8.18.2017

Dissing Northfield, Minnesota: A simple breeding ground of white supremacy



A simple breeding ground of white supremacy

In total:

Why do I live here? Why do I live in a predominantly white, rural (at least to me), small town in the Midwest?

I live here because my job brought me here, because my son attends a school that mostly serves his needs (not as racially diverse as we would like), not because I want to live here.

I live here because to not live here means a 45- to 50-minute commute twice a day and when you are in your mid-40s and middle-income, that is a tough prospect long term.

I live here because my partner’s job is in this little town. I certainly don’t live here because of safety, not because of the low cost of housing, not because of the community. I live here because it’s practical. I live here for now.

On a day like Saturday, Aug. 12, when I sat in front of my TV watching the violence in Charlottesville, Va., it is lonely. On such a day you are acutely aware of the ways you are in white space because nobody mentions it when you go to a store or chat with people on the street.

My partner and I sit in our home with our outrage, I check on my children, talk to them about what is happening, and I talk to our friends and family from afar.

You think to yourself on these days, “What the hell am I doing here?” And then you become indignant about your right to be here. The right of your children to have space to run and experience what it is like to play in a wide-open space.

You are pissed that the “simplicity” of living, if one is not blessed with wealth or access to family being close by, has become what feels like the exclusive domain of whiteness.

You are acutely aware of all the ways the homogeneity of stolen rural spaces have become the breeding grounds of white supremacy. It isn’t simply about big pickup trucks, guns, flags or Trump stickers, or being taught to explicitly hate people. Rather it is the lack of relationships across difference that you witness.

It’s the child who stares at you at Target because they have never seen a black person up close; it’s the adults who touch your kid’s head before you can swat their hand away or say something; it’s the awareness of how you are the one always making the calls for play dates, not the other way around; it’s the recognition that most of the kids in the town will have deeper relationships with other children and families from other countries before they ever get to know the ones in their own.

These are the spaces that some would say “Make America Great.”

There is power that comes with the exclusivity of knowing the unwritten ways of being because you grew up in the town or a similar town, go to the right church, belong to the right social group or have the kid who behaves just right. The privileges that exist in white space — the good schools, the ability to avoid discomfort, the sheer access to space to grow your own food, as well as enough to feed your neighbors and then some — breed an expectation of what life should be with little regard to what is missing or what could be better.

People don’t witness suffering in this space without looking for it, and, to be clear, suffering abounds. But you wouldn’t know it when you walk down the street or drive around the town, unless you know where to look.

The violence of racism projected on the screen is a reminder of how extensive white supremacy is in its multiple forms. When you leave your house you are aware of the sympathetic smiles from the well-meaning white people who care that you are OK, while you are wondering, “What are they thinking about their people right now? Do they realize the ways they are breeding supremacy? Are my kids the only black kids their kids know?”

And then you go back to wondering how often they sacrificed their comfort because it was “practical,” and then the cycle of pondering your decision starts all over again.

Lisa Moore, of Northfield, is an assistant professor of social work and family studies.
Comment: Proof that blacks can be racists too!

D James Kennedy Ministries labeled a "Hate Group"

When Loving the Lord is Labeled Hate 










The Southern Poverty Law Center's list of hate groups

Excerpt:

That's the number of hate groups operating in the US, according to data from the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Alabama-based nonprofit activist group tracks civil rights and hate crimes and defines a hate group as an organization with "beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics."

"Over the course of a year, we have a team of investigators that scours the internet for racist publications and real world activities to find out which groups exist, which groups are still active and which groups come along," said Ryan Lenz, a senior investigative reporter for the SPLC's Hatewatch project.

Some are classified as anti-LGBT groups, and some are black separatists, who don't believe in interracial marriage and want a nation only for black people, according to the group.
Comment: Watch out - you may be the next one labeled a hater!

The hate map

Home D James Kennedy ministry 

Who was D James Kennedy?



