Saturday, April 21, 2018

ICE is separating children at the border, possibly creating a need for foster parents??




Emily Dickerson reports in the New York Times that ICE, under the Trump administration, has split up families resulting in at least 700 children in separate detention at the border.

The administration scaled back plans to build further separate detention but obviously wants to use the threat as a deterrent.

NGO’s apparently help run the shelters for the children.
  
Attempts are made to place the kids with relatives or “guardians”.  This would seem to be of major concern to childrens’ charities, like Save the Children, but I have not heard specifically about this.
You would expect drives for foster care or adoptive parents, but this would sound very risky.

Picture: actually, northeast Georgia (mine, recent)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Kim Jong Un surprisingly appears ready to talk decnuclearization, and officially ending Korean war


In a surprising turn, Kim Jong Un has given a “nod” to denuclearization, as reported in the New York Times  in a story by Choe Sang-Hun, link here.     

  
A few news sites are starting to announce that North and South Korea are about to end the war officially, with CNBC  and Bloomberg .  Trump will claim credit for his deal on "denuking North Korea."

Mike Pompeo visited Kim Jong Un secretly about two weeks ago, multiple sources report.

Fareed Zakaria warns that North Korea probably will denuclearize only if the US completely quits defending South Korea.

But on April 19, CNN said this is false, and that DPRK will not necessarily expect the US to leave South Korea to denuclearize (according to Moon).

April 21:

North Korea says it has finished its missile testing for now, if the US will deal?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Trump announces air and cruise missile strikes against chemical weapons depots in Syria



President Donald Trump, in one of his more appropriate addresses, talked to the nation tonight at 9 PM Friday, an unusual time, where he announced air strikes against chemical weapons sites in Syria, especially near Damascus.


Britain and France participated.
  
Trump talked about the use of chemical weapons in World War I tonight.

The Russians did not fire back. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The insidious creep of Fascism in Hungary and Poland



Roger Cohen writes in the New York Times “How Democracy Became the Enemy: In Hungary and Poland, the liberal West used to be the Promised Land. Not anymore”. 

The article goes into the attack on George Soros, making him a target of Viktor Orban and his Fidesz Party, in the Hungarian elections.

On the surface, no one is being rounded up.  But the impression of the “people” is that their civilization has become meaningless, with the sophists leaving out the common people, and with a reduction in the recognition of traditional family relationships in the past.

But no doubt it was the uncontrolled migrant crisis starting in Syria that has aggravated this process. 


I can remember back in 2007, while in Pittsburgh, noticing a news story about anti-gay rhetoric in Poland over the idea that gays took no responsibility for having their own children. 

Hungary and Poland are still in the EU as of now. 
  
The op-ed links to an op-ed from Madeleine Albright April 6 warning that Trump is exacerbating the drive to Fascism, with a dire phrase about recklessness over North Korea.

Monday, April 2, 2018

"The Right Way to Coerce North Korea"



Georgetown University Professor Victor Cha (whom Trump dropped from consideration for Ambassador to South Korea) and Katrin Fraser Katz have a detailed essay in Foreign Affairs (paywall), “The Right Way to Coerce NorthKorea: Ending the Threat Without Going to War”.
  
The authors believe that a “bloody nose” attack (upon failure of diplomacy and future April 27 talks) would not reduce the long term risk of nuclear attack on the U.S., which Chua believes may be possible after a few more tests. 
    
He also believe that severe sanctions alone may be viewed as an act of war and notes the decoupling problem that Kim could pressure the US to abandon South Korean defense. He talks about counterproliferation and deterrence.  He also effectively refers to American civilians, in the Korea-Japan region and possibly on the homeland, as bargaining chips. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Trump v. Kin Jong Un in a road game April 27



Inside Kim Jong Un’s bulletproof train, like in a James Bond Movie – story here 
  
Alex Ward interviews Oriano Skylar Mastro (as Vox explains) on the summit with Trump April 27, on the southern side of the DMZ. '
  
China is not your friend, Trump used to say.  But now there is a snow flurry of diplomacy.

