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Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)

A movement to boycott companies in Israeli settlements in areas claimed by Palestinians or who have contracts with the Israeli military.

Several states have proposed or enacted legislation (in various forms) against the movement, from condemning it to prohibiting the state from doing business with companies who observe the boycott.

These states include...

o Alabama
o Arizona
o California
o Colorado
o Florida
o Georgia
o Illinois
o Indiana
o Iowa
o New Jersey
o New York
o Ohio
o Pennsylvania
o South Carolina
o Tennessee
o Virginia

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has issued a strong policy statement against the movement - supporting those state governments' efforts to oppose it.

Britain: MI-6

The British foreign intelligence agency (MI stands for Military Intelligence). The official name of MI6 is the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS).

Crimea

A peninsula in the Black Sea just south of Ukraine and west of Russia.



A simple history of Crimea's national affiliation...

o 1783: Crimea becomes part of Russia

o 1954: Russia "transfers" Crimea to Ukraine. However, both Russia and Ukraine are part of what was then the Soviet Union.

o 1991: The Soviet Union is dissolved. Ukraine becomes independent. Crimea becomes an autonomously governed part of Ukraine. However, Russia maintains its naval base at Sevastapol.

o 2014: Russian troops occupy Crimea and Russia annexes it.

o 2018: Russia completes a 12-mile bridge linking Russia to Crimea. There had been no previous direct road link between mainland Russia and Crimea.

Referenced by...
Trump administration imposes Russia sanctions (2018-Apr-06)
Dozens of Trump aides lose top-secret clearances (2018-Feb-28)

Cuba: People-to-People

A way for individuals to plan their own trips to Cuba.

Even after President Barack Obama legalized travel to Cuba in 2015, travel for tourism still was prohibited. But an U.S. citizen can plan people-to-people visits - ostensibly to learn about Cuban life and discuss American life with Cubans. Though there is an expectation that the traveler would keep logs of their business activities and who they talk with there, there is no indication that this requirement would be enforced.

Referenced by...
Trump reinstates Cuba travel restrictions (2017-Jun-25)
Americans now allowed to visit Cuba (2015-Jan-15)

Cuba: Wet Foot, Dry Foot Policy

1995 agreement with Cuba that allowed Cuban refugees who reached the United States to become permanent residents. Cubans caught in U.S. territorial waters before reaching the U.S. shore were returned to Cuba or to a third country. President Barack Obama ended the policy in 2017.

Referenced by...
Trump's company hired undocumented workers for years (2019-Jan-30)
White House proposes eliminating civil rights agency (2018-Feb-12)
Trump reinstates Cuba travel restrictions (2017-Jun-25)
Obama ends Cuban immigration amnesty (2017-Jan-12)
Election Topics ()

Iran-Contra

Scandal during the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

The mechanics of the illegal actions are complex, but this summary will be enough for our purposes...

o Reagan wanted to fund a pro-U.S. force (Contras) attempting to take over the government of Nicaragua, but Congress had disallowed it.

o Meanwhile, the Reagan administration had begun selling weapons to Iran. That also was unlawful due to an arms embargo against Iran.

o The administration then diverted proceeds of the Iran arms sale to fund the Contras.

The affair often is referred to as trading arms for hostages, because Reagan initially justified the arms sales as part of a bargain to free seven American hostages being held in Lebanon. However, evidence later showed that the arms sales began before the hostages were even taken.

It is not known how much Reagan actually knew about the program.

Fourteen Reagan administration officials were indicted. Those who were indicted or whose convictions were not overturned on appeal were pardoned in the final days of the presidency of George H.W. Bush.

Referenced by...
Atty General nominee hard-line, but says Mueller can continue (2019-Jan-14)

P5+1

(Coming)

Ukraine

Eastern European country that had been part of the former Soviet Union.



In 1991 it became an independent country again. It has since gone through periods when its policies were more aligned with Russia, and others where its policies were more aligned with western Europe and the United States.

Referenced by...
Trump inaugural committee investigated for corruption (2018-Dec-13)
Trump's former campaign manager convicted (2018-Aug-21)
Trump won't impose required Russia sanctions (2018-Feb-02)
Bill limits president's power to lift Russian sanctions (2017-Aug-02)
Paul Manafort proposed influence plan to Russia 10 years ago (2017-Mar-22)
Trump fires Sec. of State Tillerson (2016-Dec-12)
Issue: Mueller's Indictments

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