Category Archives: Economy

How Close are the Drug Cartels and Mexican Govt? | Aug 10, 2017

Mexican President Deletes Instagram Pic with Alleged Cartel Frontman

|| Breitbart

“Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and his staff appear to be trying to erase all traces of connections with a famous musician recently accused of being a drug cartel frontman.

This week, Peña Nieto visited the Mexican state of Chiapas and posted on Instagram with singer Julion Alvarez, where the men are seen on a boat. The photograph was deleted soon after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Treasury Department announced that Alvarez and Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez were singled out as alleged cartel frontmen.

Julio Cesar Alvarez Montelongo, better known as “Julion Alvarez”, and soccer star Rafael “Rafa” Marquez are among 22 Mexican nationals and 43 business entities whose assets in the U.S are now frozen by the Treasury Department, Breitbart Texas reported. Julion Alvarez is considered one of Mexico’s most famous singers in the banda music genre and is known for praising the drug trafficking lifestyle in his music. Despite the type of music that Alvarez performs, in 2015 Peña Nieto called him “a great example for Mexico’s youth”, Mexico’s Proceso reported.

The connection to Alvarez is the latest scandal to plague Peña Nieto at a time when his popularity continues to plummet after his failure in being able to reign in Mexico’s raging cartel violence. Peña Nieto has also been accused of having Mexican cartel operators funnel illicit funds into his 2012 presidential election campaign in a scandal that became known as Monexgate, Breitbart Texas reported.”

…Continue reading more @ Breitbart

 

Retirees flock to Latin America to live an upper-class lifestyle on $1,500 a month

|| Charlotte-Observer

“To casual visitors, this colonial town in southern Ecuador looks like it was torn from the pages of history. With its cobbled streets, soaring cathedrals and bustling markets, it exudes a lazy, old world charm.

But Cuenca is also on the cutting edge of a very modern trend: providing a safe haven for U.S. retirees who have found themselves unwilling — or unable — to live out their golden years at home.

The growing wave of ex-pat seniors is not only upending notions about retirement in the hemisphere but reshaping the face of communities throughout the Americas. And the trend is expected to grow as waves of baby boomers exit the workforce ill-prepared for retirement.

There’s no accurate way to measure the phenomenon, but the Social Security Administration was sending payments to 380,000 retired U.S. workers living abroad in 2014 — up 50 percent from a decade ago.

In the Americas, records show that seniors are flocking to Canada, Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador.

Best known for the Galapagos and providing asylum in its London embassy to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Ecuador is home to 2,850 retirees receiving benefits, according to the U.S. government. But that number doesn’t tell the full picture. The city of Cuenca recently conducted a census that found its municipality alone was home to almost 10,000 foreign retirees, most of them Americans from Texas and Florida.

On a recent weekday, Susan and Michael Herron were having a long, lazy breakfast by the side of the Tomebamba River that cuts through the city. Both in their 70s, they have the lean look of people whose principal mode of transportation is walking — and a sense of adventure usually found in people half their age.

They had previously “retired” in Central Florida, Georgia, Alaska, South Carolina and Panama before finally settling on Ecuador — because it was beautiful and cheap.

“We could have survived [financially] in the United States if we had moved to a more rural area,” said Susan, 71, a semi-retired property manager. “But we wanted to take this chance while we were still healthy enough to be able to do it.”

In Cuenca, a city of about 350,000 people, they’ve found robust public transportation, an extensive museum network, solid healthcare and markets bursting with fresh fruits and produce. It’s a place where their two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath apartment costs less than $400 a month. They’ve found that for about $1,500 a month, they can live a solidly upper-class lifestyle, dining out frequently and traveling.

“In the United States, we couldn’t afford to go anywhere,” Susan explained. “We were having to stay home.”

Cuenca’s survey of retirees found that most were either paying for healthcare out-of-pocket or had private healthcare. But some are reliant on Ecuador’s public healthcare system. Foreigners only need to pay into the system for three months before they have access to full benefits.

Because Medicare doesn’t cover most costs abroad, the Herrons, for example, were paying $84 a month to belong to the public healthcare system. When Michael, a 76-year-old retired IT worker-turned-novelist, recently ended up in the emergency room for a cardiac issue, the total bill was $133. In the past, the same procedure in the United States had been billed to his insurance company at $186,000.

