Thursday, June 30, 2016

Just how crazy good was the 1985 Chicago Bears defense?

from http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/120543/just-how-crazy-good-was-the-1985-chicago-bears-defense

Buddy Ryan was a member of two Super Bowl-winning coaching staffs in his career: the 1968 New York Jets in Super Bowl III as a defensive line coach and the 1985 Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX as defensive coordinator.

His '85 Bears defense will always be remembered as one of the best in NFL history.

Near-perfect regular season

Ryan devised the 46 defense, which helped the Bears post a 15-1 record during the 1985 regular season. Their only loss came on the road in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins.

Ryan's defense led the NFL in seven defensive categories that season.

ESPN Stats & Information

The '85 Bears ran away from the pack with their defense. The 198 points they allowed led the league by 65 points (or 4.1 points per game). Their point differential of plus-258 was 110 points better than the next-closest team in the NFL that season.

Elias Sports Bureau research notes that the 1985 Bears own the third-best point differential of any team to win the Super Bowl since the NFL expanded to a 16-game regular season. The only teams that rank higher than the Bears on that list are the 1999 St. Louis Rams (plus-284) and 1991 Washington Redskins (plus-261).

Dominant postseason

Ryan's '85 Bears defense is the only one in NFL history to record two shutouts in a single postseason. They held the New York Giants to 181 total yards in a divisional round shutout before an even more dominant shutout performance against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship game in which they let up just 130 total yards.

The Bears allowed 10 points to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX. The only other team in NFL postseason history that allowed fewer than 20 total points in at least three postseason games is the 1971 Dallas Cowboys (18 points in three games).

Bears opponents scored 3.3 points per game that postseason, 2.5 points per game better than the next-closest team in NFL history with a minimum of three postseason games played (2000 Baltimore Ravens).

They had the same number of takeaways (10) as points allowed that postseason.

Three defensive players on the 1985 Bears team went on to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame –- Richard Dent, Mike Singletary and Dan Hampton.

Don't forget about Ryan's '84 Bears

The Bears ranked third in sacks in 1985, but their 72 sacks under Ryan in the 1984 season are the most by any team in a single season since sacks became an official stat in 1982.


Johnny Depp’s Basquiats Fetch Millions in Pre-Divorce Auction


Johnny Depp may be embroiled in a tension-filled divorce from Amber Heard, but he was able to scoop up millions of dollars that will probably help with his legal bills at a Christie's auction yesterday. According to Page Six, the actor sold two paintings by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat for a total of $11.5 million as part of a Christie's 250th anniversary sale.

Jean-Michel Basquiat's Pork, 1981, sold for 5,122,500 pounds.

Courtesy of Christie's London.

The artworks proved to be extremely smart investments for Depp, who Artnet reports was an early fan of Basquiat. He purchased a 1981 self-portrait of the artist in 2001 for $578,000. It sold for $4.7 million. Depp's second Basquiat, "Pork," was also painted in 1981. It fetched $6.8 million at the gavel.

Depp is auctioning off eight pieces of his Basquiat collection in total. They can be viewed on the Christie's Web site.

Meanwhile, Depp obliquely addressed the drama in his personal life during his first public interview since the divorce announcement. He appeared on L.A.'s 95.5 KLOS Jonesy's Jukebox on Monday with his band, the Hollywood Vampires, and discussed the downside to being a celebrity. "The drag is all the hoopla that happens. I like the process of it . . . I don't wanna be a product."



rest http://www.vanityfair.com/style/2016/06/johnny-depp-basquiat-auction?mbid=nl_CH_57756958596d60863f541db7&CNDID=36886713&spMailingID=9139760&spUserID=MTMzMTgyOTM2MTc4S0&spJobID=960001330&spReportId=OTYwMDAxMzMwS0

The sun gizmo in ‘Game of Thrones’ opening appears in Sam’s library scene

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Image: hbo
2016%2f06%2f29%2f56%2fhttpsd2mhye01h4nj2n.cloudfront.netmediazgkymde2lzax.af914By Jonathan Keshishoglou2016-06-28 20:04:05 UTC

Warning: Like most of Twitter, this post contains Game of Thrones Season 6 spoilers.

