Why Is Eritrea In The News?

Eritrea is near the horn of Africa, on the Red Sea. It is situated across the Red Sea from the Gulf States, such as Saudi Arabia.

Many people are currently fleeing Eritrea, and many are trying to get to Europe aboard “smuggling boats.” The U.N. is looking into the matter.

“The number fleeing such a small country – estimated at 5,000 people each month – is forcing the outside world to take notice,” Mike Smith, Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea, told the 29th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, which is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Eritrea’s dire human rights situation can no longer be ignored,” Mr. Smith said. “Imagine the impact of this uncertainty on young Eritreans who lose all control over their own futures. Is it any wonder that Eritreans – most of them young people – are the second largest nationality after Syrians to resort to seaborne smugglers to cross the Mediterranean to Europe?”

5,000 people per month is a huge percentage of the population.  According to indexmundi.com, about 6.4 million people live in Eritrea.  The population increased from 3.2 million to 6.4 million between 1990 and 2014, and there are a lot of young people. The birth rate is 4.7 children.

Eritrean society is heterogeneous, and there are nine recognized ethnic groups according to the government of Eritrea, writes Wikipedia.

The number of Eritreans fleeing their country reached more than 400,000, and has nearly doubled over the past six years, according to the UN refugee agency.

A U.N. commission report said that “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed in Eritrea under the authority of the Government. Some of these violations may constitute crimes against humanity.”

Mr. Smith told the Council that after more than two decades of independence, the dream of a democratic Eritrea now seems more distant than ever.

“Instead of a country ruled by law and good governance, the Eritrea we see today is marked by repression and fear,” Smith said. “Since independence, ultimate power in Eritrea has remained largely in the hands of one man and one party. Those in control often rule arbitrarily and act with impunity… The Eritrean people have no say in governance and little control over many aspects of their own lives.”

The report notes that Eritrea has never held free elections, has no independent judiciary, arbitrary arrest is common – often ordered by anyone with de facto authority, with tens of thousands of Eritreans being imprisoned, often without charge and for indeterminate periods, writes http://www.un.org.

In addition, the Government has subjected much of the population to open-ended national service, either in the army or through the civil service, often for years in harsh and inhumane conditions.

Denied access to Eritrea, U.N. Commission members conducted interviews with some 550 witnesses in eight countries and received 160 written submissions. On 9 June, the Eritrean Foreign Ministry issued a statement describing the Commission’s findings as “an attack, not so much on the Government, but on a civilized people and society who cherish human values and dignity.”

In response to that charge, Mr. Smith said: “With respect, we The Commission are recording the voices of real Eritrean people as articulated in the 550 testimonies and 160 submissions received. We also reflect the silenced voice of the majority of Eritreans who have never been able to elect their own representatives in national, free, fair and democratic elections…”




Soft-ball Fox News Piece On GOP Hispanic Outreach

How important is the Hispanic/Latino vote for Republicans?  Fox News recently did a segment on “Hispanic outreach.” Some left-wing media outlets have called it a “fluff piece.”

How committed are the right-wing presidential candidates to Hispanic voters?  Will their policies address Hispanics’ concerns?  Does it behoove Republicans to focus on anti-immigration policies?  Will those with anti-immigration policies be able to attract Hispanic voters?

Court Won’t Lift Ban On Obama Immigration Action

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court refused to lift a temporary hold on President Barack Obama’s executive action that would prevent as many as 5 million immigrants illegally living in the U.S. from being deported, according to the AP. The hold allows the deportations to continue.

The U.S. Justice Department had asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a Texas judge who agreed to temporarily block the president’s plan in February, after 26 states filed a lawsuit alleging Obama’s action was unconstitutional. However, on a two-one vote, a panel of the court denied it, writes the AP.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans made the decision that the executive action must be delayed until the lawsuit is resolved.

It wasn’t clear if the government would appeal, either to the full appeals court in New Orleans or to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The states suing to block the plan argue that Obama acted outside his authority and that the changes would force them to invest more in law enforcement, health care and education.

The White House has said the president acted within his powers to fix a “broken immigration system.”