On Nazis and the Alt-Right: Moral Clarity is Demanded




Trump and His 'Very Fine People'

Excerpt:

The truth is that, with his statements on the Charlottesville protests, the president of the United States disgraced himself and his office.

On Saturday, the president referred to the neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan protests in Charlottesville as an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” repeating the phrase “on many sides.” It was a bizarre bit of reticence from a man known for censuring those he deems worthy of it in the harshest terms. As the vagueness of this condemnation drew sharp criticism, the president issued a more direct statement on Monday. “Racism is evil,” Trump said, “And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

Well, fine. Much too late, but fine. Then on Tuesday, rather than allow his critics to say whatever they would say about his initial procrastination, he defended himself by insisting there were two sides to the violence, both more or less culpable. Why the bland statement on Saturday, then? “I didn’t know all of the facts,” and “I wanted to make a statement with knowledge.” And what were those facts? “You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.” Again: “You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and horrible. And it was a horrible thing to watch. But there is another side. There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You have just called them the left, that came violently attacking the other group.”

There were indeed a small number of leftist or “antifa” thugs at the Charlottesville event, but that is beside the point. The Charlottesville protest was planned and staged by white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups. Were it not for these people, there would have been no protests, no offensive displays of racial bigotry, and no violence or death. That the president couldn’t or wouldn’t simply condemn the event’s instigators in direct terms—that he preferred to justify his indecision and so give the impression that he has some sympathy for white supremacists and neo-Nazis—is a scandal for which there is no excuse and no mitigating factor.

Trump went on to draw an imaginary distinction between good and bad protesters on the white supremacist side—“you had some very fine people but you also had troublemakers”—and to suggest that the “very fine people” were “protesting very quietly the taking down [of] the statue of Robert E. Lee.” But as he must have known by this point, the white supremacists and neo-Nazis came from all over the country to stage a rally of hate; the statue of Marse Robert was a secondary concern.

So a sitting U.S. president couldn’t condemn neo-Nazi agitators until prodded into it, and even then couldn’t do it without circling back to claim falsely that some of the agitators were “very fine people” who wanted only to protest “very quietly.” There may be other points to make about this embarrassing episode, but they are secondary and simply cannot be made with any moral force until you acknowledge the primary one: Irrespective of anything else, Donald Trump’s behavior since Saturday has been a disgrace.
All the President’s Advisers

Excerpt:

Even many opponents of Donald Trump as a candidate were cheered by the quality of his early appointments, especially his Cabinet. But as his behavior as President has become more erratic, and especially after the moral confusion of his response to Charlottesville, the question becomes whether there will be a rush to the exits that sends this Presidency into an even faster decline.

This is no exaggerated fear. John Kelly, the new chief of staff, looked visibly uncomfortable as he listened to Mr. Trump’s self-destructive, off-the-cuff riff about Charlottesville on Tuesday. The former general is supposed to bring order to White House chaos.

Gary Cohn, the chief economic adviser who is Jewish, is widely reported to have been upset as he stood nearby as Mr. Trump struggled to distinguish between neo-Nazis, whom he condemned, and “very fine people” who merely wanted to support Confederate statues. The press event was supposed to be about infrastructure.
Trump Criticized by James Murdoch: ‘There Are No Good Nazis’

Excerpt:

“I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so,”
Trump Follows Obama’s Example of Moral Equivalence - When five Dallas cops were murdered last year, the 44th president faulted police as well as the killer.

Excerpt:

If you were shocked that President Trump had to be pressured into condemning by name neo-Nazis, Klansmen and white supremacists, then you probably haven’t been paying enough attention. His Saturday remarks on Charlottesville, Va., where protesters clashed violently over a statue in a park of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, showed again that Mr. Trump has little use for Oval Office norms. But his initial reaction also evinced an Obama-like reluctance to denounce despicable behavior forcefully and in no uncertain terms.

When five policemen were gunned down in Dallas last year, Mr. Obama said there was no justification for violence against law enforcement—but then he added a comment about racial inequity in the criminal-justice system. After violent demonstrators pillaged Baltimore in 2015 following the death of a black man in police custody, Mr. Obama dutifully condemned the rioters—but not without also noting that “we have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African-American, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions.”

