Saturday, April 27, 2019

Trump issues XO to strengthen security of power grids; meeting in Alabama Monday April 29 will publicize it

A PR group called Hamilton Strategies sent out a press release late Saturday about a meeting on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol on Monday, April 29, 2019, to support an executive order by President Trump for Executive Order 13865  to protect the nation’s infrastructures, including the power grids (3 or them) from electromagnetic pulse attack or possibly extreme solar storms.
James Woolsey and New Gingrich are said to be attending, and repenting the Secure the Grid Coalition  (interesting article ).

There is some controversy about the work of Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) as not objective about the security challenges facing the nations grid, including both EMP and airgap attacks (cyberattacks).

But EPRI has a (recent) video on EMP dated April 26, 2019.

The US Air Force Training and Education Command Electromagnetic Defense Task Force (EDTF) will be present in Montgomery and could prove some objectivity to the EPRI’s reports.

Pacific Gas and Electric has announced plans that it will shut down the power grid during high wind events in some desert areas in western state, Wall Street Journal story here (Russell Gold, et al, today).

I visited a Dominion Power visitor’s center in 2018 and found the staff somewhat uninformed on this problem, writeup.  I visited Montgomery and Selma in May 2014. 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Maybe Venus does give us a stark warning on climate change

Anton Petrov has a video of what the inner planets looked like 3.8 billion years ago, with probably a serious warning about climate change.

Mars apparently had oceans and lost its atmosphere because it wasn’t big enough and didn’t have enough of a core to maintain a magnetic field.  Had it been maybe a little larger than Earth it might be quite hospitable today.

Venus also had a lot of water.  Its problem was that it was tidally locked. Volcanism led to the release of carbon dioxide, and because of the tidal locking somehow the CO2 wasn’t recycled back to be trapped into the planet (this could affect planets around smaller stars like red dwarfs, because they would be tidally locked).  So if human technology keeps releasing more carbon dioxide, it is critical that we recapture it (either with sequestration or with more trees, like with Ramsay Taplan’s ‘The Outsidely” in Australia.
The National Academy of Sciences reports on acceleration of the loss of Greenland’s ice cap, which is much faster than had been expected, here. There is also concern about radioactive residue being released into the oceans. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

National service proponent runs for president; Disturbing reports on why school gun violence increases, and why normal gun legislation isn't particularly effective

Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA), 40,  will announce he is running for president on a day that CNN will feature five candidate town halls.

Mouton is known for co-sponsoring a (nudging but "voluntary") national service act, along with Tammy Duckworth. 

Vox has a story that describes his Marine Corps service and voting rights record, and sponsorship for statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico.
The Wall Street Journal today has a major article by Tawnell D. Hobbs, “Most guns used in school shootings come from home” and most were purchased legally, and would be legal under most policy proposals today. Parents have a serious challenge in keeping guns away from very determined teens.

Malcolm Gladwell (2015) discusses the copycat problem.  But that would make this a media problem and a harmful content issue.  This strikes me a very relevant to today’s post Christchurch debate.

Vice News has a disturbing story about training private school “warriors” to resist school attackers. 
 All of these stories need to be reviewed in conjunction with David Hogg's movement, since most of his proposals are actually fairly moderate.  

It's well to remember that the national security implications for the Second Amendment are much different when thinking about foreign or otherwise ideologically extremist threats when compared to "ordinary" school, domestic or workplace violence.  As New Zealand, France and Britain have found out, disarmed citizens are usually more vulnerable to foreign threats, if safer from local.  Gun control (recently tightened) would not have prevented Christchuch. 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Right-wing talk of state "Brexit" moves

A Facebook friend shared an article Easter morning from “The Bulwark” about the growth in right-wing circles for allowing states to secede (or “divorce” or “St-exit”), link here. 

The article gives quotes to various right-wing sites that argue for secession in some circumstances, sichj as weapons seizures.

There is also a great deal of concern over the combativeness of the extreme Left, with take down of social media and hosted websites of some conservatives and even shutting down their bank accounts.
There is also discussion of manifestos from the past, especially “The Turner Diaries”, which inspired McVeigh and is now being compared to the Christchurch “manifesto”.  