Crespo, the city official, said the retirees are pumping money into the economy, but there are growing concerns over how they might be affecting the healthcare system.

“We’ve heard about cases where someone night need brain or heart surgery that might cost $300,000 in the United States and they have the operation here for $300 because they had paid into the system for three months,” she said. “The price differences are abysmal.”

Congresswoman Soliz said the legislature is planning on doing a comprehensive study of how foreign retirees might be straining public resources.”

….Continue reading more @ Charlotte-Observer

Japan Decides to Dump 770,000 Tons of Radioactive Waste Water into the Pacific Ocean | July 15, 2017

Fishermen express fury as Fukushima plant set to release radioactive material into ocean

|| Telegraph UK

Local residents and environmental groups have condemned a plan to release radioactive tritium from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.

“Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, say tritium poses little risk to human health and is quickly diluted by the ocean.

In an interview with local media, Takashi Kawamura, chairman of TEPCO, said: “The decision has already been made.” He added, however, that the utility is waiting for approval from the Japanese government before going ahead with the plan and is seeking the understanding of local residents.

The tritium is building up in water that has been used to cool three reactors that suffered fuel melt-downs after cooling equipment was destroyed in the magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami that struck north-east Japan in March 2011.

Around 770,000 tons of highly radioactive water is being stored in 580 tanks at the site. Many of the contaminants can be filtered out, but the technology does not presently exist to remove tritium from water.

“This accident happened more than six years ago and the authorities should have been able to devise a way to remove the tritium instead of simply announcing that they are going to dump it into the ocean”, said Aileen Mioko-Smith, an anti-nuclear campaigner with Kyoto-based Green Action Japan.

“They say that it will be safe because the ocean is large so it will be diluted, but that sets a precedent that can be copied, essentially permitting anyone to dump nuclear waste into our seas”, she told The Telegraph.

Fishermen who operate in waters off the plant say any release of radioactive material will devastate an industry that is still struggling to recover from the initial nuclear disaster.

“Releasing [tritium] into the sea will create a new wave of unfounded rumours, making all our efforts for naught”, Kanji Tachiya, head of a local fishing cooperative, told Kyodo News.”

….Continue reading more @ Telegraph UK

|  Question: How is it conceivable that a single nation can make such a unilater decision that can affect the entire planet? We simply don’t know what the affects will be from such major environmental decision. Yet not a peep from the MSM on this critical eco-issue.

Moreover, how is this not a form of state-sponsored form of eco-terrorism? /CJ

 

Fukushima’s tritiated water to be dumped into sea, Tepco chief says. Does Tepco and Japan owns the Pacific Ocean?

|| Nuclear-News.net

We were all just kidding when we said we would save our ocean. Besides, what’s a little bit more poison in the Pacific? Pretending to manage the unmanageable. Dumping into the ecosystem is simply standard operation. The solution to pollution is dilution.–old adage.

Should all of us, all the other countries, stay silent while Tepco and Japan are deciding on their own to dump even more radioactive contamination into our Pacific Ocean?

I would like to point out that the Pacific ocean does not belong to Japan, it belongs to all of us; as my dear friend Sheila Parks already pointed out in her excellent December 2013 article which I recommend to everyone to read, https://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Pacific-Ocean-Does-Not-by-Sheila-Parks-Energy-Nuclear_Fukushima_Fukushima-Cover-up_Japan-131215-303.html.

Now, a question: Will all the Pacific Ocean neighboring countries will stand saying nothing about Japan dumping all that accumulated contaminated water into the Pacific ocean? Mind you, in addition to all what Tepco has been already unwillingly and willingly dumping on the sly with all kinds of lousy reasons during the past 6 years…

Terrible, but tritium is actually released by all nuclear reactors. Legally and illegally, which reactor communities should point out every chance they get. Tritium (H3O) can go everywhere in your body water goes, even across the blood brain and placental barriers, and is thought to be a cause of elevated rates of childhood leukemia around nuclear reactors.

Despite the objections of local fishermen, the tritium-tainted water stored at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant will be dumped into the sea, a top official at Tokyo Electric says.

“The decision has already been made,” Takashi Kawamura, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., said in a recent interview with the media.

