the money is in the Netherlands, Google can take advantage of generous Dutch tax laws. Its subsidiary there, Google Netherlands Holdings, is just a shell (it has no employees) and passes on about 99.8 percent of what it collects to Bermuda. (The subsidiary managed in Bermuda is technically an Irish company, hence the “Double Irish” nickname.)

This set-up (as Businessweek describes it) also helps Google lower its tax bill in the U.S. Google Ireland licenses its search and advertizing technology from Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. Obviously this technology is worth a lot—but Google headquarters keeps the licensing fee to Google Ireland low. Doing so means that Google headquarters can minimize its U.S. earnings and thus its tax obligations to the U.S. government. And of course, Google Ireland knows how to move its profits around to minimize its tax liabilities.

Oct. 4th, 2010

  • 8:55 PM
la_vie_noire: (Jean-Clare)
First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, [personal profile] skywardprodigal! You are so amazing, wonderful, smart and talented, I wish you the best and a wonderful day.


Now, to not spam you all, via [livejournal.com profile] powerswitch: How much oil is there left, really?

Map detailing proved reserves in thousand millions of barrels at the end of 2009. Asia & The Pacific have 42.2; North America 73.3; Africa 127.7; Europe and Eurasia 136.9; South and Central America 198.9; Middle East 754.2

Leaving aside the issue of Saudi Arabia lying about is reserves, I know there is still a lot in every zone but it really bothers me how S & Central America and Middle East have most of oil, and also have... very complex and difficult situations of colonizations and imperialism with powerful Word Powers. Just saying.
la_vie_noire: (Stop with the idiocy)
Dude, Imperialism exists. Is real. I love when people go on and pretend it doesn't exist and can exclude the rest of the world when the rest of the world (well, at least a lot of it) doesn't have a choice in excluding them.

Just saying, United States of America.

ETA: I think what bothers me of the victimization going on is that you may dislike USian, Usonian, whatever because you find it silly or what the hell, but then you leave me, by your supposed "right to reject whatever term because THE OTHERS WILL DEFINE YOU," with no choice but to call you by my own identity when I want to talk about you. And 1) people won't know what I'm talking about because they barely know my country, 2) I will be basically saying, with all the imperialism going on, that I'm part of you! (And a lot of well, remembering, maybe a couple of people overseas had already told me when I informed them I was from America that I was really part of USA, but didn't want to admit it or something.)

You see what difference of power does to a "dilemma" like this?

DAUGHTER OF ETA: This video is very awesome. Lets join Antarctica, people. I think is sensible.

Jun. 7th, 2010

  • 1:45 AM
la_vie_noire: (Anthy flower)
Tracing this Body. Transsexuality, pharmaceuticals & capitalism is one of the most (if not the most) amazing, complex, and intersecting articles I have read. A must-read written in 2003 by Michelle O’Brien and still holds true and how. Seriously, I'm making a crime just quoting a bit, you have to read it (if you haven't already):

These battles over HIV, transgender health and drug use are real, with millions of people's lives on the line. Politics is changing fast around the world, as old resistance movements have disintegrated, and new forms of domination are deepening their entrenched authority. Capital flows more and more rapidly around the globe, while access to health care is strictly limited and regulated. Wars of healthcare, over the terrain of our bodies, are among the most significant political battles in the world today. Healthcare is a major site in defining, and transforming, what race and class domination mean in our day to day lives. This fight is so profound, so real, so important, precisely because it is the place where the three levels of flows come together: 1. those flows of T-Cells and hormones, of viruses and antivirals, of methadone and heroin, within our own bodies; 2. those flows of our communities, families and lives through our communities; and 3. those flows of capital and institutional power across the globe.


The politics of our bodies - as trans people, as drug users, as people living with HIV - require a sophisticated grasp of multiple contradictions. We are dependent on the very systems that oppress us. We make demands for change, and appropriate the refuse of capital for our own survival. We live in the flows, suffer in the flows, envision a new world in these flows.

Many theories of power and politics offer little to grapple with such a struggle of bodily survival. I grew up working in radical environmental movements in Oregon, using direct action to defend ancient forests. The anticapitalist analysis of many such activists relied on a fanatical commitment to purity and an attempt at a total refusal to participate or be complicit in any form of corporate rule. Veganism, do-it-yourself punk ethics, buying natural and local, Lesbian-Feminist separatism, back-to-land self-sustaining agriculture and especially eco-primitivism and other movements common around Eugene, Oregon, all frequently rely, to various extents, on a commitment to non-participation in global capitalism and certain idealized notions of purity. Since then, I've encountered similar phenomena in many political spaces, from AIDS denialists working in animal rights organizing to the MOVE family of Philadelphia, from genderqueer denunciations of medicalized body modification to the glorification of drop-out travelers by the anarchist writing network known as CrimethInc.