The Game of Thrones opening, besides containing that epically snazzy theme song, can also include important information about the episode itself. 

Namely, it tends to list the locations that will appear in the coming hour (in Winterfell's case, it even shows who currently owns it). But until the most recent episode, "The Winds of Winter," there wasn't any sign the sun gizmo that shines in the opening actually exists within the world of the show. But there is now.

And right now, it involves Samwell Tarly, Jon Snow's lovable sidekick played by John Bradley-West. Season 6 has seen Sam heading south to Oldtown to become a maester.

It isn't until the finale that Sam finally arrives at Oldtown's Citadel. When he leaves Gilly, his wildling girlfriend, in the lobby to check out the Citadel's library, he sees the bright, spinning sun-gizmo from the opening credits.




rest at http://mashable.com/2016/06/28/gizmos-sam-library/

Mark Zuckerberg Covers His Laptop Camera. You Should Consider It, Too.

Mark Zuckerberg is one of the most powerful men in the world because billions of people give Facebook, which he founded, free access to their personal data. In return, users receive carefully curated snapshots of his life: baby photos, mundane office tours and the occasional 5K.

On Tuesday, observers were reminded that Mr. Zuckerberg, 32, is not just a normal guy who enjoys running and quiet dinners with friends. In a photo posted to his Facebook account, he celebrated the growing user base of Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. An eagle-eyed Twitter user named Chris Olson noticed that in the image's background, his laptop camera and microphone jack appeared to be covered with tape.

Other publications, including Gizmodo, used the tweet to raise the question: Was this paranoia, or just good practice?

3 things about this photo of Zuck:
Camera covered with tape
Mic jack covered with tape
Email client is Thunderbird pic.twitter.com/vdQlF7RjQt

— Chris Olson (@topherolson) June 21, 2016

The taped-over camera and microphone jack are usually a signal that someone is concerned, perhaps only vaguely, about hackers' gaining access to his or her devices by using remote-access trojans — a process called "ratting." (Remote access is not limited to ratters: According to a cache of National Security Agency documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, at least two government-designed programs were devised to take over computer cameras and microphones.)

Security experts supported the taping, for a few good reasons:

• The first is that Mr. Zuckerberg is a high-value target.

"I think Zuckerberg is sensible to take these precautions," Graham Cluley, an online security expert and consultant, wrote in an email Wednesday. "As well as intelligence agencies and conventional online criminals who might be interested in targeting his billions, there are no doubt plenty of mischievous hackers who would find it amusing to spy upon such a high-profile figure."

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• The second is that covering photo, video and audio portals has long been a basic and cheap security safeguard.




rest at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/23/technology/personaltech/mark-zuckerberg-covers-his-laptop-camera-you-should-consider-it-too.html?WT.mc_ev=click&WT.mc_id=NYT-E-I-NYT-E-AT-063016-L5&amp=&amp=&em_pos=medium&emc=edit_el_20160630&nl=el&nl=at-times&nl_art=3&nlid=45647457&ref=headline&te=1

Aziz Ansari: Why Trump Makes Me Scared for My Family


"DON'T go anywhere near a mosque," I told my mother. "Do all your prayer at home. O.K.?"

"We're not going," she replied.

I am the son of Muslim immigrants. As I sent that text, in the aftermath of the horrible attack in Orlando, Fla., I realized how awful it was to tell an American citizen to be careful about how she worshiped.

Being Muslim American already carries a decent amount of baggage. In our culture, when people think "Muslim," the picture in their heads is not usually of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or the kid who left the boy band One Direction. It's of a scary terrorist character from "Homeland" or some monster from the news.