Tritium typically poses little risk to human health unless ingested in high amounts, and ocean discharges of diluted volumes of tritium-tainted water are a routine part of nuclear power plant operations. This is because it is a byproduct of nuclear operations but cannot be filtered out of water.

As of July 6, about 777,000 tons were stored in about 580 tanks at the Fukushima plant, which is quickly running out of space.

Tepco’s decision has local fishermen worried that their livelihood is at risk because the radioactive material will further mar public perceptions about the safety of their catches.

Kawamura’s remarks are the first by the utility’s management on the sensitive matter. Since the March 2011 meltdowns were brought under control, the Fukushima No. 1 plant has been generating tons of toxic water that has been filling up hundreds of tanks at the tsunami-hit plant.

Kawamura’s comments came at a time when a government panel is still debating how to deal with the tritium issue, including whether to dump it all into sea.

Saying its next move is contingent on the panel’s decision, Kawamura hinted in the interview that Tepco will wait for the government’s decision before actually releasing the tainted water into the sea.

“We cannot keep going if we do not have the support of the state” as well as Fukushima Prefecture and other stakeholders, he said.

Toxic water at the plant is being treated by a complex water-processing system that can remove 62 different types of radioactive materials except tritium.

Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has been urging Tepco to release the water. Kawamura says he feels emboldened to have the support of the NRA chairman.

But fishermen who make their livelihoods from sea life near the plant are opposed to the releases because of how the potential ramifications will affect their lives.

“Releasing (tritium) into the sea will create a new wave of unfounded rumors, making our efforts all for naught,” said Kanji Tachiya, head of a local fishermen cooperative.

Tachiya, of the cooperative that includes fishermen from the towns of Futaba and Okuma, which host the plant, took a swipe at Tepco’s decision, saying there has been “no explanation whatsoever from Tepco to local residents.”

On March 11, 2011, tsunami inundated the six-reactor plant, situated 10 meters above sea level, and flooded the power supply, causing a station blackout. The cooling systems of reactors 1, 2 and 3 were thus crippled, leading to core meltdowns that became the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Water is being constantly injected into the leaking reactors to keep the molten fuel cool, creating tons of extremely toxic water 24/7. Although it is filtered through a complex processing system, extracting the tritium is virtually impossible.

More @

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/?post_type=news&p=1208906

Continue reading more @ Nuclear-news.net

 

Global Trust in Media is at all time low | July 14, 2017

Have Consumers Decided Most News Is Fake News?

|| Wall Street Journal

“Skepticism toward the media is most often associated with conservatives in Middle America, some of whom eat something other than artisanal sandwiches. But this week brings more evidence that investors worldwide have become very reluctant to buy what many established news organizations are selling. How else to explain the collective shrug of the shoulders in financial markets to the latest breathless media reports about alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia?

Such reports have dominated this week’s news as much of the professional commentariat has pondered out loud whether treason has been committed in the President’s inner circle. Yet after an ever-so-slight hiccup on Tuesday following Donald Trump Jr.’s release of emails regarding a meeting he took last June with a Russian lawyer, stocks drifted higher. Since then, investors have spent much of their time parsing the remarks of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.Reassured by her questionable suggestion that interest rates won’t have to rise very fast or very far in the years ahead, they continue to keep market indexes near record levels.

Investors in the aggregate obviously don’t believe that the republic is coming to an end, nor do they seem to expect a wrenching change in U.S. leadership. There have been similar episodes over the last several months of sharp divergence between the collective analytical judgment of journalists and that of investors. This era of reported turmoil has been marked by a striking lack of volatility in the financial markets. Stocks aren’t cheap by historical standards and corrections do happen.

Yet the world’s investors still like U.S. equities, despite constant media reports that U.S. constitutional governance is hanging in the balance. Now let’s look at the general population in the U.S. A new report from the Pew Research Center also suggests that the news media’s credibility problem reaches well beyond the hard-core MAGA crowd. A full 85% of Republicans and those who lean Republican have a negative view of the national news media. And even among Democrats and those who lean Democratic, the press corps is underwater, with 46% holding a negative view compared to 44% holding a positive one.”

