Socio-Economics History Blog

Socio-Economics & History Commentary

The Coming Economic Collapse!

  • Will the world economy recover from here onwards or is this just a head fake? Many talking heads are trumpeting ‘green shoots’. When the economy crashed as badly as it has 33%-50%, there is bound to be some pent up demand. What we are seeing is this small pent up demand. Once this is over, economy will head for another leg down.
     
  • Graham Summers opines :
      
    Today, we’re addressing how the debt bubble encapsulated the US government as well as why Obama’s Stimulus Plan won’t fix anything….. the US began outsourcing jobs in earnest soon after we re-opened trade with China in 1971. As outsourcing spread to higher and higher skilled jobs, this meant fewer jobs in the US market. This resulted in US consumers having to use credit to maintain their standard of living. It also meant more than one parent working to make ends meet.
     
    On a national level, the US government began living beyond its means as well. Adjusted for inflation, gross tax receipts have only risen 40% in the last 39 years. However, over the same time period, total government spending increased 2,600%!!!
     
    To fund this insanity, the US issued debt in the form of Treasuries. Foreign governments (most notably China) which were generally getting richer selling us stuff loaded up. The whole scheme is similar to buying a toy from the store, then having the store lend you money to buy another toy… ad infinitum: hardly a sensible long-term plan for financial solvency.
     
    Now, everyone knows we run deficits. But not everyone knows that the deficits we publish are unbelievably understated. Corporations, in order to qualify for generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) have to count their pension and healthcare expenses for retirees.
     
    Uncle Sam doesn’t.
    John Williams of
    www.shadowstats.com notes that official US deficit statistics do NOT include net present value of unfunded social security OR Medicare expenses. A lot of folks have made a big deal about the US running a $1 trillion deficit this year. Well, if you included the net value of those unfunded Social Security and Medicare expenses we cleared a $1 trillion deficit in 2007, a $5 TRILLION deficit in 2008 and are on course to clear a $9 TRILLION deficit this year.
     
    To give you an idea of how big a problem these deficits are, consider that the US government could tax its citizens 100% of their earnings and NOT have a balanced budget.
     
    In light of these issues, the government’s $787 billion stimulus package doesn’t exactly breed confidence in an economic turnaround. Incomes have lagged inflation in this country for 30+ years. Creating a bunch of temporary positions related to construction and the like is NOT going to alter this in any significant way.
     
    Moreover, most of the job growth in the last 10 years has come from Bubbles: two out of five jobs created between 2002 and 2007 came from the housing industry. The irony here, of course, is that the Stimulus Plan is merely following this trend, creating jobs from our latest (relatively unreported) Bubble: the bubble in government spending and employment.
     
    Bottomline: the US needs to create sustained job growth involving skilled professionals with high wage earning potential, NOT more guys laying concrete. We need fundamental structural changes to the US economy, NOT temporary positions resulting from one-time government projects.
     
    And with a $9 trillion deficit in the works, $787 billion doesn’t really mean much in terms of increased tax receipts. Also, and this is bit of a personal aside, it’s hard to believe that throwing $787 billion towards creating jobs really shifts our economy away from financial services when we’ve thrown $2 trillion+ towards Wall Street and the banks (via direct loans and lending windows).
     
    The US has a MAJOR debt problem. Including future social security and Medicare expenses we owe $65 TRILLION. Because we live in a world in which the words, “billion” get thrown around with too much ease, I’d like to put that number into perspective.
     
    Let’s say you have a stack of $1,000 bills. $1 million would be a stack eight inches high. $1 billion would be a stack 800 feet high (think the Washington Monument). And $1 trillion would be a stack 142 miles high. Total US debt, if laid on its side, would be a stack of $1,000 stretching more than 1/3 of the way around the earth. Ok, so where is the US economy REALLY at right now?
     
    Year over year real employment, real industrial orders, real housing starts, and real retail sales are all posting their largest drops since the production shutdown following WWII. Put another way, the last time the US economy fell this hard this fast, we were intentionally shutting down the monster than was the US war machine in WWII.
     
