Friday, May 17, 2019

Trump's latest merit-based immigration plan evades the "moral" questions

Although Fox News has praised Trump’s (and Jared Kushner's) immigration plan announced Thursday as a boon to the US economy, even Congress is cool about it, as it doesn’t address DACA or other problems with asylum seekers.

It is reasonable, of course, and desirable to increase legal immigration for those immigrants with scare skills that tech employers need, or for seasonable laborers that agriculture needs.

Trump wants to require English proficiency and passing a civics exam, and degrees or employer sponsors.

Critics say that families would be left behind.

We’re back to the same moral dilemma:  should American charity take care its own first before taking care of people overseas, victims of dictatorships and gangs?

That question becomes more pertinent within specialized groups or “tribes”, like LGBTQ.  Those with specific connections to people overseas through their own groups will feel more incentive to help them personally, which keeps bringing back the sponsorship question, as with Canada.

In the meantime, Mexico seems to be closing the welcome mat for more caravans from Central America.

David Agren and Alan Gomez discuss Mexico’s actions in a USA Today story where they also embed Trump’s speech Thursday. 

Trump reported wants to send released undocumented migrants to specific areas like Broward County, FL, where there is no system to take care of them.  Does he want charities to step up?  What about his own hotels? 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Trump declares "national emergency" to allow banning of hardware and software from China, especially in infrastructure

President Trump issued an executive order today giving the Commerce Secretary (or DHS) the authority to ban technology hardware and software sales to or purchases from foreign adversaries, mainly China, for use in critical US infrastructure or business systems.

The Wall Street Journal has the most complete story, by Josh Zumbrum, et al, here. The main companies that could be targeted would be Huawei and ZTE. 

The administration could justify the ban by protecting facilities like the power grids from cyber hacking (or maybe airgap hacks). It could, on the other hand, base bans on privacy concerns of Americans.

The earliest story seemed to come from CNBC, Tucker Higgins, around 5 PM EDT, and was picked up by Smart News and sent to phones as a declaration of a “national emergency”. 

A national emergency (as covered earlier this year, especially on my Books blog in January, during the government shutdown, based on a long Atlantic article back in December 2018) could lead to shutdowns of other Internet services, maybe even social media or user generated content, so the working of the news headlines as sent to phones was a little scary at first.  It took about an hour for most news outlets to publish a more detailed story on what this meant. I was on the road at the time, in an ice cream shop in Warrenton VA, when I saw the headline pop.

The XO is obviously motivated by the trade war with China. But it may be a welcome sign that the Trump administration now takes the power grid threats seriously, as indicated by a March 2019 XO in EMP (which was not made a national emergency).

I wonder if “Economic Invincibility” noticed this story.

David Pakman,  a centrist to moderate liberal channel,  flashed a tweet that he will discuss the tensions with Iran tonight and considers war close at hand.

Tim Pool, who has made several important announcements lately, actually supported Trump today for refusing to back an international call for censorship after Christchurch.

Monday, May 13, 2019

While Maduro supports protest at Venezuelan embassy during police cutoffs, news media now points out connections between Maduro and drug cartels

Today, Ford Fischer and News2Share have numerous videos and tweets about DC police and Secret Service cutting off water and electricity to the Venezuelan embassy in Georgetown and even cutting the rope to get supplies into the building.  You can watch livestream reports Monday here

Protesters from code pink or apparently Maduro, claim they are poor people and victims.

Yet the Washington Post Monday offers an op-ed by Jackson Diehl, blames the drug cartels, or “Cartel of the Suns”.  Ironically this would not happen without the US Reagan-era “war on drugs”.  I remember seeing the Bolivian Revolution panels mentioned here on my visit. 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Trump's tariffs: when will they affect American consumers? "China is not your friend"

The stock market mini-shock from Trump’s tariffs on China have settled, because most experts think it will take about a month for real dealing to happen.

I take this to mean that my mid June Americans will know how much the “sales tax” will affect them.

I wonder how it will affect computers, since I will need to set up a new system to finish my music project (iMac).
What I wonder about is rare earth metals needed by electronics.  China has a lot of that.  Do we need to mine the Moon or asteroids?

Update:  May 13

China retaliated with $60B of its own; Dow down 620 early PM (2.2%).  iMac is made in Ireland, but iPhones are assembled largely in China (but some is Taiwan). 

Friday, May 3, 2019

Trump tries to sound reassuring about Venezuela, Putin, North Korea while Otto's mom calls North Korea a cancer threatening world survival

The narrative that Russia meddled in the 2016 election with social media echo chambers and fake news websites is now called “the Russian Hoax”, according to Trump, speaking about a phone call with Vladimir Putin earlier today.

CNN reports here, as does USA Today.  This is not too comforting since Facebook is having to make such drastic changes in its business model and treatment of users, which could spill over onto other platforms, partly as a result of Russian meddling with American speech. 

Putin denied that he tried to get Maduro to stay in Venezuela rather than escape to “exile” in Cuba.

Putin also seemed to confirm that North Korea was still willing to de-nuclearize.

