Saturday, December 15, 2018

Climate change agreement at COP24 barely signed, despite US, and populist resistance now in Europe

Nearly 200 countries “barely” put the 2015 Paris climate change rules into place at the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland, at COP24, NPR story

The meeting was held in a country whose economy depends on coal.

There was considerable sentiment that the developed countries had already used up more of their karma by releasing so much carbon during full industrialization.
Trump had pulled out in 2017, and countries (like France) are finding it harder to expect sacrifices for future generations from rural people.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Vox interview with Wilson Center scholar Van Jackson warns of our courting nuclear war with North Korea

Alex Ward, on Vox, explains “How Trump made the North Korea crisis worse”, link

The article turns out to be an interview with Wilson Center scholar Van Jackson, author of a new book from Cambridge University Press, “On the Brink: Trump, Kim, and the Threat of Nuclear War”, link here

Jackson notes that Trump may have mislead Kim a few times, at least before the Winter Olympics, besides making his bombastic threats in 2017.  Trump as even publicly admitted that he butters up Kim now to reduce the threat of war.   But even under Obama the threat was growing, and there is no clear indication Hillary Clinton would have made this any safer. 

Jackson does buy the idea that Kim wants a stable nuclear power that finally turns the corner on growing its own economy.

He says the threat of nuclear war is low now but still is there.

I would normally have made this a “book preview” on the Books blog, but it fits in here with the label for many other posts on the threats from North Korea.

The interview does not mention the EMP threat.  
Picture: from Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street in Washington DC.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Some videos from France sound very radical indeed; climate change activists cannot afford to ignore rural populations any longer

I don’t know how “radical” the group “WeAreChange” is in France or Europe.  But the mood of “the people” in this video is very angry and calling for revolution, and warning it will shut down the banking system around the world.   There are scattered reports of Internet blackouts, and of demonitization of content. 

Is this group from the far right or far left?  (Sounds like the Left;  the speaker mentioned Antifa.) 
Again, it seems like a lot of old-fashioned liberals (the Hillary Clinton crowd with its “basket of deplorables”) have missed the immediate point of climate change denial – it’s the rural populations affected the most right now.  I noticed that during my coming of age in the 1970s with the oil shocks.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Patreon explains the banning of Lauren Southern with regard to putative interference with a rescue of immigrants in the Mediterranean

There has been a lot of attention to the banning of Milo Yiannopoulos and Carl Benjamin (aka Sargon of Akkad) from Patreon recently.
The story of Lauren Southern (who is reported to have claimed transgenderism)  is also disturbing, as in a Canadaland story.  She reportedly was fund raising for anti-immigrant activity in the Mediterranean. A UK charity “Hope Not Hate” reportedly lobbied Patreon directly to stop her.  The activities she was fundraising for might have caused loss of life of Mediterranean migrants, according to the Patreon letter shown.   (Defend Europe and IGD are also involved in the ban.)
I have reviewed a few films about the migrant journeys into Europe, across the Mediterranean, largely made while Obama was president.
Patreon CEO (Jack Conte) talks about “manifest observable behavior”.  (It should be “observed”).  Conte said her observed behavior was participatory and not just journalistic (but “paparazzi” activity could be troubling if it is perceived as attracting violent people directly).

As a matter of person preference, I don’t personally like to run fundraisers for any organizations from my own social media or hosted accounts.  That’s partly my own branding, but I also don’t want to allow social media or hosting companies to have any direct voice in whom I can support.

This story is disturbing.  One could have a sincere belief that immigrants should not come into the country, but participating in an organization that attempts to stop it could be dangerous and sometimes unlawful.  In the video, Conte claims Lauren participated in a group trying to interfere with a search and vessel boat.  Conte mentions doxing as observed behavior that will get someone taken down. 
On the other side of the coin, there may be organizations that help migrants come into the US or any other western country illegally.  To participate in those likewise is a federal crime in the US.  Will Patreon have policies against this?

Update: Dec. 11

Tim Pool interviewed Lauren Southern on whether she is an "activist" or "journalist" or both.  She talked about "gonzo journalism"; but she doesn't claim to be completely "objective" but she says there are "facts", Timcast link from July 2017.  

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Protests against climate-change fuel taxes rage in Europe, similar to populism in Trump's base in the US, anti-globalist

Tim Pool reports Sunday that white working class people from rural areas are protesting in France and several other countries, as “Yellow Jackets”. including Germany and the Netherlands.
The protests have blocked many roads and damaged cars and property.
Macron may consider a State of Emergency.
The protests seemed to be about the climate-change-driven fuel taxes. These are affecting rural areas more than the cities. 
Just as with Trump supporters, this “forgotten majority” is opposing globalism, but moreover the idea of making sacrifices now for future generations – the ultimate challenge of climate change.   