    This is no recession. We are already on our way to a Depression (a GDP contraction of 10%) possibly even another Great Depression. One in nine Americans are currently receiving food stamps. Real unemployment (without birth/death seasonal nonsense and all the other Federal gimmicks) stands at 20%.
     
    So I don’t buy the “green shoots” theory at all. Having things get horrendous at a slightly slower rate is NOT a sign of a recovery. Green shoots can pop up anywhere including the asphalt in the parking lot outside my office. That doesn’t mean the parking lot is about to become a lush meadow.
     
    No, the US is heading for a really, really rough time. The US monetary base has doubled in the last year. We owe $65 trillion in liabilities. The US government could tax every company and every American 100% of their annual incomes AND NOT PAY THIS OFF. The Feds will have to inflate this mess away. And they’ve got a master money printer Ben Bernanke overseeing this situation.
     
    Now, I cannot foretell precisely how this will all play out. Typically when a bubble bursts it takes 10+ years, possibly an entire generation, before the assets that participated in the Bubble return to new highs (sometimes they NEVER do).
     
    Now, we just got off the biggest credit/ debt bubble in the world’s history. I’m talking about 30+ years of spending money we don’t have culminating in a period in which Americans were speculating in the single largest asset they ever purchase (a house) without putting a cent of their own money at risk (0% down NINA loans).
      
    We also saw a bubble in stocks, Treasuries, and most every other asset you can invest in. So the idea that we can recover from this in a couple of years seems over enthusiastic to say the least.
     
    Remember, Japan experienced a similar Bubble (though they had higher savings than we did) and “lost” a decade of economic growth. It’s worth noting that Japan WAS NOT an Empire like the US. Japan did not have with bases in 170 countries, a world reserve currency, and a crippled job market (history rhymes, it does not repeat).
     
    So in terms of the real US economy, I don’t foresee a recovery anytime soon. The stock market may soar thanks to the Fed’s money printing, but a jump in financial speculation is NOT an economic recovery. If the S&P 500 goes to 20,000, but we’re drinking $1,500 beer and wiping ourselves with $100 bills, we haven’t gotten richer (never mind the fact that an S&P 500 of 20,000 DOESN’T create jobs).

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June 15, 2009 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Eli Lilly Sold Drug for Dementia Knowing It Didn’t Help, Files Show

  • How corrupt is Big Pharma? Let’s not be naive in thinking that it is about helping people.. serving the greater good. It is about the money. Always about the money. Be careful of all the new A/H1N1 vaccines that are coming out. Never be the first to try. Bloomberg reports :
     
    Eli Lilly & Co.urged doctors to prescribe Zyprexa for elderly patients with dementia, an unapproved use for the antipsychotic, even though the drugmaker had evidence the medicine didn’t work for such patients, according to unsealed internal company documents.
     
    In 1999, four years after Lilly sent study results to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration showing Zyprexa didn’t alleviate dementia symptoms in older patients, it began marketing the drug to those very people, according to documents unsealed in insurer suits against the company for overpayment.
     
    Regulators required Lilly and other antipsychotic drug- makers in April 2005 to warn that the products posed an increased risk to elderly patients with dementia. The documents show the health dangers in marketing a drug for an unapproved use, called off-label promotion, said
    Sidney Wolfe, head of the health research group at Public Citizen in Washington.
     
    “By definition, off-label means there is no clear evidence that the benefits of a drug outweigh the risks,” Wolfe said. “The reason why off-label promotion is illegal is that you can greatly magnify the number of people who will be harmed.”
     
    In 1999, when Lilly began its marketing push, Zyprexa’s only approved use was for patients suffering from schizophrenia, according to the FDA. In 2008, Zyprexa was Lilly’s best-selling drug, with $4.7 billion in sales, while antipsychotics as a group topped U.S. drug sales last year, with $14.6 billion.
     
