Archive for the ‘social research’ Category

SP0021 – World Crisis “Forced Labor”

July 15, 2009

 

Forced Labor

By Juan Chamero, from Caece University at Buenos Aires, Argentine, July 12th 2009

Subject: people, Crime Organized, economy, people rights, security,  geopolitics, homeless, immigrants,  people displaced, people diseases, invisible people, massacre,  people poverty,  society, social research

 Info Source 1: ILO, International Labor Organization; ILO Forced Labor Statistics; NYT Forced Labor in China, by Howard French; A forced labor Blog;

  

forced_labor004 

Workers rescued in May from a brick kiln in Linfen, in Shanxi Province, in northern China, in what has become an unfolding labor abuse scandal, By HOWARD W. FRENCH, Published: June 16, 2007

 

 ILO Forced Labor Report

As per 12th May 2009

“….At least 12.3 million people around the world are trapped in forced labour. The ILO works to combat the practice and the conditions that give rise to it. Forced labour takes different forms, including debt bondage, trafficking and other forms of modern slavery. The victims are the most vulnerable – women and girls forced into prostitution, migrants trapped in debt bondage, and sweatshop or farm workers kept there by clearly illegal tactics and paid little or nothing. The ILO has worked since its inception to tackle forced labour and the conditions that give rise to it and has established a Special Action Programme on Forced Labour to intensify this effort. “

 Forced Labor Statistics

 Asia

Asia accounts for by far the biggest share of the world’s forced labourers. Many are migrants, either from elsewhere in Asia or their home country. The ILO currently views three issues with particular concern:

 • Persistence of bonded labour systems, particularly in South Asia, despite longstanding legislation to ban and punish such practices as well as efforts to identify, release and rehabilitate bonded labourers.

 • Widespread trafficking of children and adults, for both sexual and labour exploitation.

 • Continued use of forced labour by the State and official institutions, notably in Myanmar.

 Research has also shown the existence of forced labour in sectors that had escaped previous attention, including Thailand’s shrimp, fishing and seafood processing industries and shrimp production in Bangladesh.

 Some of the highest recruitment payments in the world are found in China, with research showing that workers can pay as much as 2.5 times their expected annual income in recruitment fees to obtain jobs in the U.S.

 Americas

Latin America accounts for the second largest number of forced labourers in the world after Asia, according to ILO estimates. Those most at risk are migrant workers in sweatshops, agriculture and domestic service. The main form of forced labour is through debt bondage, involving informal and unlicensed intermediaries who pay advances to entice workers and then reap profits through inflated charges.

 Forced labour in Latin America is closely linked to patterns of inequality and discrimination, especially against indigenous peoples. As a result, action to combat forced labour must be part of a broad framework of measures and programs aimed at reducing poverty by fighting discrimination and promoting the rights of indigenous peoples as well as helping poorest workers in urban areas.

In Argentina, there has been a crackdown against garment workshops following evidence that Bolivian men and their families were being trafficked for employment in the sector. Coercive practices include removal of identity documents, locking workers in factories and compelling them to work for up to 17 hours a day. After a factory fire killed several Bolivians in March 2006, a government inspection program led to the closure of more than half of the workshops visited. The drive included the establishment of a telephone hotline “Slave Labour Kills” in April 2006.

Elsewhere in Latin America, abusive practices include compulsory overtime, with allegations that in Guatemala, for example, workers were threatened with dismissal for refusing to work shifts of up to 24 hours.

 

 Info source 2: BBC of London, In Pictures: Forced Labor and Trafficking; David Kilgour Website a director of the Washington-based Council for a Community of Democracies (CCD).

Some not so awesome Forced Labor Images

forced_labor001 

From Russia: These are orphans. Natasha is the last one in the row, hiding from everybody. She was taken to the foster home by police who found her at a train station. Natasha didn’t know her surname or her age. Her mother is said to have sold her to people who ran a “beggar business”. “If I didn’t bring any money, they would beat me and send me back to work next morning,” she told people at the home. Natasha later disappeared from the orphanage and has not been seen since. Her mother has been located – she denies selling her daughter, saying she “rented her so she could earn some money for textbooks”.

