Friday, August 23, 2019

Does Bolsonaro's behavior with respect to the Amazon threaten the entire planet? It's lungs?


Naomi Klein describes Bolsonaro’s election as a “crime scene” in a tweet thread, here.

So here is CNN’s coverage of the wildfires in the Amazon rain forest.  Except, they aren’t wild.  They may very well be set by landowners for agriculture, encouraged by Bolsonaro’s right wing regime.
  
Bolsonaro claims the fires were set deliberately to make him look bad.


And how to do you deal with a sovereign country if it endangers “the lungs of the planet”?

The rain forest could eventually change into a dry savannah permanently.
  
Would man’s survival be endangered by the loss of 20% of its oxygen generating possibility?  

But look at Tim Pool's findings on these stories (Saturday), surprising.
  
By Ibama from Brasil - Operação Hymenaea, Julho/2016, CC BY 2.0, Link

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Facebook and Twitter remove fake accounts from China's government intended to spread propaganda over Hong Kong


Both Facebook and Twitter have uncovered fake bot accounts apparently set up by mainland China’s government to spread propaganda in Hong kong.

The Verge (aka Vox, Makena Kelly) has a detailed story
  
   
The incident resembles the “Facebook Purge 3.0” which led to a coordinated Twitter purge in October 2018 over “coordinated inauthentic behavior” intended to increase clickbait, apparently.  But this time the social networking companies were thanked.  Be careful what you wish for. 
 
It's ironic that China complains now when it bans US social media in its own country.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

One-child policy in China, now rescinded, has led to kidnapping of young women from other countries as potential brides



Hannah Beech has a very disturbing story in the New York Times, about sex trafficking in China.

  
Wealthier men have potential brides kidnapped from nearby countries, especially Myanmar, because of the shortage of young women in China as a result of the previous one-child policy, which went away in 2015 and was replaced with a two-child policy. 
 
This certainly reminds one of the FOSTA sex-trafficking law in the US.  The practice in China results in the cultural fear of men of not having a lineage. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Zakaria explains South African land expropriation as simply returning land that had been taken wrongfully


Fareed Zakaria spoke an interesting “What in the World” segment Sunday where he discussed the land expropriation problem in South Africa.

Zakaria noted that back in the 1970s under apartheid, native land had been taken away from the original population and given to whites.  So this casts the expropriations as reparations, or of returning what should have belonged all the time.


Imagine if such an idea could be implemented for native Americans.
  
The Nation has a similarly analytic article by Jon Alsop (paywall). 

But as a matter of ideology, expropriation is the ultimate death ray against “privilege”.
  
Wikipedia attribution link for photo by Profberger CCSA 3.0 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Explosion in Russia leads to radiation in Scandinavia, seems to comprise multiple incidents in different locations?



Vladimir Isachekov of the Associated Press reports on the mysterious explosion near Nyonoska in northwest Russia, near Archangelsk., Aug. 14  
A story on CNN by Nick Paton Walsh discusses Skyfall, a nuclear-powered cruise missile and doomsday weapon, I guess the same explosion resulting in   radioactive contamination in Scandanavia.  US had good conventional cruise missile technology in 1991 during the Persian Gulf war, which had huge political impact now forgotten (like enabling Clinton to open a debate on gays in the military in 1993 -- things are so connected!)
  
The explosion near Achinsk seems to be a different event (LA Times). 

It seems that radiation may be coming from more than one incident.  Fact patterns are confusing. This is obviously a developing story.  It may fit into my novel!!  Why does Russia keep sensitive nuclear stuff so close to its NW border?  (This idea was covered in a 2011 Russian film "The Return" -- movies blog, Dec. 28, 2011.) 
  
Wikipedia attribution  (commons).

Friday, August 16, 2019

India demonstrates the "effectiveness" of its Internet "kill switch" in Kashmir



James Groffiths of CNN reports on the tendency for some governments to implement Internet blackouts in some regions to control political unrest.  Business Insider has a story indicating locals didn’t know India had rewritten its constitution. 
  
