Beyond the Cusp

February 11, 2016

Obama’s Massive Budget Proposes but Misses All Marks

 

The Congress will be debating a budget which manages to miss a number of vital areas while spending massive amounts on failed programs and is designed to expand dependence on government programs, expanding programs designed to replace the need for employment forming a self-enforced permanent reliance. Many of the new permanently unemployed who have completely resigned to their current fate and have adapted to a lifestyle more conducive to a retired person complete with a number of friends in the same lifestyle and probably virtual on-line friends in a game or chat room who meet every day for their entertainment used to fill the day while some take on a lifestyle of a self-imposed solitary confinement with hopefully a friend or relative who makes occasional contact allowing for at least a minimal level of human interaction. These are people who have fallen through the cracks finding government programs for their support and sustenance. They know where to get food and live either with their parents or other relative or with a group of man living in a rented apartment or in Section 8 Housing. These are people who have accepted that they have failed and have little if any motivation to improve their lot in life. There will be funds for these people and if they vote we can guess which party is their choice as their existence depends on government teat to nurture them. If only our military personnel were so well cared for, but one has to have their priorities after all.

 

This budget will needfully be augmented by whoever wins the Presidential contest next fall, and that cannot come fast enough. This makes this budget President Obama’s final shot at remaking the United States into nothing more than another demilitarized socialist European failing state. Other than the first budget he proposed and got passed by a Democrat Congress which had complete control over both houses, Congress also passed his next spending increase in a supplemental budget in some way with almost every piece of legislation adding to the demand for more revenue from a tax strapped and wounded economy which groaned and struggled under the ever increasing burden. It seemed the only places cash strapped under the Obama years was national defense and the space program. To be fair the space program appears to be the whipping boy of every politician whose aim it is to reel in a runaway budget. Have you ever noticed that the NASA budget, when it comes time to make cuts, is always given in billions of dollars and never like other parts which are mentioned in percentages of spending? There is a reason which becomes crystal clear once you understand the actual size of the NASA budget. The dirty little secret is that the NASA budget has seldom reached beyond 2 1/2 % and ever since the end of the moon race has never cleared 1 1/2 % and usually hovered around ¾ of 1% of the budget, that is 0.75% which is almost nonexistent but when said in billions of dollars it sound enormous, or ginormous as a very young child once exclaimed while watching television. So, on we go to other budget realities.

 

The defense budget, it’s a monstrous piece of the budget, right? Wrong. Actually the peace time military usually runs on under 9% of the budget. The one wasteful part of the budget is the now approaching 25% of the budget which is used to pay the interest on the national debt, the interest which means the actual debt never gets paid down. This is even worse than paying your monthly minimum on your charge cards as even those include payment beyond just “servicing” your debt. We all understand that should we not charge more on our cards that this minimum payment will eventually drop to zero as we will have paid off our debt in full. Not the Federal Government, they pay what we would call a default payment where they pay off the interest and allow the actual principle to remain untouched thus they could pay the interest rate forever and never have the debt grow any smaller. I hear you and you are correct, that is no way to run a budget. Still this paying off only the interest will force deficit spending as there would be no other manner of paying off the debt. So, that payment may have grown since the last time we came across the actual numbers on that debt demand. Another 30% goes to all the benefits and Social Security based payments and another 30% on corporate welfare and the remainder which is, let’s do the math, NASA and the Defense budgets equals 10% plus debt service is 25% and support payments combined is 60% and we are at 95% and not even begun to talk about simply running the government we would be wise to end our outlays and use that remaining 5% to cover any unexpended necessities which may come around, but no, that amount is eaten up largely by the operating payment which easily found uses for any remaining cash as long as it is not used to pay off principle of the debt as that would make sense.

 

With the budget covering all the massive increases, as it has since his first Obama budget gave unfathomable increases that set the tone for the remainder of budgets, government spending is, as logic would dictate, out of control. This was an intentional ploy as now the cost of living increases themselves was sufficiently large that many agencies have been strapped for ways to spend their new levels of funding; but still each was then sufficiently charged with new outlays that their percentage of the budget increased well beyond that 5% limitation. That paltry 5% was insignificant when compared to the demands that legislation would place on the government such as added programs and the expansion of programs such that they were tasked with making payments sometimes to larger and larger sectors of society. One easily provided example was the lengthening of the time one could collect unemployment before being dropped from the roles. The same was occurring at the welfare offices as more people found themselves eligible for added benefits and the increase in people found to be disabled, all of these categories add up and very soon one is talking about real outlays running smack against deficit spending and an increased debt. The worrisome item is how much additional outlays will be required for the military to continue to operate at a level well in advance of other nations who, such as China and Russia, are attempting to supplant the United States as the hegemon. Russia is doing exactly that in the Middle East and Eastern Europe while China is targeting the Western Pacific Ocean and Asia.

