Documentary Review: Flow: For the Love of Water

Documentary Review: Flow: For the Love of Water

flow

It took me a few weeks to watch this movie. I turned it on. I turned it off. Every time I turned it on I had to look something up and I would get so involved in what I was reading I would run out of time.

I wrote this after I was inspired by what I saw about the people of Bolivia.

https://cyndi-lenz.com/2015/07/27/water-inc-the-water-story-of-bolivia-aqua-para-todos/

Very informative and very inspiring. You realize WE are all in this together and it’s so important to remain hyper vigilant when it comes to our water.

Here is the New York Times Review.

The War Between Public Health and Private Interests

“A documentary and a three-alarm warning, “Flow” dives into our planet’s most essential resource — and third-largest industry — to find pollution, scarcity, human suffering and corporate profit. And that’s just in the United States.

Yet Irena Salina’s astonishingly wide-ranging film is less depressing than galvanizing, an informed and heartfelt examination of the tug of war between public health and private interests. From the dubious quality of our tap water (possibly laced with rocket fuel) to the terrifyingly unpoliced contents of bottled brands (one company pumped from the vicinity of a Superfund site), the movie ruthlessly dismantles our assumptions about water safety and government oversight.

Still reeling, we’re given a distressing glimpse of regions embroiled in bitter battles against privatization. In South Africa, villagers drink from stagnant ponds, unable to pay for the water that once was free, and protesters in Bolivia — where waste from a slaughterhouse is dumped into Lake Titicaca — brave gunfire to demand unrestricted access to potable water.”

There was one funny bit by Penn and Teller.

This is about the Nestle Issue in Michigan. Nestle is everywhere. They are here in Florida and they now own my beloved Poland Springs Water.

Not only stealing the water that doesn’t belong to them but causing people’s wells to go dry. Pumping during a drought.

Remember it’s Nestle’s CEO that believes that water is not a human right and should be privatized.

Nestle CEO: Water Is Not A Human Right, Should Be Privatized

According to the former CEO and now Chairman of the largest food product manufacturer in the world, corporations should own every drop of water on the planet — and you’re not getting any unless you pay up.

The company notorious for sending out hordes of ‘internet warriors’ to defend the company and its actions online in comments and message boards (perhaps we’ll find some below) even takes a firm stance behind Monsanto’s GMOs and their ‘proven safety’. In fact, the former Nestle CEO actually says that his idea of water privatization is very similar to Monsanto’s GMOs. In a video interview, Nestle Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe states that there has never been ‘one illness’ ever caused from the consumption of GMOs.

 This is why I’m keeping my well. Your all invited to come get your water here.

What I learned from “Flow” is that there are some magnificent people in the world and we truly are in this together.
This is article 31
Everyone has the right to clean and accessible water, adequate for the health and well-being of the individual and family, and no one shall be deprived of such access or quality of water due to individual economic circumstance.
Say it with me!

Aqua Para Todos

Water is Life

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H2 Worker Documentary. Legal Slavery.

H2 Worker Documentary. Legal Slavery.

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Here is your music!

To everyone running for President:

Tonight I watched this incredible documentary by Stephanie Black.

Before they had harvesting machines every year people 10,000 Caribbean men were  selectivity chosen by American sugar corporations to harvest sugar cane for six months in Florida under temporary “H2” visas.
They came from Jamaica in the middle of the night and put in barracks in Belle Glade.

“If we didn’t have the Jamaicans it wouldn’t get harvested because the local people wouldn’t do it.” One of the sugar field managers said. They were essential jailed. Brought from the barrack to the bus to the field to bus to the barrack and not being allowed to leave.
They got paid one dollar and few cents pr hour.

This was released in 1990.

Even before the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (Who used to hang out in Indiantown) sent workers from their Islands in the Bahamas.

“H-2 Worker is a controversial expose of the travesty of justice that takes place around the shores of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee—a situation which, until the film’s release, has been one of America’s best-kept secrets. There, for six months a year, over 10,000 men from Jamaica and other Caribbean islands perform the brutal task of cutting sugar cane by hand-a job so dangerous and low-paying that Americans refuse to do it.

