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. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Defector's escape could help undermine Kim Jong Un's regime; North Korea might be able to undermine American dollar as reserve currency; also big ICBM test


CNN has offered a video showing the defector’s escape from North Korea, here (Joshua Berlinger story)

Analysts have suggested that the Kin Jong Un regime might destroy two or three generations of the defector’s family, as well as remove the other soldiers who “let it happen”.

The defector was found to have tapeworm infestation, indicative of the poor sanitation of North Korea’s military.


And news of the defection is likely to leak into North Korea and weaken the regime.

But Vox and MSN have also suggested that Kim Jong Un’s suspension of missile tests seems related to the harshness of the Korean winter and might resume during the winter Olympics in South Korea.

And a Facebook friend sent me a Huffington article suggesting that North Korea could benefit from the tendency for Iran and Russia to avoid the “Petrodollar” (story by Alastair Crooke), and escape sanctions. This idea comports with Porter Stansberry’s theory that the entire financial system can implode if the dollar is abandoned as a reserve currency (cf blog Sept. 1, 2013).



Update: Nov. 28

On the 56th Anniversary of my own William and Mary expulsion, Kim Jong Un launches the longest hanging ICBM test yet, capable of traveling 8000 miles, including the entire US East Coast, if fired on a low trajectory. Trump says, "We'l take care of it."  Anna Fifield describes it in the Washington Post, saying experts are backing off on the likelihood that DPRK really can detonate a thermonculear weapon on re-entry (would add to weight).  CNN waffled on the state of US missile defenses.  What about an EMP device at high altitude (at least E1, which would not require much weight)?  There were some reports that the missile broke up.

It sounds like Trump could be tempted into pre-emption before DPRK really can detonate a nuke from an ICBM in flight (which DIA thought it might have already as far back as August). Is that "taking care of it"?

DPRK still has yet to detonate a weapon of any kind from a missile not over its own space.  That would be a game-changer.  US could have tried to shoot down today's launch.

Have noticed more people in uniform around Ballston (Arlington VA) the last few days (a lot of military intelligence agencies have office space there).


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Scattered news stories point to Putin's threat to Balkans, even to Finland, while politicians sleep


Recently, foreign  publications have been noting mounting tension not only in the Baltics (like Estonia) but also Finland, over the possibility that Vladimir Putin could make an aggressive move in all of northern Europe.

A brutal, seemingly random shooting of two female journalists and one other woman in Imatra, Finland, about two miles from the Russian border in early 2016, seems maybe not so random now (Guardian). The pundits at the time did get into the subject of Finnish gun ownership for reindeer hunts.  The town of Svetogorsk (“Fountain Park”) Russia is just four miles away, across the border. The whole area looks curious on Google maps, that you can follow to Lake Ladoga and then down to St. Petersburg.  The area was transferred from Karelia to the Leningrad oblask in 1948, apparently for political clarity. 

  In July, the UK express described the tunnels under Helsinki to deal with a possible Russian counter-NATO activity.  

  
And Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge explained about the same time how Finland was quietly preparing for possible Russian aggression. 

The Washington Examiner (a conservative paper), on Aug. 31, described how Russian exercises could form a prelude to an attack in Europe. 

And Russia has long term intentions of helping North Korea with a natural gas line, despite the tensions now.

We see a new model of aggression: post-Communist, sometimes secular and sometimes religious, statist capitalism and dictatorship precluded on “rightsizing” its individual citizens to keep a country “stable”.

The complicated backdrop from the past comes from the Russo-Finnish-wars early during WWII, which take a college history course to explain (later). 

The wars were covered in the 1999 Finnish film “Ambush” (“Tar Rukiejarven”) which I saw at the University of Minnesota when I lived in Minneapolis, and at least hinted at in the 2003 Russian film “The Return”, set around Lake Ladoga.   Maybe the world politicians are asleep on this one.

The Washington Diplomat has a piece on Oct. 31 by Larry Luxner, "From Digital Realm to Physical Terrain, Estonia Keeps Wary Eye on Russia", link.
  
