EMP Attack–>Danger, Danger, Danger

Saw the Movie E.M.P. over the weekend.  


Everyone needs to see this!


The explosion of a nuke(s) in the atmosphere over the country causes an electromagnetic pulse that fries all our electronics. 


Nothing would work!!!


Think cyberattack on steroids with everything out of commission and basically little to no chance of recovery. 


Prognosis is for mass riots, starvation, and illness that wipes out most of the population. 


Easy then for the enemy to swoop in and conquer the country with no resistance and the basic infrastructure still intact for them to build on. 

 

Just having mutually assured destruction is not enough!

 

We need to genuinely be able to counter these threats and not just say: “You’ll die if we die.” 


How stupid and immature is that thinking?


There are more than a share of radical nuts out there who don’t care if they die as long as they take us down.


These are the threats we need to pay attention to before…before…before…it’s too late. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Planning For The End Of The World

ammo

I have never heard so much about the coming of the end of the world, Armageddon, the Apocalypse, and World War III as I am hearing these days…


The world seems to truly be going mad. 


And that MAD is as in CRAZY and as in Mutually Assured Destruction. 


– 25 years after the end of the Cold War, we are back in a nuclear arms race with Russia!


– Despite being our largest trading and economic partner, we are now going head-to-head confronting China over trade, Taiwan, and the South China Sea! 


– While setting some near-term constraints, we have in effect solidified Iran’s getting the nuclear bomb!


– As North Korea continues developing and testing nukes and ballistic missiles, we have no answers for how to deal with them!


Not only have we failed to contain the many threats we face, but also in many or most cases, we have made them worse.


– The Middle East has gone from the promise of an Arab Spring to instead raging in flames and becoming the modern-day killing fields


– Even as ISIS becomes more dangerous despite having less territory, they are likely eclipsed by Iran’s global terror expansion as a threat to the world order


– The refugee crisis has meant that ISIS terrorists have infiltrated our borders and are now living among us ready to strike at will. 


– There is a real documented threat of a terrorist attack using radiological, chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons of mass destruction


– The European Union is falling apart and it’s future is unknown. 


– Increasing border attacks and escalating tensions are creating a risk of a dangerous Indian-Pakistani War


Obama has alienated our allies, reduced our stature among the nations, and destabilized the world


– While people are arguing over the state of hopelessness since the election or from before it, either way, there is huge divisiveness in America. 


– Gun ownership is soaring and people are stockpiling ammo


– Videos have emerged from people in near-death experiences claiming to have vividly seen the coming World War III and the prelude to the coming of the messiah. 


– There is even widespread recognition by our space experts that we are woefully unprepared for an errant asteroid or comet hitting the Earth


Clergy is warning and encouraging us to repent and do good deeds to merit G-d saving us from the coming cataclysm, whatever it ends up being.


I am certainly not a forecaster of doom and gloom, but always try to remain hopeful and encourage everyone to do their best to improve the world.


But I also must reflect on the voices of anger, frustration, and exasperation around the world that are growing ever louder and scarier daily…the latest with Obama’s betrayal of Israel at the United Nations Security Council.  


What comes next politically may very well determine whether the end is near or the future gets bright again. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Righting Our National Economy

Washington_monument

We made it through he fiscal cliff–whew!  But the economic landscape remains a minefield. 

In terms of our national debt ceiling, we already passed the $16.4 trillion mark at the beginning of the year and are on borrowed time (no pun intended) until about mid-February when we exhaust accounting gimmicks and can no longer pay our national bills. 

Then there is the elusive government budget where we are on a “continuing resolution” that funds the government at the prior years spending levels until the beginning of March; there is no agreement on what the budget should be after that. 

Finally, there is the Sequestration that was delayed from the beginning of the year to March, which will produce across the board budget cuts to government–not surgically, but sweeping cuts that will hit almost all major government spending. 

All of these budgetary and debt issues are highly contentious and politicized and involve substantial policy decisions in terms of tax reform, spending cuts, and even income and wealth distribution. 

As difficult as it is to navigate a mine field, there is genuine fear that our national luck is running out and the sides are digging in such that even if we get over another one of these hurdles (likely by another delay) or even two of these, what are the odds that we get through all three unscathed economically and with our national image and strength intact?

Already in August 2011, S&P lowered the U.S. credit rating because of these unresolved issues and political stalemate around them, and Moody (in September 2012) and Fitch (this past week) threatened the same putting us at risk of higher borrowing costs, inflation, and even recession. 

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (3 August 2011) using game theory seemed to advocate for political compromise–that produces a “deal no one likes” but avoids pure political victory by one party over the other where one party gives in and the other holds out, and also avoids “financial Armageddon” where both sides hold out and can’t get any deal done at all. 

In games of “chicken” both sides “entertain the option of killing everyone” until they finally realize this results in mutually assured destruction (MAD). 

In Washington “everyone, however, is playing a game called ‘election'” and “the only possible goal in that game is to win the next one”–in this game, the real question–is there the leadership to rise above the politics, the short-term focus, and bring the two sides together in compromise to forge a path through a difficult economic road ahead. 

