Article 43

 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Bankruptcy Is The New Retirement

image: happy retirement

Graying of U.S. Bankruptcy: Fallout from Life in a Risk Society

Deborah Thorne
University of Idaho

Pamela Foohey
Indiana University - Maurer School of Law

Robert M. Lawless
University of Illinois - College of Law

Katherine M. Porter
University of California - Irvine School of Law

August 5, 2018

The social safety net for older Americans has been SHRINKING for the past couple decades. The risks associated with aging, reduced income, and increased healthcare costs, have been off-loaded onto older individuals. At the same time, older Americans are increasingly likely to file consumer bankruptcy, and their representation among those in bankruptcy has never been higher. Using data from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, we find more than a two-fold increase in the rate at which older Americans (age 65 and over) file for bankruptcy and an almost five-fold increase in the percentage of older persons in the U.S. bankruptcy system. The magnitude of growth in older Americans in bankruptcy is so large that the broader trend of an aging U.S. population can explain only a small portion of the effect. In our data, older Americans report they are struggling with increased financial risks, namely inadequate income and unmanageable costs of healthcare, as they try to deal with reductions to their social safety net. As a RESULT of these increased financial burdens, the median senior bankruptcy filer enters bankruptcy with negative wealth of $17,390 as compared to more than $250,000 for their non-bankrupt peers. For an increasing number of older Americans, their golden years are fraught with economic risks, the result of which is often bankruptcy.

SOURCE

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Bankruptcy is hitting more older Americans, pointing to a retirement crisis in the making

By Michael Hiltzik
LA Times
Aug 6, 2018

Whether America is facing a retirement CRISIS in which seniors are making do with shrinking financial resources has been widely debated. But here’s a telling metric: Seniors are making a larger share of bankruptcy filings.

That’s the finding of a new paper by academic researchers affiliated with the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, which periodically samples personal bankruptcy filings from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. “Older Americans are increasingly likely to file consumer bankruptcy,” they write, “and their representation among those in bankruptcy has never been higher.”

The figures should worry advocates for SENIORS, because in terms of the overall financial health of the 65+ cohort, its likely to be the tip of the iceberg. “Only a small fraction of those who are having financial troubles file for bankruptcy, one of the authors, Robert Lawless of the University of Illinois law school, told me. “So this is part of a much bigger story about financial distress among the elderly.”

It’s true that the elderly have been the beneficiaries since the 1930s of America’s strongest and most successful social safety net. The system was born with Social Security in 1935, which aimed to reduce the scandalous poverty rate among seniors. It was followed by Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, which offered relief for healthcare, and culminated in the Medicare prescription drug program enacted in 2003.

During that same period, a sizable percentage of American workers were covered by corporate defined-benefit pensions, producing what retirement experts have called “a brief golden age” when many American workers could retire with confidence.

Over the last few decades, however, confidence in that safety net has ebbed. Defined-benefit plans have given way to defined contribution plans such as 401(k)s, which saddle workers with all the risk of investment market downturns - and in which wealthier workers are overrepresented, both in enrollment rates and balances.

Some older Americans may have more access to retirement income than their forebears, but theyre also carrying more debt. The share of Americans still carrying mortgage debt when they reach age 65 rose to 38% in 2013 from 22% in 1995, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard. Their mortgage balances also have risen over that period, to $73,000 from $27,300 in inflation-adjusted terms. Despite Medicare, medical expenses remain a large component of “seniors” financial burdens.

It’s also proper to keep in mind that the stagnation of wages for workers is certain to have an impact as today’s workers move into retirement. Jobs that once offered a stable middle-class income with benefits have morphed into low-wage jobs without job security, healthcare or pensions. Workers struggling to make ends meet in an economy in which corporate profits are approaching a post-recession record arent likely to become suddenly flush in their retirement years.

The bankruptcy paper has sustained some criticism from commentators who believe the retirement crisis has been exaggerated. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones observed, fairly enough, that the bankruptcy rate for the 65+ cohort hasn’t changed at all over the last 15 years, and the run-up in the rate during the decade 1991-2001 reflects a sharp increase in the rate among all Americans and that increase began in the mid-1980s.

But I would argue that more seems to be going on here. To begin with, the bankruptcy bulge seems to be moving up the age ladder. In 1991, 8.2% of all bankruptcy filings were made by households led by people 55 or older; by the 2013-2016 period, their share was 33.7%. According to the new paper, the bankruptcy rates among all age groups 54 and younger have fallen since 1991, but the rates for all groups 55 and older have risen.

This isn’t related to the general graying of the U.S. population. As Lawless observes, the over-65 population has risen by 16% since 1991. But bankruptcy filings in that cohort have increased by 2 times.

“This is not a trend, but something qualitatively different in what were seeing,” he says.

Lawless and his colleagues point out that while bankruptcy is a last resort for any debtor and nothing like the panacea its often depicted to be, itҒs an especially dire choice for seniors. Unlike younger debtors, seniors dont have years ahead of them to rebuild their household finances while their debts are held in abeyance. ғBy the time they file bankruptcy, the paper observes, ԓtheir wealth has vanished.

America has some serious policy choices to make, and pretending that seniors are living the high life on Social Security doesn’t clarify matters, especially as the claim is typically made by conservatives as a rationale to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits.

The figures on bankruptcy suggest that the opposite is necessary expanding Social Security and increasing benefits to shore up retiree resources against the decline of personal savings and pension income. The guaranteed retirement accounts advocated by a number of retirement experts - personal accounts funded by workers and employers during their working years, supported by a tax credit and a government guarantee against loss of principal - are a promising option. America has more than enough resources to make sure, as it did in the 1930s, that its seniors won’t be facing their last years fearing penury.

SOURCE

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Entering retirement broke and bankrupt

By Aimee Picchi
MoneyWatch
August 6, 2018

The “golden years” of retirement are significantly tarnished for some older Americans, whose ranks among the bankrupt have surged fivefold since 1991.

Even though the U.S. population is aging, the spike in older Americans entering bankruptcy far exceeds the demographic shift, according to new research from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, which analyzed data from bankruptcy court records and written questionnaires. About 100,000 of the 800,000 annual bankruptcy filings are from households headed by seniors, or about 12.2 percent of all filings.

The culprit appears to be cutbacks in the social safety net—such as raising the retirement age and requiring seniors to pay more out-of-pocket health care costs—as well as a shift in risk from government and corporations onto individuals. Americans are less likely today to retire with a private pension, given the growing popularity of 401(k)s, where workers are responsible for making their own investment and savings decisions, and more likely to be carrying mortgage and credit card debt into their 60s and 70s.

The full retirement age for Social Security, once 65, is inching up every year. And retirees are now paying 20 percent of their income on health care expenses even though they are covered by Medicare, compared with 12 percent for previous generations.

As a result, the rate of bankruptcy among Americans over age 65 has doubled over the period studied by the researchers. “For an increasing number of older Americans, their golden years are fraught with economic risks, the result of which is often bankruptcy,” their report noted.

Because one-quarter of the country will be older than 65 by 2050 compared with 15 percent now, the authors predict America will see a “coming storm of broke elderly.”