 

The two main problems facing the United States will require the next President to address two areas and decide exactly what they intend to do to mitigate the problems. The first and potentially lesser of the problems is simply supporting the military and restoring it with additional funding to cover the development and training of the soldiers on new and more advanced equipment. The F-22 Raptor should be put back into production and the full rostrum originally intended should be resumed. There are a number of other areas where upgrades or replacement is necessary or approaching at an unanticipated rate. One such item is space defense which would protect vital satellites from attack, especially ground based attacks. The other would be an overhaul of the weapons utilized by the military. Improved individual weapon systems and squad defense systems need upgrading or replacement. A new infantry weapon is desperately needed and the new weapon will need to be sufficient to fire a round which will penetrate the personal armor currently used by other militaries and many terrorist groups who have been able to acquire such defensive systems. Another replacement, actually supplemented, is the ability to project force overseas from within the United States to any point on the map within four hours. There has been a plan for a space plane which involves a low earth orbit to be attained and then a controlled reentry would place a squad of soldiers anywhere required. A coordinated launch of sufficient numbers of the crafts could relocate entire companies and even brigades and have them operational within three hours, comfortably within the requirements. New armor, specifically heavy and moderate tanks and the design of an armored personnel carrier (APC) which is mine resistant and adaptable enough to perform transport of any company or brigade troop safely and with relative comfort and a seating capacity for thirty-five men and their equipment. ROV and self-sufficient robotic systems should be urgently placed at the front of DARPA priorities thus leading to fast track readiness for these systems which are required for multiple tasks.

 

 

Super Soldier Outfitted with Helmets, Reactive Body Armor, Unit Identification, Full Battle Field Interface, Text to Unit and Individual, Drone Interface, Full Level Integration from Unit to Command, Exo-Skeleton Strength Assist, Enemy Positions Known and Suspected, Unit and Command View What Soldier Sees

Super Soldier Outfitted with Helmets, Reactive Body Armor, Unit Identification,
Full Battle Field Interface, Text to Unit and Individual, Drone Interface,
Full Level Integration from Unit to Command, Exo-Skeleton Strength Assist,
Enemy Positions Known and Suspected, Unit and Command View What Soldier Sees

 

 

Above the rebuilding of military hardware, power projection, logistics at all levels; the modern warfare future infantry soldier systems need full field testing and provability of aims which include integrating the soldier in the field with access to the same information as command and control is looking at plus gives them locations of all friendlies in the area of operation as well as known and suspected enemy locations and demarking landmarks as known cleared, unknown or known enemy occupied. The systems also permit the squad or platoon to spread over a larger area as each man knows the position of the unit to their right and left and allows for moving inline and giving orders, warnings or other pertinent or mission critical information through test allowing for quiet movement in possible enemy areas. These systems also link to drones, aerial and ground based, with both camera view and location scanned. This also gives command a better view of where assets on the ground actually are and they thus are not depending on “they should be here by now” and other inaccuracies. These systems being given testing by trial in mock training situation making them mission tested and ready to deploy should we require boots on the ground, and if the President does not desire boots on the ground, American troops are versatile if nothing else, they can wear sneakers and if that is too formal they could try wearing flip-flops but movement would be slowed.

 

The other area which is vital for the United States to address as it is also quite necessary for the world economy as well. The United States debt ceiling must be lowered and the debt decreased. This is not payment on the debt as it is now used, namely paying the interest payment and not touching the principle except to raise it half way through the year and then bumping it up every six weeks as you pass continuing resolution and refusing to pass a budget such that nobody can keep track of spending and the debt can be adjusted every couple of weeks as another extension of the budget with a ten percent increase over the last continuing resolution as we have to allow for a little manageable debt. This has been one of President Obama’s greatest deceits, the creeping debt ceiling where every continuing resolution grants the President the power to raise the debt ceiling an apparently insignificant amount always given as a percentage of GDP and never on actual billions or tens of billions of dollars, one billion dollars is one fourth of one percent, 0.25% or 1/4% (all if my math is remotely accurate), which appears insignificant until somebody breaks the news that that is half of the NASA budget which was considered wasteful. The other matter is these continuing resolutions pile up until you have as many as ten and always at the least five so we will give you the increase if there are merely seven continuing resolution each increasing the debt ceiling by 0.25%. Such an insignificant amount results in increasing the debt ceiling by a whopping 1.75% increase which if the debt is at $10,000,000 then at years end it would be over $10,725,000 which is a lot more than a simple one quarter of one percent raise they claimed they made because they made that increase multiple times. The actual increase from a ¼ % increase one needs to multiple 1.0025 times itself as many times as it was complimented thus making the formula for the actual increase to be (1.0025)n where n=the number of continuing resolutions. The debt ceiling being raised is probably the greatest threat to the future economy which means a threat to any military presence and influence over the world the United States would be financially capable of sustaining.