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Buttigieg seems to be the most conservative and least identarian of the Democratic candidates; look at the "tapes" issue

Openly gay candidate Democratic presidential Pete Buttigieg, young and white, already has a controversy with the complicated handling of improperly recorded tapes in the police department, a problem which he inherited in 2012. The tapes apparently may have contained racist remarks about the police chief. But Buttigieg wound up firing or securing the resignations of the chief and one other employee.  
Litigation and settlement followed.  CNN has the detailed story here

Buttigieg appears to have tried to follow the letter of the law with the dismissals and protection of the tapes.

But now commentators are saying that supporters of Buttigieg, who come to his rallies, are overwhelmingly white.
His policy answers in debates are certainly well articulated and moderate, but he is already coming across as somewhat conservative and apathetic about responding to identarian politics and outreach.

If you want a young president, Buttigieg is the best you will do.  Jack Andraka is only 22 (his brother Luke is 24), and nuclear scientist Taylor Wilson is 24  (maybe Taylor really should be president).  Harvard undergrad John Fish is 19 and can be prime minister of Canada some day (it has problems).  Maybe Timo Descamps (around 33) can head up the EU and get rid of the copyright directive (he's become a stage musical star in Belgium).  I think Tim Pool is a month or so too young to be president in 2020.  Daniel Gruss, around 32, the Austrian ethical hacking guru who busted Intel, is quite concerned about how the EU is destroying itself (with stuff like Article 13).  You don't people like these to run for office. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Great Redaction

Normally, I try to blog mostly about issues as they pertain to me, where I can add some personalized spin on the reporting and “connect the dots”.  It’s hard to do that with the Muller report, and there’s not much point in repeating what is already on countless news outlets. The liberal media had its feeding party today, but the cat food won’t last forever.  They’ll have to go out and hunt.  

The most comprehensive coverage may be on Vox, which is usually pretty centrist.  The effort seems to be led by Andrew Prokop, with the main article “explaining” the entire report here. 

The best part of the Vox assembly is probably Illing’s interviews with twelve law professors, with the George Mason University segment maybe the most balanced.

You can imagine what it must have been like today to be working at any major news outlet, pumping this stuff out in a matter of hours, based on a 448-page report.

CNN has a Scrib embedded PDF of the entire report here

So Trump “knew” and appears to have given some improper direction, which wasn’t followed.  So by a hair, he escaped a prosecutable offense for obstruction of justice. And, you can’t indict a sitting president  (The Washington Post disputes that last assertion strongly). It all sounds circular.

The Russians were going to do what they wanted regardless, as they had noticed the divide in our society over so many elites thinking dealing with “the proles” and standing with them would make them into losers themselves.
Maybe the most compact commentary comes from News2Share’s Ford Fischer, who wrote a set of tweets showing how the report jells with the intention full prosecution of Julian Assange after extradition, and maybe the continued incarceration of Chelsea Manning – a lot learned by noticing what was redacted.  It seems that if anyone else but a president did what Trump did, it is “conspiracy”. You cannot conclude “no criminal conduct include”.

I like the line “this is the end of my presidency.  I’m f__d”. But it wasn't.  The House could start impeachment proceedings, which the Senate will not ratify, to prime the 2020 elections. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Trump's tweet about Ilhan Omar represents what the Left says can lead to events like Christchurch; I just don't talk about issues in terms of "tribes"

Emma Green has a comprehensive discussion in “The Atlantic”  about Trump’s harassment of congresswoman Ilhan Omar, “Young activists are done with loyalty tests; Trump is Not”. The article gives several interesting links, as to David Frum’s that Democrats are falling into a trap. 

I hate to rehash the Sequence: “Some people did some things”.  Trump’s tweet showing 9/11 is said to be stochastic. What I find about all this (as with Charlottesville) is that it is very difficult for me to talk about groups as such at all.  I talk about how individuals should behave, but not because of intersectionality or of the tribes they belong to.

Aaron Rupar pretty much says this for Vox, and Dara Lind talked about it on CNN, I think.

 I lived in Minneapolis from 1997-2003 and have some familiarity with the Somali community and Hmong in the area. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Fairfax County, VA considers using taxpayer money to set up legal defense funds for undocumented immigrants; Trump's revenge politics with sanctuary cities

I like to report what I see, but last night I was at a film festival and I did not hear Virginia state senator Dick Saslaw speak at the condo.  I believe delegate Patrick Hope was to be there, and he had mailed a letter to constituents.