What we heard from Mr. Trump on Saturday, when he said “many sides” were to blame for what took place in Charlottesville, was more of the same equivocation. Both presidents were less interested in moral clarity than in placating fringe groups out of political expediency. The difference is that Mr. Obama’s caucus mostly indulged his racial innuendo, while Mr. Trump’s called him on it. That’s why the president reluctantly issued a more forceful second statement on Monday.
5 Facts about the alt-right

Excerpt:

A rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend ended in violence and domestic terrorism, as white nationalist groups clashed with counter-protestors. The Unite the Right rally was intended, as co-promoter Matthew Heimbach explains, to unite the alt-right around the “14 words”: “We must secure the existence of our people and the future for white children’—as our primary motivating factor.”

The objectives of the alt-right movement are antithetical to the mission, values, and principles of the Acton Institute and other like-minded groups. Yet the movement is often associated with traditional forms of conservatism and libertarianism even though its supporters frequently rejects issues such as economic freedom and the dignity of all people that we consider foundational.* For this reason, you should know what the alt-right believes and the agenda they work to promote.

Here are five facts you should know about the alt-right:
  1. The alt-right—short for “alternative right”—is an umbrella term for a host of disparate nationalist and populist groups associated with the white identity cause/movement. The term brings together white supremacists (e.g., neo-Nazis), religious racialists (e.g., Kinists), neo-pagans (e.g., Heathenry), internet trolls (e.g., 4chan’s /pol/), and others enamored with white identity and racialism. These groups seek to provide an “alternative” to mainstream American conservatism, which they believe is insufficiently concerned about the objectives of white identity, the defining concept that unites the alt-right. “Racial Identity,” said Arthur Kemp in March of the Titans: A History of the White Race, “can be defined as the conscious recognition that one belongs to a specific race, ethnicity, and culture and with that comes certain obligations toward their own welfare.” And the alt-right leader Jared Taylor of American Renaissance defines “white identity” as “a recognition by whites that they have interests in common that must be defended. All other racial groups take this for granted, that it’s necessary to band together along racial lines to work together for common interests.”
  2. This association of the term alt-right with white identity politics first appeared in December 2008 when Paul Gottfried wrote an article for Taki’s Magazine titled, “The Decline and Rise of the Alternative Right.” (The article itself does not use the phrase “alternative right,” and the editor of the magazine at that time, Richard Spencer—the current leading figure in the alt-right—claims to have added the title.) At the time, the “alternative right” was loosely associated with “paleoconservatives” (another term created by Gottfried). Paleocons were self-identified conservatives who rejected the neo-conservatism of the George W. Bush-era. While the group tended to be anti-globalist and anti-war (especially opposed to the Iraq War) it was not necessarily associated with white identity politics. But in his article Gottfried identified “postpaleos” as a “growing communion “that now includes Takimag, VDARE.com, and other websites that are willing to engage sensitive, timely subjects.” The “sensitive, timely subjects” Gottfried refers to are topics that had previously been the main concern of white identity groups, issues such as non-white immigration (“being physically displaced by the entire Third World”) and “human cognitive capacities” (i.e., the belief that certain racial groups are, in general, intellectually inferior to others). In 2010, Richard Spencer launched a website, AlternativeRight.com, to promote these views. Since then, the term has been associated with the white identity movement.
  3. The alt-right is a mostly secular movement that frequently embraces leftist political views (especially on economics) and rejects traditional conservatism. As George Hawley, a University of Alabama professor who has studied the movement, told The Washington Post, “the modal alt-right person is a male, white millennial; probably has a college degree or is in college; is secular and perhaps atheist and [is] not interested in the conservative movement at all.” What puts the movement on the “right” is that it shares, along with conservatism, skepticism of forced egalitarianism. But that’s generally all it shares with mainstream conservatism. In fact, many on the alt-right (such as Spencer) hold views associated with progressivism (e.g., support for abortion and opposition to free-market economics). The confusion about the movement’s politics lies in thinking that extremist groups are on each “end” of the left-right political spectrum. It is more accurate to consider them through the lens of the horseshoe theory, a concept in political science that claims the far left and the far right, rather than being at opposite and opposing ends of a linear political continuum, closely resemble one another, much like the ends of a horseshoe.
  4. While generally secular, the alt-right sometimes embraces “Christendom” (their version of a white European cultural Christianity) and some (such as Vox Day) claim that Christianity is a “foundational pillar” of the movement. But what they mean by Christianity is often a heretical form (Day rejects the Trinity and doesn’t believe the races are “spiritually” equal) a racialized version of the faith (e.g., the Kinist movement), or “religion as culture” (Spencer says he is both an atheist and a “culture Christian”). The movement is also frequently embraced by neo-pagans. As alt-right leader Stephen McNallen has said, “I am a pagan because it is the only way I can be true to who, and what, I am. I am a pagan because the best things in our civilization come from pre-Christian Europe.” McNallen says he opposes Christianity because it “lacks any roots in blood or soil” and consequently can “claim the allegiance of all the human race.” The true religion of the alt-right is white identitarianism.
  5. The alt-right embraces white identity politics and almost all of them embrace white nationalism. But not everyone on the alt-right embraces white supremacy. White supremacy is the belief that lighter-skinned or “white” racial groups are superior to all other racial groups. Modern advocates of white supremacy (such as the KKK) almost always advocate for white identity, though the reverse is not always true. As alt right leader Vox Day says, “The Alt Right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people, or sub-species. Every race, nation, people, and human sub-species has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and possesses the sovereign right to dwell unmolested in the native culture it prefers.” White supremacy is also often conflated with white nationalism, the political view that merges nationalism with white identity. White nationalists are racial separatists who believe that to preserve the white race, other racial groups must be excluded or marginalized in “white states” (i.e., countries or regions that have historically had majority-white populations). White nationalists are frequently concerned about miscegenation and non-white immigration because it contributes to what they consider to be “white genocide,” i.e., the replacement of the “white race” by other racial groups.