CodePink activists from Maduro still stand pat against Guaido at the embassy in Washington.  The Secret Service and DC Police have been there but have not evicted the Maduro people, as far as I know, yet.
Cindy Warmbier, Otto’s mother, called North Korea a “cancer” that will get us all killed someday if not stopped, in a speech at the Hudson Institute today.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Venezuela erupts, possible coup near (oh, it is not...)

Widespread media reports suggest a possible or even probable coup in progress in Venezuela, by Juan Guiado.
Tim Pool has a video just out.

His video talks about how he was chased and targeted by leftist “revolutionaries” when he was there.
Maduro is using motorcycle thug gangs organized by Cuba to try to keep some sort of hold.  Gangs have run over pedestrians in the streets on camera as have white tanks.  This is as graphic as was Christchurch. 

John Bolton says “we want some peaceful transfer of power.”  Maduro’s “election” in May 2018 was seen as questionable and his term expired in January 2019 but he did not relinquish power.

Last week, News2Share filmed Maduro persons still at the Venezuelan embassy expecting to be kicked out by the Secret Service.  I paid an outdoor visit Friday.  The staff supported Maduro and his socialism in talking to me on Friday.

Independent journalist Alejandro Alvarez is at the Embassy now streaming. Ford Fischer reports also.

Eli Lake on Bloomberg explains that this is not a coup because Maduro's presence has been illegal since Jan.  Russia discouraged Maduro from escaping to Cuba (according to Pompeo).  Think now about Russia's recent meeting with Kim Jong Un. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Apparently some non-relatives are allowed to "sponsor" release of some children in migrant shelters at the border; Trump wants to charge asylum seekers

NBC News reports that Trump wants to charge asylum seekers a fee so that all asylum claims can be resolved within 180 days.  This hardly sounds realistic.  Here is the story.  But Trump also wants to deny asylum work permits after the usual 180 days until their asylum is approved, if it still takes longer (it usually does, although there is LIFO), as per CNN. 

This idea would surely lead to fundraisers to pay the fees.

Susanne Gamboa reports a case where a family of non-relatives was finally allowed to “sponsor” a boy from an immigrant shelter after the father was returned to Guatemala.   This could lead to more similar cases and drives by non-profits to find non-relative sponsors.  This is still a murky area.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Venezuela embassy standoff and Putin-North Korea summit; will mainstream media connect the dots, please?

There are a couple of potentially serious things developing quickly.

Ford Fischer of News2Share was at the Venezuelan embassy last night as the “Embassy Protection Coalition” and Medea Benjamim braced for a possible Secret Service raid to remove remnants of the Maduro regime, if I recall properly. The Trump administration wants to recognize only Juan Guaido, as part of the MAGA "red line".

While one may despise Madura and the failure of Venezuela under communism, there is another practical complication.

Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un are meeting in a summit near Vladivostok, Russia, on the Pacific Ocean.

Putin has recently announced hypersonic missiles to be available in 2020 for Russia’s defense, and Kim Jong Un could feel emboldened to start missile testing again after meeting with Putin, given the breakdown of talks with Trump in Hanoi.

That, when you think about the possible EMP threat that James Woolsey has talked about before (discussed on these blogs previously) but that the mainstream media refuses to talk about much, could present a devastating risk to the US homeland given Trump’s volatile and unpredictable behaviors.  The Russian missile could also possibly create an undersea detonation and splatter US coasts with fallout. 

 CNN has a typical story. Fox news has an odd story about a “train mishap”.  (If you get an "access denied", copy the URL into your browser and click one more time and you will get the story. Or get it from Twitter, here.   This almost sounds like a perversion of the EU Article 11 "link tax" in the US since news stations don't have paywalls like newspapers do.)
The Washington Times (p. A9 Apr 25) in an article by Guy Sanger talks about Kim and Putin discussing North Korean laborers. 
David E. Sanger of the New York Times had talked about a “Red line” between the US and Putin over Venezuela on April 1. 
Of course, this is speculative, and we’ll have to see what verifiable facts come in if the media pays more attention.  This is all serious stuff.

As of 10 AM Thursday, CNN wasn't taking all this very seriously.  Just business as usual. A slight change in physics leverage. 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Notre Dame donations from billionaires stirs more riots in Paris; horror in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday

Yellow Vest protests in France grow as rightist populists join with leftists in demanding expropriation of billionaire wealth, after offers to repair the Notre Dame.

A purification in France?
Sri Lanka has blocked most social media after massive coordinate bombing attacks that seemed to focus on Christians on Easter Sunday, and there have been arrests but little information, Time story. 
Trey Yingst has been covering Sri Lanka from Jerusalem, twitter video here

By Louis H. G. - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Militia group holding undocumented migrants broken, leader arrested by FBI

The FBI has arrested the leader of an armed militia holding undocumented migrants at gun point to turn them over to border patrol, as in the Buzzfeed News story Aldofo Flores. 

The “citizen’s arrest” idea is said not to apply to federal immigration law.  The actions were called kidnappings. 