    Seven Studies
    In a request for a December 2003 meeting over a proposed label change, Lilly told the FDA that data from seven studies showed Zyprexa didn’t alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other dementia.
     
    The studies found death rates among older dementia patients taking Zyprexa were “significantly greater” than those who didn’t get the medicine, the company said, according to the unsealed documents.
     
    “Plaintiffs are releasing one-sided, cherry-picked documents obtained in discovery to selected news media in an effort to try their cases in the media,” said Lilly spokeswoman
    Marni Lemons, who added that the company will fight the lawsuit. She declined to answer specific questions about the studies.
     
    Lilly pleaded guilty in January to a federal misdemeanor charge of illegally marketing Zyprexa for off-label uses to elderly consumers. The company admitted illegal promotions from September 1999 through March 2001, while denying such practices beyond that date.
     
    Medical Journals
    The documents also revealed Lilly officials wrote medical journal studies about Zyprexa and then asked doctors to put their names on the articles, a practice called “ghostwriting.”
     
    Lilly employees compiled a guide to hiring scientists to write favorable articles, complained to journal editors when publication was delayed and submitted rejected articles to other outlets, according to the documents.
     
    Lilly’s internal documents, which number about 10,000 pages, were unsealed as part of suits against the drugmaker by health insurers and pension plans seeking to recoup monies spent on Zyprexa. The insurance plans contend the papers indicate that Lilly promoted the antipsychotic to doctors treating elderly patients even after March 2001.
     
    The plaintiffs cite documents including a 2002 business plan calling for expanding prescriptions in off-label use. They also point to notes from Lilly sales representatives through 2003 recording efforts to press doctors to prescribe elderly patients Zyprexa for mood symptoms, irritability and insomnia.
     
    $6.8 Billion in Damages
    Insurers and other so-called third-party payers contend Lilly should pay as much as $6.8 billion in damages for downplaying Zyprexa’s health risks, including excessive weight gain and the risk of contracting diabetes, and marketing the drug for unapproved uses to pump up profits.
     
    Bloomberg News obtained copies of the documents after U.S. District Judge
    Jack Weinsteinin Brooklyn, New York, ordered their release on May 1. In September, Weinstein allowed insurers and other payers to sue Lilly as a group after finding “sufficient evidence of fraud” to let the case go to trial. Lilly appealed that ruling.
     
    The Indianapolis-based drugmaker agreed in January to pay $1.42 billion to the U.S. government and more than 30 states to settle off-label marketing allegations over Zyprexa. The agreement included a $615 million penalty for the federal criminal charge.
     
    Lilly has paid $1.2 billion so far to settle more than 32,000 individual claims by patients, the company said in an April 30 securities filing. About 140 claims remain, Lilly reported.
     
    12 States
    The company also faces suits from 12 states over its Zyprexa marketing practices. Cases brought by South Carolina and Connecticut officials are set for trial later this year.
     
    The unsealed documents support the claims of the insurers suing Lilly, said lawyer
    Thomas Sobol, of Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. His firm represents the plaintiffs suing the drugmaker for overcharging on Zyprexa and provided Bloomberg News with copies of the documents.
     
    Bloomberg News filed a letter brief asking the court to unseal the documents. Zyprexa was initially approved in 1996 for use with schizophrenia sufferers. In 2000, Lilly received the FDA’s approval to sell it to those dealing with the mania stage of bipolar disorder.
     
    The drug has never been approved for use with dementia patients, according to the
    FDA’s Web site. Even before the drug was on the market, Lilly researchers were eyeing whether elderly dementia patients could benefit from taking the antipsychotic, according to the unsealed documents.
     
    Company Study
    A 1995 company study of users taking between 1 to 8 milligrams of Zyprexa “did not show efficacy in alleviating the psychotic symptoms and behavioral disturbances in elderly” patients suffering from “primary degenerative dementia of the Alzheimer’s type,” according to a study summary that was unsealed.
     
