Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Trump talks about the evil North Korea regime in SOTU but fails to talk about homeland defense

For much of the late afternoon, we heard speculation that Trump’s SOTU remarks on North Korea would be eye-openers and front page news. 

Look at the remarks by Ezra Klein on Vox and my reply, here

Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) talked about Trump’s touting out amputee defector Ji Seong-ho, as well as the tragedy of Otto Warmbier (the parents were there). All of that underscores the repulsiveness of the regime.  
True, the Congress needs to fund the military (and not threaten the paychecks with shutdowns) and keep its missile deterrent.  But Trump did not mention the need to upgrade missile defense, or to secure American homeland against EMP/Cyber.  I wish he had. 

The Hill has a sobering report on warning time to defend a DPRK missile.

Vox also has a disturbing article by Zach Beauchamp arguing that Ttump's talk about North Korea resembles Bush against Saddam Hussein before going to war, here

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Wired reports big-time on China's social credit system

Here's another story, a long one, in Wired, on China's evolving "social credit system", in a culture not used to credit cards.  It's in Wired, by Mara Hvistendahl, Dec. 14, 2017, "China's Vast New Experiment in Social Ranking", aka "In China a three digit score can dictate your place in society."
The article gets into the history of Ant Financial and then Zhima Credit.

The score would invoke the idea of paying your dues as well as paying your bills. Social credit could include helping the poor (and pimping the fact publicly) or taking care of elderly parents.  It could subsume what we call "community engagement".  If it took hold in the US, one can imagine how non-profits could monitor volunteers and control them for the social credits they need to have their own websites some day. Is this the Soviet New Man?

I fed this fire a couple times, as with this legacy piece in 2005 that says people could be scored and well-ordered because of the mathematical nature of real numbers, here.  This could have figured into a major incident when I worked as a substitute teacher. 

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.