We are rushing toward a World War I-like calamity but in the nuclear age; two crazy men face off…

July 30, 2017

The news is so bad, so depressing, so scary, about all I do is read the headlines — every now and then going in for more detail.

If ever there was a bad time to have a crazy man at the helm of our nation it is now. We have a nuclear arms buildup something akin to the arms and  war ship building race between Germany and Britain leading up to World War I and the rivalries among nations with conflicting alliances that could blow up like a power keg set off by a spark.

North Korea is rattling is sabers and threatening to hit the U.S. We had been told until just recently that North Korea was several years away from being able to threaten us but now seemingly overnight the story has changed to they could possibly hit all or much of the U.S. mainland and may already have or are close to having the capability of arming missiles with nuclear warheads.

And I am sorry to say all you Trump supporters, whoever you may be, we have an incompetent fool as president who is in way, way over his head. He is certainly not a leader; he has created disarray in his own political party and daily, mostly in the wee hours, dashes off silly and threatening statements via Twitter.

There is another mad man at the helm in North Korea — Kim Jong whatever his name is. Both men deserve each other but none of us deserve them.

At the same time, with the U.S. weakened to the point of near impotence due to the lack of leadership, we have Iran going ahead with its nuclear missile program, and even our ally South Korea reversing its previous position and looking to build up a missile arsenal. And did not Trump suggest that Japan should build up a nuclear arsenal itself and not depend upon the U.S.? Imagine, the only nation to have ever suffered a nuclear attack, at our hands at that, having to resort to building up a nuclear defense program. Yeah that’s what we need nuclear proliferation.

And don’t even talk about domestic politics. While I can understand some sentiment for returning to more conservative values (although turning back the clock is out of the question and impossible), Trump is just making a mockery out of human decency.

He needs to be stopped. Impeached. Removed for being mentally incompetent, or something (and I do not mean violence).

This is not politics talking. I don’t care what your political philosophy is. This what we are going through, and if it continues it cannot have a good ending.

The only good ending is an end to the Trump administration.

Actually he seems to be losing power, not being able to get anyone of import on his side anymore. Maybe he will self destruct.

I can only hope.

Okay, this was somewhat of a rant. And I did not go into specifics. No time. I am at work, at my real job, just taking a break. Maybe later I’ll get specific. But if you follow the news you have to know what I mean.

The World War I analogy was something like if we strike North Korea then China will feel obligated to strike us. And there could be other such disastrous chains of events as well.

We are rushing toward a World War I-like calamity but in the nuclear age. It might not be survivable.

 

 

 

 

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The only thing we have to fear is our all-powerful leader’s nuclear trigger finger…

February 2, 2017

My overriding concern about the Trump presidency is that he alone has the power to launch our nuclear weapons and thus bring about the end of everything. One might ask why he would do that? Gee, why ask why? He is prone to making instant and not always well thought out decisions and his ego is easily bruised. He might feel slighted by something someone says or does or feel his honor is threatened. He is a bully and can’t stand the thought of anyone questioning or challenging him. Or he might just overreact to a legitimate threat. Iran is testing missiles again. And then there is North Korea.


From Politico:

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s administration is “officially putting Iran on notice,” and senior administration officials later refused to rule out military action against the Islamic Republic.

And me writing again:

Meanwhile, who knows what North Korea’s next move is going to be? That country has been threatening and taunting with its continued nuclear weapons testing and missile launches.

Will Trump be goaded to react? It would present a quandary for any president with a rational thought process.


Of course we have faced this peril of basically self-inflicted nuclear annihilation for more than 70 years. Somehow we got through the Cold War and the belligerence of Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union and Richard Nixon as desperate as a cornered rat with the Watergate scandal coming down upon him, drunk in his private quarters with those close to him afraid he might do something outlandish and actually putting out the order to defy the president should he decide to use the nukes. It was thought he might use them to bring his “peace with honor” in Vietnam.

But I keep reading that under the law and policy the president, and only he, has the power and it cannot be overridden. Of course if it really happened, who knows? His order might be defied if it was thought not to be correct.

President Harry Truman was the only president to order the use of nuclear weapons. I’m wondering if he really understood the full implications. It was the first and only use of nuclear weapons in history. It will always be debated whether it was the right decision. The common thinking has been that as cruel as it was, that is dropping two, not one, but two, A-bombs on Japan (they did not seem to get the message with just one), it saved thousands of U.S. servicemen’s lives, avoiding the invasion of the Japanese mainland and bringing the end of WWII.

