“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Is there a more stupid idea than non-nuclear weapons?

Let me see if I have this straight. Non-nuclear intercontinental weapons, launched by missiles, capable of striking anywhere are going to make us more safe?

Brilliant. Now any country can start building them as after all they are not nuclear so what could be the harm?

Well allow me to ask a dumb question. When one of these babies are launched, how is someone to know where it is going and what is on board? Do we wait till it drops to see if it is launching a satellite, doing an experiment, carrying conventional non-nuclear weapons, or only fooling and carrying a nuclear weapon?

In case the brain trust that is pushing this hasn't noticed almost any country can build or buy intercontinental weapons. High intensity explosives are equally widely available. Take away the accepted horror and deterrence of nuclear weapons and replace them with something more acceptable (conventional) and they will become widespread and seriously considered for use.

How will we object to their spread? How we will we control their use?

Just thought I would ask.


U.S. looks to nonnuclear weapons to use as deterrent

By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post staff writer
Thursday, April 8, 2010

As the White House pushes for cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the Pentagon is developing a weapon to help fill
the gap: missiles armed with conventional warheads that could strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour.

U.S. military officials say the intercontinental ballistic missiles, known as Prompt Global Strike weapons, are a necessary new form of deterrence against terrorist networks and other adversaries. As envisioned, the conventional missiles would give the White House a fresh military option to consider in a crisis that would not result in a radioactive mushroom cloud.

The Prompt Global Strike program, which the Pentagon has been developing for several years, is already raising hackles in Moscow, where Russian officials predict it could trigger a nonnuclear arms race and complicate President Obama's long-term vision of ridding the world of nuclear weapons. U.S. military officials are also struggling to solve a separate major obstacle: the risk that Russia or China could mistake the launch of a conventional Prompt Global Strike missile for a nuclear one.

"World states will hardly accept a situation in which nuclear weapons disappear, but weapons that are no less destabilizing emerge in the hands of certain members of the international community," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters Tuesday in Moscow.

The White House says that development of Prompt Global Strike is not affected by the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are scheduled to sign Thursday in Prague. Analysts say, however, that any conventional ballistic missiles would count the same as nuclear ones under the treaty, which places new limits on each country's stockpile.

Deployment of a conventional ballistic missile is not expected until 2015 at the earliest. But the program has received a recent boost from the Obama administration, which sees the missiles as one cog in an array of defensive and offensive weapons that could ultimately replace nuclear arms.

The administration has asked Congress for $240 million for next year's Prompt Global Strike development programs, a 45 percent increase from the current budget. The military forecasts a total of $2 billion in development costs through 2015 -- a relative bargain by Pentagon standards.

After years of preparation, the Air Force is scheduled to perform an initial flight test of a prototype next month.

"Capabilities like an adaptive missile defense shield, conventional warheads with worldwide reach and others that we are developing enable us to reduce the role of nuclear weapons," Vice President Biden said in a February speech at the National Defense University. "With these modern capabilities, even with deep nuclear reductions, we will remain undeniably strong." Continue


  1. Baby-Doll looks good in Red, eh?

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  3. In word, NO.

    There is no more stupid idea than to build and maitain a stockpile of weapons that WILL NEVER be used.

    Not while the US is not attacked, in kind.

    Welcome to the 21st Century, where "Weapons of Limited Destruction" are all the thing.

    Welcome to the results of US military bomb target videos.
    To the electorates' knowledge that we can place HE on the target, through a bathroom window or ventilation shaft.

    One wonders if this consequence was "unintended", as Ronald Wilson Reagan worked hard to abolish nuclear weapons from the whirled. It was his desire, too, to have only non-nuclear weapons.

    Smart fella, Ronald Wilson Reagan, for a RINO.

  4. Washington Post -

    AP BUDAPEST, Hungary -- A far-right party backed by black-clad paramilitary extremists was poised to make dramatic gains in Hungary on Sunday in national elections mirroring recent advances by anti-immigrant parties across Europe.

  5. Wow! What a concept

    ICBM -Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

    I had to look that one up.

