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Saturday, September 21, 2013

“One simple, dynamo-technology, low voltage switch stood between the United States and a major catastrophe”. 700 “significant" accidents and incidents involving 1,250 nuclear weapons were recorded between 1950 and 1968 alone.


US nearly detonated atomic bomb over North Carolina – secret document

Exclusive: Journalist uses Freedom of Information Act to disclose 1961 accident in which one switch averted catastrophe 

A secret document, published in declassified form for the first time by the Guardian today, reveals that the US Air Force came dramatically close to detonating an atom bomb over North Carolina that would have been 260 times more powerful than the device that devastated Hiroshima.
The document, obtained by the investigative journalist Eric Schlosser under the Freedom of Information Act, gives the first conclusive evidence that the US was narrowly spared a disaster of monumental proportions when two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, North Carolina on 23 January 1961. The bombs fell to earth after a B-52 bomber broke up in mid-air, and one of the devices behaved precisely as a nuclear weapon was designed to behave in warfare: its parachute opened, its trigger mechanisms engaged, and only one low-voltage switch prevented untold carnage.
Each bomb carried a payload of 4 megatons – the equivalent of 4 million tons of TNT explosive. Had the device detonated, lethal fallout could have been deposited over Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and as far north as New York city – putting millions of lives at risk.
Though there has been persistent speculation about how narrow the Goldsboro escape was, the US government has repeatedly publicly denied that its nuclear arsenal has ever put Americans' lives in jeopardy through safety flaws. But in the newly-published document, a senior engineer in the Sandia national laboratories responsible for the mechanical safety of nuclear weapons concludes that "one simple, dynamo-technology, low voltage switch stood between the United States and a major catastrophe".
Writing eight years after the accident, Parker F Jones found that the bombs that dropped over North Carolina, just three days after John F Kennedy made his inaugural address as president, were inadequate in their safety controls and that the final switch that prevented disaster could easily have been shorted by an electrical jolt, leading to a nuclear burst. "It would have been bad news – in spades," he wrote.
Jones dryly entitled his secret report "Goldsboro Revisited or: How I learned to Mistrust the H-Bomb" – a quip on Stanley Kubrick's 1964 satirical film about nuclear holocaust, Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

The accident happened when a B-52 bomber got into trouble, having embarked from Seymour Johnson Air Force base in Goldsboro for a routine flight along the East Coast. As it went into a tailspin, the hydrogen bombs it was carrying became separated. One fell into a field near Faro, North Carolina, its parachute draped in the branches of a tree; the other plummeted into a meadow off Big Daddy's Road.
Jones found that of the four safety mechanisms in the Faro bomb, designed to prevent unintended detonation, three failed to operate properly. When the bomb hit the ground, a firing signal was sent to the nuclear core of the device, and it was only that final, highly vulnerable switch that averted calamity. "The MK 39 Mod 2 bomb did not possess adequate safety for the airborne alert role in the B-52," Jones concludes.
The document was uncovered by Schlosser as part of his research into his new book on the nuclear arms race, Command and Control. Using freedom of information, he discovered that at least 700 "significant" accidents and incidents involving 1,250 nuclear weapons were recorded between 1950 and 1968 alone.
"The US government has consistently tried to withhold information from the American people in order to prevent questions being asked about our nuclear weapons policy," he said. "We were told there was no possibility of these weapons accidentally detonating, yet here's one that very nearly did."


  1. The kind of Terror under which the good citizens of Tel-Aviv must endure each and every day.

    1. That is their choice, doug.

      That the Israeli have such little control over their own stockpile of nuclear weapons, that they endanger their own people, daily, not the fault of the US.

      They choose to live in Tel-Aviv.
      No one from the US forced them to live there.

      Israel, the only country in the region with nuclear weapons and the only one that can threaten the safety and security of Israelis with that technology.

    2. The Israeli government has shown a great disrespect for the lives of their Jewish citizens.

      As reported by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel the secular government there murders 20,000 Jews each year and that they have been doing so since the dawn of the 21t century.