Comment: We must stand against the White supremacists, the neo-Nazis and the Alt-right! (Superman covers from here) Batman image source

8.16.2017

On removing Confederate statues

Comment: No time to develop this today but saving the above Tweets for another day. Removing Confederate statues is folly! Updated: Interesting: More madness:

A Freedom of Speech lesson from Skokie (1977)






'Swastika war': When the neo-Nazis fought in court to march in Skokie

Excerpt:

Four decades ago, a neo-Nazi group announced plans to march in Skokie, home to thousands of Holocaust survivors. The news set off a rhetorical firestorm that the Chicago Tribune dubbed the "Skokie swastika war." In 1977, the swastika became the centerpiece of a constitutional question posed by a small group of neo-Nazis who called themselves "National Socialists" — a callback to the formal name of Adolf Hitler's political party. When the group encountered pushback over its plans to march through Skokie that spring while carrying flags bearing the swastika, its leader, Frank Collin, invoked the First Amendment as his defense.
Skokie, Nazis and the First Amendment: Freedom of Speech on trial - Confederate Flags and Swastikas are uncomfortable, but still protected under the Constitution.

Excerpt:
The National Socialist Party of America, neo-Nazis, wanted to march in Skokie on May 1, 1977. They asked Skokie officials for permission to stage a rally in front of the village hall to protest a local ordinance. The group planned to wear Nazi uniforms with swastika emblems and armbands. It also promised to demonstrate peacefully and to obey reasonable police instructions or requests.

While most Americans believe in the First Amendment, most also would not want this group to march where they live and work. In Skokie, this was especially true, as most of its residents were Jewish. Thousands of Skokie residents survived concentration camps and the Holocaust and believed they were safe from the influence of Adolf Hitler here in the United States

Not surprisingly, a firestorm of controversy erupted. The Nazis took the case to court. The trial court disallowed the march, and then the Illinois appellate court upheld the ban after refusing to look at the case. The Illinois Supreme Court then refused to grant review of the case or to stay the injunction, effectively denying the Nazis their rights to free speech and assembly.

Lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union defended the Nazi request. The ACLU asserted that they were not defending Nazi idealism but the freedom of speech. Attorney David Goldberger, a Jew, stated:

“Your Honor, if this court issues a preliminary injunction in the case, enjoining the demonstration of Mr. Collin and the National Socialist Party of America, I fear that the Village of Skokie will be dancing in the grave of the First Amendment.”

The Illinois Supreme Court denied a stay of injunction. The Nazis then took the case to the United States Supreme Court.

The Village of Skokie argued that neo-Nazi speech promoted racial or religious hatred and is unprotected by the First Amendment. The courts rejected this argument on the grounds that it is not a reason for suppressing speech alone. As long as they are not burning down houses, inflicting bodily harm or destroying property, they have a right to express what they want. Why? If the Supreme Court silenced one group, it effectively silences all groups since all Americans have the same rights under the Constitution – even groups that are offensive to mainstream America.

The village also claimed that the purpose of the marches was to inflict emotional harm on the Jewish residents of Skokie. However, the Nazis originally petitioned to march in a different town with a minute Jewish population. Denied that permit, they decided to march in Skokie so they would get publicity for their grievance. Then, when faced with having to pay $350,000 to cover insurance for that march, they became more resolute.

In addition, Skokie mayor Albert Smith testified that, if the Nazis marched, there would be uncontrollable violence as a result. But once a government gives in to such threats of violence, it effectively empowers any group of people who wants to silence others to do so simply by threatening to violate the law.

In the end, the Supreme Court ordered the Illinois Supreme Court to respond. It finally struck down the injunction against the Nazis in January 1978, paving the way for a Nazi demonstration. Fortunately, they declined to march in Skokie and marched somewhere else.

The Village of Skokie had also passed three new ordinances. The first required that a permit would be necessary for any demonstration. Next, political organizations could not demonstrate in military style uniforms. The third ordinance banned the display of symbols offensive to the community.

The Supreme Court, which included Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first black American Supreme Court Justice found the ordinances to be unconstitutional.

I [the author of this article] was 13 when this happened. During this time, the Nazis staged a march at Veterans Memorial Park in South Holland, Ill., not far from where my family lived. My girlfriends and I told my mom we wanted to go throw rocks and eggs at them. My mother, in her wisdom, instead of saying no, explained that if we did that we would be giving the Nazis what they wanted — publicity. Good or bad publicity put them in the public eye — right where they wanted to be. And they were willing to endure rocks, eggs and other items thrown at them if necessary. We decided that the Nazis were not worth our time and effort. The best way to deal with groups like this is to not give them an audience. And we didn’t.
The Supreme Court Case: National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie


In a per curiam opinion, the Court held that Illinois must provide strict procedural safeguards, including appellate review, to deny a stay for an injunction depriving the Nazi Party of protected First Amendment rights. The Court treated the Illinois Supreme Court's denial of a stay as a final judgment for the purposes of Supreme Court jurisdiction because it involved a right separable from and collateral to the merits of the Nazi Party's case. Hence, the Court also treated the Nazi Party's application for a stay as a petition for certiorari. The Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings.
Comments: There are groups that I find absolutely repugnant:

But I support their right to peacefully and legally assemble and express their views (no matter how repugnant I find them)

On  the thugs on both sides in Charlottesville

The second thing the president did that was worthy was that he denounced the criminals and thugs on both sides. This is what you want from magistrates. If the white supremacists get a permit, and they are marching to Hell in an orderly fashion, they ought to be allowed to march there unmolested. If antifa thugs show up with baseball bats and attack, they ought to be treated as the violent instigators they are. If one of the white supremacists drives his car into the crowd on the other side, that is not self-defense, and he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Policemen, and the magistrates behind them, are in the business of maintaining public order, which means that they do not get to approve of anarchy from one side only.

