Beyond the Cusp

June 24, 2016

Venezuela is Just the Latest Example

 

Socialism is the greatest form of magic and it can work wonders under one small technicality; those in charge must be capable of predicting everything and every need weeks before they occur. There have been some great minds and some not so great minds which have attempted to master this simple little but key problem. They have never succeeded and likely until we have some extremely advanced artificial intelligence (AI) capable of figuring more computations and be inspired and intuitive as well, even AI will not save the day. Unfortunately for Venezuela they were relying on Hugo Chavez’s daughter and the rest of his crony socialists which has led to the riots in the streets because when the government gives everything and its fails, everything fails right along with it. The people are suffering as there is no food, no electricity, nothing, not even toilet paper. Venezuela is on the fast track to join that other socialist utopia, North Korea as that was the system they were emulating. What were they thinking? Anyone looking at North Korea and thinking, ‘hey, maybe we should try that total socialist thing and see how it works for us geniuses,’ is asking for ruin for their people. But what they saw in North Korea was the ruling elite who were living large and eating good and they looked no further than the feast served in the palatial grounds of the Kim family and thought, we can live large too. They didn’t look at the people who have been eating grass and the bark off of trees. North Koreans have it so good that they are trying to sneak into China where they see a world of plenty. Maybe China has found a secret to make socialism work as China is socialist, right?

 

So, since China might have found a secret, perhaps looking back at the socialist history and see what their magic bullet turned to be. Back when Mao Tse-tung initiated his socialist communist utopia of a planned production and state run farms and factories, they had such a failure that it is still unknown how many Chinese paid with their lives as a result of that first famine produced by crop and other farm failures. Estimates run from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions to hundreds of millions to unimaginable millions. The only Chinese who were safe from father Mao’s wonderful central planning were the peasants living in the furthest reaches of China in the remote farmlands who raised their own crops and were self-sufficient. Mao Tse-tung and his central planners then came up with a brilliant idea based on those remote peasants and allowed the farmers to work and plant as they saw fit and permitted them to keep sufficient food to feed their communities. But the factories still were under central planning because the communists understood the needs of the people. There were often shortages of particular items and sometimes unforeseen demands which were completely unexpected and there would be a lag time and waiting lists grew for such things as cars, televisions and other thought of luxury items. Housing became more sterile and stark as central planners placed a higher emphasis on quantity over quality and function and basics over appearance and luxury or even comfort. The people wanted more and knew about the rest of the world despite the attempt to control their news from the outside world. Mao Tse-tung gave in areas to the better minds but still retained much of the control centrally and thus restricting reactive production which led to continued waiting lists and production lagging demand sometimes by years. Mao died and the communists with time made a fateful decision as their economies could not meet their directive goals. They let loose of a degree of control and allowed for a select group of entrepreneurs, some free enterprise where industry owners were permitted to keep some of their profits providing they met the expectations and projections. This stimulated their economy and this led to meeting projections and industrial and economic growth beyond anything they had previously attempted. This led to economic growth rates sometimes surpassing 9% annual gains and brought the Chinese economy into the modern age and spawned the rise of a middle class, a new concept in socialist governance. But China was no longer a purely socialist system and it was the free enterprise which was permitted economic freedom which spawned the growth rates.

 

