China Brings Jobs to the U.S.?

Suntech Power Holdings factory in Phoenix, Arizona

Suntech Power Holdings factory in Phoenix, Arizona

Suntech Power Holdings factory in Phoenix, Arizona

Suntech Power Holdings factory in Phoenix, Arizona

 

Americans (myself included) can’t remember a time when we weren’t the most powerful nation in the world. Being the most powerful nation in the world is a title that comes with special responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is job creation. The U.S. has long been known for its ability to keep unemployment rates down and its salaries reasonable. However, over the past decade, the U.S. has been slipping on its job creation responsibilities. Unemployment has been on the rise, the middle class has been all but wiped out and the gap between the rich and the poor is at its greatest. In the most unlikely of twists, the country that’s now creating jobs in the U.S. is none other than China.

Last year an estimated 14 billion dollars were invested in the U.S. by Chinese companies, employing over 70,000 U.S. citizens. Who would have thought that China, of all countries, would be investing in the U.S. and creating jobs? After decades of U.S. companies moving their operations to China, Chinese investors are now looking to do the same here in the U.S. by promoting more Chinese American business investment. From the Southern states of Alabama and Mississippi to the Western state of Arizona, these states are offering cheap real-estate and a strong workforce. Suntech Power Holdings, a Chinese solar panel firm, is a prime example of Chinese investment in the U.S. as the factory is located in Phoenix, Arizona.

Chinese investors are purchasing struggling U.S. companies and also purchasing abandoned factories and converting them into profitable modern factories. With competitive wages and the necessary infrastructure to move large sums of products already in place, it’s likely that the U.S. will only see an increase in Chinese investment. While I’m not entirely comfortable with the thought of Chinese companies employing our citizens, I was less comfortable with the idea of sending U.S. jobs overseas to China. Hopefully this new era of Chinese investment in the U.S. will remind our own companies of how valuable U.S. employment can be.

I would love to hear from you guys about this new era of U.S. investment. Do you think that China’s investments in the U.S. is a good thing or a bad thing? Let me know what you think and thanks for stopping by!

China and its Neighbors

China and its Neighbors

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Brazil Battles Protestors

Confronted with mounting protests and civil unrest, Brazil’s police force resorts to tear gas, flash-bang grenades and rubber bullets to ward off potentially violent crowds. With the FIFA World Cup just days away, authorities will do whatever they can to keep control and order in the streets. Angry protestors in São Paulo and Rio de Janiero say that they are not happy with the government’s allocation of funds. Spending billions of dollars on constructing the necessary infrastructure to support the World Cup is not seen as a priority by many Brazilians who have difficulty putting food on the table and finding jobs. Furthermore, the lack of completion of several stadiums has yet further infuriated the public as they watch their tax dollars being spent carelessly.

Subway workers at São Paulo went on strike Monday which added fuel to the fire. Construction workers desperately work as fast as possible to assure that all of the necessary infrastructure is complete before game one. After being battered by tear gas and other riot resistance weapons, the subway workers decided to call off the strike for two more days or so. They know that if they want to make their voices heard then that will be the time to do it. Authorities fear that the protests could incapacitate the city and create delays for the games.

Social media networks are buzzing with anti-FIFA sentiment. Workers Unions are taking to the streets as well as this is likely their best opportunity to take a blow at Brazil’s politicians. In Rio de Janiero, the former residents of near-by favelas are also making their voices heard. Months before the World Cup, authorities displaced thousands from their homes to make the necessary infrastructure changes to host the game. The result is hundreds of homeless Brazilians that are eager to make a statement to their government.

Each day that we get closer to game one in Brazil, everyone is wondering what will happen next. Will Brazil’s police department be able to tame the protests and assure safety for the Countries citizens and tourists? Or will Brazil’s angry citizens organize a protest so large that it could threaten the safety of the players, tourists and citizens alike?