 

President Obama could be considered the John Lenin, not the Vladimir Lenin though that argument could be made, where he only added one verse to the song Imagine:

Imagine there is no America,
forcing her morals and opulence upon the world,
its catastrophic if it happens,
it’s easy if you try,
just look back to 1919,
when the system failed and left much in disarray.

For those confused, 1919 saw the greatest drop in the stock market value and almost all industry froze expecting a very long, long, long winter and governments were in a panic over what to do. They discussed nationalizing industry as they had misread the populace’s demands, and then there was the imposition of standards and regulations such that government and industry would cooperate. There was no upper limit to proposals and that was the magic. Every couple of days some economist played out the reasons for the crash and the required steps necessary to repair the problem such that it never occurs again. No two were alike as to what to do. Governments in Europe and the United States as well as elsewhere which were struck by the economic crunch debated and debated then debated further for quite a while. There was never a consensus and the government appeared as frozen as the economy and the crisis continued for almost a year and a half without government intervention to save the day. Finally the crisis calmed and reason prevailed and the government did that which was best, absolutely nothing beyond making great and historic speeches which nobody today remembers. The recovery came completely free of any government actions and quite probably because of no government action. The worst economic crisis which the history books refuse to cover was not in 1929 or anywhere through the 1930’s and that disaster only affected the United States where the government took immediate and necessary actions while in Europe the government, as in 1919, debated until the economy recovered on its own in about eighteen months while the United States went from one cure to another like a fish floundering out of the water. Will we ever learn, nope, that can be proven by asking random people simple question concerning something not taught any longer, civics. Simple questions like what are the three branches of government, how many members in the House of Representatives, how many electors in the Electoral College. My favorite is to take a copy of the Declaration of Independence modernized version and tell people you are collecting signature such that this document will need to be voted upon and potentially become adopted by the government but you need signatures to meet some set number. Watch the people freak out and call you so many varied and different names such as fascist, anarchist, communist and any number of other things all meant as pejoratives and insult.

 

Lastly, to make a few comments on this fall’s Presidential elections in the United States. The person elected to office will be initially critical to Israel. The growing crisis in Europe over the refugees will result inevitably in violence like never witnessed before. The reactions will propel the world onto yet another conflagration where the ending volley will come as a response to Iranian nuclear strikes on the United States. When communications break down in the usual levels and the conflict has proceeded to a point where a conflagration is sure to follow, the fleet commanders out to sea in submarines and surface vessels and all the bases around the world will do as their letters of command instruct, to the best of their ability determine who or plural who was/were responsible for the attack which broke off their communications links with all commands and take whatever measures are possible to mitigate the situation. If the nuclear submarines, boomers, determine or are informed that nuclear weapons were utilized in an assault on the United States, they will launch their missiles in order to eradicate the enemy which thusly destroyed the United States. Some nations believe that the United States is no different than them and only has a few number of vessels not in harbor safe and sound rather than roaming all points in the globe lurking in the depths awaiting commands and when not receiving such assuming that their bases were destroyed so they would contact the ranking officer outside the mainland and receive their new orders. These orders would take into consideration the launch point and nation behind the launch or assisting these attackers anywhere on the planet and launch nuclear Armageddon upon them such that there be nothing left for the twelfth Imam to come save. As the old commercials used to say, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!” This version would be along the lines of, “It’s not survivable to fool with America” as her assets around the globe will kill you very completely. In conclusion, if the United States can instead of policing micro-aggressions at home and inspecting their navels, would instead look at the real and serious threats around the globe and address them in some assertive manner, then they would allow the real threats to be known and scheduled for destruction immediately and completely with no reservations or considerations for their populations, and should target and eliminate by any means necessary any credible and identifiable threats from abroad as they likely targeted locations which would directly affect families and friends back home. The American military need only break things and then simply advise that remaining population that they correct their governance and attitudes about all things of immediate concern otherwise the American military will return, break everything and give the survivors the same challenge, and repeating this cycle as long as necessary until any new governance poses no discernable threat to the United States or her allies. But there is the definite possibility the next American presence in the world will more appear as weak-willed and incompetent governance based on the people making the call through their elected representatives which if weak-willed would lead to their electing their own representatives for all the wrong reasons and falling for flashy commercials and tired old promises made every election cycle. America is, as Ronald Reagan pointed out, the last best hope for freedom in the world and that was correct. What he got wrong was should America as the beacon of democracy die, there will continue to be a beacon for democracy as there is another which can carry the seed though would be pressed to spread it through more than a value preserved and ready for when men’s souls yearn for freedom and seek within them such fortitude to risk all to fulfill their dream. Israel can be that spark but the nations of the world will need to provide the fuel that will light the fires of hope, freedom, liberty, justice, equality, and a will to risk everything they have to give their children the freedom they must in turn preserve. Freedom is a small flickering flame which can be fueled to burn so brightly, but also will become merely glowing embers which soon turn charcoal black and give off little if any heat unable to rekindle the flames. Those embers of freedom are currently losing their heat throughout Europe and America is trailing not all that far behind. Time is limited but ripe for a new burst of freedom; the next elections may be the determining factor between freedom and hopelessness engulfing much of the world. Will men and women realize and answer the challenge.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 15, 2016