H-2 Worker is the first documentary to tell the story of these men—named for their special temporary guestwork “H-2” visas. They live and work in conditions reminiscent of the days of slavery on sugar plantations: housed in overcrowded barracks, poorly fed, denied adequate treatment for their frequent on-the-job injuries, paid less than minimum wage, and deported if they do not do exactly as they are told.

The sugar plantations who employ the H-2 workers sustain this exploitation—and their own profits—with the help of the U.S. government, which authorizes the importation of Third World workers while it blocks the importation of cheaper Third World sugar through a system of quotas and price supports, citing “national security” as the reason for its costly subsidizing of a domestic sugar industry. The scandal of the H-2 program has existed for over 45 years. It began in 1942, when the U.S. Sugar Cane Corporation was indicted for conspiracy to enslave black American workers. In 1943 the first West Indian cane cutters were brought in. This scandal has largely been kept out of the public eye, and the sugar companies and their government supporters have escaped accountability. On the contrary, a new immigration law has paved the way for a rapid expansion of the H-2 program.

Directed by: Stephanie Black
Produced by: Stephanie Black
Released: 1990
Running Time: 70 min

For more information about this film and other films in the Collective Eyes Catalog, please visit: collectiveeye.org/products/h2-worker

AWARDS:

Grand Jury Prize Best Documentary – Sundance Film Festival (1990)
Best Cinematography, Sundance Film Festival (1990)
Quotes

“‘H-2 Worker’ is that rare hybrid that succeeds as both film and advocacy. The documentary’s look and form is smooth and sophisticated … [and] it solidly frames issues about the economy, employment and the treatment of workers who seem just steps away from slavery.” —The New York Times
With admirable fluency, Black combines straightforward information and analysis with more evocative glimpses of the workers’ lives …. Black and her collaborators have an unsentimental conviction that these workers are fully human, that they experience not just anger and suffering but also love and pleasure – and even hope.”—The Nation”

Today when you go to Belle Glade you drive past the same buildings that were in this film.

Slave Barracks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-2_Worker

“H-2 Worker is a 1990 documentary film about the exploitation of Jamaican guest workers in Florida‘s sugar cane industry. It was directed by Stephanie Black, and won the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for documentaries in the 1990 festival.[1] It was shot in Belle Glade, Clewiston, and Okeelanta, Florida as well as Jamaica and includes cane fields and worker camps (Ritta Village, Prewitt Village) owned by US Sugar Corporation and the Okeelanta Corporation.

The cane harvesters were brought in to perform the autumn harvest of sugar cane under the H-2A Visa program. The Jamaicans replaced earlier generations of Bahamian seasonal workers who in turn replaced migrant labor recruited from the Cotton Belt (region) in the first half of the 20th century. A documentary short that accompanies the DVD version of the film states that human labor was abandoned for mechanical harvesters in 1992.

The film features interviews with a United States Department of Labor official, a Florida Sugar Cane League official, Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley, local merchants, and a dozen or so field workers. It also includes footage of César Chávez, US Representative Thomas Downey, and US Senator Bill Bradley.”

I think it’s important for “us” ( and you know who I’m referring to) to watch this so we never get soft against the people who created these human rights abuses for corporate profit. Not only do they treat people like slaves they collect corporate welfare.

( Are we calling them corporate entitlements yet?)

It’s also important for those of you that think all these people are coming and taking your jobs away. The reason they have, yes I said have this program is to to the work no one else would do. Interesting enough when I worked in Boca in the hospital we got nurses from England and from the Philippines and there were plenty of nurses around to do the job.  It’s been here since the 40’s. So even at your work you may have H2 workers or even the hospital you go to when your ill.

