Beyond the Cusp

August 8, 2016

China and Words Whispered on the Winds

 

For as long as there have been predictive winds of the economic variety, the prediction has been whispered from quiet corners to shouted from the rooftops claiming this would be the time that China was finally going to pay for their economic shenanigans and face economic collapse. We have been extremely quiet about these predictions of doom on the horizon as the one thing the Chinese had been very adept at was finding some manner of continuing to meet predicted gains month after month, year after year. Their predictive gains have become somewhat more reasonable from the early 1990s where the reported gains stood around 11% to this past year where they reported merely 6% and are continuing to predict this can be continued. The problem the Chinese leadership is facing is they have pretty much run out of rabbits to pull from their hat and it is time to accept that even in China there can be a recession. But perhaps a little look back might help to explain.

 

China had some really rough years where Chairman (and virtual god) Mao Zedong was the absolute ruler and was executing the usual five year plans which are so precious to so many dictators. Equally precious to such five year plans is that they completely and utterly destroy the national economy and tens of millions die of starvation and other privations. The Chinese have literally tried everything in order to assure that whomever was at the top made a relatively high prediction of economic growth even to have gone to a fairly complete privatization resorting to a market based free enterprise system which had kept growth at around six to as high as nine percent for the past decade plus. To continue reaching such unrealistic goals the Chinese government has gone so far as to build entire cities where nobody was going to live just to add to profits. This also assisted the areas of the Chinese economy which is dependent on the price of copper. Building cities, even those nobody is going to inhabit, still required a fair amount of copper to install all the wiring necessary for a modern environment and using so much copper supports a higher price aiding the Chinese economic indicators.

 

Can the Chinese leadership find some miracle to pull off continued reported gains? Of course they can. After all, lying is always an option and that will work until the people rise up and overthrow the government demanding real and honest leadership. The Chinese watched the breakup of the Soviet Union and know that a contributing factor was pretending they could manipulate and lie their way to prosperity and the people would not be bothered by their lies. Apparently they were misled and paid the consequences. The problem in Russia was despite the change in governance there was little change in who governed and who owned all the wealth. China has wisely decentralized their economy and relied on free market principles throughout almost all sectors of their economy.

 

The Chinese leaders have found the one main problem with a free market economy, eventually even these engines need to cool off for a while and that causes an unavoidable recession. This creates one big headache for the leadership in China; they are expected to show profits and economic growth of at least five to six percent every year, period. That will be a real stretch in the next couple of years as their free market sector has reached the apex as things stand and now need to cool the system and take a few quarters, possibly a year or even two of reset and a settling of the economy before the next drive and prosperity again making all happy. The problem is the Chinese Communist Party insists in progress and growth every year or else heads will roll. In China, that is meant quite literally, thus the excessive need to find some way or reporting progress and gains in the economy. This would have been less of a problem had the economy not been buoyed with false growth figures in construction of uninhabited cities and the enforcement of a one child policy cause a drastic set of circumstances. Now China is facing a recession with a glut of male children entering adult life with poor prospects for matrimony coupled with an economic downturn thus even their rescinding the one child policy, it came far too late for these men in a society bereft of women. This adds another component which historically has almost always been solved in the same manner, finding a means of sacrificing a significant number of male citizens between the ages of twelve to twenty-something. That method has always been war.

 

This brings us to another side of China of late, pressing her claims to areas beyond her natural borders and the stationing of troops as a provocation on these fronts. Much of these provocations have been taken in the South China Sea where Chinese activities and demands are threatening long existent and heavily traveled sea trade routes. Add in the Spratly Islands which are claimed somewhat obviously by the Philippines and Viet Nam and add in China and you have instant conflict. This conflict over the Spratly Islands goes far further than the land based claims as should China successfully claim the islands they would also set solid their claim to the South China Sea as their own little private bathtub square in the middle of some of the most heavily travelled sea lanes in the world. This would allow China to control these sea lanes demanding taxes be paid on all cargo, disrupt naval exercises and travel in what are considered as international waters and be a provocation to war all rolled up in one package. The Spratly Islands are likely the end goal of the island building exercises taken by China in the South China Sea and could quickly escalate into an open confrontation should China use their newly built Blue Water Navy to enforce their claims to these waters. Additionally, there are the conflicting claims over the Diaoyu Islands as the Chinese claim and the Senkaku Islands as the Japanese claim (see map below). These two sets of claims are both very sensitive areas but thus far the Chinese appear to be more concerned with their claims for the Spratly Islands as they would cement the South China Sea as strictly Chinese and thus grant China control of the busiest Asian sea lanes and one of the most heavily traveled sea lanes internationally. This might also be the case simply due to the Japanese having a far more developed naval capability compared to Viet Nam and the Philippines and nothing more.

