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TBF's Journal
TBF's Journal
July 31, 2014

Good news from Guatemala -

Guatemalan Court Rules in Favor of Indigenous People Over Goldcorp Mining in Sipacapa

Written by Christin Sandberg ~ Wednesday, 30 July 2014 19:32

A Guatemalan court ruled in favor of the indigenous people of the municipality of Sipacapa over transnational mining in the area. The court says the Guatemalan government must respect the right to information and consultation with the local population before granting any kind of mining permits.

A Guatemalan court ruled in favor of the indigenous people of the municipality of Sipacapa. The court says the Guatemalan government must respect the right to information and consultation with the local population before granting any kind of mining permits, according to international conventions. As a consequence the mining permit named ”Los Chocoyos” is illegal, and should be withdrawn.

”This judgment states the obligation of the Guatemalan government to respect the indigenous people’s right to information and consultation before granting mining permits in indigenous territories, in accordance with both United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and International Labor Organization Convention 169. Otherwise they are illegal,” said Esperanza Pérez, from the Mayan Council of Sipacapa during a press conference held July 23 ...

July 30, 2014

The Solution to Middle East Chaos

The Solution to Middle East Chaos
by: Tala Haikal and Saliba Sarsar on July 30th, 2014

Aggression and war insidiously and savagely consume the hearts of humanity. Huge amounts of energy, ingenuity, resources, and sacrifice are continuously wasted as people fight in the name of freedom, self-defense, self-determination, God, righteous conquest, justice, national security, and power, typically to no avail.

The specter of vicious but pointless conflict is today most evident in the Middle East, where extremism is on the rise and antagonisms are often fierce. Such dynamics make history, to paraphrase a line from James Joyce’sUlysses, a nightmare from which we are trying to awake. The record of human suffering there is long, and in many ways, it is getting worse.

Gaza, Syria, and Iraq are pained by that same disease of extremism and conflict. Civilians, more specifically children and women, are bearing the brunt of the injustices. In today’s Middle East, we have sacrificed a generation to the flames of rage.


We have an obligation to move beyond violence. We must become part of a new culture of peace that celebrates people, rather than dehumanizing and repressing them. This is an essential part of upholding the principle of compassion which, according to the Charter for Compassion, “impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the center of our world and put another there, and to honor the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity, and respect.”

More here: http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/07/30/the-solution-to-middle-east-chaos/#more-49777

July 29, 2014

McDonald’s Says Regulator Rules It Is a ‘Joint Employer’

McDonald’s Says Regulator Rules It Is a ‘Joint Employer’
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ~ JULY 29, 2014, 3:19 P.M. E.D.T.

NEW YORK — McDonald's Corp. says it has been notified by a labor regulator that it can be named a "joint employer" for workers in its franchisee-owned restaurants.

The decision by the National Labor Relations Board was being closely watched because it could potentially expose McDonald's to liability for the working conditions in its franchisees' stores. It also puts pressure on the world's biggest hamburger chain at a time when protests for higher wages in the fast-food industry have captured national attention.

McDonald's and other fast-food companies have repeatedly said they are not responsible for determining wages and other terms at their franchised locations.

< snip >

Heather Smedstad, senior vice president of human resources for McDonald's USA, says the company was notified by the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in New York about the decision on Tuesday. She said McDonald's plans to contest the decision and that it doesn't direct the hiring, termination, wages or hours for workers at franchised locations ...

More here: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/07/29/business/ap-us-mcdonalds-workers.html?_r=1

July 29, 2014

It’s time to start making mass transit free!

Though it might seem counterintuitive, city governments have much to gain by letting riders off the hook
Henry Grabar ~ Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 08:00 AM CST

In March, when a cloud of particle pollution settled across Western Europe, Paris took a radical approach. The Ile-de-France region introduced alternate driving days (odd-number plates one day; evens the next) and eliminated fares on local trams, buses, trains and subways.

Traffic dropped by nearly 20 percent in Paris; congestion on the Périphérique ring road fell by 30 percent at rush hour; large-particle pollution fell by 6 percent. Measured by the impact on the roadways, the emergency measures worked as intended.

< snip >

And yet, Paris would have been a valuable case study. The consequences of eliminating transit fares remain surprisingly obscure. Can a fare-free policy transform a regional transportation picture? Can it pay for itself? Or is it merely a publicity gimmick that inflicts needless financial woes on local transit agencies?