Today, with the presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and others like him spewing hate speech, prejudice is reaching new levels. It's visceral, and scary, and it affects how people live, work and pray. It makes me afraid for my family. It also makes no sense.




rest http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/26/opinion/sunday/aziz-ansari-why-trump-makes-me-scared-for-my-family.html?WT.mc_ev=click&WT.mc_id=NYT-E-I-NYT-E-AT-063016-L2&amp=&amp=&em_pos=medium&emc=edit_el_20160630&nl=el&nl=at-times&nl_art=0&nlid=45647457&ref=headline&te=1

GOP donor Paul Singer says Trump would cause a depression

from http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/29/gop-donor-paul-singer-says-trump-would-cause-a-depression.html

A hedge fund executive and major Republican donor believes Donald Trump's policies would spell big trouble for the U.S. economy.

Paul Singer, head of $27 billion Elliott Management, said Wednesday that he may not vote for anyone in the race between presumptive nominees Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, and joked he is considering writing himself in.

"The most impactful of the economic policies that I recall him coming out for are these anti-trade policies," Singer said during a panel discussion at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. "And I think if he actually stuck to those policies and gets elected president, it's close to a guarantee of a global depression, widespread global depression."

Trump has pledged hefty tariffs against nations including China if they don't renegotiate trade policies he says are detrimental to U.S. interests.

Singer supported Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in what was once a 17-person race for the GOP nomination. Singer most recently gave $1 million in April to the Our Principles PAC, which was part of the campaign to stop Trump, according to OpenSecrets.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

See more of Singer's comments today on CNBC's "Closing Bell" from 3-5 pm.


Spanish authorities opened a new investigation into possible tax evasion by Google

The Spanish authorities have opened a new investigation into possible tax evasion by Google, broadening the scrutiny of the American technology giant in Europe.

The authorities visited the company's offices in Madrid on Thursday as part of the inquiry, according to a person briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. It was unclear whether the officials had questioned executives or had taken documents. The inquiry was reported earlier by the Spanish news media.

The new investigation adds to a long list of inquiries into corporate tax practices in Europe, where the authorities are broadly looking into whether American companies like Google, McDonald's and Amazon, among others, improperly shifted profits across the region to reduce their tax payments. The companies deny any wrongdoing.

In late May, French tax authorities raided Google's offices there, saying the company was under investigation for aggravated financial fraud and organized money laundering. Italian authorities are looking into whether the company did not pay a sufficient amount of tax.

In a statement, Google said that it complied with the tax laws of every country in which it operates.

rest http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/01/technology/google-spain-tax.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_dk_20160630&nl=dealbook&nl_art=5&nlid=45647457&ref=headline&te=1

Hershey Rejects Mondelez’s $23 Billion Takeover Offer

Mondelez International, whose snacks also run from Nabisco to Cadbury chocolate, has made a $23 billion takeover offer for Hershey in what would be one of the biggest deals of the year.

Hersey said on Thursday that Mondelez had offered to pay $107 a share in cash and stock — a premium of about 10 percent to Hershey's closing stock price. Hershey said that its board had "rejected the indication of interest and determined that it provided no basis for further discussion between Mondelez and the company."

If the two companies strike a deal, it would be among the most prominent in a year that has been lacking in daring deal-making.

Buying Hershey would be the boldest transaction for Mondelez — cleaved from what was once Kraft — since its former parent bought Cadbury of Britain in a $19 billion deal more than six years ago.

But winning Hershey could prove tricky for Mondelez, since the smaller chocolate maker is effectively controlled by a charitable trust that owns about 81 percent of the company's voting power.

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The Hershey Trust, established by Milton Hershey and his wife, Catherine, in 1905, has opposed takeovers of the company in the past. In 2002, the trust halted an auction of the company at the 11th hour as it was about to accept a $12.5 billion deal from Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company.