Older and poorer

The problem with these societal risk shifts, as the authors view it, is that seniors are the group least able to cope with such changes. Because of their age, they have fewer years to build or rebuild wealth, and it’s common for older Americans to have trouble finding jobs that pay as much as they earned when they were younger, they noted.

“Retirement is a particularly precarious time of life,” they wrote.

Bankruptcy is designed to provide a “fresh start” by wiping away debts or restructuring them in a way that makes it easier to pay them down, but bankrupt seniors don’t have enough time to regrow their financial wealth, they added.

Bankrupt seniors are in rough financial shape, the researchers found. They are shouldering more than $100,000 in debt, compared with $1,000 in debt for their non-bankrupt peers. Financially solvent senior citizens have about $251,000 in wealth, but bankrupt older Americans have negative net wealth of more than $17,000.

Older Americans who file for bankruptcy are less likely than their younger peers to have a college degree, although there’s no racial difference between older and younger debtors, the researchers found. But across the general population, Asian-Americans and Hispanics are less likely to file for bankruptcy than white or black Americans.
“All things went up in price”

Older Americans who file for bankruptcy told the researchers in survey responses that they were often hit by a double-whammy: inadequate retirement income and rising costs—especially health care costs.

“All things went up in price,” one unidentified respondent told the researchers. “Retirement never went up. Had a part time job that was helping to meet monthly payments. House payment kept going up. Was fired from my part time job that I had for over 10 years without any warning. Being 67 and having back problems, not many people will hire you even as part time worker.”

Others noted their health problems resulted in a loss of their job or income, while their insurance didn’t fully cover their health expenses.

“I got to the point I owed more than I was making on Social Security. To get out from under these medical bills I had to file bankruptcy,” another respondent told the researchers.

About 7 out of 10 respondents indicated that the combination of medical expenses and missing work contributed to their bankruptcies.

Asked what they were unable to afford in the year before going bankrupt, half of seniors said the most important thing they had to cut back on was medical care, such as surgeries, prescriptions and dental care.

“These responses continue to suggest that their health care coverage is inadequate,” the researchers wrote.

Taken together, the portrait of retirement in the U.S. is one of instability and risk, at least for some Americans. And bankruptcy, while designed to provide some relief, may be “too little too late.”

They added, “By the time they file, their wealth has vanished, and they simply do not have the enough years to get back on their feet.”

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/21/18 •
Section Pension Ripoff • Section Revelations • Section Dying America • Section Personal
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Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Awakening Part 13

image: class warfare

The Everyday Obscenity of American Collapse
How Norms of Domination and Dehumanization Made America an Indecent Society

By Umair
Eudaimonia
August 16, 2018

Here’s a tiny observation. American life is BECOMING obscene. As in “so bizarre and gruesome,” you can barely describe it in everyday language with polite company.  But a Presidency that’s said to have used a racial slur - on video, and retaliates by calling a black woman a “dog,” is hardly all. A Neo-Nazi winning a primary. 50% of crowdfunding going to - healthcare. The latest boom among retirees - bankruptcy. Suicide rates skyrocketing. The list is endless. These are things which simply don’t happen, not just in other rich countries - but anywhere else, even poor ones.

American life today is full of everyday obscenities. So here’s a tiny question. Will America ever be a decent society? You can add “again,” if you like. Is that a terrible thing to say? I think it’s a great question that collapse is trying to ask us - but maybe we don.t want to hear.

What does “obscene” mean? It means that which violate norms of decency. The things above disgust and repel most sensible moral stances, hence, they’re generally considered “obscene.” But in America, it seems, obscenity itself is normal now. Just mundane, everyday reality. How did that come to be?

America has always been cursed by two demons. Dehumanization and domination. These are the two definingly American kinds of everyday violence. When we say that America’s “original sin” was slavery, that is precisely what we mean. Whole groups of people were dehumanized for centuries - at the barrel of a gun, at the crack of a whip. Now, you might think - as unfortunately we’re still in taught in high school - that the detrimental, destructive effects of dehumanization and dominance were limited to minorities, black, natives, history, and so on. My friend, you are wrong. Those norms ended up collapsing society from the inside out, as people only came to want to prey on one another more savagely, never lifting each other up. Hence, no enemy had to fire so much as a single bullet to bring America crashing down. And that is the great folly and tragedy America still hasn’t understood.

America learned from its founding to dehumanize and dominate people. But there is a great problem here, which America has never understood, much less reckoned with. Only the dehumanized can dehumanize. Dominance always requires our own subjugation. To be able to treat another person as if they are not a human being, but a mere possession, also costs us our very own empathy, gentleness, mercy, wisdom, courage, defiance, grace, and truth. And in the end, my friends, that ruins a nation. How so?

The norms which evolved in America weren’t like those of any other society - especially its peers. In other rich nations, norms of decency developed - after strife, it’s true, yet develop they did. What do I mean by norms of decency? Simply the idea, if you like, that every person is one. All people deserve dignity, equality, and freedom. Nobody stands alone - especially when they are in need of support, nurturance, and guidance.

But Americans developed a perverse, backwards set of norms: I am only good when I punish you, when I’m above you, when I dominate you, when I dehumanize you. But that means that I am not good if I don’t do those things. And that means that Americans never developed a sense of intrinsic worth. Isn’t that obvious if you look at America today? In no other country do people need to tell themselves they are perfect, blessed, wonderful, or special - nor do they need to put on fake smiles and work out constantly and be the richest and have giant houses and cars and so on - even while constantly picking on everyone else less perfect, desirable, attractive, and so on.

(The norms which developed in America, in other words, were norms of dominance and dehumanization. Those of cruelty, greed, rage, and fear. You must always be afraid of the next person above in the social hierarchy. They have the power to reduce you to nonexistence. You must always make the next person down from you feel just that way, too. If you dont do these things, you are not a good person. Doesn’t that describe most of American life, from its incessant work, to its escapism, to its utter meaninglessness? But dont miss the point: domination and dehumanization were spreading, growing, hardening. They were beginning to oppress the oppressors - though they didn’t quite understand it, yet.)

But norms of dehumanization and dominance had catastrophic political effects. “Why should I invest in schools for those dirty animals?” asked American whites. And so the result of norms of dehumanization and domination were that America never built proper public goods, like healthcare, education, finance, media, transportation, and so on - and yet those are exactly the things that whites needed too, if they were ever to live lives that were genuinely free, healthy, sane, and happy. But now nobody had such things, because such norms make it impossible for people to invest in one another.

Those norms had catastrophic psychological effects, too. Americans came to only prize self-reliant “individuals”. But that also means one must disrespect and scorn anyone who ever needs support, nurturance, or nourishment of any kind. But that is all of us, at some point. Yet Americans made bullying, picking on, and abusing each other for the slightest weakness, the tiniest humanity, the smallest shred of gentleness, the fundamental cultural precept of a way of life. So Americans came to be deeply unhappy people, lacking in self-respect, self-belief, and self-worth - because they idealized an inhuman, self-destructive ideal. Today, thatגs have resulted in all kinds of crises  suicide, loneliness, opioids. But what else would norms of domination and dehumanization do? Do you suppose they can ever make people - especially those using them - fulfilled? You must be joking.

