Saturday, February 16, 2019

Trump claims Obama/Hillary would have started a war with North Korea and that he restrained himself

In a story “The War that Wasn’t”, Peter Baker writes about Donald Trump’s claim that Barack Obama was prepped for a pre-emptive strike against North Korea as if Hillary Clinton would have done it.

In fact, there was a lot talk about a very dangerous “bloody nose attack” (maybe magnetic flux on infrastructure) until at least the Winter Olympics. Mattis had to remain the officially recognized adult in the room for a while.  By March 2018 the president seemed much less likely to do it and gradually set up the summit, where he buttered up Kim Jong Un.

Trump has said that placating Kim was necessary to avoid war, which is un-Trump-like behavior generally.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Russia will test blocking international Internet within its borders

MSNBC reports that Russia is testing limiting the Internet to its own borders (quasi-China) at least as a temporary national security test, link here. This follows Fareed Zakaria's discussion of the Internet kill switch in many countries Sunday. 

Dan Coates talked about this as he also warned that Russia could turn off electricity in New England in the dead of winter.  EMP would do that – but air gaps make that very hard to do with cyberthreats alone.

In the meantime, note the bad news from the EU on the Copyright Directive on my main blog == it's getting worse and more ominous. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Fareed Zakaria GPS looks at the Internet kill switch around the world

Fareed Zakaria today, on his Global Public Square, discussed the inclination of depots overseas to use the “Internet Kill Switch”, breaking down the original promise of “Intrinsic Liberty”. 
Apparently Internet access has been cut off completely for some periods in Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Sudan, and Bangladesh.

There were partial blackouts at least 188 times in 2018.

In Egypt, any content provider with at least 5000 followers must register with the government, and Russia has similar rules.

India has had 128 partial shutdowns in its history.

And China’s Internet is, as we know, a “walled garden”.
Less developed countries take incitement and political instability very seriously.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

News2Share is livestreaming Yellow Vest protests from France; more on LGBT at southern border

Ford Fischer (News2Share) is in Paris filming Yellow Vest protesters who are still active, with somewhat diffuse political objectives.
Here is a typical video now. 

The Daily Mail has a recent story indicating that the protests are now in their 13th straight week. 

There are protests in other cities, like Nantes.  There is talk of a recall referendum.  Could France to a Brexit or Frexit?
Fischer has made over videos on Facebook showing the safety gear press needs to cover protests.
Other reporters whom I know are abroad.  Trey Yingst works as a foreign correspondent in Jerusalem for Fox and reports on problems with Gaza.  Michael Lavers of the Washington Blade has visited Puerto Rico and now the southern border areas (esp. Texas) to look at issues for LGBTQ asylum seekers.

The New York Times now has a detailed story by Adam Nossiter.

By Thomon - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Thomas Friedman unscrambles immigration and border security history and policy for Congress and Trump

Thomas L. Friedman, the futurist opinion writer and author who has talked about flat Earth, sort of (call it projection of a tesseract), asks “What if Trump could explain as well as he inflames?  

I guess this essay would get maximum points on any AP history test.  Right, he explains why smaller countries tend to become despotic and why people in these countries need to leave, and how better policy could lessen the need for emigration.  Friedman’s prose rather reminds me of the vlogger “Economic Invincibility”  -- who makes perfect sense most of the time in a world not ready for a 26 year old to be president, perhaps (let alone an 18-year-old).  Well, Friedman is constitutionally old enough to run for president now.

The role of cellphones and Internet is well noted.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Colonialism may have contributed to today's tribalism

Journalist Christine Mungai, in the Sunday Outlook section of the Washington Post, decries the use of the term “tribalism”, as explaining our political domestic political schisms.  Amy Chua and even Sebastian Junger (back in the spring of 2016) notwithstanding, Mungai says “we don’t understand tribes” and this popular political shorthand is “racist”. 

She argues that colonialism helped shape the character of tribal behavior in Africa, and goes on to discuss the intricate social customs of the 44 tribes that make up Kenya.

Then there is the issue specifically of how France (Macron) treats the formerly French areas of Africa, which used to be part of the sovereign territory of France. 

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Trump and Putin up the ante; the Deepfakes problem menaces

Two headlines:

First, it’s common sense that Trump’s pulling out of a Cold War arms pact and Putin’s reciprocation is Milo-dangerous.  Here’s a typical story, on The Hill.  The biggest concern may be forgetting about the nuclear threat initiative’s (Sam Nunn) to police up all loose nuclear or radioactive caches around the world, especially former Soviet republics.

I’ll also share CNN’s feature page on the Pentagon’s war on Deepfake videos, particularly before the 2020 elections.  Off hand, if President Trump wanted a legitimate reason to declare a national security emergency, this development could provide the cannon fodder. Right now even amateurs can mimic others and make it appear others have said things they really didn't.  How this could be met will generate more blog posts – if our speech environment can stay up and survive all these political threats.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Trump's vision of national security seems naive to CIA; North Korea wants the rest of the world to denuclearize before it will

Intelligence and FBI chief briefed the Senate Intelligence committee Wednesday and, to put it mildly, disagreed with Donald Trump’s rosy assessment of US security. ABC News has a summary

Russia and China are both dangerous with their cyber campaigns, which may be able to cripple sectiosn of US infrastructure.  But most of all, Russia is able to exploit the divides among Americans that exist on personal levels, which keep them being able to accommodate the needs of others whom they feel are enemies or beneath them, without feeling personally slighted.