They may even be hiding your bed.
http://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-2a-agricultural-workers/h-2a-temporary-agricultural-workers

H-2A Temporary Agricultural WorkersThe H-2A program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs. A U.S. employer,a U.S. agent as described in the regulations,or an association of U.S. agricultural producers named as a joint employer must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, on a prospective worker’s behalf.

Who May Qualify for H-2A Classification?

To qualify for H-2A nonimmigrant classification, the petitioner must:

  • Offer a job that is of a temporary or seasonal nature.
  • Demonstrate that there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
  • Show that the employment of H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
  • Generally, submit with the H-2A petition, a single valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor.  (A limited exception to this requirement exists in certain “emergent circumstances.”  See e.g., 8 CFR 214.2(h)(5)(x) for specific details.)

H-2A Program Process

  • Step 1: Petitioner submits temporary labor certification application to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).  Prior to requesting H-2A classification from USCIS, the petitioner must apply for and receive a temporary labor certification for H-2A workers with DOL. For further information regarding the temporary labor certification requirements and process, see the Foreign Labor Certification, Department of Labor page.
  • Step 2:  Petitioner submits Form I-129 to USCIS.  After receiving a temporary labor certification for H-2A employment from DOL, the employer should file Form I-129 with USCIS. With limited exceptions, the original temporary labor certification must be submitted as initial evidence with Form I-129.  (See the instructions to Form I-129 for additional filing requirements.)
  • Step 3: Prospective workers outside the United States apply for visa and/or admission.  After USCIS approves Form I-129, prospective H-2A workers who are outside the United States must:
    •  Apply for an H-2A visa with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad, then seek admission to the United States with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a U.S. port of entry; or
    • Directly seek admission to the United States in H-2A classification with CBP at a U.S. port of entry, if a worker does not require a visa.

You can order it thru amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B003PLC5PY?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

I got mine from Netflix.

Here is another review.

http://www.reggaeplanet.com/p/h2-worker/

“H-2 Worker is the first documentary to tell the story of these men – named for their special temporary guestwork “H-2” visas. They live and work in conditions reminiscent of the days of slavery on sugar plantations: housed in overcrowded barracks, poorly fed, denied adequate treatment for their frequent on-the-job injuries, paid less than minimum wage, and deported if they do not do exactly as they are told.
The sugar plantations who employ the H-2 workers sustain this exploitation – and their own profits – with the help of the U.S. government, which authorizes the importation of Third World workers while it blocks the importation of cheaper Third World sugar through a system of quotas and price supports, citing “national security” as the reason for its costly subsidizing of a domestic sugar industry.
The scandal of the H-2 program has existed for over 45 years. It began in 1942, when the U.S. Sugar Cane Corporation was indicted for conspiracy to enslave black American workers. In 1943 the first West Indian cane cutters were brought in. This scandal has largely been kept out of the public eye, and the sugar companies and their government supporters have escaped accountability. On the contrary, a new immigration law has paved the way for a rapid expansion of the H-2 program to other agricultural industries.
H-2 Worker was shot clandestinely in the cane fields and workers’ barracks around Belle Glade, Florida. It contains footage shot in places where no media has been successful in filming before, and where the filmmakers were denied permission to enter by the sugar corporations and the local police.
H-2 Worker focuses on the lives of the workers themselves – travelling with them to the fields, where they endure long hours of monotonous labor; to their isolated barracks; to the town where they shop for American goods to bring home to their families. Following them through one six-month season, it tell their stories: Like migrant workers worldwide, these men are driven by soaring unemployment in their home countries and promises of high wages abroad. Dreaming of American opportunities to build better lives for their families, they arrive in the U.S. with high hopes – only to confront the harsh realities of the Florida cane fields.
Providing an in-depth analysis, H-2 Worker includes voices from all sides of the issue: representatives of the sugar companies and the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as U.S.l congressmen and Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley. An historical analysis combine archival footage with the testimony of 80-year-old Samuel Manston, who escaped the cane fields at the time of the peonage indictments in 1942.
But the voices of the workers themselves are foremost: They are heard through extensive interviews, and through their recordings of actual letters to and from their families in Jamaica. These voices tell an eloquent story which rings with painful truth, and will not easily be forgotten. H-2 Worker is both a compelling expose of institutionalized injustice, and a moving record of human endurance.
H-2 Worker, a 70-minute, 16 mm, color documentary made over the course of 3 1/2 years, combines the talents of director/producer Stephanie Black, award-winning editor John Mullen and cinematographer Maryse Alberti. It is a film with powerful impact and resonance, certain to be both compelling and controversial.
“‘H-2 Worker’ is that rare hybrid that succeeds as both film and advocacy. The documentary’s look and form is smooth and sophisticated … [and] it solidly frames issues about the economy, employment, and the treatment of workers who seem just steps away from slavery.” -The New York Times
“‘H-2 Worker’ is a revealing look at these men and the treatment they receive on our shores … [Stephanie Black] manages to capture the scope as well as the intensity of the problem. -New York Newsday
“With admirable fluency, Black combines straightforward information and analysis with more evocative glimpses of the workers’ lives …. Black and her collaborators have an unsentimental conviction that these workers are fully human, that they experience not just anger and suffering but also love and pleasure – and even hope.” -The Nation”