By IKit - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Trump administration gives temporary Haitian immigrants the boot (18 more months)


The Trump administration is ending a temporary residency program for about 60,000 “refugees” from Haiti, many displaced by the January 2010 earthquake. The ABC News story is here

The action does not affect Haitians who went to Brazil or other countries in South America and then came here.

The immigration benefit will be extended one last time, until May 2019 (to 18 months).

I have never heard anything about what individual Americans could do about this, compared to other issues (for example LGBT asylum seekers).  I am not aware of any specific sponsorship programs, or of discussion that it should be expected.  But some churches have targeted projects for specific countries in Central America and in the Caribbean, which would then include Haiti.

Early in the AIDS crisis in the early 1980s, “Haitians” were considered one of the “4 H’s”.  
  

Sunday, November 19, 2017

China's obsession with personal rightsizing


Helen Gao has a disturbing article in the New York Times Nov. 15, “The Chinese Communist Party's Guide to Moral Living”.   China seems to be trying to make it credible that a country can seem advanced in interaction with the outside world and still demand moral rightsizing of its citizens at the individual level.  That keeps the well-off from having to watch their backs due to instability where the less well-off have nothing to lose. It also funds individualized dissent as a form of speech that adds to that instability among those who really get “exploited.”

Update: Nov. 28

Ian Bremmer, in a Time Magazine article Nov. 13, 2017, p. 41, "Advantage China: China's state-dominated economy is built to win the future", described China's "social credit system".  Imagine if your web or social media behavior and even your community engagement (or lack of it) were folded into a credit score or "karma". 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Extortion, blackmail against LGBTQ people common in many African countries, especially Nigeria


A Wordpress posting by Mike Daemon today points to the practice of extortion and blackmail in African countries with strict anti-gay laws, especially after robberies.  The link is here
Right now Nigeria seems to be one of the worst countries for this.  All of that is disturbing, in contradiction to the entrepreneurial aspect of business in Nigeria in a recent report on “Parts Unknown” by Anthony Bourdain. (TV blog, Oct. 15, 2017). 

Wikipedia attribution link by Benji Robinson, CCSA 4.0 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Ethiopian communism results in a society of prying eyes


The New York Times has a rather striking article Kimikno de Freytus-Ramura, “We are everywhere: How Ethiopia became the land of prying eyes.”


Communism was presented to me when I was younger as a system where everything you say is watched, and this sounds like it is the case in Ethiopia as the government recruits nested legions on spies on each other in all the villages.  And there seems to be a party system that provides some privilege.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture by Senay of capital Addis Ababab. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Pentagon admits it can't take out "Un" threat without ground war in North Korea


NBCNews is reporting that South Korea has said “War with Kim Jong Un must not happen”, story by F. Brinley Bruton, two days after NBC particularly had made a point of reporting Pentagon findings that it would take a ground invasion to remove all of North Korea’s hidden nuclear test sites and missile launchers. 

Of course, air strikes (maybe 4G tactical nuclear weapons based on new laser triggers) from the US could destroy maybe most of these capabilities, but not all, to prevent retaliation, possibly against the US.


This morning the Cato Institute in Washington held a 3 hour forum on what to do about North Korea. I’ll have a detailed posting about it on Wordpress soon, along with complete videos. There was concern that the US does not really have reliable missile defense, and that it may not make sense to defend South Korea forever (that is, in time the old Domino Theory of the LBJ era could kick in).

North Korea has been “warning” Trump not to do or say anything rash on his Asia trip (he will not visit the DMZ).  Fat-shaming chance, as per Milo. ("Fat little rocket man”??) 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Presbyterian group sponsors benefit concert and dance for Syrian and Iraqi refugees


Three Presbyterian churches in northern Virginia (Trinity Presbyterian Church, First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, and Immanuel Presbyterian Church of McLean VA, held a benefit Saturday night “Hope Rising:Refugees Rebuilding Lives” for Syrian and Iraq refugees.