Several hundred thousand people, mostly civilians, were killed, a large number instantly and then more over time from the effects of radiation.

But the world did not come to an end. But today, there are far more powerful nuclear weapons and too many nations have them. Surely any use now would signal the end of the world.

Since Truman I can only recall one president we might have had concern over pushing the button, so to speak, and that would be Nixon. I don’t think there was concern over George W. Bush, even though he was essentially a Vietnam draft dodger (who reportedly did not serve out all of his required duty in the Air National Guard) and seemed to want to display his warrior worthiness by going to war in Iraq over imaginary weapons of mass destruction. As bad as he was, I doubt he would have gone off his rocker and actually ordered the use of nuclear weapons unless it was truly the last resort for our defense.


After posting all this I realized that the time the U.S. came the closest to a nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union during the Cold War was the Cuban Missile Crisis during the presidency of John Kennedy. I don’t think anyone thought JFK would launch missiles, at least not the first strike, but we did not know what the Russians would do. We learned decades later that we were much closer to a nuclear war than we even had thought. Because of a lack of reliable communication, Russian submarine commanders had been given the authority to launch nuclear weapons on their own – fortunately they did not.


 

Trump? We just don’t know. He comes across as a man mad with power. Even his own supporters have to have some concern, although they probably just dismiss it all — I mean you can’t get through each day if you worry the world is going to end.


To underscore the weirdness of Trump, before an audience that included foreign dignitaries, at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning, he went off script and talked about how bad the ratings were for his former TV Show now that Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken over as host. He jibed Arnold and asked the gathering to pray for him and went on about how “fabulous” everything was when he, Trump, was host. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe the Trump personality. But a few are: vain, conceited, self-centered, narcissistic. Can you imagine him actually listening to and absorbing something someone else says, unless it fits his current thought waves?

—————————————————————————

We all try to avoid thinking about it I think, that is whether it will all end in a nuclear holocaust brought on by a misunderstanding or fit of rage. But that does not mean we don’t face extreme danger.

Maybe we ought to rethink the nuclear weapons policy — such as at least three people, perhaps the president, a military officer, and a cabinet member all have to agree, but time would be of the essence and that might not be practical. I mean what do you have? Ten to 15 minutes? Even that?

Oh, yeah, presidential candidate George McGovern had to dump his running mate Thomas Eagleton because he had seen a shrink. The thought someone with a history of mental problems could assume the presidency and have his finger on the nuclear trigger was the concern.

And even more to the point, Barry Goldwater lost a presidential election in a landslide that saw an opposition ad showing a nuclear bomb exploding in the background with a little girl picking daisies in the foreground. Goldwater had suggested the possible need to go nuclear in Vietnam.

And so some four-plus decades later Donald Trump is elected president. Candidate Trump was rather cavalier about the subject of using nukes and even allowing the proliferation of them, even allowing Japan, of all countries, to develop an arsenal to protect itself from North Korea.

Go figure.

P.s.

But meanwhile, Trump is reportedly busy badgering our allies I originally read on the Washington Post site. There was a description of rough talk by Trump with Australia’s prime minister over a refugee program and then Trump abruptly ending the call. I think this was an unnamed source story, but it seems plausible, if a bit disappointing.


The most unnerving thing about the coming administration is Trumps’s control of the nukes, and our vulnerability to aging technology is no comfort either…

January 15, 2017

I would not be at all surprised if Donald Trump will wind up being impeached and convicted and losing his office. And then we get Mike Pence? Yikes. Maybe more conventional, but better?

Okay, still Trump has not even taken office. And since no one really knows what he believes in (except himself) what with all of his contradicting statements, pure platitudes (make America great again), outright and transparent lies, fragmentary speech and so on, it might be premature to predict disaster.

But one thing that makes me nervous is that he and he alone could launch a nuclear attack. Why he would do that I don’t know, but he hates to lose face and if someone or group provoked him, he just might go off the deep end (and some say he is already there).

Not long before Richard Nixon gave up his presidency under the threat of impeachment the word went out to ignore any orders he might give for a nuclear attack (we were still fighting the Vietnam War), even though the law as it is interpreted does not provide for such a refusal unless the commander-in-chief can be officially declared incompetent (and I don’t know how that is supposed to take place — probably like the military when you are not required to follow an illegal order, except that when the dust clears and the court-martial decides it was a lawful order, you are in deep doo doo).

But this nuclear thing is really I think an underestimated danger. The president is the only one who can order the use of nuclear weapons.

