Thursday, 10 August 2017

Talking Themselves Into Nuclear War.

Baltic Dry Index. 1050 +12     Brent Crude 52.70

Will it be war, or is it just more of President Trump’s spur of the moment rhetoric? Nobody knows and therein lies the problem. The complacent markets though nervous are still betting that it’s all huff and puff talk, in Washington. President Trump is not about to go all in for war. But what if they’re betting that way in Pyongyang?  They’ll race to complete usable ICBMs. Though no one really knows how many nukes NK has, nor what size, reliable SK experts have suggested 50 to 60, increasing by about one a month. But are any yet small enough to fit onto NKs still iffy ICBMs?  Again nobody really knows. Our over complacent markets, might be making a monumental mistake right here.

But supposing Pyongyang take President Trump at his word, and believe that President Trump really is going to launch a regime change war if NK fires another missile. Then NK will prep for all out war, targeting Seoul, Tokyo, Guam and Okinawa. Existentially, they might think that they must get in the first shots. If they think they can hit LA, will they try?  Does President Trump really think swapping LA for Pyongyang is a fair trade? It might be if it protected all the rest of the USA, but I doubt if they see it that way in LA.

Below, will cooler heads yet prevail by the end of today? Not much else really matters today. Has anyone heard of diplomacy?

South Korea, Japan Warn Kim Against Firing Missile at Guam

By Isabel Reynolds and Hooyeon Kim
10 August 2017, 03:37 GMT+1
South Korea and Japan warned North Korea that it would face a strong response if it carried through with a threat to launch a missile toward the U.S. territory of Guam.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said it would be legal for Japan to intercept a missile aimed at Guam, Kyodo News reported. North Korea’s threats to strike around Guam and turn Seoul into a “sea of fire” pose a serious challenge, a spokesman at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters on Thursday.

“We give a strict warning,” the spokesman said. “If North Korea commits provocations despite our stern warning, it will face a strong response from South Korea’s military and the U.S.-South Korea alliance.”

Responding to U.S. President Donald Trump’s warning to unleash "fire and fury." North Korea outlined a detailed plan to fire four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missiles at Guam by mid-August. They would fly over southwestern Japan and land as close as 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Guam, the Korean Central News Agency reported on Thursday.

More than 3,000 kilometers southeast of North Korea, Guam is an important strategic hub for the U.S. military, which has air and naval bases, as well as missile-defense launchers on the island.

‘Bereft of Reason’

“Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him,” KCNA reported, citing a statement in response to Trump by a general of the Korean People’s Army. “The military action the KPA is about to take will be an effective remedy for restraining the frantic moves of the U.S. in the southern part of the Korean peninsula and its vicinity.”

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought to calm tensions after Trump’s remarks, saying “Americans should sleep well at night.” Later, Defense Secretary James Mattis warned North Korea in a statement it would lose any conflict it initiates.

What War Between North Korea and the U.S. Might Look Like

By Isabel Reynolds and Enda Curran
9 August 2017, 03:14 GMT+1
With the window closing fast for the U.S. to stop Kim Jong Un from obtaining a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile, North Korea watchers are starting to analyze President Donald Trump’s military options. He warned on Tuesday that North Korea would be met with “fire and fury” if it continues to make threats. After the United Nations agreed to its most stringent sanctions yet on Kim’s regime, North Korea repeated its stance that its nuclear weapons program is necessary to deter a U.S. invasion. For Trump and the U.S., there are no easy choices.

1. Can’t the U.S. try a surgical strike?

It probably wouldn’t work well enough. North Korea’s missiles and nuclear facilities are dispersed and hidden throughout the country’s mountainous terrain. Failing to hit them all would leave some 10 million people in Seoul, 38 million people in the Tokyo vicinity and tens of thousands of U.S. military personnel in northeast Asia vulnerable to missile attacks -- with either conventional or nuclear warheads. Even if the U.S. managed to wipe out everything, Seoul would still be vulnerable to attacks from North Korea’s artillery.

2. Why might Kim go nuclear?

“Even a limited strike” by the U.S. “would run the risk of being understood by the North Koreans to be the beginning of a much larger strike, and they might choose to use their nuclear weapons,” said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Somehow, the U.S. would need to signal to both North Korea and China -- Pyongyang’s main ally and trading partner -- that a surgical military strike is limited, and that they should avoid nuclear retaliation.

3. Is regime change an option?

New leadership wouldn’t necessarily lead to a new way of thinking among North Korea’s leadership. Kim’s prolonged exposure to Western values while at school in Switzerland led some to speculate that he might opt to open his country to the world -- until he took power and proved them wrong. Moreover, if Kim somehow were targeted for removal, the ruling clique surrounding him would have to go as well -- making for a very long kill list. China, fearing both a refugee crisis and U.S. troops on its border, would likely seek to prop up the existing regime.