 

 forced_labor002 

Butterflies made by Falun Gong practitioners detained in Heizuizi Women’s Labor Camp in Changchun City, Jilin Province. The above pictures are some products and children’s jewelry made by Falun Gong practitioners under duress in the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province. In addition to persecuting practitioners using brutal torture, murder, and sexual abuse, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) also uses forced labor and organ harvesting to make huge profits. Falun Gong practitioners are illegally arrested and sent to prisons, labor camps, and brainwashing centers just for remaining steadfast in their belief in Falun Dafa and the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. While they are subjected to physical mistreatment, they also have to do hard labor for over 10 hours a day in very poor working conditions to make products. These products are exported to the United States, Japan, Australia, Europe, and have brought in a huge amount of foreign currency for the CCP. The economic exploitation of practitioners is an important part of the persecution of Falun Dafa by the CCP.

 

 Comments: These two pills show us the remaining of an almost chronic social disease: slavery. Take into account that ILO statistics talk of about 13 millions of people suffering the cruelest forms of forced labor. However this is only the visible part of the people exploitation iceberg: people who are enforced to work more than 16 hours a day six days a week and living like animals. People working in Latin American “maquilas” and sweatshops working from 11 hours a day up whole weeks all over the world should be accounted for hundreds of millions. 

Tags: ILO, International Labor Organization, forced labor, forced labour, debt bondage, trafficking, modern slavery, slavery, sweatshops, sweatshop, Howard French, forced labor in China, garment workshops, slave labor kills, Myanmar slavery, Thailand shrimp, Bangladesh slavery, migrant workers, indigenous people slavery, Argentina garment shops, Argentina garment factories, bolivian urban slavery, slave labor kills, slave labour kills, compulsory overtime, continuous shifts, Davod Kilgour, beggar business, russian beggar business, Falun Gong, Falun Gong slavery, Masanjia Forced Labor Camp, Masanjia, Shenyang City, organ harvesting, Chinese organ harvesting,

SP0020 – World Crisis “War on Drugs”

June 16, 2009

 

War on Drugs

By Juan Chamero, from Caece University at Buenos Aires, Argentine, June 16th 2009

Subject: Crime, Drugs, Addictions, Human Health, Crime organized,

Info Source 1: Drugs Won the War, by Nicholas D. Kristoff, NYT, Published June 13, 2009

This year marks the 40th  anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s start of the war on drugs, and it now appears that drugs have won.

 “We’ve spent a trillion dollars prosecuting the war on drugs,” Norm Stamper, a former police chief of Seattle, told me. “What do we have to show for it? Drugs are more readily available, at lower prices and higher levels of potency. It’s a dismal failure.”

 Main Consequences:

First, we have vastly increased the proportion of our population in prisons. The United States now incarcerates people at a rate nearly five times the world average. In part, that’s because the number of people in prison for drug offenses rose roughly from 41,000 in 1980 to 500,000 today.

Second, we have empowered criminals at home and terrorists abroad. One reason many prominent economists have favored easing drug laws is that interdiction raises prices, which increases profit margins for everyone, from the Latin drug cartels to the Taliban. Former presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia this year jointly implored the United States to adopt a new approach to narcotics, based on the public health campaign against tobacco.

Third, we have squandered resources. Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard economist, found that federal, state and local governments spend $44.1 billion annually enforcing drug prohibitions. We spend seven times as much on drug interdiction, policing and imprisonment as on treatment. (Of people with drug problems in state prisons, only 14 percent get treatment.)

 Note 1: Take into consideration that these entries are “semantic pills”, tiny pieces of meaning to be eventually connected by Knowledge Creation algorithms.

Note 2: The War on Drugs is a prohibition campaign undertaken by the United States government with the assistance of participating countries, intended to reduce the illegal drug trade – to curb supply and diminish demand for specific psychoactive substances deemed immoral, harmful, dangerous, or undesirable. This initiative includes a set of laws and policies that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of targeted substances. The term was first used by President Richard Nixon in 1969,[1] and his choice of words was probably based on the War on Poverty, announced by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

Complementary sources

 

Something about the use of the word “war”:

 The phrase “War on Drugs” has been condemned as being propaganda to justify military or paramilitary operations under the guise of a noble cause.