  
But this meeting had better work.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

European intelligence on North Korea ups the ante on the nuke threat



The prospect of a helpful meeting with North Korea may have dwindled in the past 48 hours, according to a dim report on Vox by Alex Ward, “The past 48 Hours, in rising US-North Korean relations, explained 
  
German intelligence claims that Kim Jong Un can hit central western Europe with nukes now (not sure about the re-entry or EMP questions).  So the US remains drawn back into that “entangling alliance” (NATO) that Trump wants to drop. The US is going to resume modest exercises off the Korean coasts, and South Korea is going to beef up its conventional artillery defense big=time. 
  
Is this what CBS means by “48 Hours”?   

Monday, March 12, 2018

Erdogan and journlists


The Washington Post notes well in an editorial Monday morning how badly Turkey has deteriorated from a moderate Muslim “democracy” to dictatorship under Tayyip Erdogan, whom Donald Trump admires.  Now journalists are jailed for single tweets.


Erdogan’s crackdown on speech may well be explained by the attempted coup in 2016, which makes the threat to his power seem existential, rather than just a moral theory that says “act, don’t watch”. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

More details on what happens when an asylum seeker loses a case



Jason Dzubow has shared both parts of his detailed discussion of what happens when an (affirmative) asylum case is denied, here
   
Even with all the recent changes wrought by the Trump administration, there are multiple possible steps of appeal and delay after losing a case.  The devil is in the details.
  
I have asked him and other attorneys about the potential responsibilities of hosts, and no one seems t have an answer.  It is pretty much “don’t ask don’t tell”.  Just like a landlord normally doesn’t have to continually check on immigration status.  However, if deportation proceedings have started, it would sound plausible that a host could be held for succoring an undocumented person if the host knew, US 1324.

Update: March 14

CNN has a brief report on church members that shelter undocumented immigrants facing deportation, and a pastor is asked about violating the law and risking prosecution himself.  ICE quotes the statute but says it does not enter places of faith, 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Suddenly Kom Jong Un offers to meet with Trump



I’ve already reported this on Wordpress today, but “Vox explains” Kim Jong Un’s brunch invitation to Donald Trump, made through South Korea, by May, here
  
The sanctions stay and it sounds like they area serious about denuclearization of “the peninsula”.

  
American presence and some exercises continue, until the talks.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Seoul brokers talks with North Korea where DPRK might blink a little on nukes



Maybe private brinkmanship in coffee shops and even gay bars actually works. 

Seoul has indicated that North Korea is willing to talk to the US and at least suspend nuclear weapons and missile tests during the talks.  Has North Korea blinked? 

Will Ripley, the attractive young correspondent who made a film for CNN “Inside the Secret State” where he very personably talked to many North Koreans, is still skeptical in his commentary in the video at this link. North Korea is likely to demand that the US substantially reduce its military presence in the Korea area as the price of backing off on nuclear weapons, putting Trump into a psychologically difficult position. 

  
Of course, there is still the question about how ethnic Korean unification (which Amy Chua has hinted at) makes sense, given the expropriation that would happen.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Trump's admiration of virility in office (sorry. president for life Xi Jingping is 'thmooth')



Libertarians used to work for US Term Limits twenty years ago.  So what do we make of Xi Jinping’s declaring himself president of China for life? And head of the Communist (really peope’s capitalist) party for life?
  
Is it Machiavellin?  Rather like that of a cat watching a household?  The National Interest weighs in here
  
China, as I noted on another blog, is trying to go after criticism published outside its borders. 
  
China is also developing a social credit scoring system for all citizens, based on the idea of “personal rightsizing”.
  
China, as Wikipedia notes, is indeed a very unary state.
  
And will China really help us with North Korea? China is not your friend, as Trump used to say. Yet Trump seemed to admire what Jingping just did.  He has a fetish for “strongmen”.  Maybe it’s erotic to see them brought low later.
  
