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 - http://www.sxc.hu/photo/5402, 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!)

Monday, November 12, 2018

North Korea is still working on missiles to reach the US

US intelligence, somewhat independent of Trump, says that North Korea is still working on its ballistic missile programs, much of it underground or hidden, at undisclosed sites. NBC News reports with Andrew Mitchell, Courtney Kube, and Kem Dilanian. 

A second summit is likely, according to Pompeo.  Trump has in the past said that he butters up Kim Jong Un to eliminate the risk to the US homeland.

On another matter, Sen. Cotton (R-AR) seems to confuse asylum seekers with refugees when he says people should be allowed to apply for asylum except from their home countries or other approved countries.

Update: Nov. 16

There are concerns about Kim Jong Un's "ultra weapon" as part of a new message to the US as talks stall.  Is this an EMP weapon?  CNN story by Ben Westcott and Yoonjung Seo. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The House could try to get somewhere on immigration

Dave Bier has a perspective at the Cato Institute, “the Most Pro-Immigration House of Representatives in Over a Century”, link here

Bier points out that repeated attempts at immigration cuts to please Trump’s base went down, as did the travel bans.   Bier also gives a long history of Congress and immigration, and its willingness to help both illegal (through morally acceptable circumstances) and legal immigrants stay, work, and eventually live here legally and become citizens.

Democrats are unlikely to attack chain migration too hard if that helps African-American families.
But the most obvious need is to reform DACA, and to protect the asylum process.
And to deal with volume problems with families at the border (Flores), they may have to take a heed from Canada and look at private sponsorship.   

Trump's base still is obsessed with the idea that if effort is spent on immigrants, they can get left farther behind. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

News2Share reports on the ground from Mexico on the migrant caravans, creating anger of Facebook

News2Share has a reporter in Mexico covering migrants on a bus somewhere near Mexico City now.
Here is a typical link
Reporters indicate there are a lot of ill people on the busses or in the caravan.  The reporter has not encountered armed migrants or evidence of trojan terrorists. 

If you check “Ford Fischer” on Facebook, you will see anger from a few somewhat polarized people when they thought they were asked to “like” to posts.  Facebook should not encourage accounts to prod users into “liking” their pages. 

By the way, News2Share is not part of the “resistance”.  Comments to that effect are just plain silly. They reflect a tribal mentality that everyone must join one side or another.

Of course, it is not clear if this is representative of all of the caravans.  Tim Pool has discussed reports of armed migrants farther south from mainstream media, but the reports are conflicting.

By the time the migrants reach the US, many of them are likely to have dissipated.  Were Trump to deny the right to apply for asylum, he would certainly be taken to court again immediately.
My most recent significant visit to Mexico City happened in 1974 over Labor Day weekend.

Right wing candidates keep putting exaggerated television ads up.

Wikipedia attribution link for aerial view of Mexico City by Fidel Gonzalez, CCSA 3.0. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Trump wants to change asylum law by edict; but many countries have weakened asylum since the Soviet Union collapsed

An important column by Max Fisher and Amanda Taub in the New York Times today examines the trend, since the 1990s, for the world to be less accommodating to asylum seekers, despite the customs of international law, once the Soviet Union folded at then end of 1991. 

For example, we had a Mariel boatlift from Cuba in 1980, but in 1993 the Supreme Court supported the Clinton Administration in turning back people from Haiti.

Trump claims that many of the people in the caravans are young men, not women and children (probably not disproportionate). 

Trump wants to greatly restrict asylum claims (which must be processed once someone enters the country;  there are rules on overstayed visas).  Trump calls asylum seekers a “loophole” in the immigration system, and says people who enter illegally cannot claim asylum, application can be made only at a lawful point of entry.  This would be challenged in court (it sounds like midterm fodder for Trump’s base). It is likely that this development that could become a flash point leading to more demonstrations.

Update: Nov. 8

The Washington Post reports (Nick Miroff) that the new rule will be entered into the Federal Register and that Trump claims "emergency power".  Let the litigation begin!  

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Trump plays up the "Caravan" risk before the election; Wall Street Journal and Washington Post leave open the possibility Congress could re-interpret the "jurisdiction" clause of the 14th Amendment

First, Johnny Harris explains how the US, under Obama, started outsourcing Central American migrant problem to Mexico back in 2014.

Trump is planning an Executive Order precluding claiming asylum for anyone who enters the country illegally -- but I didn't think he could do that!! 
Yup, Trump is making hyperbolic threats about the caravans five days before the election to elicit fear, as shown by this shocking video that Trump tweeted and the CNN crucified. 
 Matthew Spalding has argued in the Wall Street Journal, that the “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” clause in the Fourteenth Amendment does not automatically apply to children of illegal aliens and that U.S. v Wong Kim Ark applied only when the parents are legal residents. 
But Josh Blackman in another piece in the WSJ argues that the clause refers to anyone here subject to US laws. 

But Peter H. Schuck and Rogers M. Smith, drawing on an example of Native American reservations, argue, even in the liberal Washington Post, that Trump might be right in that Congress could future refine the “jurisdiction” clause, and therefore limit birthright for children of unlawful residents – and that liberals in Congress should make up their minds on how to deal with this problem.  I can imagine Sarah Huckabee Sanders with an echo. 

But The Atlantic takes up the jurisdiction issue in an article by Garrett Epps from the University of Baltimore with some common sense. So that brings the jurisdiction question back to something similar to diplomat law, maybe.

CBS reports that the births to undocumented parents have fallen to their lowest level since 2000.


Tim Pool has a breaking news post about more details regarding the third caravan, maybe significant.