Angels, Mobsters and Narco-Terrorists: The Rising Menace of Global Criminal Empires

Threats, Transnational Crime

Angels, Mobsters and Narco-Terrorists: The Rising Menace of Global Criminal Empires

In this ground-breaking book, Antonio Nicaso, an internationally renowned expert on organized crime groups, and Lee Lamothe, a veteran investigative journalist specializing in criminal conspiracies, present solid evidence of how established organized crime groups — such as the Mafia and the Triads — have changed their tactics and allegiances to protect their interests against the rise of violent and power-hungry gangs from Albania, Mexico, and Russia.

Angels, Mobsters, & Narco-Terrorists reveals how, due to their shared border, the USA and Canada have become prime targets for criminal groups that engage in money laundering and prostitution rings, and trafficking in human cargo, narcotics, and arms. On the international scene, state-sanctioned crime is thriving on heroin profits and cyber crime is emerging as a very lucrative and baffling activity to investigate and shut down.

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The truth about the US border-industrial complex

Immigration, Policies

The truth about the US border-industrial complex

Congress should expand legal avenues of immigration, along with a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already here—a policy with broad public support. The story you’ve heard about immigration, from politicians and the mainstream media alike, isn’t close to the full picture. Here’s the truth about how we got here and what we must do to fix it.

A desperate combination of factors are driving migrants and asylum seekers to our southern border, from Central America in particular: deep economic inequalitycorruption, and high rates of poverty — all worsened by COVID-19.

Many are also fleeing violence and instability, much of it tied to historic U.S. support for brutal authoritarian regimes, right-wing paramilitary groups, and corporate interests in Latin America.

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The Politics of Immigration,” on the media’s ‘Border Crisis’ (FAIR)

Immigration, Policies

The Politics of Immigration,” on the media’s ‘Border Crisis’ (FAIR)

It’s no surprise that right-wing media have hyped a supposed crisis on the US/Mexico border, or that much of the television coverage of current immigration issues has tended to be superficial. What’s striking is how badly the situation has been represented in the more centrist and prestigious parts of the corporate media.

Human Rights First, an advocacy organization that has been monitoring conditions at the southwestern border, has described current media coverage as “unethical reporting.” The group wasn’t just talking about Fox News and Sunday talkshows: The outlets it singled out were the New York Times, Washington Post and Axios.

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Why Do We Eat Bad Food?

Agriculture, Policies

Why Do We Eat Bad Food?

Mark Bittman writes the way he cooks: The ingredients are wholesome, the preparation elegantly simple, the results nourishing in the best sense of the word. He never strains; there’s no effort to impress, but you come away full, satisfied, invigorated.

From his magnum opus, How to Cook Everything, and its many cookbook companions, to his recipes for The New York Times, to his essays on food policy, Bittman has developed a breeziness that masks the weight of the politics and economics that surround the making and consuming of food. In Animal, Vegetable, Junk, his latest book, he offers us his most thoroughgoing attack on the corporate forces that govern our food, tracking the evolution of cultivation and consumption from primordial to modern times and developing what is arguably his most radical and forthright argument yet about how to address our contemporary food cultures’ many ills. But it still goes down easy; the broccoli tastes good enough that you’ll happily go for seconds.

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Climate Migration: An Impending Global Challenge

Immigration, Policies

Climate Migration: An Impending Global Challenge

For months, we have watched the crisis at the Mexican border as migrants tried to enter the U.S. In March, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office estimated that there were 171,700 people attempting to cross the border—the highest number in 20 years. About 30 percent were families, of which one third were refused entry under Title 42, a public health statute.

The number of unaccompanied children arriving and being held in custody in U.S. border shelters hit over 5,700 in March. And this week, five unaccompanied girls between the ages of seven and 11 months were found at the Texas-Mexico border. While a migrant surge occurs every year as people come to the U.S. for seasonal work, the record number of children being sent by themselves is likely a sign of desperate conditions back home.