And even with a president in a fit of pique with a screw loose not being part of the scenario, the command and control of our nuclear weapons is precarious. There have been hundreds or actually some sources say thousands of incidents over the years in which there could have been a devastating, even civilization-ending, outcome due to pure accidents and old equipment that is part of our nuclear arsenal. And I will bet you that a lot of otherwise intelligent and reasonably informed citizens don’t even know we still have nuclear weapons — missiles and bombers — poised to go into action and vulnerable to accidents even now, despite disarmament treaties. I mean just one of those missiles is as deadly powerful as all the ordnance dropped in WWII, including the two nukes we dropped on Japan.

If you have not, you ought to watch the documentary Command and Control about a missile that blew up in its silo in Arkansas in 1980 after a workman accidentally dropped a wrench, puncturing a hole in the missile and causing fuel to leak out and resulting in an explosion that sent the nuclear warhead flying into a ditch some distance away. It was later determined that it would have been possible for the warhead to have exploded and wiped out much of Arkansas and that part of the nation (no jokes like, who cares? please) and spewed radioactive clouds to a much wider area.

And there have been many other incidents since. News reports (oh, I know, we are not supposed to trust news reports since they are all propaganda — who do we trust then? Oh, yeah, fake sites on the internet, the Russians) have told us that much of our nuclear arsenal is still controlled by old technology, such as floppy discs (and younger people will be asking: “what the heck is a floppy disc?”).

So seriously, having someone as unpredictable and paranoid, narcissistic, and so full of the need to take revenge, as Trump with a stubby finger on the nuclear button is unnerving.

(sorry, the use of  “stubby” was gratuitous)

It was said that Barack Obama’s shortcoming was that he was too cool. No-drama Obama.

For the sake of our safety and that of the world, I already miss the cool-headed Obama.

And I do want the United States to stand tall and take no guff from our enemies and to demand that the free world partners take a stand — you are either with us or against us, and you have sure lived off our security for all these years.

But a lot of that can be left unsaid. If we are strong, it will be apparent. Calm, cool, level-headed action is much better than bellicose rhetoric that often results in over commitment and putting yourself at the point of no return.

No one is perfect. Obama would have done better to simply take action (or not) than to draw that line in the sand concerning Syria.

We cannot expect perfection from our leaders perhaps.

But sanity we should insist upon.

p.s.

A link to Command and Control (I hope this works):

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/command-and-control/player/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Trump’s nuclear threat and pressure on businesses is a return to tactics of past presidents…

December 26, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump’s call for a build-up of the U.S. nuclear arsenal sounds alarming but it can also be viewed as nothing more than the realization that while we may have won the Cold War, we did not eliminate the threat of forces that aim to destroy us at any sign of weakness. And although his staff has tried to walk back his comments, they are or were what they were. He wants to make sure we have the most bombs and most effective bombs and best capability to deliver them.

(I am not a Trump fan — wished his presidency was not true, but it is. This is not just a nightmare.)

Trump wants to put Russia and North Korea and Iran and the Islamic terrorists and anyone else who might want to do us harm on notice — there will be consequences.

Of course we know the consequences in most cases would be the destruction of the whole world or at the minimum a major catastrophe that would do irreparable harm to the world and all of its inhabitants.

But there you are, weapons that are so dangerous that they protect us by the notion of “mutually assured self-destruction”, I think is the phrase.

(While for the time being maintaining nuclear superiority seems paramount, I believe we should still work towards the goal of the world-wide elimination of nuclear arms, but how do you keep them from rogue nations and terrorists and wind up being caught unarmed and unprotected? a true conundrum. But I’d prefer more rhetoric on nuclear disarmament than proliferation nonetheless.)

Trump was not the first to sound the nuclear challenge or warning. It’s just that he is a little more out there with it and has the tool of instant communication with everyone in the world: Twitter. And although I personally do not use or read Twitter directly, like everyone else I can get his tweets via the traditional media.

But grandfatherly and peace-loving (five-star general hero of WWII) President Eisenhower way back in the 1950s put The Soviet Union and communist China on notice that we were ready to use our nuclear arsenal to stop aggression if need be.

And would you believe it? Eisenhower made this warning and pledge by announcing that the U.S. would protect that other China, the Island of Formosa, Nationalist China, Taiwan, the same nation we no longer recognize (except Trump has signaled a possible change in that), lest we offend the mighty communist China.

