Marine collapses, dies during PFT | Marine Corps Times | marinecorpstimes.com

The incoming commander for the Marine Corps’ Logistics Operations School in North Carolina died early Friday while taking the Physical Fitness Test.

Lt. Col. Andrew P. Reed, 39, collapsed and died aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune during the 3-mile running portion of the test. The cause of death remains under investigation, according to a Marine press release.

via Marine collapses, dies during PFT | Marine Corps Times | marinecorpstimes.com.

The last, full measure of devotion doesn’t always occur during combat. Condolences to the family and friends of Lt. Col. Reed.

Hobby Lobby, Corporations as people, and Free Association.

The Left is losing its shit this morning over HobbyLobby v. Sebilious, handed down by the SCOTUS.

You’ll hear various wild claims that with this decision the Christian Right is reducing women to mere chattel and all sorts of horror stories and what not.

Of course, the case at hand was not really about Hobby Lobby not wanting to be forced to provide abortoficient drugs to employees. It was whether or not a federal agency could arbitrarily rule that Hobby Lobby must do so. You do realize the employer mandate wasn’t in Obamacare, right? That it was strictly a rule promulgated by HHS?  And this compelling government interest in providing baby killing drugs was so compelling the HHS Secretary Sebilius exempted non-profit corporations and other entities as well as certain favored groups to the extent that 190 million Americans employers would not be forced to provide the coverage that the federal government insisted was constitutionally mandated for Hobby Lobby to provide?

The Obama administration has repeatedly gone before the Supreme Court to argue that the power of the federal government to compel the people to do things they don’t wish to do is both constitutional and proper. And with one notable exception, the Supreme Court has repeatedly slapped down the administration, often unanimously, and often harshly. The Administration continues to argue that the Constitution, a document designed explicitly to limit the power of the federal government, holds no limits on federal power. That the Supreme Court rightly disagrees is encouraging. That so many on the Left don’t is cause for despair.

Many on the Left will shriek “Corporations aren’t people!” as they have been doing since Citizens United was decided. Mind you, CU was the case where the Obama administration argued it had the right to ban books, specifically books that were political speech, the very speech the 1st Amendment was created to recognize as a natural right, beyond the scope of power of any legitimate government.

Back to “Corporations aren’t people!” as the rallying cry of the Left- Of course they aren’t. No serious constitutional argument has ever held that they are. Corporations are a legal recognition that multiple people gather together as an entity. For legal purposes, the resulting group is treated as an “artificial person” under the law. This is for liability, accounting, and taxation purposes. Of course, when the Left rails against corporations, they generally mean those organized as for-profit businesses. But that is hardly the only type of corporation. Virtually any group of two or more people can be organized as a corporation. Churches, unions, political groups, non-profit groups, charities and others are chartered as corporations.

The Left isn’t against corporations that support its agenda. Every time you hear the Left cry the end of democracy because of Hobby Lobby or Citizens United, remember that the New York Times is a corporation. The Left doesn’t want them silenced (even though the government argument in CU would have applied to them). The Left simply wants the government to have the power to selectively silence those views they oppose.

And the Left isn’t against people associating. They’re against people willingly associating, especially if those groups of people do not follow the Leftist agenda with the appropriate fervor.  A prime example is union membership.

In the comments of a piece on independent expenditures and political speech at WaPo, commenter Stephen Lathrop makes the argument that unions, having a “one man, one vote” method of control, are more democratic than corporations, which have a “one vote per share” arrangement:

At the very root of the question lies the challenge of defining “their own.” If “organizations” includes per-share voting commercial corporations, then “their own” typically refers to an overwhelming majority of people other than those making (and benefitting from) the decisions about which politics to support. For those among that group (potentially, and often actually, more numerous than those who choose the politics to spend their money on), calling what results politically “their own” choice is dishonest. 

At first, that seems a rather reasonable argument. You can read the entire comment thread to see more of Mr. Lathrop’s argument, and the rebuttals among the other commenters. Since I’m not a subscriber, I can’t comment there, hence the posting here. To wit, here is my response.

Corporations are entirely voluntary associations. No one forces you to purchase stock in a corporation. You probably own, indirectly through a retirement or savings plan, shares of a corporation, but you are not forced to participate. Let us take a hypothetical corporation that has 1000 shares of stock outstanding, of which you own one share, and another person hold the other 999 shares. A vote comes before the shareholder as to whether the corporation should pursue some course of action. You say no, the other holder says yes. Of course, that settles that. You have the option of either abiding by the vote, or you can sell your portion of the corporation to any willing buyer. That’s freedom of association, as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.

