Monday, January 30, 2017

Fossil fuel people want to "short" the clean energy side of things

A lot of people are trying to split hairs between "Climate Change" and "Global Warming". While ordinary people might be confused by the terms, the spin-masters are not.

The fossil fuel industry hates the word "Global Warming" because it is tied closely with a number of negative perceptions like "melting ice caps", "coastal flooding", "desertification", "crop failure", "hurricanes and tornadoes" and a "runaway green house gas effect". 

The words "Climate Change" on the other hand has much milder connotations as it does not say that the temperature will shift definitively towards higher temperatures.  And so this carries a much less scary sounding word cloud with it.

Most professional scientists see the two labels as a way of talking about the same thing - i.e. inadvertent global climate modification by human activity. The most important activity is increased fossil fuel usage and that is uniformly seen as being bad.

Scientists want to see a reduction in global use of fossil fuel.

Fossil fuel companies - quite obviously - do not want to see reductions in global fossil fuel *revenues*.

Now there are two kinds of fossil fuel people

  1. the Smart Ones - They can see Revenue  = (Volume) x (Sales Price Per Unit). Meaning if the price per unit goes up and the volume goes down - the amount of revenue stays the same. These kinds of people tend to support anything that raises the price of fossil fuels - including the dreaded Carbon Credits. These guys usually say "Climate Change is real" because they make money on the total revenue from fuel sales..
  2. the  Others - These guys are fixated on volumes. They keep coming up with ideas on driving up volumes at any price point. The reasons why they do so are many fold. Some want to promote deposits in hard to access region (ex. Russians) or others want to maximize their current market share and in doing so buy time to restructure their economic sector (ex. Saudis, Qataris etc...). These are the folks who are saying "Global Warming is an expensive fraud" because they make their money only from the volume of oil.
Both kinds of people know that we are well past the point of peak oil. This works out well for bothe groups as each unit of fossil fuel volume demands a higher price. 

Both sides know they they will need to reinvest in clean energy technology if there is to be any future at all.

We all tend to focus on the apparent ignorance of the Others and try to make our imperfect peace with the Smart Ones.

This however obscures a very important issue from view.

Both the Smart Ones and the Others want the same thing - i.e. to shift out of the investments in "Dirty Old Energy" and move to "Clean New Energy". 

And while they may be interested in different segments of the "Clean New Energy" market, like any investor they would want to "buy low".

It is here IMHO the rubber hits the road. If these groups can artificially depress the price of "Clean New Energy", either by dropping the price of fossil fuel (i.e. increasing the volume of current sales) or by making it look like there is higher potentially accessible reserves (making the Clean  Energy promoters feel like this is going to be a very long haul) - they can create an environment where they can buy low. Once they are all invested, the price of both "New Clean Energy" and "Old Dirty Energy" will rise rapidly causing all  manner of suffering but these guys don't care about any of that.

A critical technology they will want to get their paws on is energy storage.  Whether thermal, mechanical or electrical, they will want to grab anything that is proven to work at scale while ensuring that they pay as little for it as possible.

There is only one way to do this - and it doesn't work out so well for the rest of us who aren't in on it. It really doesn't work out well for the "New Clean Energy" proponents who have fought a long and hard battle against the fossil fuel bullies.

You really need to get the facts right first

In this article Swapan Dasgupta attempted to get his head around what was happening to the US-India relationship after Donald Trump's inauguration. 

Unfortunately  there are some factual disconnects here that need to be remedied as they lead to a very different conclusion from what Swapan proposes.

1) Brexit and the US2016 elections are different :  Brexit was a referendum where the majority vote won. If the US 2016 election were a referendum - Hillary would be president. The US elections are not democratic so Trump became president.  I agree that in both elections gullible voters were targeted by with false promises of national progress after departing from liberal agendas, but in the US the majority voted for the liberal agenda and not for the departure. In Britain the story is different, and many who voted "leave" expressed deep regrets about it after the "leave" victory was declared.  The Arab Spring protests were genuine expressions of anger against repressive regimes that do not accommodate basic democratic processes. The #NotMyPresident movement or the Women's March is more like the Arab Spring because it speaks to the fundamentally undemocratic nature of the US electoral process (both at party primary and at the national level). 

2) The "Great Unwashed" actually voted for HRC -  In India - it is common for people to dismiss "liberals" as being disconnected from the "Great Unwashed" majority in the country. You may debate whether this is actually true in India, but in the US it is *NOT* the case. If you look at the economic demographics, barring one segment (old rural white men and the women they hold in their thrall) - the vast majority of the "Great Unwashed" (the Hispanics, Blacks, urban poor whites (so called "White Trash") etc....) all largely voted for HRC. This is because Donald Trump appealed to a very toxic image of manhood that has been used to subvert the loyalty of the rural whites for several decades now and it alienates all other segments of the country. Also HRC's emphasis on government support to the poor resonated with people who didn't see sense in Donald Trump's vision of a racially divided and socially repressed America. 

3) "Predictability" and "Donald Trump" are opposites - Donald Trump likes to be unpredictable, so you really can't base any interaction with him on a set of fixed assumptions about "what he wants" as that might change on a second-by-second basis. Domestically speaking, the GOP does not have any idea what he will do next. Even during the year and half they interacted with him, no common minimum program could be written down. NATO states have a significant common interest with the US, they have supported US policy decision even at great cost to themselves. And President Trump has hung them out to dry because people say - he has something going on with President Putin. So why will Donald Trump suddenly become more predictable in his ties with India? 

You don't have to take my word for it. Just ask people that have worked for him in the past - the banks, the contractors, the public service employees he has interacted with, the small investors who bought stock in his projects - and you will see the pattern I speak of. 

If anything a review of the facts suggest that all foreign powers must treat the Donald Trump regime as being unstable (either due to the pressure of "illegitimacy" or merely due to the fears and phobias of its leader) . A direct consequence of this is that every nation on earth must define a split policy - one which appears to reach out to Donald Trump while simultaneously getting ready to cut off the hand he has just shaken. 

I can understand if the Modi government can't handle the task of keeping apace with Donald Trump's minute by minute mood swings and seeks the solace of false premises but it will do so only at great cost to India's national security interests.  

As the Steele report suggests, Donald Trump clearly values his true economic position which may be far more precarious than his glossy website have people believe. This is consistent with the RIS targetting approach via the Mogilovich Cartel but now that he is President, he has something even greater to lose - his "legitimacy".  As Indians reading this I don't need to remind you that the entire Mahabharat was fought over the perception of legitimacy.  

