Saturday, 4 July 2015

Labours Biggest Problem (One of Many)

Labour has set itself up as "the party of equality"

Reasoning that the average person wants equality, that is, to be given free stuff by the government, taken by force from people who earnt it.
Now, that sounds reasonable in theory.

In practice however....

The UK has a national lottery, well, many in fact, but we'll stick with "the national lottery" which above are the cash payouts for wednesday the 1st of july 2015

The ticket price is £2, 50% of the sales revenue goes in to the prize pool, 28% goes to "good causes", 12% direct to government coffers, 5% to retailer that sell the tickets and 5% to the company that runs the lottery

So, a prize fund of £7,597,484, on £2 tickets, and a 50% prize fund, means, well, that 7,597,484 tickets were sold.
That means around 7.5million people, in the lower income brakets, are so anti equality (in that "they" want to be stinking rich*) that they buy lottery tickets.

And this is, beyond the "daily plays", the lowest played lottery, the Saturday lottery is played by roughly twice as many people, if it doesnt roll over I'll see how many tickets are sold.

*Yes I know, half a million pounds is hardly stinking rich but its a lot of money if your take home pay is under £1,000 a month, for a lot of people, ESPECIALLY the poorer people Labours likes to patronise,  its what they can reasonably expect to earn over their life time.

For US readers, our lottery isnt like yours, the UK's lottery winnings arent income taxable, and are paid in a lump sum, so three lucky buggers have just got quite the windfall

Saturday, 27 June 2015

The Very High Readiness Joint Allied Rapid Response Task Battle Force Group

In response to, well, nothing specific, just the ongoing dicketry of Russia, NATO has announced yet another solution, and its another meaningless accronym backed up by a few headquarters staff seconded from other NATO task forces and not a lot else.

Narva to Sulwalki is 800km by road.
Thats literally the longest direct route according to google maps.
The T72 (according to wiki) has a road (possibly off road?) speed of 60km/h

800km / 60kmh is 13 hours and 20 minutes.

If a force hits across from Ludza in Latvia, thats 498km, or 8 hours and 18 minutes.

And these time frames assume Russia is making some attempt to keep Konigsberg and Belarus out of the war, forces pincering from there could seal the border in an hour
Or simply sit there looking threatening to prevent anyone moving in from Poland in penny packets.

At best, during a shooting war, we'll have 6 hours in which we can "reinforce" the area, past that, it will be "liberation", IE we'll be crossing the border guns blazing, so waiting for solid fighting formations to be ready to move.
That leaves only the forces already in the baltic states, possibly northern poland, and airpower, to actually intervene in the fighting.

The Estonian army is a reserve force, poorly equipped even for light infantry and border patrol duties, and thats even assuming the Estonian reserves can be armed, that little green men dont arrive at their weapons stockpiles first and confiscate them.
I'm sure they are very brave, but bravery doesnt help much when a tank company runs at you and you just dont have anything that can annoy one, let alone knock it out.

The Latvians are in much the same situation, somewhat better equipped, but a reserve force all the same, and with no real armoured punch,

Lithuania has exactly the same problem, mortars and machine guns and armoured cars, Russia will smash through them like a hammer through glass.

I know their plan isnt to face Russia in open warfare, its to delay them (best of luck with that) and to go to ground, attacking supply routes and awaiting rescue,
But what if rescue never comes?
The "War" will have been over for two days before NATOs land forces are ready to begin the liberation, longer even, the UN will be pushing a cease fire and "de-escalation".

NATOs overwhelming advantage in airpower would be a factor, but I think we can safely say that the thrusts in to the Baltics will be covered by the most over engineered air defence grid the world has ever seen, sites in Konigsberg, Belarus, mobile units with the advancing tanks, possibly even ships in the Baltic Sea.

Will NATO escalate the limited war in the Baltic States by bombing Russia proper?  Konigsberg?  Neutral Belarus?  Russian Ships in the Atlantic?  I wouldnt bet on it.

Without the political will to reopen the war, a new task force that intervenes after the fact is pointless.  All that changes anything, is forces that are committed RIGHT NOW, French, German, Italian, British and American Divisions camped in the Baltic states, fully manned and logistically supplied.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Assessment centres

Gods be good but I do hate bloody assessment centres.

I basically do excel stuff for businesses that are far far far too big to use excel.
I'm rather good at it.
I don't do meetings, or take phone calls, or generally behave like a human being.

So imagine my ire when I arrive for a pitch (suckers interview, I pitch) only to be given an irrelevant document packet, 20 minutes to draft a presentation, and then 20 minutes to present it.
'Why XYZs incompetent hr and recruitment team dooms them to stagnation and failure' was apparently not what they were looking for....
I maintain it was a valid response.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

The Greek "Rescue"

Greece in 2001-2005 was in a pretty good state debt dynamics wise
Things started to get ropey in 2006, and catastrophic in 2008, the 2012 "bail out" barely registering.

Pensions are the current target, and on first glance, they look excessive, but Greek GDP has been utterly devestated, if they hadnt suffered a 25% crash in GDP, their pensions would be 12% of GDP, high, but not even top 5.

And there are real concerns (and welfare concerns) here.
Firstly, Greek citizens paid in to pension funds for their retirement.  They are owed the money.
It is a pretty questionable legal argument that puts 5 year old bonds above 40 year old pension accounts in the debt hierachy
There are welfare issues as well.
The reality on the ground is that there are large numbers of families where a grandfathers pension supports a grand mother, their children, *and* their grand children.

Increasing the retirement age to 65 would have effects but not in the short term, unless you "de-retire" those currently 62year olds.  Who arent going to get a job, because there are none.