President Obama’s Last State of the Union Address Finally Done

Part 2

 

Here we go picking up where we left off picking on and picking faults, discrepancies and blatant lies all while trying to maintain our sanity by making light of what will result in the kick-off of President Obama’s long ago promised and much anticipated by extreme leftists and haters of all things America who agree with the President that the problem with the world has been and always was an America that was too powerful, too imperialist, too influential, too concerned and too interventionist even when America seldom kept the lands they liberated returning the greatest majority back to their former governance or to the people to choose their own future with any and all assistance they required in instigating a governance which was chosen and would continue to be chosen by the people in free, open, honest elections where the actual votes mattered and the government was answerable to the ballot box. This President decided that the United States remaining in Iraq and Afghanistan was detrimental to the free choices of the people and was there as a conqueror imposing America’s will onto the people so he removed the United States troops and the vast majority suffered not only in Afghanistan and Iraq but across the Middle East and North Africa as while President Obama had no trouble allowing governments to be overthrown, he saw no role for the United States in preserving the possibility for change if only there was some means of preventing the fracturing in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and starting now in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The sole saving grace in the MENA revolutions was Egypt where the Muslim Brotherhood was removed from power before they could cement their Islamist Sharia nightmare and cast Egypt into another Iran like power except this time Sunni and the Sinai Peninsula is still in open revolt and lawlessness threatening both Egypt and Israel and potentially Jordan and western Saudi Arabia while assisting Iran in arming Hamas even further. So, now let’s get back to the speech after this commercial interruption.

 

“Medical research is critical; we need the same level of commitment when it comes to developing clean energy sources. Look, if anybody wants to dispute the science around climate change, then have at it. You will be pretty lonely.” Then he listed a litany of organizations, branches of government, the military, and so on. Does anybody know what the unifying thing was about that list? Yes, you right here……. Yes, that’s it; they are all financed through the government or are completely beholden as a branch of government. This has been the ugly truth about the climate change debate. Firstly, nobody is claiming that climate does not change as that would be preposterous. What is debated is whether it is predominantly anthropomorphic or whether nature has the far greater effect. Guess which one received the mountain of funding from the United States, United Nations, European Union, and had entire companies whose existence and budget only comes from government and they still manage to go bankrupt, see yesterday’s just above the picture in the article, there is only one. We could argue that right here and never get through the speech so one argument and we’ll move on. Take all the pollution caused by humankind and add to that all the pollution caused by the herds of animals and pets of humankind and add all the pollution caused by factories and power plants, even the coal plant a week Chinese ones with no scrubbers or filters belching pollutants needlessly because they are immune to criticism or pollution control requirements and balance that against the 550 active volcanoes of which an average year has 60 eruptions of which 2/3 are active and constantly erupting such as Stromboli, Kilauea, or Sakurajima. Guess which side of the equation produces more greenhouse gasses and pollutants into the atmosphere, hint, mankind has only once in modern history beaten an erupting volcano on the fly using water pumps, granted, very large water pumps and every last one from Greenland to Britain and beyond was a harbor village in Iceland who slowed and then redirected the lava flow, tens of thousands of cubic yards of lava flow away from directly striking their town losing less than 10% of the buildings. And volcanoes are not the largest producers of greenhouse gasses for which we are very thankful. Anyone know the molecule which generates the greatest amount of greenhouse effect in the atmosphere, and would you like to ban it? We hope not as it is dihydrogen-oxide and the oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, ponds and other bodies of this chemical whose denotation is H2O, yep, water is the greatest producing molecule in the atmosphere that remains a secret because if people ever realized that the oceans beat volcanoes by a factor of hundreds or more and volcanoes beat humanity with all its effects by a factor of thousands then the whole climate change is America’s and the developed world’s fault would be forever buried, but they want to use climate change to change the way you live and then limit your travel demanding you get a license to travel after you pay for a thousand trees to be planted and other garbage coming in the future the way things are heading. So, onward and let’s see the next subject.