Wikipedia attribution link for China picture of Shanghai-Lujiazui, apparently CCSA 3.0 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Pompeo of CIA seems to be warning US civilians about North Korea in CNN prompts today -- you could be at personal risk in a few more months



CNN ran banners today regarding the latest intelligence on North Korea.  North Korea continues to improve all its nuclear technology components and could present a personal nuclear threat to American civilians in the homeland in a matter of months.  The closest story to this effect seems to be Independent UK on Jan. 30, link.
  
Trump’s relationship with his own intelligence services has been controversial.
 
Pompeo has also talked about the domino or decoupling theories saying that Un could use US civilians as pawns in blackmailing the US out of protecting South Korea, and that he may not get credible intelligence from his own advisors..  The idea of an arsenal of missiles is scary.  And there is EMP also.
      
The biggest test could come if North Korea launches a long range missile test into the Pacific to see if the US will shoot it down.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Putin announces some new super weapons and missiles that can evade missile defenses



In anticipation of an election that Putin expects to win easily, Putin announced the perfection of some weapons:  a supersonic missile that nothing can shoot down, new submarine launch capabilities, and a dirty bomb capability that can contaminate whole countries for generations. BBC has a typical story

Pundits say that Putin is motivated to say this by the election.


But the obvious danger is that some of this could fall into the hands of a North Korea.
During the Cold War, the Soviets did develop thermonuclear weapons larger than the US had, may have tested one or two of them in Siberia. 

Putin might have felt motivated to announce the missiles partly by the insistence by conservative bloggers (including me) that the Trump administration focus more on missile defense as part of his North Korea strategy.
  
There are other reports that North Korea has helped the Assad regime with chemical weapons supplies, as there has been new carnage in Syria in recent days.  North Korea is also said to be cheating the newest sanctions somewhat with bitcoin.
  
And Trump is said to be a “Wuss” on Russia. 

But at a press briefing today, Sarah Sanders, why acknowledging the report, denied that the US couldn't defend itself. 

Update:

Will Ripley shares this CNN report on Twitter was to where Trump will draw a red line.  There is talk of whether the sacrifice of civilian lives is "worth it" but later the article becomes less threatening in tone. Mattis does not believe that the Nov. 28 H-15 test proved as much as the DPRK claims.  But, if you connect the dots, you can see a credible risk that North Korea could launch an E-1 level EMP on parts of the US before it is capable of a nuclear strike on the ground.  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

South Korea reports that DPRK suddenly open to talks as Olympics end and new sanctions start; US weapons sold on jihadist underground websites



Today, the media is reporting that South Korea says that North Korea is suddenly open to starting talks with the US, two days after new sanctions were announced, typical story on NPR here

The report came from the South Korean “Blue House” and the talks need to start as soon as possible.


There was no direct mention of whether North Korea is willing to budge on possession of nuclear weapons. 

In another matter, there are reports of American AR-15’s winding up in Syria and for sale on jihadist dark web forums (on Telegram).

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Trump administration announces sanctions on smuggling for North Korea at sea Friday (before Olympics end)



Trump has announced new sanctions against North Korea, even before the Olympics end, targeting illegal transfer of raw materials amount intermediary ships, and possibly sanction the nations these ships fly under.


Al Jazeera says that the sanctions could undermine China’s cooperation, story

Trump has said “we’ll see” after the Olympics on military action, like a teacher counseling a student if he will pass.


  
He has suggested that dangerous military action could be coming soon.
  
The Treasury secretary in the video above mentioned that there are classified and unclassified measures of how sanctions work. He added that sanctions against Russia are pending.

He also mentioned the possibility of a federal Internet sales tax.
  
He said that assets of US businesses who helped violate a sanction could have assets seized. For most companies this is unlikely to arise as a risk.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Post-Communist, post-one-child China seems to be moving toward eugenics



I’ve noticed some articles (and tweets pointing to them) about China in its post one-child world, as playing eugenics with its sub ethnic groups, probably beyond the notice of westerners.


One such article is in BioEdge, link here. And here’s a shocking piece by Didi Tatlow from Dec, 2016 in the New York Times about eugenics in choosing children for bands.  
  
