Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Foreign Affairs revisits the dangers of a "bloody nose" or "left of launch" attack on North Korea as tensions resume

Ankit Panda, in Foreign Affairs (paywall) offers a detailed article ("The Right Way to Manage a Nuclear North Korea") on the continuing dangers of North Korea, which now must be accepted as the U.S. third major rival nuclear power (after Russia and China) which Donald Trump may have difficulty admitting, despite past public statements that he buttered up Kim Jong Un to stave off nuclear war.

There is discussion of the “left of launch” strategy which would disable nukes before launch.  This sounds like the bloody nose option which had been pondered early in 2018 and then dropped after the Winter Olympics, and probably some heated private Oval Office discussions.

The article rehearses the obvious, that a left-of-launch threat could pressure Kim into using his nukes now.

There are also reports of North Korean maneuvers against a mockup of the South Korean “Pentagon”.
And North Korea, complaining about sanctions, now says it is working on an “ultra weapon”, which conceivably could be a non-nuclear EMP flux to use against South Korea.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Timcast documents reports of anger in Mexico against migrants, esp. near Tijuana; more on the low-wage myth

Today, Monday, November 19, 2018, Tim Pool (Timcast) produced a notable video where he explores further the reports of some violence from male migrants near Tijuana, and the desire of many Mexican citizens (south of our own border) to send them back to Central America.

Pool looks at various news reports, some of them foreign, from journalists on the ground.  His byline is even “Trump was right”.  Some reports, even from the Washington Post, seem skeptical that the migrants could be wrong.

David Bier )Cato) has pointed out a Washington Post article by Robert J. Samuelson, “The Myth of Stagnant Incomes”, debunking the idea that immigrants depress already low-wage domestic jobs.

Update: Nov. 20

The Asylumist has an op-ed on what a Democratic majority in the House means for asylum seekers.

A federal judge in Los Angeles has blocked Trump's order to refuse asylum claims after illegal entry, story by Miriam Jordan. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Trump's plans to end nuclear treaty with Russia moves the hands of the nuclear clock

Ira Helfand has a disturbing op-ed on Trump’s threat to end a 31-year-old nuclear arms limits agreement (with Putin’s Russia) that Ronald Reagan had signed with Gorbachev (for the former Soviet Union).

Helfand reports that there have been several incidents of miscommunication where a nuclear exchange could have started. He thinks we've been lucky to keep our way of life (let alone EMP, too). 

And Trump now wants us to “go our own way”.

Friday, November 16, 2018

WhatsApp rumor leads to mob attack on a jail in Mexico and burning of a man to death

The BBC reports a horrible incident in the town of Actalan, in central Mexico, where a mob broke into a police station and burned a prisoner to death based on a false rumor that the prisoner was involved in child kidnapping, sex trafficking and organ selling.  The rumors had been instigated on WhatsApp.
The link for the BBC story by Marcos Martinez is here.

Again, this incident shows the vulnerability of less literate people overseas to fake news and rumor spread in social media.

Most of the people in the town depend on money sent to them by relatives (legal or not) in the United States.
By Tim & Annette - http://www.sxc.hu/photo/5402, Copyrighted free use, Link

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

EU Copyright Directive in final negotiations, could prove disruptive to Internet user generated content around the western world

I’ve written about the European Union’s Copyright Directive with the controversial Articles 11 and 13 on my main blog, and also on Wordpress.

I thought I would share Cory Doctorow’s (Electronic Frontier Foundation) analysis on Medium here today.  Glyn Moody has a more detailed perspective here
The proposals are in “trilogue” now.  That’s supposed to be public, but this time, the EU parliament is behaving as if this were an “in secret” grand jury.

It’s hard to predict what will happen. Implementations might vary among countries.  They might take longer.  They might not even happen. It seems as though a major part of the EU hierarchy (most of all Axel Voss) simply thinks that user generated content on the Internet isn’t worth keeping anyway, because it challenges established cultural order.

Cory even says that if the Directive were implemented today, major platforms and hosting companies would either have to apply it everywhere (except China, North Korea, and a few other “desirable” countries) or simply block all EU users, and set up a completely separate Internet for the EU.  (Or make it work like China’s).

Hopefully Brexit would keep the U.K. out of this.  No wonder countries want do leave.  And we were so shocked when Brexit happened in June 2016, five months before Donald Trump was elected. 
One problem would occur for American bloggers or domain owners traveling to EU countries.  They might not be able to access their own blogs while in some countries.  Maybe there could be workarounds like VPN’s.  That’s pretty much how it would work if you went to China today.  (It seems that Blogger, Facebook, and YouTube are not available in China – except that Google Analytics shows I sometimes have traffic from China and various wonderful Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia – certainly Russia – would I get arrested if I went to any of these places;  my other sites seem to be available everywhere, including Wordpress blogs – so I have gotten unsolicited proposals to setup “business” in China!)