I can hear the questions asking what would happen if the growth rate slowed or even, heaven forbid, hit a recessive downturn. Well, that would be an easy one to answer with only one problem, the Chinese economy had been so repressive that the last decade plus, as they liberalized their economy and allowed more and more of the economy to be a semi-free demand economy with free enterprise, that they only recently finally reached a point where their gains slowed and failed to meet expectation and fell below their desired, if unreasonable, 9% per year and the initial signs are what some might call ominous. The central planners are showing signs of throwing out the baby with the bathwater as they are showing indications of returning to form and taking back the control over production planning thinking they can plan better than the profiteers as their decisions are empirical and not driven by guessing and risk taking. There is a positive side to this and that is we will see if after having witnessed the methods of for profit manufacturing and investment that the central planners might have an improved ability at decision making. Even if the central planning takes back sufficient control that the wait lists return and they end up where they were before their first experiment in free market economy, then their second experiment in free market economy will be the same inevitable success that they had the first time. The reason a free market economy works is that it is driven by greed, a vice which has never been vanquished from the human spirit and as long as there is greed, then profit based economy will work the best in satisfying the greed of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie as all gain from such a driven system. This could lead to a cyclical Chinese economy with it going in spits and starts as the free market produces growth until the inevitable recession. The central planners then clamp their control back over the economy and as that fails they resort to free market until it slows and back and forth and back and forth and eventually one will prevail. The likely winner, for the benefit of the Chinese people, will hopefully be free market and the central planners simply resort to governing wisely as we have always been taught the ancient Chinese rulers had managed when they were not fighting against one another in order to consolidate their control. The one thing that can be learned from the Chinese who found their way to allow for free market economy when central planning failed to meet the people’s demands is that even central planners can sometimes know when they have failed before it is too late.

 

Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie Lead to the Revolution

Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie
Lead to the Revolution

 

That is the problem with too many socialist governments, even those which are based on a free market economy but use socialist programs to redistribute wealth more evenly and to provide retirement income so nobody gets left out in the cold. When these programs reach a point where they outstrip the resources then either taxes need to be increased or other means of making the programs affordable even if they must cut back on their benefits. When the taxes are too high in order to presumably pay out welfare and retirement benefits the economy can still collapse into freefall such as was the case resulting from the 2008 economic downturn, bust if you insist, and Greece, Spain and others found themselves so deep in the hole that the economy was unable to recover. This was further exacerbated by the fact that they are on the Euro which receives much of its value based on the combined economies of the European Union which include Britain, Germany and other nations whose economic output is far greater than Greece thus Greece could also not support the value of the Euro which furthered their problem. The single currency may result in the end of the European Union if the nations being damaged by the single currency decide to leave so they can manage their own currency. Add into this the Brussels Eurocrats dictating immigration policies and forcing refugees into countries which feel threatened by the refugee situation. This will be a further demand on the economies of the nations taking in the refugees and you have another stress that will force more nations into economic difficulties. There is much to look at going forward and Europe is on the leading edge of the coming problems many which will result from the many and varied conflicts and other problems ongoing in the Middle East and North Africa, things we will most certainly cover here along with the other items of particular interest around the globe. In the meantime, let us hope that Venezuela figures out where they went wrong and change their economic means and systems to something which at least can feed and provide a few other necessities and even the luxury of toilet paper soon and the people can stop rioting and work and produce for their own enrichment and not just the enrichment of the central planners who apparently decided their wealth mattered more than the people and are now facing an ugly truth, they were wrong. We could hope for the people of North Korea as well, as their new leader, Kim Jung Un is apparently unbalanced and seems to believe if he is doing well the people should be happy enough by that knowledge even if they lack for virtually everything including decent food.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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May 8, 2016

North Korea Threat Update

 

Recent satellite surveillance of North Korea has shown a greater number of vehicles parked and coming and going from the nuclear test control center just a few kilometers away from their actual test site though little activity has been photographed at the test site. The lack of photo evidence of deliveries or activity at the actual test site could be timed to only be visible between the known scheduled overfly times of the satellites which are not exactly a well-kept secret. This activity is additionally suspicious as the Party hierarchy has opened the first full congress of its ruling party since 1980. Ruling Dictator Kim Jong Un will be in attendance but the media will not as the Party Congress is being held behind closed doors. This has raised the suspicions that Kim Jong Un may be using the Congress to shuffle leadership positions and a capping of the Congress with another nuclear test of a hydrogen thermonuclear device as exclamation point launch. This would be their fifth nuclear test and possibly the third of their hydrogen bomb.

 

Taking all of these events and potential for a shakeup of the leadership along with the mixed but largely successful testing of launching of ballistic missile from a submerged, it has become obvious that virtually every city on Earth has now become within strike range from North Korean missiles. The size and range of such a submarine launch has not been determined but it is thought the current proven booster used in the tests only have about a two hundred kilometer range. Still, this placed most Capital Cities of Western World nations within range, particularly the United States. The progress made in new weapons and weapons delivery technologies has made North Korea a threat to many nations in their immediate area from Japan to China and Russia and beyond with their submersed launch capability. Should there be a nuclear test by North Korea then much of the bellicose sabre rattling may require a more serious consideration as to whether any of their threats may have actual substance.

