Monday, April 24, 2017

North Korea takes hostages


So, the era of “strategic patience” is over.  And here’s the setup with the DPRK.

The robot kingdom with a god-king (who looks fat and foppish, “dressed to kill”) seems to be closer to having long range ICBM’s than we had thought.  The forecasts of their ranges keep creeping up, all the way to Washington now.  The time table seems compressing, conceivably before 2020.
Furthermore, North Korea wants to have several of these so it could keep fighting in case of a pre-emptive strike.  And it may be better able to bury the testing and locations than had been thought.

 (Although the recent blast in Afghanistan might well have been intended to send a message.)

The other component is a challenge to Trump’s “America First”.  For the time being, North Korea has taken the entire country of South Korea hostage, so to speak, as well as Japan.  So it can continue to build up its ICBMs and nukes, maybe even a hydrogen bomb.

Conservative Post commentator Charles Krauthammer says we have cards to play, mainly China, “not your friend, a currency manipulator”, here   Krauthammer also gives a link to Post coverage of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 (when I was a “patient” at NIH).

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said that this country could be at grave risk before the end of Trump’s term, to CNN, Sunday morning, here.

Friday, April 14, 2017

NSA could stop North Korean missiles by hacking; Parade suggests DPRK could have longer range missiles than previously thought



There's another story suggesting that the US could hack into North Korea's missile systems and invoke malware if any missiles actually approached the IS.  Missiles toward Japan or South Korea (more likely) would allow much less time for detection.  The story appeared on Business Insider.


The speaker here still thinks that North Korea's cyber capabilities are limited and that China helped out a lot with the Sony Pictures hack.

Update: April 15

North Korea displayed ICBM canisters in a military parade today, suggesting it could have (or soon have) missiles capable of reaching some parts of the U,S., or that it might have submarine launch capabilities, CNN story. Yet today we did not see a nuclear weapons test.

A North Korean intermediate range missile test from NE North Korea failed and exploded seconds after launch, BBC story,   American NSA hackers could have been involved.  North Korea's plan seems to be to survive a pre-emptive strike, if it can build several nuclear ICBM's capable of reaching the US

Here is ABC's account on "what to know now". 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Trump administration may pre-emptively attack North Korea now if there is a hint of another nuclear test; underground bunker buster in Afghanistan


NBC News has released an “exclusive” news story to the effect that the Trump Administration is preparing to launch a pre-emptive conventional strike against North Korea if intelligence shows that another major DPRK nuclear test is imminent.

But China, South Korea, and Japan would all be consulted.

A grave risk could be a blitzkrieg attack by the DPRK on the South, as Seoul is not far away.


There is a perhaps a slight risk that a DPRK missile could reach Japan, and that it could be armed with chemical weapons. We are not as sure as we would like to be that DPRK cannot put some sort of crude nuclear device or dirty bomb on a missile that could reach that far, and this would seem to be a marginal risk.  We cannot be absolutely sure that a missile could not reach as far as Alaska or Hawaii.  George Tenet had issued such warnings during the Bush administration.  Obviously DPRK could try some kind of cyber attack on American companies (like Sony), but that would have taken preparation.

About two weeks after Trump’s inauguration, I had tweeted “@realDonaldRrump” that North Korea was the single most dangerous enemy we have. I wonder if it was noticed.

Trump’s attitudes have changed in the past couple of weeks. There is speculation that the 11 ton GBU-43/B-MOAB bunker buster, the largest conventional weapon the US has, was dropped on an ISIS underground hideout in Afghanistan, near the border of Pakistan, to send a message to North Korea, not to count on hiding its nuclear tests underground.

Economic conditions in Afghanistan have deteriorated from the inability of westerners to come and work without being kidnapped.

Suddenly Trump admits relations with Russia are lousy. And Sean Spicer has to apologize for calling Assad the worst monster of all time, worse than Hitler. Stalin, Pol Pot, and Idi Amin (and Saddam Hussein, who also used chemical weapons on his own people in 1988).

Is it good to have an oil company executive as Secretary of State -- to "negotiate" Apprentice-style with China and Middle Eastern countries?

Is Trump starting to let Jared Kushner become shadow president instead of Steve Bannon?

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Seoul Plaza, CCSA 4.0. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Time Magazine reports ISIS trying to gather material for a dirty bomb from loose radioactive waste sites, mostly in the former USSR


Time Magazine for April 17 has a frightening cover story by “Simon Shuster”, “The Uranium Underworld: ISIS Wants a Dirty Bomb – and It Knows Where to Get One.”  The online article (paywall) is only a little less explicit, “Inside the Uranium Underworld: Dark Secrets, Dirty Bombs”, frpm Tblisii, Georgia (former USSR republic).

Former Senator Sam Nunn and the Nuclear Threat Initiative have long pressed for recovery of nuclear waste from the former USSR, much of it in the outlying republics. There was a film about this in 2005, “The Last Best Chance”.

