07.04.09

GOP continues to grow the EMP Crazy vote

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Extremism at 3:39 pm by George Smith


Concerned about EMP attack closing the guns & ammo shop early? Look at the bright side: It would end the creep toward socialism and healthcare reform.

If a thing is backed up by hard science and poses a real danger for everyone on the planet, [like global warming], the Republican party denies its existence. If, however, the threat is something rather abstract to almost all Americans, rests almost entirely on theoretical prediction, is something not likely to ever occur at all, and then only in the context of what would promise to be an all out nuclear war, [like electromagnetic pulse doom], the GOP believes in it very strongly.

So it was written earlier this week in a piece on how the Republican Party has taken years to ensure that it has the vote of every single person concerned about devastating electromagnetic pulse attack.

It is a voting demographic entirely lost to the Democrat Party.

“In recent weeks, I have attended two lectures that discussed what could be the greatest existential threat to the U.S: EMP, or electromagnetic pulse, attacks,” wrote Brett Joshpe at the American Spectator on July 1. Upon logon, the publication shoots a pop-up at you, one featuring comedian, actor, global-warming denier and non-believer in evolution, Ben Stein. That would cover all the important bases.

“Although an EMP attack would utilize conventional nuclear weapons, it is an infrequently discussed aspect of our nuclear policy, and one for which we are woefully unprepared,” continued the Spectator lede.

If [the threat of electromagnetic pulse doom] is not enough to wake up members of Congress and a seemingly unaware public, then recent activity by American adversaries should,” Joshpe warned. “The Wall Street Journal reported in April that Russia, China, and other countries have ‘penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system.’ ”

Which is another matter DD has covered muchly.

Chinese or Russian cyberwar will push us back to the Seventies. Electromagnetic pulse attack will finish the job and send us back to the time of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

And the Midwest Business Review has its own EMP warning man, someone named Jeff Carlini.

First, Carlini quotes from ol’ DD without crediting (I’m sure he didn’t mean to).

“If you read some of the extremists from both sides, you get a range of comments. For example:”

New America paranoids have a very special flavor of craziness. It’s the belief that the country will be devastated by an electromagnetic pulse attack and not enough is being done to combat the grave threat.

Which was published here.

Then he quotes from one of the first ranks of the EMP crazy side — the Heritage Foundation — which does get a credit.

Since it’s the stock EMP crazy rubbish though, it doesn’t count much. All EMP nutter stuff is written the same, tolerating no deviance from the script’s numbing repetition.

As proof, from the Heritage Foundation piece’s first graf:

A major threat to America has been largely ignored by those who could prevent it. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack could wreak havoc on the nation’s electronic systems—shutting down power grids, sources, and supply mechanisms.

Yeah, yeah, heard it, been there, broken record.

But back to Carlini, who opines that EMP attack could cost the country more than a few ‘TARPs’. He writes plaintively:

There is a time for fear mongering and a time to wake up to the facts. Now is the time to wake up to the facts. The media should be covering EMP bombs rather than the latest political sex scandal.

DD has a suggestion: More electromagnetic pulse doom news, less Jacko!


Alert readers may have sussed that the current spurt from electromagnetic pulse nutters derives some perspiration and inspiration from North Korean missile testing. Lost, however, is the reality that North Korea’s atomic tests have been fizzles, although the more recent one was less of a failure.

North Korea, it seems, just can’t get things quite right. It carefully prepares the stage, explodes its bomb … and then western analysts spoil the party.

Nevertheless, it has spurred talk of electromagnetic pulse attack and news stories in South Korea on the government planning for the same.

“South Korea plans to improve defenses by 2014 against nuclear electromagnetic pulse attacks that could devastate power grids and electronic systems,” reported the Korea Herald this weekend.

The ministry announced a 178 trillion won ($141 billion) mid-term defense plan for 2010-14, aimed to bolster response to North Korean nuclear and missile threats.

The military will spend about 100 billion won to ready measures to shield strategic assets from a possible EMP strike from North Korea. About 6 billion won has been earmarked to fund the project design in next year’s budget.

