Don’t Believe your Lying Eyes!
President Joe Brandon and the Democratic Party finally have a plan to get inflation under control and address the economic anxiety felt by millions of Americans. It’s not a plan in the conventional sense, but rather a public relations campaign to convince the American people that “despite their current misgivings, the economy is actually doing quite well.”
Everything is going to plan. Be of good cheer. Famine coming? Just look the stats, it’s part of the new normal and we don’t call it a “famine”. We’ll use another name for it.
Inflation is soaring and gas prices are through the roof, but Americans are wrong to be concerned about the direction of the country, the president and his allies will argue this month. Politico reports that Brandon has assembled a team of experts and professional communicators to make the case that, actually, the economy is good. The White House effort to “communicate on our accomplishments” kicked off on Monday with a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which Biden touted his stewardship of “the most robust recovery in modern history” and cited a bunch of macroeconomic statistics to make his case.
The War in Ukraine
This is a Map of the Area where HIMARS MLRS M30/M31 Rockets with a range of up to 70 km can strike inside the Russian-held Territory when fired from the Ukrainian frontlines. I don’t think that these battlefield rockets will change the dynamics because there aren’t enough of them, but they will take out ammo, fuel and food dumps, headquarters units, and critical infrastructure. They will make Russian offensives difficult to put together.
The greatest inflation in Germany’s history occurred mainly from 1919-1923, but it had already started in 1914, with the outbreak of WWI. When the war began, the German government increased the money supply in order to cover the soaring costs, initially of the war itself, and afterward, of the heavy reparations that the Allies had imposed on Germany in the Treaty of Versailles. One means of increasing the supply of money was the issue of war bonds purchased by many citizens. At the same time, it was decided to cut the linkage between the German mark and the price of gold. The result was an expanding gap between the value of a gold-based currency (the gold Mark, which was actually in use until the end of the days of the German Empire) and paper currency, which could be printed in almost unlimited quantities.
Flooding the market with printed money rapidly lowered its value, so that prices rose disproportionately, while the real wage of salaried workers fell sharply. On payday, employees hurried to reach the stores before the exchange rate of the mark vis-à-vis the dollar which was usually even lower than it had been a few days earlier. Prices rose to absurd sums: at the end of the period of hyperinflation, in the fall of 1923, a loaf of bread cost many billions, and to send a single postcard from Munich to Prague required stamps worth 36 billion marks; One dozen eggs cost 4 billion marks! It was not uncommon to see shoppers hauling buckets, bags, and even wheelbarrows full of banknotes.
In such a situation, the central bank ceased investing in the design of bills and in their printed elements since it was not worthwhile to produce counterfeit bills, all of the graphic markings that were meant to serve as obstacles to counterfeiting, and some bills were even only one-sided. By mid-1923 the nation’s central banks were using more than 30 paper factories, almost 1,800 banknote printing presses, and 133 companies to print and issue banknotes. The production of paper money, ironically enough, was one of Germany’s few profitable industries. The 1923 hyperinflation forced the Weimar government to confront its own extinction. Hyperinflation was finally tamed by the issuance of a new currency indirectly pegged to gold bonds.
Breaking the Baltic
(Defense News) h/t Claudio It’s a good article on the transformative nature of thought in terms of the potential military blockade of Russian Baltic Ports with Finland and Sweden taking a very active role. What a difference the invasion of Ukraine has made in NATO, Finland and Sweden.
Mines and Countermines
“The way to defend a city does not rely upon the enemy not coming, but relies upon our own preparedness to receive them; it does not rely upon the enemy not attacking but relies upon what we have done to make ourselves unassailable.”-Sun Tzu.
Bianjing (modern Kaifeng), the capital of the Northern Song (960-1127) dynasty, boasted sophisticated siege defense installations, which were ultimately breached by the Jurchen invasion of 1126-1127. Due to the lack of experienced generals and personnel however the whole defense was disorganized.
“In the upper section of this plate, the Jin siege of Kaifeng in 1126 is helped along by mining. A heavy wooden head cart or ‘wooden donkey’ has been pushed up against the wall of Kaifeng to cover the entrance to the mine, but the attackers are by no means just passive victims of stones and rocks from the wall, and are firing back with a crossbow and hurling grenades. Concealed safely within the head cart, a soldier hauls on the winch that slowly pulls towards the walls the other cart in which waste soil has been taken back to the Jin lines. Meanwhile, in the lower section, we see the Song using very ancient countermining measures and equipment. These include a listening device made from skin stretched over a drum. The final vignette shows what happens when an enemy mine is located. The defenders blow poisonous smoke down the passage towards the attacker.”-Stephen Turnbull.
In January 1127, Kaifeng fell to Jin forces. Emperor Qinzong and his father, Emperor Huizong, were captured by the Jin army, and they would die in captivity. Thus, the Northern Song dynasty came to an end. Song princesses became palace slaves and others were taken as slaves by Jin princes. Some Song princesses became Jin princes’ concubines. Remnants of the Song imperial family retreated to southern China and eventually relocated to Lin’an (modern Hangzhou). The retreat divided the dynasty into two distinct periods, Northern Song and Southern Song.