Texas Judge Blocks The President’s Immigration Executive Order


A Texas Judge has blocked the president’s immigration order.

Does the president have the right to issue executive orders on immigration?

According to HowStuffWorks, “Executive orders have been used by every American president since George Washington to lead the nation through times of war, to respond to natural disasters and economic crises, to encourage or discourage regulation by federal agencies, to promote civil rights, or in the case of the Japanese internment camps, to revoke civil rights.”

According to the New Republic, Presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush took executive action on immigration.  Reagan and Bush made executive actions to stop the deportation of children and spouses of newly-legalized immigrants. In fact, Bush’s executive action was called the “family fairness” program.

USA Today claims the younger George W. Bush also “…issued a number of small-bore executive orders — to expedite citizenship for immigrants in the military, or to defer deportation for students affected by Hurricane Katrina…”

Talking Points Memo states that the president has ordered fewer executive orders than any president since prior to World War II.  TPM states it comes out to less than 0.1 for every day he’s been in office. “FDR, by comparison, was cranking out close to one per day as he faced the Great Depression and World War II.”  TPM does state that the simple totals “cannot account for the scope and tangible impact of individual executive orders or incorporate other elements of executive power,” which is understandable.

The question is:  what are the grounds for a lawsuit, impeachment, or the claims of lawlessness?

The only possibility is that the executive orders have possibly been too broad in scope.

According to the New York Times, “(m)ost of the major elements of the president’s plan are based on longstanding legal precedents that give the executive branch the right to exercise ‘prosecutorial discretion’ in how it enforces the laws. That was the basis of a 2012 decision to protect from deportation the so-called Dreamers, who came to the United States as young children. The new announcement will be based on a similar legal theory, officials said.” [The New York Times,11/13/14]




Horowitz: Obama Lets ‘Aggressors Of Color’ Be ‘Victims’

Right Wing Watch

In this video, David Horowitz tells Newsmax TV that Ferguson was a “lynch mob” that spread all across the country, and the president wants to “let aggressors of color get to be victims.” He also calls the president a “racist” and Al Sharpton the “chief racist.”

David Horowitz is an American conservative writer who is a founder and current president of the think tank the David Horowitz Freedom Center, editor of FrontPage Magazine, and director of Discover the Networks, a website that tracks individuals and groups on the political left, according to Wikipedia.

Horowitz was raised by parents who were members of the Communist Party USA, and between 1956 and 1975, Horowitz was an outspoken adherent of the New Left before rejecting leftism completely. Horowitz has written about his ideological journey in a series of different retrospectives, which culminated in his 1996 memoir Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey.

Did Trump Inherit His Money Or Start With Nothing?

Russell Brand The Trews gives his reaction to the news that Donald Trump wants to run for President and build a giant fence between the United States and Mexico.

According to AlterNet:

“Trump was born in New York City in 1946, the son of real estate tycoon Fred Trump. Fred Trump’s business success not only provided Donald Trump with a posh youth of private schools and economic security but eventually blessed him with an inheritance worth an estimated $40 million to $200 million.

“It is critical to note, however, that his father’s success, which granted Donald Trump such a great advantage, was enabled and buffered by governmental financing programs. In 1934, while struggling during the Great Depression, financing from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) allowed Fred Trump to revive his business and begin building a multitude of homes in Brooklyn, selling at $6,000 apiece.”

The Trews

(Updated to add link)


GOP House Passes Bill Setting Up Possible Shutdown War Over Immigration


According to TPM, government shutdown wars are back with a vengeance.

House Republicans started up a possible new standoff on Wednesday with passage of legislation that overturns President Barack Obama’s executive actions on deportation relief for millions of undocumented immigrants.

The bill passed 236-191, with 10 Republicans voting against it and 2 Democrats supporting it.

The legislation passed on Wednesday is tied to the funding of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which expires on Feb. 28. According to TPM, the department will partially shut down if a bill isn’t enacted by then.

However, PoliticusUSA states that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) have toned down conservative expectations over the idea of a possible DHS shutdown.