No electromagnetic pulse doom abatement plan would be complete without the purchase of American arms to seek out and destroy an enemy’s weapons:

“The Defense Ministry also said yesterday it would purchase U.S. high-altitude unmanned spy aircraft called ‘Global Hawk’ in 2015 … U.S. bunker-busting bombs capable of destroying underground enemy targets will be introduced next year, officials said.”


And here’s even more from yet another handful of EMP loons at the Heritage Foundation. Yes, at Heritage they just can’t repeat the same script enough. You’re just not listening people! Ninety percent of Americans could die!

In 33 minutes or less, life as we know it in America could end. That’s how long it would take for an enemy ballistic missile launched from the other side of the world to hit the United States. If it carried and detonated a nuclear weapon high over the center of the country, the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) would literally fry the nation’s electrical grid and all of the circuitry that powers our homes, businesses, hospitals, phones, cars, planes, traffic lights, ATMs, water supplies, and anything else not “hardened” against such attacks. The EMP Commission chairman has testified that, within just one year of such an attack, 70 percent to 90 percent of Americans would be dead from starvation and disease.

What’s the answer? Spend more on missile defense. Stop funding those parasitic social welfare/entitlement programs. Stop wasting money improving fuel efficiency by trying to get ‘clunkers’ off the road! More EMP attack abatement, dammit!


The EMP crazy lobby also has videos.

Here are a couple featuring William Forstchen. For the first, on Fox, he declares North Korea to be fully capable of imposing electromagnetic doom on the US.

The second is an excerpt from “Coast to Coast,” a famous radio show devoted to UFO kooks.

And here’s a home video on how to protect your stuff from EMP doom. Put those old ammunition cans to good use.

And here is another dude from the EMP lobby, RP Eddy, also on Fox News.

Here’s a video staging of how EMP doom would occur, your bank account kaput, our country sent back to a pre-industrial age, a living American nightmare. It’s put together by defense hawk and EMP crazy Frank Gaffney, of the Center for Security Policy.

Electromagnetic pulse crazy eminence grise Newt Gingrich, on Fox News. Mark Sanford, pre-news of Argentine love frenzy, dragged in, too.

The Delilah Bomb, because it would steal our strength, like she stole Samson’s. Welcome to the 1880s!


“Contrary to media reports, it is not true that an EMP attack from a typical strategic weapon would completely shut down the electronics within a country. First, the effect is statistical in nature – some systems will not notice the pulse at all while identical counterparts will be affected. Second, the most likely effect from an EMP attack is ‘upset’ rather than destruction …”

Oddly, found here. Indicating the chorus of busted GOP wristwatches is occasionally interrupted by someone quoting from an actual expert source.


Related: A few days ago … there was even more.

23 Comments

  1. Robert H. Tyrka, Sr. said,

    July 5, 2009 at 11:04 am

    I hope that the readers of this diatribe are not caught up in the ad hominem trap of the author who, instead of delivering facts that would disprove the allegations of those who warn about the dangers of an EMP attack, wallows in personal attacks–a tactic suitable for fifth graders in the school yard.

    The author avers that it “is something not likely to ever occur at all, and then only in the context of what would promise to be an all out nuclear war”. Obviously he has not read the Congressional Commission’s report on EMP, or he would have realized that the first (inadvertant) EMP attack occurred in the 1950s when an American nuclear test in the atmosphere in the Pacific some thousands of miles from Hawaii destroyed street lights and other electrical systems on those islands–and that was before the advent of extremely vulnerable solid state devices.

    The effects of EMP have been demonstrated over and over again, partly as a means of hardening our military electronic systems, which we have been doing for decades. The outrageous irony is that a protected defense establishment, and more recently proposed by the Obama administration, a defense against EMP for the organs of the government in DC, will fit perfectly with the “solution” proposed by Dr. Strangelove in the eponymous film. Of what use are a protected political class, bureaucracy and military if, as the Congressional Committee predicted, ninety percent of the American people would be dead within a year as the result of chaos and starvation.

    All the bad actors such as the ones in North Korea and Iran need to do, and they are both rapidly moving in that direction, is to design a modest nuclear warhead able to be delivered by a relatively short-range missile that would be launched from a barge or freighter off one of our costs, and with perfect deniability. Far fetched? The Iranian mullocracy spoke about this option several years ago. More recently, a Russian general, when we were arguing over their invasion of Georgia, said that that nation was prepared to launch a sophisticated EMP weapon at us if necessary.