 

President made a statement that the United States has cut foreign imports of oil by 60% which he made to sound to be due to renewable energy production and ignored the influence that tripling oil production, largely due to fracking, and the Dakota’s oil boom. An intentional aside, he threw out “gas under two bucks (nice common language rather than the formal dollars) a gallon ain’t (see last comment) bad either” a great little tool politicians use to make a comment, usually to their favor, appear as they just thought of it and threw it out off the cuff, trust one who dabbled in politics, it was on the teleprompter including a signal word to denote its delivery. Enough trees great, cars bad. The “world we preserve,” oh gag me with a spoon.

 

We are now going on to discuss how to keep America safe without isolationism or triumphalism as we cannot be the world’s police. And I have to ask, why not, it had been working somewhat before you broke the entire machine because you were raised in a bubble. The United States spends more on their military than the next eight nations combined. Possibly valid but that is comparing apples to oranges. The United States also spends more on water pipes, telephone equipment, power lines, than those same eight nations, but so what. Let’s talk percentage of GDP to military spending and my bet is that then Israel spends more than the United States. As long as we are making comparisons, my bet is the United States, for the time being as China is about to get into these areas placing their own systems in orbit, but the United States spends more on weather satellites, GPS satellites, satellites to monitor weather on the sun, space telescopes, probes working on or around other planets, and way more on satellites still broadcasting data to Earth from beyond the heliosphere and currently traversing the heliosheath while approaching the so called the heliopause.

 

 

Voyagers 1 and 2 and the Areas in Space with Reference to the Heliosphere the Heliosheath and the Heliopause as well as the Shock Wall where the Cosmic Winds from the Milky Way and the Universal Winds and Energies Exceeds the Solar Effects

Voyagers 1 and 2 and the Areas in Space with Reference to
the Heliosphere the Heliosheath and the Heliopause as well as
the Shock Wall where the Cosmic Winds from the Milky Way
and the Universal Winds and Energies Exceeds the Solar Effects

 

 

He feels the need to remake NATO. First is protecting Americans, as it should be, because terrorist network, yes, he actually said terrorists, somebody probably told him the value of not hedging when talking about violent extremists, and he named al-Qaeda and ISL which is close to the point, because even a handful of terrorists who care little for human life, including their own, can do a lot of damage. No argument here except I would bet he will refer to the small number part in some future argument where he will claim that it is just a small, insignificant number of violent extremists. Well, well, so we sure do not need to push away vital allies in this fight, please tell me this is not where Turkey, or worse, Iran are coming into view, please. The coalition he formed is taking care of Syria which would work better if Congress would authorize use of force in Syria. Further, Iran has been prevented from gaining nuclear weapons and stamped out Ebola in Africa and established trade in Asia if only Congress would act. He claims that we can rid the world of Malaria which could have been accomplished with the judicial and targeted use of DDT back fifty years ago, but because of overuse of DDT by permitting wide swath spraying of even some urban areas to cut down on insects resulted in undernourished birds having overly thin shelled and thus unhealthy eggs. If we had limited the use to only areas where there were stagnant waters, then the judicial use instead of carpet bombing every suburb in America would not have so denuded the areas of insects that it so adversely affected the birds. I can remember the trucks coming every three weeks and spraying unbelievable amounts of what they referred to as bug spray, but our parents knew it was DDT, the chemical which allowed the building of the Panama Canal along with penicillin; but once we were done in the tropics, why continue to allow an inexpensive and easily produced pesticide to continue use worldwide just to rid the world of malaria. But now we must finish the job of eradicating malaria. Why did we refuse to finish the fight a half century ago and saved how many millions of lives? Lives matter even in the poorest of nations where malaria had been a scourge across Africa, South and Central America as well as Asia but not on temperate Europe and America, so ban DDT and watch these continents suffer needlessly. Can you tell this one has stuck in my craw for quite some time?