Hope notes that the Virginia legislature has still failed to pass an Equal Rights amendment, minimum wage increases, or more background check legislation for gun safety.

But the biggest local issue may come from the fact that about one-third of Fairfax County residents are immigrants.

Fairfax County VA is proposing to use taxpayer money to set up a legal defense fund for undocumented immigrants in the county facing deportation. They are not entitled to a lawyer for free because deportation is a civil proceeding.

WJLA has a story with video here.  (The embed for the video doesn’t work.)

It would make sense to see private fundraisers for this fund, as on Facebook.  But donors would have to decide how they want to apply the law in their own charitable contributions or voluntarism.
Other states and cities have used taxpayer money for these purposes, such as Oregon.

Evan Perez et al on CNN confirm that Trump (and Stephen Miller) want to play “revenge politics” and do Flores-releases of undocumented immigrants into sanctuary cities.  (Fairfax, above, is not one; Takoma Park, MD is one.)  But you could see if cities could get volunteers to step up and take them in, shelter them, and support them personally, out of a meta-morality obligation.  That seems to be Trump’s point. Otherwise, you need border security of some sort that works. (How about doing something about the problems in some of the Central American countries?)

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Portland OR having real trouble recruiting police officers after fiasco with Antifa

Portland OR is having real problems recruiting police officers after the fiasco with Antifa last autumn where police lost control of the situation.

Matt Christiansen explains.

I’ve been to Portland twice, one in 1978 (stayed in a Holiday Inn with a cinder block wall in the room after driving late at night through the Cascades), and in 1996, when I was there to interview a couple people from Log Cabin Republicans for my first book.  I remember Burnside Ave.

An odd coincidence, I saw an Instagram today of a friend hiking near Bend in the Three Sisters area. Crater Lake is nearby.

Wikipedia attribution, p.d. 

Monday, April 08, 2019

SC classroom fight leading to death underscores problems with inexperienced substitute teachers

A 10-year old girl (African-American) died after being bullied by another female in a Walterboro, S.C. elementary school recently, as reported on ABC Good Morning America and on a Columbia paper by Charles Duncan and Noah Feit, story

The incident is also noteworthy because the class at the time was supervised by a substitute teacher hired from a temp agency.

In the past, I’ve covered my own experience, where I was “banned” from a few middle schools (2004-2005) after discipline problems where I was thought to be inattentive (“poor classroom management”).
In practice, it is very difficult for an inexperienced sub to tell when he or she needs to intervene, especially for a non-parent.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

New fungal infection creates unprecedented contamination control problems for hospitals, resistant to all anti-microbials

Matt Richtel and Andrew Jacobs have a big article in the New York Times Sunday about a frightening fungal infection, candida auris, that is popping up randomly all over the world.

It tends to behave like an opportunistic infection and strikes people with compromised immune systems (including HIV or chemotherapy) but there is fear it is spreading to healthier people. It’s pretty easy to spawn theories involving immigration and STD’s.  Remember how AIDS ambushed the gay male community in the early 1980s, as if out of nowhere.

The yeast is resistant to all known anti-fungal infections.  It has created enormous disinfection problems in a few hospitals (with more implications I won’t get into – I cover them in my novel!)

The infection is said to be another example of drug-resistant microbes, which get bolder when people fail to take all of their medication after they feel better.

I had severe strep throat maybe three times when I was in my early 40s and it has stopped.  I haven’t needed antibiotics for a sore throat since the 1980s.;  I probably became immune to all the strains.
There are even speculations that fungi are alien organisms!

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Mueller-Barr barely hides a growing darkness

I haven’t been following the Mueller-Barr report developments that much, as “free speech” problems have me preoccupied.

Here’s CBS’s summary on the issue.  The latest is that the report may be more damaging to Trump than Barr suggested.

Nicholas Fandos et at report in some detail in the New York Times. 

There is something that keeps growing more disturbing about all this.  Trump’s base, or some of it, claims to have been left behind and cheated by all us elitist intellectual mooches holding people responsible for what may happen a half century in the future.  The anti-intellectualism and reinforced tribalism of both far Left and ethno-centric far Right are quite threatening. The message is that if you act like a know-if-all with no real skin in the game (of immediate tribe), you’ll be put aside and erased by “the people” with real lives today.
That foreign elements could convince Trump to stage this kind of cultural coup is shocking.