 

Analysis from 38 North said the imagery of the Punggye-ri test site control center has shown really heavier than usual activity as noted above. The suspicions were raised as this increase in activity coinciding with the Party Congress and the fact that Kim Jung Un would be personally leading the Party Congress and that it was an all-inclusive Congress, a rarity in North Korea. The fact that both events appear to be scheduled so close together, this has raised the interest of the experts and amateurs in putting forth their thoughts on the reasoning and what the results might be. Prognostications are always a tricky business, especially for bloggers whose sources do not exactly include Pentagon experts, but we try anyways. We are expecting some shake-up of the Party mid-level officials altering the preferred individuals for future top Party positions. The high level Party officials will likely not be shuffled though some alterations of responsibilities may be switched from one department to another most likely to improve efficiency. If there are higher level changes, they will rotate around military commanders. We expect the officers who worked on the submarine submerged launch capabilities to be honored at the meeting and perhaps some leading people put on their next project while junior commanders will take charge of completing and perfecting the submerged firing capability to assure it approaches perfection and dependability and potentially attempting to attempt launches from deeper depths.

 

Should there actually be another test of a thermonuclear device, we can expect the leadership to perfect a miniaturized warhead deliverable through the submerged launch booster thus making the weapon truly a threat worldwide. They may also have them working on a thermonuclear warhead which will have a selectable yield programmed before deployment thus permitting selecting the desired yield such that any additional collateral damage could be minimized. The one side effect from any test will be the providing of the United States and other nations to gather more data and perhaps discern the intended use of the weapons. There are those who theorize that the hydrogen device is not being used as a thermonuclear device in the traditional blast-wave destruction mode but as a super EMP (electromagnetic pulse) device. The amount of damage a normal atomic bomb produces as an EMP would be capable of bringing down the North American electric grid blacking out Canada as well as the United States. The advantage of using a thermonuclear warhead as a super EMP device is quite frightening as the additional power for any usage would also apply to it being utilized as a Super EMP which could be detonated even at any height and simply relatively close to the optimum location and still produce sufficient EMP energy to more than make-up for any miss of the optimum location and height for the detonation.

 

Those whose job it is to worry and discern all things North Korea and has to keep everything updated will necessarily be watching, listening and monitoring as things progress and then making the reports, some of which will hopefully be made public so we all can use it. Meanwhile, we will keep an ear to the ground and listen for the reverberations as well as the ramifications of any nuclear test, missile launch or artillery barrages emanating from North Korea which has become less stable and even less predictable under Kim Jung Un which likely has added to their cooperation and technology sharing with Iran which makes both nations additionally dangerous. The world must contemplate Iranian missile technology married to North Korean nuclear weapons technology and additionally North Korean submarine submerged launch capability and both North Korea and Iran have become dangerous and hegemonic in their ends of Asia and the Middle East. They are a constant threat to all nations anywhere near either one and only India and Israel are capable of challenging them, and those could become hard pressed should an arms race be launched, especially in the Middle East which any such race will see Saudi Arabia buying all the devices they would initially require from Pakistan and then use whatever plans they would need from Pakistan and potentially raw materials as well. Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, UAE (United Arab Emirates), Oman and potentially any combination of MENA (Middle East North Africa) nations could develop or otherwise acquire nuclear weaponry and the delivery systems turning the MENA tinder box into a nuclear tinder box where everyone is smoking, heavily and too many are being careless with where they throw their lit matches. There is one situation paralleled to this which makes North Korea seem less threatening which can be found simply looking past India to the heart of the Middle East. There you find Iran threatening all and backing the worst of the worst all while making promises to wipe all of Israel from the map. Iran has recently tested some modified and improved ballistic missiles which have sufficient range to strike France but when having an exercise with testing launches of ballistic missiles they had on them “Israel should be wiped off the Earth” written on the missiles in Hebrew and Arabic, after all, must have the easy to read propaganda for the home front. Sure frames their mindset, doesn’t that!

