Midday open thread: Solar jobs fall by 8,000; Alex Jones to be deposed on Sandy Hook 'hoax'

Daily Kos - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 15:00

Today’s comic by Ruben Bolling is The Latin American Lucky Ducky: Pato Afortunado comes to America:

Cartoon by Ruben Bolling

Legal Action: Crackpot Division—Infowars’ Alex Jones will be deposed: In a huge win Wednesday for families of eight of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre victims and a first responder who are involved in a defamation suit against wild-ass conspiracy-monger Alex Jones, a judge has ruled that the founder of Infowars must answer questions in a sworn deposition. Guests on Jones’s web show have pushed the idea that the slayings of 26 students and staff at the Newton, Conn., school in 2012 was a staged government operation and many of those interviewed by the media were paid “crisis actors.” Previous lawsuits have noted that some of the families have been harassed and threatened with death by Jones’ followers. The judge also ruled Wednesday that the families can depose several other defendants in the case, “including those critical to Infowars’ business operations.” Jones himself says the discussions were just examples of free speech being exercised and that he personally believes the slayings occurred. The families have already been granted access to his financial records. 

Brexit now estimated to be costing the British economy £40 billion a year. That’s 2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product: That breaks down as £800 million a week of lost income since the June 2016 vote to sever Great Britain from the European Union. Another estimate put the annual loss to the average UK household at £900, $1,152 at current exchange rates. The campaign to cut ties had claimed that this move would save about £350 million a week on EU membership fees, money that could then be spent on the National Health Service.

Did somebody wash their pants and throw away the unidentifiable mush of paper found afterward in a pocket? The winner of a $1.537 billion Mega Millions lottery jackpot in South Carolina in October still hasn’t collected. It’s estimated the winner would pay $61 million in state income taxes, adding that money to South Carolina’s budget. That’s 0.5 percent of the $9 billion budget that lawmakers have authority over. If the prize goes unclaimed past the mid-April deadline, the money will be returned to the 44 states, District of Columbia, and U.S. Virgin Islands that participate in Mega Millions. The state Board of Economic Advisors is expected to recommend that the $61 million be removed from the state’s spending plan. 



Remember the Trump tariff on solar panels that was supposed to boost U.S jobs? Each year, the Solar Foundation conducts a comprehensive “census” of solar-related jobs. And while the rise in such jobs was soaring up to two years ago, 2018 marked the second annual drop in solar employment, by 8,000 jobs, to 242,000 jobs nationwide. In 2010, the first year of the census, the solar total was 93,000:

On the surface, this might indicate a troubling trend for the industry. But to Ed Gilliland, senior director of The Solar Foundation, this is something of  quick a breather, rather than a sign of decline to come. Part of the slowdown stems from the tariffs that the Trump administration set on solar imports at the beginning of 2018. “In the time leading up to the hearing last January, there was a lot of uncertainty in the marketplace, and a lot of utility-scale solar developers who work on large projects with long lead-time were delaying their projects,” Gilliland says. “When we went in to do our census in October, there just wasn’t as much activity going on, particularly in utility-scale solar.”

 One would think this kind of advice from Wired would not be needed: “Don't Get Your Valentine an Internet-Connected Sex Toy.

Iranian economy screaming under sanctions, but collapse is not on the horizon:

The balance of expert opinion is that there is still a lot of resistance left in Iran’s oft-proclaimed “resistance economy.” While it is hurting badly and is more vulnerable today than during the last period of prolonged U.S. sanctions, from 2012 to 2015, Iran’s economy is not nearly as dysfunctional as that of Venezuela, another target of U.S. sanctions meant to weaken the longtime ruling regime. U.S. sanctions there threaten to absolutely cripple Venezuela’s ability to pump and export oil, essentially cutting off all government income.

“The [Iranian] economy is much more resilient than some hawks in the White House and Washington in general seem to assume, but things are bad and are going to get worse,” said Henry Rome, an Iran analyst at Eurasia Group. That doesn’t mean, however, that the regime is one good push away from collapse.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Border deal votes today. TV loons still mad, but MAGA fans insist the wall’s underway. Elliott Abrams haz a sad. Trump pollutes prayer breakfast. Should Coons understand he’s not welcome? Election protection gutted. Trump pushes TVA to buy a donor's coal. x Embedded Content

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Categories: Politics

The Bezos Affair Gets Even Weirder

Kevin Drum - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 14:54

This is not ordinarily a gossip site, but damn. The story we’ve heard so far about Amazon gazillionaire Jeff Bezos is that he sent a bunch of, um, below-the-belt selfies to his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, and then they were stolen and turned over to the National Enquirer, which tried to blackmail Bezos over them. The thief was Michael Sanchez, Lauren’s brother.