Monday, November 12, 2018

North Korea is still working on missiles to reach the US

US intelligence, somewhat independent of Trump, says that North Korea is still working on its ballistic missile programs, much of it underground or hidden, at undisclosed sites. NBC News reports with Andrew Mitchell, Courtney Kube, and Kem Dilanian. 

A second summit is likely, according to Pompeo.  Trump has in the past said that he butters up Kim Jong Un to eliminate the risk to the US homeland.

On another matter, Sen. Cotton (R-AR) seems to confuse asylum seekers with refugees when he says people should be allowed to apply for asylum except from their home countries or other approved countries.

Update: Nov. 16

There are concerns about Kim Jong Un's "ultra weapon" as part of a new message to the US as talks stall.  Is this an EMP weapon?  CNN story by Ben Westcott and Yoonjung Seo. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The House could try to get somewhere on immigration

Dave Bier has a perspective at the Cato Institute, “the Most Pro-Immigration House of Representatives in Over a Century”, link here

Bier points out that repeated attempts at immigration cuts to please Trump’s base went down, as did the travel bans.   Bier also gives a long history of Congress and immigration, and its willingness to help both illegal (through morally acceptable circumstances) and legal immigrants stay, work, and eventually live here legally and become citizens.

Democrats are unlikely to attack chain migration too hard if that helps African-American families.
But the most obvious need is to reform DACA, and to protect the asylum process.
And to deal with volume problems with families at the border (Flores), they may have to take a heed from Canada and look at private sponsorship.   

Trump's base still is obsessed with the idea that if effort is spent on immigrants, they can get left farther behind. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

News2Share reports on the ground from Mexico on the migrant caravans, creating anger of Facebook

News2Share has a reporter in Mexico covering migrants on a bus somewhere near Mexico City now.
Here is a typical link
Reporters indicate there are a lot of ill people on the busses or in the caravan.  The reporter has not encountered armed migrants or evidence of trojan terrorists. 

If you check “Ford Fischer” on Facebook, you will see anger from a few somewhat polarized people when they thought they were asked to “like” to posts.  Facebook should not encourage accounts to prod users into “liking” their pages. 

By the way, News2Share is not part of the “resistance”.  Comments to that effect are just plain silly. They reflect a tribal mentality that everyone must join one side or another.

Of course, it is not clear if this is representative of all of the caravans.  Tim Pool has discussed reports of armed migrants farther south from mainstream media, but the reports are conflicting.

By the time the migrants reach the US, many of them are likely to have dissipated.  Were Trump to deny the right to apply for asylum, he would certainly be taken to court again immediately.
My most recent significant visit to Mexico City happened in 1974 over Labor Day weekend.

Right wing candidates keep putting exaggerated television ads up.

Wikipedia attribution link for aerial view of Mexico City by Fidel Gonzalez, CCSA 3.0. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Trump wants to change asylum law by edict; but many countries have weakened asylum since the Soviet Union collapsed

An important column by Max Fisher and Amanda Taub in the New York Times today examines the trend, since the 1990s, for the world to be less accommodating to asylum seekers, despite the customs of international law, once the Soviet Union folded at then end of 1991. 

For example, we had a Mariel boatlift from Cuba in 1980, but in 1993 the Supreme Court supported the Clinton Administration in turning back people from Haiti.

Trump claims that many of the people in the caravans are young men, not women and children (probably not disproportionate). 

Trump wants to greatly restrict asylum claims (which must be processed once someone enters the country;  there are rules on overstayed visas).  Trump calls asylum seekers a “loophole” in the immigration system, and says people who enter illegally cannot claim asylum, application can be made only at a lawful point of entry.  This would be challenged in court (it sounds like midterm fodder for Trump’s base). It is likely that this development that could become a flash point leading to more demonstrations.

Update: Nov. 8

The Washington Post reports (Nick Miroff) that the new rule will be entered into the Federal Register and that Trump claims "emergency power".  Let the litigation begin!  

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Trump plays up the "Caravan" risk before the election; Wall Street Journal and Washington Post leave open the possibility Congress could re-interpret the "jurisdiction" clause of the 14th Amendment

First, Johnny Harris explains how the US, under Obama, started outsourcing Central American migrant problem to Mexico back in 2014.

Trump is planning an Executive Order precluding claiming asylum for anyone who enters the country illegally -- but I didn't think he could do that!! 
Yup, Trump is making hyperbolic threats about the caravans five days before the election to elicit fear, as shown by this shocking video that Trump tweeted and the CNN crucified. 
 Matthew Spalding has argued in the Wall Street Journal, that the “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” clause in the Fourteenth Amendment does not automatically apply to children of illegal aliens and that U.S. v Wong Kim Ark applied only when the parents are legal residents. 
But Josh Blackman in another piece in the WSJ argues that the clause refers to anyone here subject to US laws. 