 

 

Israel must be wiped out written on the missiles in Hebrew and Arabic after all must have the easy to read propaganda for the home front Sure frames their mindset, doesn’t thatWhen having an exercise with testing
launches of ballistic missiles they had on them
“Israel should be wiped off the Earth”
written on the missiles in Hebrew and Arabic,
after all, must have the easy to read propaganda
for the home front. Sure frames their mindset, doesn’t that!

Beyond the Cusp

 

February 15, 2016

Radically Changing Power Structures in the Middle East

 

First allow us to note the passing of a great Constitutional scholar and jurist, Antonin Scalia, who was seventy-nine and had served for twenty-nine years on the Supreme Court. There will be a ton of second guessing on whom exactly President Obama will pick to replace the conservative, Constitutional scholar but the one thing we would like to put forth is they will mostly be wrong. President Obama’s previous choices of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan surprised almost all in his previous Supreme Court appointments. Our guess is of a more general nature as we believe his choice will be an academic who shares the leftist view of a living and ever mutating Constitution in which all forms of new and existing rights can be found to be implied if only the founders had the wisdom of the leftists of today. Whoever President Obama chooses will have the effect of changing the nature and status of the Supreme Court likely for a long while into the future. President Obama has had the rare opportunity to leave an indelible mark on the Supreme Court as he has had the opportunity of appointing one third of the current members sitting on the Supreme Court. This will be the true legacy next to Obamacare and the initiating the accepting of tens if not hundreds of thousands of Syrian and other Middle Eastern “refugees” and potentially resulting in millions by the time the entire story becomes known. One can hope to be pleasantly surprised that the President’s appointment turns out to be more of a purist when interpreting the Constitution as being appointed to the Supreme Court has shown some strange and unexpected results as people take the honor to heart and have the importance of the position lay heavily on their minds and their direction of thoughts on the exact definition of protect and defend the Constitution will inevitably mean to them. We can only hope for a discerning and wise person who weighs all the ramification of their decisions.

 

 

Antonin Scalia Supreme Court Judge 79 years old, 29 years on Supreme Court

Antonin Scalia Supreme Court Judge
79 years old, 29 years on Supreme Court

 

 

Everyone has, including us to some extent, expressed their feelings on the path to nuclear weapons power that Iran received in the Iran Nuclear Agreement 7/14/2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the inevitable ways it will change the entire makeup and distribution of power across the Middle East and many, again including us, have attempted to predict what the wholesale introduction of nuclear weaponry across the Middle East and potentially slowly seeping across Norther Africa and whether it will make Nuclear Armageddon more likely or usher in an understanding of the new and ruinous implications of starting a war might cause to bring as the outcome. Of course if anyone was looking to bring the greatest possible turmoil, chaos, death and destruction on the world as a whole and not care about the consequences because that turmoil, chaos, death and destruction actually was their only goal, then the nuclearization of the Middle East and beyond is exactly what the doctor ordered. A nuclear armed apocalyptic maniac is the exact formula to a future which could act to set human development back ten centuries or potentially lead to the next round of massive mutations across all surviving life forms eventually leading to the next apex predator to rise to the top of the food chain and with any luck also me closer to human development than the simple brute power of T-rex had attained before they and their species being brought down by an assumed impact wiping clean the slate of development leading to mankind’s rise to eventual dominance.

 

There have been other changes which are probably not as dire or noticeable as yet on how these developments will play out. The biggest has been the introduction of highly effective antiaircraft missile batteries at both ends of the Middle East with Iran to soon have delivery of the Russian S-300 antiaircraft batteries to Iran and the recent deployment by the Russian forces defending their port and the Alawites in the area including Bashir al-Assad of the S-400 antiaircraft batteries. These systems render an air assault or targeting within their range far riskier and problematic. Further, with Russians manning the S-400 antiaircraft batteries in Syria, they are far less likely to be shut-down as was the entirety of the Syrian air defense network by the Israelis when they bombed the nuclear development complex facility in September 6, 2007. These changes in the balance of power brought by these changes are going to be difficult to discern as the variables are significant. One also has to add two other important notes to this volatile mix of conditions, one from the Middle East and the other affecting the Middle East.

