Social consciousness


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Yesterday, Governor Don Carcieri signed an executive order in Rhode Island “requiring state police and prison officials to identify immigration violators in state custody and report them to federal authorities for possible deportation.” Meaning, if I get pulled over for speeding, and with my obviously really Latin name, I will need to prove on the spot my “immigration status” if not my behind will get deported back to Colombia. First of all, how many of you out there carry your birth certificate, passport or certificate of naturalization with you at all times??? Truly honestly…how many??? Because, I will take a wild guess that most of you do not carry those documents with you.

So, I am a law abiding citizen, who is a citizen of this great country and now I could get taken in to some god awful place for interrogation until “they” feel like they could release me from “prison” or confinement or whatever else because I was able to prove my citizenship. Yeah, I don’t see Mr. John Smith having to go through that, yet his ancestors are not “American” either. This country does not have a race, does not have an “official language”, does not have any of those things. This is not Germany or France. This is the United States of America. Where Europeans fearing religious persecution fled to, I am sure if you had to prove your citizenship back then John Smith, you wouldn’t be that thrilled either.
On the other side of the coin, I understand their point of view. The US wants to tackle illegal immigration and I get that. I do not think building bigger walls on the border is going to solve the problem though. But the system that is currently in place is not working—obviously!!! First off, the US should join the ranks of most other countries in the world and issue federal IDs and not leave it up to the states. Your license should not be your identification. Point blank. Some other ID card that proves your citizenship and could only be issued at one location by the federal government. AND EVERYONE WETHER JOHN SMITH OR PEPITA PEREZ SHOULD HAVE TO CARRY IT WITH THEM AT ALL TIMES. Additionally, the US and Europe should realize that with a global society, immigration shifts occur. Europe is facing the same problem with Africans, Turks and all sorts of other nationalities. We talk about being a global society, well let’s become one for real. Because no longer is it about being German or French, but about being a person, who works hard and earns his/her keep in an honest manner. So let’s come up with a plan that works. Provisional work permits, so people could work in other countries is a start. I agree everyone has to pay taxes. There are no free lunches…but has anyone thought we could benefit from these immigrants…it might be news to people but immigrants are also human beings.

So why not have a free flowing society, where work permits are issued, everyone pays taxes and everyone works. If you do something illegal, you get deported. But truly let it be a society where competition and market driven initiatives force growth, so everyone is compelled to be working and producing and not just sitting on their hiney because they know that they can’t get fired. Maybe that will drive productivity up, worldwide…hmmm…I wonder what economic impact that will have…

People be progressive…think ahead of the times…I know control is a power issue…but maybe a little change wouldn’t be that bad of a thing…

(PS. I went to see the new Dr. Seuss movie last night and the moral of the movie was that everyone is a person no matter how small they are…see even Dr. Seuss got it…we are a human race above any nationality)

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Yesterday Economist.com published a great article titled “In search of Dialogue: How to get Muslims and Jews talking?” This post is not about religion, but it is about dialogue. The article is reporting that this week in Cambridge, Britain, an open letter from leading Muslim scholars to the Jewish community was unveiled. The purpose of the letter is to conduct an open dialogue between leading scholars of both faiths. Any who, for every article that is posted on Economist.com, there is a section where readers can comment about the articles. The comments, in my humble opinion, have been way more interesting that the article itself.

Readers from around the world are commenting about the differences and similarities between Judaism, Islam and Christendom and how they have affected, offended and insulted each other.

If the world was all exactly the same, if every person was exactly the same as every other person it would be a very boring world. I have friends who are Jewish, Christian and Muslim and I love them all equally the same. For who they are, not for their religion. I think people have the personal choice and right to choose what religion they want to belong to and no one should object to that. Now, how we relate to each other, does not have to be about how our religions relate to each other.

PUSH. PUSH. PUSH. I think the problem lies in the word PUSH. We push our believes on everyone else. Jews on Muslims, Muslims on Jews, Christians on Jews, Jews on Christians, Muslims on Christians and Christians on Muslims. We need to stop pushing!!! I feel sometimes the U.S. tries to push “democracy” on the whole world (and maybe with that some Christian values as well) and we have to understand that not everyone likes to live in a democratic world and not every one wants to be Christian. And that goes for all religions. In a way terrorism, is a method used by a seldom few to force or to make others see that they won’t succumb to Christianity, democracy or so called “Western” values. And that is fine. We need to be able to talk to each other and do business together, and have dinners together and laugh together. We do not need to go to church/temple/mosque together. Educated people are everywhere. Well, let’s be educated and deal with each other as civil citizens of humanity (which we all are) and stop pushing and hating each other. You pray to whomever, respect me and let’s have a great meal and talk about the weather…

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“Colombia Unida No Sera Vencida!!!”