  
The benefit was in part sponsored by Rev. Elmarie Parker and Rev, Scott Parker, from the Associates for Ecumenical Partnerships.  They sponsor a program called “Strong Kids, Strong Emotions”.
  

   
The music was provided by a group called “Collective a’Chord”.  


Thursday, November 2, 2017

CNN interviews military family stationed in South Korea living under threat and possible evacuation order



Brooke Baldwin on CNN interviews a US family living under threat of a “retaliation” from Kim Jong Un from the North.



This is a military family in a “house”. Home is back in the states. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Latest NYC attack invokes the problem of "gratuitous" social media


Certainly this tragedy is going to illustrate how the many in any social group can be punished for the sins of a few. 

Trump says he is eliminating the “diversity lottery” and changing to a “merit-based” system but Congress has little appetite for anything now.  


And what seems particularly disburbing Sayfullo Saipov, from Uzbekistan, not only reportedly bragged to police and seemed well off economically, but that he followed “gratuitous” social media recruiting methods to a tee.   He seems to be radicalized in the US since 2010. 

But he also acted like a self-appointed soldier, who looks at civilians as enemy combatants.


The Boston Tsarnaev brothers had come from part of Russia, and this terrorist comes from a former Soviet republic.  Does a history of communism also play into the mindset?  It should be noted that the only "communist" or post-communist country on any Trump list is North Korea. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Xi Jingping takes on Mao-like powers and status of his "People's Republic of Capitalism"


Chinese president Xi Jingping has outdone Donald Trump, getting his name in the Chinese “constitution”.  Vox has a typical story by Zeeshan Aleem, here

His powers are said to be Mao-like. His ideology sounds like statist nationalism, curiously echoing Donald Trump.  And he plans to crack down on dissent even further.

It seems that authoritarian leaders are getting more determined that only they can right-size everyone and guarantee every citizen that everyone else is kept in his place.  But is this real communism, or statist capitalism?  Mao was serious about the commie stuff.


Yet, everybody (but me) has to do business in China. (Even Facebook tries.)  Blogger is banned in China.  Trump has to count on him to sanction North Korea. 
I wonder why Wordpress is allowed but Google products are not.  It appears that my non-Google hosted sites are accessible in China despite their heavily political content.

Wikipedia attribution link of 2015 meeting by Iran Khamanei with Xi, CCSA 4.0, owned by Iran. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Trump could try a strike after visit to DMZ in November, to "get it done" before the Winter Olympics in South Korea in Feb. 2018, but "Milo-Dangerous"


President Donald Trump is supposed to visit Asia between Nov. 3 and Nov. 14 and is supposed to visit the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea during that period, which could escalate tensions, story

Others have noted the 2018 winter Olympics are to be held in PyeongChang, South Korea, Feb. 9-25.
  
That means that if Trump wants to start a surgical war to stop the DPRK from keeping its nuclear weapons (as if nears the ability to hit he US with thermonuclear weapons and EMP, and may already have that capability), he would risk the South Korean people immediately but the risk to the US would increase in early 2018.  So Trump would appear to have every reason to act before the end of November, to remove the regime "in time" for things to settle down for the Winter Olympics.  A morbid fantasy, maybe/ 


Observers say there is no sign of increased activity at he Pentagon – lights on at night, or Metro traffic.



Here’s a long article by Evan Osnos in The New Yorker, Sept. 18, 2018, “The risk of nuclear war with North Korea”. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Assassination of "Panama Papers" anti-graft journalist in Malta shows independent bloggers can be at risk even in democratic countries


The New York Times has a very disturbing editorial about the recent assassination by car bomb of an independent journalist (that is, blogger) in Malta, “a developed democratic country”, that is, Daphe Caruana Galizia, link here. The opinion rather speaks for itself.  She was known as the “Panama Papers journalist”.


The Washington Post has a detailed story by Eli Rosenberg. Does this filer down to real amateurs?

By Inkwina (talk · contribs) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Singapore's educational system: a model for the world, or authoritarian?


A reader sent me an article on Singapore’s education system as a “world leader”.  That is CM Rubin’s World’s article.  