    Of course, we and the Soviets have been capable of doing this for decades, but it served as the ultimate Doomsday device and our political masters for the past forty-odd years have not warned us of this danger so that we as a nation could make the same preparations that the military has been engaged in.

  2. George Smith said,

    July 5, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Please. Yes I have. And way too many reports and repetitions of the same script since. Years and years and years of the stuff.

    Well, if you feel so strongly, why don’t you write an electromagnetic pulse doom warning, too? Oh, wait…

    “The outrageous irony is that a protected defense establishment, and more recently proposed by the Obama administration, a defense against EMP for the organs of the government in DC, will fit perfectly with the ‘solution’ proposed by Dr. Strangelove in the eponymous film.”

    What, we already are digging mineshafts and picking women “selected for their sexual characteristics, which will have to be of a highly stimulating order” since each man will have to “perform prodigious service” to repopulate the nation?

    Where can I sign up?

  3. Ginger Yellow said,

    July 6, 2009 at 5:15 am

    ““Although an EMP attack would utilize conventional nuclear weapons, it is an infrequently discussed aspect of our nuclear policy, and one for which we are woefully unprepared,” continued the Spectator lede.”

    Um, if we’re the subject of an EMP attack, we’ll have been hit by a nuclear weapon. Surely the sensible thing would be to avoid being hit by a nuclear weapon in the first place. I mean, pretty much by definition, if you let yourself get nuked you’re pretty screwed.

  4. Davis said,

    July 6, 2009 at 6:28 am

    Academics are routinely dismissed by the right until they dig up one who serves their purpose but who nevertheless has no expertise in the issue at hand. Notice how Fox tries to give Forstchen credibility by saying the same thing three times: “historian’, “professor of history”, and “PhD in history”. Who can forget Sean Hannity’s calling that charlatan who claimed he could revive Terri Schiavo a “Nobel Prize nominee” over and over.

  5. JohnR said,

    July 6, 2009 at 8:10 am

    “Of what use are a protected political class, bureaucracy and military if, as the Congressional Committee predicted, ninety percent of the American people would be dead within a year as the result of chaos and starvation.”

    Come now, Mr. Tyrka – I’m sure that the surviving 10% will be tough, resourceful individuals, fully capable of supporting that military as they conquer the globe under the inspired leadership of that political class and bureaucracy. Naturally the weak must be removed to allow the strong to reach their full potential. Of course you agree with me. Why allow a few ad hominem attacks to distress you – when you know that you’re right, the opinions of the small-minded literalists can be casually disregarded. In any event, we could always set our forces up so that at the first indication of a missile attack, nuclear death would rain down upon Persia, Korea, The Soviet Union, Red China, The Deutsches Reich, Imperial Nippon, And All The Other Enemies That Hate Us! Ah-Ha-Ha-Ha-Haaaaa!
    Ahem.
    Sorry, where was I?

  6. Jim Harrison said,

    July 6, 2009 at 8:48 am

    The physics of the EMP effect is widely misunderstood, which partly explains the hysteria about it. The physicist Mario Rabinowitz (among many others) has pointed out that the self-limiting character of the effect. A single bomb simply does not have the power needed to short out electrical equipment on a country-wide scale and multiple explosions would cancel each other out. With EMP we’re talking about something more on the scale of what can (and does) sometimes happen when lightening strikes than the end of the world as we know it. The utility industry examined the potential effects of EMP some years ago and decided that it would be a huge waste of resources to harden the transmission system against such a notional threat.

    If you want to get paranoid, worry about the consequences of a super-sized solar flare. Unlike a nuclear weapon, the sun does have enough energy to fry the transformers in the power grid and screw us but good. Worse, we know that giant flares do occur. One that happened in the 19th Century caused auroras as far south as Cuba and disrupted telegraph lines all over North America. Don’t write your congressman about EMP, implore your sun god to be merciful.

  7. melior said,

    July 6, 2009 at 9:52 am

    The “Democrat Party”? Is that a Rush Limpballs quote?
    And you forgot to mention the worst thing about EMP, it saps the precious bodily fluids of our brave drone pilots — just like fluoridated water, vaccines, non-home-schooling, agnosticism, condoms, and same-sex marriage!