What an asshole! He did this to his own sister! But wait. Gabe Sherman has an interview with Michael Sanchez today, and he doesn’t merely deny the allegations, he claims to have been Jeff and Lauren’s closest confidante about their affair over the past year:

“I had nothing to do with leak of the dick pics. That’s the important thing,” Michael told me….“Until I go under oath, what I can tell you now is that ever since April 20, when I met Jeff, my only goal has been to protect Jeff and Lauren.”…Over the last year, he said, he served as an unofficial adviser to the couple as they discussed what would happen if their love affair leaked.

….In October, Lauren and Bezos had their first publicity scare when they spotted a paparazzo taking long-lens photos of them from the Santa Monica beach. Then, at dinner at Santa Monica restaurant Capo, Lauren noticed a reporter snapping photos of their table….“We were literally standing on the street with Jeff Bezos and his mistress. I got very protective of him. I said, ‘We need to get you into an Uber,’ ” Michael recalled.

Two months later, they were outed. On the morning of January 7, Michael was on a Caribbean cruise when he was alerted that the Enquirer had called Bezos and Lauren for comment on their affair. “Lauren and Jeff called me like 911. They were terrified,” Michael recalled….Eventually, according to Michael, they settled on the plan that Michael would fly to New York on January 8 to meet with Enquirer editor Dylan Howard and find out what the tabloid planned to publish. But Bezos seemed to have changed his mind and went on the offensive, retaining powerhouse Los Angeles litigator Marty Singer. Early on the morning of January 9, before Michael met with Howard, Bezos tweeted out that he was divorcing his wife, MacKenzie. “Lauren was blindsided by the tweet,” Michael told me.

So Michael Sanchez not only denies sending pictures to the Enquirer (he thinks Lauren shared them with girlfriends), he claims to have been their biggest protector. This is either Trump-level lying or else the biggest twist ever to a story like this. And there’s more at the link. You might as well click and read it. You know you want to.

Categories: Politics

Advocates describe traumatized migrant kids packed 'like sardines' at Florida prison camp

Daily Kos - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 14:41

Campaign Action

The Trump administration is portraying the prison camp for migrant children in Homestead, Florida, as an orderly “shelter” where kids can have talent shows and movie nights during the weekends, but advocates who visited the prison camp aren’t so convinced about the tidy image officials are trying to project.

Attorneys and experts who have permission to inspect children’s detention facilities as part of a years-old court agreement described cold rooms where kids are packed “like sardines” in rows of bunk beds. Some children they spoke to burst into tears, describing how they’re not allowed to hug one another. “Some of them have been there for months on end,” said Neha Desai of the National Center for Youth Law, “with no freedom of movement, no privacy, no human contact.”

In an effort that totally screams “we have nothing to hide,” reporters who also got to visit the Comprehensive Health Services-operated prison camp said that they were forbidden from speaking to the children. No photos were allowed. “Some said ‘hello,’ and a group of girls in pink sweatshirts offered a ‘good morning’ in English and Spanish,” the New York Times reported, “but others avoided eye contact.”

Categories: Politics

Texas' newest elected Democrat announces newest addition, and your allergies must be acting up

Daily Kos - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 14:38

Newly elected Texas Rep. Colin Allred has even bigger news than dethroning Republican afreet Pete Sessions. The former football star turned civil rights attorney is now a two-time dad!

Rep. Allred and his wife Aly made the announcement through his social media accounts.

Aly and I welcomed our son, Jordan, to the world last night in Dallas. We are so thankful to have a healthy, beautiful son. Our hearts couldn’t be more full.

Rep. Allred is also a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and has made a big part of his freshman term so far about veterans and the problems they face today. Last week, Allred had to leave Washington, D.C., to return to Dallas to be with his wife Aly for Jordan’s imminent birth. He left behind an amendment he was introducing to the Veterans’ Access to Child Care bill. The amendment required that the VA perform outreach to make sure that veterans knew about expanded childcare programs being offered. Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherill (NJ), introduced the amendment on Allred’s behalf, and it was included in the package.

