July 7, 2018

Posted by orrinj at 8:18 PM


Defense contractor detained migrant kids in vacant Phoenix office building (Aura Bogado, Ziva Branstetter and Vanessa Swales / July 6, 2018, reveal News)

A major U.S. defense contractor quietly detained dozens of immigrant children inside a vacant Phoenix office building with dark windows, no kitchen and only a few toilets during three weeks of the Trump administration's family separation effort, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has learned.

Videos shot by an alarmed neighbor show children dressed in sweatsuits being led - one so young she was carried - into the 3,200-square-foot building in early June. The building is not licensed by Arizona to hold children, and the contractor, MVM Inc., has claimed publicly that it does not operate "shelters or any other type of housing" for children.

Defending the administration's policy to separate families at the border in a May interview with NPR, White House chief of staff John Kelly promised: "The children will be taken care of - put into foster care or whatever."

Whether or not these children were taken from their parents, that "whatever" for them was the vacant building tucked away in a midtown Phoenix neighborhood. It is not listed among shelters operating through the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement or on the state child care licensing website.

Posted by orrinj at 6:12 PM

Posted by orrinj at 4:46 PM


Immigrant NYC Grandparents Detained While Visiting Son-in-Law at Fort Drum, Family Says (Chris Glorioso, Jul 6, 2018, NBCNY)

A Mexican family from Brooklyn says they were headed upstate to Fort Drum to celebrate Independence Day with an Army sergeant family member when border patrol agents questioned their parents' New York City IDs, and then took them to a detention facility hundreds of miles away. 

Eduardo Silva tells News 4 New York that his parents, Concepcion and Margarito Silva, have lived in New York for two decades. They came to the country undocumented from Mexico but in 2007 they were approved for an official Department of Labor work permit. 

Eduardo said they had valid New York City IDs, which they'd used to access military bases before, but on July 4, when they came to the gates of Fort Drum, they were stopped by military police. 

Perla Silva, another daughter of the detained couple, took video showing the part of Fort Drum where her parents were taken into custody. She said in a matter of minutes, Border Protection agents arrived and took her parents to the federal ICE detention center hundreds of miles away in Buffalo.  [...]

"He's about to be deployed again while my sister is pregnant, and he works so hard for his country, and he loves his country so much," said Perla Silva.

Posted by orrinj at 2:34 PM


Evidence That New Tariffs, Not Immigrants, Are Costing Jobs (Stuart Anderson , 7/07/18, Forbes)

The Trade Partnership analysis concluded:

"The tariffs, quotas and retaliation would increase the annual level of U.S. steel employment and non-ferrous metals (primarily aluminum) employment by 26,280 jobs over the first one-three years, but reduce net employment by 432,747 jobs throughout the rest of the economy, for a total net loss of 400,445 jobs;

"Sixteen jobs would be lost for every steel/aluminum job gained;

"More than two thirds of the lost jobs would affect workers in production and low-skill jobs.

"Every state will experience a net loss of jobs."

One reason for this result is that nearly 40 times more people in America work in jobs that use steel and aluminum than in jobs connected to producing steel and aluminum. "American workers making steel/aluminum: 170,000. American workers consuming steel/aluminum: 6.5 million," notes trade attorney Scott Lincicome.

Behind the numbers are stories of companies and workers affected by the tariffs and retaliation from other countries. "One week after the Commerce Department recommended heavy tariffs on steel and aluminum in February, Mr. Czachor [CEO of the American Keg Company] gathered 10 of his 30 workers in a conference room at work and broke the news that they were being laid off," according to the Wall Street Journal. The Washington Post reported that at Stripmatic Products in Ohio because of higher steel prices due to the tariffs "the $1 million in new factory investment and the 10 new jobs it would have created have evaporated."

The U.S. farm sector is also at risk due to retaliation for, among other things, a separate set of tariffs against Chinese imports. "Worries over a looming trade war have already hit Iowa pork producers' pocketbook to the tune of $240 million from falling prices, and the damage will likely grow, industry leaders say," reported the Des Moines Register. "The pork industry will have to downsize modestly," according to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes.

Let's contrast this turmoil created by a protectionist U.S. trade policy with positive news about the impact of immigrants on native employment. "The results of the state-level analysis indicate that immigration does not increase U.S. natives' unemployment or reduce their labor force participation," concluded a recent study for the National Foundation for American Policy by Madeline Zavodny, an economics professor at the University of North Florida (UNF) in Jacksonville. "Instead, having more immigrants reduces the unemployment rate and raises the labor force participation rate of U.S. natives within the same sex and education group."

Posted by orrinj at 2:25 PM


They Came Here to Serve. But for Many Immigrants, the Army Isn't Interested. (Dave Philipps, July 6, 2018, NY Times)

Recruit Zhang, an immigrant from China, joined the United States military on the promise that enlisting would lead to American citizenship. He swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and was handed an Army T-shirt. But, after two years of delays, there came a sudden discharge that has left him reeling.

"They just said one word: I was 'unsuitable,'" said the 30-year-old, who has a wife and child and a business management degree. He asked that only his last name be used. "I came here legally, made an agreement to stay legally, and they have not kept the agreement."

A growing number of foreign-born recruits who joined the United States military through a special program created to recruit immigrant troops with valuable language and medical skills are being terminated before they can qualify for citizenship. Lawyers for the recruits say at least 30 have been discharged in recent weeks and thousands more are stuck in limbo -- currently enlisted but unable to serve -- and may also be forced out.