This form of language was previously used in Lyndon B. Johnson’s “war on poverty”, and later by George W. Bush’s “War on Terrorism”. The word “war” is used to invoke a state of emergency, although the target and methods of the campaign is largely unlike that of a regular war.

Like the War on Terrorism, the War on Drugs is a true war, waged by the US government against its own people.

 

 Note 3: This pill is a warning-advise to be as objective as possible when pieces are connected.

 

Major drugs:

  •  Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Meth
  • Mushrooms
  • Tobacco

  alcohol_map_WHO

Alcohol Consumption Map, from WHO

 Note 4: Taking a glance to credible major drugs mappings we may acquaint that Alcohol is a dominant factor and addictions pattern generation.

 

 Some alcohol statistics

  • Alcohol is involved in 50% of all driving fatalities.
  • Over 15 million Americans are dependent on alcohol. 500,000 are between the age of 9 and 12.
  • Americans spend over $90 billion dollars total on alcohol each year.
  • An average American may consume over 25 gallons of beer, 2 gallons of wine, and 1.5 gallons of distilled spirits each year.
  • Pregnant women who drink are feeding alcohol to their babies. Unfortunately the underdeveloped liver of the baby can only burn alcohol at half the rate of its mother, so the alcohol stays in the baby’s system twice as long.
  • Each year students spend $5.5 billion on alcohol, more then they spend on soft drinks, tea, milk, juice, coffee, or books combined.
  • 6.6% of employees in full time jobs report heavy drinking, defined as drinking five or more drinks per occasion on five or more days in the past 30 days.
  • The highest percentage of heavy drinkers (12.2%) is found among unemployed adults between the age of 26 to 34
  • Up to 40% of all industrial fatalities and 47% of industrial injuries can be linked to alcohol consumption and alcoholism.
  • In 2000, almost 7 million persons age 12 to 20 was a binge drinker; that is about one in five persons under the legal drinking age was a binge drinker.
  • The 2001 survey shows 25 million (one in ten) Americans surveyed reported driving under the influence of alcohol. This report is nearly three million more than the previous year. Among young adults age 18 to 25 years, almost 23% drove under the influence of alcohol.
  • Drunk driving is proving to be even deadlier then what we previously know. The latest death statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), using a new method of calculation show that 17,488 people were killed in alcohol related traffic accidents last year. This report represents nearly 800 more people where killed than the previous year.
  • Alcohol is the number 1 drug problem in America.
  • 43% of Americans have been exposed to alcoholism in their families.
  • Nearly one out of 4 Americans admitted to general hospitals have alcohol problems or are undiagnosed alcoholics being diagnosed for alcohol related consequences.
  • Four in ten criminal offenders report alcohol as a factor in violence.
  • Among spouse violence victims, three out of four incidents were reported to have involved alcohol use by the offender.

Drug Cartels

—— “Included in the list of government officials and officers on the Cali Cartel payroll were a reported 5,000 taxi drivers. The taxi drivers would allow the cartel to know who was arriving in the city and when, as well as where they were staying. By having numerous taxi drivers on the payroll, the cartel was able to monitor the movements of officials and dignitaries. It is reported by Time Magazine, in 1991, DEA and U.S. Customs Service (now ICE) agents were monitoring a shipment being offloaded in Miami, only to find out later that the DEA agents were the target of Cali surveillance at the same time” . …..

                    mx_drug_cartels

Mexico Cartels Map, from Stratfor.com

 

 smuggling_texas

Border transparency from people promoting the “Big Fence”

 

Note 5: This textual-graphic semantic pill shows us that illegal drug activities pervade our daily life all over the world.  

 

Paco: The drug for the very poor people

 It is a low cost street drug elaborated on the residual chemical cocaine process –until recent considered as waste- treated with kerosene and sulphuric acid and occasionally chlorophorm, ether or potassium carbonate. It is extremely toxic and additive transforming people, most of them young and children, in “dead alive” because their external aspect. The smaller dose costs less than 35 cents of a dollar.