And intelligence is skeptical of Trump’s handling of North Korea, where Trump claims that missile development and testing has stopped even if it meant buttering up Kim Jong Un.  Trump has even said so publicly since the summit.

But Iran is not the threat to the US Trump claims it is, although it is a threat to Israel which could make it a threat to the US.

Remember how Turkey fit into resolving the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Trump’s claims about the southern border are seen as exaggerated, although even EFF now says that sometimes physical barriers are better than cyber surveillance. 

Brookings discusses the negotiations with the Taliban. And the CIA thinks ISIS can come back. 
Kamala Harris mentioned power grid security today, possibly thinking about the PSEG bankruptcy.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Venezuela: hyper-socialism fails; "I told you so".

The New York Times outlines the situation in Venezuela, “Between Maduro and a Hard Place”. 

Juan Guaido declared himself president, as if any engineer (like Nicholas Taleb) could.

The editorial supports Trump in this case. Various other editorials trace the inevitable collapse of socialism with falling oil prices, cronyism, the failure of the “collectives” and their corruption. And the collapse of the experiment with socialism, started under praise from Chomsky in 2009, seems never to teach the necessary lesson (Octavia-Cortez and Umair Haque).
By The Photographer - Own work, CC0, Link

Friday, January 25, 2019

Right wing populists make videos about demographic winter in Europe, blaming childless prime ministers

This little video from Red Ice plays the “demographic winter” card in Europe.

It notes that at least nine prime ministers or state heads in Europe don’t have children, so they don’t care as much about Europe’s future – that is, they don’t care about the supposed political threat from Muslim immigration of refugees and asylum seekers. Remember Bruce Bawer’s book “While Europe Slept.”
This is certainly feeding separatism and ethnic nationalism in Europe.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Tensions between Israel and Iran grow, with threats: upcoming talks with North Korea; US "national security threat" idea

Israel has done air strikes against Iranian positions in Syria.

Trey Yingst does a major report for Fox News, including a threat that a war with Iran would wipe Israel off the map.

The hot talk is important because it could worm its way into Donald Trump’s desire to find an excuse for a national security emergency in the US so that he can grab more control, even as he is under possible impeachment or criminal prosecution threats.

In the meantime Pompeo is talking to South Korea and Japan about North Korea in preparation for another summit with North Korea at the end of February.  

Yet there are other reports of a newly discovered missile test site in North Korea. That’s closer to a real national security crisis.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Australian study on race and IQ in South Africa seems to have unwelcome conclusions

I’ll share a video post from “Australian Realist” that compares IQ’s by race in a college class in South Africa.  I won’t embed because it’s pretty scary.

The stuff about brain size and even women’s birth channel size sounds like the stuff from Nazi pseudo-science.  But the problem here, what if this data is correct?

You hope that it’s explainable by colonialism, and accumulated effects of poverty, disease, and bad environments.  Perhaps.
It’s also true that race is a very arbitrary category.  People in India who look “dark” are technically Caucasian, and within almost all “races” populations that evolved closer to the Equator have more skin pigment. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Japan stands out in not having polarization among its people; BigThink explains why ("Trump is a symptom")

BigThink offers a video explaining that “Trump is a symptom” not a cause.  It’s happening in all modern countries, except Japan. I believe this video was sponsored by the Koch Foundation.

The four big causes (this sounds like a test question) are (1) people falling behind indirectly as a result of free trade (2) resentment of immigration even though generally immigrants cause less crime of natives – we don’t take care of our own first (3) the military – foreign wars, especially in the middle east, fought by enlisted men with a “backdoor draft” (like the Paramount film “Stop-Loss”, Movies blog, March 29, 2008) and (4) social media, where companies sell more ads to people if they keep them in echo chambers seeing content they “like”.
Japan has a shrinking population and almost no immigration, and oddly it discourages the presence of political information on social media.  Actor Reid Ewing, when he had his twitter account, presented some material on multiple visits to Japan and Danganronpa manga comics a few years ago.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

China's Internet censorship by door-to-door

Gerry Shih describes how personal Internet censorship gets in China, with a Washington Post article today here. 

Twitter is officially banned, but people use it under the table.

But the government manually censors use and will pay home or office visits to users to demand removal of political material.

The state will even hack Twitter accounts.

Why is the state so unwilling to let citizens to talk about politics? Is it to hide corruption? 

You see the same attitude among the far Left in the US now.  If individuals can take it upon themselves to talk politics without the group, there is no solidarity, no loyalty, and inequality and “exploitation” persists.   Look at the recent scandals with Patreon and payment processors.  It will only get worse.
Of course, this all goes into the “social credit score” in China which the radicals want to bring here.

Update: Jan. 11

Paul Mozur has another article on draconian censorship in China, where a man is interrogated for using Twitter, even when out of the country.

In Maxist ideology, collective social order is a high priority and can be undermined by individual political speech. 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

NBA player won't travel to London because of fears of reprisals from Turkey; are controversial Americans safe overseas?

New York Knicks player Enes Kanter will not travel with the New York Knicks to London to play Washington January 17 out of fear of possible assassination attempt in the UK by spies from Turkey, after his criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Fox43 News reports 

Outspoken bloggers (even myself) could face danger if traveling to non-democratic countries like Russia, I suspect.  I’ve been critical publicly of Russia’s 2013 anti-gay propaganda law.
CNN discusses the arrest of Paul Whelan in Russia here