But let us look at an employee union, say a teacher’s union in a state that leans liberal. With the notable exception of Wisconsin, most states mandate that teachers in public schools must join the union that represents them, or even worse, if they choose not to join the union, they must still pay union dues because they benefit from the collective bargaining done on their behalf. Nobody asks these individuals whether they agree with the bargaining done on their behalf. Some may even have strongly held beliefs against the very idea of collective bargaining. At any event, this is an example of forced association. You simply have no choice but to associate with others. Let us say that you are a teacher, and are compelled to belong to this teachers union. You are compelled to pay dues. You are allowed to vote on union business of course. But if your vote is among the minority, you have no practical recourse, short of losing your employment. And while theoretically you cannot be compelled to provide that portion of your union dues that go to political expenditures, in practice, you have no say in what politics your union supports. Not every teacher is a progressive leftist, but union political support almost universally is. So you see, your right to free association has been abrogated by the power of the state to compel your membership. That’s an affront to the 1st Amendment right to free association, which is as much about your right to not be a member of a group as it is to gather with others.

Recruiting Woes

Friday’s Wall Street Journal had an alarming story on the number of American youth who are simply not qualified to enlist in the services.

As a recruiter in the booming 1990s, the Army (especially in the manufacturing areas of the midwest) was often seen by young people and their parents as an employer of last resort. I can tell you, more than a few were crushed to learn, upon turning to that last resort, that the institution they had held in mild contempt had no use for them when they did come calling.

There is a bare minimum statutory level of qualification set by Congress for enlistment. But each of the services also sets minimums via their own respective regulations. Back in my day, AR601-210 was the regulation concerning active and reserve component Army enlistments. Regulations can, and often are changed.

For instance, AR601-210 might change as often as monthly, and certainly every quarter there would be an update. Also, the regulation would reserve to the Commanding General of US Army Recruiting Command authority to set and change certain minimum characteristics for eligibility, such as how many people with a GED in lieu of a high school diploma would be permitted to enlist.

You may recall that back in 2006, at the height of the fighting in Iraq, the Army was struggling to make the enlistment numbers it needed. And not surprisingly, it lowered the standards of who it would allow in. Not terribly much lower. Just a little bit. Certainly nothing like McNamara’s Army of 100,000. But still, the erosion in standards was seen by many to lead to large numbers of troops lacking the discipline and qualities that earlier enlistees had possessed.

With the end of major US presence in Iraq, the coming withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan, and the downsizing of the military due to budget constraints, the numbers of recruits needed annually for all the services has gone down considerably. And as a result, not surprisingly, the services have reacted by raising the standards for enlistment.

One problem is, the very same high quality people that the Army and other services want to enlist are the very same people that employers and colleges want so badly.  Another is that the services have standards in place that the competition simply doesn’t have to concern itself with.  Very few insurance salesmen have to display an ability to perform sit-ups, push-ups, and a two-mile run in a given time. 

Not only are the services struggling to find people that have a willingness or propensity to join. They’re struggling to find people that can meet the big three qualification standards- 1. Mental, 2. Physical, and 3. Moral.

The WSJ article has the painful statistic:

The military services don’t keep figures on how many people they turn away. But the Defense Department estimates 71% of the roughly 34 million 17- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. would fail to qualify to enlist in the military if they tried, a figure that doesn’t even include those turned away for tattoos or other cosmetic issues. Meanwhile, only about 1% of youths are both “eligible and inclined to have a conversation with us” about military service, according to Major Gen. Allen Batschelet, commanding general of U.S. Army Recruiting Command.

The biggest problem is, of course, fat people. We as a nation are just a heck of a lot fatter than we used to be.  I’m not one for encouraging the federal government (or anyone else) to impose corrections upon this, but the fact is, a lot of kids are fat.  We simply have to recognize that. Some folks who are highly motivated to enlist can and will lose sufficient weight to enlist. Most will not.

A further cause for concern:

About a quarter of high-school graduates also can’t pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test, which measures math and reading skills, Gen. Youngman said. “They aren’t educationally qualified to join the military in any capacity, not just the high-tech jobs,” he said.