 It appeared as an underground criminal business in the Emergency Villages that surrounded Buenos Aires city when the 2001 Financial Collapse that suddenly impoverish this rich South American nation. Now it is estimated that only in Argentine are 500,000 children addict to it!.    

Its cycle from euphoria to “disphoria” is too fast – one to 6 minutes- and its feedback accelerate the harm effects on health and dependence.

 The Province of Buenos Aires, the largest Argentine State recently warns about its consumption because it may cause brain dead in less than 6 months. Economically and only in Argentina it moves 400 million dollars annually and its use is spreading all over the South American Region.

 

Comment: These pills are knowledge ingredients that trigger our mind about something “bad” within us as a whole because its reach, volume, harm, danger, diversity, and expansion. No doubt it may destroy us because it is evenly distributed no matter the variables used to potentially discriminate our intents of focusing somewhere. Could we tame it in a near future?. Could we restrict its expansion keeping it within very specific and agreed limits?. Will be enforced to engage in war against it -at large people like us!- in order to beat it starting a “Zero Tolerance” era?. Is this social syndrome a fatal consequence of our somehow intrinsic growing limitations?. Has it a close correlation with poverty and injustice?. There are too much questions without clear and consensual answers. However in the meantime somehow and both ethically and compassionately will be enforced to limit its destructive expansion?.   .

SP0017 – World Crisis “e-Health” Vision

May 3, 2009

SP0017

Human Health Technologies

By Juan Chamero, from Caece University at Buenos Aires, Argentine, May 4th 2009

ehealth

Source: e-health UE Logo

 

Subject: Human Health Semantic Pills Series – e-Health, Virtual Worlds, Virtual Reality, Therapy Games, War Games, e-Training

 Info source 1: eHealth Initiative Lauds Inclusion of Health IT Provisions in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, from e-HealthInitiative.org.

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  FEBRUARY 17, 2009 The independent, non-profit, multi-stakeholder eHealth Initiative congratulates both Congress and President Obama on the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which includes an estimated net investment of $19 billion for health information technology (IT). This figure is comprised of $2 billion in immediate, discretionary funding for the Office of the National Coordinator, an estimated $29 billion to be paid out through Medicare and Medicaid incentives, and estimated off-setting savings of $12 billion

Info source 2: Video game therapy for mental health, from Nathan Wilkinson, Institute of Health and Social Policy, McGill University, Canada; Rebecca P. Ang, Division of Psychology School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, rpang@ntu.edu.sg; Dion H. Goh, Division of Information Studies, Wee Kim Kee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Future research into online video game therapy for mental health concerns might focus on two broad types of game: simple society games, which are accessible and enjoyable to players of all ages, and online worlds, which offer a unique opportunity for narrative content and immersive remote interaction with therapists and fellow patients. Both genres might be used for assessment and training purposes, and provide an unlimited platform for social interaction. The mental health community can benefit from more collaborative efforts between therapists and engineers, making such innovations a reality.”

 Info source 3: BBC News, Games therapy for burns victims,

 Playing on a Wii demands a user act out all the physical movements involved in sports such as tennis, golf and boxing. Specialists say using the Wii brings back flexibility to damaged areas and that most importantly – patients actually enjoy their treatment.

“When recovering from an operation, such as a skin graft, patients may need recover normal use of their hands and arms,” said Maureen Adams, head of therapy at Queen Victoria NHS Foundation Trust in East Grinstead.

“Using the Wii is a way of significantly improving movement, while not seeing the activity as therapy, which helps motivate them. Wii can also be done at home, so patients are able to continue their own personal therapies.”

  

Info source 4: Playing a video game? No, it’s health therapy, by By John Gaudiosi, from REUTERS

wii_fitness 

“RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters Life!) – Video games are known to improve hand-eye coordination but can they help someone quit smoking or lose weight?

Hot on the heels of Nintendo’s smash success, “Wii Fit,” game makers are introducing new titles with a healthy focus, such as French game publisher Ubisoft’s “Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking” that hits on Nintendo DS in November.

