The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Post apocalyptic novels are always dark, describing the the breakdown of society, as services (e.g., electricity, readily available food and medical care, police protection) no longer exist. In his classic novel, The Road, Cormac McCarthy presents a very dark, yet somehow compelling, view of post-apocalyptic America. From Wikipedia:
[The Road] is a post-apocalyptic tale of a journey of a father and his young son over a period of several months, across a landscape blasted by an unspecified cataclysm that has destroyed most of civilization and, in the intervening years, almost all life on Earth. The novel was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 2006.
At the core of McCarthy's story is the love between a father and son, juxtaposed against a human landscape in which survival of the fittest rules supreme. The Road is a very dark novel, set against an unnamed apocalypse that allows the reader to focus more on human interactions than on the cause of the downfall of society.

I'm reading One Second After, by William Forstchen et al, another post-apocalyptic novel that is far from science fiction. It's not nearly as well-crafted as The Road, but that's not the point. One Second After is the story of an EMP attack against the United States. In case you're not familar with EMP, here's a brief commentary that recently appeared in The Wall Street Journal:
In a recent letter to investors, billionaire hedge-fund manager Paul Singer warned that an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is "the most significant threat" to the U.S. and our allies in the world. He's right. Our food and water supplies, communications, banking, hospitals, law enforcement, etc., all depend on the electric grid. Yet until recently little attention has been paid to the ease of generating EMPs by detonating a nuclear weapon in orbit above the U.S., and thus bringing our civilization to a cold, dark halt.

Recent declassification of EMP studies by the U.S. government has begun to draw attention to this dire threat. Rogue nations such as North Korea (and possibly Iran) will soon match Russia and China and have the primary ingredients for an EMP attack: simple ballistic missiles such as Scuds that could be launched from a freighter near our shores; space-launch vehicles able to loft low-earth-orbit satellites; and simple low-yield nuclear weapons that can generate gamma rays and fireballs.

The much neglected 2004 and 2008 reports by the congressional EMP Commission—only now garnering increased public attention—warn that "terrorists or state actors that possess relatively unsophisticated missiles armed with nuclear weapons may well calculate that, instead of destroying a city or a military base, they may gain the greatest political-military utility from one or a few such weapons by using them—or threatening their use—in an EMP attack."
One Second After tells the story of an EMP attack, originating from a small container ship in the Gulf of Mexico. From the ship, terrorists launch scud-like missles with small nuclear weapons 20 miles up in an EMP attack pattern that covers the entire United States. The rockets detonate at altitude and fry every electronic device (much like a lightning strike) making the entire electric grid and every electronic control system, every computer, every car built after 1980, every mobile device, and every unprotected military system inoperable—permanently inoperable. The recovery from such an event would take months if not years, and the consequences just might destroy the United States as we know it.

In One Second After, transportation, the electric grid, and communication all fail catastrophically. The consequence for water supplies, food distribution and supply, and medical care become dire within a few days. Within a week, the rule of law begins to break down as mass migrations out of major cities begin (on foot). Things become progressively worse as the weeks pass with no central authority, vanishing food supplies, disease, and other apocalyptic scenarios.

As someone who lives in an area of the country that (until recent years) suffers hurricanes (with consequencial lose of power and communication, however temporary), it might be that I can appreciate the plausablity of One Second After better than some. Even one day after a hurricane, store shelves are bare, electicity is out, curfews are in effect, phones are out ... but that's temporary, and everyone knows it's temporary. What if it wasn't? What if a post-hurricance scenario lasted for months or years with the added problem of little or no motorized transportation.

An EMP is a nightmare scenario that would cripple the United States like no other. It's a perfect goal for Islamic terrorists and it is technically achievable in the very short term.

So ... what are Barack Obama and his Democratic colleages worried about from an "apocalyptic" point of view? Climate change. After all, despite evidence that questions the scientific integrity of the predictive climate change models that are used, despite data that indicate that temperatures have not risen significantly in almost two decades, despite the fact the prediction of near-term calamity have all been proven wrong, despite the fact that no one can accurately assess the contribution of human endeavors to climate change—that's the BIG worry.

Obama wants to spend a trillion dollars combating a progressive boogieman, because he believes that self-serving hundred-year climate change predictions are real (when 10 year predictions have been proven false). It would take less than 1 percent of that money to protect our grid from an EMP attack, but Obama and the Dems can't seem to find the money.

Here's a thought ... if an EMP attack occurs, the climate change models that progressives treat like a modern-day bible/prophesy won't be able to operate, and we won't have access to the 100-year Chicken Little predictions that seem to energize them. That alone should be reason for this president and his party to push hard for funding that would combat an EMP attack— a real existential threat and a real present danger.