    We get to have the ability to send missiles half way around the whirled to bomb people and things, but humanity needn't worry because the warhead is non-atomic.

    We can get back to the old fashioned whirled war without the fear of nuclear annihilation.

    BTW - I heard that a new kind of gun is under secret development. This gun will be able to fire up to 1200 rounds per minute and will be accurate up to 800 yards.

  6. I guess they're looking at the stage expanding out to Africa. We've possibly missed a few targest in, and around, Somalia due to it taking too long to get on-site, and loaded.

    With today's satellites, and radar there shouldn't be any problems with the Russkies mistaking a trajectory to the Sudan with one to Moscow.

    It doesn't sound like a particularly big deal to me. Having a couple of missiles on stand-by in case we locate a high-value target on a mountain-top in Yemen might make some asshole there just a little bit more cautious. Whatever.

  7. Remember how much trouble it was to negotiate flight paths (and, this was with the Europeans) when we went to bomb Khaddafi? Imagine trying to "secretly" negotiate a flight path into the heart of Africa. The more I think about the idea, the more it makes a little sense.

  8. That's why we have cruise missiles. They are slow enough and still practical to do what has to be done.

    Nuclear weapons have an almost impossibly high use threshold but are a tremendous deterrent weapon. Lowering the use threshold and increasing the viability of intercontinental missiles will not increase security.

    I can imagine a scenario where any wealth generating economy could afford and would be entitled to arm up with non-nuke ICBMS. That would include Brazil, Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and many others.

    US security is guaranteed with its existing nuclear based system. Exchanging that for a more universally democratic non-nuclear system is insane.

  9. Then there's Waziristan. The Drones are killing a lot of the Jihadi Bums, there.

    But, with drones we have to have an airbase in Afghanistan. With missiles we don't.

  10. Deuce, I think you're misreading the program. We're still going to have Plenty of Nukes. They're just saying, let's throw a few conventional warheads on ICBMs for the occasional hard-to-reach in time bad guy.

  11. The Dollar numbers they are throwing around are pretty small for a Military Program. It looks to me like they're talking a handful (less than 50) of units.

    I don't see where it could hurt to have another option.

  12. Hey, the V-2 terrorized some Londoners!

    'Rat and Rufus terrify me:

    Will senescence be as cruel to me as it has been to them?


  13. You assert stupid fuck shit day after day Rufus.

    Tell us again how California Public Employee Unions getting socialist Dems elected decade after decade, and getting unsustainable pensions and bennies have NOT bankrupted California.

    That one makes me laugh,
    or cry,
    ...when I fear I may one day become as pathetic as you.

  14. Mr. Contra, spewing pure BS.

  15. How can you tell if someone carrying a weapon has it loaded or not?

    Palin asks a valid question. Where did Obama develop his military expertise? Probably the same pace he developed expertise on healthcare.

  16. "One of the major stories of 2010 will revolve around how governments, local and statewide deal with massive budget gaps. The solutions are simple at least on paper but people don’t want to hear them.

    You either cut spending or raise taxes. That is it.

    Unlike the federal government states and local governments don’t have printing presses and need to raise money in other ways. Yet as obvious as the solutions many are still clinging to their own delusions and are clouded by their own perception that certain markets are still immune to the laws of economics.

    They are not.

    Dr. Housing Bubble

    Rufus will deny until he can't.
    Then will revise and deny.

  17. 1) We are the only country on earth that can shoot down ballistic missiles, and

    2) You announce that a ballistic missile launched from a "Nuclear" country will be considered to be Nuclear-armed.

    It's really not that big a deal, I think.

  18. How could I, living in Mississip, possibly give a damn about California's "pension" problems?

    Most Especially, since this particular problem jumps up every time we have a recession.

    Doug, the last time I looked the buses in Kaliforneea were still running. If they stop, that'll be okay with me, too.

    The Californians are crazy people. We've known that ever since there's been a Kaliforniay. What sane person would possibly spend a second thinking about it?

  19. BTW, this isn't "Obamas" missile program. I bet if you'll track it down they've been playing with this idea for years. I'd say it came straight out of the Air Force.

