Monday, September 17, 2018

Kim Jong Un obey's Trump's version of "don't ask, don't tell"

David Sanger wrote of Kim Jong Un’s post-Singapore policy as “keep making nukes, but quietly”, Monday, September 17, 2018 detailed story here.  
Indeed, this is rather like a country’s using social media with maximum privacy settings. Kim has stopped all the public missile tests and announcements.

Trump acts like this may be good enough, because Kim would never know if his weapons really work. It’s sort of a perversion of “don’t ask don’t tell” as Trump would use it in a "deal".

Friday, September 7, 2018

Kim flips, back to talking denuclearization

Well, we’re back to Kim’s claiming that he wants to “completely ‘denuclearize’”, as in this CNBC-Reuters story

Kim will meet with South Korean president Moon Jae-In in Pyongyang Sept 18-20, despite Pompeo’s recent cancellations. 

South Korea’s wishes (and willingness to sign a peace treaty) seem to be bringing back the possibility of reducing hostility, even though there has been a lot of criticism in recent weeks.

The Washington Times weighs in with some surprising optimism today in a piece by Guy Taylor here.
By Teddy Cross - Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Monday, September 3, 2018

Diplomats in Cuba, China injured by microwave weapon that may resemble E1 EMP

An Australian news site has one of the more alarming accounts of the brain injuries to some American diplomats in Cuba (in the US Embassy), and in China, as caused by microwave attacks, link here.  CNN also reports on the possibility of such attacks too. 

The United States does not say if it authorizes these kinds of attacks.  But the US military definitely has microwave weapons to disable ground electronics when deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan (see posting here March 4, 2010). Similar weapons, possibly from drones, have been suggested as a way to stop North Korean nuclear tests if diplomacy fails (as it looks like it might now).
But it would be possible for an enemy to use these weapons on the ground against US civilians or their electronics (similar to E1 level EMP).  They are not known to be in civilian hands at present.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Pompeo trip to North Korea cancelled; is DPRK slouching toward new missile tests?

CNBC reports that the US security situation with respect to North Korea has probably deteriorated since the time of the Singapore summit.

Trump recently and suddenly cancelled Pompeo’s trip.

Analysts see Kim as getting some relief from sanctions through China. Moreover, there is the decoupling issue. Kim seems to want the US to abandon the defense of South Korea completely and sign a treaty first.

There’s a good question, had Hillary Clinton won the election, would Kim have stages his spectacular sequence of missile tests in 2017?  We used to think no, but I’m not so sure.  After all, North Korea staged the attack on Sony back in 2014 under Obama.  A major cyber attack could have been a risk.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Quora posts show how Nazism and fascism come from the Left

This is a pretty instructive post on Quora, “Why do some conservatives try to claim that Nazis are lefty wing?” There are at least three good answers given.  One of them invokes the Nolan chart, of World’s Smallest Political Quiz.

The second answer shows that Nazi society amounted to socialism for proper Germans, as well as statism (rather like China today up to this point), and but then throwing in anti-Semitism. There does seem to be a focus on managing the individual so that he/she doesn’t benefit from the sacrifices of others without putting his own skin in the game. Note the “we demand” for “the people” and listing what will not be tolerated.
The comparison with the alt-right today is instructive.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A home building contractor in California discusses illegal immigration and its social impact

“A House Painter in L.A. Talks About Illegal Immigration and Its Impact”.

A self-employed painting and drywall homebuilding contractor gives a balanced perspective on illegal immigration.

He believes that only legal immigration should support construction or any other industry (like harvesting crops or fruit).  Without illegal immigration, he says, Americans would take more manual labor jobs, and consumers would have to pay more for some items.  Kid would do more chores, he even adds, and have a better understanding of the real value of learning to work (as my father used to say).

Monday, August 20, 2018

WSJ reports that MS-13 is getting much more organized in the U.S.

Del Quentin Wilber has a booklet-length illustrated article in the Wall Street Journal today about the attempt of MS-13 to organize itself more formally.  The title is “MS-13 gang tries to organize am unruly young membership; Goal of building a cohesive national structure proves elusive so far.” 