The article points out that a contaminated truck bomb or pressure cooker device could produce victims who cannot be safely treated by emergency personnel.



Of course, a dirty bomb would make some areas unusable and destroy real estate wealth, so an urban target especially could be enticing to a politically motivated (especially left-wing) terrorist attacking the “rentier class”.  This idea has been known, if almost never discussed openly, since the 1970s.  Wealth that had been inherited probably would never be recovered, again a goal that used to be articulated by the extreme Left back in the early 1970s.

In late 2002, I received an unsolicited email with a pdf showing the location of nuclear waste sites in Russia.  I did sent it to the FBI.  

Time also has a story today reporting that the Stockholm truck attacker had been denied asylum, and also a story where Hillary Clinton says we should start accepting some Syrian refugees again.

Wikipedia image attribution: 
By Bill Ebbesen - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY 3.0, Link

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

There are no words


There are no words.

ABC timeline and story on chemical weapons in NW Syria, against civilians, even hospitals.  Not since Bosnia.  Or Pol Pot.  Or the Holocaust.

War crimes.  Obama did very little.  But, Trump gets support from Putin, and so does Assad.

And the DPRK did a medium range missile test today.

Wiki: p.d. ethnic map of Syria. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Belarus mentions the idea of "social parasite" in its official decrees, referring to past Communism and the extreme left


Note a Washington Post editorial Monday morning, “At the Barricades in Belarus”. The protests concern president Lukashenko’s 2015 decree that “freelancers” and housewives who work less than 183 days a year be fined as “social parasites”.

The idea of undeservedness is a variation of unearned privilege, something that the radical Left wants to do away with.  I remember that from the People’s Party of New Jersey back in 1972.  But we’re not reminded much about this as official policy often.  But in the US, some red states want able bodied Medicaid recipients to work, like migrant farm workers paid by piece work, if necessary.

Note is made on the terror attack on a Metro in St. Petersburg, Russia this morning, developing story.

Public domain picture of Victory Square in Minsk.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Single or childless adults may be more likely to be denied non-immigrant visas (even before Trump)


Dara Lind explains “The art of the denial” of visas, which was pretty pervasive even before Trump took office, in this article.


 
One remark is that young single people applying for non-immigrant visas (no green card) are more likely to be denied because they have less incentive to return to their home countries.  

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Nunes has a deep throat contact, just 70 days into Trump's administration, and Vladimir Putin's Mafia hits (Watergate II approaching?)


I’ve giving the most detailed Facebook post I’ve seen yet about the whole Devin Nunes Caper, link. Nunes certainly meets Wikipedia's notability standards (maybe notoriety).  I’ll call it “To Russia Without Love”.  Anthony Bourdain should review this.  I don’t think Josh Garcia will make a Vogager stop in St. Petersburg, but I could be wrong.  Notwithstanding, “Devin” or “Deven” (Irish spelling) has been the first name of some very good people  (whom Trump would hire).



Vladimir Kara-Murza says he feels much better now, so maybe he is OK, but here is the story on Putin’s hits.

Then there is “Source D”, a kind of Deep Throat, as the Washington Post writes, here.
 
And the Senate opens hearings on the meddling starting tomorrow.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sessions announces cutoff of funds for sanctuary cities; some states support travel bans; why some refugees are better employees than US candidates


Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new policy today at the White House briefing, to deny federal funds from cities, counties or states that maintain sanctuary for undocumented immigrants arrested (or at least previously convicted) for other crimes.

Milo Yiannopoulos reports the policy here on his own news blog.

The Washington Times had run the story 18 minutes after the announcement here.

Sessions mentioned a shooting on the harbor in San Francisco and a rape recently in Maryland.  He praised governor Hogan for not supporting a proposal to make Maryland a sanctuary state.
Social services organizations in major cities (including Washington) could lose funding, as for HIV services.

A Facebook friend posted a disturbing item about slave trafficking in the US, here.

CNN reports that refugees often can fill jobs that US employers have trouble staffing because US-born people are more likely to fail drug tests.

Also, 13 states have filed amicus briefs supporting Trump's second travel ban. To Trump's credit, his orders have noted that foreign radical Islam does specifically target non-Muslims civilians over sexual orientation and gender issues.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What we know about London lone wolf attack today


I walked across the Westminster Bridge in London in November 1982 and was greeted by someone as I approached Parliament for “International Hello Day”.  I was most recently in London in May 2001. It's about time. 


I walked in almost the exact spot the lone wolf terrorist drove his car into the crowd today.
    
Vox has a summary on what we know so far, here.

There are five fatalities, including the attacker, cnn story

Wikipedia attribution link under CCSA 3.0 of Westminster Bridge at night. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Electronics ban on flights from some Muslim countries seems illogical; a cell phone could detonate a device in checked baggage anyway (CNN)


The recent ban on electronics inside cabins on airplanes was not prompted by and specific new threat, NBC News reports tonight, story here.