  8. George Smith said,

    July 6, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    The “Democrat Party”? Is that a Rush Limpballs quote?

    You caught that, eh? Good eye!

  9. Jeremy said,

    July 7, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    I’m not sure I understand: Do you believe that it is impossible to create a nuke large enough and trigger it high enough to knock out most of the continental U.S., or do you believe that while it is possible, no one with the capability will do it?

    The first is summed up low risk, the second is summed up as high risk, but low likelihood. Which is it?

  10. George Smith said,

    July 8, 2009 at 12:42 am

    Here’s the thing.

    Electromagnetic pulse effect was observed during Starfish size Cold War test shots. That’s megaton range, not Hiroshima scale. So right now, the discussion is ludicrous in terms of real world threats unless you think a nuclear barrage, Cold War power style, is likely.

    The second idiocy involved in this discussion is that no one will care if an atomic detonation over or on the US is aimed at creating a NOTIONAL EMP effect. The response will be a nuclear barrage which reduces the suspected enemy to radioactive sand. In other words, the US strategic response will be to make the rubble bounce worldwide.

    If you’re an enemy with a few atomic bombs, are you going to waste one on an atmospheric shot, thinking it MIGHT destroy the US retaliatory capability (even though you have no empirical evidence that it will)?

    No.

    Only crazy and misinformed people think so.

    So what if everyone in North Korea is entirely crazy? They also haven’t been able to quite duplicate a Hiroshima or Nagasaki level shot fifty years after the fact.

    What about Iran? They’re not even there yet.

    So the entire construct is irrational. Who has made you think this is an easy thing and why?

    So now you know you’ve been misled. You’re next logical question should be: “Why have I been twisted around so by EMP crazies?” None of them discuss the fine details.

  11. dave said,

    July 8, 2009 at 12:46 am

    Dude, a nuke that big, apart from requiring the near-endless resources and ruthless organisation of Stalinist Russia to get it built and lofted into near-orbit, would blow off a significant percentage of the atmosphere and rain radioactive death down across hundreds of thousands of square miles. A little EMP on the side would be the least of your problems, if such an apocalyptic event were, as if by magic, to ever actually happen. Why not worry about the Yellowstone Supervolcano, if such things are going to trouble you? When that mo-fo goes, the US is toast.

  12. Noumenon said,

    July 8, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Please. Yes I have. And way too many reports and repetitions of the same script since.

    Are you saying you’ve made a non ad hominem case against the EMP thing? Because your second link looks like a case for it, and I googled “site:dickdestiny.com emp” and the only claim I found you making that wasn’t “supporters of this idea are generally crazy” (which I will grant you) was your own interpretation of physics: that the inverse-square law means the effect will die out. That’s not exactly cut-and-dried.

  13. George Smith said,

    July 9, 2009 at 5:17 am

    See here and that’s not even half of the material published, not just here, incidentally.

    The link to the EMP commission material doesn’t make that great a case for it when one considers the sources. They comprise a narrow group who are from the fringes of the gov/national lab/private sector natsec infrastructure. Nevertheless, it’s a scab they’ve been picking at for years, one that’s one of the pet hobby horses of Roscoe Bartlett.

  14. Jeremy said,

    July 9, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    George, ok, just so I understand you correctly: you are saying that the likelihood of an attack is so low that it doesn’t warrant the attention EMP is being given.

    Is that correct?

  15. George Smith said,

    July 10, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Well, I only posted part of the block quote excerpted from a book by Stephen M Younger, but it would seem all of it is needed.

    Contrary to media reports, it is not true that an EMP attack from a typical strategic weapon would completely shut down the electronics within a country. First, the effect is statistical in nature – some systems will not notice the pulse at all while identical counterparts will be affected. Second, the most likely effect from an EMP attack is “upset” rather than destruction, that is, a temporary scrambling of the memory of a computer or the frequency of a communication device, something that is easily corrected by rebooting or resetting the device. (Upset can, however, have catastrophic consequences if the computer is the flight controller of an aircraft or another time-critical system.) Third, the EMP output from a typical device is degraded by several design isues so that few, if any, weapons currently deployed in military stockpiles will produce the maximum possible effect. Of all the nuclear effects, EMP seems the most prone to misunderstanding and misinterpretation.