Communism seems as preoccupied with improving the “stock” of future generations as was Nazism. This also feeds the population demographics controversy, "the right babies". And eugenics was a popular subject in the United States in the early 20th Century. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

DC attorney traces what happens now when asylum cases are denied (under Trump with LIFO processing)



Jason Dzubow is starting a series of two posts explaining what happens when an asylum case is denied, link.
  
Usually you can “appeal” and there is a lot of technical discussion of what “in status” means.
  
This could be of importance to anyone hosting asylum seekers as to their potential legal responsibilities.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Hungary considers bill to place heavy legal liabilities on those who assist asylum seekers



Human Rights Watch reports on a bill in Hungary that would place heavy legal liabilities on those who help asylum seekers, link here
   
You wonder if Trump could try to set something like this up here.
  
In 2016 I looked at the possibility of hosting asylum seeker(s) before selling my house and taking myself out of the controversy, and I found it very hard to pin down the legal labilities hosts would face.  Even attorneys were very reluctant to talk about it. 
  
Wikipedia attribution link for map by Peyerk, CCSA 3.0 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Senate drops the ball on DACA today; important legal blog post on LGBT asylum seekers today



The Senate has rejected (falling short on the 60 votes needed) the bipartisan immigration plan, and Trump’s also, as in the Yahoo! story here
  
  
Dreamers have some reassurance right now in a recent stay of Trump’s March 5 deadline by a Brooklyn NY federal judge.  But the uncertainty over their future remains as Congress is unable to do its job. 
   
Also, today, Richard Kelly (the DC Center) and Jason Dzubow wrote an important blog post “The One Year Bar and LGBT Asylum Claims”, here. I don’t see that on the DC Center Global Facebook page yet.  I posted this on my own timeline, and then tried to refer to it with a comment on another post on their page and Facebook rejected the comment as spam! (Main blog, Feb. 12).  This post seems very critical and we’ll hear a lot more about it. (Sometimes there are technical problems seeing all the recent posts on a Facebook page;  it might actually be there.)

Finally, the Cato Institute has a major paper today noting that the GOP immigration plan would give citizenship opportunities only to half of the 1.8 possible legal immigrants (and that number is cut, too). 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

South Korea wants to soften the tone of US "diplomacy"; tech industry quietly beefs up homeland security



Some news outlets are again reporting Sunday that Seoul is seeking to ease US tensions with North Korea over possession and development of missiles and nuclear weapons. 

Seoul (President Moon), however, wants the “right” conditions before talks happen. Mike Pence has still remained uncompromising in its remarks.  And over the weekend, Vox media upped the ante with discussion of the “decoupling” idea in Cold War domino theory.

  
It would be nice if Rippon and Pence can meet after the Olympics and talk about peace, and not just about the wounds of the past in gay rights.
  
In the meantime, my own little field trips seem to show that utilities and server farms in northern Virginia are quietly adding new layers of security, both from cyberattacks and possibly microwave devices.  I’ll get into that again later.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

North Korea holds its fake parade as Winter Olympics start; Cato scholar calls DPRK a "communist monarchy"



Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute writes “What I Learned inNorth Korea”, based on his visit in June, 2017 (which I thought had been banned then).  Bandow characterizes North Korea as a “communist monarchy”, maybe the only one in the world. But surprisingly the quasi-elite do have some actual businesses in Pyongyang, and there is some customer service in the hotel.

  
North Korea, by the way, held its parade today (JoshuaBerlinger, CNN) . Were some or most of the missiles fake?
  
The Matt Bai writes in Yahoo! that President Trump is bringing back a Cold War, McCarthyism mentality from 1953, about the time of Eisenenhower (who believed in UFO’s, after Roswell). But some of my writing (about the Vietnam era draft) reflects that attitude.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Pro football player's traffic death from undocumented reckless driver feeds fake "build that wall" debate


An Indianapolis Colts pro football player, Edwin Jackson, and an Uber driver transporting him were killed when struck by a hit-run driver who turned out to be an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, deported twice. The Q13 Fox story is here
  
The accident seems to have been gruesome, with some accounts saying the player had become ill and the car had stopped, and that the impact threw him into the center of the highway.


