Monday, September 18, 2017

CBS "Face the Nation": John McCain underscores gravity of North Korean nuclear crisis, as has Diane Feinstein

I’ll share the transcript of Senator John McCain’s “Face the Nation” interview (as  “film” for the purpose of this blog),  on CBS on Sunday. Sept. 17, 2017.  He discusses the gravity of the threat of North Korea but also discusses military training accidents and is now sympathetic to transgender service in the US military.  In late 2010, he was at first somewhat reluctant to sign on to the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. 

Resilient Societies says that Senator Diane Feinstein has “admitted” that North Korea can hit the US now almost anywhere with a nuclear weapons, or implicitly an E1-level EMP. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"Your Voice Your Future" series from Sinclair looks at "Free Speech in America"

Free Speech in America” became a topic tonight on Sinclair Broadcasting’s “Your Voice Your Future”.  Jonathan Elias hosted the panel.
Jeff Goldberg showed footage of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, triggered by the proposal to take down a confederate statue (Robert E. Lee’s) in Lee Park in that city.
Alex Lehnert reported from Berkeley on the proposed free speech rally in Berkeley.

The panel comprised Antonia Okafor, Jolene Ivey, Richard Vatz (Towson Statem MD), Donna Edwards (former MD Congresswoman).  There is some concern that “free speech” is in jeopardy because the way a lot of less intellectual people are socialized.

Vatz pointed out that free speech doesn’t mean there are no consequences for speech, and he indicated that a lot of people really don’t believe in individualized free speech if it challenges social order.  Professors are not free to speak outside of their “expertise” at most universities.  Students may feel thet cannot challenge professors on controversial issues.  Antonia talked about shutting down someone else’s opinion in the classroom. 

Is this the “trophy generation” of sheltered kids?'

One speaker (Sebastian Gorky) talked about the “failed days of rage” from 1968 and the snowflake kids of today. 

He spoked about ISIS getting Afghan and southeast Asia warlords to recruit youth.

Ashley Honea spoke from Gettysburg about Pickett’s Charge and the monuments.  Scott Hancock said confederate monuments could be seen in terms of “states rights” as well as slavery and do provide teachable moments. 

Ivey discussed the intent of putting up the Confederate statues. 

Elias discussed the Media Fairness Caucus, and Scott Thuman continued the discussion, into the subject of fake news.

The panel then got into Trump’s accusations of the media on “fake news” and his command “listen to me”.
Brian McConchie reported from Columbia SC on the confederate battle flag after the Charleston shooting. 

Sunday, September 03, 2017

"North Korean EMP Threat: Real of Ridiculous?"

On the Sunday afternoon where Trump and the media reacted to Kim Jong Un’s claims of having a miniaturized hydrogen bomb, I watched the 13-minute short film,  “North Korean EMP Threat: Real or Ridiculous” by Anon Z, July 8, shortly after North Korea’s first “ICBM” test.

The woman who narrates this video sounds quite balanced. She says she voted for Trump, but she says she loves this country.

She traces some warnings to Congress about the EMP threat back between 2004 and 2006 in some conservative newspapers (like The Washington Times). 

She points out that a small nuclear weapon would much more likely to be used.  She presents James Woolsey’s claim that the “Shining Star” satellite already in orbit might be used when over the US.  Vut she believes it is more likely that a weapon would be launched from a submarine or from a hijacked commercial ship off shore.  She mentions smuggling of North Korean parts through Cuba and Panama. It isn’t hard to imagine connections between North Korea and Islamic fascists (including Iran) and even, on a downloadable personal level, ISIS ideology that ensnares young Muslim adults who feel “left behind”. 

A Twitter handle called “ResilientGrid” says that a thermonuclear hydrogen bomb can execute the third phase of the EMP pulse, but fission bombs can execute the first phase; so “EMP Deniers” could have been rebutted even before North Korea’s claims today.

She presents Newt Gingrich’s testimony before Congress earlier this year, where Gingrich compares this thereat to 9/11 but considers it a threat to civilization (as in the 2009 book “One Second After”).
She says that an attack would likely be regional, from an offshore source.  The US might recover.  But it would not recover from a high-altitude blast blanketing the entire country.  She says China would then come in an conquer the US, and remaining survivors would face moral judgment on their ability to function in a communist totalitarian society.