And just like Trump, Eisenhower was quizzed by reporters as to under what circumstances would the U.S. actually use nuclear weapons (again; we had dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan to end WWII).

It just so happens that I watched a video of Chris Matthews grilling Trump on under what circumstances would he actually use nuclear weapons. Trump was what some would call evasive but I think he said the right thing, that is one cannot say, a decision has to be made at the time, but what purpose would there be to have nuclear weapons if people thought you would never use them ever? And then by chance I watched a documentary on the Eisenhower administration. Ike answered reporters’ questions on the same subject much the same way.

In General Eisenhower’s case, he was a soldier who knew you don’t give enemies your plans, you keep them guessing, off balance. Trump, as a business negotiator and like a poker player, knows about keeping adversaries off balance and not showing his hand.

And, OMG! I really sound like a Trump apologist now — but I am not! I can’t stand the guy. But we are stuck with him as far as I can see — probably for the next four years at least.

And here’s something else I noticed in a kind of comparison between the nominal Republican Trump and a Democratic saint, JFK. While there is concern that Trump inappropriately applied pressure to at least two private businesses, Carrier to not send as many jobs to Mexico and Boeing about the high cost of building planes for government contract, I also just read about how JFK used strong-arm tactics against U.S. Steel to get it to raise its wages, on behalf of his supporters in a labor union, and then to get it to rescind what appeared to be a retaliatory raise in the price of steel — threatening to sick the FBI on them to reveal details of business trips, such as who stayed with whom at hotels, among other things. I mean Richard Nixon, who originally lost the presidency to JFK, was eventually hounded out of office for doing things like harassing adversaries with the FBI and the IRS. And I am no Nixon apologist either. It’s just that the more one reads (even sifting through slanted stories and out-and-out fabrications) the more one realizes how dirty politics is all the way around.

Trump takes things a bit further by doing so much bad stuff in public. He has no shame, maybe because many of his supporters have none either.

And maybe in the end it will simply be how much the public as a whole is willing to put up with him.

His staunchest supporters may eventually ask: what have you done for me? Or what have you done for me lately?

And what could make or break our new president, possibly more soon than later, will be his first foreign crisis, that is one originating from outside or unequivocally affecting U.S. interests in some other part of the world.

And then neither tweets nor bluster nor outrageous behavior will suffice.

p.s.

I guess the new thing is that he is saying so much while the lame duck president is still in office — it’s a fast-paced world.


There were also thoughts early on about using a nuclear bomb to stop communist aggression in Vietnam but as is usually the case it was determined to be impractical. Instead we used conventional weapons to destroy the country to try to save it (a little sarcasm and a paraphrase of the infamous quote of an American officer on the ground).

From thisdayinquotes.com:

On February 7, 1968, American bombs, rockets and napalm obliterated much of the South Vietnamese town of Ben Tre — killing hundreds of civilians who lived there.

Later that day, an unidentified American officer gave Associated Press reporter Peter Arnett a memorable explanation for the destruction.

Arnett used it in the opening of the story he wrote:

   “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,” a U.S. major said Wednesday.
   He was talking about the grim decision that allied commanders made when Viet Cong attackers overran most of this Mekong Delta city 45 miles southwest of Saigon. They decided that regardless of civilian casualties they must bomb and shell the once placid river city of 35,000 to rout the Viet Cong forces.

After Arnett’s story was published in newspapers the next morning, February 8, 1968, the unnamed major’s remark became one of the most infamous war-related quotes in modern history.


Obama offers peace for our time; where have we heard that before?

April 3, 2015

President Obama seems to be offering peace for our time much as Neville Chamberlain did back before Hitler completely ignored him and proceeded to try to take over the world — and came a little too close at times to doing it.

Obama proclaims our negotiators (along with those of other Western powers) have reached a breakthrough with Iran that will stop it from plowing ahead with its program to build a nuclear weapons arsenal.

It should go without saying that even though many other nations have nuclear weapons most of them are not actively or openly threatening war. But Iran’s leaders have time and again called for wiping Israel off the face of the earth. And Iran is supporting armed insurrections in the Middle East.

It would be nice if news of a real breakthrough were true.

But so far the news is that Iran seems to have agreed to a bunch of things (even that is hazy) but one major thing it has not agreed to is unlimited inspections to make sure it is abiding by the no-nuclear arms agreement.

Iran gets to keep thousands of reactors and we are just supposed to take its word that it is just trying to run the lights.

I hate to quote the late President Ronald Reagan, but quote I will: “trust but verify”. That’s what he said when negotiating for a nuclear arms treaty with the old Soviet Union.