    The company also noted that three patients taking Zyprexa died during a study or within 30 days of its completion, while only one control-group patient expired, according to the unsealed documents.
     
    J. Alan Webber, a Lilly executive, acknowledged in a Feb. 16, 1995, note that FDA official Paul Leber wasn’t impressed with study results in connection with Zyprexa’s effectiveness in treating older dementia patients.
     
    “Dr. Leber was not enthusiastic about study HGAO (psychotic demented elderly) with respect to the indication for use, and extensive discussion did not resolve the disagreement,” Webber said, according to the documents.
     
    Back to the FDA
    In 1998, Lilly went back to the FDA seeking approval to market Zyprexa to those battling Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, the company said in its 2003 request for a meeting on a proposed label change. Lilly withdrew its bid to promote Zyprexa for Alzheimer’s cases in 1999, according to the document.
     
    In a November 2000 memo to Lilly salespeople, company executives said the dementia marketing initiative was abandoned because the FDA questioned Zyprexa’s effectiveness in treating the ailment.
     
    “It was withdrawn due to vagueness on the FDA’s part regarding a definition of efficacy,” Lilly officials said in the document.
     
    In a 2003 memo to FDA regulators citing the clinical studies, Lilly researchers acknowledged the death rates among older dementia patients on Zyprexa in the reviews were two times higher than their counterparts taking placebos.
      
    Patient Deaths
    Deaths among the patients taking Zyprexa in the studies were “significantly greater than placebo-treated patients (3.5 percent v. 1.5 percent, respectively),” Lilly officials said, according to the unsealed documents.
     
    The studies didn’t find Zyprexa was effective in treating dementia, the company acknowledged in this document. Lilly recognized this earlier, according to a 2002 document entitled “Zyprexa in serious mental illness (65 plus years) — A Strategy Review.”
     
    “The treatment of serious mental illness for people over the age of 65 has been identified as a growing opportunity for Zyprexa,” the authors wrote. “Unfortunately, attempts to gain the data to support an application for an indication in the treatment of dementia have to date been unsuccessful.”
     
    Lilly, which first marketed Zyprexa to psychiatrists, sought to expand its customer base in 1999 by focusing on long term-care facilities, particularly nursing homes, according to the unsealed documents.
     
    Primary Care Physicians
    It later began targeting primary care physicians, known as PCPs, as another potentially lucrative Zyprexa
    market. Such physicians frequently deal with dementia patients, according to the unsealed files.
     
    Another benefit to the strategy was that many of those practitioners were “unaware of Zyprexa weight gain issue,” according to a December 1999 Lilly sales memo, referring to one of the drug’s possible side-effects.
     
    Lilly viewed dementia as the “key” to the elderly and PCP markets, according to an undated document, “Elderly – PCP Sales Aid.” In that paper, executives urged salespeople to “utilize dementia and symptoms as entry.”
     
    Lilly marketing executives envisioned expanding “Zyprexa’s market by redefining how primary care physicians treat mood, thought and behavioral disturbances,” according to the December 1999 memo. The strategy included: “Focus message patients; symptoms and behaviors (rather than diagnoses),” according to the unsealed internal company documents.

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June 15, 2009 Posted by | Medicine & Health | Comments Off on Eli Lilly Sold Drug for Dementia Knowing It Didn’t Help, Files Show

PIMCO: Fed To “engage again” in Treasury Buys

  • I really don’t see any way for the FedRes to get out of this shit hole they have dug for themselves. I am of the opinion that they will inflate away all their debts. So the USD days are numbered. How do you resolve all the estimated US$1.5 Quadrillion of toxic derivatives? They are as good as worthless, you will be lucky if you can get 25 cents to the dollar. How do you resolve this giant financial black hole? You hyper-inflate and destroy your currency. So US$ 1.5 Quadrillion will be hyper-inflated away until it is worth only a ‘happy meal’ at McDonald’s. Get it?
     