Even if we assume that somehow real power will rest not in an unpredictable leader but his predictable followers (an obviously flawed idea) - and we assume that the Kushner led pro-Netanyahu faction and the Bannon's Nazism 2.0 branch agree on a common goal of killing all Muslims in the world and , is that an agenda that India can really associate contact with? for any length of time? 

So before joining any coalition of the genocidal insane - India may want to think carefully about where it will fall once the history is written.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The deadly game of chicken between the Trump Admin and the GOP

We are all worried by the craziness we see happening in DC right now. President Trump seems insanely sensitive to the slightest suggestion that he is not legitimate. Given how he questioned President Obama's legitimacy - you would think he could handle this kind of criticism himself - but that does not seem to be the case.

I would like to offer a plausible explanation for what is happening in front of our eyes right now.

While President Trump has won the electoral college, and the GOP has won the Senate and Congress, no one knows if Trump helped the GOP win or if the GOP helped Trump win. There is no data to support either conclusion and consequently neither knows who wears the proverbial pants in this relationship. No common minimum agenda has ever been charted between these two entities. And the GOP does not trust Trump and Trump does not trust the GOP. 

We all know that the Donald Trump Corporation has something going on with Putin's Russia. In order to keep his business running smoothly in economically distressed Russia - President Donald Trump has to keep accommodating Putin internationally. That will come at direct cost to America's national security. In order to keep paying off Putin - President Trump has to keep the GOP led Congress and Senate from impeaching him or defeating his initiatives.

The GOP for its part does not know what politically toxic agenda Donald Trump will try to tie to their tail. They have no choice but to resist him or risk becoming an irrelevant clone of the rubber stamping Russian Duma. The GOP senators and congressmen are focused on their own re-election and not on the greater glory of Donald Trump.

For his part President Trump is firing off all manner of presidential executive orders and trying to get ahead of the GOP. His rationale seems to be that he can seize the ground ahead of GOP moves. He is also desperate to get his "news providers" access to the White House Press Corps. He hopes to use the Cambridge Analytica based subliminal propaganda network to manufacture support in his base using his chosen "news providers".

The GOP is pressing the legislative brake and accelerator alternatively and it is reaching out self-proclaimed Nazis like Heimbach. This latter move is most likely an attempt to subvert elements of the DJT fan base and fill their heads with idiotic ideas of greatness. In this fashion the GOP will try to use them to create fission between the Kushner clan and the neo-Nazis aligned with Bannon. That fission will weaken the Trump administration significantly.

We are seeing this clash of the Titans play out in front of our eyes.

Whether it is about Obamacare/Affordable Care Act Repeal, or Climate Change, or Muslim Ban, or Abortion or  CIA Torture Camps, or dismembering the NATO or pulling out of the UN, both President Trump and the GOP know that such an action will be catastrophic to US national interests - however they are going to push all these bad ideas along as part of a very messed up game of chicken.

Whoever backs down or blinks in this game loses the political imperative. If President Trump blinks he will be the GOP's bitch for the rest of his life. If the GOP blinks, they will become President Trump's little toy forever.

Neither side can afford to back down and they are going to keep pressing the accelerator until the metaphorical car crash occurs.

This is not good from the perspective of ordinary citizens like us.

Even those of you that voted from Donald Trump the candidate should realize the extreme danger we are all in right now. In this fight for supremacy - we will all be thrown under the bus.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Fun facts about operating in the Arctic

Here is a grab bag of interesting things I came across in my wanderings through the "internets" about the Arctic.

1) Arctic deployment timescales - A company size formation can stay deployed on the arctic ice pack for about a month with continuous resupply. There is a small window in spring and winter when this is likely to be less dangerous. If you go outside the window, either the temperatures drop too low or the ice pack becomes unstable and you risk falling into a crevasse.

2) 55 Gallon Oil drum lasts 3 days - A 55 gallon drum can be used for about 3 days for heating and cooking. A company size formation will go through about 5 drums in a day. For small formations, the drums can be air dropped and recovered for sustained operations, recovery can be non-trivial given the prevalence of crevasses. This IIRC is almost as bad as the Saltoro AGPL. To support larger formations you would need to use a heavy ice breaker (like those 75000 HP nuclear powered guys they have at Severomorsk). If you have a lot of equipment like the RU stuff you see on Pintrest - you need a lot more fuel and those guys are heavy - so they can't be deployed on anything as thin as arctic ice packs. To learn more check out this RT video about the RU outpost - Barneo.

3)  Heavy icebreaker is king - Russia's strength in the region relies on its dominance in nuclear powered icebreaker technology. The Russian icebreakers are capable of cutting through 10 ft of ice at 15 kts. They produce something like 75khp and they only need to be refueled every 5 years. These ships are truly amazing! As things stand, using nuclear powered icebreakers might be the key to opening the Transpolar Sea Route for commercial shipping. They may have better economic characteristics and the Russians keep building bigger more powerful ones. There is a very informative video here.

4) Admiral Kuznetsov needs to stretch its legs - In its arctic home, the Admiral doesn't get a enough sunlight to practice air operations, especially in the winter when you get maybe 1 hour of sunlight and the weather is crap. They remedy his deficiency by taking it to the Med and bringing it back. This voyage typically takes about 60-90 days. In an ideal world the Russians would send their carrier from Murmansk (Kola Peninsula, RU) to Tartus (Syria) every year, and carry out a series of naval deployment exercises every year but they don't have the money. There have only been six such voyages so far spaced roughly a few years apart. After each voyage, they have had to spend a few years repairing and readying the ship for its next long journey.

5) Money is running out in Russia -  Putin's Russia saw a boom due to the high price of oil on the world market, but then the boom went bust. Russia has been living on the earnings of that boom, that money is running out right now. The Russian military modernization program is only half complete, and all military regions are competing for scarce resources. The Kola peninsular military formations and the Arctic units are in direct conflict with commands in Crimea and the Baltic sea for money to conduct and sustain operations. RU mil is overstretched.

6) Arctic Bdes might be a mirage - We have seen lovely videos of RU special arctic troopers on RT and other places. These images have raised the profile of the RU Mil in global circles. Unfortunately the images do not tell the full story. Maintaining large formations in these climes requires a lot of money and serious exertion. The bdes can only deploy under certain weather conditions, they can only populate bases during a small window of Arctic summer. Rumors have it that many of the contractors working in the supply chain for these formations have not been paid properly. It is unclear if these are combat effective formations.