Certainly I am no war hawk. I want peace. But it sure looks like the United States is dealing from a position of weakness here.

We won the Cold War by not backing down. Even though we lost the hot war in Vietnam (a proxy war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union) by default — we gave up — we did wear down the Soviet Union, who eventually met its own Vietnam in Afghanistan (and why are we there now — please don’t ask).

Don’t get me wrong, I think the negotiations with Iran are a good thing. Keep ’em talking I say. But we have to be strong and let them know it is not a deal unless we have free and unfettered inspections. Without the ability to inspect anywhere and anytime there is no real way to be sure Iran is abiding by the agreement.

Hopefully we do have intelligence that will help, but I would not count on that. Our track record has not been good.

There is a delicate art of being strong but avoiding public drawings of lines in the sand. Obama has already fallen prey to that in Syria where he told the regime there that if it used chemical weapons he would attack — he did not.

I just don’t think we are there yet with Iran. Even so I would applaud improved relations with that nation.

Peace beats war except when a belligerent uses the peace as a cover before it pounces on the weak.


We need to quit our nation building now, but we also need to act in self defense in preventing Iran from producing nuclear weapons…

February 3, 2012

It looks as though Iran is getting some pressure to abandon its project to create nuclear weapons (Iran denies it is for weapons, claiming it is for electricity generation only — few if any believe that).

The Israeli defense minister let it be known that time is running short, in the Israeli’s opinion, to do something. The word is, come spring if Iran has not backed off, Israel will strike.

And it seems as if the Obama administration is in on the pressure game, with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirming to a news reporter that the Israelis have said as much. The U.S. it is said tried unsuccessfully to get the Israelis to agree to give the economic sanctions more time — they replied there is little time left.

The U.S. will be blamed whether it is involved or directly involved or not.

You will note the Obama administration does not seem to be telling Israel no (even though we probably could not stop Israel from acting, certainly we have some fair amount of leverage over that nation).

I had begun to write a post about being against our nation-building efforts in the Middle East. But stopping Iran from getting the bomb, so to speak, has nothing to do with nation building and everything to do with self defense of the U.S. and the free world.

There had been a joint military exercise in Israel between their forces and ours planned but it was cancelled. Many speculate that is because Israel had more pressing matters to take care of and did not need the complication of American troops being in the way.

It is a difficult situation or problem, that is, telling another nation it cannot have nuclear weapons when we along with other nations have them. But we cannot let the proliferation of nuclear weapons continue. We survived the nuclear saber rattling of the Cold War, probably because our adversary the Soviet Union did not want a nuclear exchange any more than we did — an accident could have easily happened, though.

Iran is run by religious zealots and political mad men who might do anything. It must be stopped.

I have often written that I think the warnings ought to be done in secret to let Iran save face and allow it to abandon the nuclear weapons program on its own. But this public display of pressure may be needed too.

I would like to see the president of the United States make a speech and say that the U.S. will not allow the proliferation of nuclear weapons and leave it at that, no specific threat, you decide what we mean Iran.

Actions will eventually speak louder than words, and Iran needs to know action may come soon.

I changed my mind about how I would lead into this blog piece after hearing about the latest prediction on a strike on Iran, as I understand it, first reported by the Washington Post and picked up by other outlets, and used as the lead into the CBS Evening News, at least on the broadcast I heard on radio.

And now back to what I had originally intended to put forth:

Just began reading a story on the New York Times site about a Marine unit penetrating deep into the Afghan hinterlands where no NATO forces had ventured before, where the Taliban has had complete control. In the process, one Marine was seriously injured while trying to dismantle and IED and another injured as well. But bringing along some of the native government troops with them, they managed to plant the Afghan national flag.

Well, that’s all well and good, but I would call that “nation building”.

And that is one place where I am in entire agreement with Ron Paul. Under our constitution or at least under our constitution combined with the clear intentions of our founding fathers, we, the United States of America, have no business building nations other than our own. It is far too costly in blood and treasure and not our business anyway.

We feel compelled to hold on in Afghanistan, even though the Obama administration has made it known that it plans to essentially turn the brunt of the effort over to the Afghans come 2013 — but still have U.S. troops remain as backup, I guess —  because we feel we have to finish what we started, otherwise the effort, to include thousands dead and wounded, will have been in vain.

