Sunday, January 21, 2018

I step up my activism on EMP and missile defense behind the scenes


I was at a town hall on MLK Day evening with Congresssman Don Beyer (D-VA) and I popped a question about missile defense and risk to EMP strike from North Korea (especially E1).
   
He indicated that DHS and utilities were aware of the issues and were taking active measures to make infrastructure safer.

Likewise I was in some discussions this weekend with a technology executive.  There are standards that industrial facilities and server farms follow when constructed. There is awareness of the problem, but there isn’t a specific scientific assessment of what it takes to mitigate the risk conclusively.

If the US infrastructure is secured from E1 and E3 EMP’s (they are different threats) then the US has move leverage over North Korea in “diplomacy”.  This includes missile defense (which the shennanigens in Congress over shutdowns could put in jeopardy – not paying military personnel). 

 Likewise a similar consideration applies for Israel and Iran. Taking care of this is critical for foreign policy. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

North Korea warns that missiles are pointed only at the U,S., even as DPRK sends delegation to the Winter Olympics


North Korea has agreed to send a delegation to the Olympics.  CNN has a detailed story this morning, by Joshua Berlinger and Taehoon Lee here

Will Ripley speaks in a video there. But Ripley (“North Korea: The Secret State”_ just tweeted (with an #breaking tag)  now that North Korea officials had warned that North Korea’s missiles were pointed specifically at the United States, not at South Korea, Russia, or China (or presumably Japan).  That is, Trump has no choice but to accept North Korea as a nuclear power. I don’t see a tweet in response from @realDonaldTrump yet.  That could imply however that an attack on South Korea is not a threat. 

What does South Korea think of North Korea as a nuclear state?

Wikipedia source for image. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

ISIS now comprises true believes in an apocalypse (Gareme Wood)


Graeme Wood made an alarming comment about ISIS coming back on CNN this weekend.
He discounted the idea that ISIS followers are just psychologically adrift people looking to “belong”. He said that they are “true believers” in the idea of an apocalypse, and that the loss of territory (Raqqa) merely feeds that belief.


They even believe that Jesus will return (as a kind of Clark Kent) and participate as part if the process.

It strikes me that this comports a bit with the Christian idea of “Rapture”. In that idea, the “saved” people are evacuated spiritually to another universe (heaven), and the “leftovers” are left to decay.
  
You could even interpret the plans for my novel “Angel’s Brother” that way (as well as my screenplay “Epiphany”).  The “average Joes” of the world really don’t have a chance or matter enough as “people”. If you think about this culturally, it’s a little dangerous.  Suppose a book or movie like this gets popular and makes a lot of money after coming from an asymmetric source (like me).  Would it be reasonable then to think that a “cult” could fantasize it could impose this solution on the world asymmetrically?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Chain Migration, and temporary protected status for workers who send money home to families


As Stephen Dinan writes (“Cash Is King”) in the Washington Times, El Salvador is trying to keep Trump from undermining the temporary protected status of immigrants from El Salvador, because they send cash home to relatives, something that richer Americans don’t ever have to think about. .    El Salvador is one of Central America’s most violent countries, but US churches do send relief (even high school and college age) missions there.

The cash-home to relatives is also very common with Muslim families in Europe.

  

This is a good place to mention a single issue organization, “NumbersUSA” which wants to stop chain migration and reduce even legal immigration to what it sees as a manageable quantity. 

Update: Jan 11

Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) noted on CNN that chain migration does not take place in the large numbers claimed by the right. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

North Korea wants to talk to South Korea directly; could its satellites be a threat now?


Kim Jong Un continues to play “strong man” against Trump, claiming New Years Eve he has the nuclear button in his office and can reach the United States. But Un offered to do diplomacy with South Korea directly, bypassing the U.S., and to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics in February (NY Times story). 

Un reportedly said he would not use his nukes unless threatened. But the desire to talk only to South Korea suggests the possibility of demanding that the US withdraw -- rather like the old Domino Theory we remember from Vietnam. 


There are reports that North Korea is preparing for another missile test. One story suggests that North Korea wants to test loading an anthrax payload because a nuclear-tipped missile won’t reach the US.  It sounds rather fanciful to expect that such a payload could actually produce infections if it re-entered. There is some possibility that it could launch another satellite.  The US would not know if (after a DPRK claim) such a satellite could have a fission device capable of inflicting an E1 EMP attack as it passed over the US.  James Woolsey had suggested in March that this was already possible with an existing Shining Star satellite.