China blinks, again

Chinas efforts to redirect its economy have again been suspended.
The CCP have retreated from the inevitable pain and instead let rip with a credit boom

Monthly on month Tier 1 house prices are increasing at 3%, thats positively mild compared to the stock market, up 150% in the last few weeks.

The rational for this is nothing but monetary insanity on a level Greenspan and Bernanke could only dream of.
Worst case, this money is flowing in to consumer purchases and residential spending.
Best case, this money is flowing in to increasing business output,

The problem is, business output is already critically over supplied
Factory gate prices (selling prices at the factory) are falling at 4.6%, if a factory sold a quantity of steel for $100 last year, that same steel goes for only $95.4 today
That has been negative for three years, factories built two or three years ago with the expectation one price point are well below it and its only getting worse.
Building more of the same factories without a significant uptick in demand for what those factories produce will just force the prices down further, leaving them unable to pay their debts, and, well, think US 1929.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Forgot to flag this

UK AFC is a fantastically odd little site, ran by an Italian with a near obssessive level of interest in the British Armed Forces.

He frequently makes the same points I make about hollow forces, but he makes them much much better.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Fear, honor, and interest

And never underestimate the fanatic

The Germans of 1943-45 werent "fanatical", for the most part their behaviour was perfectly rational.

In 1918 the German Army still has over 3.5million men under arms along the western front alone. Was the war lost?
Probably, what was the reward for early surrender?  For saving who knows how many many hundreds of thousands of lives on all sides?  Little more than the complete and total economic rape of Germany, the continuing of food blockade that had reached the point of near genocide and a generation of Germans not yet born was forced in to debt servitude.

The expected treatment following surrender in the second world war was far more brutal, only eclipsed by the reality.
Quite literally every woman in east Germany between the age of 15 and 35 was raped by the Soviet Army, most likely repeatedly, and quite probably with wider age brackets.

That the German army fought on through 1943, 44 and 45 wasnt fanaticism, it was rationality, the ONLY hope the Germans had was that the allies would fall out before Germany failed.

The average American GI had little to gain from advancing in to the teeth of the German Army, better to walk slowly and await artillery,
The average German infantryman had everything to fight for, all that awaited him at home was watching the red army rape his daughter and then shipment to a death camp in Siberia.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Assads final cards?

The Syrian civil war has taken an ugly turn for Assad, his strategy of waiting out ISIS inside his western fortresses, fortry(?) and a few isolated strongholds fell apart once those strongholds started to fall.

The Kurdish Workers Party are on the march.
Assad has lost the east, its nothng to him, mutual recognition however, would be VERY valuable to him right now.

The Kurdish Free State, with its capital in Al Hasakah, completely free of but militarily allied with the Syrian Arab Republic under Assad.

Would it piss off Turkey, yes, so, Turkey is already hostile
Would it piss off Iraq, yes, so, Iraq is a fucking joke who gives a shit
Would it alienate Iran, maybe, but Irans a losing bet as it stands right now, fast running out of resources to help even if it wants to.

Russia wouldnt care, it might even appreciate the added legitimacy.
The US might even be pulled in on Assads side if the Kurds go in hard

Friday, 5 June 2015

Greece makes a last minute break for freedom

Greece hasn't defaulted
Not yet
It has however used a rather obscure rule to roll up all of its IMF payments for June to the end of June

A few family members have been to Greek islands recently
Most report being asked, in hushed tones, you'll still come if its drachma won't you?

We will
Break free

We best rush brexit otherwise there won't be a EUrope to leave

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Not even I'm this big a fan of Airpower!

In from the cold details the fall of Ramidi, or bits of it anyway.

They set up a sniper position to supress the defenders
Sent in Combat Engineers with armoured bulldozers to clear the outer perimeter, concrete barricades
Sent in Assault Engineers with Armoured Explosive Breaching vehicles to blow enemy fortifications

As strong point after strong point was blown to pieces, the defenders morale gave out and they ran.

First intelligence was blamed, in that IS managed to move their army from Syria to Iraq without anyone realising.
This is a bigger disaster than most people have cottoned on to so far, because although people are talking about how IS shuttled its fighters around in passenger cars, they are still talking like this was a light infantry push.
It wasnt, this was a mechanised combined arms push.
They massed at least 30 armoured vehicles and the logistics to support them.

Now airpowers on the hook.
And to be fair, there are places airpower could have helped.
Airpower could have bombed the snipers
Airpower could have bombed the bulldozers
Airpower could have bombed the VBIEDs

But none of those are really airpower tasks, they are tactical battle field problems and they should all have been handled by the ground forces.
Pilots arent infantrymen in Starship Troopers like battle suits.

Yes, Airpower could have blown the snipers nest.
But so could The Iraqi Armed forces own snipers, well, they could have suppressed the snipers allowing the Iraqi army time to kill the Combat Engineers, or just to kill the engineers themselves.
Or the Iraqi Armed Forces mortar teams, who could have rained fire down on the snipers, or the combat enginers.
Or the Iraqi Armed forces field artillery, who's vast collection of guns and rockets could have killed the snipers, the combat engineers and the assault engineers all.
Or if the Iraqi army wasnt completely disfunctional and actually issued its troops with weapons, they could have used squad anti tank weapons to hit the VBIEDs early

Airpower did its job, it reduced the logistical movements to a crawl, ISIS had to redeploy its forces in 3 man teams, moving at fairly slow speeds, along civillian roads, using a vast fleet of civillian vehicles.  Rather than moving its entire force in one block, off road, under armour.