7) Backfires, Blackjacks and Spirits roam - You have to ask yourself what is gained by using a high value asset like a Backfire, Blackjack or a Spirit to go after a Toyota pickup truck in Syria or Libya. The answer is simple - nothing - however since one can't visibly exercise a Spirit, Backfire or Blackjack without making everyone crap their pants, a transparent excuse like a ISIS dinghy on the coast of Libya or a donkey cart in Aleppo can be used to practice all manner of things.  Yes - we do live in a terrible world - and we are all terrible people!

8) Are there any heroes anymore? - A small group of academics, environmentalists, economists, scientists, diplomats, soldiers and common people ( I call these the "Chosen Few") on all sides are attempting to penetrate the fog of human stupidity that surrounds discourse on Arctic issues. They are facing an uphill task given how much ignorance there is on these issues. Some of these people are actual explorers who have been to the region and formed a deep personal bond with it and still others actually live near it. These people are working to reduce tensions in the region, to educate people and prevent a totally pointless shooting war in the Arctic. These people are heroes. With a little help and luck - they may prevent humanity from defaulting to its baser instincts.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Military operations in extremely cold climates

Milops in extremely cold climates are very challenging because of the strain they put on the troops and on the equipment. The restrictions on mobility make any kind of advance extremely slow and maneuver warfare can become frustratingly difficult.

While in conventional land battle in non-glaciated regions, a typical ratio of 3:1 (attacker-to-defender) is needed for military success, the same ratio in glaciated situations becomes much closer to the 10:1 number used for high altitude warfare.

The amount of resources needed to sustain combat effectiveness under such conditions scales roughly with the ratio of manpower. And simply put - it is extremely expensive to conduct combat operations in extremely cold climates.

In this post - I briefly discuss key elements of the costs associated with such operations. Most of this is information I have gleaned from various sources in India's terrible war on the Saltoro Ridge and the conflict sometimes called the "Kargil War of 1999".

What I have written up here applies to all manner of force projection (sea, land and air). Hopefully by reading this I can prevail on you to discuss this with your friends and improve public understanding of the costs of such misadventures. A good public grasp of simple key concepts is essential to preventing a costly and pointless war.

The cost of orientation

Any kind of combat requires knowing where you are and where you are going. This is sometimes referred to as "orientation". In extremely cold regions, the weather is unpredictable and the snow accumulation on the ground can change. Even if you have geolocation through GPS or ground based RF beacons, you still have to relate that to your instantaneous geography and that can be extremely difficult in a completely snow covered and featureless terrain. Additionally most electronics does not work well at extremely low temperatures, special features have to be incorporated to permit batteries and generators to actually work properly. As RF reception cannot be guaranteed, military forces have to use a multi-layered approach to geolocation and mapping positions. Making all that equipment work reliably in the cold is extremely expensive. In addition to installing the necessary navigational infrastructure, you have to add meteorological stations all over your line of attack or defense. Without it you have no idea what to expect in terms of mobility restrictions.

The cost of exposure 

When you expose something to the extreme cold - two things happen - firstly it loses heat to the surrounding via Newton's law of cooling and secondly as you cool an object its size changes and any reactions it relies on become slower.

In addition to this there is a psychological cost to be considered. Snow warfare soldiers can be conditioned to accept this cost but it can be brutal and severely degrade combat effectiveness. This an entire universe of issues in itself and far outside the scope of my expertise, so I leave this out of the discussion.

When discussing the effects of cold on men we deal mostly with the heat loss issue, when discussing the effects on weapons (and systems) you have to mostly think about the physical effects on reaction dynamics and of thermal contraction.

A soldier without proper insulation will suffer  frostbite within 10-15 min of exposure to extreme cold conditions. The exact effect will vary with wind chill factor and outside temperature. Proper insulation requires at least three layers of clothing -
  1. a first layer that wicks away sweat which can dramatically increase heat loss from the skin, 
  2. a second layer that will create a moisture and thermal barrier between the innermost layer and the outermost layer.
  3. a third layer which will provide water-proofing and abrasion resistance to the garment.
The soldier will also need to carry fuel to keep warm in case any of the clothing fails. All extremities will need another layer of clothing (gloves, boots etc...) and the any exposed skin will need to be covered with a wax layer to prevent direct thermal contact between the cold air and human tissue. If properly dressed the soldier will only have exposure through the cold air inhaled directly into the lungs. 

The net effect of this "proper insulation" is to increase the weight the soldier has to carry and restrict the soldier's mobility. 

As weapons go - cold temperatures will cause cold-locking - where the critical-to-function parts of the weapon contract below manufacturer spec-ed tolerances. This can usually be mitigated by using weapons designed with lower tolerances but then such weapons are also prone to accuracy and other quality issues. Additionally the low temperatures may change the burn rate of propellants by effectively increasing the activation barrier to mission-critical chemical reactions. This would contributed to a decline in exit velocities for projectiles and reduced yield in explosives. If both these happen together the weapon will most likely cease to function reliably. The only way to hedge against this is to heat up the weapons periodically. However as the enemy can easily observe this activity given its massive heat signature - this usually leads to a loss of the element of surprise. 

In order to keep weapons in working conditions and to keep themselves warm - soldiers will need fuel. The cost of shipping this fuel to forward positions can be quite high - even more so than the usual costs associated with FEBA logistics. This expensive and slender logistical thread can become the biggest vulnerability for a military expedition under extreme cold conditions.

The attrition cost

In order to keep a force combat effective under such conditions, you have to set up a large attrition reserve of acclimated soldiers and equipment. In places like the Saltoro AGPL, this cost is almost three times the resources actually deployed on the line.  Bearing in mind that the Indian posture on the Saltoro AGPL is predominantly defensive - an offensive posture along such a line would require even more resources.  In Indian Army parlance this kind of resource escalation in defensive posturing is referred to as "Siachenization". That nasty term is applicable in any similar context. 

In other contexts, any force on the FEBA will need significant reserves before engaging in operations Reserves will have to be maintained within easy reach of the FEBA and all lines of communication will have to be kept clear. 

This latter part is actually quite expensive. If your FEBA is 100 km from your reserve, you will need to keep 100 km of roads cleared of snow. If your FEBA is only accessible by ship or airplane - you will need to ensure that the shipping lane is clear of snow or the airfield is operable (no fog or accumulation). That can cost a lot of money. 

Additionally even in peacetime you will watch as soldiers come back from the FEBA with severe cold related injuries. Watching a steady stream of healthy young people go into the FEBA in *peacetime* and coming back home psychologically wrecked and physically crippled can take a huge toll on society and sap a nation's resolve to defend itself. That almost happened in the early stages of the Kargil conflict. It was a burst of celebratory patriotism in the Indian media that warded off an attack of the blues*. 