Jordan has an older sister, Scarlett, so he’s set to be terrorized with love. Normally, when someone is said to be “ratioed” on Twitter, it means that the comments against what the person has tweeted far outnumber retweets of agreement. However, Rep. Allred’s imbalanced ratio was caused by well-wishes, a rare positive thing to see on Twitter.


Ahhhhh! Babies!!!!!

Categories: Politics

'I will never say no': D.C. restaurant goes viral for 5-year tradition of feeding the homeless

Daily Kos - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 14:35

Washington, D.C., restaurateur Kazi Mannan has had quite a week. The owner of Sakina Grill, a Pakistani quick-service café just a few blocks from the White House, has been overwhelmed by the attention he’s received for something he’s always done: provide a meal to anyone who’s hungry.

"It got so much attention from all over the world,” Mannan told local ABC reporter Caroline Patrickis on Monday. “I'm overwhelmed and really excited that this message is going viral. What do we do next?"

Mannan and his generous philosophy have been profiled before, but it was an ABC7 interview published on Feb. 8 that brought his story to a global audience. 

"If someone says I need a free meal, OK," Mannan said. He doesn't ask questions and never judges anybody. His policy has remained the same for the last five years. If you're hungry, poor or homeless, you eat for free. In 2018, he estimates they served over 16,000 free meals.

"If you can't afford a meal, come in and have a free meal. Enjoy the same atmosphere that everybody who is paying is enjoying," Mannan said.

Mannan has been feeding the hungry without question ever since he opened his restaurant in 2013. The origins of his generosity are a reflection of his own experiences with poverty, both in Pakistan and here in the United States, a desire to pay tribute to his mother, and a desire to honor his creator.

Categories: Politics

William Barr Confirmed As New Attorney General, 54-45

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 14:33
William Barr Confirmed As New Attorney General, 54-45

Well, on the bright side, Matt Whittaker is no longer acting Attorney General.

At approximately 1:40 p.m. Eastern time, William P. Barr was confirmed in the Senate as Trump's actual Attorney General with a vote of 54 - 45. All Republicans voted in favor, of course, and three Dems slid across the aisle to cast their votes for him, too: Manchin (WV), Sinema (AZ), and Jones (AL). Rand Paul voted against him.

Now that he's in, time will tell if he will live up to Trump's expectations to interpret "obstruction of justice" as narrowly as conceivably possible. How important is that emoluments clause, really? Mueller report? We don't need no stinkin' Mueller report.

At least we have the puns. We'll always have the puns.

From the C&L folks just so far...

"51 votes is a pretty low Barr..."
"What's the Barr tab so far?"
"Will Donald pass the Barr exam?"
"Barring something unforseen, he'll let Mueller do his job."
"The only Barrs the Trumps are willing to get behind."

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Categories: Politics

Trump Crawls To Hannity And Lou Dobbs To Help Him On Spending Deal

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 14:32
Trump Crawls To Hannity And Lou Dobbs To Help Him On Spending Deal

To save face over having to sign a bipartisan spending deal, Trump called his two constant propaganda companions Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs to ask for their help in selling it.

The NY Times reports, "The message: Mr. Trump deserved support because he still forced concessions that he would never have gotten without a five-week partial government shutdown."

That is a big fat lie, of course.

Trump shut the government down for 35 days because of wingnut criticism (Rush Limbaugh) that he didn't get the 5 billion dollars for his beautiful wall (that hurts millions of people) in the original bipartisan spending deal in December.

Donald didn't get it this time either.

There was never any issue with almost the entire Democratic party over strengthening border security with drones, technologies, manpower, barriers, and humanitarian aid, but not when it came to building a monolith to his ego.

He should know that conservatives realize shutting down the government again would have terrible consequences for Donald and the party so they will complain but ultimately comfort him as best they can and make believe he'll live to fight another day.

Categories: Politics

Whoops! Hannity Flip Flops On Border Spending Bill

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 14:23

One day after threatening Republican lawmakers who might support a birpartisan border security compromise, Unofficial Chief of Staff Sean Hannity suddenly gave his approval for Donald Trump to support it, so long as Trump follows a few suggestions.