So the very norms of domination and dehumanization that had once been used to oppress blacks and natives and dirt poor whites, then, had come to be used as weapons of self-destruction even against the very people who theyגd once existed to serve  middle class and even rich whites. As those norms hardened, it became quite alright to dehumanize and dominate more or less everyone. It became perfectly OK, for example, to raid pensions, to work people 80 hours a week, to never pay them more, to prey on white women, too, to abuse and hurt people, to treat even that once relatively affluent white person like just another disposable commodity in the machine - not as a human being. It’s true that minorities always suffered most, of course - but its truer to say that such norms made it impossible for a society to really mature or develop at all, because now they were being used by a tiny elite to oppress more or less everyone else.

(What else would norms of domination and dehumanization do? Imagine that there are ten of us, on an island. These are our norms җ and in the beginning, we use them to keep two of us enslaved. Soon enough, though, the tide will turn. Five of us will make three more servants. And then two of us will call ourselves better. In the end, just one will be left at the top. We will have created a hierarchy of domination and dehumanization  each person taking power and humanity away from the next person down, and that way, our little society will fall into line. But it will never amount to much, will it?)

Thatגs exactly what happened to America, more or less. The end result of norms of dehumanization and domination was a that a tiny elite of genuinely terrible people came to oppress even the people whod been yesterdayҒs oppressors. Thats complicated, so let me take it slowly.

Norms of domination and dehumanization made it not just possible, but necessary, to dominate and dehumanize the oppressors, too, and turn them into the oppressed җ one stratum, group, rank at a time. They made it impossible for them to invest in each other  and develop anything resembling a modern society. They cheated them of happiness and meaning, belonging and purpose, and blew apart their mental stability. And they created a hostile world, from which there was no escape, except fantasy. Bang! American life imploded. Every layer of society was now viciously, violently preying on the one below it ח where once whites had en masse oppressed blacks  and the only winner was the tiny elite at they very top. Obscenity was the place these foolish, strange, and ruinous ideas ended.

And as those norms hardened, society became something like a vast, endless contest, to see who could be the most ruthless, cruel, greedy, destructive, of all ח every day. Norms of domination and dehumanization had created a society which was one great arena in which everyone competed to slaughter everyone else  a mechanism for sorting and winnowing the most domineering and inhuman. Over time, those people became even more savage, shameless, and selfish. Until, at last, America was led by the champions of such norms: people like Trump, Miller, and the rest. Everyday obscenity triumphed.

Americans lived in a kind of fantasyland. They thought that they could dominate and dehumanize blacks, natives, Asians, poor people, women, immigrants, and so on - but never pay any kind of price, the realӔ Americans. But that was never true. Americans incentivized, institutionalized, normalized domination and dehumanization. And then all those institutions, norms, and incentives did exactly what they were supposed to. They were used as tools to oppress the very people who had once proudly been oppressors, too  by a more ruthless and shameless set of predators.

So here America is. Dehumanization and domination are the things it has invested in, cherished, cultivated, tended, and prized most. That is how a society ends up with crowdfunded healthcare, school shootings, a head of state who uses slurs, neo Nazis in office ח and nobody, seemingly, with the power to do much, if anything, about it.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/16/18 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America
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AC Phone Home

snooping on your pc

I got a new HONEYWELL THERMOSTAT for the air conditioner that has internet connectivity for remote access, and pulls a weather report.

Like everything IOT- it INSISTS ON A MIDDLEMAN (pretty much anyone after looking at their EULA) possibly peeking at the things connected to my network, and who knows WHAT ELSE:

The Internet has been around for around 20 years now, and its security is far from perfect. Hacker groups still ruthlessly take advantage of these flaws, despite spending billions on tech security. The IoT, on the other hand, is primitive. And so is its security.

Once everything we do, say, think, and eat, is tracked, the big data thats available about each of us is immensely valuable. When companies know our lives inside and out, they can use that data to make us buy even more stuff. Once they control your data, they control you.

Why can’t I just VPN into the house and connect to it that way?

Because then they can’t SNOOP.

Their EULA SAYS:

We may use your Contact Information to market Honeywell and third-party products and services to you via various methods

We also use third parties to help with certain aspects of our operations, which may require disclosure of your Consumer Information to them.

Honeywell uses industry standard web ANALYTICS to track web visits, Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics.

GOOGLE and Adobe may also TRANSFER this INFORMATION to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google’s or Adobe’s behalf.

You acknowledge and agree that Honeywell and its affiliates, service providers, suppliers, and dealers are permitted at any time and without prior notice to remotely push software

collection and use of certain information as described in this Privacy Statement, including the transfer of this information to the United States and/or other countries for storage

Wonderful.

I connected it to the LAN without asking it to get the weather - or signing up for anything at HONEYWELL’S SITE.

As fast as I can turn my head to peek at the firewall - it was chatting on the internet, and crapped out with some SSL error:

‘SSL_PROTO_REJECT: 48: 192.168.0.226:61492 -> 199.62.84.151:443’
‘SSL_PROTO_REJECT: 48: 192.168.0.226:65035 -> 199.62.84.152:443’
‘SSL_PROTO_REJECT: 48: 192.168.0.226:55666 -> 199.62.84.153:443’

Maybe the website has a problem:

# curl -sslv2 199.62.84.151:443
* About to connect() to 199.62.84.151 port 443 (#0)
* Trying 199.62.84.151… connected
* Connected to 199.62.84.151 (199.62.84.151) port 443 (#0)
> GET / HTTP/1.1
> User-Agent: curl/7.19.7 (i386-redhat-linux-gnu) libcurl/7.19.7 NSS/3.27.1 zlib/1.2.3 libidn/1.18 libssh2/1.4.2
> Host: 199.62.84.151:443
> Accept: */*
>
* Closing connection #0
* Failure when receiving data from the peer

# curl -sslv3 199.62.84.151:443
* About to connect() to 199.62.84.151 port 443 (#0)
* Trying 199.62.84.151… connected
* Connected to 199.62.84.151 (199.62.84.151) port 443 (#0)
> GET / HTTP/1.1
> User-Agent: curl/7.19.7 (i386-redhat-linux-gnu) libcurl/7.19.7 NSS/3.27.1 zlib/1.2.3 libidn/1.18 libssh2/1.4.2
> Host: 199.62.84.151:443
> Accept: */*
>
* Closing connection #0
* Failure when receiving data from the peer

# curl -tlsv1 199.62.84.151:443
curl: (56) Failure when receiving data from the peer

# curl -tlsv1.0 199.62.84.151:443
curl: (56) Failure when receiving data from the peer

# curl -tlsv1.1 199.62.84.151:443
curl: (56) Failure when receiving data from the peer

# curl -tlsv1.2 199.62.84.151:443
curl: (56) Failure when receiving data from the peer

# curl 199.62.84.151:80
curl: (56) Failure when receiving data from the peer

Then I pulled the plug.  Even if Honeywell’s website is broke - I still fear this thermostat will find a way to download software, and maybe START SPYING ON MY HOME NETWORK:

The US intelligence chief has acknowledged for the first time that agencies might use a new generation of smart household devices to increase their surveillance capabilities.