Before I go into 20/20 hindsight, I want to say it is my opinion that we should turn it all over to the Afghan government now and rid ourselves of the burden. If the Taliban take it all back, so be it. If the Taliban start threatening us somehow, we should go directly after them in what ever way feasible.

Now back to the 20/20 hindsight:

The 9/11 attack on the United States, the equivalent of Pearl Harbor, was essentially launched from Afghanistan where the late Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda force received aid and comfort from the Taliban who ran Afghanistan at the time. We made the decision to invade Afghanistan after it refused to turn over Bin Laden and continued to protect Al Qaeda.

We should have gone in full bore, rounded up Bin Laden and all the Al Qaeda we could, took over for a time and supervised the setting up of a new government — yes nation building to a degree — and then at the appropriate time left. And I would not have suggested too long of a time — probably far less time than we, along with allied forces, spent supervising things in Japan and Germany. The populations and cultures of those two nations seemed to take to the forming of democratic and non-belligerent governments. This is not the case in Afghanistan. It is hostile territory with a backwards, tribal culture. Some things are not worth the bother — Afghanistan is not.

I say keep the aircraft carriers and the troops ready to respond where need be for the defense of the United States and its true interests (the free flow of goods, to include oil, being among them), but let us not get bogged down in trying to recreate another people’s culture and government.

If the presidential campaign were a one-issue event I might well vote for Ron Paul.

Neither Democratic president Obama nor any of the Republicans likely to become president are apt to change the status quo, although to his credit, Obama does seem to ever-so-slowly be winding down the costly and for the most part futile efforts in the Middle East.

Like I say, if electing a president was composed of just one issue, I might vote for Ron Paul.

But life is complex, whether the Republicans understand that or not.


Letting outlaw states proceed with nuclear programs is suicide for civilization…

July 16, 2010

Dr. Bill Wattenburg, the late night know-it-all of KGO Radio, San Francisco, makes a good case that we should all be afraid — very afraid, if, no, that is to say “when“ Iran constructs a crude nuclear bomb and possibly lets it get into the hands of terrorists who might deliver it to the U.S. in a cargo container and set it off.

And it will not take “years” for them to build it, as some experts or spokesmen for the U.S. government maintain. Iran is already dangerously close to having the right amount or grade of enriched uranium to construct a bomb, Wattenburg maintains, and he insists with vigor, that the idea it would take years to build is hogwash because the info is so readily available and the process is relatively “easy”.

And then all hell would break loose. “Your life will not be the same” he warns. A blast, likely to go off in some U.S. coastal port, would not only kill and injure a lot of people, it would send the public and even the police and firemen and others on whom they depend into a panic. In short, civilization, as we know it, would cease to exist. You’d be lucky to be able to find your children at school in all the chaos that would ensue. There would be no stores to sell food open, no water, no electricity.

At the same time, there would be tremendous pressure from the panic-stricken public on our government for massive retaliation on anyone and everyone even suspected in such an attack. For that reason, it would be better to bomb or otherwise destroy or convince the Iranians to discontinue their work on a nuclear bomb (something they claim they are not building — nuclear for electrical power and peaceful purposes only, they insist — but their tone sounds kind of like a routine Ellen DeGeneres used to use in her stand-up comedy — yes I am — no I’m not, yes…).

Now keep in mind, Dr. Bill can sound a bit like a blow hard at times and he comes off as some kind of self-proclaimed or at least self-assured genius on subjects ranging from how to get a caterpillar tractor stuck in the mud unstuck to building a nuclear bomb. He claims to have been in on the design of various nuclear weapons, and the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit System or BART, as well as some freeway interchanges. He also offered a suggestion recently on how to at least partially plug BP Gulf of Mexico oil leak — something about stuffing giant steel golf balls down the hole.

According to the latest news reports, BP has finally stopped the flow of oil and hopefully for good. And, interestingly, I just read a blog that suggests the design for the containment cap that BP used and that seems to be working may have been designed by a plumber.

Wattenburg holds a doctorate in electrical engineering. To be fair, he often suggests on his radio talk show that everyday people often have great talent and knowledge (Potential callers beware, though, Wattenburg is not one to suffer fools.)

But back to the main point here — I have heard Wattenburg on the radio for years and I can attest or concede that he knows much, even if he abuses his knowledge and status at times in furtherance of his own fairly right-wing ideology.

When I think about his warning on Iran, I think about how unprepared our government has shown it is for disaster — 9/11, Katrina, Gulf of Mexico oil spill, need I write more?

Letting outlaw states proceed with nuclear programs is suicide for civilization.