In most of the schools I recruited in, if a student had a reasonable GPA in class, I was confident they would score well on the ASVAB test. I was appalled to learn that in other schools, those schools with virtually all African American enrollment, that even students with excellent grade point averages were quite likely to be either functionally illiterate, or only marginally literate. There’s nothing like telling someone who recently graduated high school with honors that they couldn’t even score above the 32nd percentile on their second try on a test.

As for the moral qualification for enlistment, I have a couple thoughts, though not necessarily supported by more than my gut instinct. First, when you discuss waivers for past criminal activity by an enlistment prospect, one thing you’ll often here is the large numbers of felony waivers granted. Well, back in 2007 or so, there were a disturbingly large number. But that isn’t as cut and dried as you might think. First, large numbers of waivers for possession of small amounts of marijuana. In some states, that’s either a misdemeanor or even a simple citation. So while our prospect and the jurisdiction in which he was arrested might not think it a major issue, for the Army, any drug related offense is automatically considered to be a felony offense. As such, our prospect would be required to apply for a waiver for enlistment. That waiver is by no means automatic. The recruiting battalion commander, upon review of the waiver request (with quite a bit of supporting documentation) might grant it, or request a personal interview with the prospect to judge for himself the prospect’s level of motivation and sincerity, or request further evidence (such as character references from respected members of the community) or he might simply deny the waiver.

Another thing regarding moral issues. Our notional prospect cannot enlist with any form of all of civil restraint. That is, he cannot have so much as an outstanding parking ticket. He may not be on parole, probation, conditional release, diversion or any of the other terms used to describe someone who is in any way still subject to actions by the police or courts. And the should a court offer any version of “join the Army or go to jail” in any way,shape or form, it is an automatic, non-waiverable, non-appealable permanent bar to enlistment. You’re done. Through. Put a fork in ‘em.  The point being that any prospect who has ever had any interaction with the police has to be free and clear of any debt to society.

A last bit on moral issues, that is, prospects for enlistment who have been arrested. Again, just a gut feeling, personal impression. Many police forces now aggressively pursue charges for very minor issues that in years past would have seen little more than either a dressing down, or a call to the parents. That’s not just because police like to do that. Part of it is known as “holding paper.” That is, when a serial offender finally commits a serious crime, the police don’t want him in front of a judge pleading for leniency because he is a first time offender. If the police can point to a paper trail of multiple, escalating offenses, the judge is far more likely to impose a realistic sentence. Now, most of our young potential prospects, having been cited for disturbing the peace, or what have you, will straighten up and stay on the straight and narrow. And as long as they are not further entangled in the court system, that’s OK as far as the Army is concerned. But it doesn’t take many incidents for a young man or woman to find themselves so enmeshed in the criminal court system that they are unqualified for enlistment.

Let me revisit this for a moment: “Meanwhile, only about 1% of youths are both “eligible and inclined to have a conversation with
us” about military service.”

You’ve heard the US military described as an All Volunteer Force ever since the draft was ended. Recruiters know better. It’s an All-Recruited Force.  With only a minority of the population qualified, and and even smaller segment of that pool even willing to consider military service, recruiters from all branches have to work extraordinarily hard to find the manpower to field our nation’s great services.

Yodaville

One of the major challenges in training both Close Air Support and Battlefield Air Interdiction is finding suitable targets for pilots to train on. Understandably, few communities in the US are eager to have live bombs, missiles and rockets landing on their front lawns. And while the services have fairly large numbers of places they can drop bombs, virtually all of that is merely big open spaces. But targeting a particular building in a built up area is a critical skill for today’s aviator, and learning to do that is one of the most difficult challenges they face.

But building a range complex that can serve as a facsimile of a built up area isn’t cheap. Or rather, it wasn’t. Enter the humble shipping container.

One of the side effects of our trade imbalance with China is that they send a lot of goods over in shipping containers, and we send fewer goods back that way. That tends to result in a fairly large surplus of shipping containers here in the US, which drives down their market value.

And since they’re cheap and stackable, they can easily be configured to resemble realistic buildings. Stack enough, and you’ve got what, from a pilot’s perspective, looks reasonably close to an actual village.

Most bombed city in the world: The Urban Target Complex - or R-2013-West - was built in 1999 about five miles north of the U.S. / Mexican border in southern Arizona

Yodaville, named after the call-sign of the Air Force officer who planned this range complex, it lies just north of the Mexican border in New Mexico Arizona.  By using mostly inert bombs and missiles, the containers can withstand quite a pounding before they need to be replaced. It also reduces the hazard of unexploded ordnance.