Maybe, someday I’ll firewall off HONEYWELL’S NETBLOCKS, connect it again, see where it goes.

For now - I’m too AFRAID:

When the cybersecurity industry warns about the nightmare of hackers causing blackouts, the scenario they describe typically entails an elite team of hackers breaking into the inner sanctum of a power utility to start flipping switches. But one group of researchers has imagined how an entire power grid could be taken down by hacking a less centralized and protected class of targets: home air conditioners and water heaters.

Posted by Elvis on 08/16/18 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Democratic Socialism

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Why Americans Struggle to Understand Social Democracy
What Social Democracy and Socialism Are  And Aren’t

By Umair
Eudaimonia
August 15, 2018

I chuckle every time I hear it - which is every day, lately. “Denmark isn’t socialism! France isn’t socialist!! There’s no socialism in Europe!” So say American elites, pundits, columnists, usually men with earnest glasses. Have they been smoking too much capitalism?

They’re reacting to the dire prospect of socialism like priests who just met the devil - only the devil was busy saving souls from hell. They don’t quite know what to do with that. How to process it. They don’t even understand, funnily enough, just like those priests, whether or not to even call it “the devil” anymore. Hence: “Nothing’s socialism!! Nope!! how else to square the prospect of socialism rising amongst young Americans, except by denying it exists?” “That’s not the devil!! - thats just another cowboy!!”

The devil, my friends, is the devil. Only maybe he was never the monster you thought. Lets dispel a few myths.

Social democracy isn’t the cartoonish Cold War caricature of socialism (hence, Americans don’t understand it well.) America’s weary, Red Scare caricature of socialism - a bunch of bearded Marxist-Leninist intellectuals, all of whom look like Che Guevara in berets, sipping coffee on the Left Bank, plotting the violent global overthrow of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat, debating abstruse theories of the “means of production” and the “fraternity of labor,” which will lead inevitably to global communist revolution, under a single world government. If that’s what you mean by socialism - in other words, ideas from the 1850s, spoken by men in the 1950s - its true to say that social democracy isn’t that. But is that what socialism really is at all, in any senseʢ
 this cartoon villain?

Without socialism, life as you know it wouldn’t exist. You already know socialism. Socialism is your favourite park, school library. Its the time you spend there. It’s the people who work there. You like socialism. Socialism is your friend.

Think about in the opposite sense. Imagine we were back in 18th century London, Amsterdam, or Paris. If we’d obeyed modern-day American economics, where would these cities have ended up? Without sewers, pipes, parks, avenues, squares, or even gutters, probably. And yet Flint doesn’t have potable drinking water. Do you see my point? American thought lives in a fantasyland - socialism is the devil!! And yet, modern life as we know would cease to exist overnight without it. You’d be taking out a honeybucket every morning - not flushing a toilet (gross, right?) In that sense, you already know socialism, intimately - and you’ve known it all your life. It isn’t the bizarre Stalinesque, Leninist caricature of the Cold War. Its just everyday life.

(It’s deeply inaccurate, as American thinkers are trying to do these days, to say that all the things above are just redistribution.Ӕ Your public library is eminently not just stuff that was redistributed from the rich, to you. It’s a genuine form of public investment. The labour, the work, the design, the bricks, the pipes, the shelves, the books - these things are what people invested in together. There wasn’t some rich dude they took it from. They reap the benefits together, too. There are rules to make sure no one walks off with all the books, sure - but no one has a right to stop anyone else from using the library. Your public library, parks, and schools, are indeed socialism. And you probably cherish and value them, too.)

Social democracy began as socialism. Just in part, not in whole. Today, its evolved far beyond the Cold War caricature of Marxist-Leninist “socialism.” Social democracy in the simplest sense just means a system that’s partially, not fully, socialist. Now, American thinkers will go on denying this until the cows come home - remember those priests? But the fact is that “social democracy” was born of Marxism. In the late 1800s, after the age of revolutions in 1848, Marxism split up into a few camps. The hardcore still foresaw a need for (violent, sudden) revolution, which would bring about worldwide socialism. But the other camp called for a gradual transition to socialism - one country, one institution within a country, one system, like a healthcare or school system - one step at a time. This was what came to be called social democracy. But for precisely that reason, not to call social democracy socialism - as if they were somehow distinct entities, events, or ideas - is deeply historically, politically, and economically inaccurate, the kind of doublespeak for which Americas now famous, and which leaves Americans foolish. It’s not Leninism (global revolution!), its not Stalinism (the communist party!), it’s not Trotskyism (revolution, comrades, now!) but it is a kind of socialism. A gentler kind. That’s OK. So are the pipes in your house.

Social democracy is so far ahead of American capitalism now its like alien technology to a Stone Age tribe - which is why Americans struggle to understand it. Nobody today, though, really, in a social democracy - except maybe the few hardcore Marxists still left - is sitting around discussing the proletariat overthrowing the bourgeoisie, in a sudden, violent global revolution, after which everyone sings the Internationale, at the inauguration of Global Communism. Can we get real?

Social democracy has gone way, way beyond all that. These days, its something like the world’s most advanced operating system for human progress - full of strange, awesome, profound new ideas, about how to govern, manage, own, and run societies, which are so far ahead, that America simply can’t understand them with obsolete American ideas, like “shareholder value” and “individual responsibility” and 401Ks, all of which are simply now decades behind - and especially not with Cold War caricatures. It’s the most sophisticated and successful set of economic and social ideas and institutions human beings have ever created, which have led to the best - longest lived, happiest, safest, wealthiest - lives ever, full, stop, period, in all of history. What are some of those ideas?

Social democracy goes (way) beyond old-world notions of socialism. It means public goods are held in trust for the very people they are used by - not “state ownership” of the means of production. Socialism’s often said to mean state ownership of the “means of production.” What does that even mean? Have you ever thought about it? This isn’t 1868, my friends. The economy isn’t made of factories and clanking machines anymore. What are the “means of production,” these days, anyways? Server farms?

For just that reason, social democracy does indeed involve public ownership - but not of the “means of production,” really. Of basic public goods. Healthcare, education, transportation, energy, media, and so on. These aren’t really “means of production,” in the old Marxist sense - factories oppressing the proletariat. The modern variant of social democracy is about providing exactly those things which everyone needs, but capitalism cannot provide at low enough cost, or high enough quality.

So it’s not the “means of productionm” really, which are socialized - but public goods. And it’s not the “state” which owns them, either. Have you ever wondered what “state ownership” even is? What does it mean? The problem is that it never really meant anything at all - and so it could mean anything. Hence, dictators quickly rose to the top of purely socialist societies, like Stalin. But in modern social democracy, rather than the “means of production” owned by the state, public goods are owned by the people that use them - more accurately . They are held in trust, usually, by cities, towns, regions, and so forth. That means that they genuinely belong to everyone - not just some “council” or party committee, which was often the problem in Soviet style socialism - and yet no single person or actor can skim off their benefits for themselves.