      Yes, the people of Tel-Aviv should be afraid that their government does not respect Jewish lives.
      They should be fearful those nuclear weapons that their government has stockpiled.

    3. They should be fearful ... OF ... those nuclear weapons that their government has stockpiled.

    4. The Israeli government may just decide they have to burn Tel-Aviv, to save it.

      The US did it to Vietnam.

      Burned it, to save it.
      I even saw the video, back in the day.

      It was compelling television.
      Though the US was using Zippo lighters, in the video.

      Moved on from Zippo lighters to napalm and high explosives.
      Those were more effective, as tools of destruction.

    5. .

      More rat droppings.

      The place is littered with them.


    6. Sweep 'em up.
      Or digest 'em

      Don't really matter to me.

    7. “We seek the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth.”
      Ronald Reagan, Inaugural Address, 1985

    8. Rat's lost his mind. Has complete conversations with himself on a regular basis. If you ignore him? He posts absurd posts. If you comment on them he posts absurd posts.

  2. What the hell is the problem?

    Is not Bethlehem practically Jewish and Christian free?

    One could name dozens of other examples.

    While on the Hamas, etc side the aim is to push all the Jews into the Med. Sea.

    With respect you've lost all perspective.

    A propaganda rag is what this has become.

    WHOLE NATIONS are free of Jews, and Christians too.

    Deer season is near.

    Take a break, shoot some deer!

    Go fishing!

    Get a life!


    1. jeez, vanishing thread.

      Sorry. Don't know what happened.

      Was reading something about Nazareth.

    2. The ignoramus, Farmer Fudd, is at it again.

      Jew-centric writing, misapplied and double posts.
      The inability to manage a Google account.
      Posting as Anonymous, but still wanting to take credit for inanity of his writing,on those days when he remembers who he is.

      Indicating he would sign on, if he could.

      A fella that is not even capable of entry level job functions in the 21st century, yet is full of advice on how his betters should manage the entire world.

    3. A fella that could not even work the counter at Mickey D's.
      The cash register would be beyond his cognitive capacity.

    4. Apparently now, in response to an attempt by fast food workers in Seattle to demand a $15 an hour "living wage", McDonalds is rolling out kiosks where customers order their food electronically before picking it up. Later the food will be made by machines too, turning McD's into a big ATM. The Roaring Twenties are going to suck for the uneducated. Repairpersons of broken automated facilities, like me, will come off somewhat better.

  3. Assad will add yet another a= condition to his deal to destroy his chemical weapons by insisting that Israel and the United States must destroy their nuclear stockpiles. Obama will comply but say he can only ask Israel to do their part.

    1. Well if he does that ...

      MOSCOW -- Russia's Interfax news agency is quoting a top Kremlin official as saying the government could drop its support for Bashar Assad if the Syrian president reneges on his commitments to give up chemical weapons.


    2. Though, for the good of the world the Israeli should dismantle their nuclear weapons stockpile.

      When those weapons fall into the hands of the Palestinians, there could be hell to pay.

      The Israeli no more able to guarentee nuclear weapon security than the United States could, in 1961 or 2007 when ...

      at Minot Air Force Base and Barksdale Air Force Base on 29–30 August 2007. Six AGM-129 ACM cruise missiles, each loaded with a W80-1 variable yield nuclear warhead, were mistakenly loaded on a United States Air Force (USAF) B-52H heavy bomber at Minot and transported to Barksdale. The nuclear warheads in the missiles were supposed to have been removed before taking the missiles from their storage bunker. The missiles with the nuclear warheads were not reported missing and remained mounted to the aircraft at both Minot and Barksdale for a period of 36 hours. During this period, the warheads were not protected by the various mandatory security precautions required for nuclear weapons.

      Even the Israeli are capable of human error.

  4. The bomb story, just another example of the Federals lying o the people of the United States.

    It is a part of an endemic pattern of misinformation, deceit and derision from the politicos in DC towards the people they are supposed to protect and serve.

  5. What happened to the Nazareth thread Deuce?

    Nazareth Illi was it?

    How the Jews were picking on the muzzies again?

    Anybody else see it other than speed readers?

