Wednesday, March 27, 2019

News reports that asylum seekers waiting to be let in are experiencing violence; Border detentions seems to become unmanageable

NBC News has a compelling story about the peril of asylum seekers held up in Tijuana and not allowed to enter the US. 

And there are plenty of other stories about how overwhelmed customs and border patrol is, with people sleeping outside in tents. 

The situation may be rapidly getting worse, and faith-based organizations are likely to try to organize more efforts.
There have been trips to bring LGBT asylum seekers who were able to apply legally to various shelter or safe houses in various cities around the US, and it is possible for private citizens to “sponsor” them (the government will help only with locating relatives, if there are relatives).  This information (compared to housing requests that were made in 2016) may be circulated much more widely in the gay press soon.
By Baylor98 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Liberian graduate student jeopardized by Trump's intended suspension of of DED

The “deferred enforced departure” (DED) program for humanitarian reasons has gotten much less attention that temporary protected status.
But Andrea Castilo in the Los Angeles Times reports about a Ph D student from Liberia who has not been back there since 2002 under threat of deportation. That’s Yatta Kiazolu who was born in Botswania to Liberian parents. She is now a Ph D candidate in history at Berkeley.

The Trump administration says that Liberia is stable now and that Ebola has subsided.

An insurance company that I worked for owned a Liberian ship registry as a subsidiary in the 1990s. People would even be rotated into management there.
Wikipedia attribution link CCSA 3.0. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

South Korea not so pessimistic about the results of the Hanoi talks ; New Zealand attack

Chung-in Moon writes a more hopeful interpretation of the collapse of the talks between Donald Trump and Kim Jung-Un, from the viewpoint of South Korea, in a lengthy article in Foreign Affairs this spring.

South Korea doesn’t seem to be as dedicated to the idea of “dismantle first”.
Later Friday Vox reported that North Korea has threatened to resume tests.

I've seen the media coverage of the attack in New Zealand by the ethnic right extremist Brenton Torrant, and the "manifesto" is in Document Cloud.  I can only say that I am am absolute anti-tribal individualist and don't pay attention to groups at all.  But I guess I'm "guilty" because I didn't reproduce.  For people who think the way he does, this is a very big deal.  There is controversy over who the extremist named in the manifesto, a potentially very disturbing topic, as was the reported live-streaming.   Some feel that the document is intended to be confusing. More about this later.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Russia special underwater thermonuclear weapon and sub will destabilize NATO soon, and threaten the Baltics

Alex Lockie has a particularly disturbing story in Business Insider about an underwater (detonated deep) thermonuclear weapon, under Putin’s development, which would be detonated undersea near a continent to contaminate most of the continent and make it uninhabitable, maybe a prospect more horrifying even than EMP.  
The weapon would be ready in 2020 and would not be part of the regular Russian Navy, but have special deployment controlled directly by the Kremlin.

Putin wants the weapon to make break up the NATO “attack on one is an attack on all” idea. If NATO were undermined, Putin could move to retake the Baltics and Poland and other former communist states (Finland might be in danger – it has a draft).
 It's natural to wonder if North Korea could get a hold of some version of this new weapon.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Russia tightens online speech laws a bit

James Griffiths and Nathan Hodge have a story on CNN of a new law in Russia providing misdemeanor jail sentences for spreading fake news, or for publishing “disrespect” for government officials.

Russia’s Internet is relatively open compared to China’s (which may have facilitated the meddling in 2016 from St. Petersburg), with some other exceptions like the 2013 anti-gay propaganda law.

The story would tend to suggest it may not be as dangerous for American bloggers to visit Russia now as I had thought.  But Al Jazeera would disagree.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

North Korea appears to be planning a satellite launch soon, possibly with dangerous implications after all

Will Ripley, on CNN, reports Saturday morning March 9, on new evidence that North Korea could be planning a satellite or missile launch soon.

Intelligence from commercial satellite imagery shows assembly of an object a Sanumdong, near Pyongyang, and its placement on a train to Sohae, a location where activity was noted yesterday.

There was talk that a satellite could contain “ICBM components” which could (if you connect the dots) imply the capability of some sort of electromagnetic pulse blast, at least E1 level, from a satellite, as warned previously in early 2017 by James Woolsey.  That could be a strategy to prevent a “bloody nose” retaliation from the Trump administration if there is a launch.

