Saturday, June 30, 2018

North Korea seems to be cheating on dismantling nukes, may be making fuel

North Korea is said to be making nuclear fuel at three or more sites, according to US intelligence, as in this ABC story, link
North Korea may believe it can hide this activity to keep out from under Trump’s sanctions. Donald Trump has not yet publicly reacted to these reports.
It’s even more bizarre because Kim Jong Un is supposed to visit Trump in Washington.  Could Kim really risk traveling so far?

Update: July 3

Hankyoreh, a site in South Korea, discusses the pragmatic aspects of Trump's buttering up Kim Jong Un here

Friday, June 29, 2018

Trump's DOJ wants to bar asylum at any illegal border entry

Dara Lind on Vox reports on a DOJ plan to bar asylum claims from all people who enter the country illegally (not at points of entry) after apprehension.  It would not affect people who reach a legal point of entry and ask for asylum, or who (within the one year period) ask for asylum after overstaying a visa. 

A Washington Post op-ed by Lindsay M. Harris asks why Trump and Sessions “act this way” in trying to criminalizing asylum seekers from Central America. The short answer is, they believe the world is a zero-sum game and they think they are beholden to an anti-immigrant base that, largely incorrectly, think that immigrants took away their jobs or committed crimes against them (in isolated cases, this does happen).

Update: Tuesday, July 3

A federal judge in Washington DC has ordered the Trump administration to follow the law and allow asylum seekers to file applications normally, and especially not detain them illegally after passing a credible fear interview.  The legal details seem a bit complex and could take time to sort out (with regard to Sessions on disqualifying gang activity as a factor, and on illegal entry). More detailed posts will come later (maybe on my Wordpress blog) as there is a lot of material here to go over.

Richard Gonzales has a typical story on NPR here.

The case is Damus v. Nielsen

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Credible reports of young minors forced to appear alone in border immigration courts; Save the Children's "zero tolerance"

There are grotesque reports from the border that toddlers as young as three are showing up in court alone, and NBC News seems to confirm it. 

 There is a page at the Save The Children site with an “emergency alert” and its own “Zero Tolerance”, here

Putting this all together, it would sound as though the government will have problems finding relatives to sponsor the separated children (unless they are indeed reunited with their parents as the court order from California decreed yesterday).  How would this jive with the STC sponsorship programs, which right now are reversible.   A quick look at sponsorship requests showed one in El Salvador open for about 18 months.
STC is one of the beneficiaries in my own estate trust(s), so this is a personally sensitive and provocative issue.  Skin in the game? 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Federal judge in California orders ends to family separations at border

A federal judge ordered that the Trump administration halt most family separations at the US border, as in a CNN story, by Laura Jarrett. 

Except for unfit parents, all children have to be reunified within 30 days, and all 5 year olds or less within 14 days.  This ruling would seem to override the Flores Settlement. 

Appeals are likely. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Supreme Court's upholding of Trump Travel Ban #3 still stirs outrage and demonstrations, even given national security arguments from the Court

Yes, there is a lot of demonstration about the Supreme Court’s ruling that Travel Ban #3 is constitutional.

The president’s power to call his own shots over national security “trump” over the appearance of incidental religious discrimination.

The majority (in the 5-4 opinion) noted that the countries involved covered 8% of the world’s Muslims, and two of the countries (Venezuela and North Korea) were not.

"Commie" Venezuela had been predicted as a possible source of a large number of future asylum claims. 

NBC News noted that Justice Roberts did go out of his way to condemn the internment of Japanese Nisei during WWII.

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake offered an annotated interpretation of the ruling, here

Trump’s statements during the 2016 campaign were discounted by the court.

USA Today, however, published a lengthy argument that the travel ban is still religious discrimination, here.  Fareed Zakaria also recommended reading Adam Serwer's analysis in The Atlantic. 

Michael K. Lavers reports on LGBT groups pointing the harm to LGBT persons in these countries (especially Muslim countries).  For the most part, however, there have been relatively few gay asylum cases from these countries, compared to Russia, Nigeria, some other sub-Saharan countries, and Egypt.

In another matter, Senator Diane Feinstein says that the Trump administration is not uniting parents in detention with their kids and that he his using the kids as pawns to get the parents to drop asylum claims, link. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

China's intends to export Internet authoritarian culture to the rest of the world; this may even help drive EU changes to copyright

The Atlantic has a disturbing article in the Atlantic, June 18, “Beijing wants to rewrite the rules of the Internet”, story, June 18, about a speech Xi Jingping gave in April.