Air&Space Magazine had a nice little piece on the Marines using Yodaville for their capstone exercise of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course.

One of the Joint Chiefs must be a closet smoker.

I mean, finally, a bit of pushback against social engineering by the Congress.

WASHINGTON — Congressional efforts to limit or even stop men and women in the military from smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products could create a major morale problem for front-line troops.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff see it coming and hope to get out in front of it.

Last week, during the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee hearing on the fiscal 2015 defense budget, the panel’s chairman, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., questioned the discount prices for tobacco products sold within the Defense Department. “We spend $1.6 billion a year on medical care of servicemembers from tobacco-related disease and loss of work,” he said.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, responded, “We’ve asked a lot of our men and women in uniform, and we lead an uncommon life by choice. But all the things you’re talking about are legal, and they are accessible, and anything that makes anything less convenient and more expensive for our men and women in uniform, given everything we’re asking them to do, I’ve got concerns about.” (emphasis mine-XBrad)

First, I’m pretty biased here, as I am a smoker. And I understand that it does add a lot to the costs military health care. 

But lets be honest, it’s not a genuine concern for the health and well being of troops that’s motivating Congress here. Dogooders care more about being seen as doing good than actually accomplishing any good. What’s the point of being the moral elite if you cannot force your choices upon the unenlightened serfs?

Of course, it’s only a matter of time before the anti-smoking forces win this victory. And then there’s the Class VI store next…

Meeting the Challenge: The Hexagon KH-9 Reconnaissance Satellite

A component overview of the Hexagon System.
A component overview of the Hexagon System.

The CIA declassified portions of it’s KH-9 Hexagon imaging satellite in 2011. Hexagon was first deployed into space in 1971. Between 1977 and 1986 Hexagon performed 19 missions, imaging 877 million square miles of the Earth’s surface. The KH-9 was also the last and largest imaging satellite to return it’s photographic film to earth.

KH-9 being assembled by Lockheed.
KH-9 being assembled by Lockheed.

Hexagon was desgined to replace the Corona series imaging spacecraft:

The KH-9 was originally conceived in the early 1960s as a replacement for the Corona search satellites. The goal was to search large areas of the earth with a medium resolution camera. The KH-9 carried two main cameras, although a mapping camera was also carried on several missions. The photographic film from the cameras was sent to recoverable re-entry vehicles and returned to Earth, where the capsules were caught in mid-air by an aircraft. Four re-entry vehicles were carried on most missions, with a fifth added for missions that included a mapping camera.

Between September 1966 and July 1967, the contractors for the Hexagon subsystems were selected. LMSC was awarded the contract for the Satellite Basic Assembly (SBA), Perkin Elmer for the primary Sensor Subsystem (SS), McDonnell for the Reentry Vehicle (RV), RCA Astro-Electronics Division for the Film Take Up system, and Itek for the Stellar Index camera (SI). Integration and ground-testing of Satellite Vehicle 1 (SV-1) was completed in May 1971, and it was subsequently shipped to Vandenberg Air Force Base in a 70 ft container. Ultimately, four generations (“blocks”) of KH-9 Hexagon reconnaissance satellites were developed. KH9-7 (1207) was the first to fly a Block-II panoramic camera and SBA. Block-III (vehicles 13 to 18) included upgrades to electrical distribution and batteries. Two added tanks with ullage control for the Orbit Adjust System (OAS) and new thrusters for the Reaction Control System (RCS) served to increase KH-9’s operational lifetime. In addition the nitrogen supply for the film transport system and the camera vessel was increased. Block-IV was equipped with an extended command system using plated wire memory.[9] In the mid 1970s, over 1000 people in the Danbury, Connecticut area worked on the secret project.[10]

A reentry vehicle from the first Hexagon satellite sank to 16,000 feet below the Pacific Ocean after its parachute failed. The USS Trieste II (DSV-1) retrieved its payload in April 1972 after a lengthy search but the film disintegrated due to the nine months underwater, leaving no usable photographs.[11]

Over the duration of the program the lifetime of the individual satellites increased steadily. The final KH-9 operated for up to 275 days. Different versions of the satellite varied in mass; most weighed 11,400 kg or 13,300 kg.