How will these protests interact with the Copyright Directive and Article 13?  Suppose there is pressure for more countries to leave the EU? 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Conservative DC paper openly discusses increasing North Korean EMP threat

The Washington Examiner (story by Paul Bedard, Nov. 24, 2018) reports that North Korea is openly developing an EMP weapon.
Part of the report suggests that the main target could be South Korea.  Jamming of South Korean electronics is reported to have happened. Non-nuclear flux devices are possible, as the US military now has them and could have used them in the “bloody nose attack” which did not happen last spring, as tensions were reduced after the Winter Olympics, leading to the Singapore summit eventually.

Part of the report refers to the possibility of attacking the US East Coast from a missile from an offshore ship (an idea Michael Maloof had discussed in his book “A Nation Forsaken” or from a satellite, which James Woolsey has warned about.  This would probably be a fission nuclear weapon and most of the damage would be of the E1 variety. 

The tone of the story is blase, in that it suggests that the Pentagon has only recently stepped up working on the problem.  This also seems to be the first major article in a credible periodical that has focused on North Korea's EMP threat apart from the better known nuclear weapons threat and the possibility of missiles reaching the US, even the East Coast, based on 2017 tests. 

Recent reports about a DPRK “ultra-weapon” might refer to a non-nuclear EMP. It does not appear, even given all the talk of Pompeo’s diplomacy, that North Korea is willing to completely denuclearize (as recently discussed in Foreign Affairs).
I think there is a way China’s intention to apply a “social credit scoring” system to its own citizens could actually be relevant to the tensions over North Korea.  I’ll get into that another time.

Update: Nov. 28

Aviation Weekly also has a discussion of non-nuclear microwave EMP weapons.

Update: Nov. 30

Paul Bedard offered a followup report today in the Washington Examiner (under the banner "Washington Secrets"), with mention of a 2018 Report from the Electromagnetic Defense Task Force (which I thought had been disbanded). The report talked about the end of democracy and world order. Smart News actually carried this report today on irs U.S. tab. Maybe Sinclair Broadcasting (WJLA) will be the next to take notice (as well as Fox News). 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Tijuana border becomes volatile today; trouble between Russia and Ukraine near Crimea

Okay, CNN’s Samantha Vinograd sums it all up:  the risks of Trump’s “deal” with Mexico (unconfirmed maybe by the new Mexican administration), the issue of Saudi Arabia/Khashoggi  denial, and the possible prosecution of Assange. 

While I was out today, there was some physical conflict at the border in Tijuana, and the border was closed for a while.  Mexico is saying it will deport (back to Central America) possibly hundreds of people who tried to enter the US illegally today.   Maya Averbuch and Elisabeth Malkin described the entropy on the border today in the NYTimes. 

Dara Lind, of Vox, is more confident that the Mexico deal is real, and she writes a quasi-mathematical proof of her claim. 

There is also a major incident involving Russia and Ukraine, Twitter     Russians apparently seized two Ukrainian ships near Crimea and the UN Security Council meets now (Time)   Some Ukrainian sailors seem to have been taken as "POW's.  Ukraine has declared martial law for 30 days. 
I was away a day trip today, filming.  Messages about all this started popping on my phone.  While the cat’s away the mice play.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Mexico will keep custody of asylum seekers while US processes them (Trump "deal")

Joshua Partlow and Nick Miroff report for the Washington Post Saturday that Trump has reached a deal with Mexico, holding asylum seekers in Mexico while their claims are processed in the US (which takes months).  There was a wisecrack that Mexico has suddenly become a “waiting room” for US asylum seekers.
The reports so far don’t distinguish on the issue of whether migrants are situated at legal entry points.
LGBT asylum seekers would be treated the same way (which means that US organizations won’t be able to assist them).

CNN has a story by Caroline King referring to the Post here.
The same two post reporters also write that some migrants travel with orphaned or unaccompanied or other people’s children to have a better chance of gaining entry, link.  There are 14,000 unaccompanied minors in US government custody right now.

CNN has mentioned that sometimes relatives or "friends" can sponsor specific kids, but I have been told they must be relatives. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Drug legalization in the US might help reduce the migrant crisis

George P. Shultz and Pedro Aspe have a useful op-ed Thanksgiving Day, “How we can help the migrant caravan”.  Actually, there are several caravans in different places and they seem to have different makeups.

But the writers are helpful in saying we could do a lot more to stabilize the conditions in Central American countries and, giving Trump some credit, Mexico.  Remember, however, Mexico was willing to give some caravans asylum in its southern states, and the caravans insisted on moving north to the U.S.

The biggest suggestion, of course, is decriminalizing drug possession at home, as a strategy to reduce consumption and reduce the profitability of drug cartels.  Indeed Reagan’s policies in the 1980s and the “war on drugs” may well have set this up. 
One comment about “race” and POC.  Being from Mexico or CA and having a Spanish surname is no predictor of what someone looks like.  There are plenty of people in Mexico of purely European ancestry (as in South America).

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Can Democrats in Congress make any headway on DACA during the lame duck session?

Here’s a (press release) statement from Juan Escalante on America’s Voice here or expanded in Huff Post.
Apparently the writer believes that the lame duck session should be able to legislate a reasonable solution to the DACA issue, and Temporary Protected Status.

