Friday, May 31, 2019

Overcrowded detention centers and family separation abuses continue; Mexico reacts to Trump's tariffs

A DHS inspector has found a facility near El Paso TX (the Del Norte Processing Center) holding 900 migrants in a facility with space for 125 (CNN). 

Many reports say that children are still kept separated for more than 72 hours.

In June 2018, “The Cut” had made a photoessay (with videos) of detention centers in McAllen and Brownsville TX, and San Diego CA, link. I visited Pharr, TX (near McAllen) on US 281 on May 30, 2018.
Mexico’s president has called Trump’s 5% per month tariff on Mexico goods “a provocation” 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Some asylum seekers already in the US want to keep out "illegals": is this logical?

“The Asylumist” takes on the interesting and possibly logical assertion that “legitimate” asylum seekers should support keeping illegal immigrants out by “building that wall”, in a blog post May 30, 2019, here.
 The argument seems to fail on two places:  once in the US and detained, anyone has the legal right to ask for defensive asylum (if there are credible fear grounds).  The other is the recent implementation of the “LIFO” system, which makes it advantageous sometimes to enter the country, which Trump probably didn’t intend

Friday, May 24, 2019

Baseball player raises money for charity in Uganda helping sex trafficking victims

Major League Baseball, or one of its players, makes a contribution to charity overseas.  Detroit Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd and his wife help a charity, Kingdom Home, in Uganda, for girls who are victims of sex trafficking (story). This was featured on NBC Nightly News on May 23. 

Uganda is a difficult country, with its past brutal homophobia aggravated by extremist evangelicals.

Boyd’s charity is interesting because in the U.S. a law which can threaten free speech, called FOSTA, was passed in 2018 to clamp down on use of the Internet to facilitate trafficking.
In 2018, a Chicago Clubs player who beat the Nats with a grand slam home run was reported to have helped run a baseball school in Africa.

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.