Many people reject the idea out of hand, saying free rides are a problem, not a solution. But “free” transit, of course, is only as free as public libraries, parks and highways, which is to say that the financial burden is merely transferred from individual riders to a municipal general fund, a sales tax or local businesses and property owners. A free ride policy represents the culmination of a long shift from thinking of transit as a business sector — one that was quite profitable in its heyday — to considering it an indispensable public service ...

More here: http://www.salon.com/2014/07/27/listen_up_america_its_time_to_starting_making_mass_transit_free/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

July 29, 2014

Small farms, big problems: Labor crisis goes ignored in idyllic setting

Small farms, big problems: Labor crisis goes ignored in idyllic setting

Despite their nostalgic image, the reality of small farms is much more troubling, say workers and advocates
July 29, 2014 5:00AM ET
by Peter Moskowitz

< snip >

As Americans have latched onto a particular idea of agriculture as morally ideal – small, often organic-certified farms transporting veggies, humanely raised meats and antibiotic-free dairy short distances to farmers markets and ethically focused grocery stores like Whole Foods, farm workers and activists say a crucial link in the food chain has gone largely ignored by those who may consider themselves conscious consumers: labor.

With the image of the small farms becoming ever more present in the collective conscience of an increasingly food-aware nation, farm laborers and activists say now it’s more important than ever to set the record straight, and highlight the fact that even in the most quaint of settings, labor abuse is still rampant.

In central and western New York, where farm workers are often undocumented and speak limited English, working on farms small enough to avoid the scrutiny of U.S. labor regulators, data is lacking on just how rampant abuses are. But workers and the activists that represent them say that minimum wage violations, verbal abuse, long hours, unsafe working conditions and even physical attacks on workers are commonplace. And they say the problem is growing, especially on small dairy farms as the dairy industry in New York booms thanks to the country’s newfound fondness for Greek-style yogurt ...

More here: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/7/29/small-farms-labor.html

July 28, 2014

#Border Children

July 28, 2014

How would you feel?

Posted by David Swanson on Facebook - I think it is from Occupy originally.
July 28, 2014

Protests in the Philippines

CEBU CITY—At least 18,00 protesters poured into the streets in various places in the Visayas on Monday in one of the biggest protests held in the region in recent years in conjunction with the annual State of the Nation Address.

Church and religious groups, vendors and businessmen marched with students, government employees, farmers, workers and informal settlers decrying corruption in government and demanding affordable and adequate social services.

They included 7,500 in Iloilo, 7,000 in Capiz, 2,000 in Aklan, 1,000 in Bacolod City in Negros Occidental and 500 in Cebu.

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/624335/thousands-hold-protests-in-visayas#ixzz38lMCIuhw

More details from the resistance here:

Martinez said that the latest development on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is “the last straw” for Filipino migrants and their families. “Filipinos around the world want BS Aquino out. We do not want him to stay until 2016. He can resign, be impeached or ousted.”

Martinez said that it is unjustifiable and unforgivable how Aquino and his cohorts squandered P177 billion in DAP while scrimping on funds for Filipino migrants in distress and their families. “DAP is not savings. DAP is not good. DAP was not done in good faith. DAP did not produce good results. What BS Aquino did through DAP was to pull in millions of pesos into a huge sum of presidential pork. DAP was used for bribery, patronage politics and to consolidate BS Aquino’s clique in government.”

source: http://migranteinternational.org/

July 26, 2014

Taking their marching orders from Washington -

Obama summit with Central American leaders plans “massive” deportation of immigrants
By Patrick Martin
26 July 2014

President Obama met Friday at the White House with the presidents of three Central American countries, Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras, Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala and Salvador Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador, to discuss the political crisis in the US over the arrival of tens of thousands of immigrant children at the US-Mexico border. Three quarters of the children are from the three Central American countries, with the remainder from Mexico itself.

Pérez Molina said that US officials had told him to prepare for mass deportations in the coming months. Several flights have already brought dozens of mothers and children back from the US to Guatemala, and the flights would be greatly expanded in September, with what the Post called “a larger wave of unaccompanied minors.”

Hernández echoed this comment, telling Time magazine that he received a similar warning from US officials about a big wave of deportations. “They have said they want to send them on a massive scale,” he said.

Much more here: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/07/26/imm1-j26.html

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The most violent element in society is ignorance. Emma Goldman
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