 

Our glorious future can only happen if we work together and have rational and constructive debates, fix our politics, and now, trust between the citizenry. I fear where he is about to tread. It doesn’t work if we think our opponents are motivated by malice, are unpatriotic, trying to weaken America. Democracy doesn’t work when we fail to compromise, when basic facts are contested, listen only to those who agree with us (then what am I doing here?), public life withers when only the most extreme voices get all the attention, and breaks down when the average person doesn’t think their voice matters, that the system is rigged in favor of the rich, the powerful or some special interest. And we learn that President Obama has regrets and this is one of those few he has about his Presidency, wish I could say the same. He has noticed that the division and relations between the parties had gotten worse instead of better. Talking to the American people he instructs us that it is not enough to change a Congressman or a Senator or even a President to make politics better, we need to change the system. We need to stop drawing congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters and not the other way around, let a bipartisan committee (we think as it was applause overshadowed), reduce the influence of money in our politics so a handful of individuals or (unintelligible) our elections, stutter stutter stutter if campaign finance reform cannot pass muster in the courts, then we have to find another solution, (damn the Constitution and full steam ahead). He can’t do these things on his own, the last time he complained about that he did do it on his own. Look out America, Obama has seen your future and you are going to become a tribal society fighting and killing instead of voting because he has seen it. Um, ah, no, and here we go into the philosophical rhapsody in his view of what is right, imagine an America where there are no differences, no races, no ethnicity and no religion too. Imagined an America where rah rah rah and the son who comes out for who he is and the father who loves him, the woman who waits forever to vote, the new immigrant who votes for the first time and the State of our Union is strong, um, okie dokie.

 

Summary:
It was shorter than his usual but could have been even shorter. I want a President who simply does what the constitution requires, send a report to Congress, written so that they can review where their President who they will need to work along-side and determine where the nation is going in his opinion and they should reply either directly or through whatever channels they need to abide and oblige. Then for the State of the Union Address, as the press will have already posted the report to Congress for any citizen to read, can simply give an emotional and concise speech delineating what he desires and addresses any urgent events or state of the world which he believes the people need to know the President’s views and where he can sway people. That way the report can be lengthy with figures and breakdowns of every little thing and be completely factual or his opinion and go into greater depth than the presentation. As it stands now, the President will actually make two, if he is wise, State of the Union reports, the copy of this speech and the actual SOTU report as a document of greater length and detail than he would ever wish to deliver to the nation. As this system is currently, that second report, if such does exist, will remain unseen by the people and even if the media were to get a copy, the odds are it would never see print or online unless bloggers or other new media types were to have access. The President will never be giving another SOTU address and for that both he and we are likely grateful.
What is actually far more interesting are the rumors floating around which inform us that President Obama will be touring far more than the fifty-seven states he once claimed were the United States, as now he is campaigning for an entirely new position which will present an interesting problem. He wants to be the next Secretary General of the United Nations. He really thinks he should run the world. This has been the funniest rumor I have run across in years and what makes it even better is it would be even funnier if it is for real. Honest, I think President Obama would make a much better Secretary General of the United Nations than he was President of the United States. If President Obama really thinks that Secretary General is a higher post than President of the United States, he will need to have a serious session with people who know better. The Secretary General of United Nations makes pointless speeches, usually unfortunately ever so much longer than necessary, that’s one qualification he has. He needs to enjoy being powerless, not an Obama strong suit. He would have no military and would need to rely completely on his speech delivery to make his point and win the day. They will make sure his translator to the hard of hearing is an actual translator and not some wanna-be comedian. He will get to visit one-hundred-ninety-three nations and the nonfunctional Palestinian Authority. He would still be dead within fifteen minutes of a Gaza visit. He would still be persona-non-grata in Egypt. Turkey’s Erdogan would remain his best friend. He would have the privilege of dealing with Prime Minister Netanyahu even more often and with less influence or power. He could spend great amounts of time in Europe where the politics are presumably more to his liking. He could have two five year terms which is greater job security than his last job where he will be summarily fired after eight too long years of pain and anguish because the Congress would not play fair and just do as they were told, well, except for parts of those first two dreamy years. As Secretary General nobody anywhere will do as they are told, oh the additional anguishes. As Secretary General may he will have miseries like that of a thousand nights shared in a Bedouin tent with a camel. As Secretary General he can make his best speeches even though no one will listen, not even the chair (thank you Neil Diamond).