But Peter H. Schuck and Rogers M. Smith, drawing on an example of Native American reservations, argue, even in the liberal Washington Post, that Trump might be right in that Congress could future refine the “jurisdiction” clause, and therefore limit birthright for children of unlawful residents – and that liberals in Congress should make up their minds on how to deal with this problem.  I can imagine Sarah Huckabee Sanders with an echo. 

But The Atlantic takes up the jurisdiction issue in an article by Garrett Epps from the University of Baltimore with some common sense. So that brings the jurisdiction question back to something similar to diplomat law, maybe.

CBS reports that the births to undocumented parents have fallen to their lowest level since 2000.


Tim Pool has a breaking news post about more details regarding the third caravan, maybe significant.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

In Europe, free speech is an alienable right

A human rights court in Vienna has upheld the 2011 conviction of a woman in Austria for “disparagement of religious precepts” when she stated a that the prophet Muhammad had been a child molester, based on the historical record of his possible sex with girls who would be legally underage by today’s standards but probably not around 500 AD. 
The Atlantic, in an article by Graeme Wood, goes on to opine that in Europe, “free speech is an alienable right”.  The writer explains that European history may justify the vulnerability of the political institutions to vile ideas, and she offers a link to another Atlantic article explaining that the US really does leave the policing of vile ideas to private companies and interests, as we have seen with de-platforming of some controversial sites for racist or anti-Semitic, possibly even homophobic, hate speech. 

The European system seems to place less value on individualized speech, as we see from the controversy over the European Copyright Directive, which may, thankfully, be weakening. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

No, Trump can't end birthright citizenship, but Lindsey Graham wants to

First up, my understanding is that Trump cannot end birthright citizenship by Executive Order. Try this case, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark.  
Trump’s claim that the US is the only country in the world with birthright citizenship is patently false, Bloomberg story.  Count Canada and Mexico (but don’t “blame” them, like the Simpsons.)
Lindsey Graham wants to introduce legislation to this effect, but look at David Bier’s response
Cato has an interesting story on how birthright citizenship or even partial b.c. tends to boost immigration, at least in Europe.  There are interesting studies on whether immigrants marry natives, and on whether immigrants from countries with non-Indo-European languages (which tend to be authoritarian) learn the native European language or English.  (Learning languages happens best very early in life.) 

Asylumist has a major post explaining HIAS for refugee services. 

 Alex Nowrasteh of Cato has a diagram of the path to a Green Card. 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Multiple papers discuss US's growing indifference to the needs driving immigration

David Bier has a New York Post editorial Sept. 19 regarding the US’s accepting of asylees and refugees (separate issues), being less than the most generous even before Trump, here

There is a study by Andrew Forrester and Alex Nowrasteh on Cato showing that immigrants tend to assimilate and make about what native born Americans make, here

There is an important post by David Bier on how Trump has cut both Christian and Muslim admissions. 

The latest Economist (Oct 28), in an article on California, states that immigrants help the economy and job growth, but tend to depress the wages of the lowest-skilled workers (although they may take the menial jobs Americans don’t have the regimentation to do).

Fox News notes that Bowers falsely “connected” the Central American caravan to local domestic support of asylum seekers and refugees through HIAS, story.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Migrants turn down offer from Mexico for asylum, want to press to the U.S. Why?

Tim Pool reports that many of the migrants in the caravans from Central America (Honduras and now El Salvador) are refusing offers of asylum in Mexico.

Actually, his Timcast talks a lot about the semantics of a “wall” or “fence”.  A transparent fence may be better for security, but you want the fence to be has high as Fenway Park’s Green Monster. He talks about the wall in Yuma, AZ, a place I visited in 2000 (you could see across the river to the town in Mexico with little businesses).

It is appropriate for the US to expect migrants without relatives in the US to accept asylum in Mexico (where the language skills are a better fit) if offered.
NBC News has a detailed article on Mexico’s offer, which would apply to migrants settling in two southern Mexican states.

The New York Times has a factual piece  Oct. 26 by Annie Correal dated Oct 26, that explains (through links) how the caravan actually got started.

Dara Lind reports that Trump is now considering a new "travel ban" for these caravans, Vox article here

Friday, October 19, 2018

Trump's pressure on Mexico leads to stoppage of migrants leaving Guatemala

Mexico, because of pressure from Donald Trump, is trying to keep a controversial procession of migrants from Honduras and other places from crossing from Guatemala into Mexico, Yahoo! story here

Guatemala as a country has allowed US faith-based groups to improve its infrastructure, like water systems. 
There remain good questions as to whether Mexico could accept more refugees or asylum seekers.

The ability of a country to accept more migrants for humanitarian reasons (as opposed to skills) should depend on the ability of the country to find private persons or families to take responsibility for sponsoring them.  Canada does this.