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Thoughts On the Ukraine Crisis

I honestly don’t see the need for war.
Ukraine has been paralyzed by conflict between ethnic Ukrainians and Russians since the collapse of the USSR.
I think the government in Kiev is actually better off without them.
My guess for now is parts of Eastern Ukraine, especially Crimea, could end up going back to Russia.
The Russians get to be part of impoverished Russia.
The western part is finally freed to become part of Europe and to join the rich EU.
Russia gains a bit more territory but at the cost of becoming even more diplomatically and economically isolated.  Even more relegated to being a mere commodity provider for rich countries.
It’s not a good move for Russia.
They may actually be doing the Ukrainians a huge favor.
Perhaps the Russian leadership are savvy enough to understand that pressing this issue won’t help them beyond a certain point and are again posturing in an attempt to boost public opinion at home and boost their appearance of prestige abroad.
Yanukovych was Putin’s man in Kiev.  He was an ethnic Russian from the East who wasn’t even fully fluent in Ukrainian, a shortcoming which made him the George W. Bush of Ukraine, sticking his foot in his mouth at every opportunity.
Irrepressible protests arose after he tried to distance Ukraine from the EU in November and there was a revolution that completely ousted him from power.
I find it odd that present news reports barely even mention the Ukrainian revolution that drove Putin to invade Ukraine.
With events out of context, few seem to understand that Putin is the desperate man, trying to salvage what he can from a wreck beyond all repair.
Ukraine is lost to him forever now and it’s only a matter of time now until it becomes part of the EU and NATO.
Putin will seize what scraps he can but even those will come at a precipitous price.  He spent the last 20 years trying to keep the former Soviet Republics in his orbit, so it’s understandable he’s not acting completely rationally.
I’ve looked at an ethnic map of the Ukraine and have understood that ethnic Russians are barely 1/5 of Ukraine’s population. They’re concentrated in the East.  Crimea is the only part of the entire country that’s majority ethnic Russian.  That may well be the only part that goes back to Russia.
I can see people making comparisons to Sudetenland concessions, but I find them ridiculous.  Nazi Germany was an economic powerhouse while Putin’s Russia is a sick man of Europe.
In time, even Russia will be pulled into the economic vortex that is Europe; even their political power plays will amount to nothing, like one tiny person trying to swim against the current of a river.

 

Percent Ethnic Russians in Ukraine Provinces

When Imperial China’s College Bubble Popped…

“In 605 CE, a year after murdering his father and seizing the throne, the Chinese emperor Yang Guang established the world’s first meritocracy. Weary of making bureaucratic appointments solely on the basis of letters of recommendation, Yang set aside a number of posts for applicants who performed well on a new system of imperial examinations. In theory, any peasant who took the trouble to memorize 400,000 characters — which is to say, anyone who conducted six years of study with an expensive tutor — could join the country’s political elite…

As time went on, more and more people took — and passed — the exam’s first round. Test prep academies proliferated. Imperial officials started to worry: there were now more degree-holders than there were positions, which threatened to create an underclass of young men with thwarted ambitions. When the Ming dynasty fell in 1644, their successors, the Qing, resolved to make the test more difficult. By the middle of the 19th century, 2 million people sat the exam, but just over 1 percent passed its first round; only 300 candidates — .016 percent — passed all three.

Failure could be discouraging. In 1837, after botching the exam’s second round for a second time, Hong Xiuquan, an ambitious 23-year-old from a village near Guangzhou, suffered a nervous breakdown. The precocious Hong had come in first on the county-level test, but after he turned 15 his family could no longer afford the customary tutor. Nor could Hong afford to bribe the examiners, as many test-takers did. The notional possibility that anyone could pass the test concealed a bitter truth: for a poor countryman like Hong, making it past the second round was all but impossible.

Eventually he convinced himself and a band of other young men defeated by the test that he was Christ’s younger brother. A consensus emerged among the converts that it was Hong’s destiny to build a heavenly kingdom purged of sexual depravity. He assembled an army and began the work of conquering China…

So began the Taiping Rebellion, the bloodiest conflict of the 19th century. By the time Hong’s forces were defeated in 1864, 20 million people had died.”

The Taiping rebellion seriously ranks among the top 10 ten most destructive wars ever fought.  There were clashes between massive armies numbering well into the hundreds of thousands. It lasted a full decade.   The Taipings effectively had their own empire with its own government and capital city.  The state religion was an odd hybrid of Christianity and Chinese philosophy.