    As for H/C: They got that from a Republican - Romney. The Federal program is almost a carbon copy of the Mass program (which no one there wants to repeal, btw.)

  20. Comment by Sabin Figaro
    April 10th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Heard a fascinating piece on NPR today about Mangetar hedge fund, perhaps the epicenter of the housing bubble and the death spiral the world economy is in right now. They bought the lowest tranche of the CDOs (40B worth), then bought much larger CDS’s on the upper tranches, knowing that the entire CDO was worthless. They were built to fail because the CDS was worth way more than the CDO tranche. Without a buyer for the ‘Equity’ tranche (riskiest) the CDO would probably never have been created in the first place.

    Citibank and the others created the CDO and SOLD IT TO THEMSELVES! The creaters and executives then collected huge commisions and bonuses for selling the CDO’s, knowing that if they failed, they got to keep their bonuses and the government would bail out the too-big-to-fail banks.

    I know some of the readers don’t believe the Good Doctor, but this is all a giant pile of shit that WILL come crashing down. There is no valid financial infrastructure supporting this and all of these areas are still in delusional, criminal price-support by a complicit congress, a farce of a banking system, and a million Californians that don’t care if the bedroom’s on fire because they’re sitting in the living room.

    Think about this for one moment:

    Nobody went to jail, Magnetar is still in business. Coutrywide DBA BOA, Wachovia DBA Wells Fargo.

    Tell me what the hell do you think got fixed? Nothing! That’s what.

    We are still falling into the abyss, but they put a giant safety net up that will break sooner or later, so some think we’re right back on the gravy train. They haven’t even stopped doing business as usual.

  21. "What sane person would possibly spend a second thinking about it?"
    Anyone who actually cares about this nation's economic future.

    ...but you have officially become a "denier" imho, so we agree to disagree.

  22. Calif. NY, Illinois, NJ...

    Oops not NJ, thanks to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

  23. Doug, where have you been? We go through this Every recession.

    They increase spending, and borrowing, to the max during the "good times," and start screeching, and rending their garments when the recession hits. It's the same ol', same ol'.

    If the recession is over their tax revenue will pick back up, and they'll be fine (after cutting a little spending.)

    If we double-dip due to high gasoline prices they'll have to take more serious action. But, take that action they will.

    Whatever they do, I Guarantee you it will NOT affect me, or thee (unless you still own property in Ca., or have relatives working there.)

  24. Yeppers, Rufus:
    The socialists in DC and Kaliforny, no different than before...
    Unless you consider two Trillion to be a larger number than 400 billion.
    Which you deny.

    Just another recession,
    all systems normal.

    Ponzi schemes never come to an end.

  25. As for "numbers:" I don't trust anyone's numbers but my own.

    As for how different this recession has been? So far, not much. Actually, nowhere near as bad as 80 - 82, by any metric.

    We had the potential, of course, of Crashing the entire World's monetary system. It looks like that danger is past. It "could" still happen, but it's looking more, and more doubtful.

    If it does all come "crashing down" it won't be because of anything that happened in California, or Il.

  26. Admittedly, it's an assault on reason that a couple of hundred (or more) of the biggest names on Wall Street, and their cohorts in the ratings agencies aren't in jail, but that's a topic for a different thread.

    That we've only reduced an incredibly, extraordinarily, outrageous degree of Criminality, and Fraud on Wall Street to "incredibly high" should not come as too big a surprise to one with your intelligence, pineapple head. It's kind of in keeping with how the world works, you know.

  27. Yeah, CA was what, the 7th largest economy in the World?

    ...but you're the one who responded to the 500 billion Calpers shortfall with:

    "Everyone invested in the market suffered losses"

    ...ignoring the fundamentals having nothing to do with the market, and everything to do with the deadly public employee union/political crony corruption scandal.

  28. DC Fraud has increased manyfold, in one year.
    Rufus characterizes this as

  29. Doug robbing a liquor store

    No wonder he's not been heard from for a couple days. (kinda explains his mood this morning, also.)