Truly, there is really only one way ahead and it is through national sacrifice that will spare no one, but may save the country and our ideals and make us stronger in the end. We are at a dead end for kicking the can further–next step must be to right the ship through cooperation and making the tough choices.

Just like the Washington Monument is one, we must become one. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Returning From The Brink Of National Suicide

Metro

It is not only because we are in an election year that politics in Washington D.C. has become more cutting, oppositional, and unproductive.

Unfortunately, there has been a downward trend for some time and we saw this recently with everything from confrontations to raising the federal debt ceiling, passing a federal budget, near government shutdowns, and what has now become regular showdowns over every major legislation from healthcare to deficit reduction.

We are a nation with government at the crossroads of neuroticism where situations get treated as virtually unsolvable by oppositional political movements who themselves appear hopeless of genuinely working together.

Harvard Business Review (March 2012) in an article titled “What’s Wrong With U.S. Politics,” described the “ineffectiveness of America’s [current] political system,” where instead of opposing sides coming together to craft compromise positions that bring together the best of multiple points of view to find a balanced approach and prudent course for the American people, now instead compromise is seen as surrender, and “the fervor to win too often appears to trump everything else.”

While traditionally the source of political parties and politics itself in America is founded in the opposing views of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton–one who opposed strong central government and the other who favored it, these diametric opposites where a source of national strength, because they strived ultimately to find an almost perfect compromise to whatever ailed the nation.

However, something has profoundly changed–from where “rigorous rivalry between the two political philosophies used to be highly productive” to the current situation of absolutism, where like in July 2011 debt-ceiling crisis, “some politicians even suggested that a government default or shutdown would be less damaging than compromise.”

When last August, Standard and Poor took the historically unprecedented step of downgrading U.S. debt from AAA to AA+, they cited “that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions had weakened.”

This should be of dire concern to everyone in this nation, because we all depend on government to solve problems and do what is ultimately right for the people.

One of the suggestions that HBR makes is grounded in the techniques of negotiation, where we facilitate and help each side “not merely split the difference,” but also “articulate their highest parties, with an eye toward facilitating the best of best of both over time.”

While this is certainly an important element in moving to compromise, there is another core element that is missing and needs to be addressed and that is a mutual respect for all parties and points of view, one where we see ourselves first as one nation, and only second as political parties and positions–in other words, we recognize that our common values and goals obviate the more subtle differences between us.

This coming together as a nation can only happen when there is basic trust between the all sides, so that each knows that the other will not take advantage of them when they wield power, but rather that the views of all will be respected and duly represented in any solution, and moreover that the core beliefs of each will be protected at some fundamental level, even when they are not in power or outvoted.

What this means is that compromise, balance, and fairness prevail over whichever political party resides in power in at the time, and assures each side of the same treatment and protections under the other.

Violating this ultimate balance of power is tantamount to taking the first shot in a situation akin to Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), when each side wields destructive nuclear capability.

With critical decisions coming up again on deficit reduction, federal debt ceiling, and social entitlements and national defense spending, and each side digging in, we are fast approaching the equivalent of a thermonuclear showdown in politics, and it is time for both sides to pull back from the brink of national suicide and to once again reinforce the basic principles of mutual respect and enduring compromise–even when one side, or another, has the upper hand.

As a next step, let each side of the aisle demonstrate true compromise in negotiations with the other to reestablish confidence and trust that neither will be wholly overrun or defeated in the political wrangling and fighting that ensues.

The important question in politics must not be which side will wield power, but who can bring the best leadership to the nation to forge a path of sensibility, balance and mutual respect to any solution.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Elvert Barnes)

Will You Survive?

Would_i_survive
If you are interested in your chances of survival in the event of a nuclear blast, check out the website forWould I Survive a Nuke? 

I ran the simulation as if was still living in my old neighborhood of Riverdale, New York and 50 megaton bombs were hitting 5 cities with populations over 1 million people.

 

On the map, you can see the horrible destruction–gone is Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

 

The concentric circles around each blast shows 5 levels of devastation as follows (associated with the colors zones of red, pink, orange, yellow, and clear/outside the blast):

 

Devastation

 

This is not a pretty picture and warrants our consideration of how critically important is missile defense and homeland security is.

 

This position was advocated by the late Dr. Fred Ikle the former Pentagon official who passed away this week on 10 November 2011–Ikle challenged the status quo policy of MAD asking “Why should mutually assured destruction be our policy?” -WSJ

 

I, for one, don’t like any of the 5 scenarios above and would like to keep our society and way of life going with a strong national security posture that includes the gamut of diplomatic, defensive, and offensive capabilities for safeguarding our national security.

 

With this in mind, this coming week with the deadline for Super Committee to come up with recommendations for reducing our budget deficit or else the automatic $1.2 trillion cut goes into effect–half of which is to come from the Department of Defense is extremely concerning.

 

Moreover, with well-known hostile nations having achieved (North Korea) or very near to achieving (Iran) nuclear weapons capabilities, we must take the threats of nuclear attack to us and our allies very seriously or else we can end up with not just scary looking colored concentric circles on a map, but the very real deadly effects they represent.