According to the update 1992, a class action suit found five sugar cane companies guilty of cheating more than 10,000 cane cutters of their contractually guaranteed minimum wage during the  two seasons documented in the film.

51,000.000 in back pay was awarded.
Then the decision was revered by the Florida Appellate court finding that the H-2 contract was “ambiguous.”

Sugar cane is being harvested mechanically however the number of H-2 workers has substantially increased.

North Carolina: 10,000 workers
Colorado 2,000 workers
Maryland 9,622 (crab houses, fire work, hotel work)
Most of the workers come from Mexico.
In March 2008, over 100 guest workers from India, walked off their H-2B jobs at Signal, an oil rig construction company in Louisiana, protesting the company’s unacceptable living and working conditions.
These are not illegals. These are people that come here legally.

In the country where the people are coming from there are labor brokers that sell assess to the people from all these countries. In India that access was sold for 20,000 dollars.
People come here and they are not paid what they are told plus they had to pay the recruiters.

Over 2,100 H-2 shepherds from Peru, Chile, Mexico and Nepal work for American Ranchers. They are expected to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a minim monthly wage of less that 1,000.

If you think it’s just farm workers you’re wrong.

http://allnurses.com/international-nursing/h2b-visa-338815.html

“That visa is also not valid for nurses and is grounds to get one deported from the US. We see it being advertised in the Philippines but it makes one subject to immigration fraud. It is for untrained workers for a very specific length of time, and nurses do not meet those requirements from the start. We see this being used for the LPN, and there are no legal visas for them to enter the US and work here.

Please forward a copy of any of the garbage that you see offering this, and that is exactly what it is, to the US Embassy there in Manila. You would be sold as a slave to the highest bidder

They would also have you giving false information to the US Embassy officials and this is grounds for deportation for up to ten years after a stay in immigration detention before you are deported. You would be placed in a nursing home to work and they are undergoing frequent raids exactly for this.

Save yourself from having nightmares about being picked up by ICE.”

http://allnurses.com/international-nursing/h2b-visa-338815.html

Businesses continue to lobby for an expanded guest worker program with reduced wages and less government oversight. The violations are rampart.

No one talks about this. They talk about fences. The very people who push the hatred of the illegal people that come here use the H-2 workers as slave labor.

We’re being duped. Our attention is being diverted.
Pay attention.
We still have slaves in America. We call them H-2 workers.

 

Summer Book Club: Paving Paradise Florida’s Vanishing Wetlands and Failure of no Net Loss.

Summer Book Club: Paving Paradise Florida’s Vanishing Wetlands and Failure of no Net Loss by Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite.

