Monday, June 24, 2019

Migrant crisis at border seems to explode as children stay in pens

CNN this morning is warning about the blatant and glaring catastrophe at the border, at least around El Paso and McAllen, and probably Del Rio.  The story and video are by Leyla Santiago.  This continues a story Saturday here about children caring for siblings or toddlers without their separated parents.  There have been tweets that the Army or National Guard must provide assistance now. Hillary Clinton also called out this problem on Twitter. 

Tim Pool notes emergencies in Deming MM and Yuma, AZ.  (I visited the border area of Yuma in 2000, ironically).

CNN showed a scene at McAllen, with masses of children in one pen, with deaths every day, and parents separated, for much longer than legal (under Flores, which gets complicated).

Pence claims that criminal traffickers are adding to the migrant stream, and also claims that Africans have been trafficked from overseas and added to the stream (at least near Del Rio).

Laura Chen was critical of a UN proposal to ask Canada to take more of asylum seekers (including "LGBTQ2") and migrants (because Canada has a more robust private sponsorship system?)

Trump’s delay of ICE raids Sunday seem like ordinary political posturing with Congress.
Crises like these can affect people who manage trusts, because beneficiaries could ask for “special needs” help from trust assets to deal with catastrophes caused by political mismanagement or corruption.

I had visited Pharr on May 30 last year (near McAllen) and found no unusual problems. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Children expected to care for other people's toddlers in detention camps on border, Newsweek story

Here is a pretty repulsive story about children being prodded to take care of toddlers while in detention camps, at least in El Paso, TX, in Newsweek, by Nichole Goodkind. 

There simply seem to be no personnel around to care for them. Maybe charities in the region, or Catholic Charities, will send people? 
 The video above was taken in McAllen in June 2018.  I had visited Pharr in May.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Strait of Hormuz near Iran a flashpoint again after a drone toy is shot down

Three writers at the Washington Post (Dan Lamothe, Erin Cunningham, and Missy Ryan) discuss the critical situation near Iran after Iran shot down a US drone, claiming that the drone had ventured into its territory. 

I can remember that in early 1980 there was a critical situation over the Strait of Hormuz, and a fear of the choke-off of oil, after the 1979 Iran crisis had led to a “mini gas shortage” in the US, less severe than in the fall of 1973.

Trump’s bellicose actions, cancelling earlier treaties and agreements, seem in contradiction to his mellow talk now about North Korea, after he learned after the 2018 Winter Olympics how dangerous it could be to pursue aggression with Kim Jong Un.
Iran cooperates with North Korea, and can become a bigger threat to Israel. Having an unpredictable president is not good in this situation either.


Trump canceled the plan to go in 10 minutes before launch -- because he was told to? Or an act? Ford Fischer comments

WikiL By CIA - CIA World Fact Book, Public Domain, Link

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Massive power failure in South America, resolved in a few hours, seems to be a misconfiguration problem

A massive power failure blacked out much or most of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay Sunday, with some outages in Chile and Brazil.
CNN has a detailed story here.

The outage is said to be caused by an interconnection topology problem (maybe similar to the 2003 blackout in NorthEast US). It is not thought to be caused by cyberterror or malware.

But speculation for the later increased because of recent tensions between Trump and his intelligence services over exercises to introduce malware to Russia.

Wikipedia attribution, Buenos Aries apartmentsm CCSA 3.0

Sunday, June 16, 2019

NYTimes story about US low level cyberwar with Russia (endangering power grids) leads Trump to call the paper "treasonous"

The New York Times has stimulated a rather dangerous controversy with a story by David E Sager and Nicole Perlroth, “U.S. Perlroth Escalates Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid”, story here

The report implies that American cybersecurity experts have inserted malware into components of Russia’s power grid as a way to launch a counter offensive should Russia do the same here. 
President Trump bombastically called this report “treason” today, as reported by Allison Quinn in the Daily Beast and Smart News early this morning. While this may remind the reader of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, there is a good question as to why this information was leaked if it is indeed classified.  As an indirect result of the Assange situation (even Chelsea Manning) there is a good question as to whether reporters my relay classified information if they did not do anything illegal to get it and it was simply passed to them.   That has happened to me.

Trump's attack about journalists as "the enemy of the people" do seem still focused on the mainstream, not independents. Could this lead to a "national security declaration"? 

Trump's blasting of the NYT also follows a controversial front page piece Sunday June 9 where Kevin Roose makes an exaggerated claim of right-wing radicalization on YouTube of a particular person, and with a picture gallery implies that many conservative pundits advocate white supremacy when most (or maybe all) of them clearly do not. 