The weather-maneuver paradox

If the weather is favorable and the line of advance is clear -  your assault can surge ahead. However if the weather is clear and the line of advances is clear - the enemy can see you coming. If the weather is bad, your opponent can't see you but you can't really move either. 

Barring the odd chance that you have better weather than your opponent, the success of the maneuver rests entirely on your ability to read the weather conditions better than your opponent.  In essence you have a window in the weather that is opportune and if you miss it - the maneuver will fail. 

In a cold climate - weather can play other insidious roles in physically altering the axis of attack itself. A common example is when it is warm - you might well think all is well and an advance can proceed. However as the warm ground melts the underlying layers of ice, the ground becomes slushy and what was once a metaled road becomes a mud pit. And the axis of advance has to shift to accommodate this sudden change. 

Most military forces drill for such situations but seldom does that training translate into real world applications and the window of opportunity is often lost with disastrous consequences. 

Understanding these costs is key to correctly appraising the value of a conflict in extremely cold conditions. 

(*Blue was also the color of the trucks that brought the bodies of dead Indian soldiers back along. if you looked at National Highway - 1 Alpha - you would see lines of these blasted things packed with coffins. It was a terrible sight seldom shared with the general public in 1999. Instead the camera focused on NDTV reporter Barkha Dutt as she stood near a 155 mm Bofors Howitzer that belched fire on Pakistani positions. Without people like Burkha Dutt and Vishnu Som standing there and showing Indians what was being done to stop the tide of bodies, India would most likely have lost resolve to fight the war.) 

Punching Nazis in the face

Now this used to be our national past time before we got into this whole business of electing them into high office... but leaving aside the debate this has now generated, I want to bring to your attention some statistical facts which can be verified from neutral sources like the Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem etc....

If you add up the total number of people actually involved in the committing the Holocaust (i.e the specific SS units, the Wansee attendees, etc... etc...) you end up with a number that is a few tens of thousands of extraordinary assholes.

If you add up the total numbers of people with Nazi party affiliations during the 30s and 40s - you end up with numbers in the few millions and heck you even find young kids in there joining it as if it is some kind of Boy Scouts like organization. I guess these people were just idiots - normal assholes like you or me.

Even among the tiny gang of enormous puss-filled assholes were people like SS officer Kurt Gerstein who witnessed an actual gassing at Treblinka and then developed a sudden attack of conscience (seriously dude - what about Hitler's "Kill all Jews" message did you not fucking get earlier?")

So based on the above scientifically proven (non-Spicer-approved, non-alternative) facts - I am going to say that Nazism is 99.5% stupidity and 0.5% genocide.

I think it is best to remind the extremely stupid people in every society what comes from association with the genocidal insane.

To  that end if something as simple as a punch in the face of a prominent Nazi is useful then I see no reason to desist from it. I feel even Mahatma Gandhi would say the same thing. There is no debate, no negotiation, no communication with a homicidal sociopath that makes any sense whatsoever. They are going to kill you as soon as they can - you might as well defend yourself - you have nothing to lose. 

In order to morally sanctify the act - the person punching the Nazi in the face should surrender to the police so that they can face the law of the land.

Will this act stop Nazis from pursuing their aims? no - it will not. With the genocidal insane - there is no reasoning, no thought process that leads them away from the act of mass murder.

The only thing you can hope for is when history inevitably repeats itself - you will be remembered as one who resisted.

If nothing else - recall the precious few who revolted in Treblinka and fought their way out. Most died in the attempt but a handful lived and testified at the trial of Adolf Eichmann. In doing so they brought to light the horrors the Nazis had perpetrated on humanity.

You owe it to the people who died in places like Treblinka to do your bit to prevent that from happening again.

And p.s. - withdrawing medical insurance from people with pre-existing conditions is completely identical to the aims of Aktion T4. It is one stop away from pulling the plug on the mentally and physically handicapped. 

The Arctic Great Game

As Climate Change makes the world warmer, the size of the arctic ice cap during summer months is decreasing [1].  Most of this global warming has greatly benefited Russia's northern coast. Russia's main northern supply line - the Northern Sea Route (NSR) is now much easier to navigate during the summer months. A number of Asian shipping companies  are trying to see if the NSR is a commercially viable shipping lane.

Arctic Sea Routes - courtesy Wikipedia

As the Northern Sea Route has become more navigable and the ice sheet further north has thinned, a number of seismographic surveys of the Arctic are now possible and early studies indicate the presence of massive ONG deposits in the Arctic circle [2]. Russia for its part is now aggressively exploring and exploiting (wherever possible) this ONG wealth, they are keen to supply it to the EU, China and India. The Russians are actively promoting oil exploration in the Shtokman natural gas field in Barents Sea and they have even planted a Russian flag on the sea floor under the North Pole. The Russian enthusiasm is understandable the melting of the ice also makes their sensitive northern coast easily accessible to adversaries. [thanks Strannik_1981]

Crude estimate put the total ONG deposits in the Arctic circle at about 15% of total global amounts. Other nations like the US, Canada, Norway and Denmark are keen to become profit from these opportunities in the Arctic as well. There is talk of new shipping routes emerging by 2050 when the Arctic ice cap finally melts.  These new routes would be about 50%  shorter than current routes which run via the Suez Canal and the Malacca Straits

You would think that global warming is a bad thing - but as fears of peak oil (the point beyond which ONG cannot be profitably recovered from proven reserves) grow - the oil addicted world nervously taps its veins and scrounges in the nearby dirt for its next oil hit!

Unfortunately for all concerned parties - no one truly knows if the pattern of Climate Change (i.e. the reducing size of the Arctic ice-cap) is entirely predictable. No one knows if the shipping routes will actually materialize and no one knows how much of the total ONG deposit is actually recoverable. The result is a climate of fear and misperceptions - kind of like the climate that existed in New Delhi when the British ruled. The Arctic is now ripe for a Great Game just like Afghanistan.

The Russians ofcourse are no strangers to this fact. They have been positioning infrastructure along their northern border for a while now. Unfortunately for them the economic collapse of the USSR led to a serious degradation of this infrastructure and pretty much grounded their vaunted Northern Red Banner and Pacific fleets. As these fleets administer most of Russia's aging submarine nuclear deterrent, the situation has been quite alarming for the last few decades.