The “means of production,” where they still exist, in the traditional sense, factories and so on, like in Germany, aren’t “socialized” so much in the sense of ownership, but in the sense of management - their workers sit on boards. It’s a vivid example of how the idea that “socialism” can mean something apart from “oh no, they’re taking our property rights!!” and go far beyond what Americans can understand given old, obsolete ideas.

Social democracy has grown because capitalism is becoming obsolete. It lets people realize themselves to a vastly higher degree than capitalism alone. Now, the part that Marx left out of the means of production are owned by the “state” was about purpose. When the means of production were owned by the state, what would the point be? Who’d define it? He didn’t say. Apparently, the proletariat would figure that part out when they got there. And that brings me to my final point.

Public goods each have a different social purpose, which can be maximized under social democracy - but capitalism is only ever one-dimensional. The purpose of a healthcare system is health. Duh, you might say. But the purpose of a healthcare system in capitalism is profit. Hence, American life expectancy falling. The purpose of an education system is knowledge. But the purpose of an education system in capitalism is debt and degree farming. Hence, Americans are getting dumber. Do you see the problem? Capitalist institutions simply are not flexible, functional, or usable enough to build genuinely prosperous societies with anymore. Let me put that another way.

Capitalism is obsolete because it is too blunt a tool with which to build a working society. You can’t build a house with only a chainsaw - at least not a very nice one. You need different tools, for all your many tasks. The same is true of a society. If capitalism’s the only tool you have - you’ll never be able to build a working healthcare, education, financial system, to name just a few, because those things cannot be run just in the old binary of “for profit” or “not for profit.” They must each be run for a different set of human outcomes, far beyond that tired dichotomy - health, life expectancy, knowledge, intelligence, savings, security, investment, and so forth.

Now, so far, in human history, only, really, under social democracy have we learned to construct such institutions best. We can build organizations, whose ownership is held in trust by communities, with explicit, specific goals, such as human health. That’s the modern day NHS. But we can never accomplish any of this under capitalism - we can only use the old model of shareholders owning an organization which is run either for or not for profit. That either serves shareholders with profit - or no one, really, at all. That doesn’t help us one bit when it comes to genuinely building systems which realize human potential.

So you should see the rise of social democracy in America - or at least the slender possibility of it - as an eminently good thing. Just as Russia was the last nation to accept capitalism, so America is the last one to accept socialism. Today, its capitalism that’s becoming obsolete, for obvious reasons. Meaningless, stagnation, misery, rage, despair, greed, ruin. Social democracy is alien technology to Stone Age men.

Or, if you like… if the devil’s saving souls, maybe he’s not the prince of hell. Maybe it was the other guy, all along.

SOURCE

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Explaining Socialism To A Republican

By Nurse Pam
Addicting Info
June 23, 2012

I was talking recently with a new friend who Im just getting to know. She tends to be somewhat conservative, while I lean more toward the progressive side.

When our conversation drifted to politics, somehow the dreaded word socialism came up. My friend seemed totally shocked when I said All socialism isn’t bad.  She became very serious and replied “So you want to take money away from the rich and give to the poor?” I smiled and said “No, not at all.  Why do you think socialism means taking money from the rich and giving to the poor?”

“Well it is, isn’t it?” was her reply.

I explained to her that I rather liked something called Democratic Socialism, just as Senator Bernie Sanders, talk show host Thom Hartman, and many other people do. Democratic Socialism consists of a democratic form of government with a mix of socialism and capitalism. I proceeded to explain to her the actual meaning terms democracy and socialism.

Democracy is a form of government in which all citizens take part. It is government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Socialism is where we all put our resources together and work for the common good of us all and not just for our own benefit. In this sense, we are sharing the wealth within society.

Of course when people hear that term, “Share the wealth” they start screaming, “OMG you want to rob from the rich and give it all to the poor!” But that is NOT what Democratic Socialism means.

To a Democratic Socialist, sharing the wealth means pooling tax money together to design social programs that benefit ALL citizens of that country, city, state, etc.

The fire and police departments are both excellent examples of Democratic Socialism in America.  Rather than leaving each individual responsible for protecting their own home from fire, everyone pools their money together, through taxes, to maintain a fire and police department. It’s operated under a non-profit status, and yes, your tax dollars pay for putting out other peoples fires. It would almost seem absurd to think of some corporation profiting from putting out fires.  But it’s more efficient and far less expensive to have government run fire departments funded by tax dollars.

Similarly, public education is another social program in the USA. It benefits all of us to have a taxpayer supported, publicly run education system. Unfortunately, in America, the public education system ends with high school.  Most of Europe now provides low cost or free college education for their citizens. This is because their citizens understand that an educated society is a safer, more productive and more prosperous society. Living in such a society, everyone benefits from public education.

When an American graduates from college, they usually hold burdensome debt in the form of student loans that may take 10 to even 30 years to pay off. Instead of being able to start a business or invest in their career, the college graduate has to send off monthly payments for years on end.

On the other hand, a new college graduate from a European country begins without the burdensome debt that an American is forced to take on. The young man or woman is freer to start up businesses, take an economic risk on a new venture, or invest more money in the economy, instead of spending their money paying off student loans to for-profit financial institutions.  Of course this does not benefit wealthy corporations, but it does greatly benefit everyone in that society.

EXAMPLE American style capitalistic program for college: If you pay (average) $20,000 annually for four years of college, that will total $80,000 + interest for student loans. The interest you would owe could easily total or exceed the $80,000 you originally borrowed, which means your degree could cost in excess of $100,000.

EXAMPLE European style social program for college: Your college classes are paid for through government taxes.  When you graduate from that college and begin your career, you also start paying an extra tax for fellow citizens to attend college.

Question - You might be thinking how is that fair? If youre no longer attending college, why would you want to help everyone else pay for their college degree?

Answer - Every working citizen pays a tax that is equivalent to say, $20 monthly.  If you work for 40 years and then retire, you will have paid $9,600 into the Social college program.  So you could say that your degree ends up costing only $9,600. When everyone pools their money together and the program is non-profit, the price goes down tremendously. This allows you to keep more of your hard earned cash!

Health care is another example: If your employer does not provide health insurance, you must purchase a policy independently.  The cost will be thousands of dollars annually, in addition to deductible and co-pays.

In Holland, an individual will pay around $35 monthly, period.  Everyone pays into the system and this helps reduce the price for everyone, so they get to keep more of their hard earned cash.

In the United States we are told and frequently reminded that anything run by the government is bad and that everything should be operated by for-profit companies. Of course, with for-profit entities the cost to the consumer is much higher because they have corporate executives who expect compensation packages of tens of millions of dollars and shareholders who expect to be paid dividends, and so on.

This (and more) pushes up the price of everything, with much more money going to the already rich and powerful, which in turn, leaves the middle class with less spending money and creates greater class separation.

This economic framework makes it much more difficult for average Joes to Ҕlift themselves up by their bootstraps and raise themselves to a higher economic standing.

So next time you hear the word “socialism” and “spreading the wealth” in the same breath, understand that this is a serious misconception.

Social programs require tax money and your taxes may be higher. But as you can see everyone benefits because other costs go down and, in the long run, you get to keep more of your hard earned cash!