They are being cut even as the Army has been unable to meet its 2018 recruiting goals.

Posted by orrinj at 2:23 PM


Posted by orrinj at 2:03 PM


Jim Jordan says all five Ohio State accusers know the truth, but are lying instead  (Jennifer Smola  & Jessica Wehrman,  Jul 6, 2018, Columbus Dispatch)

 On the day a fifth former Ohio State wrestler emerged to say U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan knew about sex abuse by a team doctor, the Urbana Republican said all five know the truth but are lying anyway.

Jordan, former assistant wrestling coach for the Buckeyes, linked the statements from his former team members to his aggressive questioning of deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein last week about the investigation into whether Russia influenced the 2016 presidential election, and his consideration of running for speaker of the House.

But in the Fox News interview, Jordan made a distinction between "conversations in the locker room" and reporting abuse, saying overhearing chatter in the locker room "is a lot different than people coming up and talking about abuse."

Posted by orrinj at 4:23 AM


California Must Be Doing Something Right (Matthew Winkler, May 29, 2018, Bloomberg)

California's 4.9 percent increase in GDP last year was more than twice the gain for the U.S. and enabled the state's jobless rate to slide to 4.2 percent, the lowest on record since such data was compiled in 1976. Per capita income since 2013 grew 20.5 percent, making California the perennial No. 1. Among the biggest states sharing the Trump agenda, Texas remains an also-ran with less than a third of California's $31.8 billion in receipts from agriculture, forestry and fishing and $63 billion less than California's $289 billion in equivalent GDP as the nation's largest manufacturer, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While the Texas unemployment rate is lower at 4.1 percent, California's is falling faster and its total workforce of 17 million is 37 percent greater and has increased 2 million during the past five years, more than any other state.

Investors also make California the best-performing state, with 462 native companies in the Russell 3000 index producing a 587 percent total return (income plus appreciation) during the past decade, 262 percent the past five years, 76 percent the past two years, and 27 percent the past year -- easily surpassing the Russell 3000's total return of 371 percent, 154 percent, 59 percent, and 22 percent, respectively. In the market for state and local government debt, California also is superior, representing more than 20 percent of the No. 1 BlackRock Strategic Municipal Opportunities Fund, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. [...]

Brown said that the market forces driving California ahead of other states are inexorable: "China also appears to be ready to adopt ever increasing requirements for zero emissions vehicles. That's the biggest market. That is the market, and they have to sell into it with electric cars and California is trying to do the same thing as well as the states that follow us. It can't be resisted. It's too powerful a force."

Investors already are benefiting from the trend, reflected in analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg showing the sales of California clean companies rising 29 percent, 16 percent and 11 percent in 2018, 2019 and 2020, compared to 17 percent, 8 percent and 6 percent for similar out-of-state firms.

Shares of California's clean companies, which spend twice as much on research and development as their out-of-state peers, gained an average of 70 percent the past two years, or 23 percentage points more than the average return for the rest of the country. At the same time, California's clean companies created twice as many jobs as their counterparts elsewhere. Productivity also is unsurpassed in California, where the revenue per employee of clean companies rose 7 percent last year, while it fell 3 percent outside the state, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The new California law mandating that new homes be built with solar energy is a boon for the renewable industry. San Francisco-based Sunrun Inc., whose shares appreciated 122 percent the past 12 months, will report sales growth of 36 percent in 2018, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The same analysts predict Sunrun will appreciate another 21 percent by December.

Posted by orrinj at 3:56 AM


Marvel's Spider-Man and Doctor Strange co-creator Steve Ditko dies at age 90 (AP, 07 July, 2018)

While Lee embraced his status as a creative god among comics fans, appearing at conventions and in constant cameos in Marvel's films, Ditko was a recluse who won the worship of the most hard core comic-book geeks.

They were quick to praise him and the massive influence he had on art, film and culture Friday.

"Thank you Steve Ditko, for making my childhood weirder," fantasy author and graphic novel author Neil Gaiman said in a series of tweets to his 2.7 million followers. "He saw things his own way, and he gave us ways of seeing that were unique. Often copied. Never equalled. I know I'm a different person because he was in the world."

Edgar Wright, director of films including Baby Driver and Shaun of the Dead, said on Twitter that Ditko was "influential on countless planes of existence".

"Comics are unimaginable without his influence," tweeted Patch Zircher, a comic-book artist who has worked on Batman and Superman comics for rival DC Comics. "He co-created Spider-Man, which will be remembered as significant as Doyle creating Sherlock Holmes or Fleming creating James Bond. Spider-Man may outlast them both."

English television and radio host and comic books super-fan Jonathan Martin tweeted that Ditko was "the single greatest comic book artist and creator who ever lived".

The son of a steel-mill worker, Ditko was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1927. He served in the army in Europe after second world war and began working in comics in the 1950s in New York, eventually landing a drawing job with Marvel forerunner Atlas Comics.

Jack Kirby, Lee's artist on the Fantastic Four and many other Marvel characters, took a stab at creating Spider-Man in 1961, but Lee was unsatisfied and gave the gig to Ditko, who gave Spidey the essential look he still has today.

Ditko left Marvel in 1966, but returned in 1979. One of his later creations was Squirrel Girl, who after her debut in 1992 became a cult favourite among comics fans.

He maintained a writing studio in Manhattan until his death, but had no known surviving family members and was incredibly reclusive, turning down nearly all offers to do interviews, meet fans or appear at movie premieres.

...Kirby's lines (which peaked with Frank Miller) or Ditko's circles (perfected by John Byrne).