Over the last decade however using the NSR and Shtokman as a lure and OPEC-breaking ONG sales as a lever, the Russians under Putin's leadership have been able to rebuild substantial parts of the old North Red Banner and Pacific Fleets. Last year the Northern Fleet (nee NRBF) was able to mount a massive 2000 mile sortie from Murmansk to Kotelny Island and back. Just a few months ago the Kuznetsov and the Northern Fleet left for Latakia allegedly to bomb ISIS in Aleppo but then they still haven't quite made their way back home a month later*. The Russians have also built a significant amount of ground units - that are constantly training in Arctic warfighting techniques. 

The US, Canada, Norway and Denmark are not well prepared for this Great Game. The North West Passage (NWP) which runs via Canadian shores still has greater ice accumulation than the NEP near Russia. There are no large naval bases rivaling the size and strength of Severomorsk along those coasts. Neither Canada nor the US have military units capable of sustained warfare in glaciated conditions. People are starting to pay attention to these issues but coverage is slim.

The Norwegians and Danes do not have the resources to compete with Russia by themselves. An alliance of Scandinavian countries (Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark) could possibly come up with enough resources but there is still the question of manpower. Right now  Russia has a sizable military force in Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea in the south and in and around the Murmansk area in the north. If the two tips of this pincer are  pushed upon Putin's command, large chunks of Finland and Sweden would be under severe distress. While there is no direct indication that Putin intends to do this right now - it seems exceedingly foolish to stand around and wait for it to happen.

As part of Operation Atlantic Resolve - Obama Administration put several hundred marines in Trondheim in Norway [3].  These units have been training for the last few years with their Norwegian counterparts but this is just a trip wire force at best. Without air cover and a missile shield - they will meet the same fate as the expeditionary force in ill-fated Norwegian campaign of 1940.

We need to watch this space quite closely as this is exactly the kind of human stupidity that precipitates a major conflict. 

* At the time of writing this the Kuznetsov was slowly making its way across the Bay of Biscay with its tugboat Nikolai Chiker hanging close behind towards its home port in Severmorsk near Murmansk. The Kuznetsov had been observed crossing the straits of Gibraltar at a relatively high 15kts (usually runs at 10 kts) but no black smoke was emerging from its stacks indicating that the engines were either working extremely efficiently or it was under tow. Additionally all ships in the Northern Fleet were suddenly sent south last week and an EAM was picked up the week before. This was reminiscent of a "lost boat" drill. 

Demilitarization of the Siachen Glacier

There appears to be a divergence of opinion in India on the issue of demilitarization of the Siachen glacier. This article hopes to bring out some of the technical issues underlying the viability of such a process.

In the glaciated region north of point NJ9842 on the Line of Control, Pakistan enjoys a geographical benefit on the logistical side. To cope with this adversity, the Indian Army uses a strategy called a "Reverse Slope Defence". Such a defensive strategy is typically used when your enemy is locally much stronger than you. It sounds very simple on paper, but actually implementing it is another matter. The Indian Army is the only force in the world to successfully implement this strategy in a high altitude glaciated region. This unique success currently provides security to the entire Leh region, and allows the 3rd Infantry Division to face the Chinese threat without fear of interference in its flanks or rear. 
The core of India's posture is an approximately 20,000 foot high mountain wall - the Saltoro Ridge - that sits on western edge of the Siachen glacier. A classical reverse slope defence calls for the defending power to position a small force manning OP/LPs (Observation Post/Listening Posts) on the "forward crest" of the mountain wall and a much larger defence force on the "reverse crest". The OP/LPs have direct line of sight with the enemy and provide guidance to indirect fire from artillery bases on the reverse side of the mountain. As the enemy cannot observe what is happening behind the mountain, they cannot suppress the defender's activities but the defender can put to a stop any enemy movements. 

Today the Indian Army has a number of OP/LPs on the westward facing slopes of the Saltoro ridge. These positions allow the Indian Army to launch long range artillery attacks on Pakistani positions from the relative safety of the eastern edge of the Siachen glacier. In order to keep these OP/LPs safe from Pakistani attack, a number of flanking positions are also occupied. These security positions have intersecting fields of fire and often house higher caliber munitions and reserve troops that can move quickly to check an enemy assault on the OP/LP. This mesh of OP/LPs and security positions starts out at the so-called Bahadur complex near point NJ9842 and travels north along the Saltoro ridge all the way up to Indira Col. The only way the enemy can get past a reverse slope defence, is by a successful flanking maneuver. In order to deny any possibility of a flanking maneuver the Indian Army dominates the heights overlooking key passes - the Sia La, the Bilafond La and Gyong La. The Pakistan Army has little hope of ever mounting a successful flanking maneuver in the Siachen region.

In order to understand the true cost of the Indian Army's success in the region - we have recognise that there are three distinct parts to the reverse-slope defense, the first deals with the positioning and securing of the OP/LPs, the second pertains to the maintenance of a supply line to these positions and the third relates to the ability to direct plunging fire on the enemy.

Implementing the first part, physically occupying the OP/LPs and their security posts is most painful part of defending the Siachen region. The high altitudes and low temperatures take a heavy toll on the health of soldiers. The simplest tasks at such high altitudes are very difficult. For every soldier in the forward post there are two others that either in reserve or performing support tasks. To make all this possible the 102 Infantry Brigade at Partapur is actually closer in size to a regular army division. Most Indian soldiers who go up to these positions mercifully come back alive these days, but many suffer significant injuries from exposure. Considering that the average Siachen warrior is one of the best soldiers in the Indian Army, this loss is beyond unpleasant. Under different circumstances these boys would have gone on to make a significant contribution to the Indian Army in other areas, and it is just terrible to watch these smart young men march up the mountain and come back crippled. Only a madman would refuse to ask if one really needs to keep doing this. 

Maintaining a supply-line from the reverse side to the forward crest can be extremely challenging. Again the biggest enemy is terrain and weather. It is here that the detailed knowledge of the geography becomes vital. In the Saltoro, the Indian Army maintains a very difficult supply line that travels up the eastern slopes of the ridge and through a maze of mountain peaks snakes down to the OP/LPs and their security positions. Some of this resupply work is done on foot, and some of it is done by helicopter. The exact resupply route depends sensitively on the local weather conditions - avalanches, blizzards etc... can lead to changes in the route. In the summer the helicopter base at Dzingrulma buzzes with activity and the forward posts are stocked up for the winter months. In order to make the resupply chain more robust a number of smaller bases are situated along the length of the glacier. A kerosene pipeline has been laid across the length of the glacier. This pipeline is the only one of its kind and it has changed the economics of the Siachen War for India. There is a downstream problem, that of getting supplies up to the base camp at Dzingrulma itself, but this has been mitigated by several decades long infrastructure buildup in the Leh region. In particular Leh Airfield has been built up to the point where the IAF's immense transportation muscle can be flexed to great effect. Critical to these operations is high quality local weather monitoring. The Indian Army and the DRDO have been working on this for many years now and there have been significant improvements in the meteorological forecasts available to the soldiers. That being said all these resupply operations are extremely expensive - though the Indian Army has significantly reduced costs over the last three decades.

