Monday, March 14, 2011


I don't consider myself a "doom and gloom" sort of person; in fact, I tend to be irrationally exuberant at times. But there are two items that caught my attention recently that scare the hell out of me.

The first is this series of slides from Paul Ryan regarding the two futures which this country faces economically.Right now, Ryan, the Chair of the Budget Committee sees us facing three different challenges: a jobs deficit; a budget deficit; and a leadership deficit.

This slide shows our indebtedness to foreign powers and how that has grown:

And the two futures that Ryan is talking about can be seen clearly in these two graphs:
(1) If we curb our spending versus if we don't

(2) If we get our debt under control versus if we don't

Go look at all the slides; and, as the Democrats like to say when they want to showcase how caring and compassionate they are compared to those evil Republicans who are pushing for fiscal restraint: "Think of the children...."

Here is Ryan explaining the debt situation:

For the next hell, we turn to one of the key countries in Bush's Axis of Evil. Let's see what they are up to these days:
North Korea is developing a bomb that emits an electromagnetic field upon explosion and damages nearby electronic devices, a South Korean military source has revealed to the JoongAng Ilbo.

The source said North Korea has been working on the electromagnetic pulse bomb, or EMP bomb, since the mid-1990s, with help from Russian scientists, adding that the weapon may be near completion.

The EMP bomb produces a short but strong electromagnetic pulse that, if exploded 40 kilometers (25 miles) above ground, would affect equipment within a 700-kilometer radius, including exposed electrical conductors, such as wires.

According to Australia-based defense analyst Carlo Kopp and his paper at the Web site, the EMP effect can cause irreversible damage to electrical and electronic devices, such as computers, radio and radar. He noted that EMP devices can render many modern military platforms useless because they are packed with electronic equipment.

What does this capability mean?
Detonating an NEMP high above North America would devastate not only power and communications but the economy (obliterating internet-based financial transactions and electronically stored financial data), transportation (disrupting electronic monitoring and control of everything from traffic signals to freight-train switching to commercial air traffic control), and even our military, much of which relies heavily on GPS navigation and site determination — though United States forces do still train extensively in low-tech navitation and warfare. The electromagnetic pulse would wash across the entire continental United States, plus the southern part of Canada and northern Mexico, like a tidal wave of voltage-lava, melting all the circuits in its path unless specially shielded.
Such a strike would be utterly devastating, resulting in trillions of dollars in damages… and tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths, both direct (from crashes) and indirect, from loss of medical records, the inability of emergency services to respond to life-or-death situations, utility and power shutdowns, and economic dislocation. Recovery would likely take decades. And there is absolutely nothing we can do at this time to prevent or even mitigate it; shielding every electrical circuit in the U.S. heavily enough to resist an NEMP would dwarf the cost of all natural disasters and terrorist attacks of the last century combined.

Can you imagine how the current leadership in the White House will respond to this potential threat? No, I can't either. In fact, it's pretty clear that our Dear Leader (the one in the US) will do pretty much what he has done for every national security crisis (or national budgetary crisis, for that matter): either do nothing; or do the worse possible thing for America's national interest in the matter.

I fear we live in very interesting times; and they just keep gettng more and more interesting.

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