The most obvious example is the Indian government’s blackout of Kashmir and Jannu, bordering Pakistan. Troops have cut off service at the “core” level.


Other examples include Sri Lanka after Easter Sunday attacks.
  
It’s harder to do this in the US, Canada and Europe because of the multiplicity of router connections.

Wikipedia: 
By CIA - http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/kashmir_region_2004.jpg, Public Domain, Link

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Trump urges Israel to deny entry to two of "The Squad"; do Americans really want the jobs of undocumented persons?



The Israeli government and prime minister have denied US representatives Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) permission to visit Israel, under pressure from Trump (in a tweet) and supposedly justified by Israeli law barring persons who have advocated boycotting Israel from entering.

Here is the Washington Post story (Hudson et al) and NBCThink op-ed.

Trey Yingst, Fox foreign correspondent, shared a Hamas statement on twitter (labeled by Twitter as "sensitive material") .  Trey also interviewed Rashida's grandmother (Tlaid refused an Israeli allowance to allow her to visit if she agreed not to mention boycotts). 

It’s all pure tribalism.
  
Trump is also claiming that Americans applied for jobs at Koch foods after an ICE raid (Breitbart).  I thought these were menial “dirty work” jobs Americans didn’t want.

Friday, August 9, 2019

UN Climate report on food supply gets many different interpretations



Umair Irfan somewhat softens the tone of a recent UN climate report in a Vox article by re-stressing the value of land conservation (as known in the 50s) and by criticizing wasting of food in modern consumption habits, link

  
But Nature emphasizes the consumption habits of people in richer countries, eating meat. 

But the most dangerous problem seems to be the attitude of right-wing politicians, most of all Bolsonaro in Brazil, who still is deforesting the Amazon for short term gain.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Russian trolls are trying to get intellectually weak Americans to fight each other in the streets (NBC story)


Richard Engel et al of NBC news report that Russian trolls have selected videos of private citizen “accidents” or behaviors in public places and made them go viral, and have sometimes urged doxing of private Americans.

The idea is to create physical conflict and disruption and show “no one is immune”. 
  
The main NBC link is here

It is pretty easy to collide with someone on a subway.  But a troll might photograph it and then try to cause it to go viral.
   
Another grave risk from foreign trolls might be hacking ordinary Americans to frame them for crimes (although this can be a known threat with identity theft already).


Russian trolls seem to be attacking “individualism” and stirring up “populist” resentment against and bullying of individuals, “hecklers’ veto” or mob mentality. Trolls may also be amplifying the “white supremacy” narrative by calling people names when they clearly do not advocate supremacy by normal speech interpretation.
  
This goes along with Tim Pool’s narrative of coming domestic “insurgencies” by extremists on both sides.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Trump tariffs China again, may hit US consumers; China jails major dissident Trump cancels Russian missile treaty; climate change hits Siberia


Suddenly, there are a lot of potentially important international items, and they will all need more detailed followup.

First Trump announced that apparently everything else not already targeted for tariffs will face levies on September 1, 2019.  I am looking to see how this would affect my own plans for a new apple Macbook for a music project.  Apparently these items still have final assembly in China but I it is not quite certain from what I can find. Would the tariffs start when these items arrive in stores?  CNBC is talking about China’s retaliation already. 

Next, China has sentenced another human rights activist, Huang qi, to twelve years in prison, story. Huang is a founder of the Tianwang website awarded a “reporters without borders” prize in 2016.  China believes that dissenting speech strokes tensions among its citizens and we have been seeing more about how that works in the US since Trump won.

Russia has generated a couple items.  Trump is withdrawing from a Reagan-era intermediate range ballistic missile treaty with Russia, over concerns of Russia’s “cheating” (CBS).


This morning, CNN showed shocking video of sinkholes in eastern Siberia resulting from permafrost melting, threatening entire towns, as well as rampant wildfires.  Climate change is affecting polar areas much more quickly than those closer to the equator. Here is a recent BBC story.  Putin has been paying Russian families to settle Siberia and have lots of kids to raise his birthrate and support nationalism. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

EMP in Venezuela? DPRK Missile test?