I suggest going through the Hexagon Wikipedia page as is there are some very interesting photos of the different components of the spacecraft.

41LE8n6pclL._SY300_

In 2013, Phil Pressel wrote the definitive guide to Hexagon called: Meeting the Challenge: The Hexagon Reconnaissance Satellite. From the Amazon book description;

Meeting the Challenge: The Hexagon Reconnaissance Satellite is the recently declassified story of the design, development, production, and operation of the Hexagon KH-9 reconnaissance satellite. It provided invaluable photographic intelligence to the United States government, and it stands as one of the most complicated systems ever put into space. In 1965 CIA Director John McCone issued the call for a satellite with unparalleled technical requirements that could visually map most of the landmass of the earth, photograph selected areas of interest, and return the resulting film safely to Earth. Developed by the Perkin-Elmer Corporation and operated between 1971 and 1986 Hexagon was the last film-based orbiting photo-reconnaissance satellite. This engineering marvel features the following achievements: the world’s largest spherical thermal vacuum chamber used to test the system; the development and use of new and sophisticated electronics, such as LED’s and brushless motors; the ability to precisely control the synchronization of film traveling at up to 200 inches per second at the focal plane, on a rotating camera, mounted in a moving vehicle and focused on a moving earth; sixty miles of film used on each mission; and, stereo photography of the entire surface of the earth. When film captured by the satellite was sent back to earth it launched in a film-return capsule which was snagged by an aircraft as it parachuted downward upon reentering the earth’s atmosphere. In 1972 a film bucket containing sensitive images sank to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, resulting in a daring rescue three miles underwater by the U.S. Navy’s submergence vehicle Trieste II. Featuring both technical details and historical anecdotes, former Perkin-Elmer engineer Phil Pressel has written the definitive account of this important chapter in U.S. intelligence and aerospace history.

Seems like an interesting book and as such Mr. Pressel has done quite a few media interviews. I recently watched this one from the International Spy Museum in Washington DC:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmWlw8Ufo6Q&w=560&h=315]

As Mr. Pressel mentioned in the interview, you can view the KH-9 Hexagon at the National Museum of the USAF. I do recall seeing it there but being rather time limited I didn’t quite have an appreciation for exactly what I was looking at. I look at the satellite with a guide and to our amusement we noticed a piece of plywood acting as a bracing member on the airframe (granted the KH-9 there is a “mockup” used to troubleshoot problems the real satellites may be having in space).

The KH-9 Hexagon as display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the USAF.
The KH-9 Hexagon as display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the USAF.

 

USS Ranger Flight Ops Off Vietnam 1972

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYWqRN0464w&w=560&h=315]

From the good old days. The heart aches for the variety of aircraft on the flight deck in those days (ok I wasn’t born in ’72 but still).

 

 

 

 

SPOILER ALERT: Yeah, you can have that Viggie trap at the end. That quite frankly scared me a little and gave me a few gray hairs.

h/t to Comm Jam for the Facebook post.

China's Economic Paper Tiger

There’s been quite a bit of buzz in the late about China’s slowing economic growth. Gordon Chang’s blog brings us an interesting paper by the China Center for Economic and Business which estimates that China’s economy is 1/3 smaller than orginally thought:

In a report released on June 20th, the business research organization Conference Board recalculates Chinese gross domestic product going back to 1952. Economist Harry Wu estimates that China from 1978 to 2012 grew an average of 7.2 percent a year. Beijing’s National Bureau of Statistics reports 9.8 percent average annual growth during that period.

Generally the article argues that economic data since 1977 is considered unreliable. Those of us here with a healthly skeptism of Government find this unsurprising (how many revisions has that number undergone!?) but not trusting data post 1977 takes that skeptism to another level.

More from the paper:

For several years now, China Center researchers worked to illuminate China’s productivity performance — a critical input for gauging the overall sustainability of any economy. This is not an easy task, as data issues involved are very difficult. In this special briefing paper”, Senior Advisor to the China Center Harry X Wu presents the findings of his 30-year long work program on re-estimating Chinese GDP. Wu’s results indicate that Chinese TFP growth went negative during the period from 2007 to 2012. Overbuilding, overcapacity, underutilization, and the “advance” of the state into private sector markets are now substantially dragging on China’s growth.