  • Reuters reports :
      
    The rapid rise in bond yields will force the Federal Reserve to “engage again” in the purchases of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, Mohamed El-Erian, the chief executive of bond giant Pacific Investment Management Co., said Friday.
     
    The surge in Treasury yields is lifting mortgage rates, threatening to dampen home demand and kill off the refinancing boom that is bolstering the health of some households.
     
    “What mistake can the U.S. economy afford to make? If you look at it that way, I suspect that we will see the Fed engage again in these markets,” El-Erian, who oversees $756 billion at PIMCO, told Reuters Financial Television.
     
    Debate is brewing within the Federal Reserve over whether it should ramp up its purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities to keep a lid on interest rates, or scale them back to avoid an outbreak of inflation.
     
    Massive buying of securities by the U.S. central bank has doubled the size of its balance sheet to around $2 trillion as it flooded the economy with money to prevent a severe recession getting worse.
     
    The Fed’s Open Market Committee voted unanimously in April to keep unchanged its targets for purchases of MBS and long-term Treasuries. But the panel left the door open to increasing purchases at future meetings if needed to secure a stronger recovery, according to minutes of the meeting. The FOMC next meets on June 23-24 in Washington.
     
    DOLLAR, JUNK BONDS VULNERABLE
    Investors’ fears in the United States and abroad are rising about the health of America’s economy, owing to its need to borrow for stimulus programs. That will keep the U.S. dollar under pressure, El-Erian said. “We could be embarking on a multiyear process of erosion, at the margin, of the global standing of the U.S.”
     
    The United States faces competition also from Brazil, Russia, India and China, which account for 15 percent of the $60.7 trillion global economy. El-Erian said the so-called BRIC nations, which are meeting next week for their first formal summit, are increasingly pressing the case for “a larger role on the global stage, as they should.”
     
    High-yield “junk bonds” and equities are also vulnerable, El-Erian added. As an example, the roughly 40 percent rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index since early March has been “excessive” and not supported by economic fundamentals, he said. “The last part of the rally in a lot of risk assets … was exaggerated” by hedge funds and fund managers chasing performance, he added.
     
    El-Erian said PIMCO has been a buyer of high-quality corporate bonds and short-maturing government bonds in the United States and abroad, arguing economies still face major headwinds including a fragile labor market. He expects the unemployment rate in the United States to reach between 10 percent and 10 1/2 percent.
     
    “Over the immediate next few weeks, we think Treasuries at this point had oversold, particularly front end of curves around the world had oversold,” El-Erian said. “We do not believe the Fed, European Central Bank or the Bank of England will be hiking rates any time soon. We have found value in the front end of the curve.”

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June 15, 2009 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Comments Off on PIMCO: Fed To “engage again” in Treasury Buys

Nuclear War Is Kim Jong-il’s Game Plan

  • This is a rather nightmarish view on North Korea’s strategy. Let’s hope it never comes to nuclear war. This article is written by:
     
    Kim Myong Chol is author of a number of books and papers in Korean, Japanese and English on North Korea, including Kim Jong-il’s Strategy for Reunification.He has a PhD from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Academy of Social Sciences and is often called an “unofficial” spokesman of Kim Jong-il and North Korea.
     
  • I am not sure how accurate is his point of view. But it is a rather interesting article
     
    “Our military first policy calls for an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, retaliation for retaliation, ultra-hardline for hardline, war for war, total war for total war, nuclear war for nuclear war.” – Kim Jong-il
     
    TOKYO – A little-noted fact about the second nuclear test conducted on May 25 by the Kim Jong-il administration of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is that it was a highly successful fission trigger test for multi-megaton warheads.
     
    These types of warheads can be detonated in outer space, far above the United States, evaporating its key targets. This is a significant indication of the supreme leader’s game plan for nuclear war with the crippled superpower and its allies, Japan and South Korea.
     
    The North Korean Foreign Ministry on April 29 announced its plan to test-fire what it termed a long-awaited “intercontinental ballistic missile” (ICBM), the first public ICBM test after numerous missile tests, short-range, medium-range, and long-range, were conducted without notice.
     
