Trump Directs Officials to Toughen Asylum Rules : Independent Journal Review

U.S. President Donald Trump directed officials to toughen rules for asylum seekers on Monday, including by introducing a fee for their applications and barring those who entered the country illegally from working until their claims are approved.

The moves are the latest effort by the Trump administration to stem a growing number of migrants crossing the U.S. southern border, many of whom then seek asylum in the United States. Many of the changes would be dramatic shifts in how asylum seekers are treated, but would also require time-intensive regulatory procedures before they go into effect, which will likely take months.

Trump administration officials have repeatedly blamed U.S. laws protecting asylum seekers for encouraging fraudulent or non-deserving claims.

But immigrant advocates say the Trump administration’s efforts to restrict asylum protections harms people legitimately seeking refuge from violence and persecution.

On Monday, Trump signed a presidential memorandum that directed the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security to, within 90 days, introduce a slew of new regulations tightening asylum policy, including one setting a fee for asylum applications, which are currently free to file.


Source: Trump Directs Officials to Toughen Asylum Rules : Independent Journal Review

Mob boss gone mad: Trump longs to go after Clinton, apologizes for murderers |

Last week, the Federalist Society grand poobah Leonard Leo, widely credited as the mastermind behind Trump’s extremist court-packing scheme, got into a bit of spat with another high powered conservative legal luminary. That would be George Conway, the prominent Trump critic who is also the husband of Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway. Leo was upset because Conway had started a legal organization called Checks and Balances, which is dedicated to opposing Trump’s abuse of presidential power and degradation of the rule of law.

Leo said he found the whole concept outrageous. Just because the president spouts off day and night wondering why the Department of Justice isn’t jailing his political rivals and demanding that its top officials pledge fealty to him as he imagines Joe McCarthy’s lawyer (and Trump mentor) Roy Cohn would have done — well, isn’t an abuse of power unless he takes action.

Leo told Axios:

I measure a president’s sensitivity to the rule of law by his actions, not his off-the-cuff comments, tweets or statements. And the president has obviously had lots of criticisms about former Attorney General Sessions and about the department, but at the end of the day, he hasn’t acted upon those criticisms.

This was fatuous in all respects but particularly so since Trump has just fired Jeff Sessions because he followed the ethical guidelines of the department and recused himself from the Russia investigations, thus failing to protect Trump. That is taking action. The same goes for firing James Comey for failing to quash the Russia investigation.


Source: Mob boss gone mad: Trump longs to go after Clinton, apologizes for murderers |

Apple Plans Another Death Blow to the Phone Carriers – Bloomberg

Each new iPhone is usually good news for mobile network operators. The latest Apple Inc. device always comes with upgrades that make it easier to play games, watch films and download reams of data. More data means bigger phone bills.

There’s a chance, though, that Wednesday’s arrival of the next generation of iPhones might not be so welcome. That’s because there’s a possibility that Apple could introduce so-called electronic sims, or eSIMs. Even if this doesn’t happen this time around, the shift to the new technology looks inevitable.

Speculation about eSIMs has been rife since Apple complained to the U.S. Department of Justice that Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. were colluding to prevent their introduction. The DoJ is investigating.

The classic SIM card is a small chip that’s inserted into the phone manually — making it more awkward to change your mobile network provider. You have to go to a shop to get a new sim or have one delivered physically. The eSIM is virtual, meaning that just changing your phone’s settings would theoretically allow you to switch carriers.

It’s almost certain that this would accelerate price competition. Whenever it’s made easier to jump from one operator to another, consumers take advantage and seek better deals. “Churn,” the industry term for customer losses, spikes. That’s what happened, for example, when Spain brought in rules to cut the time it took to change network operators to less than 24 hours.competition. Whenever it’s made easier to jump from one operator to another, consumers take advantage and seek better deals. “Churn,” the industry term for customer losses, spikes. That’s what happened, for example, when Spain brought in rules to cut the time it took to change network operators to less than 24 hours.

Churn, Churn, Churn

The number of Spanish mobile phone customers switching carriers spiked after it was made


Source: Apple Plans Another Death Blow to the Phone Carriers – Bloomberg


With every pardon, Trump is giving the finger to the rule of law |

We should have paid closer attention when candidate Donald Trump told a rally in Sioux City, Iowa, on January 23, 2016, that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible.”

It was probably the only honest thing he said since he announced for president. He’s lived up to that statement practically every day he’s been in the White House. He shoots the Constitution, and out there in Trumpland, they cheer. He shoots the FBI, and they cheer. He shoots his own Department of Justice, and they cheer. He’s shot Attorney General Jeff Sessions so many times he looks like a vegetable strainer. He machine-gunned the rule of law in this country, and his supporters stand up and cheer him on.

Most recently, he’s been shooting at the pardon clause of the Constitution, issuing one this week to unrepentant felon and certified right-wing loon Dinesh D’Souza, who he said was “very unfairly treated” when he pled guilty to violating campaign laws and was sentenced to a fine and community service. He pardoned the outright racist, law-breaking Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, the execrable Joe Arpaio. He pardoned Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, who lied us into the Iraq War. Libby was convicted of lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice concerning the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Trump loves his fellow liars. We should have seen that coming, too.

Now he’s promising to commute the sentence of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, convicted of perjury, bribery and extortion and sentenced to 14 years in federal prison. And he’s said he plans to pardon lifestyle-maven Martha Stewart, convicted of lying to the FBI in a case about insider trading.

What do all of these pardons and commutations have in common? They were issued to criminals who were convicted by Trump’s sworn enemies. D’Souza was prosecuted by former New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, a fierce Trump critic. Blagojevich was put in jail by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. attorney in Chicago and a close friend of former FBI Director James Comey. Martha Stewart was prosecuted by Trump nemesis Comey himself while he was a U.S. attorney, before he was appointed FBI director.

Trump issued his pardons without consulting the Department of Justice or following the same official procedures followed by every other president. It’s his way of giving the finger to the rule of law. He’s telling the whole world that when it comes to justice and the rule of law in the United States, he is in total control. The pardon power given to the president of the United States is a relic of monarchial English law, and Trump is using it like the monarch he considers himself to be.

The man who openly expresses his admiration for dictators like Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey is relishing the absolute power afforded by the pardon. It’s incredible to think of, but Trump wasn’t satisfied with being elected president of the United States. He wants to be a dictator, so he’s acting like one.

Trump realized early on — perhaps as early as his prediction that he could commit murder and not lose any voters — that he could violate political norms, flaunt campaign laws, commit outright felonies and use his office to get rich, and he could do it in the open and get away with it. This is the real difference between Trump and Richard Nixon, who conspired with a small circle of aides and committed his felonies in secret, behind closed doors.


Source: With every pardon, Trump is giving the finger to the rule of law |

Comey’s own troops up in arms over Hillary letter

While writing about the DOJ’s objections to James Comey’s letter to Congress at Liberal America, I stumbled on the strongest evidence yet that Comey really stepped in it. Kurt Eichenwald of Newsweek and Vanity Fair has fired off a blizzard of tweets suggesting that a number of rank-and-file FBI agents are absolutely steaming over this.