Hannity’s change of heart about the border security compromise

You may recall that when the news of the agreement was announced Monday night, Hannity waved his hands around in nearly-frantic disapproval as he tried to bully Republicans out of going along with the agreement that would prevent the government from shutting down:

HANNITY: 1.3 billion? That’s not a - not even a wall, a barrier? I’m going to tell this tonight, we will get back into this tomorrow. Any Republican that supports this garbage compromise, you will have to explain.

read more

Categories: Politics

Retail Sales During December Slumped Badly

Kevin Drum - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 14:19

More charts. Sorry about that. But it turns out that retail sales during the holiday season really sucked:

Retail sales were up a paltry 0.3 percent from 2017 and were down a stunning 1.2 percent from November. That’s really bad. At the same time, the trendline looks OK, which makes December look a lot like a weird one-month spike. So this might mean nothing. Maybe.

Categories: Politics

Senate confirms William Barr as next attorney general

Daily Kos - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 14:02

The Senate confirmed William Barr to be the next attorney general Thursday by a 54-45 vote, mostly along party lines. Barr will now be tasked with oversight of the special counsel's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Barr is known for his strong view of presidential authority and he has wavered on whether he would release Robert Mueller's full report to Congress and the public.

Three Democratic senators from conservative or swing states voted in favor of Barr: Sens. Doug Jones of Alabama, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia.

Barr is expected to be sworn in Thursday afternoon at 4:45 PM in the Oval Office. That’s when his grace period with Donald Trump will be over—unless he does exactly what Trump nominated him to do, which is a distinct possibility. 

Categories: Politics

Uh Oh Dem Congress May Seek Testimony From Ivanka Trump

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 13:42

Axios morning email thingie tells us that our First Shady Ivanka Trump may be making an appearance before Congress before too long, if they can pull her away from her important work Instagramming herself in serene white spaces starring thoughtfully out of windows while holding a sheaf of empty white paper, white coffee mug steaming nearby (enigmatic formatting is all theirs):

Outlining a blueprint for the vast Russia probe planned by the new House majority, a Democratic member of Congress suggested at a roundtable with reporters this week that lawmakers may seek testimony from Ivanka Trump.

read more

Categories: Politics

The Blob’s Time In The Barrel

Balloon Juice - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 13:41

Ilhan Omar (D – MN) had words for Elliott Abrams in his confirmation hearing yesterday.

She is herself a refugee from wars like those in Central America during the 1980s. Abrams was one of the people responsible for supporting the people who made those wars. The instability that drives people from their homes to the United States today can be traced back to those wars. Now Donald Trump wants Abrams to help with Venezuela. Omar’s questions and comments are appropriate as Trump threatens military intervention in Venezuela.

I follow a number of members of The Blob on Twitter. They have interesting things to say, although they can be clannish and tend to ignore the hoi polloi. A few of them follow and interact with me. Yes, there is a Blob.

The Blob people I follow seem basically decent. I got some surprises last night.

In turn, the Blobbies got some surprises of their own, many in the worst traditions of Twitter. Certainly some of the worst ratios I’ve ever seen, as well as a great deal of thoughtful pushback, including from me. Here’s an extended version of what I said.

Elliott Abrams was part of the group that encouraged violence and genocide in Central America. He lied to Congress about Iran-Contra, which he also was involved in. Nobody with that record should ever be in government again.

The foreign policy community is small, and everyone knows everyone else. Some of the apologia for Abrams was that he was a great mentor and colleague. What the public saw was the genocide and the dishonesty.

The lack of self-reflection in the Blob tweets – the inability to recognize how those outside their charmed circle might look at Abrams – is why the country keeps making foreign policy mistakes.

Evaluation of mistakes is essential for good governance. So is accountability for those who make those mistakes. And I am being kind to use the word “mistakes.” It’s been mentioned many times that mistakes never disqualify anyone for further government service. They should, and Abrams is a particularly egregious example. The people around Donald Trump include some who were on the wrong sides of Watergate, Iran-Contra, and George Bush’s Iraq War.

The United States has a long list of mistakes for which people have been unaccountable. Interventions in Iran and South and Central America. The second Iraq war and the torture that took place. Domestically, we have the financial crash of 2009 and the corrupt election of 2016.

At one time, when the governing elites were few and communications slower, it was possible to keep those things swept under the rug. But they’re all coming out now. We have to deal with them. The Blob’s attempt to convince us that Elliott Abrams is a member in good standing of their company and deserves another job with high responsibility tars them all.


Cross-posted at Nuclear Diner.