  

One can wonder if this education system particularly promotes the values of an authoritarian and nationalistic city-state which, however. Is stable and prosperous and has very activist methods to force various national groups to interact, as Fareed Zakaria has often explored. 
  
By Erwin Soo from Singapore, Singapore - view of MBS from the gardens, CC BY 2.0, Link

Monday, October 2, 2017

Catalonia may become independent; could Spain break up?


Catalonia leaders seem determined to make Catalonia a sovereign country, it would seem from this article this evening by Raphael Minder on the New York Times, link here

I visited Bilbao in 2001, stayed near the ETA quarters, where the Basque region has sought similar independence.



Catalonia used to refer to itself as “a country in Spain”.  Isn't that true of Portugal, too? 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Vietnam War myths exposed


Lan Cao has a long piece in the Outlook section of the Washington Post, Sunday Oct. 1, p. B3, “Five Myths: The Vietnam War”, in response to Ken Burns film (TV reviews blog, Sept. 17).


One of the myths is that the War was fought mainly by draftees, although draft calls increases sharply from 1965 through 1968. Another is that the Viet Cong were ragtag;  they were professional North Vietnamese soldiers.  Still is that South Vietnamese soldiers were unwilling to fight.  They were overwhelmed after lack of support in the final years after the US pulled out.

All of this provides lessons for how to handle Korea now. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Saudi Arabia will let women drive, finally


Saudi Arabia will finally allow women to drive, as reported by CNN and multiple sources. But it may take until June 2018 to take effect.


The move is seen as necessary to help the stumbling Saudi economy.  But it breaks up a cultural norm that used to keep women more dependent on men.


CCSA 2.0 Wikipedia attribution link for photo by Six. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Trump's speech "warning" North Korea evokes coming perils which Trump may not fully understand (hint: Milo)


NBC News has published Donald Trump’s first United Nations speech here. Trump also slammed Iran (the object of the movie "American Assassin" which I saw today) and Venezuela. The North Korean delegation walked out. 
   
Everybody is talking about the “Rocket Man” threat.  I guess we don’t need to run it further into the ground.  CNN calls this global Trumpism, shattering international norms.  Every country is for itself.  Remember history class in high school?  Remember that essay question on explaining mercantilism?  (I got 15 points off out of 20 in 11th grade on that.)

CNN reports that the "Rocket Man" metaphor has been added to the teleprompter, and that the phrase had come from the British periodical "The Economist". There is also a song by Elton John.
  
To put things bluntly, there are advanced “bunker buster” tactical weapons (including nuclear 4th Generation) that could take out most or all of Un’s missile silos very quickly.  The biggest danger to the US sounds like a level 1 EMP from a missile or maybe a satellite. South Korea could be bombarded with conventional artillery (for a few hours at least) and another level 1 EMP.  Does the US evacuate the South first? Maybe its own citizens? 
  

I think it pays to tweet “@realDonaldTrump” and urge caution.  He actually reads individual people even if he hates the establishment media.



We want diplomacy to work. But down the road (despite Fareed Zakaria’s claims about Un’s “rationality”) we could face the dominoes – demands that the US pull out of defending South Korea completely.  A grave sign would be a missile launch (or even a satellite) that actually does detonate something.  That would ratchet up the immediate risk to the continental U.S. very suddenly. The 2014 Sony hack shows that Un can lose his temper (as can Trump)  -- remember Google’s joke about defending free speech in Seth Rogen (and James Franco) movies?  What if Milo Yiannopoulos fat-shames Kim Jong Un on Breitbart or on his own site.  It sounds so perverse: Un actually gained weight to look like his grandfather, as if this would make his people worship him.  It seemed to work, more fully than any domestic religious cult here (even James Jones).  The idea of doing this sounds unthinkable in the West.  

Update: Sept. 21

In addition to the dotard remarks, North Korea has threatened to detonate a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific, the first nuclear test outside its boundaries.  And it it detonated from a satellite or missile, that would cross a new threshold for Trump, Guardian story.