4. Does that mean all-out war is the best U.S. option?

A full-scale invasion would be necessary to quickly take out North Korea’s artillery as well as its missile and nuclear programs. Yet any sign of an imminent strike -- such as a buildup of U.S. firepower, mobilization of South Korean and Japanese militaries and the evacuation of American citizens in the region -- could prompt North Korea to strike preemptively. China and Russia may also be sucked in. “Realistically, war has to be avoided,” said John Delury, an assistant professor of international studies at Yonsei University in South Korea. “When you run any cost-benefit analysis, it’s insanity.”

August 8, 2017 / 1:28 AM

North Korea details Guam missile plan, calls Trump's warning a 'load of nonsense'

SEOUL/GUAM (Reuters) - North Korea dismissed as a "load of nonsense" warnings by U.S. President Donald Trump that it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States, and outlined on Thursday detailed plans for a missile strike near the Pacific territory of Guam.

North Korea's apparently rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland has fuelled tensions that erupted into a war of words between Washington and Pyongyang this week, unnerving regional powers and global investors.

Trump's unexpected remarks prompted North Korea to say on Thursday it was finalising plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land 30-40 km (18-25 miles) from Guam, adding detail to a plan first announced on Wednesday.

Guam, more than 3,000 km (2,000 miles) to the southeast of North Korea, is home to about 163,000 people and a U.S. Navy base that includes a submarine squadron and a Coast Guard group, and an air base.

"Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him," a report by the North's state-run KCNA news agency said of Trump.

The army will complete its plans in mid-August, ready for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's order, KCNA reported, citing General Kim Rak Gyom, commander of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army.

While North Korea regularly threatens to destroy the United States and its allies, the report was unusual in its detail.

Masao Okonogi, professor emeritus at Japan's Keio University, said before the latest KCNA report that Pyongyang may be issuing a warning or advance notice of changes to its missile testing programme rather than threatening an attack.

August 9, 2017 / 11:49 PM

Lack of real-world testing raises doubts on U.S. missile defences

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - When simulating missile attacks from North Korea or Iran, the U.S. military says its defence system and network of radars allow it to successfully track and destroy incoming warheads.
But test conditions do not accurately mimic those of wartime and critics are sceptical the country can truly defend itself, even after spending $40 billion over 18 years of research and development.

On May 30 the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) held its 10th successful test, in 18 attempts, of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, a network of radars, anti-ballistic missiles and other equipment designed to protect the United States from intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) launched from North Korea or Iran.

Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves, the MDA's director, told Reuters the defence met expectations and shot down the incoming warhead.

"This was a realistic and stressing test, and it simulated an actual attack on the U.S.," he said in an emailed statement.

Within a few days of the test, the Pentagon's testing office for the first time in five years upgraded its assessment of the U.S. ability to defend against incoming ICBMs like the ones North Korea is developing. Its assessment went from "limited capability to defend the U.S." to "demonstrated capability".

The test, however, took place during daytime and intercepted a single incoming missile. Few experts expect either of those assumptions to be likely if North Korea launched an attack.

"We have to get into the realism" of what North Korea would be most likely to launch at the United States, said Riki Ellison, chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, which aims to educate the American public and rally support for missile defence.

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.

Today, how central banksters turned capitalism into crony too-big-to-fail, rent-seeking, derivatives gambling, banksterism. Another unintended consequence of the Great Nixonian Error of fiat money. The road to hell, taken by our global failures, aka, central banksters.

Not All Capital Is Equal; Some Is Destructive

August 7, 2017
Financialization incentivizes hot money capital flooding into speculative credit-asset bubbles.
When we speak of capital investments and capital flows, it's presumed all the capital being referenced is equal: a dollar is a dollar, wherever and whenever it's put to use.

But not all capital is equal, and that is one reason why the global financial system is far more fragile than the mainstream media lets on. Metrics such GDP (gross domestic product) don't reflect the differences in the capital sloshing around the global economy.

In the "happy story" of classical capitalism, capital flows to productive investments: the construction of needed homes, assembly of new factories, etc.--activity that returns a profit to the owners of capital and generates value and employment by filling scarcities or by increasing productivity and thus wealth.

In this "happy story" of classical capitalism, banks (and those with savings) distribute credit and saved capital to those with the most attractive creditworthiness for the lowest-risk, highest-return ventures--ventures that are presumed to be productive for end users and society at large.