Democratic Socialism does NOT mean taking from the rich and giving to the poor.  It works to benefit everyone so the rich can no longer take advantage of the poor and middle class.

SOURCE

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Bad Moon Rising Part 71 - Chinese Super Weapons

image chinese submarine

Chinese superweapons that the world needs to know about

By David Cohen
Anonymous
August 12, 2018

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Chinese military faced several major issues. The primary issue during this time was where they were going to get their military hardware and technology from.

Up until this time, the Soviet Union was the primary source for Chinese weapons and hardware. Although there were some locally made Chinese weapons, most of its AK-47s as well as their fighter aircraft were made and produced in the Soviet Union.

The Iron Curtain fell and China realized that it was far behind many industrialized nations in many respects. As the country with the largest population on the planet, the Chinese needed to come up with ways in which to modernize both their economy as well as their military, and fast.

So they started their own military programs to create helicopters, tanks, missiles, ships, and weapons. They did this both by using their own ingenuity as well as hacking into the mainframes of militaries around the world in order to steal information and build their own version of whatever they needed.

Slowly but surely, China began to raise its military profile. Now along with an enormous army full of soldiers (the number of Chinese soldiers exceeds the number of inhabitants of many countries), the Chinese military has also modernized to a huge degree.

Now, as a rising regional power with potential global ambitions, the Chinese are threatening United States supremacy in south east Asia. They are flexing their new found muscle in trying to project their power over islands in Japan, the Philippines, and of course their main rival Taiwan.

This power projection is being made possible by a renewal of the Chinese navy as well as vast locally made improvements to the Chinese Air Force, coupled with Chinese nuclear second strike capability.

So what do these Chinese future weapons look like?

Type 094 submarine

This submarine was first spotted in 2006 in satellite images of the Xiaopingdao Submarine Base, and almost nothing is known about it. What is known however was leaked from classified documents. This type exceeds the capabilities of the Type 092 submarine, and gives China the possibility for a sea based nuclear strike. The submarines can hold up to four intercontinental cruise missiles which can all be tipped with nuclear warheads (3 or 4 of them, as reported). This is part of China’s nuclear triad, which consists of land based, air based, and now sea based nuclear weapons. The existence of this submarine now means that China has second strike capabilities.

Type 054A Frigate

The Type 054A frigate entered service back in 2007, and is a development of the existing Type 054 frigate, but with better sensors and improved weapons. Currently, 26 of these are in service. This Chinese frigate class has a whole wealth of capabilities to defend the Chinese homeland from seaborne threats. It has anti-ship and anti-submarine missiles, and also has a Chinese adaptation of the Russian Buk surface to air missile. These frigates have already seen action in patrolling the Gulf of Aden for Somali pirates. They were also deployed to Libya to help evacuated Chinese nationals stranded there, as well as helped to ferry chemical weapons out of Syria.

Harbin Z-19

This is essentially a Chinese copy of a Eurocopter Dauphin, and it is China’s primary combat helicopter. With a 430 mile range as well as a high rate of climb, these deadly helicopters are able to carry a whole wealth of different armaments. They can carry everything from anti-ship missiles, anti-personnel missiles, and even anti-tank missiles. The helicopter also has whisper rotors and an exhaust system which confuses heat seeking missiles.

Jiaolong

The Chinese are now one of five countries who have the technology to be able to develop a deep sea submersible capable of going to the deepest depths of the ocean floor. This submersible is able to do tons of planet saving research, but can also be used to sabotage undersea cables. Or the Chinese could decide that they want to awaken that mysterious sleeping giant, Cthulhu. Hopefully they just use it for research purposes.

Xian H-6

This is a Chinese copy of a Soviet Tupolev TU-16 bomber, and despite its long service history, it is still a plane which poses a threat to neighboring powers and is a key component in Chinese power projection. It is able to carry all sorts of missiles and bombs, including nuclear weapons. The plane has a range of 3,700 miles, putting many NATO bases in range, as well as many bases of ASEAN countries.

J-20

The Chengdu J-20 is Chinas first homemade, fifth generation multi-role fighter jet. It is believed that plans for the F-35 were stolen by China in a massive cybersecurity hack and they were able to obtain the technology to build their own version. This can be seen in the physical similarities between the two aircraft. The plane aims to create Chinese air superiority in the region as it has a maximum speed of 1,300 miles per hour.

J-11

This Chinese fighter jet is the workhorse of the Chinese Air Force with over 250 in active duty service. Designed based off of the Soviet Sukhoi Su-27, this plane can go over twice the speed of sound and fly at over 65,000 feet. Flying so fast and so high, this Chinese fighter plane was designed with the sole purpose of being able to take over the skies in any military confrontation the Chinese military might have.

DF-5 ICBM

The DF-5 is the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM for short) with the longest range in the Chinese arsenal. This missile is able to carry out a nuclear strike anywhere on the planet (except for South America according to some estimates). Despite the fact that there are only an estimated 20 of these missiles in the Chinese arsenal, they still can take out 20 major enemy cities, with New York City, Los Angeles, London, and Moscow all well within range.

PLZ-45 Howitzer

This self propelled artillery gun is able to fire a 155 mm projectile over 18 miles at enemy defenses and troops. It has an extremely advanced fire control system which uses laser range finders, and has the ability to use smart artillery rounds which are able to change flight path mid-air. The PLZ-45 has already proven itself in battle, having been used by the Saudi Arabians and the Kuwaitis in their war in Yemen.

Xian H-20

This is a stealth bomber which is currently being designed, built and tested by the Chinese Air Force. An almost direct copy of the American B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, this Chinese bomber is being developed in order to be able to go on long range strategic bombing missions and fly well past Japan. This would extend ChinaҒs strategic reach, and make the entire game of global policy that much more difficult.

Xian Y-20

This cargo aircraft is used by the Chinese military in order to ferry goods and soldiers to anywhere in China at a moments notice. Perhaps most interestingly, many of the planeҒs parts were created using a 3D printer, thereby drastically lowering the cost of production. The plane can carry up to 66 tons, and when filled with troops, has a range of 6,200 miles, enabling this plane to reach anywhere in Asia.

Type 052D destroyer

This Chinese destroyer can be seen patrolling waters all around China as well as infringing on the territorial waters of several other countries. The destroyer has the ability to launch a whole wealth of weapons, ranging from surface to air missiles, cruise missiles, anti-ship missiles, and even anti-submarine missiles. China currently has about eight of these ships in active duty with a further three more undergoing sea trials.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Chinese military faced several major issues. The primary issue during this time was where they were going to get their military hardware and technology from.

Up until this time, the Soviet Union was the primary source for Chinese weapons and hardware. Although there were some locally made Chinese weapons, most of its AK-47*s as well as their fighter aircraft were made and produced in the Soviet Union.

The Iron Curtain fell and China realized that it was far behind many industrialized nations in many respects. As the country with the largest population on the planet, the Chinese needed to come up with ways in which to modernize both their economy as well as their military, and fast.

So they started their own military programs to create helicopters, tanks, missiles, ships, and weapons. They did this both by using their own ingenuity as well as hacking into the mainframes of militaries around the world in order to steal information and build their own version of whatever they needed.