At the moment, China’s economy is vulnerable to shocks, but the biggest one might not be external. In order to create GDP, Chinese leaders have incurred indebtedness at an extraordinarily rapid pace. Beginning especially at the end of 2008, Beijing has essentially ordered the building of “ghost cities,” high-speed rail lines to nowhere, and factories with little demand for their products.

Here are the key findings from the article:

Since 1978, there is evidence of a strong upward bias in official GDP estimates that emanates from several sources. Removal of the bias yields a significantly lower aggregate growth rate.

On average, our new estimate of China’s GDP growth for the reform period 1978-2012 is 7.2 percent per annum (p.a.), which is 2.6 percentage points lower than the official estimate of 9.8 percent p.a. As for the “central planning period” of 1952-1977, our result is almost the same as the official estimate of 4.3 percent p.a., although there are differences between our estimate and the official estimate over sub-periods.

Examining changes over time, our new results show greater volatility and slower growth than the official estimates, which appear, in particular, to understate slowdowns.

External shocks to the economy are much more pronounced in our new results than in the official estimates, suggesting that the Chinese economy is more vulnerable to external shocks than the picture painted by the official GDP estimates.

For the period of the global financial crisis and its aftermath, 2008 to 2012, we show that, on average, the real GDP growth might have been as slow as 6.5 percent p.a. on average instead of the officially reported 9.3 percent p.a. More specifically, we find that growth in 2008 was only 4.7 percent compared with the official estimate of 9.1 percent, and 4.1 percent in 2012 compared with the official estimate of 7.4 percent.1

For the period of the global financial crisis and its aftermath, 2008 to 2012, we show that, on average, the real GDP growth might have been as slow as 6.5 percent p.a. on average instead of the officially reported 9.3 percent p.a. More specifically, we find that growth in 2008 was only 4.7 percent compared with the official estimate of 9.1 percent, and 4.1 percent in 2012 compared with the official estimate of 7.4 percent.1

Thomas “I have a hardon for authoritian China” Friedman and the religiously zealot Keynesian school members really ought to take note. You can go read the rest of the article (I went to the trouble of downloading the article myself, thank me very much…lol). You can only inflate your economy so much and right now, that’s exactly what China’s been doing. China’s real estate market is in collapse due to construction of so-called “ghost cities.” 

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZvcQDjj3Qk&w=560&h=315]

China’s plan is to “coerce” State owned enterprises to move to these cities!? Well, this isn’t really new. The Czarist Russia and the Soviet Communists did the same thing then called Potemkin Villages:

Gregory Potemkin was a favorite and lover of the Russian Empress Catherine II. After Russian conquest of modern Southern Ukraine and Crimea from the Ottoman Empire and liquidation of the Zaporizhian Sich (see New Russia), Potemkin became governor of the region. The area had been totally devastated during the wars by the Russian army, and Potemkin’s major task consisted of rebuilding it and bringing in Russian settlers. As a new war was about to erupt between Russia and Ottoman empire, in 1787 Catherine II made an unprecedented six month trip to New Russia, with her court, several ambassadors, and (according to some sources) the Austrian emperor Joseph II, travelling incognito. The purpose of this trip was to impress Russia’s allies ahead of the new war. In fact, Potemkin assembled a few “mobile villages”, located on banks of Dnieper River. As soon as the barge carrying the queen arrived, Potemkin’s men dressed up as peasants would show up in the village. Once the barge left, the village had to be disassembled and rebuilt downstream overnight. Potemkin later led the Russian army in the Russo-Turkish War in 1787-1792.

The deserted 5-star Country Garden Phoenix Hotel stands in Conch Bay in Tianjin, China. Photographer: Steve Engle/Bloomberg
The deserted 5-star Country Garden Phoenix Hotel stands in Conch Bay in Tianjin, China. Photographer: Steve Engle/Bloomberg
Buildings stand in the Conch Bay district of Tianjin, China. Photographer: Steve Engle/Bloomberg
Buildings stand in the Conch Bay district of Tianjin, China. Photographer: Steve Engle/Bloomberg

There are plently of economic lessons learned here. Geopolitically, it could explain China’s recent behavior in the South China Sea towards Vietnam and the ongoing ADIZ problems with Japan. China’s plan would be to keep the domestic population looking out and forment outrage against “outsiders” and distract them from their own domestic problems.

What does this mean for us? Well, we’ve got more to worry about from a China that’s not opposed to lashing out internationally than we do a China that REALLY economically prosperous.