Saturday, May 19, 2012

Haiti: Quick Facts

Susan Brannon
19 May 2012

Haiti Quick Facts

The Crossing Borders Project is going to Haiti, to see what life is really like over there.  The different sub-cultures explain Haiti Today (2012) with different perspectives.  The Crossing Borders Project wants to know what is "really" going on.  First we have what I call the large corporation type aid workers, who received a ton of money and people are wondering where the money went.  (More of this on a different post) Second, we have the Haitians who's problems are never ending and not getting much better; HIV is at a height, recent outbreaks of Cholera at an increasing level and is feared to increase during this years rainy season; (more on this is a different post) water is scarce, and many homes have not been rebuilt while crime is rising. 

I have listed some quick "getting to know Haiti" facts

Total population 10,033,00
Life expectancy m/f 60/63
probability of dying under five (per 1000 live births) 87
80% of the Haitians live below the poverty line
Half of the population can be considered "food poor or insecure" and half of the children are under developed as a result of malnutrition.
Less than half of the population has access to clean drinking water
43% of the target population receives the recommended immunizations.
Half of the population can be considered "food poor or insecure" and half of the children are under developed as a result of malnutrition.
Haiti ranks last in the Western hemisphere
The ratio of nurses and physicians are 11/25 per 100,000
Most of the rural areas do not have access to health care, making them susceptible to treatable diseases.

There are over 600,000 Haitians living in tents and temporary structures.  Port-au-Prince is still the most affected area in the center and through the south of the city to the Carrefour, Leogane and Petit Goave district.

Cholera had entered the Artibonite River, Haiti's longest, 60 miles upstream ó most likely from a leaky latrine at a United Nations camp for peacekeeping troops, who carried it from Nepal.

This is a country only a few hours away by plane from the United States.
This is a country where billions of dollars have been donated and much of it used to support the aid agencies. 

The Crossing Borders Project only has two weeks to let the Haitians tell their stories through the visual image so we can see their lives through their eyes.
Related Links:
The Crossing Borders Project
The Crossing Borders Facebook Group
The Crossing Borders You Tube Page
The Crossing Borders on Idealist  Looking for volunteers worldwide

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Congress is About to Pass A Bill That Restricts, Travel, International Banking and Driving

Congress Is About To Pass A Bill That Restricts traveling, driving and international banking
April 18, 2012 Madrid, Spain
Reposted from: Business Insider

The U.S. Passport Act of 1926 is an obscure piece of legislation that was enacted decades ago when the idea of passports started catching fire around the world. Subsequently absorbed into U.S. Code Title 22, the law was originally intended to authorize and issue passports for . .citizens to travel abroad.

Several years ago, the law was modified to provide the Secretary of State with the authority to revoke or deny a passport to any U.S. citizen convicted of engaging in immoral acts with minors overseas. Until now, this has been the only instance of excluding a U.S. citizen from travel abroad. But if Senator Barbara Boxer gets her way, there’s going to be one more.

As part of Senate Bill 1813 (known as MAP-21), Congress has inserted language that would oblige the Secretary of State to revoke or deny a passport to any U.S. citizen who the IRS Commissioner deems as having "seriously delinquent tax debt." For the purposes of MAP-21, "seriously delinquent tax debt" is defined as an amount in excess of $50,000 in which a notice of lien or levy has been filed in public records.

Bear in mind, this is strictly an administrative procedure; there is no due process. By comparison, even pedophiles go in front of a judge before losing their passports. Something is wrong with this picture. News of the 1676-page bill has broken across mainstream media outlets. Forbes, Fox Business, the Atlantic, BusinessWeek … everyone is reporting on this now. So far, though, no one in Washington has shown any intention of backing down.

I’ve taken the time to actually read the entire bill myself … I wanted to ensure that I understood it fully before telling you about it. And believe it or not, there are even dumber provisions within. For starters, in what may be one of the most depraved Big Brother moves on record, section 31406 of the bill makes it mandatory for "black box" event recorders to be installed in every new passenger vehicle starting with model year 2015.

Section 31504 requires the development of special alarm systems designed to remind drivers that there are other passengers in the vehicle. Duh. Then there are provisions for more taxpayer funding to subsidize the massively loss-making Amtrak … plus calls to develop more national, regional, and state-owned railways across the country.

Perhaps most important, though, is Title II of the bill – "Stop Taxhaven Abuse." Long story short, if the U.S. government decides in its sole discretion that a foreign jurisdiction is impeding tax enforcement, Uncle Sam can shut them out of the U.S. financial system, no questions asked. It’s just another measure to turn foreign banks into unpaid spies of the federal government … and limit financial freedom for U.S. citizens. This is a bully move, plain and simple.

Most of the global financial system depends on U.S. banks for correspondent accounts. When you wire money from Cambodia to Brazil, for example, the funds pass through New York. But these kill switch provisions are actually on very shaky legal ground. As several banker and attorney friends of mine in popular offshore jurisdictions like Panama and Labuan have told me, the new bill violates a host of trade agreements. Moreover, it may prove to be the final nail in the coffin for U.S. dominance in global banking … it’s almost as if Congress is daring the international community to come up with a better alternative.

As China opens its currency and economy more and more each day, it seems painfully obvious that a new solution is coming soon. Meanwhile, U.S. citizens would do well to start focusing on taking action while the window is still open. This involves seeking a second passport (lest you have yours revoked), moving gold out of the country, and establishing a foreign bank account.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Gaza Strip - Documentary Film

Forward by Susan Brannon Film by James Longley James Longley went to the Gaza Strip for three months and made a documentary film in 2001. This was before the settler's were forced to leave and gives a true prospective on life for the Gazans just as things started to get worse. James Longley decided to release his film for free online only a few months ago so more people will have access to view the Gazan realities. He first released his film in 2002 at the Chicago Palestine Film Festival and the place was packed. Longley also produced "Iraq in Fragments" and was awarded three jury awards at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature. His short film Sari's Mother premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Short. In 2009, Longley was awarded a $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship "Genius Grant. This film begins with an introductory to the live in the Gaza Strip and the tension increases in the film while the tension is increasing in the Strip. Parts of this film clearly shows crimes against humanity...when the Israelis dropped chemical canisters onto Khan Younis, Gaza of an unknown substance. At the time, the population was going about their business, along with shooting nearby. The children were coming home from school and the men were working and the then the canisters of some sort of smell-less gas that tasted like sugar or mint was released onto the general population. The film focuses on the lives of the children and you can clearly see the effects of the trauma in their lives. You can follow along through some of the lives of these Gazan children and understand that the children had to grow up quickly with the sounds of bullets, rockets, tanks and loosing their homes. They lost friends, parents, uncles and brothers. One of the children decides that it is better to die than live like the way that his life has led and reflects what life means to him. There are scenes that describe the aftermath at the hospital explaining that some boys picked up some boxing gloves that the Israeli tank dropped off to play with it. Inside was some metal, they thought they could sell it. One boy took the metal ball out of the glove and tried to break it. It exploded and was killed instantly. Two other boys were injured and taken to the hospital.t This film is an eyewitness to The aftermath of the destroyed homes in Khan Younis, the shooting when the families attempt to clean up the mess. You can hear the shooting while the families live in small tents near their destroyed homes. In the end there is utter devastation, inside of the Gaza Strip, in the neighborhoods inside of the Gazan border. It is my hopes that the world does not forget the Gazans and continue to ignore the plight that their lives have taken. After the shooting of this film, life has become much worse for those that live in the Gaza Strip.