Compare that "happy story" of capital seamlessly distributed to productive uses to "hot money" capital flooding into real estate in desirable cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Paris, etc. This hot-money capital isn't seeking productive investments; it's seeking a safe place to park capital and a speculative gain from participating in a credit-asset bubble.

When the owner of capital buys a luxury flat in Paris, NYC, San Francisco, etc., the deployment of capital has no productive result; not one unemployed person is hired, not one new good or service is produced.
Rather, the deployment of global capital pushes the price of homes beyond what wage-earning residents (i.e. the bottom 95%) can afford. This bubble distorts and disrupts the housing market, transforming shelter into a speculative bubble.

Much of this capital may well be borrowed. If someone lays down $1 million cash for a house in North America, who's to say the money wasn't borrowed overseas?

As I have often explained, when financiers and corporations can borrow enormous sums at near-zero rates of interest, they gain access to capital and can effectively outbid savers and everyone who does not have access to the central bank credit spigot.

Borrowed capital is intrinsically prone to being hot money: capital that flits around the world, seeking a quick return or a safe haven. The "happy story" of classical capitalism fails to recognize that in terms of risk and return, long-term productive investments that generate value, jobs and address scarcities are unattractive to hot money capital.

Why put capital at risk for long-term modest rates of return when short-term trades in speculative bubbles offer much higher returns and the promise of a quick exit?

Central bank-funded speculative credit-asset bubbles undermine the "happy story" of classical capitalism's productive investing of capital. It's no mystery why productivity has plummeted-- investment in productivity-increasing assets and training has plummeted.

Rather than create new wealth for society at large, speculative credit-asset bubbles distort and disrupt markets for essentials such as shelter, price out the bottom 95% and concentrate wealth in the hands of the few with unlimited access to central bank-generated credit.
Technology Update.
With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this section. Updates as they get reported. Is converting sunlight to usable cheap AC or DC energy mankind’s future from the 21st century onwards?

From greenhouse gas to 3-D surface-microporous graphene

Date: August 7, 2017

Source: Michigan Technological University

Summary: Tiny dents in the surface of graphene greatly enhances its potential as a supercapacitor. Even better, it can be made from carbon dioxide in a novel approach. The process uses a heat-releasing reaction to dig micropores into 3-D graphene and could be a useful supercapacitor material.

Tiny dents in the surface of graphene greatly enhances its potential as a supercapacitor. Even better, it can be made from carbon dioxide.

A material scientist at Michigan Technological University invented a novel approach to take carbon dioxide and turn it into 3-D graphene with micropores across its surface. The process is the focus of a new study published in the American Chemical Society's Applied Materials & Interfaces.

The conversion of carbon dioxide to useful materials usually requires high energy input due to its ultrahigh stability. However, materials science professor Yun Hang Hu and his research team created a heat-releasing reaction between carbon dioxide and sodium to synthesize 3-D surface-microporous graphene.

"3-D surface-microporous graphene is a brand-new material," Hu says, explaining the material's surface is pockmarked with micropores and folds into larger mesopores, which both increase the surface area available for adsorption of electrolyte ions. "It would be an excellent electrode material for energy storage devices."

Basically, a supercapacitor material needs to store -- and release -- a charge. The limiting factor is how quickly ions can move through the material.

The supercapacitive properties of the unique structure of 3-D surface-microporous graphene make it suitable for elevators, buses, cranes and any application that requires a rapid charge/discharge cycle. 
Supercapacitors are an important type of energy storage device and have been widely used for regenerative braking systems in hybrid vehicles.

Current commercialized supercapacitors employ activated carbon using swaths of micropores to provide efficient charge accumulation. However, electrolyte ions have difficulty diffusing into or through activated carbon's deep micropores, increasing the charging time.

"The new 3-D surface-microporous graphene solves this," Hu says. "The interconnected mesopores are channels that can act as an electrolyte reservoir and the surface-micropores adsorb electrolyte ions without needing to pull the ions deep inside the micropore."

The mesopore is like a harbor and the electrolyte ions are ships that can dock in the micropores. The ions don't have to travel a great distance between sailing and docking, which greatly improves charge/discharge cycles they can steer through. As a result, the material exhibited an ultrahigh areal capacitance of 1.28 F/cm2, which is considered an excellent rate capability as well as superb cycling stability for supercapacitors.

Today for a change, we end with a puzzle/challenge. What am I?

28: 1/28 +1/14 +1/7 +1/4 +1/2 +1/1 = 2   Ans:

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished July

DJIA: 21,891 +207 Up. NASDAQ:  6,348 +250 Up. SP500: 2,470 +171 Up.

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