US Immigration Policy: Eugenics and White Supremacy

Above: Protests against separating children from their families/Photo: UNI The history of the statute that can make it a felony to illegally enter the country involves some dark corners of US history ~By Ian MacDougall Amid a bipartisan backlash, President Trump has tried repeatedly to shift blame to Democrats for his own administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, which has resulted in more than 2,300 migrant children being taken from their families along the US-Mexico border. “The Democrats have to change their law—that’s their law,” Trump told reporters. The president didn’t specify which law he was talking about. But the statute at the centre of his administration’s policy is the work of Republicans—with origins dating back all the way to World War I—albeit with substantial Democratic support along the way. Known originally as the “Undesirable Aliens Act,” the statute would not exist without support from, respectively, a eugenicist and a white supremacist. The law in question was the foundation of a memo Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued in early April that laid out the administration’s new, zero-tolerance policy. In the memo, Sessions instructed federal prosecutors in the southwestern United States to file criminal charges against any adults caught entering the country illegally. His order stripped officials of discretion over whether to place migrant families seeking asylum into civil proceedings, which allow families to stay together.…
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Trump, Kim sign treaty, Kim promises complete denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula

Above: U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un look at each others before signing documents that acknowledge the progress of the talks and pledge to keep momentum going, after their summit in Singapore June 12, 2018/Photo: UNI Following months of posturing on either side, US President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un on Tuesday (June 12) signed a comprehensive joint document at the Capella resort on Singapore’s Sentosa Island with Kim Jong Un committing ‘complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula’. Despite the bad public ratings of Trump throughout his presidency, this historic pact is sure to give the US and other countries some peace. This was the first ever meeting – one that has been watched closely throughout the world – between any American president and Kim. Quite adhering to his fickle moods, Trump, who has been calling Kim the “Little Rocket Man” all along, now has said that Kim was “a very talented man” who loves his country very and said that they have seemingly “developed a very special bond”. Kim, on his part, called it a “historic meeting”, vowing to leave the past behind. The meeting was held at a luxury hotel on the island.…
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DEFIANT INDEPENDENCE

~By Inderjit Badhwar “Let reverence for the laws be breathed by every American mother … let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs—let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. Let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions keep the rule of law.” This quote from Abraham Lincoln was how the current deputy attorney general of the United States, Rod Rosenstein, ended a recent speech at the Bar Association of Montgomery County’s Law Day Celebration in Maryland. Rosenstein is probably the most talked about public official in the Donald Trump administration. He has become the lightning rod for the fury of the White House and its Republican supporters in Congress for refusing to play footsie with them in the ongoing Justice Department investigation headed by special counsel Robert Mueller into the Trump administration’s subterranean interactions with the Russians, designed to influence the outcome of the presidential election. The ongoing probe is a textbook case for all constitutional democracies—especially India—on the role and conduct of prosecutors in the disinterested pursuit of fraud, waste and corruption.…
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US State Dept paints a grim picture of human rights, press freedom in India

Trump administration’s report also slams Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government over police atrocities, crime against women, muzzling dissent Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government may have invested heavily over the past four years in wooing the US administration, but, if a recent report by the US Department of State is anything to go by, the Trump administration doesn’t seem impressed with India’s track record of upholding human rights. The US Congress mandated Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017 released by the country’s acting Secretary of State, John Sullivan, in Washington last week, highlights a long list of human rights abuses that have continued to rock India since Modi’s ascension to India’s prime ministerial throne and his BJP’s unabated successes in elections to provincial assemblies. These abuses include – though are not limited to – “police and security force abuses, such as extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, rape, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions, and lengthy pre-trial detention.” While Modi may have romped to power in May 2014 promising a “corruption-free India” while attacking his predecessor Dr Manmohan Singh and the Congress party for failing to curb graft in the erstwhile UPA government, the US State department’s report says: “Widespread corruption… instances of censorship and harassment of media outlets…” have continued in India under the current central government.…
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A Pipe Dream