It’s pretty obvious that this incident can feed the Trump narrative for “Build that Wall” and put even more pressure on Democrats in Congress in the unconvincing DACA negotiations. But this is like giving everybody detention for the sins of one in middle school. There’s no question, DACA people have to deal with scapegoating of their group. Statistical studies from Cato and other places show that Trump’s demands on the Wall and on chain migration will do little in practice to make Americans safer from unpredictable random incidents. A good Cato article now is Alex Nowrasteh's on a John R. Lott's study of illegal immigrant crime in Arizona. 
 
Today, John Kelly (White House COS) made a snarky remark about "Dreamers not on DACA"(after Obama) as "too lazy or too afraid" to file papers, and likely not to be included in a deal on DACA (per CNN).   Dara Lind weighed in on this on Vox and noted that many Dreamers would lose work permits and become dependent on others (like LGBT asylum seekers are now) even if not deported. 

Kenneth Jost, author of the Supreme Court Yearbook, has a recent blog posting “On Immigration, Trump lies, panders to base”, here

Thursday, February 1, 2018

US changes rules for asylum seeker hearings


Apparently CIS has announced a new policy for scheduling asylum seeker hearings, essentially “last in, first out”.

The policy change is said to reduce the chances of asylum fraud.  But it’s pretty obvious that some asylum seekers would never get hearings at all.

  
Attorney Jason Dzubow has a long analysis of the problem on his professional blog here.   He notes that the Trump administration seems to view most asylum as “fraudulent”.
I’ll be covering this in more detail later on Wordpress.  It would obviously impact LGBT asylum seekers, and Center Global says the problem will be taken up soon at a Stakeholder’s Meeting.  I’ll have more on the LGBT blog when there is some detail. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Trump talks about the evil North Korea regime in SOTU but fails to talk about homeland defense


For much of the late afternoon, we heard speculation that Trump’s SOTU remarks on North Korea would be eye-openers and front page news. 

Look at the remarks by Ezra Klein on Vox and my reply, here

Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) talked about Trump’s touting out amputee defector Ji Seong-ho, as well as the tragedy of Otto Warmbier (the parents were there). All of that underscores the repulsiveness of the regime.  
    
True, the Congress needs to fund the military (and not threaten the paychecks with shutdowns) and keep its missile deterrent.  But Trump did not mention the need to upgrade missile defense, or to secure American homeland against EMP/Cyber.  I wish he had. 

The Hill has a sobering report on warning time to defend a DPRK missile.

Vox also has a disturbing article by Zach Beauchamp arguing that Ttump's talk about North Korea resembles Bush against Saddam Hussein before going to war, here

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Wired reports big-time on China's social credit system


Here's another story, a long one, in Wired, on China's evolving "social credit system", in a culture not used to credit cards.  It's in Wired, by Mara Hvistendahl, Dec. 14, 2017, "China's Vast New Experiment in Social Ranking", aka "In China a three digit score can dictate your place in society."
The article gets into the history of Ant Financial and then Zhima Credit.

The score would invoke the idea of paying your dues as well as paying your bills. Social credit could include helping the poor (and pimping the fact publicly) or taking care of elderly parents.  It could subsume what we call "community engagement".  If it took hold in the US, one can imagine how non-profits could monitor volunteers and control them for the social credits they need to have their own websites some day. Is this the Soviet New Man?

I fed this fire a couple times, as with this legacy piece in 2005 that says people could be scored and well-ordered because of the mathematical nature of real numbers, here.  This could have figured into a major incident when I worked as a substitute teacher. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

I step up my activism on EMP and missile defense behind the scenes


I was at a town hall on MLK Day evening with Congresssman Don Beyer (D-VA) and I popped a question about missile defense and risk to EMP strike from North Korea (especially E1).
   
He indicated that DHS and utilities were aware of the issues and were taking active measures to make infrastructure safer.

Likewise I was in some discussions this weekend with a technology executive.  There are standards that industrial facilities and server farms follow when constructed. There is awareness of the problem, but there isn’t a specific scientific assessment of what it takes to mitigate the risk conclusively.