 

That is a good one to leave in and go listen to Neil Diamond’s Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

September 29, 2015

Social Fabric is Being Torn Apart

 

The social fabric since the urbanization caused by the industrial revolution has taken the majority of mankind out of a rural setting and thrust us into a more urban environment. The question which should be occupying a large part of those pondering the future is how will our society adjust the social fabric when approaching one third initially and within this century well over three-quarters of what we consider now as the workforce not only not having gainful employment but no opportunity for employment as more and more occupations are performed by robotic systems. In a recent study Oxford University researchers have forecast that machines might be able to perform half of all jobs in the United States over the next two decades, and by implication the same will be true for the rest of the Western and Industrial nations and beyond. Once robotic workers are capable of executing an occupation, that occupation will be on a fast track to making the human employee a luxury, no employer will be capable of wasting further investments and instead will automate or perish before the competitors who have automated their workforce. Our societies throughout the world will need to adjust to a permanent unemployable class which will far outstrip the active workforce projecting sufficient tax revenues no matter what the taxation rate to support the remainder of society. But do not fret as the price of production and delivery of most goods will be delivered at a great savings which will continually become more efficient and less expensive to produce.

 

One example I recently read of compared the human workers to a former workhorse which powered much of our production either by providing the raw power or was at least required to bring the products to the public. This power and transportation utilized animals such as plowing with an oxen or mule, horse drawn wagons transporting goods from production to the consumers and any other animals mankind once relied upon. In our modern age the sole use for animals is recreation or as a raw material such as sheep for wool and food, cattle for food, dogs and cats as pets and so on with the animals no longer being used as a source of power within modern and industrialized societies. Where the horse drawn wagons and carriages were commonplace on the city streets of New York, Washington D.C, London, Paris and across the world; now a horse within the city limits for transportation is relegated today as some form of recreational use normally reserved for tourists such as carriage rides offered around Central Park in New Your City or central tourist areas in London and Paris and so on. This has caused a drastic drop in the horse population where they have become something that relatively wealthy people keep for their own use and the noble steed has passed its use-by date. The most telling replacement was made painfully obvious when at the start of World War II some of the finest cavalry troops saw their last in the Polish Army until January 27, 1947, when the 1st Warsaw Cavalry Division was disbanded. The initial breakout of World War II saw the attempt to use horse cavalry, as pictured below, in the field against German tanks; one can guess the end result was not too good for the cavalry.

 

Polish Uhlan cavalry armed with the wzor 35

 

The use of machinery initially to aid and augment human workforce was the driving technology of the industrial revolution. Power was initially provided by draft animals or water powered systems some of which have been found dating back well before the Industrial revolution to the Roman Empire. Eventually animals were replaced with steam engines followed soon thereafter by more efficient engines such as the internal combustion engine and also the use of electricity to power the factories using electric motors. Whatever the use in the modern factories of the industrial revolution it could be traced back to either hydropower or petroleum and natural gas powered electrical generators or direct use of fossil fuels as in trains, planes and automobiles. The terminology often used to describe the current stage is the information age though one could make an argument for the full utilization of programmable mechanisms. Such systems can trace their history back to the card operated weaving machines which often were water powered used in the making of cloth fabrics. With the development of the microchip we have seen an explosion in the variety of automated machines and had their size drastically reduced and made more agile and adaptable. These robotic units can be programmed or taken through a routine by a skilled operator and then allowed to simply repeat the process it was ‘trained’ to perform. Electronic automating has taken leaps forward to a point where virtually any manual task can be performed by an automated system even to the point of self-driving automobiles, buses, trains, trolleys, trams and other conveyances. Modern airports have installed moving floors to remove the necessity of having to actually walk to your terminal to board or disembark your flight. The exacting standards can and will be facilitated, and will only become more versatile in material and intricacy, as 3-D printing continues to be developed and integrated into the modern, fully-automated factory with robotic employees and a minimal human presence to basically monitor operations and hit the ‘stop’ button in case of, what will be made less common, an emergency or breakdown. What is frightening is there are robots being developed which would facilitate the repair of such a breakdown.

