discarded lies: friday, july 28, 2017 4:01 pm zst
people in glass houses sink ships
daily archive: 10/16/2006
evariste in Discarded Lies:
Putin's Month of the Long Knives
Russia, the land of 10,000 nuclear bombs, appears even less stable than ever before, these days.
MOSCOW — The business chief of Russian news agency Itar-Tass, Anatoly Voronin, was killed on Sunday night in his apartment in central Moscow, the agency reported. Death was the result of multiple knife wounds, according to police, Itar-Tass reported. Several theories are being investigated, the agency said.

The body of 55-year-old Voronin was found at his home by his driver, the news agency said. He had worked at the agency for 23 years. His death is the latest in a spate of high-profile killings in Russia in little over a month.

A deputy Central Bank governor, Andrei Kozlov, was shot dead with his driver on September 13 as he left a soccer match in Moscow. Russian officials arrested an unspecified number of people involved in the killing, the Prosecutor General's office said yesterday.

The journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a critic of President Putin, was shot in the entranceway of her apartment building on October 7. Leaders from around the world including President Bush called on the Russian government to carry out a thorough investigation to find her killers. No arrests have yet been made.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Bill Of Rights Gets 28 Months In Chokey
Will Have Lynne Stewart For Company
Loony-left cause célèbre Lynne "The Sheikh Whisperer" Stewart, a nasty bint, had a small portion of her bad karma meted out to her this morning — she was sentenced to 28 months in prison. She could (and should) have been sentenced for as long as 30 years. Still, she's lost her license to practice law, and will have to spend time behind bars. I count that as a victory. Her two little terrorist buddies were up for sentencing today as well.

Ahmad Abdel Sattar got 24 years. Mohammad Yousry hasn't been sentenced yet. I am cautiously optimistic that his sentence will resemble Sattar's more than Stewart's.

Earlier, about 150 Stewart supporters who could not get inside the capacity-filled courtroom stood outside the courthouse, chanting "Free Lynne, Free Lynne."

As she entered the courthouse, Stewart shouted to them "I love you" and "I'm hanging in there."
Yeah, I wish you were hanging.
"It's not just Lynn Stewart who is a victim, it's the Bill of Rights that's the victim," said Al Dorfman, 72, a retired lawyer who was among the Stewart supporters standing outside.
I forgot about the 0th Amendment, "the government shall not prosecute treasonous hippies."
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Amazing but true: The 2006 Nobel Peace laureate is a worthy recipient
I was disappointed that Irena Sendler didn’t win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, but since it wasn’t her I’m happy it was Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank.

I first heard about the Grameen Bank about 15 years ago, on a radio program in which Yunus discussed how he came to set up the bank. He described seeing women in the poorest villages weaving baskets to sell, but at the end of each day the money they earned went back to the man who had lent them the money for the straw to weave the baskets. The next day they had to borrow again, and so they never ended up earning anything for themselves.

Regular banks, of course, wouldn’t lend these women money. They had no collateral, and furthermore the sums they wanted (as little as $20 or $30) were far too small to be considered by an ordinary financial institution. So Yunus came up with a new way of doing banking: A group of five women would be approved for loans. Of that group, two would receive loans and would pay them back over the course of 50 weekly payments. Once those loans were repaid, the next two would be able to receive loans.

The assumption is that if individual borrowers are given access to credit, they will be able to identify and engage in viable income-generating activities - simple processing such as paddy husking, lime-making, manufacturing such as pottery, weaving, and garment sewing, storage and marketing and transport services. Women were initially given equal access to the schemes, and proved not only reliable borrowers but astute entrepreneurs. As a result, they have raised their status, lessened their dependency on their husbands and improved their homes and the nutritional standards of their children. Today over 90 percent of borrowers are women.


As you can imagine, there was considerable peer pressure on the borrowers to repay. Yunus pointed out that less than 3% of the loans are defaulted, which is a better percentage than for regular loans. He also stressed that the borrowers are charged interest, just like any other loan (although the interest is not compounded).

One of the things that most stuck in my mind from that radio program 15 years ago was him describing the dramatic improvement in living standard when a woman living at subsistence level could afford a second set of clothing; now she had clothes to change into so she could wash the first set. My mind boggled at the thought of never being able to wash my clothes because I had no others to wear. It reminds me forcefully of the comment that “the difference between a little money and a lot of money is far less than the difference between a little money and no money.”

Yunus has also campaigned vigorously for the elimination of the dowry system, which completely impoverishes the bride’s family (and naturally tends to make families unhappy when the new baby is a girl). Number 11 of the 16 decisions of the Grameen Bank is:

We shall not take any dowry at our sons’ weddings, neither shall we give any dowry at our daughters’ wedding. We shall keep our centre free from the curse of dowry. We shall not practice child marriage.


The Grameen Bank also promotes education, self-improvement, social responsibility, and hygienic practices such as “We shall build and use pit-latrines” (#9) and “We shall drink water from tubewells. If it is not available, we shall boil water or use alum” (#10).

Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank have, with a stunningly simple idea implemented intelligently, made an enormous difference to the lives of millions of the world’s poorest people.

Take a look at the Grameen Bank’s own web site (try to overlook the poor design and rather idiosyncratic English) and read this Voice of America article for more information. You’ll be glad you did.
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