The tone of the article is a little bit tongue-in-cheek and disturbing, as if “success” would be a good thing. The group’s influence is scattered in various suburbs (particularly on Long Island in and some areas in northern Virginia and Maryland).  More organization could put more Americans at incidental risk, and feed Donald Trump’s narrative that Central American migrants fleeing gang warfare have to be kept out of the country because of Trojan horse concerns, regardless of humanitarian concerns. But it would also feed the mainstream narrative that gang violence should justify asylum, which Sessions has pushed back on. 

It is called “Mara Salvatrucha” or “The Program”. Money does get sent back to people in El Salvador, through control of the gangs.  The article suggests the group would move into other US areas, particularly those with former Mafia ties.  It also refers to a recent big meeting in Richmond.

Friday, August 10, 2018

North Korean denuclearization seems to stall more

President Trump says we are in good shape in North Korea.

I found a video from CBS where as recently as January Kim had actually threatened a “pre-emptive strike”

Fox News had a routine story that North Korea was threatening to stall denuclearization over the continuation of sanctions. 

Kim Jong Un has reportedly sent a second letter to Trump (Washington Times).

David Sanger describes the situation now as a "standoff".

But Michael Gordon of the Wall Street Journal says that the moratorium on missile tests means that Kim doesn't have the ability to test re-entry.  However EMP might be possible.

Update: Monday, Aug. 13

Foreign Affairs has a major article by Ankit Panda and Vipin Narang, "Why North Korea's Nuclear Program Isn't Going Anywhere" with the byline "Two months after Singapore, Kim clearly has the upper hand", like in a chess game.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Trump wants less immigration, period. Is this motivated by race? Also -- marriage to asylum seekers?

Tonight, Chris Cuomo, on CNN, blasted Trump’s hostility to all immigration, including legal.  Indeed, a lengthy article by Perry Bacon, Jr. “What is really behindTrump’s controversial immigration policies?”  To be very blunt, this amounts to, keeping America as white as possible, to please his base. 

Merit-based immigration would probably include well-educated immigrants from India and some east Asian countries, but probably not be very good for Central America, which right now shows the greatest need.   It would not affect LGBT applicants when well qualified in work.

The Asylumist does have a new article on asylum seekers getting green cards when married to US citizens or legal residents, and this will work in most cases.  Same-sex marriage would be honored. I could be tacky and wonder if that could pressure Americans into marrying asylum seekers.  But a marriage would have to be valid and a bona fide relationship. 

Update: Aug. 9

Check out Dara Lind's article on Vox on Trump's war on asylum seeking, with a lot of detail and uncertainty as to what will happen. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

South Africa likely to allow expropriation of white-owned farrmland without compensation as reparations

South Africa is planning constitutional changes that would allow expropriation of some lands from white landowners and giving it to blacks, a kind of reparation for apartheid, without compensation.

However, left-wing leadership has claimed that some white farmers had owned land occurred by criminality in the past, colonialism and more.

South Africa says that the seizures have happened when negotiations on tribal claims have broken down. 

Could such a measure lead to more talk of reparations in the U.S.?

Critics say this could lead to a Venezuela-like crisis in food production. 

Update: Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 at 6:45 PM EDT)

Tim Pool's take on all this in a video. Pool recommends this Newsweek article
Wikipedia attribution link for p.d. apartheid sign.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

House aims on countering Trump, improving immigration for some workers; more on DACA

Trump may be rehearsing his usual kudos and threats over an early fall government shutdown over funding to “build that wall”, but the House, in somewhat bipartisan fashion, recently approved a DHS funding bill. H.R. 392, which would allow more flexible in lawful visas for returning workers, including non-seasonal and now non-agricultural.  Furthermore, the bill would make it clear that gang violence and some domestic violence could be considered as credible fear items in asylum applications.

HR 392 is called the “Fairness for Highly Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017”, link here

David Bier explains in the Washington Examiner July 30, here

Informed Immigrant has an important post that will help some DACA adults renew their DACA status before fall despite Trump’s rollback on Obama’s order and Congress’s inconclusion on fixing DACA, here

On my IT Jobs blog Aug 1, I have another post on immigrants who depend on tips for income and a note about Sierra Leone.

