Postcard from the End of America: Tri-Cities

Postcard from the End of America: Tri-Cities.
       July 31, 2014 “ICH” –  - Though this may sound like a joke, it’s certainly no joke, for I’m not a joking type: When I came to the US in 1975, the very first American song I learnt was “Old McDonald Had a Farm.” Though I could not properly pronounce any of the words, and understood only half of them, at most, I sang along with all the other kids in Miss Dogen’s class at McKinley Elementary in Tacoma, Washington. To this day, I remember one kid cracking up at me, and if I should ever see his laughing face again, I’m sure I’ll recognize it even after many decades. I’ll confront my adversary, “Hey, man, it wasn’t very cool of you to laugh at me, like, a century ago!” Anyway, as I was swaying back and forth and mouthing along, “And on that farm he had a cow, E-I-E-I-O,” I was thinking in Vietnamese, “Cute, the natives here are peasants at heart, for they love to sing stupid songs about cows,” but I was wrong, wrong, wrong, of course. It’s remarkable, and risky too, that only 2% of this nation’s people produce food for the rest, and doing any sort of farm work is about the last thing most Americans want to do.

With more reliance on machines, fewer farm hands are needed, but the remaining ones are paid like raw fertilizer. According to the 2002 National Agricultural Workers Survey, the latest available, a farm worker makes just $6.84 an hour, if paid by the hour, or $8.27 an hour, if paid by the piece (and converted to hourly). Since most Americans won’t bend over and sweat bullets under a hellish sun for such chump change, 78% of our crop workers are foreign-born, with over half of them illegal immigrants. A solution seems obvious. We can stanch our influx of foreigners, since this will force wages to be raised high enough to attract fat-assed Americans, like me, you and our in-laws, into picking strawberries, apples and melons… “No way, Jose,” sayeth Old McDonald, “for this will jack up my prices and make me so uncompetitive, I won’t be able to export my crops or even sell domestically, for Americans will prefer to buy imported veggies and fruits, E-I-E-I-O!” …

South Africa strike wins gains for metal workers

Originally posted on colouredjustice.wordpress.com:

South Africa strike wins gains for metal workers

by Charlie Kimber  http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art/38690/South+Africa+strike+wins+gains+for+metal+workers

Published Tue 29 Jul 2014
Issue No. 2414


Strikers in Johannesburg earlier this month

Strikers in Johannesburg earlier this month (Pic: Numsa)


Metal and engineering workers in South Africa ended their four-week strike this week having forced bosses to make major concessions.

The deal means pay rises of 8 to 10 percent in year one, 7.5 to 10 percent in year two, and 7 to 10 percent in year three.

The biggest rises are for the lowest paid. Official inflation is presently 6.6 percent a year.

Bosses had originally offered 7 percent in year one, and a rise equal to the rate of inflation in years two and three.

One of the employers’ groups, representing 2,000 firms, has declared the deal “excessive” and threatened a lockout of the returning workers.

Metalworkers’ union Numsa also won some concessions to restrict the use of labour brokers.

These are…

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South Africa strike wins gains for metal workers

Originally posted on colouredjustice.wordpress.com:

South Africa strike wins gains for metal workers

by Charlie Kimber  http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art/38690/South+Africa+strike+wins+gains+for+metal+workers

Published Tue 29 Jul 2014
Issue No. 2414


Strikers in Johannesburg earlier this month

Strikers in Johannesburg earlier this month (Pic: Numsa)


Metal and engineering workers in South Africa ended their four-week strike this week having forced bosses to make major concessions.

The deal means pay rises of 8 to 10 percent in year one, 7.5 to 10 percent in year two, and 7 to 10 percent in year three.

The biggest rises are for the lowest paid. Official inflation is presently 6.6 percent a year.

Bosses had originally offered 7 percent in year one, and a rise equal to the rate of inflation in years two and three.

One of the employers’ groups, representing 2,000 firms, has declared the deal “excessive” and threatened a lockout of the returning workers.

Metalworkers’ union Numsa also won some concessions to restrict the use of labour brokers.

These are…

View original 381 more words

Belly fat clearest sign of type 2 diabetes risk

Originally posted on spiritandanimal.wordpress.com:

Belly fat clearest sign of type 2 diabetes risk

Public Health England states categorically for first time that excess weight is biggest risk factor for type 2 diabetes
Obesity

An overweight woman. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA

Men who measure more than 102cm (40 inches) around the middle – and not below the belly – are five times more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than men with a smaller waist, while women who measure more than 88cm (35 inches) are three times more likely to be diagnosed than others, according to advice from Public Health England.

People who are simply overweight, as well as those who are obese, are risking type 2 diabetes, which can lead to blindness, amputations and an early death, the public health body has warned.