Update: Oct. 8

There's a lot of attention to Trump's tweets, about the "calm before the storm" and "only one thing will work", Washington Post story.   UK and Russian sources claim that DPRK will probably fire a major ICBM test by Oct. 10 (a Communist holiday) but it is unclear if it can detonate from a missile.  Atlantic has a major piece by Mark Bowden on four strategies for dealing with North Korea here. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Dream Act's paradox about "legality"; Army refusing to process immigrant recruits


In the wake of Trump’s waffling policies on DACA, Army recruiters have stopped trying to recruit well-qualified immigrants, writes Alex Horton in the Washington Post Saturday, p. A3, link here

Many existing tentative contracts have been cancelled.

Here's a copy of the proposed Dream Act (S. 1615) right now.  David Bier of Cato points out that the bill would actually favor “illegality”, as paradox.

Friday, September 15, 2017

No, our missile defense is not what it needs to be; Reuters mentions EMP; so does BBC


The “mainstream” media has finally mentioned EMP again, at least in relation to South Korea (as noted by “Resilient Societies) in this Reuters story about Thursday’s intermediate range missile test from Pyongyang that flew over northern Japan, link .  But there was no mention of E1 vs. E3. 



The BBC has a disturbing article by John Marcus from July 4 about the inadequacies of US missile defense today.  We gave up on Star Wars, which Reagan wanted, in the late 1980s with some treaties that ironically are credited for helping bring down the Soviet Union.  But that made us more vulnerable, eventually, to a rogue state like North Korea.  On the other hand, a perfect missile defense could make North Korea’s threats irrelevant. 

Update:  later today

One  more story about the implicit EMP and WMD, perhaps even saboteur threats:  BBC. (Marcus)  Here's another story about missile defense

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Israel ends draft exemption for ultra-orthodox group; transgender serves openly there


The New York Times reports (Isabel Kershner) that Israel’s Supreme Court voided the military conscription exemptions for an ultra-Orthodox Jewish group, p. A9 today, link. 

In Israel, the draft (which includes women) is part of national socialization.  Rand corporation (back in a 1993 study on lifting the ban on gays in the military)  had pointed out that Israel had gradually eliminated an older ban on gays by the early 1990s. 


But here the exemption reminds one of the divisive student deferments from the draft during the Vietnam era. 

Israel allows transgender people to serve openly in the military (and requires it), CNN 

Monday, September 11, 2017

An iPhone drop over North Korea?


Alex Lockie writes on AOL News about a former Navy Seal , Jocko Willnik,who tweeted a “final solution ” for North Korea. “Drop 25 Million iPhones on them, and put satellites over them with free will”'   They'd have to be parachuted in, given the acceleration of gravity. 

Lockie thinks this might work, if ordinary peasants learn they don’t have to eat grass so that Kim can have his nukes.

Here's a Foreign Affairs discussion about what the US can do about DPRK, with Gideon Rose, Ely Ratner, Shelia A. Smith, and Scott Snyder.

Update: Sept. 12

Joby Warrick writes in the Washington Post about how Russian smuggling from Vladivostok gets around the sanctions.  The mere sanctions are likely to lead to North Korean (EMP E1) threats.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Wall Street Journal ponders regime change for DPRK while Washington Post publishes dire warning from former CIA official


The Wall Street Journal on Sept. 5 printed an editorial “Options for Removing Kim Jong Un”, link here.   The WSJ had previously explored the topic July 31.  William Cohen, former Defense Secretary under Clinton, has argued that this is the best outcome.

That is not the policy of the Trump administration, of course – despite the “we’ll see” and “fire and fury” rhetoric from Trump. “We are not your enemy” Tillerson says.
  
So then consider the warning from a former CIA acting director, Michael Morell, in the Washington Post this morning. “North Korea may already be able to launch a nuclear attack against the United States”, this morning.  Could a complete oil or trade embargo, if really effective, really tempt DPRK into a nuclear strike if it thinks it has nothing to lose anyway? 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Trump's proposed ban on trade with nations doing business with North Korea could be economically costly to Americans


Apparently President Donald J. Trump would have the power to stop any party in the US from doing business in any country trading with North Korea.