    On March 9, the General Staff of the nuclear-armed Korean People’s Army had begun preparing to launch simultaneous retaliatory strikes on the US, Japan and South Korea in response to their act of war.
     
    Although no appropriate test site for a thermonuclear bomb is available on the Korean Peninsula, North Korean scientists and engineers are confident, as a series of computer simulations have proved that their hydrogen bombs will be operational. The North Korean message is that any soft spots of the US, Japan and South Korea’s defense lines will be used as the testing grounds for their thermonuclear weapons. 
       ….
    John Pike, the founder and director of globalsecurity.org, told the Weekly Standard on October 19, 2006, that the North Korean nuclear test that year may have been a test of a “trigger device” for a much larger hydrogen bomb. Writing in the New York Times on April 7, 2009, he revealed that “North Korea’s low-yield nuclear test in October 2006 did “coincide with the sub-kiloton tests of the fission trigger for a hydrogen bomb”. He added, “possibly North Korea’s hydrogen bombs can be easily fitted on missiles”.
     
    The Kim Jong-il administration has developed its global nuclear strike capability primarily as a deterrent to US invasion to keep the Korean Peninsula out of war. Secondly, it needs operational nuclear missiles targeted at US and Japanese targets in the event of a DPRK-US war.
     
    The North Korean state-run newspaper, Minjo Joson, vowed on June 9 to use nuclear weapons in war as “merciless means of offense to deal retaliatory strikes” against anyone who “dares infringe upon the dignity and sovereignty of the DPRK even a bit”.
     
    Scenario for nuclear war
    After shifting to a plan B, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il has put in place a nuclear game plan as a part of the plan’s military first policy to deal with nuclear rogue state America and its allies South Korea and Japan. (See
    Kim Jong-il shifts to plan B, Asia Times Online, May 21)
     
    The nuclear game plan is designed firstly to militarily prevent the US from throwing a monkey wrench into the plans of the Kim Jong-il administration for economic prosperity by 2012 – the centenary of the birth of founding father Kim Il-sung – in a bid to complete its membership of the three elite clubs of nuclear, space and economic powers.
     
    Its second aim is to win the hearts and minds of the 70 million Korean people, North, South and abroad, and leave little doubt in their eyes that Kim Jong-il has what it takes to neutralize and phase out the American presence in Korea. This will hasten the divided parts of ancestral Korean land – bequeathed by Dankun 5,000 years ago and Jumon 2,000 years ago – coming together under a confederal umbrella as a reunified state.
     
    It is designed to impress upon the Korean population that Kim Jong-il is a Korean David heroically standing up to the American Goliath, that he can lead the epic effort to settle long-smoldering moral scores with the US over a more than 100-year-old grudge match that dates as far as the 1905 Taft-Katsura Agreement and the 1866 invasion of Korea by the USS General Sherman.
     
    Third, Kim Jong-il has described the shift to plan B as a stern notice for the governments of the US and its junior allies that they cannot get away with their hostile behavior any longer, unless they are prepared to leave their booming economies consumed in a great conflagration of retaliatory thermonuclear attacks.
     
    The game plan assumes that the US is unlikely to shake off its aggressive behavior until it is wiped off this planet. The Barack Obama administration has not taken much time to reveal its true colors, which are no different from the George W Bush administration. There have been four compelling signs:
     
    First, the March 9-20 Key Resolve (Team Spirit) joint war games between the US and South Korea.
     
    Second, the US-led United Nation Security Council’s (UNSC) condemnation of an innocuous April 5 satellite launch.
     
    Third, the rehashing of counterfeit money charges that the US has failed to produce compelling evidence to support. As Newsweek wrote in its June 8 issue, “The Treasury Department couldn’t find a single shred of hard evidence pointing to North Korean production of counterfeit money.”
     
    Fourth, the presence of Bush holdovers in the Obama administration, such as Stuart Levy, the architect of Bush-era financial sanctions intended to criminalize the DPRK.
     