So far North Korea has not exploded any device from any missile over the ocean on re-entry. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

US very near tipping point on North Korea, as sanctions are violated and Iran seems like a willing covert partner of DPRK


A couple of alarming articles appear this New Year’s Eve.


CNBC, in an article by Clay Dillow, writes that Trump’s biggest threat may be the “axis of evil” (a term used before by Bush) where North Korea and Iran cooperate covertly, approaching a “tipping point”. 
  
And on ABC News, Mile Mullen (a former chairman of JCS) says we are closer to nuclear war on the Korean peninsula than ever before (he did not include the US homeland). Trump has behaved in a way to make diplomatic solutions impossible, and boxed himself into a position where prevailing in conflict is the only option.   Trump claims he has "washed the cobwebs" off North Korea policy. 

Update: Jan 1, 5 PM EST

Here's CNN's take on the protests in Iran, and on Trump's tweets.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Russian ships break the sanctions on North Korea on high seas


There are reliable stories that Russian ships have loaded oil onto North Korean tankers at sea, as in this Yahoo story, breaking the sanctions.

The stories also claim that there is no proof of direct involvement from Putin.

There are various stories that some channels to discussions may open since the Winter Olympics will take place in South Korea in late February. There are also reports that the DPRK will not back down on being a nuclear power and regards the sanctions as "war". And as I've reported elsewhere, there are indications that the Trump administration is aware of a possible DPRM EMP E1 threat, just as the US could do a non-nuclear E1 attack on North Korea now with cruise missiles.

On Saturday, Vox reported that Trump-UN sanctions are breaking down quickly, which could force Trump to act sooner to remain credible. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Jakarta is sinking fast


Michael Kinnelman has a booklet-length story in the New York Times about the sinking of Jakarta, Indonesia, partly because of illegal building practices and corruption. 

Jakarta is likely to be the first big world capital massively affected by climate change.
  

Jakarta is said to be the second largest urban area in the world.  
  
Indonesia has recently had a controversy over an attempt to pass an anti-gay law. 
  
By Sanko - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Russia threatens undersea cables between US and Europe


Michael Birnbaum of the Washington Post reports on an apparent Russian threat to undersea Internet cables across the Atlantic. 
  
Submarines are reported hovering in the areas near the cables and could sever them, cutting of Internet connections between North America and western Europe, most of the major western democracies that Putin increasingly sees as enemies, Trump notwithstanding. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Venezuela exterminates its own poor in Nazi-like fashion


The Wall Street Journal reports in  booklet-length article that the new regime is executing the poor people in barrios indiscriminately to get rid of them extrajudicially, in a way that makes the Philippines look tame. 

The story by Juan Feroro and Malois Castro is here

This is the regime that replaced Hugo Chavez.  But this country, after North Korea, seems to be among the worst examples of how extreme socialism and communism fail.
  
Today Quora had a question on what the worst ideology ever is, and someone answered the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, where Pol Pot tried to force everyone into peasantry for ideological pleasure only. Communism and fascism can turn out to be the same things. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Sleepwalking toward nuclear war with North Korea, alarming Vox article Monday


Monday, Zack Beauchamp of Vox published a challenging piece, “We are sleepwalking toward war with North Korea; the risk of nuclear war is growing, and it’s real”, link. 
  
I could say “slouching toward war” like Judge Robert Bork’s book “Slouching toward Gomorrah”.
  
Beauchamp outlines the brinkmanship that could lead to war.  This includes the idea that if you think you will be attacked, better to strike first.  There are also aspects of the Domino Theory from the 1960s and Vietnam.  Furthermore, Kim Jong Un could wind up to have a nilhistic streak after all. 


So far, the piece hasn’t gotten a lot of traction today in the media.  Vox is generally known for liberal to moderate positions more or less in line with Hillary Clinton’s.  But this article could fit on Fox.

The article poses horrific ideas, like suddenly learning in the news that NYC has had a nuclear explosion with hundreds of thousands dead.  But this idea has been possible since 2001 with radical Islamic terrorism and Graham Allison’s book “Nuclear Terror”.

It’s important to remember that the Nov. 28 test device apparently disintegrated upon re-entry.  And Trump may have a non-nuclear microwave weapon (mounted on cruise missiles) to take out the missile sites, but we don’t know how well Faraday-shielded these sites are.

The Vox story does not mention North Korea’s EMP threat (mainly E1).

There is another story that there is more evidence that North Korea was behind the wanna cry ransomware last spring
  
Tillerson is reported to have been rattled by a reporter (AOL).