News of the approach, which was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal, sent shares in Hershey up 15 percent in trading on Thursday, to $111.87. Shares in Mondelez rose 4 percent, to $44.71.

rest http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/01/business/dealbook/hershey-mondelez-takeover-bid.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_dk_20160630&nl=dealbook&nl_art=0&nlid=45647457&ref=headline&te=1

Obama Library Architect Announced

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects via Obama Foundation

Nearly a year after the Obama Foundation kicked off its search for an architect, the Obamas has announced that Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects will lead the design effort for the future Obama Presidential Center for Chicago's South Side. The facility, which will be the first presidential library in an urban center, will be built in Jackson Park or Washington Park. The Obama Foundation has previously indicated that the library's architect will help decide which site the project will be built at.

According to Martin Nesbitt, chairman of the Obama Foundation, the husband and wife architects were chosen for their creative ideas to help engage the surrounding community. "Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners stood out in their commitment to exploring, together with the Foundation, the best ways of creating an innovative center for action that inspires communities and individuals to take on our biggest challenges," Nesbitt stated in the official announcement. However, many other firms will be involved in the project from the design through construction phases. The Obama Foundation states that as many as 15-20 other firms may be involved in the project.

What's the reality behind Walmart's 'Made in America' claims?

from http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/6/28/1543263/-What-s-the-reality-behind-Walmart-s-Made-in-America-claims

Walmart is making its annual push to get credit for its self-proclaimed massive investment in U.S.-made products, which means it's time for a reality check. The Alliance for American Manufacturing, which put together the infographic below, has the facts:

 When Walmart claims that its American-made goods initiative will create 1 million new American jobs, it fails to mention that Chinese-made goods entering the United States through Walmart totaled at least $49.1 billion in 2013 alone.

It also doesn't mention that the combined effect of imports from and exports to China through Walmart accounted for about 15 percent of the growth of the overall American goods trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2013.

Or that the Walmart-based Chinese trade deficit eliminated 400,000 American jobs during that time.

Walmart's rosy claims are on the left; the AAM's reality check is on the right.

infographic highlighting distance between Walmart's claims about buying American and the reality.


Elizabeth Warren blasts Comcast, calls for stronger anti-trust enforcement

If you thought Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren might moderate her positions, might fight a little less vocally for her key issues since she's under a big spotlight as a potential VP nominee? Then you haven't been paying attention to Elizabeth Warren. Here's her latest big policy speech.

"Last year was Comcast's best year in nearly a decade," the Massachusetts Democrat said in prepared remarks for a speech. "But while big telecom giants have been consuming each other, consumers have been left out in the cold—facing little or no choice in service providers and paying through the nose for cable and internet service."

Warren's speech at a forum on monopolies came as part of her advocacy for greater enforcement of antitrust laws as American consumers pay higher prices for cable and Internet services than those elsewhere.  […]

"Strong executive leadership could revive antitrust enforcement in this country and begin, once again, to fight back against dominant market power and overwhelming political power," Warren said in the Capitol Visitor Center. "But we need something else too — and that's a revival of the movement that created the antitrust laws in the first place."

rest http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/6/29/1543660/-Elizabeth-Warren-blasts-Comcast-calls-for-stronger-anti-trust-enforcement

Friday, June 3, 2016

3 US cities caught cheating on municipal water lead tests

from http://boingboing.net/2016/06/03/flintnation-33-us-cities-caug.html

An independent investigation by The Guardian found 33 cities in 17 US states (including Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit and Milwaukee) are systematically cheating on the tests to monitor lead levels in the municipal water. 21 of those cities used the same cheating techniques that led to criminal charges in the Flint water scandal.

Law firm Hagens Berman has launched a class action suit against the city of Philadelphia over the deception.

The Guardian investigation reveals a deep, long-running culture of scientific corruption in the water-testing regimes of American cities, including using methods known to underestimate lead levels; Michigan and New Hampshire state governments advising cities to discard high-lead test results and re-test in an attempt to get a more favorable result; refusing to sample lead levels in high-risk houses because it posed "a security risk"; and more.

Philadelphia, a city accused of having the worst water testing in the US, asks testers to pre-flush their pipes, remove aerators and slowly pour water into a sample bottle. The EPA has warned against all these testing methods, which could "mask the added contribution of lead at the tap".