Are you from Brazil or are you traveling there for the games? I want to hear what you have to say about these protests. Have they reached you? Do you see chaos in the streets or do you see more press then protestors? Please leave me a comment or send me a message. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

World map of Brazil

World map of Brazil

 

 

Slave Labor in Qatar?

Transporting new migrant workers to Doha, Qatar

Transporting new migrant workers to Doha, Qatar

How far would your country be willing to go in order to host the World Cup? Well, if your country is Qatar, then you could say they are willing to kill for that opportunity. Amnesty International, a transnational human rights organization, reported that over 568 workers have died since January 2012 while preparing for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. As more light is being shed on the issue, Qatar has been pressured to reform its current labor laws. While talks are underway to discuss the situation, the fact remains that nothing has been done to protect these migrant workers.

Currently Qatar has a labor law that allows corporations to control their employees’ exit visas. What this means is that by law, an employer could deny its employee the right to leave the country if they wish to do so. Recently I wrote a post on the migrant workers of Dubai, who suffer from a similar policy. Apparently, these construction corporations seek out poor immigrants from neighboring countries, mostly India, and then offer them an opportunity to provide for their families back home. These companies charge them what is known as a visa fee to cover their flight and work visa expenses, though they charge much more than necessary. Since their target employees are extremely impoverished people, the corporations offer a loan program to cover the visa fee.

Once the migrant workers arrive in Qatar, they find that they receive only a portion of their promised wage. The companies apply absurd interest rates on their visa fee loans and then withhold the promised wages so that these employees are not able to generate any real income. If they request their exit visa to return back to their country, the companies deny their request. The result is a slave workforce that is subjected to terrible living and working conditions. The companies responsible for this tragedy benefit from the free labor while Qatar benefits from the revenue of those very same companies. The fact that this is happening today in the year 2014 is beyond my comprehension.

I find it very upsetting that this situation is not making the news. My hope is that whoever reads this post and my other post on Dubai will spread the word about this. As of today, it’s estimated that 1.4 million migrant workers are constructing the 2022 World Cup stadium and surrounding structures in Qatar. If these companies continue their enslavement practices and Qatar does nothing to stop them, then who will? How many more will have to die or suffer for the World Cup before action is taken? If you’re an avid soccer fan and were planning on attending this event, you should know that the stadium was built on the blood, sweat and tears of enslaved migrant workers.

Are you from Qatar or India? Have you ever heard about these practices? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about this situation. Thank you for stopping by and if you like this post or any others make sure to subscribe to my blog.

Article Sources:

1.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/qatar/qatar-pressed-to-protect-world-cup-workers-1.1327507

2.

http://www.amnesty.org

World map of Qatar

World map of Qatar

Migrant workers in Qatar resting on site

Migrant workers in Qatar resting on site

 

Migrant workers in Doha, Qatar

Migrant workers in Doha, Qatar

Map of Qatar

Map of Qatar

Dubai, A City Built by Slaves?

Dubai Skiing Resort

Dubai Skiing Resort

Largest Hotel in the World

Largest Hotel in the World

Dubai's Artificial Island

Dubai’s Artificial Island

 

 

 

 

Chances are that you’ve heard something amazing about the city of Dubai. Maybe you’ve heard that they built an indoor mountain of snow for skiing in the middle of the desert. Perhaps you’ve heard that they constructed an island for luxury hotels or that they built the largest structure in the world. All of these things are true. However another fact that I’m pretty sure most people haven’t heard about Dubai is that the majority of low wage workers who erected these new structures, are modern-day slaves. Though the words “low wage workers” imply that these men and women make a salary, the truth is that they are slaves from the moment that they arrive. Let me explain what I learned.

After watching a Vice News documentary on youtube.com titled, “Slaves of Dubai” I discovered how these workers become slaves to their employers. The first step is recruiting the future workers in their country of origin. They are told that if they pay a small fee, then they could have the opportunity of working in Dubai. The “small fee” is referred to as a visa fee which supposedly covers the future workers permission to enter Dubai and their air fare. However the truth is that this visa fee is much more than the cost of the plane ticket and that the sole purpose of this fee is to get these future workers to take out a loan. After arriving in Dubai, the workers find that they get half of their promised pay and sometimes, they do not get paid at all.

