Daily Bread for 9.18.18

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will see a mix of sunshine, clouds, and occasional thunderstorms, with a high of eighty.  Sunrise is 6:38 AM and sunset 6:58 PM, for 12h 19m 40s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 65.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the six hundred seventy-ninth day.

Whitewater’s Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1863, Wisconsin troops prepare for battle at Chickamauga:

Major General Alexander McCook’s command, including the 15th Wisconsin Infantry, arrived at Chickamauga, Georgia, the night before the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia. The 1st, 10th, 15th, 21st, and 24th Wisconsin Infantry regiments along with the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry and the 3rd, 5th, and 8th Wisconsin Light Artillery batteries would participate in some of the fiercest fighting.

Recommended for reading in full — 

► Grigor Atanesian reports How Hackers Could Attack Wisconsin’s Elections And What State Officials Are Doing About It (“Cybersecurity Experts Warn Private Vendors, Modems, Removable Memory Devices Make State’s Decentralized Voting System Vulnerable To Attack”):

In July, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reported that Russian hackers have targeted websites of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, the state Department of Workforce Development and municipalities including Ashland, Bayfield and Washburn. Elections in this swing state are administered by 1,853 municipal clerks, 72 county clerks and the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

Top cybersecurity experts from the United States, Canada and Russia interviewed by the Center said some practices and hardware components could make voting in Wisconsin open to a few types of malicious attacks, and that Russian actors have a record of these specific actions.

And it is not just Wisconsin — this is a nationwide threat, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine stated in its newly released report, Securing the Vote.

“With respect to foreign threats, the challenge is compounded by the great asymmetry between the capabilities and resources available to local jurisdictions in the United States and those of foreign intelligence services,” according to the report.

► Anna Nemtsova writes Russia Shows Us What Happens to ‘Enemies of the People’: Bloodied Heads, Murdered Reporters, Poisoned Dissidents:

Media experts have monitored an increasing number of attacks on journalists all over Russia. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 38 reporters have been targeted for murder in Russia since 1992, and in 33 of those cases the killers acted with impunity. Just speak with any independent reporter in Russia today and you will hear stories of death threats and violence.

After three years of covering anti-Putin rallies, 22-year-old Polukeeva had plenty of experience as an “enemy of people” and has no patience with those, like U.S. President Donald Trump, who try to inspire hatred for journalists with phrases like that.

“Journalists should feel safe to be able to do their job—that is what the president should understand and explain to the nation, that we reporters work for the society,” Polukeeva told The Daily Beast. “We have to be in the field to prove that this is not fake news, that OMON [Russia’s special riot police] is being more violent—than ever.”

► Caitlin Dickerson reports Detention of Migrant Children Has Skyrocketed to Highest Levels Ever:

Even though hundreds of children separated from their families after crossing the border have been released under court order, the overall number of detained migrant children has exploded to the highest ever recorded — a significant counternarrative to the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce the number of undocumented families coming to the United States.

Population levels at federally contracted shelters for migrant children have quietly shot up more than fivefold since last summer, according to data obtained by The New York Times, reaching a total of 12,800 this month. There were 2,400 such children in custody in May 2017.

The huge increases, which have placed the federal shelter system near capacity, are due not to an influx of children entering the country, but a reduction in the number being released to live with families and other sponsors, the data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services suggests. Some of those who work in the migrant shelter network say the bottleneck is straining both the children and the system that cares for them.

► The Washington Post editorial board writes of China’s Orwellian tools of high-tech repression:

THE TOTALITARIANISM of the 21st century is being pioneered in a vast but remote region of western China inaccessible to most outsiders and subject to a media blackout by China’s Communist authorities. In Xinjiang province, twice the size of Germany, an estimated 1 million people have been forcibly confined to political reeducation camps, where they are required to memorize and recite political songs and slogans in exchange for food. The rest of the region’s 23 million people are subjected to an extraordinary network of surveillance based in part on the collection of biometric data such as DNA and voice samples, and the use of artificial intelligence to identify, rate and track every person. Those rated as suspicious — possession of certain phone apps is sufficient — are sent to the camps without process, trial or even a fixed term.

new report by Human Rights Watch, which pieced together information about the repression based on interviews with 58 former Xinjiang residents, adds new details about what the group calls human rights violations “of a scope and scale not seen in China since the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution.” Not only is the regime of Xi Jinping persecuting millions of people based on their ethnicity and religion, but also it is developing tools of high-tech repression that could be used by dictatorships around the world. Yet China, says the report, “does not foresee a significant political cost to its abusive Xinjiang campaign.” That must change.

The principal target of the crackdown, which began in 2014 but accelerated two years ago, are the some 11 million ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang, who are predominantly Muslim, along with several other smaller Muslim ethnic groups. Some Uighur individuals have supported separatist groups, and there have been a handful of violent attacks on Chinese targets. But nothing could justify Beijing’s response, which Human Rights Watch concluded aims at the eradication of “any non-Han Chinese sense of identity.”

► How SpaceX, Blue Origin, And Virgin Galactic Plan On Taking You To Space:

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