What is no Net Loss? Is it even on our radar?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_net_loss_wetlands_policy

“No net loss” is the United States government’s overall policy goal regarding wetlands preservation. The goal of the policy is to balance wetland loss due to economic development with wetlands reclamation, mitigation, and restorations efforts, so that the total acreage of wetlands in the country does not decrease, but remains constant or increases. To achieve the objective of no net loss, the federal government utilizes several different environmental policy tools which legally protect wetlands, provide rules and regulations for citizens and corporations interacting with wetlands, and incentives for the preservation and conservation of wetlands. Given the public benefits provided by wetland ecosystem services, such as flood control, nutrient farming, habitat, water filtration, and recreational area, the estimations that over half the acreage of wetlands in the United States has been lost within the last three centuries is of great concern to local, state, and federal agencies as well as the public interest they serve.”

So while all these political people are running around having debates etc. I’m concerned with the BS that goes on. How people say one thing and do another? I’ll bet not one of these people running understand this including the two from Florida because it’s so far off their radar.

I think we need to start making a reading list for anyone running for office. This would be on the top of my list.

You guys know I hate to read books my self. Books are meant to be talked about, discussed, educate people.

This is what I’m reading this summer.

paving-paradise-pittman-waite-cover-alt

http://www.tampabay.com/features/books/review-paving-paradise-by-craig-pittman-and-matthew-waite-illuminates/988011

Bulldozed and buried wetlands underlie the foundations of thousands of mines, highways, golf courses and shopping malls all over our state, despite clear federal and state policy calling for no net loss of wetlands. It was President George H.W. Bush who first articulated this policy in 1988. “We are going to stand wetlands protection on its ear,” declared the marsh- and duck-loving president.

Pittman and Waite explain why that hasn’t happened, and their probing, well-crafted narrative will keep you turning every page of their book. The prize-winning pair of St. Petersburg Times reporters spent four years researching the state of wetlands protection in Florida. They interviewed hundreds of people, ferreting out political pressure points, cynical numbers games and all the inventive ways we are lied to. (You don’t really believe in mitigation, do you?)

http://gothere.com/Florida/paving-paradise-book-review.htm

Florida has lost over 84,000 acres of wetlands since 1990, this despite  “no net loss” mandates. For 4 years Journalists Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite investigated how Federal, state and local legislators failed to protect Florida’s wetlands from developers and their developments.

In this book Pittman and Waite explain how “wetland protection” often just gives the illusion of protecting the environment while it allows Florida’s native habitat to be paved over.

Pittman and Waite are both reporters at the St. Petersburg Times and have twice earned the top investigative reporting prize in the nation from the Society of Environmental Journalists as well as the Waldo Proffit Award for Excellence in Environmental Journalism in Florida.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4251875-paving-paradise

Florida possesses more wetlands than any other state except Alaska, yet since 1990 more than 84,000 acres have been lost to development despite presidential pledges to protect them. How and why the state’s wetlands are continuing to disappear is the subject of “Paving Paradise”. Journalists Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite spent nearly four years investigating the political expedience, corruption, and negligence on the part of federal and state agencies that led to a failure to enforce regulations on developers. They traveled throughout the state, interviewed hundreds of people, dug through thousands of documents, and analyzed satellite imagery to identify former wetlands that were now houses, stores, and parking lots. Exposing the unseen environmental consequences of rampant sprawl, Pittman and Waite explain how wetland protection creates the illusion of environmental protection while doing little to stem the tide of destruction. What is happening to Florida’s ‘protected’ wetlands?

Here is Craig’s Twitter which is very funny and informative. You can see for yourself.

https://twitter.com/craigtimes

Here is the book’s website. This is one person that Elliot or the RC could invite invite to talk to us.

http://pavingparadise.org/

n an award-winning newspaper series, two investigative reporters from the St. Petersburg Times chronicled how federal rules meant to protect the nation’s wetlands were more illusion than law. Now, that series has been expanded into a book, delving into how we got to this point, starting with land speculators making waterfront property out of sand dredged from the bottom of the ocean. Now, read how the nation’s wetlands protections were formed in clashes between developers, bureaucrats, judges, activists and con artists over Florida swamps.