    With this in mind, another point to be made is how could any country with an atom project, like Iran and North Korea, be assumed to have an EMP capability in absence of the fact that they don’t even have any aboveground testing shots? Or in Iran’s case, any test shots — fizzles included — at all.

  16. George Smith said,

    July 10, 2009 at 9:00 am

    In case anyone’s free and near Niagara Falls in September, they can see all the people on this page gathered in one conference room:

    Here.

  17. Jeremy said,

    July 10, 2009 at 11:55 am

    George: There are two dimensions to this discussion that you seem to be mashing together.

    1. Risk, a measure of whether or not our critical infrastructure is in fact vulnerable to this kind of event, and
    2. Likelihood, a measure of whether or not those currently holding (or about to hold) this capability will use it.

    According to your responses, it appears that you are saying that EMP is low risk, low likelihood. Is that correct?

  18. Jeremy said,

    July 16, 2009 at 6:47 pm

  19. Mike Serfas said,

    July 30, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    This is an interesting scenario, though Jessica Alba made the case more persuasively… Still, more relevant video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve6XGKZxYxA (for the bandwidth impaired, this demonstrates that a car can be struck by 800,000 volt so-called “artificial lightning”, and despite a few oddities on the dashboard it is still operable) Real lightning may be more powerful, but even a nuclear weapon in space surely can’t match that level of power over that large of an area.

    I would not suggest for those concerned with such attacks to drop their guard, but I think that the most damaging manipulation of the power supply could be conducted in a far more subtle way.

  20. Dick Destiny » Cult of EMP Crazy: Now a caucus said,

    February 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    […] 2009, from here: If a thing is backed up by hard science and poses a real danger for everyone on the planet, [like […]

  21. JayScience said,

    February 22, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Imagine if pre-911, some republican proposed a bill that would harden airlines against a group of terrorists who took a few flight lessons in tiny cessna’s who were planing to hijack huge 757’s, and navigate them into the twin towers and the pentagon. He would be laughed right out of the building, and yet the improbable happened.

    You are doing a great disservice by downplaying the achilles heel of the USA and the world. Ive researched this to death and it is a very plausible, and a fairly low tech method of taking out the USA and the rest of the world via financial collapse.

    Both iran and north korea have crappy SCUD missiles capable of being used as a delivery system. Even a small low tech nuke, developed or purchased on the black market is capable of taking down our entire infrastructure.

    But there is another threat. A solar flare, like the one that just missed us last summer would have the very same effect. The power grid would go down, possibly for years while the population starved to death.

    Food items travel an average of 1500 miles before it reaches your dinner plate. With no power, no tractors, no trucks, no cars, no water, it would be impossible to farm and transport food to the metro areas a thousand miles away. Up to 90% of the US population would starve to death from a low tech EMP attack.

    Hardening our infrastructure against this is not very expensive. If the republicans were trying to use this as an excuse to spend trillions on a missile defense system, I would be crying chicken little too. But any funds spent on making the power grid EMP/Solar-flare proof is MONEY WELL SPENT. I urge you to go do your homework on EMP. It really is the single greatest threat to this nation and the world.

  22. George Smith said,

    February 22, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Yes, yes, I know you’re all good at cut and paste.

    And if belief in a matter were only determined by the number of trolls who can cut and paste the same scripts (9 out of 10 Americans dead in a year,
    it’s back to horse and buggy days after an attack, bomb Iran and North Korea because they can doom us so easily) into comments sections and editorial sections of newspapers over the last five years, things might be different re the EMP story.

    But it’s still not quite like that. And you’ve conveniently left out the fact that the only patronage of this comes from the extreme right, GOP politicians famous for being birthers, global warming and evolution deniers, and extreme Islam-o-phobes.

    Plus you seem have missed all my jokes, going back two or three years, about EMP attack returning us all to the time of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

    You’ll not want to miss this at GlobalSecurity.

  23. JayScience said,

    February 22, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Yes, yes, I know youre good at presenting no facts and simply attacking people with Ad hominems.

    It’s not ad hominem when it happens to be true.

    I’ve struck the rest. Repetitive. –Me