 

 

Russian S-400 Antiaircraft Batteries Now Stationed Around Latakia, Syria Placing Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport Easily Within Range for Interception

Russian S-400 Antiaircraft Batteries
Now Stationed Around Latakia, Syria
Placing Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport
Easily Within Range for Interception

 

 

The first is the affect that North Korea may play onto the Middle East puzzle as well as the future of the United States. As we and numerous others have pointed out is the fact that both Iran and North Korea have practiced and actually placed satellites into low earth orbits which have polar orbits rather than an equatorial orbit which makes them pass over the United States mainland alternately from the direct north and from the direct south. The northern approach is not that important as it would pass over the teeth of the United States NORAD and other defensive systems placed to intercept any Russian attack during the cold war and thus would be facing formidable defensive structures. The interesting passes are the one approaching from the south, particularly those passing over Mexico or the Gulf of Mexico and crossing over the United States anywhere from New Mexico to Arizona where the entirety of the United States monitoring systems have one of the largest blind-spots and thus vulnerability. Both Iran and North Korea have practiced what is understood by military strategists to be the perfect height and orbit for delivering an EMP, or Super EMP which is the latest craze, device to explode near the center of the United States and southern Canada taking out the entirety of the North American power grid. The resultant damages to the transformers and other high voltage system hardware as well as destroying virtually all of the software run control systems would result in as high as ninety-five percent civilian deaths in the first decade with the largest loss being at the front end two years having the greatest impact.

 

Such an assault could effectively take out almost all of the ground based systems the United States would be reliant on for its defense from invasion or to retaliate against their attacker. This would not mean the perpetrators of such an assault would be free and clear of retribution raining down on their heads as the United States has a large enough contingent of its forces located around the globe that United States power projection would remain credible. The large nuclear missile carrying submarines, often called Boomers (hey, we do not make up these names, honest) would still carry in their tubes sufficient nuclear strike capabilities of destroying virtually the entirety of human existence globally and definitely could remove the populations of North Korea and Iran without losing their critical and definitive threat against any others planning in taking advantage of the problems back home caused by such an attack. Where this would bring little solace to the Americans facing brutish conditions as their entire food and other supply networks would have been destroyed in such an attack, this deterrent power of the United States nuclear powered Navy that eventually the United States would return onto the world stage meaner and leaner but even more determined to take vengeance unto which the world has never known. The last part in this section of the puzzle is that Iran and North Korea have had a high level of cooperation in nuclear development and rocket/missile technology. Keeping such in mind, the recent test carried out by North Korea of a hydrogen powered nuclear device now believed to be, here comes the new buzzword, Super EMP device capable of on detonation generating a series of EMP Gama-radiation waves which could destroy if detonated over Kansas City or St Louis or anywhere between which would be sufficiently potent to effect sensitive electronics in San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D. C., Norfolk Naval Base, Andrews Airforce Base, the Pentagon (except for its shielded emergency generators), Richmond on down to Atlanta, Georgia. That would include the East and West Coasts leaving potentially the Coronado Naval Base and Marine Base intact and slight possibility of not destroying the Bremerton shipyards. Still, such a wide ranging area of destruction of electronic devices would be devastating and would be felt world-wide as there would be other ramifications such as GPS satellites not receiving update information largely controlled by the United States and a loss of large sectors of the Internet, phone networks and any other functions which pass through the United States communications hubs which carry the largest volume of the entire world’s communications. This would have far reaching effects many of which are irreplaceable and even unpredicted. The best case scenario, and only best case scenario, is that such an attack never occurs; but with a child-like egotistical and maniacal megalomaniac in charge in North Korea who believes himself one of the most powerful people ruling a giant amongst nations who murders any general or even family member who attempts to implant even the slightest glimmer of reality into the equation being executed on the spot, who knows? Just think about the day, which might be today or tomorrow, when Kim Jung-un decides it is time to teach the United States a lesson. Just ponder that for a moment and then try to return to your normally scheduled day as such would never happen, would it? Adding the Iranian fanatical and suicidal Mullahs in Iran and have fun sleeping tonight, they do not really mean it when they claim to desire bringing chaos, turmoil, misery and a general state of conflagration worldwide just so their messiah the Twelfth Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who will emerge from his hiding place down a well in Qom where he has been hiding since before the year 1000 AD. You cannot make this stuff up. So there is that threat and they share technology and many believe the tested nuclear Super EMP device tested by North Korea recently was actually an Iranian design and was carried out by North Korea for the Iranians so they would not break their treaty quite yet.