Documents show some authorities have also removed high-risk homes from testing or sought to obscure their dangerous lead levels. In Michigan, a department of environmental quality (MDEQ) official told the director of a town water department in a Detroit suburb called Howell to "bump this one out", referring to a sample with high lead levels, by taking additional samples.

"I would suggest at least five more samples," Adam Rosenthal, an official at the MDEQ drinking water office wrote in an email in 2008.

New Hampshire offered similar advice to water system officials in that state, advising water departments to test early so any high results could be re-tested.

At least 33 US cities used water testing 'cheats' over lead concerns [Oliver Milman and Jessica Glenza/The Guardian]

(via /.)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

At Selma President Obama Calls Out Republican Attempts To Take Away Your Right To Vote

from http://www.politicususa.com/2015/03/07/selma-president-obama-calls-republican-attempts-vote.html

And with effort, we can protect the foundation stone of our democracy for which so many marched across this bridge – and that is the right to vote. Right now, in 2015, fifty years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote. As we speak, more of such laws are being proposed. Meanwhile, the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood and sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, stands weakened, its future subject to partisan rancor.

How can that be? The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic effort. President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office. President Bush signed its renewal when he was in office. One hundred Members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right it protects. If we want to honor this day, let these hundred go back to Washington, and gather four hundred more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore the law this year.

Of course, our democracy is not the task of Congress alone, or the courts alone, or the President alone. If every new voter suppression law was struck down today, we'd still have one of the lowest voting rates among free peoples. Fifty years ago, registering to vote here in Selma and much of the South meant guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap. It meant risking your dignity, and sometimes, your life. What is our excuse today for not voting? How do we so casually discard the right for which so many fought? How do we so fully give away our power, our voice, in shaping America's future?

Fellow marchers, so much has changed in fifty years. We've endured war, and fashioned peace. We've seen technological wonders that touch every aspect of our lives, and take for granted convenience our parents might scarcely imagine. But what has not changed is the imperative of citizenship, that willingness of a 26 year-old deacon, or a Unitarian minister, or a young mother of five, to decide they loved this country so much that they'd risk everything to realize its promise.

That's what it means to love America. That's what it means to believe in America. That's what it means when we say America is exceptional.

The president gave a remarkable and far-reaching speech. Make no mistake about it. President Obama was calling out both the Republican attempts at the state level to suppress the vote, and the congressional Republican foot-dragging on the Voting Rights Act.

Voting rights isn't a Democratic or Republican issue. All Americans should be standing together to demand that voter suppression tactics must stop. It was a disgrace when the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, and it is even more shameful that Republicans in Congress have not restored the law.

The Voting Rights Act does have bipartisan support in Congress. The question is, are Republican leaders in Congress brave enough to allow a vote on restoring the law? President Obama delivered a stirring speech. Today is more than a day to mark the history and courage of fifty years ago. It is also a day to demand a rare bit of courage from Congress. It is time for Congress to do the right thing and restore the Voting Rights Act.




rest at http://www.politicususa.com/2015/03/07/selma-president-obama-calls-republican-attempts-vote.html

Behind the US jobs report: Low wages and persistent mass unemployment

from http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/03/07/econ-m07.html

The US economy created 295,000 new jobs in February, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report released Friday. The percentage of the population officially unemployed shrank by 0.2 percentage points to 5.5 percent.

The report sent tremors throughout Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 1.5 percent. Investors fear that any slacking of the jobs crisis could lead the Federal Reserve to scale back on its policy of ultra-low interest rates that has formed the basis of financial speculation in recent years.

Media outlets have celebrated the jobs report as a sign of the US economy's growing strength. However, some have been confused with the question, voiced by the New York Times, "So Why Aren't Wages Rising More?"

Behind the headline figures of February's report lie two underreported facts. First, the fall in the official unemployment rate is largely fictional. Second, new jobs are concentrated in lower-paying sectors, while the overall wages of workers throughout the economy are under sustained attack.