The idea of electromagnetic pulse, more common in conservative media and independent sites like mine, seems to have caught hold in Venezuela, where activists claim that the latest blackout in  Caracus was an attack against Maduro and probably was some sort of flux non-nuclear EMP, Yahoo story.   Critics of the US maintain that this has to do with US meddling and propping up the non-commie Guiaodo.


North Korea is reported to have fired two missiles today, each about 270 miles, toward Japan.   Trump has blown it off.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Allowing (even "expecting") volunteers to serve at the border detention centers (after travel to them) sounds feasible, even if not happening now



On p. 21 of the print Time Magazine July 29, 2019 issue, Julissa Arce ran a sidebar “Let Americans volunteer at the border”. 

She writes that there is no good reason for a policy that Americans are not allowed to do humanitarian volunteer work at the border detention centers, from a budget or public law viewpoint. 

The normal excuses will be security.

There doesn’t seem to be any impulse to combine this with Americorps, for example (Buttigieg might go along with that).


It would be possible to imagine a setup with the major social service agencies already on contract with DHS to process refugees, to deal with the border issues.

Then there would be pressure on some Americans to sign up and do stints at the border.

As things stand now for me, it would not be possible for me to do a stint "camping" at the border and resume my sites after the period was over.  In time, this could become a real issue. 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

South Korea drafts young men, and has an issue with "gay conduct", not exactly like our old DADT


John Andres Riley reports in Metro Weekly about the issue of gays in the military in South Korea, with due respect for the context of the existential danger (even to the US) from North Korea. 

The print version of the story (p. 20. July 18) is titled “Conscript Concerns” but online is the real deal “Amnesty International calls on South Korea to end law criminalizing LGBTQ soldiers.”  The law criminalizes same-sex conduct even off duty. (So did the old US UCMJ 125).

South Korea requires military service of all men 18-20 because it is technically still at war with the North.


In the US, activists forget we still have the Selective Service System but sometimes debate whether women should be required to register.

The story notes that ironically, in South Korea, men with lighter skin may be viewed as more effeminate. Asian men usually don’t have the variety of body hair that Caucasians have.

Trump backed off his aggressive stance on North Korea right around March 1, 2018 after the Olympics and it is a good thing for many people that he did, whatever you think of the circumstances with Kim Jong Un now.  Kim would like the state of war to end.

It's ironic that the gay press has called attention to another hidden tripwire in the North Korean situation. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Ebola outbreak in Congo gets a declaration as a world emergency by WHO; what about vaccinating travelers?



The Ebola outbreak in the Congo has been declared as a world health emergency, as in the NBC News story. 
  
  
There is concern that infected but unvaccinated persons could spread it quickly by air.
  
The latest information by WHO on vaccination for people traveling to Africa is here.  I would be concerned about volunteers or students or professionals going to other countries and not getting the vaccine yet. It doesn’t seem to happen and it needs to.

The CDC has issued an alert for North Kivu in the Republic of the Congo, link here

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Protesters try to shut down ICE in Washington DC after Trump announces restricting asylums thru Mexico; it gets quite energetic



Numerous outlets reported on sizable demonstrations in Washington DC yesterday against Trump’s latest immigration actions, some reportedly including “Jewish” activists. I stayed inside (from the heat) and worked on my music and on another matter (the CASE bill in the Senate) and didn’t get to this.

Daniel Mortiz-Rabson reports for Newsweek on ICE protests in SW Washington Tuesday, trying to block entrance, after Trump issued an XO requiring most Central American asylum seekers to attempt to apply in Mexico first before coming into the US. Elizabeth Warren speaks in their video.

The Washington Post (Marissa J. Lang) reports that there were  ten arrests inside the ICE lobby. The story has outstanding still photos, with a couple people I recognized from the LGBTQ community. 


Caroline Patrickis reports on the arrests for WJLA7 with video. (The WJLA embed works only with http, without the https.) 
  

Marissa J. Lang offers this log on Twitter with several videos. 

Reports of ICE raids around the country seem spotty and focused on known criminals, it turns out. 

My own picture comes from Dec 2017, at Net neutrality demonstrations.