New York City

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Fresh audio product

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 26/06/2020 - 8:09am in

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link):

June 25, 2020 Nikhil Pal Singh on race, class, policing, protest • Michael Kinnucan of Brooklyn DSA’s electoral committee on left victories in the NYC primary elections

Revisiting Rosedale

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 22/06/2020 - 12:07pm in

After a clip from Rosedale, a 1976 Bill Moyers film documenting racial tension in one New York City community, went viral on social media, New York Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir tracked down the young Black girls — now grown women — who were terrorized by a mob of white children 45 years ago. Continue reading

The post Revisiting Rosedale appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Finally, Some Signs of Improvement in the Regional Economy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/06/2020 - 10:30pm in

Jaison R. Abel, Jason Bram, Richard Deitz, and Benjamin G. Hyman

LSE_2020_jr-econ-improvement_deitz_460

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s June business surveys show some signs of improvement in the regional economy. Following two months of unprecedented decline due to the coronavirus pandemic, indicators of business activity point to a slower pace of contraction in the service sector and signs of a rebound in the manufacturing sector. Even more encouraging, as the regional economy has begun to reopen, many businesses have started to recall workers who were laid off or put on furlough since the start of the pandemic. Some have even hired new workers. Moreover, businesses expect to recall even more workers over the next month. Looking ahead, firms have become increasingly optimistic that conditions will improve in the coming months.

The Free Fall Has Stopped

After a period of sharp deterioration that began in early March, business conditions finally appear to be firming in June, according to respondents of our Business Leaders Survey, which covers service firms in the New York-Northern New Jersey region, and our Empire State Manufacturing Survey, which covers manufacturing firms in New York State. The headline index for the Business Leaders Survey climbed 36 points but remained well below zero, indicating ongoing decline in the service sector, though at a much slower pace than over the past few months. Declines continue to be particularly widespread in the transportation and warehousing, leisure and hospitality, and finance sectors. Despite these declines, roughly one in five service firms noted a increase in business in June, most prominently among respondents in the information and retail sectors. The headline index for the Empire Survey increased nearly 50 points to near zero, indicating activity stabilized in the region’s manufacturing sector.

Employment Has Turned the Corner

Perhaps more encouraging, employment in the region appears to have begun to improve. In supplemental questions, we asked businesses about their employment levels in February (before the pandemic), at their low point during the current downturn, and presently. Nearly half of all businesses reduced their workforce during the pandemic, though these cuts were substantially more prevalent in the hard-hit leisure and hospitality and retail sectors. Across all firms, our survey suggests that employment declined by 18 percent in the service sector and 15 percent in the manufacturing sector at the lowest point of the downturn.

With the gradual reopening of more nonessential businesses throughout the region over the past month, a number of firms have started to recall workers who were let go and some have hired new workers. Indeed, about two-thirds of businesses that reduced their workforce indicate that employment has picked up since hitting its low point. Thus far, however, service firms have only recalled about 15 percent of their laid-off workers, while manufacturers have recalled almost half.

A small number of new workers have been added to payroll in both sectors. New hires were strongest among administrative support firms, while businesses in that industry, as well as in wholesale trade and construction, reported the strongest degree of recalls. Although progress has been made, employment in the region remains well below pre-pandemic levels even with the job growth that has occurred thus far. Fortunately, businesses in both sectors plan to recall additional workers, with firms expecting to have rehired more than half of the workers who were let go since the start of the pandemic over the next month.

The Outlook Has Improved

Looking ahead, businesses in the region expressed optimism that conditions would improve over the next six months, though from extremely low levels. The Business Leaders Survey’s index for future business conditions climbed well into positive territory, led by retail, leisure and hospitality, and transportation and warehousing—which were some of the hardest-hit sectors—as well as real estate. Similarly, the comparable index for the Empire Survey jumped to its highest level in more than a decade. With businesses starting to bring back workers, and more hires expected in the months ahead, there are signs that the regional economy is headed in a positive direction after plunging during the depths of the pandemic. We will continue to monitor economic conditions in the region, and provide timely updates as additional data and information become available. You can visit our Regional Economy website for more information useful in tracking the region’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Jaison R. AbelJaison R. Abel is an assistant vice president in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Research and Statistics Group.