Categories: Politics

Oklahoma GOP-led House passes bill allowing residents to carry guns without training or permits

Daily Kos - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 13:27

The Oklahoma state House of Representatives this week passed HB 2597, a bill that does away with the permit and training requirements one previously would have needed to own a gun. The bill passed 70-30, with all 24 Democratic state representatives voting against it. Second Amendment Republicans such as Rep. Jon Echols of Oklahoma City, who wrote the bill, told KOCO5 news that “Oklahoma has long had permitless carry, but only for citizens visiting from one of those surrounding states that allow it. I am excited to give our citizens the same rights and trust that we have afforded those visitors for so many years.”

Other supporters said that the bill, which doesn’t change any other existing Oklahoma firearms laws—including bans on convicted felons ands domestic violence perpetrators owning guns, and requirements for background checks to purchase them—will make owning a gun more financially egalitarian. “What this does is allow, as the [C]onstitution states, that a person can carry a firearm without having to purchase that right,” said Republican state Rep. Kevin West. Democratic state Rep. Monroe Nichols told Tulsa World that that is disingenuous. “I know a few poor people. Not one of them has ever come to me and said my big issue is deciding between a gun and a sandwich.”

I can actually see the argument against making people pay extra money to exercise their constitutional right; but I also wonder why those same legislators wouldn’t just create meaningful subsidies for lower-income citizens—like Oklahomans do for the fossil fuel industry. This is the main reason that Americans from all political persuasions need to look at gun violence as a public health issue. We could continue to disagree about whether or not this or that gun should be legal, but if we were on the same page in finding solutions to the No. 1 problem with guns (people dying because of the bullets that come out of guns), we could at least create federal- and/or state-funded programs that would promote better gun safety across the board.

The bill will move on to the Oklahoma state Senate.

Categories: Politics

On Parkland's Anniversary, Good News On Gun Reform Now

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 13:24

Good news: Alex Jones WILL be deposed under oath.

On the anniversary of the mass shooting at Parkland, we remember not only the dead in Florida...

Categories: Politics

A Valentine's Day message to the DNC: Tom, you're breaking our hearts

Daily Kos - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 13:23

Today, Valentine's Day 2019, I arrived at the Democratic National Committee winter/spring meeting in Washington, D.C., with my Daily Kos colleagues @nmmokuena and @Carolyn Fiddler to deliver a message with over 100,000 hearts on our sleeves.

You see, the DNC is reportedly considering hosting a 2020 presidential debate on Fox News—yes, propaganda-spinning, insult-hurling, hyperbolic Fox News. During a recent appearance with Bret Baier on the network discussing potential hosts for Democratic primary debates, DNC Chairman Tom Perez stated, “Absolutely we’re having discussions with Fox and others.”

We at Daily Kos thought, “Hmmm ... NOPE,” and asked our community to join us in opposition to this garbage idea. Your response was tremendous: Over 100,000 people joined us in telling the DNC, “Say no to debates on Fox. Period.”  

And so, on Feb. 14, we gathered up the signatures and arrived at the Marriott Marquis, the center for this week’s Democratic hubbub—truly party crashers. We lurked the hallways seeking our rendezvous with Tom Perez. Alas, the schedules did not align. We instead met up with Seema Nanda, the DNC’s CEO, and presented the signatures to her, telling her, “Here are 100,000 people who are calling on the DNC to reject hosting debates on Fox.”

Ntebo_Mokuena_DSC_0073.JPG Seema Nanda receiving 100,000 signatures telling the DNC, “Say no to debates on Fox. Period.”

Nanda graciously accepted the signatures and thanked us for our advocacy.

We’re not finished with this fight, not until we win. We must not help to spread Fox News’ harmful rhetoric. It’s time for the DNC leadership to be rational and say no to 2020 debates on Fox.


Categories: Politics

Most Americans say God didn't put Trump in office, despite what white evangelicals say

Daily Kos - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 13:20

It's official! Thanks to a Fox News poll released Thursday, we now know that a solid majority of Americans consider Donald Trump's elevation to office profoundly unholy. When asked, "Do you believe God wanted Donald Trump to become president?" 62 percent of registered voters said, "No."


The biggest counterbalance to the conclusion that God wasn't necessarily on Trump's side comes from the segment of the population that perhaps most believes it has cornered the market on holiness: white evangelicals, God bless 'em. As the Washington Post's Philip Bump notes, white evangelicals are the only segment of the population polled in which a majority—55 percent—say Trump had God's endorsement. Whatever helps you through the day, I guess. 