  30. OK, back to where Rufus actually knows a bit about what he's talking about:

    217. Charles
    197. Lifeofthemind

    "The post that did not post in here has two links. One is about China building the capacity to neutralize the US Navy. The other is a link to a report that oil shale reserves discovered near Gdansk and contracted for by Conoco potentially increase EU reserves by 47%
    Yeah this is of a piece with the news that the USA’s natural gas reserves have shot up from a 10 year supply to a 100 year supply–in just the last 24 months. New technologies and procedures have opened up vast new reserves of natural gas supplies all over.

    Putin’s natural gas play was neutralized in the last two years by advances in US natural gas technological capabilities.

    The answer to the capital drain and recapitalization of America–and maybe Europe — is to get with the program that T Boone Pickens advocates. Switch over all trucks and busses to natural gas. That will zero out US oil imports.

    (pickens has since backed off his windmill idea.)

    A couple more big natural gas finds for the Europeans like the one in Gdansk and they’ll be able to switch to natural gas and chop down much of their foreign oil import bill."

  31. Just below at Ace:
    Superputz Grahmnesty and Schumer -

    Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer To Introduce Amnesty Bill

    I've never understood why Graham had such a hard-on for amnesty. Can there be that many illegals in SC? Is he that beholden to illegal-hiring industries or does he just want to be seen as a 'nice' guy?

    Oh how I loathe that man from his holier-than-thou attitude down to his goofy little boy haircut, puffy face, and his whiny twangy accent. South Carolina I blame you for this abomination of a RINO.

    I've never understood why Graham had such a hard-on for amnesty. Can there be that many illegals in SC? Is he that beholden to illegal-hiring industries or does he just want to be seen as a 'nice' guy?
    Oh how I loathe that man from his holier-than-thou attitude down to his goofy little boy haircut, puffy face, and his whiny twangy accent. South Carolina I blame you for this abomination of a RINO.

  32. Doug, you'll notice I made reference to "Wall Street" fraud, not DC fraud. Having a little trouble reading this morning?

  33. I posted that vid before, Rufus.
    You were too blind to see it was me.

    This version has better audio.

  34. Everybody has a bad day, now and then.

  35. Doug, hydraulic fracturing (fraccing) isn't "new" technology, and it does have a few problems. It's expensive (not prohibitively so, but not cheap.) It requires pumping stuff like Diesel, and Benzene down into the shale. The problem being that you're dealing with Very High pressures, and if the pipe cracks you end up with cancer-causing agents in your ground water (New York has already put the Marcellus Shale deal on hold pending study.)

    Also, the "shale" wells produce like hell for a year, or two, and then fall way back. Nobody is for sure, yet, just how much we will get from the Shale plays.

    Having said that, it is still very promising. NOT "100 Years" promising, but maybe "30 years" promising. Nat gas will work for some fleet operations, like UPS, or Fedex, but will never be important for "private" transportation. It costs over $500,000.00 to add nat gas to One filling station. And, that's if you have a pipeline running by your station.

    Have to check on the Gdansk story. I haven't heard anything about it. Sounds like a bit of hype to me. I'll look it up.

  36. Doug, all them little old Southern chicken-plucking, meat-packing, textile factories just loves them a lot of that cheap Mexican labor. F'n Trent Lott wanted to vote for that bill so bad it made his teeth hurt. If it would have been close he would have.

    Cherchez le buckeroos, matey.

  37. Crikey.

    Watching the news shows this morning I saw that Janet Napolitono was on Obama's short list for nomination to the supreme court.

    All I can say is

    Unleash the Kraken!


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  39. We listened to a lot of NPR this weekend (the dogs like it on lengthy rides, you see) and today caught Bob Edwards Weekend. The first hour focused on HTS and Human Terrain Teams.

    It was excellent:

    Brilliant late afternoon back here in the Obama-lovin' portion of the Confederacy.

    I think we'll have beer on the patio for dinner.

  40. Quirk,

    Big Sis plus the wise Latino would probly add up to a record-setting low, IQ-wise, in the history of the court.

    Pubs, OTOH should nominate a woman for POTUS, women being the only Pubs in town that have not been completely de-balled wrt to what they are willing to say in public.

    See Palin, Bachmann, and Malkin.