Bring a friend over the border! Both of you can sell your blood.

❝ Every week, thousands of Mexicans cross the border into the U.S. on temporary visas to sell their blood plasma to profit-making pharmaceutical companies that lure them with Facebook ads and colorful flyers promising hefty cash rewards.

❝ The donors, including some who say the payments are their only income, may take home up to $400 a month if they donate twice a week and earn various incentives, including “buddy bonuses” for recruiting friends or family. Unlike other nations that limit or forbid paid plasma donations at a high frequency out of concern for donor health and quality control, the U.S. allows companies to pay donors and has comparatively loose standards for monitoring their health.

❝ The U.S. is the largest supplier of blood plasma in a $21 billion global market…The border clinics are the most productive, according to internal…documents obtained by ARD [German TV]. While most U.S. centers receive around 1,000 paid donations a week, centers at the border count more than 2,300. The documents show that border centers also rank highest in donor frequency; they top of list of centers with customers who donate 75 times or more per year.

But, then, you would expect a leech like Trump to be aiding bloodsuckers profiting from poor migrants.

Armed vigilantes detain migrants –their leader is busted after NM governor calls the Feds


Paul Ratje/Getty

❝ Armed rightwing militia members detained a large group of migrants at the US-Mexico border and coordinated with US border patrol agents to have them arrested, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, in a series of actions the civil liberties organization called a “kidnapping” and a flagrant violation of the law….

❝ The so-called United Constitutional Patriots posted several live-stream Facebook videos this week that appeared to detail their activities at the border…

❝ Nora Meyers Sackett, the spokesperson for New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, told the Guardian her office was working with the attorney general to “verify what exactly happened regarding this group”, adding in an email, “If migrant families feel menaced or threatened at all when they arrive at our border, that’s completely unacceptable, and it should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone…”

************

❝ The head of the militia group…was arrested Saturday by the FBI on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition…

Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, who lives in the tiny village of Flora Vista in San Juan County, was arrested in Sunland Park, a border town near El Paso, the FBI said in a statement…

❝ “This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families,” New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said of Hopkins in a statement issued Saturday. “Today’s arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes.”

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a Twitter message a day before Hopkins’ arrest, “We are actively working with @NewMexicoAOG as well as local and state police. Menacing or threatening migrant families and asylum-seekers is absolutely unacceptable and must cease.”

Just a few of the fascist-minded fools who infest rightwing America.

Asylum seekers enter Norway in the Arctic – from Russia – by bicycle

Norway Arctic border crossing
Click to enlargeStorskog Boris Gleb border crossingCornelius Poppe/AFP/File

As Europe grapples with record-breaking numbers of migrants, a trickle of asylum seekers from Syria and the Mediterranean region have found an unlikely route: Through Russia to a remote Arctic border post in Norway, partly on bicycles.

Police Chief Inspector Goeran Stenseth said…that 151 people have crossed the border this year near the northeastern Norwegian town of Kirkenes, 2,500 kilometers northeast of Oslo.

He said that most of the migrants are from Syria, with some from Turkey and Ukraine, and that they mainly cross in motor vehicles although some have resorted to arriving on bicycles because the Storskog border post is not open to pedestrians, in line with a Norwegian-Russian border agreement.

“There have been about 100 during the past two months, at least 50 in July and looks like August will be much the same,” he told The Associated Press. “But the conditions will be bad soon. It’s getting colder by the day … Soon no one will be able to bike, that’s for sure.”

Woo-hoo! Probably be snowing there, next week. I’ve done a few not-so-legal border crossings in my life; but, none this far North.

Meanwhile, the Mother of Invention still rules.

Drug cartel members link Mexican police to massacres of migrants


Meanwhile – Relatives of 43 missing students protest at the presidential residence in Mexico City –
– victims of the same interlocking directorate of government and gangsters in Mexico

With the Mexican government facing widespread public outrage over the alleged role of police and other officials in the September forced disappearance of 43 students, and the killings of at least six others, from Ayotzinapa Normal School, the country’s federal prosecutor (PGR) has for the first time declassified a document on the suspected participation of police in the kidnapping and massacre of hundreds of migrants in San Fernando massacres of 2010-11.

The new revelations, along with key U.S. documents on how violent drug cartels gained control of local police forces in parts of Mexico during the last decade, are the subject of “San Fernando-Ayotzinapa: las similitudes” (“San Fernando-Ayotzinapa: the similarities”), an article published online…in Mexico’s Proceso magazine in collaboration with Michael Evans and Jesse Franzblau of the National Security Archive.

According to declarations from members of the Los Zetas drug cartel named in the newly-declassified “Tarjeta Informativa” (“informative note” or “information memo”), the police acted as “lookouts” [“halconeo”] for the group, helped with “the interception of persons,” and otherwise turned a blind eye to the Zetas’ illegal activities.

Those crimes included the summary execution of 72 migrants pulled from intercity buses in San Fernando in August 2010 and an untold number of similar killings that culminated in the discovery, in April 2011, of hundreds more bodies in mass graves in the same part of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The victims were mainly Central American migrants making their way to Texas, which borders Tamaulipas to the north. The state’s highways are at once primary avenues for migrants and highly-contested narcotrafficking corridors.

One of the police detainees cited in the memo, Álvaro Alba Terrazas, told investigators that San Fernando police and transit officials were paid to deliver prisoners to the Zetas

If the facts surrounding the San Fernando case seem eerily familiar, it is beacuse they follow pattern seen over and over again in recent years. Like the Ayotzinapa case, the San Fernando massacres are symptomatic of the dirty war of corruption and narcopolitics that has consumed parts of Mexico over the last decade. Killings like these are disturbingly common, and the forces behind the mayhem—usually drug cartels counting on the collaboration of, at a minimum, local police—are remarkably consistent.

