Monthly Archives: June 2017

Trump just slammed one of America’s close allies

By Ana Swanson

President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in enter the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday. (Calla Kessler/The Washington Post)

Trump had nice things to tweet Friday morning about his meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-In. Hours later, standing just a few feet from the foreign leader, Trump slammed the country for its trade practices.

The president welcomed South Korea’s cooperation on confronting the North Korean nuclear threat, even as he criticized the country for exporting more to the United States than it imports, restricting sales of U.S. autos, and enabling China in circumventing global trade rules.

“From when the U.S.-Korea trade deal was signed in 2011 to 2016 — and you know who signed it, you know who wanted it — our trade deficit with South Korea has increased by more than $11 billion. Not exactly a great deal,” Trump said.

The U.S. ran a $17 billion trade deficit in goods and services with South Korea in 2016, with a $27.7 billion deficit in goods offset only somewhat by a $10.7 billion surplus in services.

The newly elected Moon had come to the United States for his first foreign trip as president. But while Trump praised South Korea for its cooperation on security issues and expressed confidence in an improving the economic relationship, he didn’t pull any punches.

He called on South Korea to open its markets to American cars and “to stop enabling the export of dumped steel.”

Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, which represents steel companies as well as workers, says that some ultra-cheap Chinese steel finds its way through the South Korean market into the United States, circumventing restrictions the U.S. has placed on these products.

South Korea is the second-largest supplier of steel to the United States. The Trump administration is currently considering …read more

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How Trump’s nationwide voter data request could lead to voter suppression

By Christopher Ingraham

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach talks in his Topeka, Kan., office on May 12, 2016. (Dave Kaup/Reuters)

President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission is asking all 50 states to turn over all publicly available voter registration data, including highly sensitive information about voters’ political affiliation, Social Security numbers, criminal history and military status.

Voting rights groups immediately pushed state governors to reject the request, saying it would put a massive trove of information in the hands of people who couldn’t be trusted with it. The request was initiated by commission co-chair Kris Kobach, the secretary of state in Kansas and a fervent believer that voter fraud is widespread despite decades of evidence to the contrary.

In Kansas, Kobach championed the use of Crosscheck, a multistate database of voter registration information that authorities use to check whether voters are registered in two states. The system works primarily by matching voters’ names and dates of birth — if the same name and date of birth show up for voters in two different states, the system flags them as possible double registrations.

Kobach has said he’s interested in using a similar process to compare state voter roll data to a federal database of legal immigrants, creating what Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, calls “Crosscheck on steroids.”

Researchers have found that Crosscheck’s matching algorithms are highly inaccurate. A recent working paper by researchers at Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard and Microsoft found that Crosscheck’s algorithm returns about 200 false positives for every one legitimate instance of double registration it finds.

“We’re concerned about unlawful voter purging, which has been something that Kris Kobach has been leading the charge,” said Vanita Gupta of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and former head of the Justice Department’s civil …read more

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