Alexander Smith has a provocative piece for NBC News indicating that this could throw the US economy into severe recession, wipe out many jobs (which Trump has been trying to save)  There might be no iPhone8.  Broken computers might get harder to fix.

Here is the link.

Of course, one wonders why American companies (Apple) can’t move more jobs back home or to more acceptable countries.


It’s not clear if this would just stop with China or move on to other countries.  Would China really bow to such pressure.

This sounds like demanding “sacrifice” from Americans to stop war.  But would it?  Kim Jong Un could feel he’s screwed, waiting until he has a deliverable H-bomb, and attack the US anyway, or try to demand that the US leave the Korean Peninsula by launching missiles that detonate over the Pacific.  This may indeed be the old Domino Theory at work.  Those of us who got drafted during the Vietnam era know this all too well.
  

I rather expect Trump to address the nation on this matter Tuesday. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

North Korea claims to have tested an ICBM ready hydrogen bomb; considerable doubts remain as to credibility of claim; EMP threat reinforced in social media already


Starting Saturday night EDT there have been several provocative reports from North Korea. One is that Kim Jung Un was photographed next to what was claimed by the DPRK to be a thermonuclear hydrogen bomb supposedly miniaturized to fit on a nuclear warhead.

The second was a 6.3 Richter artificial earthquake in North Korea, felt in the South and in northeastern China, which the DPRK intends to suggest as an underground hydrogen bomb test. CNN reports here. It is possible that the underground test was deliberately conducted in a less stable area geologically to create the impression of a bigger blast.  Some observers says that this could have been an enhanced fission device.  It is possible to make a homemade fusion device to generate power (a "garage sun" as Taylor Wilson made as a teen) but not very easy (fortunately) to make a nuclear weapon from it.  


Previously stated concerns need restating.  North Korea has yet to detonate a nuclear device from a missile anywhere.  A particularly dangerous development would be such a detonation over an uninhabited area of the Pacific, possibly at higher altitude (EMP effect for some distance) and then perhaps a demand of US withdrawal from protecting South Korea.  But it is not really proven that the DPRK is capable of such a detonation or is even as close to it as some reports (the DIA in early August) claim.  In the meantime, it sounds very unlikely that the DPRK would carry out its threat against Guam. 

The very best strategy would include making US missile defenses and NORAD as impenetrable as possible (including from submarine launch or clandestine ships that have been hijacked).  Media reports on the reliability of current missile defenses vary, but I worked on this back in 1972 for the Navy!  It has been written that the US-NATO is about a year away from a major technology upgrade
.
President Trump has not filled all his positions in the State Department, and needs to depend on Mattis, Pence, and Tillerson, as well as key Senators and Representatives.  McCain’s recent remarks apply. 

Trump should not be tweeting his response to this.  He may have more to say later Sunday after meetings. 

There are apt comparisons to Iran, which has not been threatening its neighbors the same way.

A Twitter account called "Resilient Societies" claims it will tweet much information about a North Korean EMP threat in the next 24 hours, and warns the established media not to deliberately hide or minimize the threat, Twitter handle.  It's well to remember that Hawaii experienced EMP effects from US hydrogen bomb tests in 1962. These were the Starfish Prime tests in July (article). This ought to be a subtle premonition. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Refugees from Somalia in Kenya camp compete for scholarship in Canada


The Washington Post has a feature story Sunday about Ayan Abdi, one of 5000 refugees from Somalia at a camp in Kenya.  She is competing for a scholarship that would enable her to migrate to Canada.

The heavily illustrated story is by Kevim Sieff, here
  
There is a picture of a blackboard naming the teachers in a secondary school. 
By The original uploader was Mkimemia at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Friday, August 25, 2017

North Korea fires three short range missile tests while Trump is distracted by many other problems.

CNN reports that North Korean spies were caught trying to steal plans and parts for DPRK’s long range missile program in a detailed story by Nick Paton Walsh et al Friday.  The story even shows life in a Ukrainian prison.
  

