Wednesday, July 24, 2019

EMP in Venezuela? DPRK Missile test?

The idea of electromagnetic pulse, more common in conservative media and independent sites like mine, seems to have caught hold in Venezuela, where activists claim that the latest blackout in  Caracus was an attack against Maduro and probably was some sort of flux non-nuclear EMP, Yahoo story.   Critics of the US maintain that this has to do with US meddling and propping up the non-commie Guiaodo.

North Korea is reported to have fired two missiles today, each about 270 miles, toward Japan.   Trump has blown it off.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Allowing (even "expecting") volunteers to serve at the border detention centers (after travel to them) sounds feasible, even if not happening now

On p. 21 of the print Time Magazine July 29, 2019 issue, Julissa Arce ran a sidebar “Let Americans volunteer at the border”. 

She writes that there is no good reason for a policy that Americans are not allowed to do humanitarian volunteer work at the border detention centers, from a budget or public law viewpoint. 

The normal excuses will be security.

There doesn’t seem to be any impulse to combine this with Americorps, for example (Buttigieg might go along with that).

It would be possible to imagine a setup with the major social service agencies already on contract with DHS to process refugees, to deal with the border issues.

Then there would be pressure on some Americans to sign up and do stints at the border.

As things stand now for me, it would not be possible for me to do a stint "camping" at the border and resume my sites after the period was over.  In time, this could become a real issue. 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

South Korea drafts young men, and has an issue with "gay conduct", not exactly like our old DADT

John Andres Riley reports in Metro Weekly about the issue of gays in the military in South Korea, with due respect for the context of the existential danger (even to the US) from North Korea. 

The print version of the story (p. 20. July 18) is titled “Conscript Concerns” but online is the real deal “Amnesty International calls on South Korea to end law criminalizing LGBTQ soldiers.”  The law criminalizes same-sex conduct even off duty. (So did the old US UCMJ 125).

South Korea requires military service of all men 18-20 because it is technically still at war with the North.

In the US, activists forget we still have the Selective Service System but sometimes debate whether women should be required to register.

The story notes that ironically, in South Korea, men with lighter skin may be viewed as more effeminate. Asian men usually don’t have the variety of body hair that Caucasians have.

Trump backed off his aggressive stance on North Korea right around March 1, 2018 after the Olympics and it is a good thing for many people that he did, whatever you think of the circumstances with Kim Jong Un now.  Kim would like the state of war to end.

It's ironic that the gay press has called attention to another hidden tripwire in the North Korean situation. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Ebola outbreak in Congo gets a declaration as a world emergency by WHO; what about vaccinating travelers?

The Ebola outbreak in the Congo has been declared as a world health emergency, as in the NBC News story. 
There is concern that infected but unvaccinated persons could spread it quickly by air.
The latest information by WHO on vaccination for people traveling to Africa is here.  I would be concerned about volunteers or students or professionals going to other countries and not getting the vaccine yet. It doesn’t seem to happen and it needs to.

The CDC has issued an alert for North Kivu in the Republic of the Congo, link here

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Protesters try to shut down ICE in Washington DC after Trump announces restricting asylums thru Mexico; it gets quite energetic

Numerous outlets reported on sizable demonstrations in Washington DC yesterday against Trump’s latest immigration actions, some reportedly including “Jewish” activists. I stayed inside (from the heat) and worked on my music and on another matter (the CASE bill in the Senate) and didn’t get to this.

Daniel Mortiz-Rabson reports for Newsweek on ICE protests in SW Washington Tuesday, trying to block entrance, after Trump issued an XO requiring most Central American asylum seekers to attempt to apply in Mexico first before coming into the US. Elizabeth Warren speaks in their video.

The Washington Post (Marissa J. Lang) reports that there were  ten arrests inside the ICE lobby. The story has outstanding still photos, with a couple people I recognized from the LGBTQ community. 

Caroline Patrickis reports on the arrests for WJLA7 with video. (The WJLA embed works only with http, without the https.) 