This method — H-1B Visas — of going to the US is full of hurdles and that includes the Trump administration’s hardline stance. This has led to top Indian firms reducing their visa applications ~By Kris Lakshmikanth There is a lot of news floating around about H-1B filings for the fiscal year beginning January 2019. Let me clear the mist. The total ceiling for H-1B visas for 2019 stands unchanged and is 65,000. In addition, there is a special quota of 20,000 for any person who has done his post-graduation in the US. H-1B filing began on April 2, and will conclude when the immigration authority—the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)—determines that it has received enough applications to meet the upper limit of 65,­000 visas that can be issued in a year. Last year, the H-1B visa limit was reached on April 7 (five working days) and for post-graduates too, it was the same date. In 2016, 1,99,000 applications were received. In fact, this was the first time when the total applications fell after 2013. But it went up again in 2017 when the USCIS received 2,36,000 applications. APPLICATIONS TO FALL This year, according to many experts, the number of applications will fall.…
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How Political Pessimism Helps Doom Tougher Gun Laws

Above: US President Donald Trump with students of the Parkland school at the White House/Photo: UNI  Saying “nothing will change” has empowered the National Rifle Association and ignores its declining punch ~By Alec MacGillis It’s predictable after every new mass-shooting horror: The political right’s reflexive call for “thoughts and prayers,” which is then mocked by people who favour more gun restrictions for lacking any accompanying ideas for preventing future killings. But there’s an equally predictable refrain on the center-left and in the media, too: “Once again, nothing will be done.” Barely had the death toll of 17 been announced… after the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida than The Washington Post declared, “The gun debate is going nowhere quickly after Parkland.” CNN offered: “Amid continued string of mass shootings, gun control going nowhere in Congress.” After 59 concert-goers were mowed down in October, former Democratic congressman Steve Israel put to rest any hope for reform in a New York Times op-ed column titled, “Nothing Will Change After the Las Vegas Shooting.” This fatalism is borne of hard-won experience. Congress has failed repeatedly to pass any gun-control measures after past calamities, even the 2012 massacre of 20 first-graders and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.…
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Much Twittering over a Tweet

Trump’s Twitter tirade It is unprecedented for a US president to conduct his foreign policy through tweets but the times, they are a-changin’ Relations between the US and Pakistan have deteriorated ever since the new American administration took over. President Donald Trump didn’t help matters this week when he used a Twitter tirade the way a Texas barbecue chef uses charcoal lighter fluid. He said: “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Given Trump’s attitude towards nations with a majority Muslim population, his rhetoric is hardly shocking, but few global leaders communicate policy by Twitter, a medium not known for its nuanced presentation of information. Box picture: US troops conduct a patrol in Baylough, Afghanistan/Photo: Staff Sgt. William Tremblay, U.S. Army Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi then called a meeting of his National Security Committee which issued a statement noting “deep disappointment… (recent remarks) were completely incomprehensible as they contradicted facts manifestly, struck with great insensitivity at the trust between two nations built over generations, and negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation”.…
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What setback? The US under Trump is selling even more arms across the board

An F-15 Fighter jet. Photo: Wikipedia ~By Sujit Bhar It has long been known that the US’ Middle East policy is based primarily on the possibility of business deals that can be struck and occasional Presidential rhetoric about democracy and rule of law is little more than hot air. The instances that can be cited are immense and rather well documented. Yet the US has always projected itself as the universal policeman, a position that even the lame-duck United Nations accepts. Recently, President Donald Trump’s unbelievable Jerusalem decision was derided by the entire world and a general assembly vote showed clearly that even staunch US allies have deserted this thoughtless decision of moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. When Trump tried to act peacemaker in the Qatar-Saudi disruptive situation in the area, a certain amount of clarity was expected. The inner-story unfiled had in June when the US in principle agreed to sell 36 F-15 fighter jets (out of the 72 the country wants) to Qatar. The Saudis had obviously protested, but that wasn’t big news. A quid-pro-quo has been worked out with the new rulers of the Kingdom of Saud, and technically the US can say that it is working within the parameters of its pro-Israeli and pro-Saudi policies.…
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ASEAN: Combating the Dragon