    1. Nazareth Illit it was.

    2. The ignoramus, Farmer Fudd, just can't let go.

    3. There's no evidence outside of scripture there even was a Nazareth.

  6. Renewables were producing 7,500 + Megawatts of electricity in California yesterday afternoon.


    1. That is just a little less than the output from 4 large nuclear plants.

    2. Make that 6,500 +.

      equivalent to 3 Large Nukes.

  7. That was up for thirty seconds.

  8. The Republicans are running ads urging young people to Not buy health insurance. Doesn't it strike anyone else as being wildly irresponsible to promote such a thing?

    1. The Republicans have lost their way, rufus.

      Their thinking is muddled.

      They are Farmer Fudd's kind of stupid, now.

    2. Collective dementia and Mass hysteria.

      These are the hallmarks of Republican leadership.

      Farmer Fudd fits right in.
      The Republicans are his kind of stupid.

  9. This story proves, once again, how the labor union President and organizer from California was usually more right than wrong.

    “We seek the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth.”
    Ronald Reagan, Inaugural Address, 1985

    No President since has ever renounced that US policy goal.

  10. Certainly there are frauds among the one in seven Americans getting help from the program formerly known as food stamps. But who are the others, the easy-to-ignore millions who will feel real pain with these cuts? As it turns out, most of them live in Red State, Real People America. Among the 254 counties where food stamp use doubled during the economic collapse, Mitt Romney won 213 of them, Bloomberg News reported. Half of Owsley County, Ky., is receiving federal food aid. Half.

    You can’t get any more Team Red than Owsley County; it is 98 percent white, 81 percent Republican, per the 2012 presidential election. And that hardscrabble region has the distinction of being the poorest in the nation, with the lowest household income of any county in the United States, the Census Bureau found in 2010.

    Since nearly half of Owsley’s residents also live below the poverty line, it would seem logical that the congressman who represents the area, Hal Rogers, a Republican, would be interested in, say, boosting income for poor working folks. But Rogers joined every single Republican in the House earlier this year in voting down a plan to raise the minimum wage over the next two years to $10.10 an hour.

    The argument holding back higher pay — a theory that Republicans accept without challenge — is that raising wages for the poorest workers would be bad for companies, and bad for hiring.

    But experience debunks this convenient political shelter. Washington State has the highest state-mandated minimum wage in the country, $9.19 an hour, and an unemployment rate that has been running below the national average. It’s not all Starbucks, Amazon and Microsoft in Seattle, either. In the pine-forested sliver of eastern Washington, a high-wage state bumps right up against low-wage Idaho. Fast-food outlets flourish in Washington, the owners have said, because they can retain workers longer, while Idaho struggles to find qualified people to . . . . . . . .

    Red State Pain

    1. Collective dementia and Mass hysteria.

      These are the hallmarks of Republican leadership.

      Farmer Fudd fits right in.
      The Republicans are his kind of stupid.

    2. As the capitalist and industrialist, Henry Ford told the world ...

      "Paying good wages is not charity at all-it is the best kind of business."
      '"A low wage business is always insecure."
      "There should be no unemployment. There is large percentage of labor now which cannot make a living because wages are not high enough. That is industry's 2nd job. 1st job is to make good product. 2nd pay a good wage."
      '"Cutting wages is not the way to recovery. Raise wages and improve the product."

    3. ...
      "... There is large percentage of labor now which cannot make a living because wages are not high enough. That is industry's 2nd job. 1st job is to make good product. 2nd pay a good wage."

    4. Business Bad, Government Good.

      Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,


    5. See, Idaho is a red state. They sell AR-15s at WalMart. Kids order AR-15s from Daisy in their Boy's Life magazine. Even ladies carry AR-15s in their purses. I saw it on MSNBC.

    6. Yesterday doug was lauding the innovative giants of the past.
      Today he is disrespecting the greatest industrialist in the history of the Western world.

      There is no consistency to his raving rants

    7. .

      I look at both sides of this argument as presented here and see them both as simplistic.