Yesterday, February 4th, millions of Colombians around the world (in over 100 cities) gathered together as one. One against the guerrillas-the FARC. So they could stop…stop the kidnappings, stop the murder, the lies, the abuse.

I am usually very unwilling to talk about the “bad” things about Colombia. I mean they get enough media coverage, so I feel I need to talk about the positive sides of my country, such as its beauty, its people, its food, its folklore. But I cannot hide the fact that evil groups such as the FARC still have an incredible power in the region. Even after the billions of dollars that the US pumps into Plan Colombia and all of President Uribe’s efforts they still hold kidnapped over 700 individuals. And with drug demand increasing in Europe and in the United States, the FARC will only be more powerful.
But all my countrymen and women, today are walking together as one. One against fear, war, injustice. We are tired. No more, enough is enough. We want peace. Because, I will like to go back to my home…

PS. Great coverage in BBC and in El Tiempo

PSS. If you use drugs, think…you are helping to kill, helping people be murdered in other countries, you are holding people hostage in jungles…you are swallowing or putting in your veins, drugs that are carried in people’s stomachs or in puppies stomachs…and you are okay with that???

Well, Davos is over. But I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the webcasts and I have learned a lot about social responsibility, corporate creativity and global economics. Here are some memorable quotes:

“Where the climate crisis is concerned, in addition to changing the light bulbs, it is far more important to change the laws.”
–Al Gore, Vice-President of the United States of America (1993-2001); Nobel Laureate 2007

“In the Arab world, corporate social responsibility is not just a concept but it is not yet the culture.”
–H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah, of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

“The sub prime crisis could have been largely avoided if the regulators had done their job…what is unique about this crisis is it is a clear case of failure of regulations and failure of regulators.”
–Palaniappan Chidambaram, Minister of Finance of India

“Terrorism has nothing to do with religion because if it had anything to do with religion it would not go to kill people in a mosque.”
–Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan

Quotes from the BBC Davos Blog:

Today’s Davos quote of the day comes courtesy of David Rubenstein, co-founder of private equity giant The Carlyle Group, which manages an investment pool worth $75bn.

“We can’t really call economies like India or China ’emerging’ anymore, and lump them in with countries like Chad. I don’t know what to call them, but emerging doesn’t fit.

“Anyway, what are Western economies right now? Submerging?”

Cheng Siwei, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, and thus a communist (well, in a Chinese kind of way).In one of the many discussions about the state of the global economy, several Americans called on Chinese consumers to spend more, to make up for the downturn in the United States. After all, China’s savings rate stands at 50%, the US savings rate is in single digits.

Persuading the Chinese to flock to the shops would be tricky, said Mr Cheng: “The Chinese save today’s spending for tomorrow, and the Americans spend tomorrow’s saving today.”

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Today was the first day of the 2008 World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting. Last year, I somehow bumped into the World Economic Forum and since then I have been extremely interested in this forum. The World Economic Forum is “an independent international non-profit organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to global, regional and industry agendas”. The forum was originally founded in January 1971 by a group of European business men being led by then Professor of business policy at the University of Geneva Klaus Schwab. Originally the forum was focused in business leaders coming up with competitive strategies so European firms could catch up to US companies. Yet, the forum started accomplishing milestones and hence it grew. In 1974, it was the first year that political leaders were invited. And in 1987, the forum adopted its current name. Presently, the World Economic Forum is a membership driven forum where business leaders from top companies around the world along with politicians gather in Davos, Switzerland to discuss current issues at hand such as world economic trends, environmental issues, poverty and such.

I have mentioned in previous entries that I think the world is being run by corporations. This is the place where strategies and plans are thought out and leaders meet to discuss the future of our “world”. Politicians, congresses and laws are something minimal now. Corporations and businesses talking to political leaders and discussing the real issues at hand is “OUR” future. We live in a world economy now. What happens in the US affects the world, what happens in Europe affects the world, what happens in China affects the world. We are interconnected. We are moving together at a fast pace and we need our leaders of our corporations and governments to discuss current problems, because ultimately that will affect all of us. From the air we breathe, to the type of banking services we use, to how we operate a car. So, if you are just a little interested about your future….go to http://www.weforum.org

Some interesting quotes:

“We welcome Sovereign Wealth Fund investments and we don’t fear it. But the growth in the number and significance means that vigilance is needed.”