Some of the points in the article sound predictable – that tech companies selling to China have to make China-only versions (and then you get into the Trump tariffs and trade war issues).  

But Xi Jingping is selling the idea in Africa, particularly to less democratic (and probably homophobic) countries like Nigeria.  European companies are probably more vulnerable to changes in Internet governance in developing countries than is big tech in the US now. 
But the trend is not good.  It is to withdraw and disable the free-flowing participation of individuals in political debate now, which China and authoritarian countries see as destabilizing because it feeds on class resentments and unsustainable ideas of individualism. The Internet should be institutionalized the way everything else is, which sounds suspiciously like the “Digital Single Market” idea in the EU, and the recent Copyright Directive changes (Articles 11 – link tax, and 13 – pre-upload monitoring and filtering) that is attracting so much attention now.  (The EU passed a preliminary vote on this matter today, and the entire EU Parliament could vote in December – I covered this on Wordpress.) 
The West is allowing communism to creep into its own political thinking again, even as it looks only at the right wing separatist movements. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Trump makes a deal with the devil (not his first) to get a promise for total denuclearization of DPRK

There is plenty of effusive criticism this morning for Trump’s behavior in giving accolades to Kin Jong Un, with all his hyperbole, months after calling him “little rocket man” and being called a “dotard” back.
Vox talks about the Senate Republicans waffling on this here
Of course, getting North Korea to get rid of its nukes in a verifiable way would be a tremendous accomplishment for any president.

But this is the kind of behavior that in my own life I find so offensive to engage in personally, like on social media – or to sell to people.  I don’t like to indulge people at all.

Vox has a “Today explained” Podcast on Apple iTunes that would take time to listen to. 
The brutal dictatorship continues.  But maybe America is a tad, or even a lot, safer.

Update: June 15

This morning, when Trump was asked why he coddled a vicious dictator at Singapore, Trump answered bluntly (on CNN), "I don't want to see a nuclear war destroy you and your family."

Monday, June 11, 2018

Sessions nixes gang violence as a credible fear for asylum seekers; Trump's summit seems to have a good first inning

Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that gang violence and domestic violence will no longer be allowed as credible fear reasons for asylum seekers, a measure which would affect asylum seekers mainly from Central America.

The New York Times story by Katie Brenner and Caitlin Dickerson is here. 

It is not likely to affect LGBT asylum seekers particularly.  The legal reasoning seems to be that gang and domestic violence is not caused by government.  But if extended to some countries in Africa, would this reasoning apply to female mutilation? 

Jason Dzubow considers the decision "not so bad" as he explains on The Asylumist here

Trump reports that the Summit with Kim Jong Un is off to a good start (CNN). 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Trump goes ballistic in Canada, on the even of Singapore summit

On the eve of a summit in Singapore, Trump goes wild, partly on Twitter, at a G7 Micro-summit in Canada.

Trump seemed to be saying that he would go along with free trade for everyone, and then blasted an insult at Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau (who is cute). Is the PM “meek and mild” or reneging on a promise?  Not sure.  

How does this make Trump look going into the Summit?  Unclear.

Vox explains in an article by Zeehan Aleem.  
There's all the stuff about wanting to re-admit Russia despite Crimea. 
Trump says he will send a signal right away in the first moments of the meeting as to go, no-go. 

The meeting is held on a secure island right off the coast of Singapore. The press has been critical of Singapore’s authoritariansism.  For example, Singapore still has a male-only sodomy law (not enforced).  But that’s where many states in the US were until June 2003. More importantly, Singapore doesn’t allow demonstrations.
No, I wasn't invited to go. 

 In the meantime, I should apologize to Canadian actor Richard Harmon ("the greatest of all time" as per Timo) for Trump's behavior, as an American wanting to get a movie made. "Blame Canada" indeed. 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Summit back on, Kim Jong Un sends Trump "The Manifesto"

Now, the summit back on for June 12.  I don’t know if I would count on it for sure, given the yoyo history of this child's-play diplomacy.

Furthermore, Kim Jong Un wrote a “manifesto” which was delivered to Trump, after the physical package was examined by Secret Service.

Because of a “degrees of separation” process, Trump may vaguely know of my DADT book series and that is has been called “The Manifesto.”  What will pass through his mind now?

Here is the CNN story, by Lindsay Benson. 
Maybe Will Ripley should run for president in 2020.  He is old enough (not by much).