Nuclear North Korea| ISIS Sleeper Cells | Elizabeth Warren & Trustbusting Techopolies

MARCH 11, 2019  /   SUBSCRIBE


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“People in the trenches are usually in touch with impending changes early.”

“The person who is the star of previous era is often the last one to adapt to change, the last one to yield to logic of a strategic inflection point and tends to fall harder than most.”

– Andrew S. Grove, Only the Paranoid Survive



I’m Not Mad, I’m Just Disappointed: President Trump finally may have realized what his intelligence officials had been trying to convey all along: that despite his diplomatic efforts with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, the latter has no intentions of “denuclearizing” as Trump understands it. In fact, Kim has been steadily adding to his weapons arsenal and nuclear infrastructure. Satellite imagery taken Friday showed preparations continuing on the launching pad at Sohae for the delivery of a rocket that could serve as a template for sending a nuclear warhead across the ocean. When reporters questioned the president last week about the possibility of Kim launching a space rocket, Trump responded that he’d be “very disappointed.”

Work being done at Sohae wasn’t all that was underway in North Korea. Following Trump’s first summit with Kim in Singapore last May, it appeared the North Koreans had blown up their major underground testing site; however, only the entrances were blown up. Although promised, no inspectors were allowed in to verify whether the facility had actually been destroyed. Commercial satellite photographs indicated buildings containing the control rooms and computers used for testing operations were carefully preserved.

In the nine months between Trump and Kim’s first and second summits, intelligence estimates are that North Korea has produced enough uranium and plutonium to fuel a half-dozen new nuclear warheads. Officials familiar with intelligence briefings given the president say the evidence was clear that North Korea was moving forward with its weapons program. Trump routinely dismisses such findings, even suggesting in a news conference in Hanoi that evidence the North was increasing its nuclear capabilities was ambiguous. “Some people are saying that and some people aren’t,” he said. The second summit abruptly ended when Kim learned the US intended trading sanctions relief for the abolition of his entire nuclear program, complex of road-mobile missiles, and chemical and biological weapons programs.



Classic “Country Said, Country Said” Situation: Pakistan’s ambassador to the US is saying India has rushed to judgment and is unfairly blaming his country for a suicide bombing February 14 that killed more than 40 Indian security force members in the disputed region of Kashmir. “India pointed the finger at Pakistan within minutes. The Indian government and media went into overdrive, whipping up war hysteria against Pakistan,” the ambassador said recently in Washington. The bombing was carried out by a young Muslim man who grew up in Indian-administered Kashmir, and Pakistan says it had nothing to do with it. However, Pakistan has long hosted Jaish-e-Mohammed, the radical group that claimed responsibility for the attack, even though the government has officially outlawed the group. Both the UN and the US have designated Jaish-e-Mohammed a terrorist organization. (NPR)

A Literal Power Struggle: On Thursday one of the most extensive power outages in Venezuelan history began. President Nicolas Maduro, without citing any evidence, called the blackout an “electricity war” and blamed it on the US. It appears, however, to have stemmed from a failure at the main hydroelectric plant, which has suffered from years of underinvestment. By Saturday morning power began to restore in the capital of Caracas, but remained off for large portions of the rest of the country. Opposition leader Juan Guaidó urged his supporters to mobilize against Maduro’s government, and protesters showed up despite a ban on political rallies in the capital. Maduro held his own rally inside the presidential palace for supporters, who believe they are victims of a coup attempt by the White House. State utility workers estimate it will be days before the national grid is completely restored. (NPR)

Burning The Bridges He Wouldn’t Cross Anyway: Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is walking a fine line, insisting all the country’s citizens have equal rights, including Israeli Arabs who make up about 17 percent of the population, while simultaneously referencing a controversial law passed in 2018 declaring Israel the nation state of the Jewish people. Speaking at a cabinet meeting he again called Israel “a Jewish, democratic state” with equal rights, but “the nation state not of all its citizens but only of the Jewish people.” Netanyahu has continually warned that his opponents will receive the support of Arab parties and that they will make significant concessions to the Palestinians, leading critics to accuse him of demonizing Israeli Arabs in order to boost rightwing turnout in the April 9 elections. (Guardian)

Cut Off One Head…: After years of American-led bombing and ground combat by Kurdish and Shiite militia fighters, the Islamic State’s territory in Iraq and Syria has shriveled down to a tiny village in southeast Syria. Meanwhile, ISIS has attracted a range of militant jihadists and sprouted anew in the Mindanao island group of the southern Philippines. In 2017 militants who had pledged allegiance to ISIS took over the largest Muslim-majority city in Mindanao, Marawi, but after five months of fierce offense from the military, President Rodrigo Duterte claimed victory. Then on a sunny Sunday morning in January, ISIS suicide bombers attacked a Catholic Church on the island of Jolo, killing 23 people. (NYT)

ISIS Smuggler: Sleeper Cells and ‘Undead’ Suicide Bombers Have Infiltrated Europe

Jailed jihadis are being released, others are returning to Europe to face prison time, and still others have never been known to police and wait to be mobilized.



Budget Cuts For Kids: The 2020 White House budget is set to be released Monday. It is expected to propose drastic spending cuts, as well as an increase in spending on child care. White House senior adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump recently led a discussion at the White House with a number of people who specialize in child care. What’s in the proposed budget is a one-time investment of $1 billion to increase the supply of child care to underserved populations. States would apply for funding and could use it to encourage employers large and small to invest in child care or to support child care providers that operate during nontraditional work hours or that cater to parents who are enrolled in school.

To get the money, states would have to “establish targets for reducing unnecessary regulatory or other requirements that limit the supply or increase the cost of child care.” A White House aide said this isn’t meant to roll back regulations on child-to-caregiver ratios but rather to get rid of zoning requirements in some areas that don’t allow child care centers in residential districts, for instance. “We want to encourage innovation. We want to encourage the private sector to step up,” Ivanka said. (NPR)



Elizabeth Warren & Trustbusting the Techopolies: We are in Austin for SXSW and this past weekend saw Elizabeth Warren describe more about her goal to trustbust the techopolies. This is a stance that Daily Pnut has long supported. Some of the largest technology companies like Google have become too powerful and have market dominance in not just search but browsers (Chrome), email and services (Gmail and Google Apps), mobile operating system (Android), etc…Facebook too has become too powerful. So powerful and unregulated that foreign actors are able to influence elections and peddle fake news on the platform. This could be the beginning of the end for Facebook’s social network: Facebook is pushing more deeply into private, encrypted communication. What does that mean for your News Feed? (Recode)

Other start of the week reads:




“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

– Marcus Aurelius

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