Robert M. Kimmit, US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury

Some of the attendees include:

Al Saud, Prince of Saudi Royal Family; Chief Executive Officer, Saudi Plastic Factory, Saudi Arabia

Tony Blair Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997-2007); Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum; Co-Chair of the World

Samuel W. Bodman US Secretary of Energy

Gordon Brown Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

François Fillon Prime Minister of France

James M. Flaherty Minister of Finance of Canada

Timothy F. Geithner President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, USA

Jean-Daniel Gerber Secretary of State for Economic Affairs of Switzerland

Al Gore Vice-President of the United States of America (1993-2001); Nobel Laureate 2007

Henry A. Kissinger Chairman, Kissinger Associates Inc., USA; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008

Luis A. Moreno President, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington DC

Peter Piot Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and Undersecretary-General, United Nations, Geneva

Rachid M. Rachid Minister of Trade and Industry of Egypt

H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum

Condoleezza Rice US Secretary of State

Susan Schwab US Trade Representative

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington DC

Jean-Claude Trichet President, European Central Bank, Frankfurt

Pierre-François Unger State Councillor of Geneva, Switzerland

Alvaro Uribe Velez , President of Colombia

Ann M. Veneman Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), New York

Xia Deren Mayor of Dalian, People’s Republic of China

Yi Xiaozhun Vice-Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China

Abdullah Zainal Alireza Minister of State of Saudi Arabia

Zhang Yesui Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

Robert B. Zoellick President, World Bank, Washington DC

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Yesterday the Economist released their headlining article for this week’s print edition on the “invasion of the sovereign-wealth funds”. So what are sovereign-wealth funds? According to the economist they are “surplus savings of developing countries”. As of late that surplus has come from countries in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia and Asia. Surging oil prices and rising imports have given these regions a surplus in funds that have so conveniently come in handy to assist banks such as Citigroup and Merrill Lynch out of this credit woe crisis.

But my question in hand is as follows, what do these funds want? And I mean really want? Because I remember my economics professor in college taught us that there are no free lunches in life and somehow or some way someone wants something in return. I am sure they are not lending US$21 billion just out of their own good will.

The issue with sovereign-wealth funds is that no one knows where their investments come from. They don’t publish annual reports or anything for that matter. What does this show? Well, all economies go through good times and bad times. They are called economic cycles and they have been happening since the beginning of time. Yet, now in our interdependent global economy, global powerhouses such as the United States are becoming more dependent on foreign money. In my humble point of view that just means that the United States’ power is diminishing by a certain amount. So when these funds want their money back, what do they want for it? What is the interest consisting of? How many favors is the United States going to have to comply with so our investors are happy? Hmmm…I maintain my theory that corporations rule this world, including international politics. It is no longer about Hillary, Obama or Bush, it is about how Citi and Merrill are compromising our position in the international arena.

Bush went to the Middle East last week. He met with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia and they talked about increasing oil production to ease gas prices. Yet, Saudi Aramco is having issues of their own trying to meet deadlines on their own projects. And truly, do you think oil companies want to lower oil prices???

Ha…so this inter-comingling of economies and banking relationships is resulting in what? We are the careless child, who lends money to the ones that do not have money to pay a house, go through a crisis, ask our big brother to lend us money since no one else has it and then what?

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I once heard that prostitution is the oldest profession in the world. That might be so, but in my opinion it is still one of the most degrading. Maybe because I am a woman but I feel one ’s self worth goes out the window once they join that line of work.

I have been reading a lot about human trafficking and prostitution the last couple of days. I am working on a project for work in regards to the money movements of all types of trafficking including humans. In my research I have encountered several articles and news clips that report on these horrible crimes. Many of these girls are kidnapped or lied to. Then they are taken to different cities or countries where their only choice is to join brothels or go to the streets.

In my opinion, when a woman has sex she is giving something so personal of herself that a piece of her heart goes with it. Whether she wants to recognize it or not that is another issue. So when these girls are forced into becoming prostitutes and you hear them talk, you can hear their dead spirit talk. Is as if they were lifeless beings that were just surviving or roaming this Earth. They have no love, no passion for anything, no one that wants them or appreciates them. Just empty lives. Shamed. I think the biggest crime about prostitution is not the actual act of having sex, it is the stripping of a soul. The actual killing of a poor girl’s soul.

So men might find this appealing. But what I cannot understand is how a man can pay someone for sex and not feel guilty that they are assisting in the killing of someone’s soul. Is the physical satisfaction that good? Really? Because in my mind there will be no pleasure in helping someone be a slave.

PS. A great read is an article by the BBC: “Grim life for Bangladeshi Prostitutes

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