 

Diaoyu Islands as the Chinese Claim Senkaku Islands as the Japanese Claim

Diaoyu Islands as the Chinese Claim
Senkaku Islands as the Japanese Claim

 

The likelihood of an actual war breaking out over the Spratly Islands is considered by many to be a remote possibility. Of course the possibility of China building an island chain to the Spratly Islands and then placing Chinese troops, aircraft and shore batteries and placing naval assets moored to the Spratly Islands is also considered remote. The potential for open conflict with the Philippines calling in their support guaranteed by the United States could be a potential for a quickly escalating situation over the South China Sea, an area the United States desires to be open and free of any interference with trade as much as anybody. Even the Japanese have direct concerns over the Chinese increased territorial claims into the South China Sea. This could easily become a future flashpoint though such is unlikely until some situation would force the United States to emphasize their presence elsewhere pulling assets out of the western Pacific region. One such scenario would be a war in the Middle East threatening the oil shipments from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Gulf oil kingdoms where the United States would also be bound by treaty obligations. With the current United States Navy cut down to well under former levels of actual warships and also less support vessels meaning that the Navy would not be capable of staging on two separate fronts without leaving large segments of the world outside the reach of American naval assets. This is the situation faced currently as the number of front-line aircraft carriers has been reduced such that with one being refurbished then there would not be a full battle group to send into a crisis area forcing the redistribution of assets from areas considered less threatened, though where that might be is a difficult judgement in itself.

 

China is facing economic downturn for the immediate future barring some unforeseen manipulation of forced conflict requiring wartime production which would permit direct government infusions stimulating the economy in an unnatural means which would only make recovery from such a step even more drastic when the correction comes. No nation can continuously show the kinds of gains China has claimed indefinitely and eventually there must be a cooling-off period as the market resets and decides on its next direction for expansion. China did have the advantage of not being a modern, first-world economy after World War II and then struggling through the Mao Zedong five year plan years where things actually managed to worsen thus allowing for a long stretch of recovery, modernization and finally incorporating free market principles and now China is at a top point from which a reset is long, long overdue and pretty much unavoidable short of declaring war. One hopes that even China has progressed beyond using war as an economic stimulus where all markets are crashed to support the war effort allowing for a period of growth and rebuilding when the war is over. One had also best pray that the same is true in the Middle East where the people have reached the end of patience with dictators and are revolting in nation after nation which could threaten to engulf the Middle East, North, the Horn and parts of Central Africa and potentially Europe starting from Turkey and moving westward and northward and even including Russia in a bid to regain some of the lost power of the Soviet Era. Any blow-up in the Middle East and affected areas could be exactly the opening China would need to cement their claims to the waters and international shipping lanes of the western Pacific-Indian Ocean routes and disrupting world trade in hopes of using taxation of trade and other measures to continue to show profits at any cost. As long as tariffs and trade wars are considered a viable economic tool to be found in some national tool kits, then the world is still a dangerous place as long as that remains so.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 28, 2015

Holocaust Remembrance Day, the BBC, and Lessons Lost

 

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day the BBC show The Big Questions asked and debated the topic as follows, “Our one big question this morning: Is the time coming to lay the Holocaust to rest?” To many the answer is obvious; the problem is the obvious answer is rapidly approaching being evenly divided between the affirmative and the negative. It used to be that if one claimed that the Holocaust was a myth invented by the Jews to use to garnet sympathy or to bludgeon the world with a guilt trip, particularly Germany and the Europeans, was a view which relegated one as outside acceptable society throughout the world with some obvious exceptions. It was certainly not something even debated within Europe or Western society. That has changed to the point that a group of eighth-grade teachers in the Rialto Unified School District decided that asking their students to take a side on whether the Holocaust happened and back up their arguments with facts would be a good way to stretch their students’ creative skills and provide an avenue for them to develop effective debate skills in writing. In some Albany, New York schools, seventy-five tenth-grade English Class students of a teacher received an assignment with the description to write an essay proving that Jews are evil. The assignment read, “Your essay must be five paragraphs long, with an introduction, three body paragraphs containing your strongest arguments, and a conclusion. You do not have a choice in your position: you must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!” So, perhaps the debate by the BBC is not as horrific as it initially appears.

 

The problem with even debating such a question is that with time others will take the BBC initiative one step further and eventually the Holocaust will join many of the other evils in the dustbin of forgotten memories. Hitler queried in second speech to his Wehrmacht commanders, “Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?” This question is one that many should have to answer before they attempt to relegate the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews and other undesirables into a similar category. It should be hoped by all people of compassion and good conscience that all such atrocities remain in human memory for the simple reason as for them to be reminders how dark and evil men’s hearts, minds and thus actions can turn when such things are allowed to be forgotten. The Armenian Genocide being forgotten despite its having occurred just before the onset of World War I and yet it was already a non-issue left from collective memory during World War II and thus did not serve as an early warning lesson against the evils which soon resulted. The Holocaust committed by the Nazis needs to actually be broadened and applied as a warning against easy solutions to societal problems as the Nazi Holocaust did not only murder millions of Jews, but also another six-million others who were considered threats to the government, impurities within the society and still others who were relegated as being too costly to remain within the societal structure.