While February was the 60th straight month of job growth in the private sector, it was also the 11th straight month in a row that the labor participation rate—a more accurate measure of unemployment—remained below 63 percent. The figure fell 0.1 percentage points to 62.8 in February, the lowest level since 1978. The contrast between the extremely low labor participation rate and the ostensibly recovering official unemployment rate arises from the fact that millions of unaccounted laborers in the official statistics cannot find suitable work.

Indeed, more than two-thirds of the drop in the jobless rate was due to workers leaving the workforce, not workers finding jobs. In February the number of people reported as being unemployed shrank by 274,000. Of those, 178,000 left the work force and 96,000 gained jobs.

According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), there were 5,970,000 unemployed workers missing from the official statistics in this month's job report. Were they to be added to the unemployment rate, it would stand at 9 percent. These missing workers "are people who would be either working or looking for work if job opportunities were significantly stronger." The EPI notes that more than half of these missing workers are in their prime age of working, between the ages of 25 and 54.

There are several signs that the jobs market is entering a renewed downturn. The number of Americans who filed new claims for unemployment benefits rose sharply last week, by 7,000, to a seasonally adjusted 320,000.

Meanwhile, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the consultancy firm that tracks mass layoffs, reported yesterday that US employers announced 103,620 planned layoffs in the first two months of 2015, up nearly 20 percent from the same period last year.

As for wages, they remained stagnant for non-supervisory and production workers, the bulk of the workforce. Wages for all workers rose slightly, by $0.03.

One commentator on National Public Radio noted, "We're adding most of our jobs at or slightly above minimum wage, and as long as that's the case, you're not going to get a whole lot of upward pressure on wages."

A report released last April by the National Employment Law Project, "The Low-Wage Recovery," found that unlike previous recessions and post-recession recoveries, the current "recovery" has been dominated by low-wage growth. The authors wrote, "We find that low-wage job creation was not simply a characteristic of the first phase of the recovery, but rather a pattern that has persisted for more than four years now. Deep into the recovery, job growth is still heavily concentrated in lower-wage industries."

The largest industry to gain workers in February was in "food services and drinking places," which saw 59,000 new jobs, or about a fifth of all gains. Professional and business services increased by 51,000 jobs, retail by 31,000, construction by 29,000 and health care by 24,000. Part-time workers stood unchanged at 6.6 million people.

The Obama administration's "recovery," characterized by high stock prices for the rich, stagnating or declining wages for the majority, and long-term unemployment, is not a policy accident. Starting with the bailout of the auto companies, which cut in half the wages for new hires, the administration has led the charge in "wage restructuring" and "downsizing" in order to make American workers more easily exploitable. Meanwhile, the bailout of the banks and Federal Reserve's quantitative easing program have ensured record profits and stock prices for the super-rich.




rest at http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/03/07/econ-m07.html

US orders 7,700 children deported without court hearings

from http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/03/07/immi-m07.html

More than 7,700 immigrant children have been ordered deported over the past 18 months without ever appearing in court, according to statistics released by the federal government recently and reported by the Los Angeles Times Friday.

The Times account was based on data supplied by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, which processes data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal agencies.

Legal proceedings had been brought against 62,363 children over the past 18 months. In at least 7,706 cases, the children were ordered deported after they failed to make a court appearance. No figures were available on how many of these children were even aware of their hearings—they range in ages from toddlers to adolescents. But 94 percent of those ordered deported had no attorney to represent them.

Attorneys and advocates for the undocumented children said that many of these hearings are held without any notice given to those facing deportation. This problem has been exacerbated by an Obama order that immigration judges fast track such hearings, holding them within 21 days of ICE seeking a deportation order. With children scattered across the country, in detention facilities, foster care or staying with relatives, the fast-track hearing process makes timely notice extremely difficult.

ICE has not reported the total number of children deported in its efforts to combat the "surge" of refugees from Central America that began in late 2013. The agency reported that 1,901 unaccompanied children were deported during fiscal year 2014 (October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014), but some of these may have been detained earlier. ICE has not released figures on child deportations over the past five months.