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Humanity’s challenge of the century: Conserving Earth’s freshwater systems

Policies, Water

Humanity’s challenge of the century: Conserving Earth’s freshwater systems

The challenge from here on is to avoid water wars while preemptively, cooperatively and aggressively addressing a growing global population’s water security. It can be done, but we must do it now.

  • Many dryland cities like Los Angeles, Cairo and Tehran have already outstripped natural water recharge, but are expected to continue growing, resulting in a deepening arid urban water crisis.
  • According to NASA’s GRACE mission, 19 key freshwater basins, including several in the U.S., are being unsustainably depleted, with some near collapse; much of the water is used indiscriminately by industrial agribusiness.
  • Many desert cities, including Tripoli, Phoenix and Los Angeles, are sustained by water brought from other basins by hydro megaprojects that are aging and susceptible to collapse, while the desalination plants that water Persian Gulf cities come at a high economic cost with serious salt pollution.
  • Experts say that thinking about the problem as one of supply disguises the real issue, given that what’s really missing to heading off a global freshwater crisis is the organization, capital, governance and political will to address the problems that come with regulating use of a renewable, but finite, resource.

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Latin America and the Caribbean are facing a serious debt crisis

Economy, Policies

Latin America and the Caribbean are facing a serious debt crisis

In the previous three parts we have observed the evolution of the DCs’ external debt over the last twenty years. The first part shows a dramatic increase of indebtedness, which multiplied by 2.5 with a steep acceleration from 2008 onward. The second part highlights the main threats on the DCs’ external debt, among which the growing significance of bonds, the evolution of interest rates and the depreciation of their currencies against the U.S. dollar. The third part examines the various factors that lure DCs into the debt trap: dependence on commodities, drop in foreign exchange reserves, inflating repayments, conjuncture of a multi-dimensional crisis aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, etc.

We deepen our analysis by focusing on various regions, starting with Latin America and the Caribbean.

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The US food system creates hunger and debt – but there is another way

Agriculture, Policies

The US food system creates hunger and debt – but there is another way

The Covid-19 pandemic has not only been a public health crisis, it has also been a hunger crisis. When millions of Americans lost their jobs, they no longer had enough money to feed themselves and their families. Hunger predictably struck people who were already marginalized. As was evidenced by long lines at food banks, it also struck middle-class families and exacerbated inequality. Even with vaccines, people continue getting weak and sick during the pandemic and the burden is disproportionately landing on women to work harder to ensure everyone stays healthy and alive.

To add injury upon injury, parts of the food system are also a public health hazard. For example, meatpacking plants in the US and around the world have fostered the pandemic, spreading the virus to nearby communities due to poor working conditions and environmental abuses.

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Millions Spend Easter Weekend Under COVID-19 Lockdowns

Policies, Society

Millions Spend Easter Weekend Under COVID-19 Lockdowns

India’s health ministry said Sunday that it recorded 93,249 new COVID cases in the previous 24-hour period, the highest daily tally this year in the South Asian nation.

Only two other nations have more coronavirus infections than India’s 12.4 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The U.S has 30.6 million cases, while Brazil has 12.9 million. Millions of people worldwide are under new lockdown restrictions this Easter weekend thanks to coronavirus infections that have surged despite the continued rollout of vaccination campaigns.

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There is a migrant crisis, but where and why?

Threats, Transnational Crime

There is a migrant crisis, but where and why?

Much ink and hot air has been expended over the past several weeks about whether or not there is a “crisis” on the U.S.-Mexico border, caused by a big spike in the number of migrants and asylum-seekers arriving there since the change in U.S. administrations.

The tone of the Republican versus Democrat argument often takes on a semantic character.  In the opinion of this writer, there is indeed a major crisis, but it is not new; rather it is rooted in the way U.S. imperialism has interacted with the nations and peoples of Central America and the Caribbean for well over a century.

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