Above: Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with other leaders who attended the ASEAN-India Summit in Manila, Philippines. Photo: UNI The formation of the Quadrilateral on the sidelines of this summit is more like an insurance policy for India against China’s growing clout than a defence pact ~By Seema Guha The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has played a significant role in bringing India out of its sub-continental moorings. It was the economic reforms of 1991 and the consequent opening up to foreign investors, which propelled the 10-nation ASEAN grouping to take an interest in India. Today, Indo-ASEAN relations have come a long way. Indian leaders regularly attend the ASEAN and East Asia summits. Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to Manila for the two important meets in the ASEAN calendar. India’s ties with ASEAN fit into former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao’s slogan, ‘Look East’. This has now been tweaked to ‘Act East’ by the NDA government. Both the UPA and NDA have strengthened ties with ASEAN neighbours. “Our prime minister’s visit takes place in a landmark year because we are celebrating 25 years of India-ASEAN dialogue partnership, 15 years of summit-level participation and five years of  strategic partnership with ASEAN,” Preeti Saran, secretary, east, in the ministry of external affairs, told reporters at a briefing ahead of the visit.…
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US Probe: Russian Roulette

The special prosecutor’s strategy for outmanoeuvring the president in the Russia links probe zeroes down on his former aides ~By Kenneth Tiven in Washington In biology, the double helix describes how a DNA molecule consists of two strands that wind around each other like a twisted ladder. Special prosecutor Robert Mueller has presented a double helix approach with the first indictment  and first guilty plea in the investigation of Russian influence in the 2016 American election. While the president’s name does not appear in the indictment documents there is much to cause concern for him, his family and many of his associates. The indictment of Paul Manafort, the campaign manager, and the government request for 10,000,000 USD bail for money laundering received all the initial attention in American media this past week. This is mostly because the documentation of the offences mirrors the sort of information that would be used against the Trump Organisation for money laundering in real estate transactions.  THE LOGICAL NEXT STEP In America, a prosecutor first presents his case to a Grand Jury comprising 18 people to substantiate bringing in a criminal indictment. If the Grand Jury agrees, the charges lead to a trial usually with a “petit” jury, 12 people listening in court and deciding guilt or innocence.…
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Indo-US Ties: Fearing the Dragon

Above: A marine guard ship from Vietnam (right in the picture) near a Chinese ship in the South China Sea. Photo: UNI The growing warmth between New Delhi and Washington is part of a strategic alliance in Asia and an offshoot of China’s increasing belligerence in the South China Sea and on the Doklam front ~By Seema Guha Indo-US ties are poised to take a decisive turn under the Trump administration. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on his maiden visit to India recently, declared US intention to help India attain its full potential and be an ally of Washing-ton and Tokyo to maintain strategic balance in Asia. China’s growing economic and military power is a concern shared by all three countries. “The US supports India’s emergence as a leading power and will continue to contribute to Indian capabilities to provide security throughout the region. In this regard, we are able and willing to provide advanced technologies for its military modernisation efforts…,” Tiller-son said at a joint news conference with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. All this is being done with an eye on China. With the US ready to make India a partner in the new defence architecture of the region, strategic alliances in Asia are changing.…
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Harvey Weinstein Fallout: The Power of Predators

The Weinstein case exemplifies the double standard that defines 21st century America where the powerful think they are invincible ~By Kenneth Tiven in Washington In the movie, Spiderman’s Uncle Ben says: “With great power comes great responsibility.” In the movie industries of Hollywood and Bollywood (and elsewhere), it has been understood for decades that with great power comes great access to whatever you desire: often sex, drugs or both. Given his pugnacious manner and appearance, Harvey Weinstein, the powerful Hollywood producer, was always more feared than loved in Hollywood. Fear has turned to loathing over allegations of his predatory sexual behaviour with beautiful starlets and famous actresses. He’s been dismissed from his eponymous company and expelled from the Directors Guild in Hollywood, among other lost responsibilities and credibility. Authorities in various cities are exploring criminal charges. His reputation and business crash can be compared to the suddenness of a plane hitting a mountain in the middle of the night. Often, the post-accident probe reveals people didn’t talk about faults they knew existed with the aircraft. In this case, people he assaulted and those who enabled or knew about his behaviour, kept quiet, believing in Weinstein’s ability to make or break careers in the entertainment industry.…
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