Today, at about the same time that Hurricane Harvey was exploding into Category 4 as it headed for the south Texas coast, and as Trump signed his transgender ban, and pardoned Sheriff Arpaio, Kim Jung Un took advantage of the distraction to fire three short range missiles into the sea of Japan (story).  All three blew up.  

All this played out on a CNN screen tonight as I was at a happy hour social in Washington DC near GWU.

Update: Aug 28

North Korea fired a single missile over northern Japan today. No info on payload.  Not sure if an ICBM.  CNN story.  If was fired from a populated area near Pyongyang to send the message that a US attack on North Korea would kill many civilians. Trump said "all options are on the table."  

Monday, August 21, 2017

Diplomats in Cuba injured by covert sonic device, a possible future terror threat?


There are disturbing reports of diplomats in Cuba being injured by covert “sonic attacks”, as in this CNN story

The associates showed symptoms of concussion and particularly hearing loss.  The device seems to have emitted a subsonic boom.


The incident is disturbing because it could be another way for a foreign agent to go after an enemy covertly in a western country or the US.  One thinks of Putin’s polonium incident.
  
In 1978, a man kidnapped by left wing radicals in Italy was deafened deliberately by being blasted with classical music through earphones.
  
There are other YouTube videos suggesting that Trump using sonic weapons against North Korea. 
By Jakub Szypulka - Own work, CC BY 4.0, Link

Friday, August 18, 2017

"Reslient Societies" twitter feed warns that Washington Post has broken media blackout on EMP


The Twitter handle Resilient Societies  “The Foundation for Resilient Societies” )  says that the Washington Post broke the unwritten media blackout on talking about EMP with a speculation that North Korea could cause a high altitude blast over Japan (high parabola) and cause temporary power disruption.  It might be more than temporary/    (Mark Fisher and David Nakamura). 

The twitter feed also noted a site “38North   saying Congress knows that a reentry survival is not essential to EMP.

By User:Photocopier - Wikipedia in english, page "High-altitude nuclear explosion", Public Domain, Link

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Terror attack in Spain comes to violent conclusion on in coastal town


NBC News has a detailed account so far of events in Barcelona, Spain and the town of Cambrils, to the south, link here

It appears that this was a complex and coordinated attack.  At least five attackers are dead as of now, as the coastal town was on lockdown.


The attack, like many others in Europe, shows the extreme nihilism of young men (and some women) radicalized into radical Islam and returning from ISIS.

It’s pretty obvious that, at a moral level, the KKK and ISIS are about on the same plane.  Trump could say that.

Wikipedia attribution link for Cambrls by Kuhn, CCSA 3.0 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Washington Post explains how Trump can use the nuclear football, and warns about August 15 particularly as North Korea's "Liberation Day"


The Washington Post has a speculative article, “Who Is Kin Jong Un, and What Will He Decide to Do?” There have been reports about his education in Switzerland, as a boy, where he looks more engaging.  His appearance now seems to be modeled after his grandfather, and does not appeal to me, and probably not to many westerners.  The Post piece by Anna Fifield discusses the speculations about his personality and apparent ruthlessness.  I have to admit that even an independent blogger making fun of him could start an incident.


The Post points out that Tuesday Aug. 15 is Liberation Day (from Japan).  This logically leads to speculation that Un could launch a missile over Japan two days from now.  Given the position of the International Date Line, that means that a volley could occur as early as perhaps 4 PM Monday Aug. 14 EDT. 

The other big date is Monday Aug. 21, when US military exercises start. 
  
It sounds likely that if there is an incident a missile(s) would land in the ocean much farther from Guam or any other populated location than North Korea warned.  There could be a risk that a nuclear detonation at sea could be attempted to make a statement, if the vehicle survives re-entry.  There could be a danger of an EMP strike over some areas, if an explosion at higher altitude was possible.  That idea has been mentioned “in passing” maybe twice on CNN by commentators, but former CIA director James Woolsey has warned that the DPRK can do this from a satellite now. 