Jason BramJason Bram is a research officer in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Richard DeitzRichard Deitz is an assistant vice president in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Benjamin G. Hyman

Benjamin G. Hyman is an economist in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Related Reading

The Coronavirus Shock Looks More like a Natural Disaster than a Cyclical Downturn

How to cite this post:

Jaison R. Abel, Jason Bram, Richard Deitz, and Benjamin G. Hyman, “Finally, Some Signs of Improvement in the Regional Economy,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Liberty Street Economics, June 16, 2020, https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2020/06/finally-some-signs....




Disclaimer

The views expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors.

Mindfulness On The New York City Subway

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 27/05/2020 - 10:31pm in

Shortly after I began attending my first and only meditation training class, my teacher began a session by claiming meditation could be done anywhere; the ‘meditator’ should not worry about finding the best or the correct place to do ‘sits.’ Sit anywhere; find a support for your back so you can sit upright; but if you can’t you can meditate lying down. I found this catholic attitude to the position and location of the meditation sit refreshingly non-stifling. I found the last of my many excuses to not meditate melting away: no longer could I complain about the discomforts of meditation sits. So I began meditating. I would meditate at home in my living-room, sometimes in my daughter’s room when our household was busy, in an academic library, at a friend’s home. All I needed was a chair and a quiet spot.

And it didn’t have to be too quiet either.  All I had to do was sit comfortably, close my eyes, and meditate. If noise was present, then I had to be mindful of that too: acknowledge the noise, notice its presence, but don’t dwell on it; do pay attention to what happens if you find yourself trying to ‘process’ the noise. The key was to acknowledge that meditation was about mindfulness, not about escape from the every-day, or beguilement. Meditation asked me to be present in the present, not absent in the present. In a mindful way.

With all that said, one logical venue for meditation became apparent: the New York City subway. I often read in subway cars; indeed, they were one of my primary reading venues in my daily life in the city. But I never thought of them as a place of tranquility even though, quite clearly, they were for an experienced New York City commuter like me. All I had to do was find a seat, open a book, and very often I would be ‘lost’; a reading reverie had caused me to miss my intended station of disembarkation on more than one occasion. So why not meditate?

An opportunity presented itself soon enough: one day, while working in the library, I missed my afternoon meditation session by the stacks. Now, time was running out; I still had to catch the subway back to Brooklyn to pick up my daughter from after-school care. I would have to meditate on the subway if I wanted to get my session in before nighttime parenting duties began. And so it came to be that I took the Q train downtown, scouted for a seat, found one, plopped myself down, secured my backpack between my legs, pushed myself back, and closed my eyes. 

I sat for twenty minutes, while the subway took me from downtown Manhattan to downtown Brooklyn, through Chinatown, over the Manhattan Bridge. All around me I could hear sounds, feel sensation, smell aromas: the train scraping and screeching on the tracks, station and delay announcements, phone notifications, the occasional murmured conversation, french fries being eaten, my body moved and swayed, my head drooped, bodies around me moved and shifted as fellow passengers arranged themselves in various configurations for standing and sitting. 

I was in a subway car; I was present, not absent; I was mindful. I’m a human being; sight is my overpowering sensory modality. With the eyes closed, a different world pops into view. That day, while supposedly ‘checking out,’ I was more aware and sensitive to a certain dimension of the interior of a subway car than I had ever been with my eyes closed. I hadn’t gone anywhere; but I was still in a different place. On the subway, that was true literally, and figuratively. 

 

NYC Taxpayers Spending Millions on Cyber Center with Controversial Ties to Israeli Intelligence

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 15/02/2020 - 7:58am in

Early last week, the city of New York launched — with little media scrutiny — one of two new massive cybersecurity centers that will be run by private Israeli firms with close ties to Israel’s government, the so-called “Mega Group” tied to the Jeffrey Epstein scandal and prominent pro-Israel lobby organizations operating in the United States. The centers were first announced in 2018 as was the identity of the firms who would run them: Israel-based Jerusalem Venture Partners and SOSA.

As MintPress has reported on several occasions, all three of these entities have a history of aggressively spying on the U.S. federal government and/or blackmailing top American politicians, raising concerns regarding why these companies were chosen to run the new centers in the heart of Manhattan. The news also comes as Israeli cybersecurity companies tied to Israeli military intelligence Unit 8200 were revealed to have access to the U.S. government’s most classified systems and simulating the cancellation of the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

The new cybersecurity centers are part of a new New York City public-private partnership called “CyberNYC” that is valued at over $100 million and officially aims to “spur the creation of 10,000 cybersecurity jobs and make New York City a global leader in cyber innovation.” CyberNYC is an initiative of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation.