Update: Aug 7

Vox (Dara Lind) explains just how complicated DACA has gotten, with litigation in Texas.  Congress needs to do its job. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

North Korea seems to be making ICBM's great again, after Singapore summit

Joby Warwick and Ellen Nakashima report US CIA or military intelligence photos suggesting North Korea has resumed production of more missiles and even ICBM’s, story and photo here

President Trump had suggested that North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat to the U.S. but admitted he had buttered up Kim Jon Jung to eliminate the threat.
Duck and cover wouldn’t be enough.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Kids being left behind as parents are deported; conservatives report smugglers deliberately take advantage of family separation crisis

As the Trump administration runs out of time to comply with a federal judge’s order on family separations, it’s finding that a number of kids are left behind after parents are deported.  Some parents fear taking their kids home to violence torn countries and leave them behind, after being given a Hobson’s choice (NBC News story ).   Who will raise the kids in the U.S.?
CNN warns that Congress needs to act on this quickly; Trump’s policies are unintentionally strengthening MS-13 in some parts of Central America and may make national security worse (two stories, one and two).

David Bier of the Cato Institute now reports on HR392 as improving fairness for highly skilled legal immigrants
But the Washington Examiner reports on smuggling of migrants complicating the job of legitimate border security, Anna Giaritelli writer.

Update: July 27

Michael Lavers of the Washington Blade has a detailed story on the situation in El Salvador, not just limited to trans and "obviously" gay people, but the entire security problem in general/  

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Litigation claims government undercounting allowable green cards for EB-5 immigrant investors

There is some legal controversy over the EB-5 immigrant investor program .

This program allows immigrants to get green cards (including spouses and dependent children under 21) when they make investments in a domestic US business and add ten or more jobs.
A group of 450 Chinese investors have filed suit concerning the way allowable slots for green cards are counted, as explained here on Business Wire.  

The suit maintains that family members of investors are counted illegally against a quote.
David J. Bier, an immigration policy analyst for the Cato institute, supplied some expert analysis here

Allowing any public benefit based on creating jobs is an interesting and challenging concept.
In another matter, Jason Dzubow offered a blog posting today on the Asylumist on how individuals can help asylum seekers, and it is indeed a moving target with poor guidance from government, and might involve some risk.  Individuals can help refugees through the supervision of social service agencies, but there is much less help for asylum seekers, by definition. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Iran could be prepping for cyber attack on US; so could Russia

Courtney Cube et al report for NBC News that Iran is preparing the possibility of a major cyberattack on the United States, story here.

But there was no evidence that a major attack is imminent.
Late Sunday, President Donald Trump tweeted in all caps a gaslighting threat to Iran.  David Hogg (and later his sister Lauren) jumped on this with viral retweets and rewrites, addressed to the president.
Democrats are claiming that the nuclear deal, which Trump canceled, really did pull the world back from a war in the middle East that might have happened around 2013 or so.
Whether Iran could actually reach the US power grid is debatable.  The article suggests DDOS attacks, but the actual nodes should not be reachable from the public Internet. David Sanger takes this up in his book “The Perfect Weapon” but doesn’t really show whether a really large purely cyber attack on the grid is possible.  EMP (especially E1, even non-nuclear) is another matter.
One possible risk could include attacks not only against poorly shielded commercial companies (like Sony, as well as large retailers and credit cards) but possibly against cyber accounts of individual Americans or non-profits, to create more discord even for law enforcement.  This idea hasn’t gotten much attention yet.

Update:  July 24

The Western Journal points out that Trump's threat to Iran could be related to the Strait of Hormuz closure threat back in the early 1980s, which was a threat to US oil supply then.  But it's attack on David Hogg is pretty silly.

The Wall Street Journal, in an article by Rebecca Smith, reinforces the NBC story on Russian cyber sabotage of utilities, across "air gaps" by going through suppliers with inside access to utilities but weak security themselves. This appeared separately from the NBC story on Iran.