The third part - indirect fire on the enemy - is totally nontrivial in the Siachen region. The main problem is that the density of air and temperature conspire to change the ballistic trajectory of a shell in ways that are difficult to anticipate. This also applies to bombing the enemy from the air. The pilot in an airplane traveling at several hundred miles an hour, has a few seconds to sight the enemy position and drop the bomb. Slower moving craft are vulnerable to SAMs and local weather conditions. Any bombardment has to take place from a higher altitude. Even if the pilot gets the timing right, the bomb's ballistic trajectory is hostage to the same physics that the artillery shell faces. This makes precision bombardment very difficult. Merely sighting the target from the air can be hard if the enemy has camouflaged the position. During late 80s, the Indian army was able to develop a way to direct fire onto Pakistani positions without the usual level of OP/LP based guidance. Similarly during the Kargil War, the IAF came up with the idea to drop bombs in a way that leads to avalanches. This proved sufficiently effective in disrupting the Pakistani intrusion. To most proponents of stand-off warfare these developments are a sign that perhaps the Indian Army's can reduce its dependence on the OP/LPs and rid itself of the cost of securing them. Not everyone agrees with this. In a general sense solving the problems of high altitude observation of enemy positions and of high altitude ballistics is central to the credibility of any stand-off options in the glacier region.

To see what happens when the reverse slope defence idea is not implemented properly - we can consider the Pakistani experience in Kargil. The Pakistanis under Gen. Musharraf set up a number of OP/LPs overlooking the Drass, Kargil, and Batalik sectors and directed artillery fire on National Highway 1-Alpha - the lifeline of Leh. However they failed to provide proper security positions and sufficient resupply lines. Eventually the Indian Army figured out where the OP/LPs were and launched intense mountain assaults and endless artillery barrages on them. The Indian Air Force found out where the resupply nodes were and bombed them. Without resupply and under assault - the remaining Pakistani positions fell quickly. If India thins down the defensive line on the Saltoro Ridge, then a situation similar to what the Pakistani Army found itself in on Kargil will naturally develop. During this phase of the demilitarization, the defensive line on the Saltoro ridge will be weakened - if at this point the Pakistani Army goes on the offensive, theoretically speaking - it will be able to inflict damage on the Indian Army.

In order to dislodge the Pakistanis from their poorly implemented defensive line in the Kargil War, the Indian Army required a 10:1 ratio of men and resources. At one point substantial parts of Kilo Force, 8th Mountain Division and reserves from 102 Inf. Brigade and 3rd Division was committed to operations in the Drass-Kargil-Battalik sector. This was almost three divisions' worth of forces against a Pakistani Northern Light Infantry formation that was a few battalions strong. Pakistan will need similar strengths if it decides to exploit any Indian weakness in the Saltoro defence line. Any such Pakistani assault on the ridge line would require a strong logistical link and significant air cover. As things stand the runway at the Skardu airfield is just barely able to permit a fully loaded warplane to take off and the PAF lacks sufficient transport aircraft. Also the Ghyari base on approach to the Bilafond Pass has been destroyed in a massive avalanche. And Pakistan has no long-range artillery assets capable of supporting the volume of fire needed to support such an operation on the Saltoro Ridge. This makes it difficult for Pakistan to muster the required strength for such a campaign at the present time. This leads many to conclude that a demilitarization of the glaciated zone is possible. The vast expense associated with such a venture and the abysmal state of the Pakistani economy leads others to believe that such a Pakistani offensive can never materialize.

While the short-term viability of the demilitarization is plausible, the latter part about the long-term impossibility of escalations needs careful consideration. The future is extremely hard to predict. It is valuable to explore this in some detail, specifically focus on the same three factors that govern the Indian Army's defensive posture in the glaciated zone.

As things stand today, vast strides are being made in developing high reliability exoskeletons. NASA is working on suits designed for use on alien planets. These suits are completely enclosed and allow the user to function normally in an airless environment which is a 100 degrees below the lowest temperature encountered in Siachen. DARPA is working on exoskeletons which improve the endurance and strength of an average infantryman by factors of ten. While operationally tested versions of such suits are still a decade away, there can be little doubt that warfare in high altitude areas and in glaciated zones would emerge as a natural application of this technology. In addition to this advances are also being made in robotics. A robotic mule has been developed in the US, which seems impervious the effects of terrain and temperature. A number of drone platforms are emerging that can operate with high endurance at high altitudes. Such exosuits and robots would reduce the dependence on static military garrisons in the region. A rapid action force of the kind first visualized by Indian Army thinkers in the 80s would actually become technically feasible. A relatively small footprint in the region could achieve what a decade ago required a much larger force. It is also a given that whatever the Americans succeed at spending decades developing - the Chinese or the Russians clone in a few years. Therefore it maybe possible for Pakistan to acquire such technology in the not-to-distant future.

The PAF has already acquired air/air refueling platforms and Skardu Airbase has been expanded significantly. In the near future, a PAF warplane with significant air-to-ground load could take off from Skardu with minimal fuel and then refuel in the air and head towards its target. Such a move while unlikely to diminish the IAF's air superiority in the region, it will certainly expose Indian Army positions to greater risks. Similarly if either the runway at Skardu airbase is expanded or if a new airbase is built on the Deosai Plateau in the south, the PAF could land bigger transport airplanes and change the economics of stockpiling reserves for their garrisons at Khapplu and Dansam. We can say the same thing about any increases to the PAF or PA Aviation's helicopter fleet. That will make the last leg of their logistical chain a lot more manageable than it is right now.

There is also the issue of advances in computational technology to consider. Solving hard problems (like high altitude ballistics) on a computer is getting progressively easier. Also satellite imaging technology is becoming more accessible. Like most modern economies, Pakistan will progressively improve on the satellite imaging and the computational side, so the only thing limiting its ability to deliver accurate artillery bombardment on Indian positions would be the availability of the right long range rockets and long range artillery platforms and their presence within a certain distance of theSiachen glacier.

Against this background of uncertain levels of technological progress the following ideas spring naturally to an apolitical mind in the context of the demilitarisation,

- an AGPL demarcation that is legally binding - to the same extent the LoC agreement is.

- a ban on the entry of any Pakistani A/A refueling asset within 200 nm of Skardu or Gilgit.