Immigration Reform

What effect does the president’s executive action have on immigration?

First, let’s look at what the president has already done.

According to the White House website, the Border Patrol is better staffed than before, having doubled the number of agents from approximately 10,000 in 2004 to more than 21,000 as of the third quarter of 2014. More than 2,100 Border Patrol agents man the Northern border.

More than 21,000 Customs and Border Protection Officers manage the flow of people and goods at U.S. ports of entry and crossings.  About 3,800 of them are on the Northern Border,

DHS unmanned aerial capabilities now patrol the entire Southwest border, from California to Texas, providing critical aerial surveillance assistance to personnel on the ground. DHS has also completed 700 miles of fencing.  The BBC claims drones have been patrolling the Southern border since March 2013.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the investigative arm of DHS, has increased the number of Federal agents deployed on the Southwest border.

These additional personnel are working with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to identify, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations, to facilitate cooperation between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement authorities on investigations and enforcement operations, and to track and prevent cartel violence.

Is there an “armed invasion” on the Southern border?

There is no evidence of an armed invasion on the Southern border, conspiracy theories notwithstanding. There are also reportedly fewer immigrants attempting to illegally cross U.S. borders. Apprehensions have decreased from nearly 724,000 in FY 2008 to approximately 480,000 in FY 2014, indicating that fewer people are attempting to illegally cross the border.

The administration is also working with the Government of Mexico and others to disrupt the transnational criminal organizations that traffic illicit drugs, weapons, and bulk cash, and the interdiction of illicit weapons.

According to the White House, over the past two and a half years, DHS seized 75 percent more currency, 31 percent more drugs, and 64 percent more weapons along the Southwest border compared to two and a half years of the previous administration.

There is a theory that if Mexico has enough jobs and a good economy, then fewer people will want to emigrate. What has been happening on that front?

In September 2013, Vice President Biden and his Mexican government counterparts launched the High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED) to further strengthen the U.S.-Mexico bilateral commercial and economic relationship.

The HLED is supposed to be a flexible platform intended to advance certain economic and commercial priorities central to promoting mutual economic growth, job creation, and competitiveness.

The Obama Administration is working to ensure that legal trade and travel flows across the borders by updating infrastructure, reducing wait times, and increasing security. In 2011, the Obama Administration launched the Border Export Strategy to highlight the significance of the U.S.-Mexico trade relationship and, more specifically, the diverse and talented communities that make up the border region.

What will the new executive order do?

According to the White House website, the president’s executive order strengthens and improves infrastructure at ports of entry, facilitates public-private partnerships to increase investment in foreign visitor processing, and continues supporting the use of technology (such as CCTV cameras) to help to secure the land and maritime borders of the U.S.

The president’s proposal also creates new criminal penalties aimed at transnational criminal organizations that traffic in drugs, weapons, and money, and that smuggle people across the borders.

The president’s proposal creates tough criminal penalties for trafficking in passports and immigration documents and schemes to defraud the government, including those who prey on vulnerable immigrants through “notario fraud.” (Notarios are dishonest “immigration consultants.”) It also strengthens penalties to combat human smuggling rings.

Through the Twenty-First Century Border Initiative, the United States is partnering with the Government of Mexico to improve coordination of bi-national infrastructure to enhance cross-border commerce and ties while managing common threats.

What about Canada?

The U.S. border with Canada is even longer than the border with Mexico. The Administration is working with Canada to enhance joint law enforcement efforts and bolster cross-border security operations.

The U.S. is  modernizing more than 35 land ports of entry.  The U.S. has also deployed new technology, including thermal camera systems, mobile surveillance systems, and remote video surveillance systems.

More on drones patrolling the border:


Are Republicans Having Trouble With The Immigration Order?

President Obama’s recent executive order on immigration has been one of the few times that he has been willing to stand up to the Republican Party, and they are, predictably, livid about his decision.

According to Mike Papantonio, he’s made the GOP feel impotent.

Considering the fact that presidents since George Washington have made executive orders, it is difficult to see how his executive orders are illegal.

Mike Papantonio video.