RTFA for more details of government corruption than the most cynical might imagine.

The task of decriminalizing the Mexican government is Herculean. It feels like that nation and the government should take a year or two off from every other activity and simply focus on jailing all the politicians and their gangster compadres. Only then might Mexico start all over again as a free and democratic nation.

Hypocrite-of-the-week screams about unvaccinated migrants – opposes mandatory vaccination


Har!

Last week, Rep. Phil Gingrey wrote a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with a dire warning: Some of the child refugees streaming across the southern border into the United States might carry deadly diseases. “Reports of illegal immigrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning,” Gingrey wrote. “Many of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles.”

Gingrey’s analysis carried an aura of credibility among conservatives, because, as Judicial Watch noted, the congressman is “also [a] medical doctor.” But his two-page letter is filled with false charges—there’s no evidence that migrants carry Ebola or that they’re less likely to be vaccinated—from an inconvenient messenger: The congressman has himself pushed legislation to discourage some kinds of mandatory vaccinations in the United States.

According to the World Health Organization, Ebola virus has only ever affected humans in sub-Saharan Africa. (It has been found in China and the Philippines, but has never caused an illness, let alone a fatality)…Gingrey’s misdiagnoses aren’t confined to Ebola. As the Texas Observer points out, when it comes to measles, children in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras are more likely to be vaccinated than children in the United States. None of those countries have recorded an outbreak of measles in 24 years. Kids in Marin County are more at risk.

And in 2007, he wrote an amendment that would allow parents to block their children from receiving HPV vaccines, which are designed to combat cervical cancer.

Nothing new about today’s Republicans being as ethically corrupt as they are economically ignorant, socially and politically bigoted. Some – obviously including Congress-slime Gingrey – ignore conflicts between their record and their lies.

Majority of Chinese are now urban dwellers


Still relying on apartment blocks for most urban residences

China’s urban population exceeded its rural population in 2011 for the first time in the nation’s history, the government’s National Bureau of Statistics reported, continuing a trend that has helped drive its rapid economic growth but poses an increasingly difficult social transition for scores of millions of Chinese.

The statistics bureau stated that China counted 690.79 million urbanites at the year’s end, an increase of 21 million, compared to 656.56 million rural-dwellers, down 14.56 million.

The shift furnishes a ready labor force for the factories that power China’s export-based economy, and better wages in cities have contributed to raising hundreds of millions from poverty. But it also has fueled an urban underclass of migrants and jobless without proper housing and social services, and the hollowing of the countryside has left the elderly without family close by and deprived farms of needed labor.

Barely 10 percent of Chinese lived in cities when Communist forces took control of the Chinese mainland in 1949, Reuters reported. Globally, about 51 percent of people now live in cities, including 51.27 percent of Chinese citizens. The United States counts 82 percent of its residents as city-dwellers.

It took the United States – even with our waves of immigrants – about 140 years to reach 50% city-dwellers. Growing the needed infrastructure in parallel most of the way. China has blown through that process in 60 years. There are advantages and disadvantages to that rate – not counting the difference in culture between a New World society a bit over 200 years old versus a culture estblished in place for thousands of years.

They have the advantage of examining methods of growing traffic management and communications after seeing what works and what doesn’t. They’re still stuck into the same mistakes we made with motor vehicles booming in cities, underestimating the siren call of mobility at the family and individual level. They’re avoiding our mistakes made with relying on highway transport for commercial goods and building a national network of high-speed trains. That reduces fuel costs and pollution in the long run. Much closer to the European model.

It will be interesting to see where the next 5-year plan settles goals and strategies, this year. Certainly, the government recognizes the needs for sensible energy production – which must be balanced against an economy which they’re also throttling back towards a domestic base and a larger percentage of consumer goods for that domestic market. But, communications systems will be specially interesting. Will they build out fibre and copper or place a greater reliance on RF and cellular/satellite communications?

Illegals captured by rancher – suing for emotional distress, civil rights


Roger Barnett and his brother Brent

An Arizona man who has waged a 10-year campaign to stop a flood of illegal immigrants from crossing his property is being sued by 16 Mexican nationals who accuse him of conspiring to violate their civil rights when he stopped them at gunpoint on his ranch on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Roger Barnett, 64, began rounding up illegal immigrants in 1998 and turning them over to the U.S. Border Patrol, he said, after they destroyed his property, killed his calves and broke into his home.

His Cross Rail Ranch near Douglas, Ariz., is known by federal and county law enforcement authorities as “the avenue of choice” for immigrants seeking to enter the United States illegally.

Trial continues in the federal lawsuit, which seeks $32 million in actual and punitive damages for civil rights violations, the infliction of emotional distress and other crimes.

Attorneys for the immigrants – five women and 11 men who were trying to cross illegally into the United States – have accused Mr. Barnett of holding the group captive at gunpoint, threatening to turn his dog loose on them and saying he would shoot anyone who tried to escape…

The lawsuit said he then called his wife and two Border Patrol agents arrived at the site. It also said Mr. Barnett acknowledged that he had turned over 12,000 illegal immigrants to the Border Patrol since 1998.

“This is my land. I´m the victim here,” Mr. Barnett said. “When someone´s home and loved ones are in jeopardy and the government seemingly can´t do anything about it, I feel justified in taking matters into my own hands.”

Good enough for me.