They were popular with ethnic minorities such as the Hakka and regularly sent regiments of female warriors into combat.

A lesson here: Elites can be lulled into complacency by ruling over proles who will accept domination and oppression without complaint so long as just enough of them have just enough food in their stomachs.

Problems arise when society fails to incorporate educated young men:

French revolution: an urban phenomenon started by disaffected “overeducated” and “entitled” types.  Not only did rural peasants not participate, they were typically loyal to the King and were even brought into the cities during riots to beat up urbanite hippy protesters.

Russian revolution: started up by an odd mix of urban Jewish intellectuals, Caucasian gangsters, lead by a man who was part Tatar.  They were outsiders from the fringes of society.  Hardly a grassroots movement arising from downtrodden ethnic Russian peasants!

Taiping rebellion: same as the other two.  “Entitled” guys lose patience and try to take matters into their own hands.

A critical mass of precocious young men who haven’t been cut into the game end up causing trouble sooner or later.

I certainly don’t mean to predict armed revolution in our own time because there are a thousand more effective, less risky means for disillusioned men to quietly express their displeasure.

And of course outright revolution typically makes things even worse, especially if it succeeds.

Indeed, I would hope these current generations of bright, outcast men choose to focus on making something better than what came before.  To create something that can gradually, peacefully displace a decrepit old system by inherent superiority instead of trying to conquer by mere superior force.

The single most important thing that can be done right now:  For groups of disaffected men to cultivate asset bases that free them from the conventional wealth system controlled by women and “successful” men.  Without a basic amount of wealth that frees men from pressing financial necessity, nothing of significance can be done.

Step 1:  Escape our Sisyphean dilemma of hating the system but being too broke to escape.  To be full of ideas but never have time to develop them in full, to want to reach out to the like-minded but be bound to the land by wage slavery…

LINK

Credit to: Captain Capitalism

Will Hyperinflationary Depression Hit the USA before 2015?

Many economists predict that the US dollar will lose its current reserve currency status.  Some economists believe this will happen around 2030;  John Williams of Shadowstats believes it will happen no later than 2014.

[A] hyperinflationary great depression…  will encompass a complete loss in the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar; a collapse in the normal stream of U.S. commercial and economic activity; a collapse in the U.S. financial system, as we know it; and a likely realignment of the U.S. political environment. Outside timing on the hyperinflation remains 2014, but events of the last year have accelerated the movement towards this ultimate dollar catastrophe. …

[B]efore the systemic-solvency crisis began to unfold in 2007, the U.S. government already had condemned the U.S. dollar to a hyperinflationary grave by taking on debt and obligations that never could be covered …

Bankrupt sovereign states most commonly use the currency printing press as a solution to not having enough money to cover obligations. The alternative here would be for the U.S. eventually to renege on its existing debt and obligations …
a solution with no happier ending than simply printing the needed money.


Where both private and official demand for U.S. Treasuries had been increasingly unenthusiastic, the Fed—the U.S. central bank—effectively has been fully funded Treasury needs for most of 2011, with its “quantitative easing II” becoming a euphemism for Fed monetization of U.S. Treasury debt.

Further easing by the Fed is likely in the months ahead, as the ongoing economic turmoil triggers significant further fiscal deterioration. Those actions should pummel heavily the U.S. dollar‘s exchange rate against other major currencies. Looming with uncertain timing is a panicked dollar dumping and dumping of dollar-denominated paper assets, which remains the most likely event as proximal trigger for the onset of hyperinflation in the near-term.

The early stages of the hyperinflation would be marked simply by an accelerating upturn in consumer prices, a pattern that already was initially in response to QE2. Also, money supply velocity … will spike, as the U.S. dollar, again, comes under heavy and even disorderly selling pressure, with both domestic and foreign holders getting rid of their dollar holdings as quickly as possible. One factor that can contribute to rising velocity is the current circumstance where U.S. investors cannot get a safe return that beats inflation, as reported by the government. Investors can do better by buying a store of products that are rising price, rather than by holding cash or a Treasury bill.

Given the current lack of political will by those controlling the U.S. Government to address the fiscal solvency issues, the U.S. has no way of avoiding a financial Armageddon. Various government intervention tactics might slow the process for brief periods, and the system always is vulnerable to external shocks, such as wars and natural disasters. Government actions could include supportive dollar intervention, restrictions on international capital flows, wage and price controls, etc. Effects of any such moves in delaying the onset of full hyperinflation, though, would be limited and short-lived. There is no obvious course of action or external force at this point of the process that meaningfully would put off the nearing day of reckoning.