If the US infrastructure is secured from E1 and E3 EMP’s (they are different threats) then the US has move leverage over North Korea in “diplomacy”.  This includes missile defense (which the shennanigens in Congress over shutdowns could put in jeopardy – not paying military personnel). 

 Likewise a similar consideration applies for Israel and Iran. Taking care of this is critical for foreign policy. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

North Korea warns that missiles are pointed only at the U,S., even as DPRK sends delegation to the Winter Olympics


North Korea has agreed to send a delegation to the Olympics.  CNN has a detailed story this morning, by Joshua Berlinger and Taehoon Lee here

Will Ripley speaks in a video there. But Ripley (“North Korea: The Secret State”_ just tweeted (with an #breaking tag)  now that North Korea officials had warned that North Korea’s missiles were pointed specifically at the United States, not at South Korea, Russia, or China (or presumably Japan).  That is, Trump has no choice but to accept North Korea as a nuclear power. I don’t see a tweet in response from @realDonaldTrump yet.  That could imply however that an attack on South Korea is not a threat. 

What does South Korea think of North Korea as a nuclear state?

Wikipedia source for image. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

ISIS now comprises true believes in an apocalypse (Gareme Wood)


Graeme Wood made an alarming comment about ISIS coming back on CNN this weekend.
He discounted the idea that ISIS followers are just psychologically adrift people looking to “belong”. He said that they are “true believers” in the idea of an apocalypse, and that the loss of territory (Raqqa) merely feeds that belief.


They even believe that Jesus will return (as a kind of Clark Kent) and participate as part if the process.

It strikes me that this comports a bit with the Christian idea of “Rapture”. In that idea, the “saved” people are evacuated spiritually to another universe (heaven), and the “leftovers” are left to decay.
  
You could even interpret the plans for my novel “Angel’s Brother” that way (as well as my screenplay “Epiphany”).  The “average Joes” of the world really don’t have a chance or matter enough as “people”. If you think about this culturally, it’s a little dangerous.  Suppose a book or movie like this gets popular and makes a lot of money after coming from an asymmetric source (like me).  Would it be reasonable then to think that a “cult” could fantasize it could impose this solution on the world asymmetrically?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Chain Migration, and temporary protected status for workers who send money home to families


As Stephen Dinan writes (“Cash Is King”) in the Washington Times, El Salvador is trying to keep Trump from undermining the temporary protected status of immigrants from El Salvador, because they send cash home to relatives, something that richer Americans don’t ever have to think about. .    El Salvador is one of Central America’s most violent countries, but US churches do send relief (even high school and college age) missions there.

The cash-home to relatives is also very common with Muslim families in Europe.

  

This is a good place to mention a single issue organization, “NumbersUSA” which wants to stop chain migration and reduce even legal immigration to what it sees as a manageable quantity. 

Update: Jan 11

Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) noted on CNN that chain migration does not take place in the large numbers claimed by the right. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

North Korea wants to talk to South Korea directly; could its satellites be a threat now?


Kim Jong Un continues to play “strong man” against Trump, claiming New Years Eve he has the nuclear button in his office and can reach the United States. But Un offered to do diplomacy with South Korea directly, bypassing the U.S., and to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics in February (NY Times story). 

Un reportedly said he would not use his nukes unless threatened. But the desire to talk only to South Korea suggests the possibility of demanding that the US withdraw -- rather like the old Domino Theory we remember from Vietnam. 


There are reports that North Korea is preparing for another missile test. One story suggests that North Korea wants to test loading an anthrax payload because a nuclear-tipped missile won’t reach the US.  It sounds rather fanciful to expect that such a payload could actually produce infections if it re-entered. There is some possibility that it could launch another satellite.  The US would not know if (after a DPRK claim) such a satellite could have a fission device capable of inflicting an E1 EMP attack as it passed over the US.  James Woolsey had suggested in March that this was already possible with an existing Shining Star satellite.

So far North Korea has not exploded any device from any missile over the ocean on re-entry.