“This is an exhaustive, timely and devastating account of the destruction of Florida’s wetlands, and the disgraceful collusion of government at all levels. It’s an important book that should be read by every voter, every taxpayer, every parent, every Floridian who cares about saving what’s left of this precious place.” — Carl Hiaasen”

“I am amazed, horrified and delighted that you wrote Paving Paradise! You have uncovered the perfidy that we always knew existed … You have named the key figures that led to the loss of thousands of acres of Florida wetlands.” –Nathaniel Reed”

and don’t tell me the ending!

Water Inc: The Water Story of Bolivia. Aqua Para Todos

Water Inc: The Story of Bolivia  Aqua Para Todos

What do you even know about Bolivia? I know this: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid may or may not have died there.

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=968&sid=17130775

Ernesto Che Guevara was murdered there October 9, 1969 in La Higuera, Bolivia when he executed by a firing squad that was sponsored by the American Government.

Here is a quickie wiki about Bolivia which is a very interesting place and very multicultural.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolivia

“Deforestation in upper river basins has caused environmental problems, including soil erosion and declining water quality. An innovative project to try and remedy this situation involves landholders in upstream areas being paid by downstream water users to conserve forests. The landholders receive $20 to conserve the trees, avoid polluting livestock practices, and enhance the biodiversity and forest carbon on their land. They receive $30, which purchases a beehive, to compensate for conservation for two hectares of water-sustaining forest for five years. Honey revenue per hectare of forest is $5 per year, so within five years, the landholder has sold $50 of honey. The project is being conducted by Fundación Natura Bolivia and Rare Conservation, with support from the Climate & Development Knowledge Network.”

Bolivia has gained global attention for its ‘Law of the Rights of Mother Earth‘, which accords nature the same rights as humans.

This is amazing

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_the_Rights_of_Mother_Earth

Investing nature with rights

“The law defines Mother Earth as “…the dynamic living system formed by the indivisible community of all life systems and living beings whom are interrelated, interdependent, and complementary, which share a common destiny; adding that “Mother Earth is considered sacred in the worldview of Indigenous peoples and nations.

In this approach human beings and their communities are considered a part of mother earth, by being integrated in “Life systems” defined as “…complex and dynamic communities of plants, animals, micro-organisms and other beings in their environment, in which human communities and the rest of nature interact as a functional unit, under the influence of climatic, physiographic and geologic factors, as well as the productive practices and cultural diversity of Bolivians of both genders, and the world views of Indigenous nations and peoples, intercultural communities and the Afro-Bolivians. This definition can be seen as a more inclusive definition of ecosystems because it explicitly includes the social, cultural and economic dimensions of human communities.

The law also establishes the juridical character of Mother Earth as “collective subject of public interest“, to ensure the exercise and protection of her rights. By giving Mother Earth a legal personality, it can, through its representatives (humans), bring an action to defend its rights. Additionally, to say that Mother Earth is of public interest represents a major shift from an anthropocentric perspective to a more Earth community based perspective.”

I love this! We will see below that corporations think they are people. But in Bolivia Mother Nature has rights!

http://www.thewaterblog.org/bolivia-water-privatization

“2000, California based Bechtel Corporation took over control of all water systems in Cochabamba, Bolivia’s third largest city.  At first, many thought the move would be one that was beneficial to Bolivia.  To bring that type of business into such financially crippled country was considered to be a savvy win-win move.  Bolivia water privatization was welcomed.”

Bectel.. Bectel… Where do I know that name from?

oh ya!

http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=6975

Bechtel: Profiting from Destruction

On April 17, Bechtel received one of the first and largest of the rebuilding contracts in Iraq. Worth $680 million over 18 months, the contract includes the rebuilding, repair and/or assessment of virtually every significant element of Iraq’s infrastructure, from power generation facilities to electrical grids to the municipal water and sewage systems. The contract was granted in backroom deals without open and transparent bidding processes and the content remains hidden behind a veil of secrecy. The contract has not been publicly disclosed to American taxpayers, who will be paying the majority of the bill. While there is no doubt that Bechtel has experience in these areas, it is an experience from which the people of Iraq should be spared.