Abdominal fat – around the stomach –…

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Ebola outbreak: Liberia closes most border crossings

Ebola outbreak: Liberia closes most border crossings

Top Liberian doctor dead after contracting the virus

Thomson Reuters Posted: Jul 27, 2014 9:19 AM ETLast Updated: Jul 28, 2014 8:02 AM ET

Ebola outbreak spreading across western Africa

 

The Liberian government on Sunday closed most of the West African nation’s border crossings and introduced stringent health measures to curb the spread of the deadly Ebola virus that has killed at least 660 people across the region.

The new measures announced by the government on Sunday came as Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone struggle to contain the worst outbreak yet of the virus.

Speaking at a task force meeting, Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the government is doing everything to fight the virus including inspecting and testing all outgoing and incoming passengers by Liberia’s airport authority.

“All borders of Liberia will be closed with the exception of major entry points. At these entry points, preventive and testing centres will be established, and stringent preventive measures to be announced will be scrupulously adhered to,” she said.

Nigeria Ebola

A man reads a newspaper on a Lagos street with a headline about Ebola. An Ebola outbreak has left more than 660 people dead across West Africa. (Sunday Alamba/Associated Press)

Ebola can kill up to 90 per cent of those who catch it, although the fatality rate of the current outbreak is around 60 per cent. Highly contagious, especially in the late stages, its symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea as well as internal and external bleeding.

Under the new measures, public gatherings such as marches, demonstrations and promotional advertisements also will be restricted.

‘Economic and social consequences’

The outbreak has placed a great strain on the health systems of some of Africa’s poorest countries.

“No doubt, the Ebola virus is a national health problem. And as we have also begun to see, it attacks our way of life, with serious economic and social consequences,” Sirleaf said in a statement.

Still, despite efforts to fight the disease, the virus continues to spread. A 33-year-old American doctor working for relief organization Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia tested positive for the disease on Saturday.

The charity said on Sunday a second American, who was helping a team treating Ebola patients at a case management centre in Monrovia had also tested positive.

Samuel Brisbane, a senior Liberian doctor, who was also treating infected patients has died after contracting the virus, authorities said on Sunday. In Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, a Liberian man who tested positive died in on Friday….

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/ebola-outbreak-liberia-closes-most-border-crossings-1.2719438

Hug A Terrorist Video: Girls Act to Save Gaza Victims

Originally posted on ChildreninShadow.wordpress.com:

Hug A Terrorist.

Hug A Terrorist

Video

Girls act to save Gaza victims.

In this short clip, two Palestinian-Syrian girls in Toronto, Canada called on strangers to “hug a terrorist.”

Produced by the social media activist group Like for Syria, the video portrays two young girls hugging people to inform pedestrians about the escalating death toll in Gaza.

They asked people for hugs, holding a banner that read “Hug A Terrorist” and recorded the reactions of people.

One passer-by said: “I say on both sides: we are all people that should be loved, no fighting and I love you. I love you guys.”

The video endeavored to display some of the actual victims of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “defensive operation” – children, not terrorists.

Posted July 28, 2014

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Omar.Albach
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CHINESE man serves supper to his ‘Strong-Willed Pig’

Originally posted on Schwein gehabt?:

500-chinesepig.jpgCHINESE man serves supper to his ‘Strong-Willed Pig’

A pig born without hind legs has become a celebrity in the Henan Province of China. Known as Zhu Jianqiang — which means ‘Strong-Willed Pig’ — her carer, Wang Xihai, taught her to walk on her front legs, despite calls from his wife to get rid of the special little piglet. ‘She proved to us that no matter what form life is it should continue to live on,’ Mr Xihai said.

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Warm Water Sparks Flesh-Eating Disease Warning in Florida

Originally posted on spiritandanimal.wordpress.com:

Warm Water Sparks Flesh-Eating Disease Warning in Florida

PHOTO: Crescent Beach in Sarasota, Fla. is pictured in this file photo.

Health Warnings About Flesh-Eating Bacteria in Florida – 00:23
Florida department of health says there have been 11 deaths and 41 infections in last year.

Florida health officials are warning beachgoers about a seawater bacterium that can invade cuts and scrapes to cause flesh-eating disease.

Vibrio vulnificus –- a cousin of the bacterium that causes Cholera –- thrives in warm saltwater, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If ingested, it can cause stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. But it can also infect open wounds and lead to “skin breakdown and ulceration,” according to the CDC.

“Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio…

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INFOGRAPHICS: World War I, 1914-1918 – Borders, state leaders and military alliances

 

World War I, 1914-1918

World War I, 1914-1918

please, read & WATCH THIS BRILLIANT IBFOGRAPHIC HERE:

http://en.ria.ru/infographics/20140725/191249349/World-War-I-1914-1918.html

During the First World War, 10 million people were killed, 19 million were wounded and 3.5 million were left permanently disabled. This RIA.ru infographic shows what else WWI wrought in Europe.