David Ignatius in the Washington Post reports on how a North Korean envoy reacted to all this speculation, here.  

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Lindsey Graham warns that time is running out on North Korea: 70% chance of war if one more test


Various media sources, such as Ed Kilgore of New York Magazine, are reporting Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as estimating the chances that Trump will go to war with North Korea at 70% if Fat Little Rocket Man carries out one more nuclear test (which seems to have caused considerable earthquake damage or a missile test (at least one that detonates something over the ocean). It’s 30% overall. 

An Atlantic article by Uri Friedman notes that once Un has reliable nuclear weapons he can sell them to terrorists on the black market even without any more provocative acts on his own.

But the articles don't consider whether Un has an EMP he could use now as retaliation.  Trump seems to be undercutting Tillerson's efforts at "diplomacy".  
   
Please, no fats or fems.  Not even for God-Kings.  Real angels are thin and wiry, or maybe even autistic (like The Good Doctor).

Monday, December 4, 2017

US begins war games on Korean area with stealth jets; questions on US missile defense capabilities; Graham tells Trump to remove American dependents from S Korea now!


McMaster said that the US is in a race to contain the North Korean threat, according to BBC, which implies that Trump could want to provoke a war before he believes North Korea can really hit the US with a nuke (EMP is more ambiguous). The BBC forks to other alarming stories, such as this
  
  
Here is McMaster’s interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday 
  
The US and South Korea are conducting joint maneuvers this week, including stealth fighters which North Korea would have a hard time detecting.
  
Will Ripley of CNN has warned that these exercises could provoke other North Korean belligerence this week. Ripley has also said that Trump has been provocative in calling Kim Jong Un a “puppy”, a profound insult in Korean culture.

Bonnier Berkowitz and Aaron Steckelberg have a “scrollable” report in the Washington Post on the progress of the GMD missile defense system for the US at home.    The problem is that Reagan-style Star Wars defense systems were put on hold for fear that they undermined the MAD theory among the superpowers.  But reliable defense could be critical to handle rogue states. 

Update: later Monday, December 4

Senator Lindsey Graham of S.C. wants families of servicemembers and contractors removed from South Korea now (Time story). Bob Baer (formerly CIA) told CNN he estimates the probability of war on the Korean peninsula soon at 50%.  My take is that the most dangerous time is July 2018.

Later:

Here is an alarming story on Vox by Alex Ward, usually temperate in its reporting. I've tweeted Ward about EMP.

But NBC reports (Cynthia McFadden et al) that the USAF has a non-nuclear microwave flux E1-level EMP weapon that could fry North Korean missile command and control in the first few minutes of war.  That is, unless the DPRK is good at building Faraday cages. If Trump could "win" that easily (like winning a piece in the opening in a chess game) he could make himself popular again.

Here's a Chicago Tribune article on "how this will end" without mention of EMP.

Here's my latest "warning" to mainstream media that it needs to start connecting the dots and finishing fact finding

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Fox News ups the ante on North Korean EMP threat; will "non-conservative" news sites follow suit?


Anthony Furey of Fox News has posted a challenging story whose title ends with “We need to be prepared”. The previous words are “North Korea might be able to knock out power to millions of Americans”, link here

This is the first time I have seen a major story from a major broadcast network admitting that this is a real possibility.  I have seen stories from Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns TV stations, and Vox.  


I tweeted this and got a reply from “REAL Human Rights”, here
   
I’ve contacted OAN and CNN reporters on this story so far.  Let’s see if the coverage spreads. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

"Remembering Vietnam" exhibit at the National Archives in Washington


Today, I visited the “Remembering Vietnam” exhibition in the O’Brien Gallery at the National Archives Museum in Washington DC.  The exhibit runs until Jan 6 (hope for no government shutdown).  While I was there, North Korea launched its longest ICBM test yet, which I found out on my phone after I left out. 
The exhibit follows the PBS film “The Vietnam War” by Ken Burns and is divided into the same twelve segments (“critical episodes”), and has film booths with segments from Burns.

The exhibits do not allow photography, out of concern for preservation of fading documents.

There is a top secret CIA cable after the TET offensive that seems naïve about Communist durability (there were followup attacks in April and August, 1968).

An early episode suggests that LBJ lied in complaining a second attack on the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964. 

There is also material on LBJ’s spying on Anna Chennault during the 1968 election.

The panels demonstrate the constant loyalty in North Vietnam to the “socialist state”.
  

Public domain photos are available at the archives website.