 

Some of the earliest victims of what eventually led to the Holocaust were not the Jews as their inclusion took a series of dehumanizing steps before it became acceptable. The earliest victims of the whole idea of perfecting the human race were found throughout Western societies in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The mentally insane and deficient were initially simply sterilized so they would not have children who would by the very fact that one or both of their parents were mentally challenged or deficient be tainted human beings and too likely to be similarly afflicted. Margaret Sanger was amongst one of the early birth control advocate whose efforts led to the founding of the American Birth Control League which would later be renamed Planned Parenthood organization. Her intentions are often only partially revealed as much of her efforts are no longer acceptable and there are those who wish to prevent Ms. Sanger’s racial purification efforts to taint modern birth control and abortion rights efforts and lobbying. Her efforts including working with the growing eugenics movement which sought to purify and advance the human race through controlled breeding as one might breed cattle for healthier and many preferable results. This movement made some headway in the United States and Europe and was oft misused to sterilize those considered inferior, be they racially inferior, mentally challenged, those with physical birth defects, people who were outside norms lacking in height and an ever increasing number of other qualities simply regarded as inferior. The eugenics movement had progressed to the point of forced sterilizations where women who came to clinics or when giving birth were sterilized without their knowledge or consent.

 

These ideas were adopted by the Nazis and initially went no further than the eugenics had progressed in the United States and across Europe. Hitler was regarded as taking the proper and necessary steps to improve the human race and was initially lauded by the practitioners of eugenics in the United States. Eventually their support waned as Hitler went beyond the steps the eugenics progressives were comfortable with. Hitler took the theories of eugenics and married them to religious hatreds and persecutions which led to the extermination of six-million Jews and his use of eugenics generally led to the extermination of another five to six million humans determined to be unworthy of life. Those included homosexuals, the mentally challenged, Roma (Gypsies), Serbians and eventually those considered not to be purely Aryan race. The deaths of all of those innocents murdered including those who were simply included who were labelled enemies of the State as well as those included above are the reason the Holocaust must be remembered. The memory of the Holocaust murder of six-million Jews needs to be remembered for all-time as there are those who wish to repeat that undertaking by murdering the slightly more than six-million Jews living in Israel. Then there are others who use Israel as their reason to kill the Jews but actually their desire is to murder every Jew everywhere as is related in this video where New York Councilman David G. Greenfield who is the grandson of Holocaust survivors, gave an impassioned speech, noting that the anti-Semitism inherent in the virulent opposition to Israel at the session of the New York City Council commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance at which he spoke unmasking the real hatred and desires in the protest, the murder of every single Jew wherever they be found.

 

 

 

Remembering the Holocaust is more than simply the Jews who were murdered in mass numbers but the Jews are the consciences who are best able to continue the memory of those horrific times. The lesson of the Holocaust must also go further and also include the entire eugenics movement and any political movement which includes the ideas and ideals of eugenics and other concepts accepted by the progressives of the early twentieth century. Some of their concepts have begun to slowly edge their way back into society once again. Statistics reveal that there is near equality in the general New York City megalopolis between Black children born and those terminated in the womb by abortive techniques. The general acceptance of abortion in society is something the eugenics proponents would have applauded and supported with great enthusiasm. They would have encouraged women of what they considered lesser societal acceptance, otherwise expressed as those less wealthy, to have abortions as they saw wealth as proof of genetic superiority.

 

But the Holocaust was not the only modern murder by governments of those considered to be lesser human beings or even as human beings at all. In the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin committed a Holocaust of proportions were only exceeded by Hitler a little over a decade later. Over the period of 1932 and 1933 it is thought that seven-million Ukrainians were starved to death as the entirety of their produce was transferred to Moscow to feed the starving Russians who were considered to be more essential and true believers on the Soviet ideals and the Ukrainians were expendable. That is the famous words uttered by most mass murderers; they were one or more of the following, expendables, unbelievers or inferiors. There was the famine in China which resulted from Chairman Mao Zedong’s programs of the Great Leap Forward of 1958 to 1962 where inside China it has been estimated that the loss of life equaled from fifteen to forty-five million with the accepted standard places the totals between twenty-one to forty-three million deaths. The deaths inside China were only exceeded by the cover-up and deceitful history which denied the failures of the state.