….Continue reading @ WSJ

How Many is Too Many? Immigration is driving Population Growth to 500 Million in USA by 2100 | July 8, 2017

Tucker Carlson interviews Progressive Environmentalist about Environmental Risks of unlimited immigration

|| Youtube

More here @ Youtube

How Can Illegal Aliens Join the U.S. Military Legally? | June 29, 2017

WashPo: Illegal-Alien Recruits In Military Bring Unsolvable Security Threats

|| Breitbart

“More than 1,000 illegal aliens accepted into the U.S. military pose impossible-to-fix security concerns, according to a report in theWashington Post.

The Post’s report cites a Pentagon memo which says that 4,100 of 10,000 illegal alien recruits are facing “enhanced screening,” and that “30 percent [of those] subject to ‘enhanced screening’ have ‘unmitigable derogatory information’ that could bar them from service.”

The Post’s article is focused on the interests of illegal aliens, and ledes with the claim that “The Pentagon is considering a plan to cancel enlistment contracts for 1,000 foreign-born recruits without legal immigration status, knowingly exposing them to deportation, a Defense Department memo shows.”

However, the Post quickly admits the security concerns, saying:

Officials have assigned threat level tiers to the nearly 10,000 Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program recruits, both in the service and waiting to serve, based on characteristics like proximity to classified information or how thoroughly they have been vetted.

The Defense Department launched the program in 2009. Since the program’s start, more than 10,400 troops, most of them with service in the Army, have filled medical billets and language specialties — like Russian, Mandarin Chinese and Pashto — languages identified by the Pentagon as vital to the success of military operations, but in short supply among U.S.-born troops…

The overtasked vetting process and heightened security risk led officials to recommend canceling enlistment contracts for all 1,800 awaiting [still] orders for basic training, and halting the program altogether, according to the memo…

The Pentagon is also considering ending the careers of 2,400 part-time troops in the program who have yet to attend basic training.

The MAVNI program began in 2008 but was frozen in December 2016. Many of the people accepted into the program have not yet been accepted for basic training.

Immigrant recruits sometimes get extra scrutiny in the case of divided loyalties or various ties that may compromise their loyalty, but officials are leery of investigating Muslim soldiers. For example, Nidal Hassan was accepted into the U.S. military and was promoted to Major, despite having two Muslim parents. Subsequently, Hassan became more publicly devout and he murdered 14 Americans at Fort Hood in 2009 amid abundant evidence of his growing hostility to the U.S. military.

Other Islamic threats in the U.S. military include:

A Muslim convert, Hassan Abu-Jihaad, was convicted in 2008 of leaking secrets while serving in the U.S. Navy in 2001.

In 2003, Sgt. Hasan K. Akbar killed two soldiers and injured 14 others in a gun-and-grenade attack in Kuwait as soldiers were pushing the Iraqi army out of Kuwait.

In 2012, Army Private Naser Jason Abdo was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for preparing attacks against American soldiers in Texas. He adopted Islam at age 17, when living with his Jordanian-born father.

In 2013, Navy veteran Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif was convicted of preparing an attack on a Seattle military recruiting center.

In 2014, Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds was detained while trying to join the Islamic State.

In March 2015, U.S. Air Force veteran Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, was convicted of providing material support to ISIS.

Media reports say foreign militaries are seeing the same Islamic and diversity problems. The German media reported that 20 Muslim radicals had joined the German military and French officials reported that up to 10 Muslims in the French military had defected to jihad groups.

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart

Hospitals and doctors are feeling the brunt as Illinois delays Medicaid payments for state employees | June 28, 2017

How Bad Is the Crisis in Illinois? It Has $14.6 Billion in Unpaid Bills

|| The Wall Street Journal

“SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—This is what happens when a major American state lets its bills stack up for two years.

Hospitals, doctors and dentists don’t get paid for hundreds of millions of dollars of patient care. Social-service agencies help fewer people. Public universities and the towns that surround them suffer. The state’s bond rating falls to near junk status. People move out.

A standoff in Illinois between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic Speaker of the House Michael Madigan over spending and term limits has left Illinois without a budget for two years. State workers and some others are still getting paid because of court orders and other stopgap measures, but bills for many others are piling up.

The unpaid backlog is now $14.6 billion and growing. Illinois is even late paying its utilities bills to Springfield, its own capital city. On July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year, billions of dollars in road projects are scheduled to grind to a halt.

“Right now, our state is in real crisis,” said Gov. Rauner last week, on the eve of a special legislative session where lawmakers are trying to hammer out an agreement before the state enters its third budgetless year.