These languages of purity and non-participation are frequently counterposed by the glorifying ideological cheerleaders of capitalist domination. Every major U.S. newspaper, every president and senator, every corporate trade journal is aggressively advancing the absurd notion that capitalism is the best avenue to manage and stop human suffering. Believing that state power and corporate tyranny will somehow make a decent world have a major impact on the popular discourses of science, technology and industrial production. Such pro-capitalist perspectives are of no use to me.

Instead, I've tried through this paper to trace other ways of thinking through the relationship between my body and capitalism. Each step, I've tried to simultaneously recognize my participation and complicity, and trace the possibilities of resistance and liberation. In trying to describe the complexity of these relationships, I've found inspiration in Donna Haraway's essay "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century." A truly remarkable text, Haraway's essay brilliantly cut through polarized debates characterizing science as either a wonderful tool of capitalist improvement or the evil bane of patriarchy. Instead, Haraway describes the figure of the cyborg. The cyborg is the bastard child of the patriarchal realms of capitalism, nature and technoscience. Rather than reproduce their systems of command, control and communication, the cyborg ran radically challenge, undermine and resist domination. The cyborg is a new vision of feminist consciousness, a radical means of relating to technology and science. The cyborg is never pure, never free of the systems it subverts, never belonging to a realm before or outside of capitalist technoscience and patriarchy. But the cyborg is also a revolutionary, an effective, empowered, conscious being that reworks, redirects and restructures the oppressive systems that birthed it.

This vision of the feminist cyborg has been very useful and inspiring to me in understanding my own body and in struggling to the liberation of trans people. Like the cyborg, we are both complicit in and a challenge to the biomedical industries. We are drastically rebuilding our bodies with the aid of technology, surgery and drugs. And we are doing this all on our own terms, committed to our own well being, striving to our own liberation. Far from dupes of doctors or the crude escapists of ecoprimitivism, we are living amidst the systems we are always subverting. Trans people live in that hybrid edge of technology, science, nature and capital that Haraway correctly and brilliantly identifies as a tremendously power space of resistance and movement.

We are all in the midst of structures of tremendous violence, oppression and exploitation. There is no easy escape or pure distance from them. Our ability to resist, in this world, at this time, is deeply inseparable from our ongoing connection to these very systems. But resist we do. Every day, in so many ways, we are all struggling towards a new world of liberation, healing and respect.

Here is Donna Haraway's 1991 essay: A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century, if you want to read it.

Jun. 6th, 2010

  • 9:08 PM
la_vie_noire: (Juri-flirt)
[livejournal.com profile] ontd_feminism was discussing that Shakira's song for World Cup, and even if that discussion made me damn tired (seriously, what the fuck is this shit?), it also made me glad that song wasn't the official one (I heard it was going to be or something?) because I'm not going to hear it over and over again on TV (well, yes, I'm going to hear it over and over, but not that much at least). So I decided to google the lyrics of K'naan song, "Wavin' Flag," that I'm sure most of you have heard already. A lot, probably. So, even if of course the song talks about struggle and poverty, I loved this:

So many wars, settling scores,
Bringing us promises, leaving us poor,
I heard them say, 'Love is the way,'
'Love is the answer,' that's what they say

But look how they treat us, make us believers,
We fight their battles, then they deceive us,
Try to control us, they couldn't hold us,
'Cause we just move forward like Buffalo Soldiers.

So much for romanticism. I'm so not going to mind hearing that song all over this month.

Apr. 1st, 2010

  • 2:26 PM
la_vie_noire: (Anthy flower)
Oh God, this is why I love this woman:

[personal profile] the_future_modernes, Observations:

If you live in a country with as much outsize world power as the United States? You need to pay serious attention its foreign policy. The US has control over whether millions of people live or die, whether they will live in utter misery as a result of pushing free trade policies that bankrupt other people's economies and leave them vulnerable to corporate exploitation and pillaging while enriching some sliver of the elite and sending a bit of cash in aid; or not. You wanna scream about immigration illegal or otherwise? You need to look at the goddamn trade policies. Look at what NAFTA did to Mexico, for instance. You might also consider the US history in Latin America of overthrowing democratically elected leftist gov't and installing or backing dictators, unleashing year of terror and death and rapes and murders and land stealing and company exploitation on people whose right to democracy was trumped by US might.

In other news, I should be studying like mad and doing homework. And bathing my dog. So see ya, people.


la_vie_noire: (Default)
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