[F]oreign holders of U.S. assets have something in excess of $12 trillion in liquid, dollar-denominated assets that could be dumped at will into the global and U.S. markets.

As excess dollars get dumped into the global markets, a shift in the tide against the U.S. dollar gets reflected in a weakening exchange rate, which in turn spikes dollar-denominated commodity prices, such as oil. Increasingly, that effect has been in response to intensifying dollar-debasement efforts by the Fed. The result is that U.S. consumer inflation has been increasing during the last year, once again, not from strong economic demand and a surging domestic money supply, but from distended monetary policies and a global glut of dollars that has been encouraged by the U.S. central bank.

Demand and supply affect the U.S. dollar. Supply soars and demand shrinks with the increasing unwillingness of major dollar holders to continue holding the existing volume of U.S. currency and dollar-denominated assets, let alone to absorb new exposure.

Therein lies a significant threat to near-term U.S. inflation. Heavy dumping of the U.S. dollar and dollar-denominated assets would be highly inflationary to U.S. consumer prices. It also likely would activate heavy Fed intervention in buying unwanted U.S. Treasuries.

How long would a hyperinflation last before the government brought its fiscal house into order and established a sound currency? I would be surprised if the hyperinflation crisis lasted beyond a year or two, since the system is not positioned to handle the crisis well and pressures for rapid resolution would be extremely strong. All that depends, however, on what evolves out of what otherwise would be highly unstable political, economic, financial and social environments.

-Taken from
HYPERINFLATION 2012 SPECIAL COMMENTARY NUMBER 414 January 25, 2012
http://www.shadowstats.com

Scenarios:

Scenario 1 – Moderates Rule:
Panic begins in 2013; hyperinflation runs wild in 2014 and radical political changes occur in 2015. Congress retains legitimacy but puts many bankers in prison for their white-collar crimes.  The Supreme Court issues many multi-page documents that no one can afford to print out. Electricity is for the ultra-rich and the police. Meanwhile, the former middle class learns how to dumpster-dive for food.  Jeb Bush is elected President in 2016, with Henry Kissinger serving as his chief advisor.  Despite grave health problems and widespread hunger, the majority of Americans believe that obedience to government is the best of all possible lifestyles.

Scenario 2 – Unpopular Election Leads to Stable Martial Law:
Panic begins in 2012 with widespread allegations of vote fraud; hyperinflation runs wild in 2013, leading to a breakdown of food distribution, martial law, and civil war.  Following a violent dispute between armed agents of the DHS and FBI, Lon Horiuchi is sworn in as President-for-Life.  Alex Jones is heard to shout “I told you so” as he is dragged onto a cattle car headed for a FEMA camp. Meanwhile, mandatory military service ensures that the enduring encampments will be heavily manned, everywhere from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.  Monsanto takes over the Department of Agriculture and summarily executes all organic farmers.  Social Security and Medicare are re-negotiated to stipulate that Inner Party members have first claim on all benefits and services, but all classes are required to pay on penalty of death.  Hollywood puts out a record number of movies, webcasts, and TV shows, all of which glorify obedience to the Totalitarian State.  Robot drones fly everywhere; every room has a surveillance camera; every action a citizen takes is a potential ground for disciplinary action by the all-encompassing State.

Scenario 3 – Total Disintegration:
Excellent propaganda efforts allow complacency to prevail until December 2014.  By January 2015, every country outside the USA is dumping dollars.  A few canny merchants manage to sell off prestigious US weapons systems to ambitious upstarts.  Military desertions are frequent; morale is at its lowest ebb. The ultra-rich flee to distant locations such as the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Israel, and Tahiti. Beverly Hills is sold off to nouveau-riches; all Hollywood movie studios shift operations overseas.  Canada is swamped with American refugees pleading for political asylum. The United Nations shifts its meetings from New York City to Sao Paulo for safety reasons.

Numerous factions within the military and government vie for supremacy;  CNN celebrates prominent generals as war heroes on Monday, but the same generals are hanged as traitors by Friday.  Popular discontent grows as commercial food stores go out of business and government hand-outs of food are often moldy and unfit for human consumption.  There are wild contrasts in standard of living; the rich walk warily on the same streets as the poor and hungry. Free speech zones are reserved for rich young students who can be relied on to protest only what the government already dislikes.  Pain rays, attack dogs, and tear gas silence unarmed protestors, but fail to impress street gangs funded by illegal drugs and armed with illegal guns.