    Four types of hydrogen bomb raids
    The game plan for nuclear war specifies four types of thermonuclear assault: (1) the bombing of operating nuclear power stations; (2) detonations of a hydrogen bombs in seas off the US, Japan and South Korea; (3) detonations of H-bombs in space far above their heartlands; and (4) thermonuclear attacks on their urban centers.
     
    The first attack involves converting operating nuclear power plants on the coastline of the three countries into makeshift multi-megaton H-bombs.
     
    The New York Times on January 24, 1994, quoted Paul Leventhal, president of the Nuclear Control Institute, warning that North Korea could easily launch de-facto hydrogen bomb attacks on South Korea.
     
    “North Korean retaliation to bombing could result in vastly more fallout in the South than in the North … North Korean retaliatory bombing could bring Chernobyls multiplied.”
     
    If bombed, one average operating nuclear power station is estimated to spew out as much deadly fallout as 150-180 H-bombs. Bombing one nuclear power station would render the Japanese archipelago and South Korea uninhabitable. Doing the same to the US may require bombing one plant on its west coast and another on its east coast.
     
    Nothing is easier than bombing a power plant on a coastline. There is no need to use a ballistic missile. Primitive means will do the job.
     
    The US has 103 operating nuclear power stations with onsite storage of a huge quantity of spent fuel rods and Japan has 53 operating atomic power stations. Japan has a stockpile of weapons-grade plutonium – enough to assemble more than 1,000 atomic bombs in a short period of time. South Korea has 20 operating nuclear power stations with onsite storage of a huge quantity of spent fuel rods.
     
    The detonation of sea-borne or undersea H-bombs planted on the three countries’ continental shelves will trigger nuclear tsunamis with devastating consequences.
     
    A 2006 RAND study of a ship-based 10-kiloton nuclear blast on the Port of Long Beach had some harrowing conclusions:
     
    “Within the first 72 hours, the attack would devastate a vast portion of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Because ground-burst explosions generate particularly large amounts of highly radioactive debris, fallout from the blast would cause much of the destruction. In some of the most dramatic possible outcomes:
     
    – Sixty thousand people might die instantly from the blast itself or quickly thereafter from radiation poisoning.
     
    – One hundred and fifty thousand more might be exposed to hazardous levels of radioactive water and sediment from the port, requiring emergency medical treatment.
     
    – The blast and subsequent fires might completely destroy the entire infrastructure and all ships in the Port of Long Beach and the adjoining Port of Los Angeles.
     
    Six million people might try to evacuate the Los Angeles region.
    Two to three million people might need relocation because fallout will have contaminated a 500-square-kilometer area.
     
    – Gasoline supplies might run critically short across the entire region because of the loss of Long Beach’s refineries – responsible for one-third of the gas west of the Rocky Mountains.
     
    RAND projects that the economic costs would exceed $1 trillion.
     
    The third possible attack, a high-altitude detonation of hydrogen bombs that would create a powerful electromagnetic pulse (EMP), would disrupt the communications and electrical infrastructure of the US, the whole of Japan, and South Korea.
     
    Many of the essential systems needed to survive war would be knocked out, as computers are instantly rendered malfunctioning or unusable. Military and communications systems such as radars, antennas, and missiles, government offices, would be put out of use, as would energy sources such as nuclear power stations and transport and communications systems including airports, airplanes, railways, cars and cell phones.
     
    Ironically the ubiquity of high-tech computing gadgets in the US, Japan and South Korea has made them most vulnerable to EMP attacks.
     
    The last and fourth attack would be to order into action a global nuclear strike force of dozens of MIRVed ICBMs – each bearing a thermonuclear warhead on a prefixed target.
     
    The Yongbyon nuclear site has always been a decoy to attract American attention and bring it into negotiations on a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War. Since as far back as the mid-1980, North Korea has assembled 100-300 nuclear warheads in an ultra-clandestine nuclear weapons program. The missiles can be mounted on medium-range missiles designed to be nuclear capable.
     