Update: Aug 15

The Wall Street Journal reports Kim Jong Un has blinked, feeling pressure from China.  Trump, in NYC in his own suite now, can claim his tough talk worked.  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Susan Rice: "It's not too late for North Korea"


Susan Rice, national security adviser from 2013 to 2017 under Obama, does have an op-ed in the New York Times, p. A21, “It’s not too late for North Korea”.  
But Bari Weiss retorts to this column with “Are We All Doomed?” and questions whether people on the East Coast need to be ready to house nuclear refugees (I asked that myself recently on Wordpress). 
  

Jimmy Kimmel keeps making fun of “Drunk Donald Trump’s” threats. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

DIA reports that North Korea has miniaturized nukes for ICBM's; Trump's threats; analysts mum on EMP


The cat’s away the mice play.  I got a bizarre message from a Facebook friend today as I pulled in to a gas station, and a half hour later in a restaurant I looked at the news. Here it is, from the Washington Post, by Joby Warrick, Ellen Nakashima, and Anna Fified, “North Korea now makingmissile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say.” 

President Trump later made this fire and brimstine statement from his summer home in New Jersey, in a meeting. He had his arms crossed as he spoke.

Some good questions arise.  Why did the DIA come up with this assessment so suddenly.  Two weeks ago, just before a major missile test, the DIA hinted that North Korea could launch miniaturized nukes at the US by maybe early 2018. But apparently it is right now.

There are two provisos. One of these is that the ICBM tests apparently have burned up on re-entry.  

We don’t know whether on a “line drive” path they would survive re-entry. 


The other idea is that North Korea could likely produce more devastation with a high altitude blast, causing an EMP effect, if in fact it was still high enough when entering North America.  James Woolsey has said that North Korea can do that with satellites now.  But there seems to be very little reliably reviewed information on how difficult this would be for an enemy to do. It's not clear how much power a weapon would need.  

One possible provocation that comes to mind is the idea that North Korea could prove its ability to survive reentry by launch a nuclear blast out in the middle of the north Pacific Ocean well away from any land.  Another is that it could launch an EMP blast in this unpopulated area, possibly disabling ships below and aircraft.  It could then demand that US completely withdraw from protecting South Korea.  Trump cannot let things get this far.  In fact, there are also reports that North Korea issued threats against Guam today. 
   
DIA says North Korea has about 60 nuclear devices.  Some of these are thought to be about twice the size of Hiroshima.  Still, the blast effects would be much smaller than from Soviet or Chinese hydrogen bombs.

US military commentators did express confidence in the ability of US systems to shoot down DPRK missiles today.

Kim had uttered threats right after the UN sanctions were applied this past weekend.

Update: Aug. 10

DPRK's "4 missile test" aimed at Guam seems silly.  When does an enemy give away its plans?  Is this a feint?  The missiles would get shot down. The latest.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The idea of "shared responsibility", homophobic purges in Chechnya (and Russia), and the dangers to free speech in democratic societies


Tara Isabella Burton has an important article in Vox, “HowRussia’s strongmen use homophobia to stay in power.” 

There is particular attention to Chechyan Republic president Ramson Kadyrov, with the purges of gays.

Burton goes on to explain how the idea of an “honor killing” is part of a larger political concept called “shared responsibility” which is more common in authoritarian cultures.  Every extended family member is considered responsible for the actions of one person.  The idea then invites the idea of “otherness” or exclusion which tends to connect to racism, anti-Semitism, or other ideas that we find in the US sometimes with the alt-right.

But the idea of “shared responsibility” (“I am my brother’s keeper”) can be politically dangerous in democratic societies, was with proposal in the US to gut laws relieving service providers of potential downstream liability for crimes committed by their users which they cannot know about in advance (the “Backpage” controversy, see my main blog, Aug. 2). 

A related essay is “A psychological assessment of Trumpsupporters has revealed 5 key traits about them”, on Raw Story by Bobby Azarian. Note the “authoritarian personality syndrome”, “social dominance orientation” and especially “relative deprivation.”