However, the companies that will be responsible for creating those cybersecurity jobs will benefit foreign companies, namely Israeli and most of the jobs to be created will go to foreigners as well, as media reports on the partnership have quietly noted. Those reports also stated that, while the stated purpose of the centers is to create new jobs, the Israeli firms chosen to run them — Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and SOSA — view it as an opportunity to provide Israeli cybersecurity companies with a foothold into the American market and to see Israeli cybersecurity products adopted by both small and medium-sized American businesses, not just large corporations and government agencies.

For example, the founder of JVP and former Knesset member, Erel Margalit, told the Jerusalem Post that “the center we are setting up [in New York] will assist Israeli hi-tech companies in collaborating with customers and companies in the US and around the world.” More recently, ahead of the opening of the cybersecurity center that Margalit’s firm will manage, he told the Times of Israel that “New York is about something else, it’s about the drama of taking investors from Israel and Spain or Paris and other places and taking them to the next business level.” In other words, the companies set to benefit from these new centers will be foreign and mainly Israeli, as JVP invests the vast majority of its funds in Israeli start-ups.

Given that Wilson Lin, the head of CyberNYC, explained the reason behind the initiative as the fact that “there are not enough well-trained people in cyber security to fill the jobs that are required for a safer, more thriving commercial sector,” the statements of JVP’s founder strongly suggests that those “well-trained people” will not be Americans in New York, but will be brought in from abroad, namely Israel’s cybersecurity sector.

Of the companies chosen by CyberNYC to run its new cybersecurity centers, both have clear and demonstrable ties to Israel’s government and military intelligence as well as controversial groups of pro-Israel donors with considerable political clout in the United States.

For instance, Jerusalem Venture Partners was founded by Erel Margalit in 1993, with funding from the Yozma Program, an Israeli government program to “incentivize venture capital investment” in Israel. Since then, it has been a driving force in the development of Israel’s hi-tech sector and regularly collaborates with the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry and the EISP (Entrepreneurship and Innovation Support Program) alumni organization of Unit 8200. Today, it is the second largest venture capital fund in Israel.

JVP was also the sole venture capital fund chosen to partner with Israel’s government and military to establish the public-private “cyber hub” in Beersheba. This “hub” not only houses the IDF’s technology campus, but also the Israel National Cyber Directorate, which reports directly to Israel’s Prime Minister, as well as a high-tech corporate park that mostly houses tech companies with ties to Israel’s military intelligence apparatus. The area has been cited in several media reports as a visible indicator of the public-private merger between Israeli technology companies, many of them started by Unit 8200 alumni, and the Israeli government and its intelligence services.

A composite image of the future JVP-funded New York City cyber center

A composite image of the future JVP-funded New York City cyber center. Photo | JVP Press Release

In addition to JVP’s close ties to Israel’s government and its key role in the merging of Israel’s private cybersecurity sector with Israeli military intelligence, JVP also has close ties to the Bronfman family through its Chief Operating Officer and general partner, Fiona Darmon. Prior to working with JVP, Darmon worked for Claridge Israel, the investment arm of the Bronfman family that was founded by Charles Bronfman in 1987.

Charles Bronfman was a one-time business partner of Mossad agent Robert Maxwell, father of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell, and co-founded the “Mega Group”, a group of pro-Israel oligarchs with clear and direct ties to organized crime, alongside Leslie Wexner, the main financier of Jeffrey Epstein’s operation that involved the sex trafficking of minors on behalf of Israeli military intelligence.

SOSA was founded much more recently than JVP, yet also has close ties to Israel’s government and military. Created in 2014, SOSA has grown rapidly by connecting mostly Israeli start-ups with investors and through its partnerships with the IDF. This partnership first became clear in 2018, when SOSA created the Homeland Security (HLST) Innovation Hub, which the Times of Israel described as “a first of its kind program that aims to create a defense and security innovation community that will match homeland security and defense industry firms with startups, to help industry giants maintain their leading edge.”