Over 10 million smokers worldwide have turned to Allen Carr’s Easyway books, clinics or DVD in order to stop smoking but now smokers wanting to quit can instead play 14 mini-games.

Info source 5: Iraq War Veterans Rehabilitation Therapy, from GamePolitics.com and Virtual Reality Training, from Encyclopedia.com.  

 

Comment: Of course we are to be open minded in order to procure for a better world. So each idea about our body-mind health and improving must be heard, seen and tested. I’m a Zen master and supposedly a body-mind expert trusting in our innate abilities to maintain healthy, long lasting and aware as much as possible in any circumstances. However I believe that is perfectly possible to tune our body with all forms of environment energies. Even in Zen we extensively use imagery to enhance our body mind power for example by tuning with nature: the breath of trees, the flow of rivers and creeks, the calm of lakes so it is perfectly possible to tune with imagery waves thru animated computing. For example in Zen we advise athletes to continue their High Intensity training when injured, “playing and making gym by imagery seen others doing it!.”

 

 

Info source 6: Does violence in video games contribute to real life violence?, by Melinda Clayton from Helium.com

 

YES: 47%, NO: 53%

It is then a controversial subject!.

 

 “As a psychotherapist, I have often had to explain my techniques to concerned foster parents. In our play therapy room we had toy guns, toy handcuffs, toy knives, and empty liquor bottles. The children with whom we worked had often been through horrendous abuse. They were drawn towards these items in an attempt to “explain” to me, through their play, what had happened to them and how they felt about it.

I had to explain to the concerned foster parents that children need to be able to work through their feelings and issues in a safe place. To responsibly allow them to do so would not create violence. The violence that came out in their play in the play therapy room was a direct result of the violence they had experienced at home, and allowing them to process it through play enabled them to move through it towards a healthy resolution.

Do violent video games create violence? No. But children who are drawn to these games may be crying out for help due to violence and trauma experienced in real life.”

 

 

Info source 7: Games is in a saddle point in between e-health AND e-learning: article I by Hartmut Gieselmann and and article II by Christian Swertz from Eludamos.org.

 

Hartmut Gieselmann wrote:

 

Whenever war and computer games are discussed in public, politicians and educators are mainly concerned about the gruesome brutality that domesticates violence into children’s heads. Killing small figures on the screen and fountains of red bloodpixels coming out of the victimized bits and bytes make them fear that teenagers will become more aggressive in real life. This discussion is one of the oldest when it comes to criticising new media. The same concerns were raised about Greek tragedy, Goethe’s Werther, television, comics, and Rap music. But when you take a closer look at war games, you will realize that the violent scenes that are shown there are not nearly as gruesome as in fictional games featuring monsters and vampires. The main reason behind this is that here violence will only be recognized as entertaining for the gamer (or any other audience in literature or film) when he (much more than 90 Percent of war gamers are male) can draw a strict line between the real world and the non real gaming world – otherwise he would be scared by what he sees and stop feeling comfortable.

 

Horror games as well as splatter movies are turning violence so much over the top that everybody realizes that what is shown on the screen cannot be real. War games on the other hand try to be as accurate as possible: They try to emulate real battles. Showing too much gruesome violence would distract the gamer and the game could no longer be recognized as an accurate simulation of real wars. By just pointing at the most violent games, critics overlook that war games have a much greater impact on gamers’ opinions and their world views because they do not show the actual violence. It is hidden behind complex simulations of real guns, tanks, jets, and squad tactics. This is why authorities are more concerned about a gangster game like Grand Theft Auto than a recruitment tool like America’s Army.

When you compare recent World War Shooters to the older Doom Game you will find several differences, despite they both are referred to as First Person Shooters. In Doom, the player fights on his own against masses of monsters. He has no buddies at his side that he has to take care of. He is a one man army. The Doom plot was often copied to real war scenarios. But this type of lonely hero is a discontinued soldier model. It was popular during the Reagan era when the Rambo-movies were shown at theatres. Rambo was the prototype of a dumb muscle machine that was trained by the military to kill everything that moves: Very effective for covered actions in the jungle of ‘Third World’ countries but not appropriate to represent the intelligent and well organized army of the 1990s.