She also points out that North Korea has unusual hatred for the U.S. because of the way it conducted itself during the Korean War of the 1950s. It cares less about reunification of Korea, she says. 
Resilient Grid claims that the power grid can be protected for about $5 per American (for less than $2 billion), but I don’t know what that technology is or the reference.  One issue is to make more transformers at home (a case where keep industry at home – as Trump claims he wants – is critical for national security).
This reminds me of the "domino theory" of the Cold War, where the draft and the ability to fight conventional war sacrificing young men was seen as a buffer to nuclear war.
Is this an “I told you so” post? 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

NBC Dateline: "Hostage": how 2 moms survived the Nairobi Westgate Mall attack in 2013

NBC Dateline aired “Hostage: A Tale of Survival”, a 30-minute report on two mothers who survived the terror attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 21, 2013,  video link here

One was a white woman who had grown up with missionaries and whose husband frequently traveled to the US.  Her husband had to get news from friends on Facebook in Charlotte before the news coverage caught up.  Friends had to be careful not to call cell phones in the Mall which would give away locations.  The woman’s oldest son had to protect the younger brother in a gradual escape.

Both women were assisted by strangers who turned out to be undercover police. 

The entire event lasted about 4 hours.

The film shows how modern the Mall was.

This report with Kate Snow seems to be an update of the earlier "Nowhere to Hide" episode reviewed here Nov. 23, 2013. 

The last twenty minutes of the Datelines broadcast covered the flooding in Houston.
By Anne Knight - Direct personal communication between copyright holder and uploader, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Thursday, August 10, 2017

"How Japan Is Preparing for North Korean Threats" (HBO)

HBO and Vice News offer a short film, “How Japan Is Preparing for North Korean  Threats”.

There is an elementary school drill, and then some demonstration of bunkers for sale for $200,000 each, which contain hand pumped air filters.  The shelters would be good for two weeks.

Picture of Hiroshima memorial by HKT3012 under CCSA 4.0. 

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Vox offers video: "What Happens When ISIS Fails?"

Vox has produced a short film (7:30) by Sam Elllis, “What Happens When ISIS Fails?”

The film does go into the issue of fighter (sometimes whole families) returning  after ISIS loses all its territory that it had claimed as an unrecognized “state”.  Many return with very radical views, and many were recruiting by slickly produced media on the Internet, and then processed subsequently on the Dark Web.

The video above on YouTube asks “What’s It Like to Fight for the Islamic State?”

Wikipedia attribution link for Qayyarah fighting near Mosul, by Chernov, CCSA 4.0. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

"Salvation" on CBS looks at the threat of a hidden asteroid, 6 months out, able to extinguish civilization

Salvation”, a new CBS sci-fi series created by Elizabeth Kruger and Craig Shapiro, poses a rather “obvious” dilemma for an end-of-the-world scenario.  The Pilot episode aired tonight (CBS link ).

Liam Cole (Charlie Rowe) is an appealing, clean-cut MIT teenage student working on a project to map all of space.  One night, after a date and while in bed with a girl friend (maybe a first time) he gets a cell phone text that his project has discovered an asteroid due to hit Earth in 6 months.
Here is where there are too many coincidences. The government conveniently has a gravity deflection rocket that it wants to use against asteroids, but it wants to keep the knowledge of the asteroid classified.  But the kid has found out, and might talk (or blog about it).  The Pentagon already has a holographic simulation of the projected course.

Liam somewhat resembles the precocious college student Sal in my novel "Angel's Brother".  But what does Sal know in my opening chapter?  In my case, it's a meeting that sets up the dangerous knowledge for both lead characters, as a plot point.

The opening of the series is intriguing, as Liam is in a scene in a bar with the girl friend that reminds you of the opening of “The Social Network” (Thirsty Bernies), also in Cambridge.  Neither show or film is concerned about drinking age of 21.

But how the world would deal with an asteroid is important, and we don’t know that there isn’t something like this out there.  Is Trump ready for this?

“Space” discusses the physics of the project here.  Comets would be less dense than asteroids.