Last year, SOSA became one of two companies to manage the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s program INNOFENSE, an innovation program for civilian tech start-ups in the country’s defense industry. SOSA’s collaboration with the IDF also involves the creation of “joint business activities between international companies, [government] security organizations, investors and startups,” making SOSA a key player in the blurring of the line between Israeli military intelligence and its private tech sector.

SOSA is also directly partnered with two of Israel’s top weapons manufacturers, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, as well as defense electronics companies ELTA Systems and Elron Electronics, the former parent company of another Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems. It is also partnered with the Unit 8200 alumni-founded tech company CheckPoint Systems and Leumi Tech, the hi-tech subsidiary of one of Israel’s largest banks, Leumi. Leumi Tech exists only in the U.S. and specifically aims to “provide a comprehensive suite of products and services to Israeli high-tech companies operating in the US.” The bank was recently forced to pay $400 million to the U.S. government for assisting U.S. citizens, most of them dual U.S.-Israeli citizens, in preparing false tax returns and hiding their assets in offshore accounts.

SOSA’s General Manager Guy Franklin is of particular interest, due to his close ties to the Israeli American Council (IAC), a pro-Israel lobby group created by convicted felon and ultra-Zionist millionaire Adam Milstein and largely funded by Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. The Adelsons are also the largest donors to both President Trump and the Republican Party in the United States.

SOSA Israel

In this photo posted on SOSA’s Facebook page, SOSA execs Uzi Scheffer and Guy Franklin pose in New York’s Time Square

Of the $100 million in funding for the CyberNYC initiative, $30 million comes from New York taxpayers and the remaining funds coming from the program’s partners, which includes Goldman Sachs and the Israeli military intelligence Unit 8200 incubator Team8, a start-up accelerator which has been discussed at length in several past MintPress News reports, including the recent MintPress investigation into the Israeli company Cybereason — a partner of Team8.

Team8, particularly its presence in New York, has long been associated with the push by pro-Israel political donor and American hedge fund manager Paul Singer and Israel’s government to make Israel the global cybersecurity leader as a means of preventing countries from boycotting Israel over human rights violations and war crimes. Team8’s role in CyberNYC will see them not only finance part of the initiative but also training cybersecurity workers who will be hired as part of the partnership.

Singer, who is based in Manhattan, created Start Up Nation Central in 2012 to specifically outsource American tech jobs to Israel in collaboration with top AIPAC officials and Israel’s government. Meanwhile, in parallel, Israel’s government and intelligence apparatus began a policy that same year that involved outsourcing intelligence and military intelligence operations to private companies created for that very purpose, particularly in the field of cybersecurity.

Thus, much as Israel’s cybersecurity industry has long been fused to Israel’s military and intelligence apparati, the Paul Singer-funded and Israel-backed policy has openly sought to bring American companies and government agencies into the fold in order to prevent boycotts of Israel. Though the so-called “anti-BDS laws” that have been passed in several U.S. states are one facet of this push, the use of Israeli tech, namely cybersecurity, sector to pursue this same end has received decidedly less coverage.

New York City has long been a major focus on this policy, with the growth of Israel hi-tech start-ups present in New York and run by former members of Unit 8200 exploding since this policy officially began in 2012. Indeed, Haaretz noted that, between 2013 and 2017 alone, the number of Israeli tech start-ups in New York City grew by fivefold and the number of Unit 8200 alumni working in NYC tech start-ups has also spiked in that same time frame.

The number of Unit 8200 alumni working in NYC’s tech sector has grown so much that they host an annual gala closed to the press where the goal, per Haaretz, is “to try to connect startups and early stage entrepreneurs from 8200 EISP (the Israeli accelerator for Unit 8200 alumni) with clients and venture capital funds in the United States.” One of the main players at that gala is Guy Franklin, the CEO of SOSA, which was chosen to run the other NYC cybersecurity sector.

The decision to create expensive, new cybersecurity centers run by JVP and SOSA, two Israeli firms with clear ties to controversial pro-Israel lobby organization and donors as well as Israel’s government and intelligence apparatus, reveals that not only is this Singer and Israel-backed policy continuing to develop and expand at a rapid pace, but now the money of New York City taxpayers is now being used to propel it to new heights even though that very policy benefits Israel’s economy at the U.S.’ expense.

Feature photo | Graphic by Claudio Cabrera

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

The post NYC Taxpayers Spending Millions on Cyber Center with Controversial Ties to Israeli Intelligence appeared first on MintPress News.