    A prototype ICBM was assembled by the end of the 1980s. Two prototype ICBMs were test-fired on May 29, 1993, with one splashing down off Honolulu and the other off Guam. The Kim Jong-il administration gave an advance notice to the US government of the long-range missile test. But the American reaction was skeptical.
      ….
    According to a February 12, 2003, AP report, US intelligence had concluded a few years earlier that North Korea has a ballistic missile capable of hitting the western United States and possibly targets farther inland 

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June 15, 2009 Posted by | GeoPolitics | | 3 Comments

Dr Thomas Van Flandern: Life On Mars!

  • Why do people find it difficult to accept life on other planets? Some say it is religious because the bible does not say so. Unfortunately, these are the same people in centuries past who believe that the bible says the earth is flat. The bible says the earth is a sphere and not flat :
      –
    Isaiah 40:22
    He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
      –
  • Many people hold to the view that the ancients were cave dwelling idiots. This is because of the propaganda crap taught in schools. Real history actually tells a rather different story. The ancients were of a highly advanced civilization. My suspicion is that most of what we call modern discoveries are really ‘re-discovery’ of lost technology and knowledge. So what does the bible say about life on other planets. How about this ?
      –
    Genesis 11
    The Tower of Babel
    1And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 
    2And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
    3And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.
    4And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
    5And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
    6And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
    7Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
     –
  • A ‘..tower, whose top may reach unto heaven’, could they be building a launch pad for travel to the heavens ie outer space? They were in effect about to mass colonize other planets. The bible does say that only planet earth is man’s home and no other planet. Even in Revelation, the final book of the bible, it is stated very clearly that God will dwell with man on the new earth. Not on some other planet.
     –
  • Why does God say: ‘nothing will be restrained from them, which they imagined to do’ ? It clearly implies the ancients have reached a mastery of technology that is unprecedented. If the ancients were really so backward and we are so far advanced in technology, why doesn’t God come down and straighten us out like he did above in Genesis 11? Surely, we have technology way ahead of these ancients of Genesis 11 right?  The ancients were not cavemen working with sticks and stones. We are probably just reaching their level of technology in this 21st century.
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  • Dr Thomas Van Flandern :
      –
    Thomas C Van Flandern (June 26 1940[1] – January 9, 2009) was an Americanastronomer, specializing in celestial mechanics, who was known as an outspoken proponent of unorthodox views on various topics. He graduated from Xavier University in 1962 and then attended Yale Universityon a scholarship sponsored by the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO). In 1969 he received a PhD in Astronomy from Yale. Van Flandern worked at the USNO until 1982, when he left the civil service and thereafter organized eclipse viewing tours and promoted his unorthodox views. He died on January 9, 2009 after a brief battle with cancer.
     –
    Van Flandern advocated the replacement of contemporary theories of physics with ideas based on a set of principles that he called “Deep Reality Physics”, which led to his belief in faster-than-light propagation of forces, gravitational shielding, and limitless free energy. He was also known for his contention that a certain rock formation on Mars is an ancient artificial sculpture of a face, and for his advocacy of LeSage gravity (first proposed by
    Nicolas Fatio de Duillier in 1692). He authored a book, Dark Matter, Missing Planets and New Comets: Paradoxes Resolved, Origins Illuminated,[2] in which he challenged prevailing notions regarding dark matter, the big bang, and solar system formation, and advocated the theory (first proposed by Heinrich Wilhelm Matthäus Olbers in 1802) that the asteroid belt consists of the remains of an exploded planet. He was a prominent member of a group called the Natural Philosophy Alliance, devoted to “open-minded criticism… of the often irrational and unrealistic doctrines of modern physics and cosmology, and to the ultimate replacement of these doctrines”. He issued newsletters and maintained a website devoted to his ideas, which have not found acceptance within the scientific community.

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June 15, 2009 Posted by | History, Science & Technology | , | 2 Comments