The story also reminds one of Ted Koppel’s book “Lights Out” (Books blog, Nov. 2015).  But there is a good question whether cyberwar is as great a threat to the power grid as is direct attack, either by high altitude nuclear weapons (which North Korea might be capable of even now, according to James Woolsey and others), or certain non-nuclear microwave flux weapons which the US Army has now in some deployed locations.

US power installations are protected by physical “air gaps” to prevent the insertion of malware, but there are ways these protections might be breached.

But low level “malware” infection attempts have gone on for years, experts say.

This would be a good topic for Tim Pool’s “Subverse” channel.

Update: June 17

Common Dreams and CNN report that president Trump was kept in the dark by the US intelligence community over fears of Trump's own immaturity (the new "baby balloon"). 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

US mine in California may be turning the trade war with respect to rare earths

The Washington Post offers a story Tuesday morning about the threat that China could fight the trade war by some sort of embargo of rare-earth metals used in electronics. But the story, by David J. Lynch, seems to imply that Trump’s insistence on autarky is working, that the US and Australia may be getting the upper hand on rare earth raw materials, especially with a large open pit mine in Mountain Pass, CA, near Las Vegas.  I have been near there (at Scott's Castle in Dec. 1997), but I don’t think I’ve seen it.
Myanmar, a less desirable country to be sure, also has a mine.

It’s interesting to see the Post implicitly support Trump’s policy.

Nevertheless, rare earth minerals could quickly become an existential issue.  Remember the gas lines of the 1970s?

This could also bring up the problem of stripmining and mountaintop removal (in the West).

Wikipedia attribution link for overhead picture, p.d. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Hong Kong protests blamed on US ("bloggers?") as China claims the right to kidnap anyone into China

Hong Kong is experiencing mass protests as mainland China has imposed new extradition laws and Chief Executive Carrie Lee has indicated willingness to go along with it.  The Associated Press reports. 

Essentially the laws seem to allow Chinese authorities to nab anyone and take him/her to China. There have been cases with, for example, booksellers. 

Remember that Edward Snowden holed up in Hong Kong (“Citizenfour”, Movie reviews, Oct. 27, 2014) as he fled prosecution in the US.

For example, as things are right now, it would seem very dangerous for someone in my circumstances to travel to either China or Russia.  This might change in 2022, but that is beyond discussion right here.  Since I have been critical of China on my blogs, could I be hauled off the streets of Hong Kong if I went there now? “Boycott Hong Kong”?
China accuses the US or organizing the protests.  No, Ford Fischer and News2Share didn’t set them up (nor did Fox News).  But advertisers ought to be OK with them if they had.

Wikipedia attribution, picture.
By Hokachung - Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link

Friday, June 7, 2019

Mexico will accept more asylum seekers, Mexico will stop being hit with tariffs

Major media outlets report that Mexico will accept more responsibility for holding migrants and particularly taking asylum seekers, so that Trump will defer the threatened 5% tariff, NPR story here.
International law does stipulate that the bordering countries can be expected to take asylum claims.  That would reduce the incentive for people to come to the US to seek affirmative asylum.

Trump is trying to have Mexico designated as a "safe country" according to international law definition, and trying to get Mexico to follow US timeline in processing asylum claims. 

It was not immediately clear what happens with LGBTQ+ asylum seekers from Central America.

Update: June 7

Julie Ainsley has a disturbing report June 4 on NBC of tremendous overcrowding at the border.  Illegal immigrants are usually not vaccinated.  Tim Pool found a later report from NBC early today saying that DHS has just declared a new emergency at the border. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Australian climate group warns that civilization could end by 2050 if we don't get on a wartime footing now on climate change

The Breakthrough National Center for Climate Restoration in Australia has upped the ante in the worldwide climate change debate with a report that predicts that human civilization could unravel and come to an end by 2050, with “only” a 3 degree Celsius (5 F) average rise in temperature.  The paper, by David Spratt and Ian Dunlopp, is here.  The dire predictions include the usual floods, droughts and migrations so huge that political stability is impossible. 

The New York Post offered a summary of the report today here. 
The Guardian republished some of the paper, calling for a war-time footing to be developed quickly. Will social-credits scores follow? 
2050 is 30 years from now.  30 years ago was like 1989.  That sounds recent.

Ramsay Taplin operates his "Outsidely" in Australia, trying to plant more trees.