What’s more, if you complain about the poor living conditions or lack of money, then your passport is revoked. You may find that your wage no longer reaches you but you still work long hard hours in the beating desert sun. The companies charge their “employees” for their living quarters which usually consist of about eight people to one room and forty five people to one bathroom. Most of the workers are paid so little that they find themselves stuck in Dubai with no means of returning home and escalating debt. Though these conditions are illegal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), they continue to occur. The video that I watched showed a man crying out of desperation, unable to provide for his family back home and unable to return to them. It’s just not right.

Do you live in Dubai or in another city within the UAE? I want to know what your take is on this situation. Do the people in your city recognize this problem, or is it hidden from them and never discussed? Have you ever spoken with a worker from one of these companies? I would love to know if these realities have reached your neighborhood and if anything is being done to stop this. Please let me know what you think.

 

Slave workers in Dubai being transported to their temporary homes outside of the city

Slave workers in Dubai being transported to their temporary homes outside of the city

Slave workers in Dubai living in close proximity

Slave workers in Dubai living in close proximity

Slave workers sleeping in their company provided rooms

Slave workers sleeping in their company provided rooms

Is Greece Experiencing a Nazi Revolution?

Physical location map of Greece.

 

Have you ever heard of a group by the name of Golden Dawn? If you’re not from Greece it’s likely that you haven’t. I was shocked when I learned about this group and there ideals. This political group has mastered the Nazi-styled propaganda, riot tactics and racial discrimination that once flourished in Germany. Today Golden Dawn has gathered 8% of the political vote for government and their popularity is increasing. Since the economic downfall in 2008, Greece has suffered staggering unemployment and rapid inflation. The combination of slowed economic success and a mostly unemployed youth has crippled the country’s ability to provide for its people. That’s where Golden Dawn comes in.

On a daily basis, Golden Dawn seeks out the poorest sectors of the population and distributes food and other goods to them. This political party will gladly give out provisions to any Greek citizens. However despite how wonderful this sounds, there is a catch. If you are not a natural born Greek citizen, then you are not allowed to receive any assistance from Golden Dawn. According to their political platform, Golden Dawn believes that the biggest issue facing Greece today is foreign inhabitants. They believe that a pure Greek society could sustain itself much more efficiently than a society with mixed culture and race. These were the same ideals once held by Adolf Hitler when Germany’s crippled economy failed to provide for its people.

With no other assistance in sight, many people flock to Golden Dawn to seek food, shelter and employment. Despite what their political beliefs once were, these Greek citizens have embraced the Nazi-styled party for its proactive assistance. Meanwhile, as Golden Dawn wins the people hearts and minds with their racial propaganda, non-Greek citizens live in fear. Golden Dawn is known to aggressively assault no-Greek citizens who defy their racial rhetoric. Tensions between Golden Dawn and the Greek police escalate on a daily basis as many of its members actively sabotage their efforts. However despite the Greek polices presence and resistance, Golden Dawn’s influence grows stronger by the day as more citizens join their cause.

As an outside spectator it is hard to imagine what life is like in Greece these days. If you live in Greece or have family that lives in Greece please respond to this post. Have you heard of Golden Dawn? Do you think that they are helping Greece or do you think that they are hurting it with the promotion of racial purification? Please reply to this post if you could provide me and my viewers with some more insight on this topic.

Source: youtube.com

 

Golden Dawn Party Leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos delivering a speech in Athens - 2013

Golden Dawn Party Leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos Delivering a speech in Athens – 2013

Cannibal Warlord, General “Butt Naked”

Do you remember the last time that you ate a child’s heart so that you could be invincible in battle? Can’t recall ever doing so? Well take a look at this documentary that I found on youtube.com. The documentary was produced by Vice News, a news agency that does in depth reporting across the globe. In this documentary Shane Smith, Vice News co-founder and field correspondent, travels to the west African nation of Liberia to investigate the so called Cannibal Warlords that live there. Let me warn you that the documentary has some strong content.