War profiteering and political cronyism is just part of this story.”

Yes this Bechtel

http://www.thenation.com/article/six-rigged-rules-corporations-use-to-dodge-taxes/

Bechtel’s “Mini” Masquerade“Though Bechtel is the world’s largest telecommunications, engineering and construction firm (with $32.9 billion in revenue and 52,700 employees), in terms of corporate structure it is one of America’s largest “small businesses.” That’s because the giant corporation takes advantage of a 1958 law intended to extend limited liability protection to owners of small, family-owned businesses. Companies that qualify for this law’s “S Corporation” status do not have to pay federal corporate income taxes. Instead the company’s profits are reported as personal income by individual owners. While the Bechtel empire was hardly the intended beneficiary, their firm technically qualifies for the S Corporation status because it is family run and has less than 100 shareholders.
At the time the law was enacted, the wide differential between top corporate tax rates (52 percent) and top individual rates (91 percent) was a disincentive for gaming the system to dodge taxes. Fast forward half a century and top tax rates have collapsed to only 35 percent for corporations and individuals, erasing the previous disincentive for big corporations to change their business status. By incorporating as an S Corporation, enormous businesses like Bechtel pay just individual taxes, rather than having their corporation pay taxes on corporate profits and shareholders pay taxes on their dividends.
S Corporations, and other businesses where income is taxed only at the individual level, have become the new tax haven, where large businesses have fled to avoid US corporate income taxes. In 2008, more than 14,000 S Corporation tax returns were filed by firms with more than $50 million in revenue, according to the IRS. These 14,000 firms, with an average profit of $6.4 million each, collectively reported 29 percent of the total profit on nearly 4 million S Corporation tax returns. Preserving S Corporation status for real small businesses can help level the playing field, but closing the loophole that allows giant multinational corporations to avoid the corporate taxes that their peers have to pay is key to bringing more fairness to the tax code and more funds into public coffers.
As the 99% Spring unfolds, restoring fairness to our tax code must be at the center of the debate. As it stands, our tax system rewards those at the top, robbing the rest of us of the public money we need to transform the economy from one that works for the 1 percent to one that works for the 100 percent.A note on the chart. Corporate tax rates were calculated using current federal corporate income taxes paid in 2011 divided by 2011 US pretax income, as reported in company 10-K annual reported filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Deferred taxes, which might be paid some day in the future, were excluded, as were income taxes paid to state or local governments. Individual tax rates were taken from a recent Citizens for Tax Justice report.”

Many Cochabambans objected to the rates that Bechtel imposed on its customer. Their water bills tripled and quadrupled. Half their monthly income went to water. To fuel the fire, Bechtel was granted control to seize homes of delinquent customer when ownership arrangements were defined.  Large groups of enraged Cochabamban residents took to the streets and began the protest against Bechtel.

Also just an FYI

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture_in_Bolivia

Agricultural runoff is one of the main contributors to water pollution in Bolivia, together with domestic municipal wastewater and dumping by industries and mines. The greatest percentage of the pollution load is due to diffuse dumping from agricultural and fishing activities and runoffs of urban areas. There are no regulations or controls over major dumping from non-specific sources, despite its volume and toxicity.

Sound familiar?

bolivia-water-privatization-protest

“Unable to survive under these conditions, the citizens
demanded that the water contract be terminated. After
suffering civil rights abuses, injuries and even death at the
hands of the police and military, the protesters were heard
and their water rights were restored”
Bolivia

http://www.citizen.org/documents/Bolivia_%28PDF%29.PDF

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Bolivia#2000_Cochabamba_protests

In 2001, Bechtel filed suit against the Bolivian government, citing damages of more for $25 million. Bechtel argues that its contract was only to administer the water system, which suffered from terrible internal corruption and poor service, and that the local government raised water prices. The continuing legal battle attracted attention from anti-globalization and anti-capitalist groups. This topic is explored in the 2003 documentary film The Corporation and on Bechtel’s website. In January 2006, Bechtel and the other international partners settled the lawsuit against the Bolivian government for a reported $0.30 (thirty cents) after intense protests and a ruling on jurisdiction favorable to Bechtel by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes.