Slowly but surely, China began to raise its military profile. Now along with an enormous army full of soldiers (the number of Chinese soldiers exceeds the number of inhabitants of many countries), the Chinese military has also modernized to a huge degree.

Now, as a rising regional power with potential global ambitions, the Chinese are threatening United States supremacy in south east Asia. They are flexing their new found muscle in trying to project their power over islands in Japan, the Philippines, and of course their main rival Taiwan.

This power projection is being made possible by a renewal of the Chinese navy as well as vast locally made improvements to the Chinese Air Force, coupled with Chinese nuclear second strike capability.

J-16

This joint strike fighter plane was introduced into the Chinese Air Force in 2013 and relatively little is known about it. It is apparent that it is meant to be similar to the F-15 and that it can carry anti-ship missiles, air to ground missiles, and even air to air missiles. The fighter jet is able to fly at speeds of up to twice the speed of sound, and can go up to 58,000 feet in the air.

HQ-17

This is a surface to air missile which was almost completely copied from the types of missiles in use by the Soviet Union at the end of the cold war. However, this Chinese variant has an electronically scanned radar array, as well as the ability to launch in any and all terrains. The surface to air missile is even able to link up to other Chinese systems, creating an integrated air defense system.

JL-2

The JL-2 is a submarine launched intercontinental cruise missile. It can be launched stealthily from anywhere in the world at any time with little to no advance warning. The missile has such a large range that, should it be shot off from somewhere close to the Chinese mainland, it would be able to hit any target in California, Europe, or Australia. These missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

SW-6 UAV

This drone may look like a drone now, but it is actually shot out of a moving aircraft. It is more or less a combination drone-missile. It is designed to be fired from the underwing of a rotor or fixed wing aircraft, unfold in mid-air, and then fly around until the operator finds a suitable target. The UAV can be used for a variety of purposes, from radar and electronics jamming to being able to deliver a 10 pound warhead into a specific area.

CH-500

This dual rotor unmanned aerial vehicle is equipped with two laser guided air to ground missiles. Designed to be a cheap weapon, this drone can be quickly deployed by Chinese ground forces and be used to take out enemies behind front lines, in hills and valleys, or even in urban environments, being able to shoot through windows if the need arises. They can also take out enemy tanks with ease.

CH-805

This flying wing designed drone is officially only going to be used to test Chinese radar and air defenses along with radar systems inside Chinas new indigenous fifth generation fighter planes. The drone can reach near supersonic speeds, and provides a difficult target to track. However, due to this low radar signature, there is a worry that this drone my in the end be used operationally, posing a challenge to enemy forces.

Harbin Z-19

The Harbin Z-19 is ChinaҒs new and improved version of its Z-9, the countrys primary attack helicopter. The helicopter has whisper rotors, making the helicopter quite quiet, along with a new exhaust system which lowers its heat signature, and thereby defending it against threats from heat seeking missiles. The fire control system is also brand new and a lot more effective than the previous iteration.

Unkown missile launching system

This new missile launching system was only recently discovered and photographed. It looks like a Soviet or Russian style anti-aircraft missile system Җ perhaps a component of the S-300 anti-aircraft system, which is the system currently deployed in order to defend the skies above Syria. Should this be the case, it is likely that the Chinese would reverse engineer this technology in order to make their own version. Or perhaps they already have, and this is the result.

Silent Hunter anti-missile laser

This system is designed to defend ships and perhaps tanks against incoming missile threats. The way that this system is believed to work is by shooting an extremely high powered, super heated laser at an incoming missile, thereby either cutting the missile up or even blowing up the projectile mid-air. However, due to the fact that we have not seen it in use yet, we do not know for certain what its capabilities are.

VT-4 MBT

This is the newest, third generation battle tank in the Chinese arsenal. It is impressive due to it being constructed out of a special, anti-explosive composite material, as well as the fact that it is outfitted with a whole range of defenses, along with a high tech cannon and laser targeting system. It has so far been sold to the Thai military. However, perhaps most importantly, it has air conditioning.

Drone disabling gun

Drones are everywhere these days. You can buy them at any corner store it seems, and they are always flying around parks, the beach, events, and everything else. It is quite obnoxious to go out into nature only to hear the buzzing of a drone. Well, the Chinese now have a gun which shoots them down ֖ not with projectiles, but by shooting radio waves at the drone in what amounts to a Ddos attack. No word yet on whether or not you can order it on Alibaba.

CH-805

This flying wing designed drone is officially only going to be used to test Chinese radar and air defenses along with radar systems inside Chinas new indigenous fifth generation fighter planes. The drone can reach near supersonic speeds, and provides a difficult target to track. However, due to this low radar signature, there is a worry that this drone my in the end be used operationally, posing a challenge to enemy forces.

Drone swarms

Thats right, China is currently building swarm drones. And they operate nearly independently. Using techniques learned by watching schools of fish and flocks of birds, the Chinese have figured out how to get over 100 drones to work together in order to fly in conjunction with minimal input from an operator. Set to be used primarily for reconnaissance or intelligence gathering, all an operator needs to say is search hereӔ and the swarm will do the rest.

ZH-05

This Chinese gun is one of the newest combat infantry weapons in the Chinese arsenal. Able to fire at 600 rounds per minute and with a range of 400 meters, this is truly a sharp looking weapon. However, what makes it unique is that the scope has a camera on it, enabling it to hook up to a lens on a soldiers helmet. This lets the soldier peer around corners and fire any enemy coming at them.

Chinese robot savior

This robot looks like a cross between a human and a spider. Its main purpose is to be able to conduct search and rescue missions and find missing civilians and soldiers underneath tons of rubble. The Chinese have unfortunately been forced to use this on multiple occasions due to the various earthquakes which the country has seen in recent years, particularly in Yunnan.

Type 22 Missile Boat

These small quick, double hulled missile boats really worry military strategists. The boats, which are cheap and easy to produce, can swarm a US carrier strike force and cause a whole lot of damage. This is because these boats are equipped with eight anti-ship missiles. Should just 10 of the reported 83 of these missile boats fire a salvo of rockets, that translates into 80 highly accurate and fast anti-ship missiles. The missiles only need to be lucky once.

Ground Control Station

This is a ground control station which is going to be put into spotter planes which will be flying above the main battle. The crazy thing about this however, is that it is a hologram. Thats right, just like in every sci-fi movie that has ever been made, these holodecks will enable a commander to be able to see an entire battlefield in full 360 degree coverage, enabling them to make better decisions in real time.

SOAR Dragon drone

The SOAR Dragon is another one of ChinaҒs newest drones coming off the line. It is specifically developed to do high altitude reconnaissance and surveillance. The drone has a service ceiling of 59,000 feet, and is able to fly for 10 hours without refueling. The range of the plane is approximately 4,300 miles, putting much of east Asia within this airplanes reach.

YJ-12

The YJ-12 is an anti-ship cruise missile which can fly at supersonic speeds towards its target. The missile flies over the top of the sea, keeping a low radar profile. The profile is so small that it would not be picked up by an enemy shipҒs radar until about 30 seconds to impact. The missile is also really fast, flying up to three times the speed of sound. There is very little in an enemys naval arsenal that can take this on.