After exploring several parts of Liberia, Shane Smith lands a shady interview with former General “Butt Naked.” The general, who gave himself the name “Butt Naked”, explains the origin of his name to Shane. He tells the reporter that he chose this name because of his combat strategy during Liberia’s civil war. A strategy in which he would instruct his rebel soldiers to strip down completely before battle. Once fully nude, he would have his soldiers bring an innocent child to him for ritualistic purposes. He would then cut the child’s heart out of his/her chest, while still alive, and have each of his soldiers consume a piece of it. General “Butt Naked” explained to his soldiers that this sacrifice would bring them magical powers in combat and make them invincible. Only then would the General and his soldiers go into battle, while still completely nude I should add. This ritual of sacrifice was repeated before every single battle, thus causing the needless slaughter of hundreds of innocent children during the war.

Today General “Butt Naked” spends his days preaching to his community. He converted to Christianity after the war and now preaches at churches around Liberia about his struggle with his violent past. Former victims of his cannibal rituals say that he converted to Christianity only to avoid punishment for his war crimes. So the former general’s life is now in constant danger of attack from people affected by his military past. According to him these are false accusations. He says that the reason he converted to Christianity was so that he could be a better person and more importantly a better father to his young daughter. Though he takes the full blame for his actions, he recognizes that if his parents would have raised him instead of abandon him, then he might be a different man today. That thought is what motivates him to be a better father and a better person with the help of Christianity.

I tried to put myself in his shoes and imagine what life must have been like for him in Liberia. I wonder what kind of trauma he experienced before deciding that killing children and eating their hearts was the right thing to do. Maybe he’s just a psychopath with no remorse, incapable of distinguishing right from wrong. However it seems odd to me that a person who is incapable of knowing right from wrong would choose to devote the rest of his life to Christianity seeking forgiveness for his sins. The question of whether or not this man should be executed for his crimes remains a mixed issue. Does punishing a person’s ignorance with death solve the issue of ignorance? Does not punishing this man solve the issue of ignorance? I’m not sure what the solution is, if there even is a solution, but what I do know is that this country and its people are completely foreign to me. I will pray for them and hope that change comes sooner than later…

I would love to hear from someone living in Liberia. If you are from there or have family that lives there, please reply to this blog post. I want to hear your story and know what it is like for you as a citizen of Liberia. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Post Sources

cia.gov

youtube.com

Liberia in Africa Liberia with neighbors

Source (Picture 1)                                                                              Source (Picture 2)

 

 

15 Quick Facts about Liberia

Official Language: English (Though only 20% of the population exclusively speaks English)

President: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, since 2006 (She was reelected in 2011 with 90.7% of the total vote in her favor)

Religion: 85.6% Christian, 12.2% Muslim

Total Population: 4,092,310

Capital: Monrovia

Median Age of Population: 18 years old (U.S. median age: 37 years old)

Sanitation Facility Access: 18.2% of the total population (81.8% with no access to restrooms or sewage infrastructure)

Health Expenditures: 19.5% of GDP

Physician Density: 0.01 Physicians/1000 people (Whatever you do don’t get sick in Liberia)

Education Expenditures: 2.8% of GDP

Total GDP: $2.89 Billion U.S. Dollars (Mark Zuckerberg’s Net Worth: $26.6 Billion U.S. Dollars)

Average Annual Income (Per Person): $700.00 U.S. Dollars (Qatar’s average is the highest at: $102,100 U.S. Dollars)

Privately Owned T.V. Stations: 3

Total Internet Users: 20,000 people (That’s less than 1% of the entire population)

Transnational Issues: Human Trafficking, Drug Trafficking, Civil Unrest, Refugee Disputes with Neighboring Countries