If there is outrage over Trump’s denunciation of both sides, then it is plain and obvious that someone is attempting to steer us. In response to my post yesterday, someone breathlessly announced that I had equated Black Lives Matter with the Klan. Why, yes, I did. Hatred and murder are to be reprobated, period. Movements that excuse them are to be reprobated, period. But when your moral compass is governed by the skin tone of your tribe, instead of letters in granite inscribed by the finger of God, then you are going to get the kind of identity race war that we are in the process of getting.
I wasn't aware of 1969 SCOTUS case

The Day Elvis Died - 1977



Kathee and I lived in Pittsburgh PA (actually out in suburbia - Level Green PA).  I was 27. He was 42. I thought he was so old!

Presley's friends feel love, pain, 40 years after his death

It isn't just the legend of Elvis Presley that has unmatched staying power 40 years after his death. The guilt, pain and regret felt by those who knew and loved him lingers, too.

Prolific session musician and producer Norbert Putnam was on vacation with his family in Hawaii when he heard his friend died of a heart attack. After years of making groundbreaking music and acting in more than two dozen movies, Presley's career had slowed, and historical accounts of his life note he was fighting obesity and substance abuse when he passed away in his Graceland home in Memphis, Tennessee.

Putnam was standing in line to pay for items at a general store when he heard someone say Presley had died.

"I reached into my pocket, threw some money down, ran to the car, threw the food down, turned on the radio," Putnam said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

Putnam switched on the radio. The announcer said: "Elvis Presley died this morning."

"I sat there in my car and bawled like a child who had a toy taken away from him," Putnam said. "I could not believe it. I thought someone should have staged an intervention. I thought he could have been saved."
We've been to Graceland. Worthwhile

8.14.2017

Ten Postulates on Race

  1. There is one race: “[God] made from one man [Adam] every nation of mankind” (Acts 17:26) – Read about creation starting in Genesis 1!
  2. Skin color differentiation is a false paradigm. Skin thickness varies from 0.5mm on your eyelids to 4mm or more on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. Color is literally “skin deep” and that’s not very deep!
  3. All men (human beings) are made in the “image of God” (Genesis 9:6) and have intrinsic worth. This is true from the baby in the womb to the senile and aged cripple!
  4. There is no supreme race. In fact, our entire race is fallen and sinful. Yet “The Lord redeems … those who take refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:22)
  5. “[God] commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by [the Lord Jesus Christ]” (Acts 17:30-31)
  6. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (The Declaration of Independence – a foundational truth for our Republic!)
  7. Hate is the antithesis of the Gospel because God loves all of mankind: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)
  8. Christ has called on us to “love our enemies” (Matthew 5:43-48)
  9. We are called to be peacemakers: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9)
  10. Violence is to be eschewed! “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” (Romans 12:19)
Tim Keller says it better than I:

8.12.2017

Imagining the unimaginable - a DPRK strike






Is Trump a madman or a strategic genius?

Excerpt:

Trump is talking far tougher than Obama or Bush ever did. The traditional American political establishment is getting quite nervous.

Is Trump a madman, or is his behaviour actually genius?

Madman theory is believed to be part of nuclear strategy. Former US President Richard Nixon is supposed to have invented it when he commanded the US nuclear arsenal during the Vietnam War and cold war. The book Nixonland by Rick Perlstein tells it like this:

“I call it the madman theory, Bob,” the Republican Presidential nominee had told his closest aide, walking on the beach one day in 1968.“I want the North Vietnamese to believe I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We’ll slip the word to them that ‘For God’s sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about Communism. We can’t restrain him when he’s angry – and he has his hand on the nuclear button.’ And Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days, begging for peace.”

For a nuclear threat to be credible it has, of course, to seem real.