Susana Mendoza, the state’s Democratic comptroller, is in charge of doling out limited funds to organizations demanding payment—a job she likens to handing out crumbs to starving children. She predicted unpaid bills will soon top $16 billion. “It is almost hard to say those numbers out loud because they seem so insane, but that’s where we are right now,” she says.

Illinois remains the business center of the Midwest with numerous Fortune 500 companies based in and around Chicago, major rail infrastructure and one of the nation’s busiest airports. That hasn’t stopped the deadlock from rippling through towns from Rock Island on the Mississippi River to Charleston in central Illinois. Hospitals and doctors are feeling the brunt as the state delays Medicaid payments and insurance payments for state employees.

Peoria-based OSF Healthcare, a network with 10 Illinois hospitals, is owed about $115 million for bills over four months old, the equivalent of 18 days of operating expenses, says Chief Financial Officer Michael Allen. “We have to be cautious about our future,” he says. “There’s just no end in sight.”

The state owes Illinois dentists $225 million, and some of those bills go back 23 months, according to the Illinois State Dental Society. Some dentists in college towns or other areas with lots of state workers are selling their receivables to keep their heads above water. Others are asking state employees to pay in cash, says Ronald Lynch, a dentist in Jacksonville.

“There are dentists who have to do this just to survive,” says Dr. Lynch. “It’s very stressful.” Dr. Lynch, who hasn’t asked for such cash payments, says he is owed about $250,000, forcing him to forgo a salary so he can continue to pay bills and his employees.

Health care is the capital’s biggest employer apart from the state itself. Springfield’s two hospital systems—Memorial Health and HSHS St. John’s—say they together are owed more than $200 million by the state. Edgar Curtis, Memorial Health’s chief executive, says he has put off a $100 million capital-expansion project because of the uncertainty. “We hate to see projects being shelved because of what is going on at the state level,” he says.

The Coliseum building at the state fairgrounds in Springfield closed indefinitely earlier this year after the state failed to come up with funds needed for repairs. The closure has cost the city tourism dollars from horse shows and other events.”

….Continue reading more @ Wall Street Journal

India Outsourcing Firms Scam Americans out of IT jobs in favor of Indian nationals | June 24, 2017

Outsourcing Firm Infosys Discriminates in Favor of Indians, Says Lawsuit

|| Breitbart

 

“The multi-billion dollar outsourcing firm Infosys discriminates against whites and African-Americans while favoring Indian nationals, according to a former employee.

In a newly filed lawsuit against Infosys, former executive Erin Green, who worked at the outsourcing firm between 2011 and 2016, says the company favors Indian nationals over other racial groups:

Infosys maintains roughly 200,000 employees working in the United States. While roughly 1% of the U. S. population is of the South Asian race and national origin, roughly 93%-94% of Infosys’s United States workforce is of the South Asian national origin (primarily Indian). This disproportionately South Asian and Indian workforce, by race and national origin, is a result of Infosys’s intentional employment discrimination against individuals who are not South Asian, including discrimination in the hiring, promotion, compensation and termination of individuals.

While the lawsuit does not allege any specific abuses of the H-1B or L-1 visa, where hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals are allowed to enter the U.S. every year, Green does note that the visa was used to increase Infosys’ already large Indian workforce:

Infosys has gone to great lengths to obtain its primarily South Asian work force in the U. S., in particular by utilizing professional H-1B and L-1 work visas to bring South Asians (primarily Indians) into the United States to work in information technology (“IT”) consulting roles, as its IT consulting business model dictates, and other non-IT capacities, including to replace or supplant non-South Asians. Plaintiff’s career at Infosys exemplifies the systematic pattern of discrimination at Infosys.

White and black employees at Infosys, according to Green’s lawsuit, were hardly ever promoted and even had their evaluations downgraded compared to their Indian national counterparts.

In a more specific case in 2015, Green claims Nayak “verbally assaulted and berated” his white subordinate during a conference call, bringing the woman to tears in front of fellow colleagues and Indian nationals employed at Infosys.

Within the H-1B visa industry, young, male Indian nationals are favored than any other cohort, according to research by the Center for Immigration Studies. Nearly 70 percent of all H-1B visa-holders are from India.”

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart