Friday, December 28, 2018

Trump threatens to close southern border over Democratic resistance to Wall, while Putin threatens US with hypersonic missile

We’ve seen one of the most belligerent statements from Russia and Putin, whom Trump is in bed with, about a new hypersonic missile that is supposed to evade all of NORAD’s systems (NPR). As Jordan Peterson has said, these ex-communists are armed to the teeth.  One high-altitude thermonuclear explosion over your country, and you’re “done”.  

Trump, instead, threats to close the southern border if he can’t get his way with his base on the Wall. 

He would sacrifice the incomes of federal workers and contractors (as pawns) to make things “right” for his own “people”.  That sounds Stalinist.

That is not to say that you don’t have serious problems in the border areas, as the Epoch Times reports on the effectiveness of the fence near Yuma, AZ. There had been burglaries in the area attributed to undocumented immigrants.

Can the Republicans “fire” Trump?  You need about 20 GOP Senators.

Tim Pool says Trump will never back down on the Wall.  Trump will probably quote Pool on Twitter.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Some conservative papers say Trump is wrong, Mattis is right on Syria

There was some anger on a Facebook friend’s page over my dismissive comment that Trump, after a phone call from Erdogan, think that Turkey will take care of policing Assad and ISIS by itself. The Kurds would be in danger.

Both Rand Paul and father Ron echoed that idea on CNN with Smerconish.

I had thought that the conservative Washington Times would actually accept Trump’s move on this one, and even view Mattis as elitist in his resignation.

No, instead TWT is quite reasonable in pointing out the dangers for the United States with Trump’s impetuous decision, in an op-ed Monday by Gary Anderson. And TWT has several followup articles, including the Byzantine situation with the Kurds.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Do states that legalize marijuana help relieve the illegal immigration incentives indirectly?

Dave Bier of the Cato Institute argues that legal marijuana in several western states is reducing drug smuggling along the border and may help counter the disintegration of law and order in some Central American countries, driving gang activity and illegal caravans and attempted border crossings.

This fits into a narrative where President Trump is trying to force an issue over Wall funding and backtracking on signing temporary funding, because Democrats take over the House on Jan. 3.  That has rattled markets.

And there has also been a somewhat silly attempt to fund a wall from GoFundMe – although maybe if you’re a rancher in south Texas it would make business sense. 

My take:  in most places, a transparent wired structure makes sense, but not everywhere.  I lived in Texas in the 80s and sometimes visited the border areas, as I did in May of this year. There is no one simple solution to stopping illegal border crossings.

And, as noted yesterday, Trump has rattled confidence in US national security with his pullout from Syria and Afghanistan and Mattis’s resignation.  Obama’s pullout of Iraq in 2011 may have helped ISIS get started, leading to the European migrant crisis.

I also wanted to pass along a link to a new Asylumist article, that it's getting harder to win asylum in court, here

SCOTUS upheld a lower court ruling not allowing Trump to ban people who entered illegally from seeking asylum.  Apparently Judge Ginsberg was able to vote, and Roberts is starting to act a little more moderate (closer to Kennedy) and upheld the ruling, CNN

Thursday, December 20, 2018

CNN suggests America is in great danger with Mattis resignation with no "adults" in the White House or on top of DOD

CNN’s account of Jim Mattis’s resignation today (effective Feb. 28, 2019) is dire indeed, as in this article by Chris Cillizza. 

Don Lemon tonight on CNN at 10 PM that every American should be worried about his own safety as a result of a lack of an adult in the charge of the military.

Here is the text of the letter . Ot does not defer to President Trump.

Mattis obviously believes that the withdrawals from Syria and now Afghanistan are very unwise and were motivated to please Trump’s base.

Will Trump be able to appoint an adult military professional to replace Mattis.
How will Lemon’s kind of talk (which many analysts may be thinking on their own) affect the stock markets, already displeased by the Fed remarks and Trump’s fumbling of the shutdown?
I wonder if Fox will put a less dire spin on this.
People on Twitter have been suggesting replacing “Baby Trump” with (precocious young adult) David Hogg, who could be president in 2036.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

North Korea likely to resume nuke tests over sanctions; Washington Times has a library of articles on DPRK, but it needs work

The Washington Times has an article today by Gus Taylor indicating that North Korea is threatening to step up its nuclear and missile testing again unless the U.S. relieves economic sanctions. 
The administration has also increased mutual defense talks with South Korea.
But the article also indicates that the administration wants to get more momentum back in denuclearization.

The Washington Times has a little booklet of many articles on North Korea, but hasn’t kept it up with the latest articles.  And the page doesn’t date the articles.  The collection is a good idea but needs to be kept up.

Update: Dec. 20

Penn reports that North Korea says that the US much remove its nuclear threat on the Korean peninsula before denuclearization resumes.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Climate change agreement at COP24 barely signed, despite US, and populist resistance now in Europe

Nearly 200 countries “barely” put the 2015 Paris climate change rules into place at the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland, at COP24, NPR story

The meeting was held in a country whose economy depends on coal.

There was considerable sentiment that the developed countries had already used up more of their karma by releasing so much carbon during full industrialization.
Trump had pulled out in 2017, and countries (like France) are finding it harder to expect sacrifices for future generations from rural people.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Vox interview with Wilson Center scholar Van Jackson warns of our courting nuclear war with North Korea

Alex Ward, on Vox, explains “How Trump made the North Korea crisis worse”, link

The article turns out to be an interview with Wilson Center scholar Van Jackson, author of a new book from Cambridge University Press, “On the Brink: Trump, Kim, and the Threat of Nuclear War”, link here

Jackson notes that Trump may have mislead Kim a few times, at least before the Winter Olympics, besides making his bombastic threats in 2017.  Trump as even publicly admitted that he butters up Kim now to reduce the threat of war.   But even under Obama the threat was growing, and there is no clear indication Hillary Clinton would have made this any safer. 

Jackson does buy the idea that Kim wants a stable nuclear power that finally turns the corner on growing its own economy.

He says the threat of nuclear war is low now but still is there.

I would normally have made this a “book preview” on the Books blog, but it fits in here with the label for many other posts on the threats from North Korea.

The interview does not mention the EMP threat.  
Picture: from Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street in Washington DC.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Some videos from France sound very radical indeed; climate change activists cannot afford to ignore rural populations any longer

I don’t know how “radical” the group “WeAreChange” is in France or Europe.  But the mood of “the people” in this video is very angry and calling for revolution, and warning it will shut down the banking system around the world.   There are scattered reports of Internet blackouts, and of demonitization of content. 

Is this group from the far right or far left?  (Sounds like the Left;  the speaker mentioned Antifa.) 
Again, it seems like a lot of old-fashioned liberals (the Hillary Clinton crowd with its “basket of deplorables”) have missed the immediate point of climate change denial – it’s the rural populations affected the most right now.  I noticed that during my coming of age in the 1970s with the oil shocks.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Patreon explains the banning of Lauren Southern with regard to putative interference with a rescue of immigrants in the Mediterranean

There has been a lot of attention to the banning of Milo Yiannopoulos and Carl Benjamin (aka Sargon of Akkad) from Patreon recently.
The story of Lauren Southern (who is reported to have claimed transgenderism)  is also disturbing, as in a Canadaland story.  She reportedly was fund raising for anti-immigrant activity in the Mediterranean. A UK charity “Hope Not Hate” reportedly lobbied Patreon directly to stop her.  The activities she was fundraising for might have caused loss of life of Mediterranean migrants, according to the Patreon letter shown.   (Defend Europe and IGD are also involved in the ban.)
I have reviewed a few films about the migrant journeys into Europe, across the Mediterranean, largely made while Obama was president.
Patreon CEO (Jack Conte) talks about “manifest observable behavior”.  (It should be “observed”).  Conte said her observed behavior was participatory and not just journalistic (but “paparazzi” activity could be troubling if it is perceived as attracting violent people directly).

As a matter of person preference, I don’t personally like to run fundraisers for any organizations from my own social media or hosted accounts.  That’s partly my own branding, but I also don’t want to allow social media or hosting companies to have any direct voice in whom I can support.

This story is disturbing.  One could have a sincere belief that immigrants should not come into the country, but participating in an organization that attempts to stop it could be dangerous and sometimes unlawful.  In the video, Conte claims Lauren participated in a group trying to interfere with a search and vessel boat.  Conte mentions doxing as observed behavior that will get someone taken down. 
On the other side of the coin, there may be organizations that help migrants come into the US or any other western country illegally.  To participate in those likewise is a federal crime in the US.  Will Patreon have policies against this?

Update: Dec. 11

Tim Pool interviewed Lauren Southern on whether she is an "activist" or "journalist" or both.  She talked about "gonzo journalism"; but she doesn't claim to be completely "objective" but she says there are "facts", Timcast link from July 2017. 

Update: Dec. 24

Another Pool video maintains that Southern apparently did not interfere with the migrant (or refugee, depending on your language) ship. This seems to be the latest facts. Go to 15:06 in this video.  Conte might not have been justified in banning her.  Just trying to get the facts right, because there are so many accounts of this controversial case. 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Protests against climate-change fuel taxes rage in Europe, similar to populism in Trump's base in the US, anti-globalist

Tim Pool reports Sunday that white working class people from rural areas are protesting in France and several other countries, as “Yellow Jackets”. including Germany and the Netherlands.
The protests have blocked many roads and damaged cars and property.
Macron may consider a State of Emergency.
The protests seemed to be about the climate-change-driven fuel taxes. These are affecting rural areas more than the cities. 
Just as with Trump supporters, this “forgotten majority” is opposing globalism, but moreover the idea of making sacrifices now for future generations – the ultimate challenge of climate change.   

How will these protests interact with the Copyright Directive and Article 13?  Suppose there is pressure for more countries to leave the EU?