United Constitutional Patriots funding attempts was cutoff by GoFundMe, Paypal, and probably other processors, whom they want the public to believe is trustworthy for fundraising.
Militias came to public attention back in the 1990s in connection with Timothy McVeigh.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

North Korea resumes "minor" missile testing

North Korea has tested a short range “tactical guided weapon” but not an ICBM, according to many news reports, such as this one on CNN 

This is the first test of anything since a meeting between Trump and Un in Hanoi broke up in February.

But there are more reports of railroad cars near a suspected site where HEU is manufactured.

And Kim Jong Un is expected to meet with Putin in eastern Russia soon.

WJLA7 reported this in Washington DC around 6:02 PM but there were no detailed stories online until around 7 PM when NBC had a story.  ABC News had mentioned it late in the Evening News at 6:30 PM EDT.

Will Ripley of CNN suggests that Kim Jong Un is trying to send a nudge to Trump to back off on the sanctions. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Trump administration orders detention of asylum seekers who enter illegally, even after passing credible fear interviews (90 day wait as DHS is overwhelmed now)

Attorney General William Barr has issued an order, to go into effect in 90 days, to allow the government to hold asylum seekers in detention if they entered the country illegally, even after passing the first credible fear interview.

Here is a typical story, on Slate, by Eliot Hannon. 

The order would seem to contradict the Flores settlement and would probably be litigated. But some experts say that Trump’s order is still legal if limited only to those who entered illegally to start.
Stephan Dinan of The Washington Times writes that migrants who have been released are overwhelming the border city of Yuma, AZ.  
DHS is certainly running out of detention space to enforce Barr’s order.

There remains a question as to whether private citizens could quasi-sponsor asylum seekers.  Recently, there have been special shelters opened (like Casa Ruby in Washington DC) and auto trips to Texas to bring back specific LGBT asylum seekers to several cities. But the mechanisms by which one volunteers to do this have not been made public. 

Some commentators still insist that Trump came up with the family separation last spring deliberately to get around the Flores rule. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Assange hauled out of embassy in London, will face charges in U.S.; implications for journalists, and for Chelsea Manning

The U.S. DOJ has charged Julian Assange with helping Chelsea (previously Bradley) Manning with password cracking to steal classified documents, according to many news reports Thursday morning, for example, the Daily Beast, which links to its earlier story about London police hauling Assange out of the Ecuadoran embassy for jumping bail with regard to an earlier charge of sexual misconduct in Sweden.

Chelsea Manning has been jailed since early March in Alexandria, VA for refusing to testify to a grand jury about Assange.  Some of this time was in solitary confinement. Curiously, the LGBTQ  press doesn’t seem to be willing to cover the matter (while a battle over Trump’s partial transgender ban in the military plays out in the press).  Ford Fischer and his News2Share outlet has reported extensively on her confinement.

But Manning had been given clemency (not the same as a pardon) by President Obama before he left office.

It isn’t clear as of early Thursday what will happen with her confinement.

But a more disturbing question concerns the rights and responsibilities of journalists.  Reporters (and bloggers) may not break the law themselves (as apparently Assange may have). Most legal precedent suggests they may publish classified information sent to them. However, most reputable news outlets will not cross a certain line

In the years following 9/11, I contacted authorities several times when unusual information about possible (sometimes overseas) attacks was passed to me (as my website was quite visible in the early days of Web 1.0).  In at least one case, I later published the contact.   

Pool’s video talks about the responsibilities of journalists and talks about Greenwald and Snowden for comparison. Pool says his video was suppressed for a while.  I had no trouble viewing it.  He mentions the possibility of a "failsafe" release. 

Update: April 16

Lior Leser explains the "conspiracy" part of the US indictment against Assange, which actually failed. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Trump keeps running afoul of the law on asylum seekers; now family separation is a "binary choice"

Trump’s fiasco with asylum seekers at the border changes with the hour.

A federal judge (Richard Seeborg in San Francisco) has ruled that Trump cannot keep asylum seekers in Mexico. 

We’ve already heard about the odyssey of Kirtsjen Nielsen, who resigned after cutting short a long trip (I know the feeling, it happened to me in 1976, with "New York deli service on the way back) to return because Trump thinks she isn’t tough enough.

Vox has the details here

We’ve also heard a lot today about the “binary choice” that Trump wants on family separation. It’s like “Sophie’s Choice”.  Keep families together in detention indefinitely, or let the children be released under Flores while the parents stay in jail. 

We also heard earlier today that Trump had been “planning” family separations since early in his term. That’s bound to lead to more angry demonstrations and protests.  Well, it has to.

Trump has also said, “we have no more room at the inn” for more asylum seekers. 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Kim Jong Un visits father's birthplace; what kind of decision is forthcoming?

Kim Jong Un recently attended his father’s birthplace (in Samjiyon).

This has been said to be a warning that he will make an important decision soon.  This could mean, for example, launching a satellite or resuming a nuclear test.  Here is the CNN story

The Korea Times also has a story

A March 15 NYTimes story by Sang-Hoen suggests that Kim could resume playing with nuclear weapons if sanctions are not eased.  This is more than playing with matches.