 

There were other such government initiated mass deaths including when the Japanese Imperial Army entered the Chinese Capital City and committed the Rape of Nanking murdering half of the six-hundred-thousand people in six weeks, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge who orchestrated the Cambodian genocide, Bosnia-Herzegovina genocide of 1992 through 1995 which murdered at least two-hundred-thousands, Rwanda genocide where in a hundred days in 1994 up to 800,000 Tutsis were killed by Hutu militia using clubs and machetes killing as many as 10,000 each day and the wholesale slaughter of human beings by human beings all due to one group believing that their right to live outweighs others’ right to life for any reason be it religious, racial, political or any of the other contrivances of human kind meant to select one group as superior to all others. It is for these peoples as well and the hundreds of millions or probably billions upon billions who have been slaughtered through wars, enslavement, political purges, purifications, religious differences or any other distinction used by man throughout his history that we must remember the Holocaust if only because there are those who refuse to allow its memory to die. It is the calling to memory the six-million Jews and the rest of the twelve-million or more murdered in death camps, open fields, ghettos, in the back of trucks feeding the exhaust into the back compartment or simply shot where they stood who represent the entirety of the hostility of men against their fellow men that the Holocaust must echo throughout the rest of human history as a reminder such that we never again turn a deaf ear to the suffering and deaths of our fellow human beings. No, the time has not arrived to lay the Holocaust to rest, and the time we pray will never come to lay the Holocaust to rest. When mankind forgets the horrors of his past, he will live to repeat them and that has to end now!

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

December 22, 2012

And Banning Firearms Will End the Shootings?

We have had a rash of violence with handguns as the weapon of choice. This has led many to call for some tighter control on firearms while not really considering that the problem might have more to do with some of the particular lost souls who use them for antisocial purposes. The problem with weapons all throughout history has not been their abilities to maim and murder but the ability for people of ill intent to apply them in a violent release of their twisted and vicious perceptions. Jack the Ripper did not even use the most lethal of weapons of his time; he simply used a blade on people over whom he had a physical advantage. Some of the worst murderers in all of history did not use a weapon at all, they used other people who enacted their evil and used some of the most horrific means to cull the presumed unwanted from among the population. Stalin starved hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians while Mao Tse Tung simply allowed millions of Chinese to starve due to his errors, assuming these events were a mistake. Caligula used the might of Rome to execute his insanities on innocent people. Could somebody explain with such knowledge any sane people could honestly claim that guns are what have caused the calamities we have witnessed lately. Equally to blame are the reports which are played hour in and hour out raising the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to a corrupted form of notoriety. Unfortunately, the same people who report these stories and posthumously give these perpetrators their moment in the light are the same people who are rallying the populace in the pogrom to blame guns for the horrendous events which they have been reporting on every half hour in every newscast.

We have been hearing the clarion call to once again ban those scary looking guns, those assault style weapons, those weapons that resemble outwardly military style weapons and all will once again be right with our society. Never mind that the Columbine High School massacre near Littleton, Colorado, was committed while the last Assault Weapons Ban was in effect. How in all that is holy could such a crime take place with the near perfect weapons ban was in place making such terrible events supposedly impossible? The reputed first ever murder where Cain murdered his brother Able and did so without a gun, a sword, a knife, or even a club, he used his own two hands. But now we can end evil, we can heal every sick mind, every wayward emotion will be rendered harmless simply by making certain weapons that some self-appointed authorities assure us will solve all of the problems and illnesses of our society and everyone after we take this one small step will live happily ever after. Of course history and simple experiences have proven that this promise is as empty as are all the arguments offered as the solution to such mass killings as we have experienced recently. Problems whose source is the human mind and the potential twists and corruptions which can afflict such minds will never be resolved by placing the blame on a tool and banning the tool. The problems of men can only be resolved through compassions and inventiveness of the rest of mankind.

Perhaps in the distant future there will be tools with which we can predict and help those people who have a predilection towards embracing and enacting such violence as these horrific mass murders but unfortunately today we cannot yet predict all such people. We might want to rethink the path we have embarked upon where we favor the placement of people with mental irregularities within the real world in the hope that being among those we consider normal will be affected in a positive way. Unfortunately, some of those that we place within our societies might not be better served to be kept separate and in a controlled environment. These repeated events where some of the most innocent among us pay the price for an experiment which we had no input or vote in instituting where we no longer have a special place for those who might potentially be dangerous and simply place them within the public and expect it to simply be just wonder bread and bubbles. Perhaps instead of banning certain weapons that make some people hold unbridled and unfathomable fear we should instead demand that the government and the medical community no longer use the public place for their experiments in treatment of those our society would very likely be safer with them not within our daily lives. Perhaps ending the use of asylums was one experiment we need to ban and leave the firearms alone.

Beyond the Cusp

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