World War I (1914-1918) was the first global conflict in history, involving 38 countries with a combined population of over 1.5 billion – three quarters of the world’s population at that time. The war lasted four years, three months and ten days, and led to collapse of four empires – Russian, German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman. This RIA.ru infographic shows how the war remade the map of Europe and changed life for its inhabitants….

http://en.ria.ru/infographics/20140725/191249349/World-War-I-1914-1918.html

Here’s the Real Problem Driving Honduran Refugees to Our Borders: Bullies

 

Here’s the Real Problem Driving Honduran Refugees to Our Borders: Bullies

The lunchroom shakedown of your junior high nightmares is being reenacted in Central America on an exponentially worse national scale.

Police patrol the streets of a gang-ridden neighborhood in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Honduras now has the highest per capita murder rate in the world and is plagued by violence, poverty, homelessness, and sexual assaults. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

 

 

 

July 28, 2014

Scott Johnson is a regular TakePart contributor who has headed Newsweek’s Mexico and Baghdad bureaus and is the author of The Wolf and the Watchman: A Father, a Son, and the CIA:

They started getting targeted about five years ago. The taxicab owners and bus drivers of Honduras began receiving visits from gang members who had a message for the drivers: Pay up or else. At first, the price for not playing along was relatively minor. The drivers’ windows would get smashed at night, or their car tires would be slashed. But the threats escalated quickly and brutally. Pretty soon drivers and fare collectors who didn’t pay were turning up dead. Within a few years, the entire industry was ravaged by the extortions.

“They bled them for as much as they could,” said Kurt Ver Beek, a longtime observer of Honduras who helps lead the Association for a More Just Society, an organization based in Tegucigalpa, the capital of the Central American nation, that’s working to help kids escape the cycle of violence.

Now what has happened to the transportation workers has spread to much of the country, isolating vast swaths of the economy with Mafia-like intimidation tactics, and it’s helping fuel the insecurity. This is what has led Hondurans, including thousands of unaccompanied minors, north to the United States to seek shelter and protection. After the taxis and buses, the gangs began targeting small businesses. One woman ran a successful pillow-making company near Tegucigalpa for several years before the gangs showed up. The woman, whose name was not made available because of concerns about her own safety, had three employees and made about $50 a week in profits. But a gang demanded $50 a week in protection money. Her pleas went nowhere, and eventually she closed down her business and moved in with her mother.

“It’s personalized extortion,” said Ver Beek. “It’s one thing if you get robbed and it feels kind of random, but it’s another thing if someone knocks on your door every week—week after week. Once this gets standardized, people have to get out of here. It’s a huge incentive for people to get their kids out of the country.”

Ver Beek and other experts say the scourge of extortions is in many ways worse than the plague of homicides that have made one Honduran city, San Pedro Sula, the murder capital of the world and elevated Honduras’ national homicide rates to roughly 20 times the U.S average of 4.7 murders per 100,000 people.

“It’s like the Mafia to some extent,” said Elizabeth Reavey, security analyst and Americas team manager for IJET, a security consultancy firm. “They control territory, decisions that families make, extort businesses, bus drivers, the corner chicken place. Extortion is a huge concern. Businesses know they have to pay; it’s budgeted in.”

In response, some communities in Honduras have started trying to protect themselves. Juan Sheehan, who works with Catholic Relief Services in Tegucigalpa and several other communities beset by violence, said many neighborhoods have established “community support networks.”

“These gangs are duking it out in these towns, and you don’t see heads rolling down the street, but if you have a business, they’re extorting you,” said Sheehan. Ver Beek knows one bus owner who has been paying local gangs for five years. It’s always the same kid on the same cell phone, and the driver has to drop off the money on the same day every week. He’s talked to the police about it, and sometimes they’d even investigate—but nothing would ever happen. Last week, one Honduran newspaper ran a story about gang members who threw a Molotov cocktail at a restaurant whose owner refused to pay the “protection fee.” The owner later died from burn wounds.

Local politicians have tried to come up with security initiatives, installing cameras on streets, for instance. But funds soon run out, programs fall by the wayside, and corrupt police and other officials run interference. In neighboring El Salvador, extortion and kidnapping rates continued to climb even as murder rates briefly fell during an attempt at a gang cease-fire that broke down in 2012.

“It’s the biggest reason people are leaving,” said Ver Beek. “You can’t live in a country where people show up at your door threatening you every week on schedule.”..

.http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/07/28/internationalist-honduras?cmpid=tpdaily-eml-2014-07-29