Trump’s apparent willingness to take the wraps off US nukes for the first time since 1945 is frightening. And that could be exactly the point. Everyone knew Obama was cautious and considered – he couldn’t believably use madman theory. Trump could be executing a strategic pivot that only he can pull off.
Comment: I modeled San Fransisco where my daughter lives using NukeMap
Meanwhile:
Scary thought:


Kim walks it back .... for now

8.11.2017

The Caroline affair and the Doctrine of Preemptive Self-Defense





North Korea says Guam strike plan ready within days

Excerpt:

A North Korean plan to fire four missiles near the US Pacific territory of Guam will be ready for Kim Jong Un's consideration in days, state media has reported, as an unprecedented exchange of military threats between Washington and Pyongyang intensifies.

The intermediate-range missiles would be fired east and over Japan before landing around 30 to 40 kilometers (18 to 25 miles) off the coast of the tiny island if the plan is implemented, according to state-run KCNA. Guam is more than 3,000 kilometers from North Korea.

Take cover, avoid bomb flash. Guam issues nuclear guidelines




Excerpt:

While the governor of Guam shrugged off the North's missile warning and said there was no heightened threat, the government has issued a preparedness fact sheet.

In language that evoked the specter of nuclear conflict during the Cold War, the guidelines cover what to do before, during and after a nuclear attack.

"Do not look at the flash or fireball – It can blind you," it said. "Take cover behind anything that might offer protection."

"Remove your clothing to keep radioactive material from spreading. Removing the outer layer of clothing can remove up to 90% of radioactive material," read the guidelines of what to do if caught outside.

They suggest having an emergency plan and supply kit and making a list of potential concrete structures near home, work and school to serve as fallout shelters."Fallout shelters do not need to be specifically constructed for protecting against fallout," it said. "They can be protected space, provided that the walls and roof are thick and dense enough (i.e. concrete) to absorb radiation given off by fallout particles."
Could Trump launch a first strike against North Korea? Views differ, but it could be justified if it's seen as an act of self-defense by the U.S.

Excerpt:

... there are situations in which a first strike can be interpreted as legally justified.

Michael Schmitt, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, said three basic requirements must be met: The other country must have the ability to attack, its behavior must show that an attack is imminent, and there are no other ways to forestall it.

North Korea’s military power appears to have satisfied the first requirement. But under the second, “we have to determine whether the statements by Kim are bluster or he actually intends to carry them out,” Schmitt said. Under the third requirement, he said, “you can only act in self-defense when if you don’t act, it’s going to be too late.”

While North Korea may have an ability to attack the U.S., there is skepticism that an attack is imminent. And many officials, including some of Trump’s senior aides, have said other options have not been exhausted.

“I think that the answer to the question is fairly unequivocally ‘no,’ ” said Kevin Jon Heller, a law professor at the University of London. “There’s no right of self-defense against a nonimminent threat.”

Legal experts said an attack of self-defense in such circumstances must be “proportional” — meaning it is designed only to stop the threat. “It is not a carte blanche to destroy another country,” Schmitt said.

North Korea has a well-established penchant for making threats without following through on them.

“Kim says all kinds of crazy things, with no history besides incendiary statements,” said Anthony Clark Arend, a professor of foreign service at Georgetown University.

At least some of the military planning for an attack by North Korea, including troop movements and missile launch preparations, would almost certainly be detected.

“If North Korea were preparing for an attack, you’d see it,” Arend said.

It’s a matter of debate whether the United Nations charter permits one state to attack another before it is attacked. Article 2 of the charter prohibits states from using or threatening force against one another, while Article 51 does not prohibit the “inherent right of individual or collective self-defense.”

But Article 51 has been interpreted in different ways. Under the restrictive interpretation, an attack must happen before the attacked state can use force. Less restrictive interpretations argue that a state threatened by attack does not need to wait.

What defines an imminent attack? That is also a matter of debate. In the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, when Israeli commanders ordered an attack after Egyptian forces massed on the border, “many people thought it was reasonable for Israel to conclude an attack was imminent,” said Ashley Deeks, a University of Virginia School of Law professor.

When Israeli jets destroyed an atomic reactor in Iraq in 1981, Israel was condemned in a unanimous Security Council resolution. Many said that the imminent threat standard had not been met.