 

 

North Korean President for Life Kim Jung-Un Signaling that He’s Number One!

North Korean President for Life Kim Jung-Un
Signaling that He’s Number One!

 

 

The other side of the coin is Israel. The Israelis have not been taking all these developments as fait accompli but instead have been working, one could say feverishly, on their layered missile and aircraft defense systems. The world was given a demonstration of the effectiveness of the Iron Dome on locally launched missiles, mortars and rockets during the last Gaza war. Since then there have been further upgrades made possible by the data acquired during that conflict. Many of the upgrades were software but the other was a new interceptor which would improve the accuracy and lethality of the system, a system which already proved to be over ninety percent accurate in its initial deployment during the last Gaza Hamas war. Israel also has a multi-layered system of interceptor which would make interception possible on an ICBM or Continental Ballistic Missile such as what Iran would need to use if launching from within their borders. Should they launch from Syria or Lebanon then the intercept would be performed by a faster reacting system such as the Iron Dome or other slightly more encompassing system. The kind of layered system which will be required to keep Israel and the Israeli population safe from any device with the emphasis on early detection and removal of threats on their ascendant prefecture over the downward flight as it is most often on the approach to target after apogee that missile systems deploy avoidance technologies. While the Israeli nuclear capability has been pondered and guessed at, it is still not 100% proven if such systems exist or where and how they would be stored and/or deployed, what delivery systems exist and whether these systems kept in hardened bunkers atop ICBM and Continental Ballistic Missiles or if they exist, are they simply bombs requiring aircraft to fly the mission to deliver these weapons which may not even exist. As we covered recently on February 13, 2016 in our article What Israel Must Learn from President Obama concerning, amongst other items of importance, the F-35 JSF and its serious limitations and no freedom of action when using these fifth generation fighters that they make second guessing any nation relying on these systems to come under United States control potentially at the most critical of moments. Further, the fact that an EMP device would necessarily affect the very support systems which would allow the F-35 JSF to deploy would be destroyed or isolated such that they could not release the aircraft when most needed, the F-35 JSF would become just so much advanced electronics and composites composited dead on the runway. There are a number of other links to other articles both ours and outside corroborative articles all worth a quick read as they lay out much of the thought patterns since even before 2010 when we first finally got around to addressing the next generation of aircraft which are going to become a necessity for air defense at close range and possibly further missions run from a control aircraft. Perhaps another article is due on such future systems; we will try to look into such but no absolute promises on when.

 

 

The Mouse that Roared A comedy to lift the spirits

The Mouse that Roared
A comedy to lift the spirits

 

 

As is noticeable the world is changing, the sides are lining up and one errant move could force ramifications too dire to face but face them we must; otherwise, they could occur and have no mitigating systems in place to avoid hostilities falling into place where one act creates another leading to a more vigorous act which forces a full deployment and the next thing you know the Grand Duchess Gloriana XII of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick will order Prime Minister Count Rupert of Mountjoy to deploy their finest archers to voyage across the seas and attack to defend the honor of the wines of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick from a California cheap imitation. The troops under Field Marshal Tully Bascombe, a recent promotion of sorts, assault the United States and , well, you will need to rent the movie “The Mouse that Roared” and enjoy Peter Sellers at his hysterical best, well, next to the Pink Panther. Unfortunately the world today is almost as insane as the Mouse that Roared but all too dangerous to really joke about, but we must keep a balance and our sanity so some light hearted entertainment might mitigate the sense of dread, well, for around an hour and a half. Think we will make some buttered popcorn and watch a movie, later.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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