But any action may be compromised by Trump’s threat for a partial government shutdown Dec. 7 over the Border Wall issue.
All of this is complicated by conflicting reports about the migrants trying to gain entry now at Tijuana (previous posts).
Picture: Park in Harlingen, TX, near the border (May 30, 2018, my trip) 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Foreign Affairs revisits the dangers of a "bloody nose" or "left of launch" attack on North Korea as tensions resume

Ankit Panda, in Foreign Affairs (paywall) offers a detailed article ("The Right Way to Manage a Nuclear North Korea") on the continuing dangers of North Korea, which now must be accepted as the U.S. third major rival nuclear power (after Russia and China) which Donald Trump may have difficulty admitting, despite past public statements that he buttered up Kim Jong Un to stave off nuclear war.

There is discussion of the “left of launch” strategy which would disable nukes before launch.  This sounds like the bloody nose option which had been pondered early in 2018 and then dropped after the Winter Olympics, and probably some heated private Oval Office discussions.

The article rehearses the obvious, that a left-of-launch threat could pressure Kim into using his nukes now.

There are also reports of North Korean maneuvers against a mockup of the South Korean “Pentagon”.
And North Korea, complaining about sanctions, now says it is working on an “ultra weapon”, which conceivably could be a non-nuclear EMP flux to use against South Korea.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Timcast documents reports of anger in Mexico against migrants, esp. near Tijuana; more on the low-wage myth

Today, Monday, November 19, 2018, Tim Pool (Timcast) produced a notable video where he explores further the reports of some violence from male migrants near Tijuana, and the desire of many Mexican citizens (south of our own border) to send them back to Central America.

Pool looks at various news reports, some of them foreign, from journalists on the ground.  His byline is even “Trump was right”.  Some reports, even from the Washington Post, seem skeptical that the migrants could be wrong.

David Bier )Cato) has pointed out a Washington Post article by Robert J. Samuelson, “The Myth of Stagnant Incomes”, debunking the idea that immigrants depress already low-wage domestic jobs.

Update: Nov. 20

The Asylumist has an op-ed on what a Democratic majority in the House means for asylum seekers.

A federal judge in Los Angeles has blocked Trump's order to refuse asylum claims after illegal entry, story by Miriam Jordan. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Trump's plans to end nuclear treaty with Russia moves the hands of the nuclear clock

Ira Helfand has a disturbing op-ed on Trump’s threat to end a 31-year-old nuclear arms limits agreement (with Putin’s Russia) that Ronald Reagan had signed with Gorbachev (for the former Soviet Union).

Helfand reports that there have been several incidents of miscommunication where a nuclear exchange could have started. He thinks we've been lucky to keep our way of life (let alone EMP, too). 

And Trump now wants us to “go our own way”.

Friday, November 16, 2018

WhatsApp rumor leads to mob attack on a jail in Mexico and burning of a man to death

The BBC reports a horrible incident in the town of Actalan, in central Mexico, where a mob broke into a police station and burned a prisoner to death based on a false rumor that the prisoner was involved in child kidnapping, sex trafficking and organ selling.  The rumors had been instigated on WhatsApp.
The link for the BBC story by Marcos Martinez is here.

Again, this incident shows the vulnerability of less literate people overseas to fake news and rumor spread in social media.

Most of the people in the town depend on money sent to them by relatives (legal or not) in the United States.
By Tim & Annette -, Copyrighted free use, Link

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

EU Copyright Directive in final negotiations, could prove disruptive to Internet user generated content around the western world

I’ve written about the European Union’s Copyright Directive with the controversial Articles 11 and 13 on my main blog, and also on Wordpress.

I thought I would share Cory Doctorow’s (Electronic Frontier Foundation) analysis on Medium here today.  Glyn Moody has a more detailed perspective here
The proposals are in “trilogue” now.  That’s supposed to be public, but this time, the EU parliament is behaving as if this were an “in secret” grand jury.

It’s hard to predict what will happen. Implementations might vary among countries.  They might take longer.  They might not even happen. It seems as though a major part of the EU hierarchy (most of all Axel Voss) simply thinks that user generated content on the Internet isn’t worth keeping anyway, because it challenges established cultural order.

Cory even says that if the Directive were implemented today, major platforms and hosting companies would either have to apply it everywhere (except China, North Korea, and a few other “desirable” countries) or simply block all EU users, and set up a completely separate Internet for the EU.  (Or make it work like China’s).

Hopefully Brexit would keep the U.K. out of this.  No wonder countries want do leave.  And we were so shocked when Brexit happened in June 2016, five months before Donald Trump was elected. 
One problem would occur for American bloggers or domain owners traveling to EU countries.  They might not be able to access their own blogs while in some countries.  Maybe there could be workarounds like VPN’s.  That’s pretty much how it would work if you went to China today.  (It seems that Blogger, Facebook, and YouTube are not available in China – except that Google Analytics shows I sometimes have traffic from China and various wonderful Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia – certainly Russia – would I get arrested if I went to any of these places;  my other sites seem to be available everywhere, including Wordpress blogs – so I have gotten unsolicited proposals to setup “business” in China!)