      On the one side, you have those who support the current welfare program structure in the US. They have much to back them up. The 2008 crisis was not the ordinary workers fault. Macro trends in income growth and disparity stretching over decades have hit them hard. They have to struggle with the ongoing unemployment and underemployment problems. Can we let them starve?

      On the other hand, up until a year ago most college students could get food stamps. As for fraud, we have seen the anecdotal stories of those receiving benefits of using them for trips to Hawaii. We see reports of the 33 states where welfare benefits taken in total exceed low wage jobs thus sapping the incentive to work. When a young person can get $40k a year for doing nothing but filling out paperwork, you know you have a problem. We see that since 2009 the amount of people applying for SS disability benefits have doubled. Outlays have exceeded receipts in the disability trust fund since 2009 and the fund will be drained by 2016. Disability is the new long-term unemployment program. Once on it few get off it. After two years, those on disability (and their families) can go on Medicare. We've got some serious problems. Throwing your hands in the air and saying there's nothing you can do about it won't cut it for long.

      So now we have three classes in the US, the rich who are little troubled by what's happening beneath them, the ever-growing group of welfare recipients, and the people in the middle who are paying for it, a group that is getting smaller as more people retire.

      There is only one answer to the problem, IMO, good paying jobs. But how do you get them? Again, IMO, there is only one answer and that is growth. But how do you get the growth? I'm not certain although I could offer some suggestions. But then that isn't my job. It's the job of the people in OZ who we have elected.

      I don't blame Obama for the financial crisis he inherited. I don't blame him for the long-term trends that have contributed to these problems. However, he has been in office for five years. In that time, lack of action has taken what in the past has been cyclical problems and apparently has turned them into systemic problems.

      What I do blame him for is for doing little for the job problem. I blame him for ignoring it for over a year while he pursued his agenda. I blame him for an ineffective stimulus program. I blame him for mouthing countless inanities wile accomplishing little. I blame him for being disassociated with anything but the perks of his job.


  11. Our industrial base was not destroyed by Government Regulation and Taxation.


    Highest Freaking Corporate Taxes in the World.


    Beyond description.

    1. On average, American Corporations pay about 25%, which is, basically, the OECD average.

      We used to get about 30% of Government Revenue from Corporations; now, we get about 10% from them.

      Regulations? Like: Clean Air, and Clean Water, and Safe Working Conditions? Yeah, there is that.

    2. Wrong, again.

      Though the rates are high, the actual taxes paid are low.

      Revenue from the corporate income tax fell from between 5 and 6 percent of GDP in the early 1950s to 1.3 percent of GDP in 2010.

    3. While taxes on payrolls ...

      payroll tax revenue to grow from 1.6 percent of GDP in 1950 to 6 percent or more since 1980. Payroll taxes also include railroad retirement, unemployment insurance, and federal workers’ pension contributions.

    4. The individual income tax has consistently provided nearly half of total federal revenue since 1950, while other revenue sources have waxed and waned. Excise taxes brought in 19 percent of total revenue in 1950 but only about 3 percent in recent years.

      The share of revenue coming from the corporate income tax dropped from about one-third in the early 1950s to less than a tenth in 2010. In contrast, payroll taxes provided two-fifths of revenue in 2010, four times its one-tenth share in the early 1950s.

      You are living in a world of misinformation, doug.

      But then you never have let facts influence your opinions

    5. Workers, hourly wage earners are financing the Federal government.
      Capital and Corporate profits are not contributing at normal historical, "Ozzie and Harriet" levels.

      Your thesis is not accurate, your "facts" nonexistent.

      Your opinions, ill informed.

    6. If corporate taxes were being paid at the same levels as in the 1950's, the hay days of America ...
      The Federal government would have no operating budget deficits.

    7. c'mon rat! Doug heard Rush say it so it must be true.

  12. Hawaii requires businesses to provide health insurance to those that work more than 20 hrs per week.

    So, how has That affected the unemployment rate?

    Hawaii has the 4th Lowest Unemployment Rate in the nation, at 4.3%!!


  13. CNN reported last night that Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, a Republican supporter of the bill, received a daily meal allowance of $127.41, or 91 times the average daily food-stamp benefit. Lucas is also notable as a recipient of the agriculture subsidies his committee doles out: He and his wife have collected more than $40,000 worth.