 

One thing I can attest to from my own work experience is that the printed circuit integrated boards have reached a level of sophistication and the manufacture of the integrated circuits made so affordable that the vast majority of these boards, or even modules, are less expensive to replace the entire part of the unit and send the malfunctioning board to be recycled or even destroyed (in an environmentally sensitive manner, of course). One industry which has turned to automation in a big way has been the automotive industry, both in their products and the assembly of the product (pictured below). The muscle of a robot is one of its major benefits as it never tires of doing its assigned tasks, never takes a break, is rarely ill or out of commission, does not complain and is very efficient. The latest addition to the productivity and versatility of the robotic assembler is that the software is almost to the point where a robot will be fully capable of replacing the majority of service jobs as well. In the future there may well be some upscale stores which will offer their patrons a level of service advertised as the most personal service one could expect, and such a boutique would actually have real flesh and blood people. What will be amazing is those people may even approach the efficiency, attentiveness, level of service and any other category except for speed and acute knowledge of the entirety of products available but otherwise just as good service as one can get from an automated shop. The basic for such a machine requires a special set of electronics which will have a microprocessor board which will contain any number of required CPUs (central processing unit), Memory ICs (both read/write and worm, write once-read many), support data ICs holding the AI (Artificial Intelligence) and the various switching, logic gates, and drivers (all of which look a lot alike to the chip displayed below). The current form of Artificial Intelligence in a robot can take many various forms each with their own special abilities and limitations. Some you might choose to have around the home to do the cleaning and be a walking-talking data base to provide information or even take your selfies and post them on Instagram, Facebook or whatever is the latest and greatest once we all have our personal assistant. (see below)

 

Modern Automotive Robotic Assemple Line

 

CPU Central Processing Unit Integrated Curcuit

 

 

Robotic Personal Assistant and Augmentation Suit

 

The predictions are that humans as a part of the workforce will be limited to personal touch niche and specialty markets but manufacturing will be fully automated within the next fifty years. Some of the effects of just sending many manufacturing plants overseas have had a huge debilitating effect of employment and pay scale of average incomes. Additionally, the United States has faced this drain in particular and it is not simply the income of the workforce which has driven many manufacturers overseas but rather the additional restraints and extra costs of making many products which drove them from American soil. The cost of pollution controls are quite stringent by comparison to the near nonexistence of such laws and restrictions in China and other markets. Taxes are another driving force pushing these jobs overseas. One has to realize what the extra costs with compliance with all the labor laws, inspections, building codes, noise limitations and the additional costs of employees with the new addition of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) which in and of itself has produced an expected quirk as far as new hires in the United States. Where part-time work for people employed from twenty to twenty-nine hours per week has increased measurably, some estimates place it as high as twenty-five percent with the average assessments placing it at approximately twenty percent but on the other end. Full-time employment figures have not only not increased as well but in most assessments has dropped approaching five percent. College graduates can expect lower starting wages with many even working in their field starting at below fifty-thousand dollars a year. This is after at the minimum of four years at an average cost of over one-hundred-thousand a year for room, board, books and other supplies and fees. There are also a record number of college graduates who have been forced to accept employment in other fields and at positions which do not require a college degree, and we are not talking about those who majored in Renaissance French Sonnets of the Sixteenth Century.

 

The coming explosion in robotics will be from two perspectives. The first will be the rapid advancement of AI (Artificial Intelligence) to levels where one would have some degree of difficulty determining if they are speaking with an actual person or a computed employee, basically a telephone operator robotic unit. There is work being done now that has computer programs that write the codes for use in robotic systems. There are cad/cam software programs which enable the computer to design the systems to meet specifications using modular designs which are becoming as complex and intricate as anything produced previously by human beings. The truly frightening thing is that we may soon have robots designing and programming their own improved models and able to implement the manufacture and production of their improved design. This also implies that robotic systems in the not too distant future will also be capable of rewriting their own software and improving themselves for their own purposes. Once the machines begin producing more powerful and more capable machines and are capable of writing the programs allowing these improved robots the ability to supercede the level of competence of the initial robot we will have, as the human race, made ourselves superfluous placing us beyond the cusp and onto the endangered species list as we will have just as much relevance to robots speaking their own invented language and, who knows, inventing their own programming language which will completely shut human kind out of the formula. Let us hope the robots of the future find us to be cute little humans and get a good laugh at the humans posting their exploits on the internet. The robots are coming, the robots are coming and many of them are here already and they are assisting the government in watching you.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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