Marissa J. Lang offers this log on Twitter with several videos. 

Reports of ICE raids around the country seem spotty and focused on known criminals, it turns out. 

My own picture comes from Dec 2017, at Net neutrality demonstrations.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Virginia blogger seems to have helped put Bolsonaro in office in Brazil; Trump uses international law to force Central American asylum seekers to do Mexico

Today the Washington Post, in a story by Terrence McCoy, describes how an amateur right-wing blogger, Olavo de Carvalho, 72, who lives alone in Dinwiddie County VA (SW of Richmond and Petersburg) influenced politics in Brazil and helped right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro win power in Brazil.  Olavo is called Brazil's "Rush Limbaugh". 

Bolsonaro’s homophobia (as unnationalist and counter tribal) is causing Glenn Greenwald, who lives in that country with his husband, concerns, according to other report.  But gay marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013.

Bolsonaro’s presidency also worries climate change activists, who would want to stop the cutting down of the Amazon forests as a sump for carbon dioxide.

In other news, today Trump is moving to stop most Central American asylum claims at the southern border, on the theory that under international law Mexico can be asked to take them (and has often offered it).  This would not apply to sex trafficking cases. Molly O’Toole reports for the Los Angeles Times.  There are good questions about people who fly to South America from Africa and try to seek asylum in the US (Tim Pool).  As for LGBTQ, this would apply to "them".  Mexico allows same-sex marriage in some areas. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Thomas Friedman says Netanyahu is in a box and could turn Israel into a "banana republic"

Thomas Friedman has a disturbing analysis in the New York Times, “Who is a Bigger Threat to His Democracy, Bibi or Trump?  It’s a Tough One”, about a second national lection in Israel upcoming in September, following Netanyahu’s apparent inability to hold a coalition in April.

Friedman talks about scenarios where Netanyahu (“BibI”) could go to jail, and his incentives to override the constitution to protect himself, making Israel more like a typical authoritarian “banana republic” which demands reannexation of all of the West Bank and takes no prisoners, and is run by the “religious zealots”.

He also spoke about it on CNN to Fareed Zakaria this morning.

By Cnes - Spot Image -, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Friday, July 12, 2019

ICE may do many big city raids Sunday July 14; media reports on lawyers' advice

Vox has a comprehensive article by Emily Stuart on the ICE deportation raids expected soon. 

The article says that people do not have to open home or apartment doors to officers who don’t have warrants.  And they don’t have to answer questions.

But going to work, to church, to school could sound challenging.

Expect protests in many cities. 

The Asylumist discusses the Migrant Protection Protocols for “remaining in place” in Mexico for asylum application. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Oregon law professor says that about 86% of separated migrant children in the US have relatives in the US who could raise them if their parents remain detained

Today Warren Binford (Willammette University in Oregon)  appeared on CNN and explained that about 86% if migrant children have relatives in the United States who could take care of them even if they were released without their parents.

Although CNN has talked about ankle bracelets (which can be cut) to release migrants in detention, it’s clear that some sort of support system has to be set up.

Major charities could do major fundraisers just for these specific problems, which are taking on a wartime character.
There are sporadic suggestions online that individuals and families (including same-sex couples) should take the initiative to become licensed by their home states to become foster parents.  This sounds like a radical step and request. Here are a couple of references: the Women’s Refugee Commission, which links to ORR.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Trump steps into North Korea, apparently the first sitting president to do so

Donald Trump took twenty “baby” (ironic) steps into North Korea, as he let Kim Jong Un play “Mother May I” with him in the demilitarized zone Sunday, while in the US westerners celebrated “World Pride: as if it were a second Christmas season for the summer.  Here is CNN's lead story

Trump can claim to be the first sitting US president to do so.
There are still questions as to whether Kim Jong Un still has a hidden schedule to resume missile tests and eventual threats.  But still, Trump seems to be buying time against what could become an existential threat to the US mainland some day if not solved.
Tim Pool explains his distant family connections to North Korea(at 5:00).
By Johannes Barre, iGEL (talk) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link