    It’s the juxtaposition of the two programs that so clearly exposes the party’s agenda. Anti-government ideology can justify even the most vicious cuts to the safety net. It can’t justify the massive socialist scheme that is agriculture policy. And, to be fair, conservative intellectuals generally don’t justify agriculture socialism. But the Republican Party certainly does. The ultraconservative Republican Study Committee recently banned the Heritage Foundation from its meetings because Heritage denounced the GOP’s farm subsidies. There is a grim hilarity here: Republicans punished Heritage for its one technocratically sane position.

    Henry Olsen has an admirable screed in National Review assailing Republicans for their lack of interest in cutting agriculture subsidies even as . . . . . .

    Republicans: We were too nice to the hungry, but we've fixed that

    1. Those Republicans, they are Farmer Fudd's kind of stupid.

    2. Not only stupid, but they are dishonest and corrupt, to.
      Just like the Democrats.

      The only two peas in the DC pod.

  14. The BBC reports ...

    Diplomats from a number of European countries and the UN have reacted angrily after Israeli soldiers intervened to prevent them delivering aid to Bedouins in the West Bank.

    1. The JPost reports ...

      EU diplomats say IDF manhandled them in West Bank, violated humanitarian law.

  15. This debate in the US reminds me of the debate in the French National Assembly prior to the Bastille Day....

    "Louis XVI ascended to the throne amidst a financial crisis; the state was nearing bankruptcy and outlays outpaced income. This was because of France’s financial obligations stemming from involvement in the Seven Years War and its participation in the American Revolutionary War. In May 1776, finance minister Turgot was dismissed, after he failed to enact reforms. The next year, Jacques Necker, a foreigner, was appointed Comptroller-General of Finance.

    Necker realized that the country's extremely regressive tax system subjected the lower classes to a heavy burden, while numerous exemptions existed for the nobility and clergy. He argued that the country could not be taxed higher; that tax exemptions for the nobility and clergy must be reduced; and proposed that borrowing more money would solve the country's fiscal shortages".

    AS for the SNAP, the GOP are having their Marie-Antoinette moment!

    I would love to be able to claim authorship of the preceding; alas, I lifted it from the comments of this article concerning SNAP

    SNAP Judgments

    1. There Is ONE American Health Care solution that has had perfectly level costs since 2001. And, damned good results.

      What Works

  16. As Q noted, the presentation is pretty simplistic.
    The problems are not.

    Obviously the US will not be returning to the laissez-faire capitalism of the 19th century.
    There are going to be health and safety regulations, banking regulations, environmental regulations, etc. for the foreseeable future.

    There is no doubt that the US manufacturing base has eroded in so far as the number of workers it requires is concerned, although with automation and innovation overall production of manufactured goods is ever increasing. Automation of the manufacturing processes, ever improving productivity does not require human hands. Fewer and fewer workers will be needed.

    Manufacturing is doing more with less employees. Productivity is increasing, profits are increasing while wages are stagnant overall growth in the monthly employment numbers is lackluster.

    So ...
    People game the system to their personal advantage.

    The doctors have to sign off on disability claims.
    Is private practice medicine the real culprit in Social Security disability fraud?
    Is the growth in the program expenditures fraud, or is it a result of demographics and human nature?

    Perhaps when there were jobs available, the worker would grin and bear the disability, working through the pain. But without a job, the disability becomes paramount. Those disability claims may not be fraudulent, just the only option left for the handicapped worker. At least the private practice medical system would not be complicit in a massive fraud, if that were the case.

    As the population increases, and private sector employment stagnates, what do we do with the people that would like a job, but cannot find one?

    How does the US create economic growth and jobs?

    Yesterday there was a piece posted referencing the Apple Iphone.
    Describing how it was government funded research that enabled the Apple revolution.
    How truly risky endeavors, those that powered the economy forward, would not be funded by private equity, and had not been in the past.
    We could reference the interstate highway system, the Boulder Dam, the TVA and nuclear power generation as economic infrastructure that private equity could not have developed on its own.