I had not particularly noticed that the Vox article linked in yesterday’s post had explained that Sohae is primarily a satellite facility, not missile.  But satellites could be dangerous.  Even so, a satellite launch in the near future sounds a lot more likely than an ICBM, at least as it is now.

North Korea has released a second “short film” documenting the failure of the Hanoi summit.

Wikipedia article with map (not separate, see entire article).

Ellen Mitchell has a potentially disturbing story in The Hill saying that tensions are reaching the "boiling point" in the headline, referring to an ABC interview with John Bolton on March 10 by Stephanopoulos. But the article is not quite as alarming as the headline. By Raymond K. Cunningham, Jr. - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Thursday, March 7, 2019

North Korea resumes work on missile test site after Hanoi summit with Trump collapses

American intelligence (presumably CIA) reports that North Korea has resumed construction of an apparent missile test site on the southwest coast of North Korea, apparently about 150 miles or so north of the 38th parallel. Politico has a typical report here Reuters has a typical story here. NBC News has a detailed story with photographs and maps from March 5.  It does not appear that there is a missile there immediately ready to launch.

The general spin is that North Korea wants relief from sanctions before progress continues.  Trump does seem willing to scale down the military exercises with South Korea, depending on South Korea’s wishes.

There is also a spin that North Korea has finished local warhead testing and doesn’t need to continue it. Given the way the supposed thermonuclear weapon was put on display in September 2017 that sounds hard to believe.

Were North Korea to start firing missile tests into the Pacific, that would be a very grave development. Yet Vox's Alex Ward argues, don't worry yet.

North Korea even made a "short film" about the summit, described here.

Wikipedia attribution link for North Korea missile picture, CCSA 2.0, by Stefan Krasowski

Wikipedia picture of Kim Jong Un showing off his hydrogen warhead in Sept 2017; Wikipedia says this picture does not have a free license.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Internet said to inflame tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir

The escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan, with both being nuclear powers, stoked talk about “loose nukes” but also is putting social media companies under pressure because content on their platforms , even from individuals in western countries, could fire up local tensions further.  CNN has a story by Ravi Krishnavi “Internet warriors’ are pushing India and Pakistan onto dangerous ground.

Although Nassim Nicholas Taleb had warned about these kinds of asymmetric risks from the Internet in “Skin in the Game”.

Apple News had reported on a lull in the Kashmir in an earlier story by Roshan Mughal.

I had first heard about the escalation from Trey Yingst’s twitter account.

One of the problems is that in developing countries, Facebook (in particular) is “the Internet”.

Wikipedia attribution link to map (p.d.)

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Singapore, China, and the U.S. -- social credit systems creep into our lives

Last night, at a monthly gay social in Arlington VA, there was a middle-aged man from Singapore who explained to me how the government controls everything, including Internet speech and even the showing of movies and presentation of drama, to prevent unrest. Organizing of people into groups is now allowed, except at one location, a town square part.

The reason for this is that Singapore, being small, wants to maintain its brand reputation as a stable place for international business.

I wonder if they are following something like China’s social credit system, which keeps getting tighter.

The Timcast above maintains that a hidden social credit system is coming to the U.S. through payment processors and credit card companies.  There are more cases now of personal checking accounts being cut off.  There is one reported case where the declination was related to a person’s gofundme campaign for a film thought to be racially offensive.  I don’t have any details and will look into this further.  Maybe I’ll be banned by everybody for talking about it ???

Seriously, I made an announcement about my own “future” (especially at the end of 2021, 32 more months) on my dadtnotes blog and will explain more of my reasoning soon on these legacy blogs, but the tense and combative and polarized political climate is one reason.   And some of this seems to have to do with the horror that a Donald Trump or a Mike Pence could really win in 2020 – because the Democrats have gone so far to the extreme Left.  

Update: March 12

Economic Invincibility weighs in on the social credit score issue today.  EI has expressed some support for Trump but seems entirely logical and objective.  Maybe on national security matters (and climate change) the White House needs one person under 30 as another "adult in the room" because someone of Martin's age has to live much longer with any catastrophe that happens, so has pragmatism as well as ideology to consider. 
By Erwin Soo from Singapore. - Panorama evening, Singapore Skyline.., CC BY 2.0, Link