President Clinton had a different military doctrine. He transformed the army (again) into a world police that should fight for freedom and justice all over the world. The army should no longer be thought of as a group of aggressive Rambos but as a high tech machinery that tries to prevent civil victims with their smart bombs. The soldier was no longer an animalistic macho but a cool thinking engineer who merely followed orders and functioned like a gearwheel in a clockwork. The former mentioned technical war simulations of the 1990s supported the new image of the army and were in sync with the Clinton doctrine.

George W. Bush changed that. After 9/11 he had to galvanize the US society with a common destiny. Osama Bin Laden played to his hands since Bush was able use the fear of terror to justify a higher military funding and the cut back of civil rights for his homeland security program. And here come the World War Two games that make the gamer believe that he can take part in an important battle that changes history. He also has a common destiny with his comrades. It is no longer the Rambo type of soldier that was promoted by games in the 1990s. It is the figure of the caring father who has to look after his company, his “brothers in arms”. To free the world of tyrants like Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden, you have to fight for America like your grandpa did in World War Two against Hitler. You have to fight, as if you would defend your own family. That is the new picture in the games that support the Bush doctrine.

Christian Swertz wrote:

And now there are digital games and learning, acting as serious games. Serious games promise freedom and force at once, don’t they? Sounds like a vintage contradiction in the first place, a pretty good dilemma, or maybe just mucking around with the player, since selling hard work as fun and having people pay for it must be the robber baron’s dream. And then it’s a trap you don’t want anybody to stumble in, unless we are witnessing a dialectical miracle – the final synthesis of force and freedom.

A little step back to look behind the scene might shed some light on the issue here. The idea of combining games and learning is not exactly new. In the 18. century games were applied for educational purposes by Basedow (Parmentier 2004). He was picking up earlier ideas like the negative education by Rousseau (1972). Looking behind this concept shows that learning objectives were not explicitly taught but expressed in the rules of the games. The objectives are learned in the game by discovering the rules – and rules of games are forces, particularly if the toy is a computer, since computers can’t negotiate rules. But the player still experiences the game as play and thus the freedom in the game, even if it is forced, by rules. So playing games in general, and serious games in particular, is a kind of a dialectical miracle. But that’s the miracle that accomplishes all learning: On the one hand, the learner is forced to learn something, and thus forced by that something. On the other hand, learners are free to understand what and however they want to. The learner is free to play within and with the force of teachers rules (Litt 1952).

Comment: We in the Western culture used to sum ourselves to extremes keeping as much as possible off “middle ways” where however wisdom used to transit. Virtual words, games, virtual games, virtual reality, virtual body mind fitting are extreme options to enjoy, being healthier, and to be wiser as well almost without “effort”, privately and secure. On the other hand we have the “hard way” alleging that health, wisdom, and virtues are only obtained with sacrifice.      

Categories: people, health, people health, games, health – e-health,  education – e-learning, e-learning

Tags: e-health, virtual words, games, gaming, health Initiative, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Medicaid incentives, Medicare incentives, video game therapy, mental health, Nathan Wilkinson, Rebecca P. Ang, Dion H. Goh, Nanyang Technological University, society games, online worlds, games therapy, burns victims, John Gaudiosi, Reuters, hand-eye coordination, Nintendo, wii fit, ubisoft, Allen Carr’s, stop smoking, Iraq war veterans, rehabilitation therapies, virtual reality training, encyclopedia.com, body mind therapies, zen fitting, zen imagery, zen meditation, video games violence, Melinda Clayton, Helium.com, eludamos.org, war games, male gamers, Hartmut Gieselmann, soldier image, doom game, Rambo aggressiveness, military doctrine, Bill Clinton, civil victims, rambo movies, Clinton doctrine, George W Bush doctrine, 9/11, Osama bin Laden, Rambo type, whealti, world war two, military computer games, animalistic macho, cool thinking engineer, Bush doctrine, military propaganda, Call of Duty 2, Xbox 360,