The fact that deportations of unaccompanied children take place at all is outrageous. That the numbers are in the thousands, if not higher, demonstrates the brutality of the crackdown on Central American migrants conducted by the US government, in direct contradiction to the public pretense of sympathy adopted by President Obama.

The Obama administration has carried on a two-faced policy on immigration ever since taking office in January 2009. Obama claimed to advocate a more tolerant approach to undocumented immigrants and to support measures for their legalization and citizenship. But his government has deported more immigrants than any previous administration, more than two million men, women and children. Deportations are being carried out at nine times the rate of 20 years ago.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement began the latest crackdown at the end of 2013, when Central American women and children began arriving at the US southern border in much larger numbers than previously. The numbers swelled during the summer of 2014, leading to the detention of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children, mainly from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The vast majority of the women and children were fleeing gang violence and military death squads in their home countries, as well as desperate poverty, conditions that are byproducts of a long history of oppression by American imperialism and its local henchmen in the wealthy oligarchies that rule Central America.

At the high point of the crisis, Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, declared that the mass jailing of mothers and children was intended as a deterrent against the continued flight of refugees. In other words, he effectively conceded that the administration policy was deliberately punitive, and in violation of due process norms.

Last month a federal judge in Washington DC ordered the administration to stop the jailing of children, whether accompanying their parents or alone. The Department of Homeland Security is considering whether to appeal.

In another federal courtroom, in Seattle, Washington, the American Civil Liberties Union has brought suit seeking the appointment of defense counsel for all children facing immigration or deportation hearings.

The plaintiffs in this lawsuit, J.E.F.M. v. Holder, are all unnamed, in view of their ages, but their descriptions in the court filing suggest the dimensions of the social crisis in Central America from which they have fled. As detailed in the court documents, the plaintiffs include:

* A three-year-old boy conceived when his mother was raped when she was only 15 years old. After she faced continuing threats from her rapist, his mother fled El Salvador and left her son in the care of his aunt. However, because his family continued to fear for his safety in El Salvador, he was brought to the border in Texas, taken into custody by the government, and put into deportation proceedings.

* A 10-year-old boy, his 13-year-old brother, and 15-year-old sister from El Salvador, whose father was murdered in front of their eyes. The father was targeted because he and the mother ran a rehabilitation center for people trying to leave gangs.

* A 14-year-old girl who had been living with her grandparents, but was forced to flee El Salvador after being threatened and then attacked by gang members.

* A 15-year-old boy who was abandoned and abused in Guatemala, and came to the United States without any family or friends.

* A 16-year-old boy born in Mexico who has lived here since he was a year old, and has had lawful status since June 2010.

* A 16-year-old boy with limited communication skills and special education issues who escaped brutal violence exacted on his family in Honduras, and who has lived in Southern California since he was eight years old.

* A 17-year-old boy who fled gang violence and recruitment in Guatemala and now lives with his lawful permanent resident father in Los Angeles.

The lawsuit charges numerous agencies of the federal government with violating the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution, as well as provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act requiring a "full and fair hearing" before an immigration judge. Such a fair hearing is impossible for a child deprived of both parental support and legal counsel.

This is the brutal reality of US immigration policy, behind the play-acting and stage-managed conflicts in Washington. President Obama and congressional Republicans engaged in such a mock battle over the past two weeks over funding of the Department of Homeland Security, which the Republicans had delayed in an effort to force the White House to abandon the executive order issued by Obama last November, providing limited work authorization for about four million undocumented immigrants.

The fight ended, as the WSWS predicted, with full funding for the DHS, one of key agencies of the emerging American police state, and with Obama's immigration order unchanged. With only a few exceptions, corporate America supports the Obama policy, which makes available a supply of cheap labor for agribusiness, construction and other industries, while maintaining the overall framework of brutal police repression of undocumented workers.




rest at http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/03/07/immi-m07.html