- a ban on the expansion or construction of airports in Gilgit Baltistan including any plans for airbases on the Deosai Plateau, i.e. basically limits on the amounts and kind of construction equipment that can be brought into Gilgit Baltistan.

- a flight restriction on the number of airplanes flying in or out of Skardu within a 24 hour period.

- a ban on the entry of any long range artillery or MRLS or Ballistic Missile systems east of the Astore Valley Road.

- a ban on all military construction in the Ghyari nullah area and a cap on the size of the fuel and supplies stored at Goma, Dansum and Khaplu Garrisons.

- a ban on the entry of Chinese military personnel or private contractors (specifically non-resident Pashto speakers) in the Gilgit Baltistan.

It is worthwhile to examine whether such measures would improve the long-term viability of a demilitarization idea from the Indian perspective.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Critically Misinformed - the state of Gov Rick Perry.

I was not aware of this until today morning, but it appears Governor Perry had a website where he put forth his views on the DOE. In these documents [see Wayback Machine link] Gov. Perry says he wants to

"However, within the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and other key nuclear programs must be preserved and re-located to the Department of Defense. "

This is not a good idea. 

I have discussed the impact of this kind of thinking before [see here]. 

It is one thing to have these kinds of out of the box ideas and something completely different to actually act on them.  

The entire game of nuclear deterrence is based on a delicate balance of costs. As long as the US can afford to maintain its arsenal and selectively prune it - it can deter any adversary. 

If you send the department on wild goose chases - you will waste a lot of money on stupid stuff and 
the end result will be an arsenal you cannot afford to pay for.

Having someone who knows what they are doing is critical to keeping the nuclear security side of things in good order.

It is a very bad idea to appoint someone who doesn't work in the main business unit as the head of this organization. If you don't know what actually works, you will not be able to figure out what to spend effort and money on.

This organization deals with the tools of mass murder and you cannot appoint any idiot with an MBA to lead it. The MBA flood has already killed most of the productivity in US industry - so it is best if a critical national security department is not added to that list of failures.

If you appoint some apparatchik to lead it - you will end up with a Chernobyl like situation. In Chernobyl, the entire department had become totally compromised by the Soviet equivalent of the bean counters. The whole facility was led by people selected for party loyalty and not adequate training. Catastrophe occurred on when one of these apparatchiks over-rode the opposition of the technical team and operated the reactor in a configuration where the coupling between the neutron transport equations and the heat transport equations was not knowable. The results was a meltdown.

This is not something one wants to repeat.

Just as a random guy on the street can't lead an army or navy or airforce - this department cannot be led by someone who lacks the proper set of skills.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

What could Russia possibly want?

There is a whole thread of news which points to the likelihood of xKGB elements of the Russian polity subverting Donald Trump's business and campaign for their purposes. People are even going so far as to say that Donald Trump might be a RIS provocation.

Let us suspend the question of whether all of this is true and focus on the "why" aspect of this.

Why would Russia want to plant their agent as the President of the United States?

As some of you might have seen Russia has the lowest GDP/nuke. The Russian GDP/nuke is even below North Korea. These numbers should make Russia jealous of China, India and even Pakistan.

This puts them in a precarious position economically.

This economic situation in Russia puts the focus on a very important aspect of nuclear deterrence - i.e. the cost of the deterrent.

In the game of deterrence, the key thing is to be able to maintain in the mind of the enemy an impression that any nuclear escalation will be met with unacceptable retaliation. If you can't do this - deterrence breaks down.

You certainly can't do this if you can't afford to maintain your nuclear warheads. Therefore the real game in the deterrence world is to maintain the total number of warheads at a level that is comfortable for your economy.

The Russians are quite far from that. As things stand, they were unable to keep their economic afloat during the Soviet era. When the USSR fell - the KGB moved  to secure itself in the collapse, but in doing so they made matters worse for everyone else in Russia. After regarbing themselves as "oligarchs" they basically robbed Russia blind to keep themselves in power.

Selling Russian oil on the open market outside of OPEC quotas worked for a while, but it could not keep apace with the cost of the warheads. When the Saudis dropped the price - the Russians were very unhappy and their economy began to slide. They tried to shore up their natural gas contracts in Europe, but found themselves working against powerful market forces and that didn't go as planned at all. The attempt at grabbing Ukraine didn't work out and the Russians found themselves facing even more sanctions.

This further exhausted their reserves and began to shake the ordinary Russian's faith in their xKGB ruling castes. That put pressure on the "System" to go to work.  In terms of popularity in Russia itself - any strategy that offends America is usually welcomed by the conservative sections of society, so at the very least - the xKGB dominated regime would buy itself some time.

So what would the logical outcome be of such a large and concentrated effort?

I think there are two distinct strategic directions, and I do not know which they will take

1) Get their agent in the US to reduce the pressures on the Russian economy. In doing so - the Russian GDP/Nuke ratio would rise.

2) Get their agent in the US to tank the US economy and in doing so reduce the American GDP/nuke ratio.

Both these strategies would cause Russia to enter the negotiations on arms reduction from a position of greater strength. 

Monday, January 09, 2017

Why are conservatives such hypocrites?

A common theme among conservatives is to make a huge fuss about something when a "liberal" does it and then blithely acquiesce to something ten times worse when a fellow conservative does it. There is an element of self-contradiction or lack of consistency which all conservatives adhere to regardless of which country or decade they are in.

Why is that?

The answer IMHO is simple.

"Conservativism" is a losing position. Change is the only constant in the world. Every conservative knows that no matter how much they invest in opposing it - change will happen and their world view rendered irrelevant.

If we were to take a time machine back thousands of years, we would see conservative Cro Magnons opposing the use of stone tools. The same community would later oppose the use of copper or bronze or iron tools instead of stone tools. And that cycle would continue.

Conservatives are always behind the times. And they know it.

As they know they will only be defeated - their only joy or reward comes from trolling their liberal opponents.

Every liberal offended or irritated is a victory for the conservative cause. The specific viewpoint is irrelevant as all conservative views are eventually consigned to the dustbin of history - the only thing that matters is *how many liberals did that view piss off?* - the more the merrier.

After an entire election cycle where conservatives only talked about accountability, criminal behavior, draining the swamp etc... etc... we will watch this week as the very same conservatives fall over backwards to put people with no OGE review and no proper vetting by Congress or Senate. They will put these people in positions of power despite ample evidence that these individuals lack qualifications and suffer from staggering conflicts of interest.

Many point out that these conservatives do not seem to understand if they do this kind of thing - they will get screwed. This people they put in power will take away their health care and social security or just rob them blind. This is incorrect.