Some Black and Hispanic street gangs  end up fighting each other to extinction, but most of them concentrate their efforts on terrorizing whites and Asians in an effort to extract tribute.   Armed robbers who had previously conducted home invasions in the cities begin raiding farms.  Farmers use modern technology such as cheap surveillance cameras and wireless networks to coordinate violent vigilante actions.

The prison-industrial complex is attacked by homegrown terrorists, leading to a massive expansion of military security outside prisons.  20% of the USA population is either incarcerated or branded as a felons.  Felons paroled from the prison system are given the choice between summary execution and indefinite detention in a FEMA-run labor community.  Prisoners provide ultra-cheap labor and the prison system is a pillar of the economy.

About 5% of the USA population holds a secret or top-secret security clearance.  Such clearances are required to work in the armaments industry and to hold public office.  Many young people strive to obtain such clearance, but rapidly become disaffected; many security clearance holders are subjected to “stop-loss” regulations that prevent them from leaving their jobs.  Censorship becomes the prevalent consideration in all USA media; clearance holders live in constant fear of blackmail, formal charges of treason, or brutal-but-unofficial disciplinary action.

Internet infrastructure degrades because copper telecom cables are stolen and sold to unscrupulous profiteers.  White radicals find receptive audiences.  Civilian combat shooting becomes widely reported, but police and prosecutors are not able to investigate most incidents to determine whether they were self-defense.

The USA government retreats to its Deep Underground Military Bases, and is able to retain control of its satellite network in order to continue issuing orders to troops overseas.  However, the military is hollowed out by desertion.  The USA retains many military capabilities but loses its diplomatic prestige.  The IRS escalates its levels of violence and shoots many tax protesters dead.  The Department of the Treasury proposes a cashless currency system but lacks the resources to implement it. Meanwhile,  the Federal Reserve Note only has value on military bases; barter reigns everywhere else.

California is taken over by narcoterrorists; the USA promptly bombs California’s cities with daisy-cutters and depleted uranium.  Plagues and packs of wild dogs become prevalent because there are too many dead bodies and no one is willing to bury them.  Cults and drug use become prevalent (in areas outside USA military control) because many Americans have no Internet access and are desperate for escapism.  However, drug-centered tribes and religious cults fail to accumulate any political power, because the prominent ones are soon exterminated by raids from the DHS.

Washington and Oregon, overwhelmed with Californian refugees, lapse into chaos.  United Nations peacekeepers attempt to suppress gang war.   Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, and South Dakota form the Northern Conference, maintain good relations with the remnants of the USA military, and refuse to admit United Nations peacekeepers.  The Northern Conference grudgingly does business with China over the Canadian border. Southern Texas is a warzone; Northern Texas pleads for international food aid but refuses United Nations involvement. The United Kingdom attempts to send SAS units to rescue a British diplomat captured in Florida, but the entire mission is foiled by heavily armed Hispanic gangs.

By 2025, the USA closes its bases in Japan, Korea, Germany, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  Other bases, such as Guam and Saudi Arabia, remain open.  At the United Nations Building in Sao Paulo, Russia, China, India, and Brazil announce their commitment to BATO, the Benevolent Alliance Treaty Organization, which will absorb the United Nations Security Council in order to send peacekeepers to protect the starving civilians in war-torn places such as Louisiana, Oregon, and Texas.

Scenario 4 – Military Mutinies:

By 2015, USA warfighters (including sailors, marines, airmen, and soldiers) are widely aware that their pay is nearly worthless.  Rather than obeying orders and upholding standard military decorum, warfighters engage in mass disobedience.  They make public political statements in uniform.  They denounce their superior officers as traitors.  They clog the military justice system with legal protests.  They circulate underground “newspapers” of radical dissent.  Those who can take early retirement re-enter civilian life as anti-statist radicals.  Smedley Butler’s “War is a Racket” becomes the most-quoted essay of 2015.

At home, some DHS and police personnel are inspired by these mutineers, but others are indignant.  Following many nonlethal shows of force and many riots, the police recognize that the general citizenry loves warfighters much more than they love cops.  A few police resign in disgrace.  Many warfighters run for local political office on an anti-statist campaign.

Ron Paul is too old to run for office, but becomes a major influence on many young office-holders.  The USA undertakes peaceful means to alter its own government and to abolish many of its government agencies.

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