Rather it was a general assessment of increased attempts by Al Qaeda to place smaller bombs inside electronics.

But on AC360 tonight, a spokesperson pointed out that a laptop in the cargohold could be detonated remotely by a cell phone.  So that supposes the idea that the ban could follow to all electronics devices on planes, period, at least from some countries



The UK also established a similar ban for six countries today, which reduces the possibility that someone coming from Dubai, for example, could change planes in London.

In the most extreme cases, air travelers could not take their electronics with them, and would either do without, or find equipment to rent, which would not be as secure.  Of course, they could save more data in the cloud.

This sounds like a problem that could grow.

Later today:

MSN just released a story, explaining the evidence from the raid in Yemen, and saying that the laptop battery space bombs require a manual trigger, so checked baggage is not an issue.  This contradicts the speculation earlier on CNN tonight.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Congress starts connecting the dots about Trump and Russia (and no wiretap by Obama)


Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) has “connected the dots” today, maybe linking the Trump campaign to promising Russia to go soft on Ukraine and get harder on NATO not “paying its dues”, as Russia sought to discredit Hillary Clinton (whom it feared for her anti-Russian aggressiveness) before the election.  Here’s a video from “The Raw Story”, link.

All of this while Comey answered questions all day on “unmasking” operatives, and on whether Obama could have ordered illegal surveillance on Trump tower (he can’t).
 
And on the same day, we learn (CNN Situation Room) that North Korea could be three years away from an ICBM that could reach the U.S.  And Trump just says that the DPRK is “behaving very badly.”

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Some countries won't take back criminal deportees from U.S.


A lesser known aspect of the immigration and “travel ban” debate is that a few countries (actually 23 of them) won’t take back deportees, especially those with criminal records.  And the Supreme Court has recently ruled that the U.S. cannot hold criminal aliens indefinitely after serving their sentences, posing a danger to the individual people in their communities.

Four of the countries on the latest (stayed) travel ban:  Iran, Somalia, Libya and Sudan are on this list. Other countries include Cuba, Vietnam and China.

That certainly gives Trump some justification for not wanting to issue them visas (but not denying entry if they already have visas, previous post).

The Washington Times has a story on this Feb. 17 here.

The problem was mentioned Sunday morning, March 19, on ABC’s “Full Measure” with Sharyl Attkisson, in conversation with Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX), link.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Cato institute scholar notes subtleties in Maryland judge's order on Trump's Travel Ban 2.0


Dave Bier at the Cato institute had written a detailed argument on the constitutionality or statutory legality of various Trump travel bans back in February, link here  (this had followed an early article in the New York Times Jan 27 here.

Bier found a copy of the Maryland judge’s stay yesterday in the Los Angeles Times, here

Bier finds some relation in the Judge’s reasoning to his earlier articles, which seem to focus on the idea that Congress did not intend to allow visas to people who then cannot be allowed to enter the country (once at a border or airport) anyway.  Apply logical or mathematical contraposition (like in high school plane geometry):  if someone from one of the six banned countries has a visa, then he or she must be allowed into the country, according to the intent of previous federal immigration laws passed by Congress.

There is a lot of material to digest here.  But what matters more is what will be effective. 
  
Radicalization of family members of people already here legally (second generation) while in the U,S., even online, seems to be a much bigger issue than who can enter the country.  And that idea has implications. 

Furthermore, legitimate refugees and asylum seekers cannot be readily helped in the US in large numbers (Trump has cut the number to 50000) without thinking through the legal responsibilities of those in the US who would assist them (which gets into the whole private sponsorship issue, which is sorely lacking in the US compared to Canada). 

Note a posting Wednesday on my main "BillBoushka" blog on social media and asylum seekers (my question to the Asylumist got answered).  

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Trump's Travel Ban 2.0 stayed by Hawaii judge, but is likely to pass muster in higher courts


Here’s the Court Order from Hawaii at least temporarily stopping Trump’s Travel Ban 2.0   The ruling seems to take Trump’s campaign statements as evidence of a religious bias.

However, five GOP judges in the Ninth Circuit have already indicated that the second travel ban may be within the law, CNN story here.  That's after Trump attacked the Ninth Circuit in a speech tonight. Trump called judges "Wise Guys", the name of a well-known youth Christian play.

Persons who have never been in the country might not have constitutional rights before entry.

Also the ban appears to be closely related to the inability of affected countries to cooperate with DHS, which might be viewed as falling within the president’s discretion, even if many observers disagree.

However today the Cato Institute released a paper backing up claims of generally much lower rate of criminality of immigrants, even from unstable and Muslim countries, paper by Michaelangelo Landgrave and Alex Nowrasteh.

Update:

A Maryland judge joined in with another restraining order,