The conservatives know that what they are doing will get them screwed, but they are okay with it.

Liberals feel agitated - "these fools don't realize what they are doing!"

No - mon ami - they understand and realize everything. They actually want to be screwed really badly.

They want to see their own social security and medicaid/medicare cut. They want to see their O'care nullified. They want to see their farms go bankrupt and they want to see their nation's defense collapse.

Why would anyone want that?

Because those ideas - a better quality of life, a secure nation, a robust economy etc... are indistinguishable form other conservative ideals - and so the conservative assumption is that these ideas too will eventually end up in the dustbin of history.

That is why they will never repent voting for a candidate like this.

They will always place their personal sense of satisfaction from trashing a liberal p.o.v over and above everything else including their/their family/their nation's well being.

That dear friends is the conservative way.  And it has no correlation with how much meth/heroin/cocaine one consumes.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

President Elect Donald Trump's Russia Problem

The baby boomer generation grew up being told that Russia was a nuclear armed threat to the US. They were told to be ready at moment's notice to "duck and cover" and that Russians were plotting to kill their parents, relatives, friends etc... and to reduce their country to ashes.

The boomers then faced a major cognitive dissonance when they learned in the late 80s that the Russians were just as human as they were and there was nothing to fear but a lot to gain. By the late 90s they were being told that Russia was this land of milk and honey where everything was for sale and it was the best place to pick up a bargain or a gas company or a mining concession or a oil well...

Most baby boomers didn't know how to process the information they were being handed. They reacted as all human beings to when presented with new information - they turned to fear and eventually to came to accept it.

Now those two narratives are fighting each other inside President Elect Donald Trump's head. They are also playing out vocally and visibly in his transition team. If Donald Trump the candidate had done his homework during the campaign and set up a real policy desk - he could have produced much greater consonance between his own team members. The policy desk would have enforced intellectual discipline and created space for accord and discord.

But Donald Trump the candidate didn't do that. He setup a policy desk but then didn't pay the staffers any salary for months. After some waiting and dilly-dallying they all left the operation and joined the ranks of Donald Trump's detractors.

Now President Elect Trump is paying the price for Candidate Trump's mistakes.

His team is comprised of people who get their news from Twitter. These people have no background in actual policymaking or comprehension of the historical evolution of policy. They are disconnected from the past, present and future. And so are all of President Elect Donald Trump's utterances.

Per James Henry's article in the conservative magazine The American Interest - it appears that most of the "Successful Businessman" tag that Donald Trump enjoys can be attributed to a well-masked infusion of conflict or flight capital from the FSU. When the USSR fell, elements of the KGB moved to quickly seize control of critical economic sectors. To that end any criminal alliance deemed necessary was entertained and actively engaged. This is how all those PhDs and Masters degree holders came to grace the ranks of the Bratva. This how a well trained economist came to reincarnate himself as the "Brainy Don".

The James Henry article also explains why the DTC is such a complete rats nest of LLCs and why Donald Trump will never release his income tax returns. You only do that kind of thing when you want to hide the source of your funds.

The article also explains Bill O'Rielly's comments about Donald Trump being hard up for cash. If you are investing money for the xKGB/Bratva - you have no idea what their idea of an IRR is. You are perpetually afraid of a rate hike and you are living on a pay-day loan. Given the rat's next of LLCs - you have no idea which way the debt is actually flowing and how much your next payment might be.

Since Candidate Donald Trump insisted that he was funding his own campaign - it is fair to assume that the funds for the campaign came from the usual xKGB/Bratva sources but since so many neutral sources have indicated that in fact Candidate Donald Trump didn't fund his own campaign - it is not fair to say that the xKGB/Bratva bought the election.

That said - all this is water under the bridge - the average Midwestern white male has been seduced by the GOP fantasy of being the only-thing-that-really works-in-this-country and he has bought into the idea that Candidate Donald Trump is the best negotiator that can be had under the circumstances. A large section of Midwestern women who seem infatuated with this fake image of manhood are drawn towards Donald Trump - this must just be the midwestern equivalent of the Carrie Bradshaw character of Sex and the City fame.  Together this group of people has ensured that Candidate Donald Trump becomes President Elect Donald Trump.

Will the Bratva follow the model of the 1990s FSU republics? will they deliberately pump and dump the economy and create a depression in the process? - Most likely - firstly because they know it works, and secondly because they have been sold nonviable notions of portfolio growth and when confronted with the reality of US economic stagnation - they will be left with no choice but to push as hard as they can and break the system in the process.

Will the Midwesterners who voted for Candidate Trump be screwed-six-ways-to-Sunday by their idol's relationship with Russia? will they see their living standard evaporate? will they see their social security, medicaid, medicare benefits end? will they see accountability of the political classes diminish? - Most likely.

Will they learn anything from it?  - Most unlikely. Any lessons that are learned will be learned by their children and grand children - not by the people that actually voted. As reported in may surveys after the polls, a majority of these people do not want Donald Trump to release his tax returns because they already know it will highlight their personal failure to choose properly. Rather than face this deeply personal embarrassment - they would prefer to feed the country to criminal hordes.

That says about as much about the future as one can at this time.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

How much black money was recovered by "Demonetization"?

This is a big question that there are few clear answers for.

We had heard numbers like $45B before [1] now based on public sources, it seems the GoI intends to cut its borrowing by $2.64B  in the coming year [2].

When you compare this with the typical numbers reported in a VIDS (Voluntary Income Disclosure Scheme)- it is a comparable number.

So after all the hassle created by demonetization - it doesn't look like it has generated that much more income than a VIDS.

There is a law of diminishing returns on these things. I will leave it to the Modi Bhakts as an exercise to figure out what that is.

Now I am not saying this is actually happening but....

Some people say that if I am the one taking the biggest bribes and cutting all the illegal and unethical deals, I shouldn't let anyone else get in on the action so to speak because let's face it - those guys are going to do deals around me.

Heck if I let them do all the dirty deals they want - they could even make a deal to push me out of the seat of power! I mean seriously - if they can do all this shit themselves - why the f*ck would they need Me?

I couldn't possibly allow that - I am primus inter pares baby. There is only one Numero Uno, Number One, el Jefe de Jefes... and that is Me.

Laissez Faire ONLY applies to Me.

Only the things I do are legal - everything else is illegal unless I say it is not.

And don't you dare oppose Me, because Apres Moi... Le Deluge.. mon ami.

Again - no connection to anything that might be going on anywhere - just saying - that some people say - Look out for No. 1.