Type 87 grenade launcher

This is exactly what it sounds like no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It is built like a normal, belt fed submachine gun, but with a twist; it shoots grenades. This incredible weapon of destruction is able to shoot out 120 grenades a minute (two grenades a second). While China has not seen these used in action as of this writing, the Syrian military has been using them in its civil war, as has the Sudanese and Pakistani militaries.

AMR-2

This is a huge, 50 caliber sniper rifle. It is actually deemed to be an anti-materiel gun as opposed to being an anti-personnel weapon. This means that the primary targets of this gun are vehicles, and not people. This is because at over a mile a way, a bullet fired from this rifle can split a man in half and keep going for another quarter mile. These are powerful guns, and can help turn the tide of a war.

FHJ-84

This is a twin barreled incendiary rocket launcher modeled after several of the Russian varieties. It can be either shoulder fired or fired from a tripod. The reason for the double barrel is simple. Many tanks have some sort of anti-missile protection which can shoot a projectile out of the air. But this fires a lead projectile, causing the anti-missile protection to go off, and enabling the primary missile to hit the target.

QCW-05

This is a lightweight, short, bullpup machine gun produced for and used by the Chinese military, specifically its special forces and police. The gun is unique not only in its light weight, but also in its special, 50 round banana clip. While most clips only are able to hold approximately 30 bullets, this clip was designed to effectively carry 50. It takes a 5.8 mm round, and is effective at around 200 meters.

QBZ-95

Another bullpup designed assault weapon, the QBZ-95 comes in three variants; a carbine, light support weapon, and standard rifle. Firing a .42 mm or .45 mm round, this gun can accurately hit a target at over 400 yards. There are currently over 97 variants and knock offs of this weapon being used in conflicts in every corner of the globe, with the first of these weapons leaving Chinese borders when they were seen in Hong Kong under British occupation.

Shenyang J-31

This plane is interesting not only because it is an indigenous Chinese fifth generation stealth fighter, but also because this plane was not built by the military. It was instead built by a state-owned company. While it will probably not see use until 2018, there are already several prototypes built, and it is expected to be a competitor for the F-35. We do not know too much about the aircraft, but it will definitely threaten US air superiority over southeast Asia.

KJ-2000

This is China’s very own airborne warning and control plane (AWACS). It is designed not only to find enemy forces and ships at a long range, but is used as a mobile, airborne command center as well, enabling troops to receive the most updated, real time information. Additionally, the Chinese KJ-2000 is able to track up to 100 targets simultaneously in the sea, on land, and in the air.

Qbu-88 sniper rifle

This bullpup designed sniper rifle shoots .42mm rounds accurately up to approximately one kilometer, making it one of the primary sniper rifles in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army as well as the Chinese Police Force for hostage situations. The bullpup design enables higher rates of accuracy as well as less kickback than a normal sniper rifle. Weighing in at only 9lbs, this sniper rifle is perfect for special forces operators.

Type 67 Machine gun

Despite it being so old, this weapon sure packs a powerful punch. Being able to be belt fed, this machine gun has the ability to fire over 650 rounds per minute. The Type 67, which has gone through at least two upgrades, was a menace to American troops during the Vietnam War. More recently, it was used during the Lebanese Civil War, as well as currently in the Syrian Civil War as well as the current Yemeni Civil War to great effect.

Type 56 assault rifle

A quick question suppose you are a country who wants to buy a whole slew of weapons, but simply does not have the money to buy high quality AK-47s en masse? The answer ֖ go to China and pick up tons of Type 56 rifles. This is a knock off of the AK-47 and is about half the price. 37 countries which use this as their primary weapon, and its a favorite for terrorist organizations from the Taliban to Hamas to ISIS.

Type 81 MRLS

The Chinese invented the multiple rocket launcher system way back in the 11th century, but they have vastly improved upon it since then. With the PeopleҒs Liberation Armys Type 81, the military is able to shoot a massive barrage of 40 122mm missiles at any target, which is basically enough to flatten a medium sized town from about 30 miles away. This is far enough away that most artillery would not even be able to accurately hit it.

Dong-Feng 21

Known as the DF-21, this is a medium range cruise missile. These giants can be modified to be able to be shot at either ground based or even sea based targets. With a range of 1,700 kilometers, it could easily carry out a strike on several places in the south Pacific. According to the various international military sources, it would only take one of these missiles to sink an enemy aircraft carrier. The sources also stated that there is currently no defense against it.

Type 99

The Type 99 tank is the newest armored workhorse of the PeopleҒs Liberation Army. It can travel of speeds of up to 50 miles per hour, giving it great maneuverability. Capable of carrying up to 42 tank rounds, this vehicle also has an automatic carousel loader for quick firing which can be done either automatically or manually. The tank can also be outfitted to fire both high explosive anti-tank rounds as well as ATGMs for lighter armored vehicles.

ZBD05

The ZBD05 is the newest, most upgraded amphibious assault ship in the Chinese arsenal. Capable of carry eight soldiers, it is capable of hitting speeds of up to 30 miles per hour in the water, a speed which most personal speedboats have trouble getting up to. For defense, it is equipped with a 30mm cannon as well as the ability to launch short range HJ-8 anti-tank missiles.

Type 82 automatic p*stol

Based on the Polish PM-63 RAK, this p*stol has both semi-automatic as well as automatic mode. Firing an .18mm round, this weapon is small and compact enough to be used super-effectively at close range. The primary operators of this weapon are Chinese special forces. China captured several of these gun*s in the Sino-Vietnamese wars, reversed engineered them, and then started making their own

QJZ-89

This is technically an anti-aircraft gun which shoots enormous .50 caliber bullets into the air in order to bring down enemy aircraft which have intruded into Chinese airspace. This weapon is not used as much in this manner anymore, and is used by various groups in Syria, Yemen, and South Sudan as a way to simply mow down adversaries in those countries֒ civil wars.

Pterodactyl UAV (CH-5)

This drone is a Chinese copy of the US Air Force Reaper drone. Unveiled at an airshow in the Chinese city of Zhuhai in 2016, the Chinese Air Force claims that the plane can fly for two days without refuelling, and has a range of over 15,000 miles enough to fly from Beijing to Chicago and back. The drone also allegedly able to carry a range of smart bombs as well as jam all sorts of radar defense systems.

Norinco Battle Robot

This is a Chinese combat robot, able to take on any terrain both natural and urban. It is tracked, enabling the robot to climb over both rocks as well as stairs with ease. Its primary armament is a 12 gauge shotgun, but it can be outfitted with a machine gun, grenade launcher, or even robotic arms which can be used to dismantle a bomb. Used as a forward weapon, it is able to go into buildings and look for booby traps instead of people.

Aircraft Carrier

The true test of a country֒s power projection is whether or not it can field its forces from far flung forward operating bases effectively and consistently. One of the best ways to do this is with an aircraft carrier. And now, China has one. The ship itself was bought from Ukraine under the guise of being turned into a theme park (China bought two carriers for this purpose). However, once it got to China, the carrier was retrofitted, and is now operational.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/13/18 •
Section Bad Moon Rising
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