So what’s going in Bolivia right now.

http://www.coha.org/on-water-scarcity-and-the-right-to-life-bolivia/

Political Implications of Current Scarcity

“Despite political strides after the “Water Wars,” much of Bolivia still suffers from limited access to water and from poor sanitation. Currently, access to water in rural areas is only 71 percent, while sanitation coverage is often as low as 10 percent. [9] This continuing water scarcity is a humanitarian and a human rights issue that must be addressed from a public policy perspective. Nongovernmental organizations such as Water for People have developed local initiatives with area governments to increase access to clean water in rural parts of the country, but the impetus for change must come from the central government in order to create sustainable policies. To be effective, these policies must incorporate the citizen participation that drastically altered Bolivian politics after its transformative “Water Wars.”

Past social demonstrations in Cochabamba still demand domestic and international attention and should inspire natural resource policy internationally. As stated by David Solnit of Upside Down World, “Bolivian social movements catalyzed by [the “Water Wars”] are, perhaps, the most radical and visionary in the world with their mass participatory, democratic and horizontal way of organizing and mobilizing, drawing on the communitarian roots of the majority indigenous country.” [10] While the movement’s previous successes are certainly praiseworthy, the issues it addressed are not fully resolved. The strong collective spirit that mobilized these protest victories is deeply established in much of the country, and it must be respected as a force for national change. The intersection of civilian activism and governmental policy can finally produce the reforms necessary to confirm water as a human right.”

Then we have ingenuity and SCIENCE!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130082250.htm

“Researchers from the University of Oklahoma have discovered a technique to remove pollutants from water that requires minimal labor costs and is powered by nature itself. After 15 years of testing, research has shown this passive water treatment method to be successful in as diverse geography as the flatlands of Oklahoma and the mountains of Bolivia.

The passive water treatment system is created by engineering an ecosystem consisting of a series of filtering ponds. As the water moves through each specifically designed pond, a natural chemical or biological process removes certain contaminants as it slowly moves from one cell into the other before being re-released into natural waterways.

“When the water reaches the last pond, it has gone from looking like orange, sediment-laden sludge to clear water,” said Robert Nairn, associate director for OU’s Water Technologies for Emerging Regions Center and director of the Center for Restoration of Ecosystems and Watersheds.

Here is the trailer to the corporation:

Here is the full movie The Corporation. Please watch and make a donation to these incredible filmmakers.

Here’s a good word to remember

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality

In economics, an externality is the cost or benefit that affects a party who did not choose to incur that cost or benefit.

For example, manufacturing activities that cause air pollution impose health and clean-up costs on the whole society, whereas the neighbors of an individual who chooses to fire-proof his home may benefit from a reduced risk of a fire spreading to their own houses. If external costs exist, such as pollution, the producer may choose to produce more of the product than would be produced if the producer were required to pay all associated environmental costs. Because responsibility or consequence for self-directed action lies partly outside the self, an element of externalization is involved. If there are external benefits, such as in public safety, less of the good may be produced than would be the case if the producer were to receive payment for the external benefits to others. For the purpose of these statements, overall cost and benefit to society is defined as the sum of the imputed monetary value of benefits and costs to all parties involved. Thus, unregulated markets in goods or services with significant externalities generate prices that do not reflect the full social cost or benefit of their transactions; such markets are therefore inefficient.

So all kinds of fun stuff today. Mother Earth has rights, we have a cool doc to watch and we learned all about Bolivia!

To my Bolivian Readers: I loved learning about Bolivia today and I hope there is more you can share with me!

Aqua para todos mi amigos! El agua es vida!