What constitutes imminence has been muddied by terrorists, cyberattacks and other more nebulous threats. “Allies … agree that the idea of imminence can’t just mean right as a weapon is lifting off the launchpad,” Deeks said.

Most scholars say legality for a pre-attack strike was an established after what is known as the Caroline incident of 1837, named for an American steamship suspected of supplying Canadian rebels against British rule. The ship was boarded by British soldiers who killed several Americans, set it ablaze and sent it over Niagara Falls. The British claimed they were acting in self-defense, an argument angrily rejected by Secretary of State Daniel Webster.

The matter was settled with an agreement on the conditions constituting legitimate self-defense in anticipation of an attack. As Webster described it, a state must demonstrate that the “necessity of that self-defense is instant, overwhelming and leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation.”


The Caroline test

Excerpt:

The terms "anticipatory self-defense", "preemptive self-defense" and "preemption" traditionally refers to a state's right to strike first in self-defense when faced with imminent attack. In order to justify such an action, the Caroline test has two distinct requirements:
  1. The use of force must be necessary because the threat is imminent and thus pursuing peaceful alternatives is not an option (necessity);
  2. The response must be proportionate to the threat (proportionality).
In Webster's original formulation, the necessity criterion is described as "instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation". This has later come to be referred to as "instant and overwhelming necessity".

Comments: War has to be the last choice

8.09.2017

The Mortgage Crisis - 10 years on



Aug. 9, 2007: The Day the Mortgage Crisis Went Global

Excerpt:

Ten years ago this Wednesday, the first glimpses of the global financial crisis came into view.

The French bank BNP Paribas froze three investment funds, saying a lack of trading in subprime securities made valuing them impossible. The bond market seized up, rattling investors and central bankers who previously soft-pedaled the notion that the U.S. housing bust would hit the economy.

Aug. 9, 2007, marked the beginning of the most far-reaching economic disruption since World War II. The events that Thursday made clear that subprime-lending excesses wouldn’t be “contained,” as Ben Bernanke, then Federal Reserve chairman, had predicted just months earlier. Yet few people appreciated the scope of the disaster that would unfold over the next 18 months.

By now it is widely understood that the global financial industry was overleveraged, that the U.S. mortgage market was rife with loans that wouldn’t be repaid, that investors and financial institutions everywhere were paying high prices for highly rated securities that were actually extremely risky....

Investors knew before that day that souring subprime loans would cause losses. But few realized they would show up with such disruptive effects in Europe, thousands of miles from the epicenter of the subprime crisis in southern California.

Investors understood the housing bust would hit the finances of major lenders such as Countrywide Financial Corp. But even after the firm warned that afternoon of “unprecedented disruptions” in markets, few appreciated how gravely impaired the entire U.S. mortgage sector would become as borrowing costs rose, housing prices fell and losses started to mount.

The depth of the existing losses and the efforts to keep the system running would ultimately combine to turn the August liquidity scare into a full-fledged run on markets.

That day didn’t expose just the disarray of the global financial industry. It also illuminated behavioral patterns that helped accentuate the crisis, notably investors’ expectation that central bankers and other policy makers would intervene when markets started to shake. ...

From the vantage point of August 2017, it is clear there have been changes. Subprime has been banished from the lexicon. Banks are better capitalized and more liquid. Investors are constantly on the lookout for imbalances that might signal a coming market catastrophe.
Comment: How it impacted us: We actually came out OK.

  • Our house valuation dropped fairly dramatically but: Stayed well above what we paid for it in 1996 AND we never went underwater.
  • The housing crisis caused the collapse of Wachovia and its acquisition by Wells Fargo. My job was in limbo but I came out ok. Click Wachovia for my blog coverage of this. I went from top dog in my position to 2nd or 3rd fiddle in the new larger organization but I still received raises and bonuses (but no more promotions)
  • We paid off our house (Fall of 2007) and we were able to begin equity acquisitions big time at cheap prices - eg 1000 shares of FITB for about $ 1 a share.
  • Today our house value surpasses what it was pre-crisis.