    1. Many here, to include doug, have voiced support for government funding of the exploitation of space. How the US and the world has benefited from the spending of borrowed money on a variety of adventures beyond the bonds of Earth. Full tie surveillance of the moon, pictures of far away stars and planets all justifiable investment spending to many, especially doug and Deuce, even Q.

      Is the continuing Federal budget deficit the cause of the country's economic woes, or is it the cure to them?
      The varied answers to that question range from simplistic to incoherently complicated.

      Is the funding of 900 foreign military bases a justifiable expense, in times of economic stagnation?
      12 Carrier battle groups and a million man standing Army?

      Between 1940 and 1996, the U.S. spent at least $8.52 trillion in present-day terms on nuclear weapons development
      Was all that money well spent, invested wisely?
      Should the US continue to fund nuclear weapon development?

      In 2010, the United States maintained an arsenal of 5,113 warheads and facilities for their construction and design, though many of the Cold War facilities have since been deactivated and are sites for environmental remediation

      5,113 warheads in the US arsenal, in 65 years the US has used 2.
      Do we really need 5,113 nuclear warheads at the current rate of use?

      The budget includes significant investments in maintaining and modernizing the nuclear weapons in the stockpile through the life-extension programs (LEPs). Including the costs from FY2011, the administration plans to spend $6.3 billion through FY2016 on the warheads in the stockpile.

      Where should the Federal government be spending our valuable resources?

      Nuclear weapon modernization or solar energy development, food for the hungry, jobs for the unemployed?

      Which will provide the best real return on capital to the majority of the citizens of the United States.

    2. What data matrix should we use to judge what is the best real return?

      Jobs, Security, Economic Growth, how do we weight each of these varied goals when a rate of return on Federal expenditures are calculated?

      Simplistic, of course, each post is limited to right around 4,000 characters.

      The hundreds of billions spent on Homeland Defense, when the risk/reward ratio would tell US that spending those funds on subsidized health care would have saved more lives. That militarizing the police and sheriff departments across the US has not save lives but has been extensive and expensive.

      Your Federal deficit at work.

      Does the militarization of loal law enforcement drive economic development in those communities effected?

      I think not.


    3. In addition to modernizing the warheads and the production complex, the Obama administration has also pledged to spend “well over 100 billion dollars” on modernizing some of the missiles, submarines and bombers designed to deliver the warheads.


      The budget provides new cost estimates for the two new nuclear weapons production factories that are under construction; the CMRR (Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement) facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and the UPF (Uranium Production Facility) at the Y-12 complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Both factories are already over budget.

      Based on 45% design completion, the CMRR is now estimated to cost $3.7-$5.8 billion to complete. The UPF is estimated at $4.2-$6.5 billion. A total of $9.9-$12.3 billion. But even this is probably too low and NNSA promises that a new estimate will come in FY2013 after the factories reach 90% design completion. Full operation of the two factories is planned for FY2023 and FY2024, respectively. GAO recently concluded that NNSA has very poor basis for making realistic cost estimates.

  17. With over 5,000 nuclear warheads in the arsenal, and a goal of total nuclear disarmament stated publicly by both President Reagan and President Obama the US continues to spend 100's of billions of dollars on nuclear weapons, their development, construction and deployment.

    Yet getting little Johnnie to a doctor, with food in his belly, that is just to expensive a proposition for the US government to contemplate.

    No free lunch!

  18. No Free Lunch ...

    Unless, of course ...

    You are with Congress, NASA, JPL, DoJ, DoD, DHS, IRS, or the White House.
    Then there is a $190 a day food allowance.

  19. I will give a couple of "solutions."

    1) An immediate increase in the Minimum Wage to $10.00/hr.

    2) An immediate closure of Military Bases in Europe, Korea, S. America, and anywhere else that aren't directly, and immediately vital to U.S. National Defense.

    3) An immediate increase in Import tariffs from non-FTA countries

    4) An immediate commencement of planning and construction of 3,000 Ethanol facilities, distributed more or less equally by Congressional District