Chart showing 55 percent of white evangelicals believe God elevated Trump, more than both Trump voters or Republicans as a whole.
Categories: Politics

Inflation Still Not Ready to Spiral Out of Control

Kevin Drum - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 13:20

Nobody cared much about yesterday’s inflation release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics because it didn’t show much of anything new. But that’s no reason to ignore it. Here it is:

As you can see, the upward blip at the start of 2018 is long gone, and inflation is now running at a very sedate 1.6 percent. There’s very little reason for the Fed or anyone else to be worried about inflation running out of control at the moment. BLS also released the January numbers for average earnings:

The average hourly earnings for all American workers clocked in at $27.56 in January. Thanks to low inflation, this translated into a 1.6 percent gain from last year. Not bad.

Categories: Politics

'Fox And Friends' Outraged Rep. Omar Was 'Mean' To Convicted Iran-Contra Liar

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 13:03

Trump's favorite cable show were outraged that convicted liar Elliot Abrams, Trump's envoy to Venezuela, was treated so harshly by Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Suddenly, if a Republican has been convicted of a crime, they are given hero status by Fox News if they support Trump. It's freaking mind-boggling.

Abrams was convicted on two misdemeanor counts of unlawfully withholding information from Congress when he lied and said the reports on the El Mozote massacre of hundreds of civilians by the military in El Salvador "were not credible."

The misdemeanors were the result of a plea deal he struck to avoid much more serious crimes and he received a presidential pardon by H.W. Bush in 1992.

Fox and Friends were livid that Rep. Ilhan Omar dared to aggressively grill Elliot Abrams and question his honesty when it comes to civilian deaths that could take place in Venezuela.

Doocy said it's something you never see in Committee hearings and that was certainly true.

Kilmeade said, "Listen to this insulting exchange."

F&F then played a short clip of Abrams and Rep. Omar. (Here's the entire exchange between Rep. Omar and Abrams)

read more

Categories: Politics

'Protect Rosa': Over 130 clergy members call on Virginia senators to help mom in sanctuary

Daily Kos - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 12:49

Following a letter from over 130 clergy members, both of Virginia’s U.S. senators are condemning a cruel effort to deport an undocumented immigrant who has lived in the U.S. for over a decade. Rosa Gutiérrez Lopez, a mom of three U.S. citizens, has been in sanctuary at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, Maryland, since December.

“In a time when our current administration is separating thousands of children from their parents,” members of the DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network wrote to Democrats Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, “we need our senators from Virginia to reject the bait from a president who makes false claims about violence at the border and demonizes immigrants, regardless of status, at every opportunity.”

Gutiérrez Lopez has been targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement out of sheer cruelty. She has no criminal record. She was following the rules by checking in regularly with immigration officials, and since 2014 they’d allowed her to work legally. But last fall, she and her American children were ordered to self-deport from their Virginia home to El Salvador. Left with no other choice, she went into sanctuary. 

Clergy members now hope that Kaine and Warner can appeal directly to ICE’s top official in Virginia and ask for a stay, as well as continue to raise awareness about this family. While her kids can sometimes visit her, they are away in the care of a relative. “Rosa’s case is another heartbreaking example of the Trump administration targeting immigrant families who are contributing to their communities,” Kaine said, “instead of prioritizing the deportation of people who put public safety at risk.”

ICE is out of control. Gutiérrez Lopez should never have been a target in the first place. This agency doesn’t need a massive check; it needs to be checked. “We urge you to employ the greatest abilities of yourselves and your office to protect Rosa from deportation,” clergy members continue in their letter. “Her children and her community need her!  We sincerely believe that publicly demonstrating your support for Rosa’s freedom will go a long way to create a more unified Virginia.”

Categories: Politics

Amazon Out

Balloon Juice - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 12:48

After much ado, it turned out to be nothing.

Amazon said Thursday it was canceling plans to build a headquarters campus in New York City because of local opposition.

“There are a number of folks on the ground who oppose our presence,” Amazon spokeswoman Jodi Seth said. “We don’t think there’s a path forward in terms of working with them over the long term.”

The company issued a statement shortly before noon saying it did not intend to reopen its search for a second headquarters at this time, but would continue with plans to put at least 25,000 jobs in Arlington in Northern Virginia and 5,000 in Nashville.

Here in the Rochester area, there were months of hype about HQ2, with areas wishing and hoping and praying they’d be chosen, even though it was clear from that start that only a big urban area with a well-developed mass transit system was going to satisfy Amazon.

Categories: Politics