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Expat Files – 02.24.17

#1- When your rough Spanish really kicks into high gear:
There are unpredictable good a bad things that happens when you finally start understanding bits and pieces of what’s being said around you. How and when that hallelujah moment of clarity finally does happen comes differently for all of us clueless expats. Even so, after that it’s not “damn the torpedoes” full speed ahead either. Confidence will build and then overconfidence will disappoint along with some noticeable backsliding…

Looking into the Eyes of Central American Refugees in a Time of Hate and Fear

When I crossed the border, a man with his shirt unbuttoned down to his belly and sweat pouring down his chest took my passport, glanced at it for no more than two seconds, then stamped it with a smile and cheerily barked to me “welcome to Mexico.” My entry into Mexico couldn’t have been easier, because I’m from Australia and …

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Expat Files – 09.23.16

#1-Food shopping at a big, chaotic, outdoor Latin market is a real adventure. Contrary to what these places look like- blind alleys, weird sights and smells- they really are totally safe and fun. So don’t worry if you’re the only gringo/gringa in a sea of a hundred plus short, brown faces. You’ll always be treated like a special visitor. However, …

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Michael Snyder – Living In A Van Down By The River – Time To Face The True State Of The Middle Class In America

Do you remember the old Saturday Night Live sketches in which comedian Chris Farley portrayed a motivational speaker that lived in a van down by the river?  Unfortunately, this is becoming a reality for way too many Americans.  As the middle class has shrunk and the cost of living has increased, a lot of people have decided to quite literally “live …

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Franklin Frederick – Trade Agreements and the Globalization of Fascism

Going east or west from Switzerland one would have to cross at least half the planet before reaching the Pacific Ocean. This distance alone makes it very unlikely that Switzerland would get involved with the Pacific Alliance (PA) or in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). However, the Swiss based transnational Nestlé is very much engaged with the PA and its objectives. Nestlé also seems to …

Dilley, Texas, is home to the South Texas Family Residential Center, a detention facility for immigrant women and children, which opened in 2014. The facility is managed by the private Corrections Corporation of America on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (MUST CREDIT: Photo for for The Washington Post by Ilana Panich-Linsman)

Chico Harlan – Inside the administration’s $1 billion deal to detain Central American asylum seekers

DILLEY, Tex. — As Central Americans surged across the U.S. border two years ago, the Obama administration skipped the standard public bidding process and agreed to a deal that offered generous terms to Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest prison company, to build a massive detention facility for women and children seeking asylum. The four-year, $1 billion contract — details …

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Expat Files – 08.05.16

#1- Spotting Latin American “Gringo wanabees”:
Seems as if every Latin American with a little dough eventually jumps on his own Latin version of the 1st world treadmill. The upper 5% are not looking to have more leisure time or even a calmer lifestyle. Just the opposite. Their quest is all about appearing to be more 1st world hip and affulent than their Latin friends and neighbors. The question is, who cares? While we Gringos and Expats snicker, it’s a serious business to them and other Latins playing the same dumb game.