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Index » Regional/Local » USA/Canada » Regional nuclear war
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miamizsun

miamizsun Avatar

Location: (3261.3 Miles SE of RP)
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 6, 2018 - 8:28am

seems to be a lot of unnecessary fear/concern regarding foolish leaders throwing nukes around

of course fear is the easiest emotion to evoke and sell of all and possibly the worst one to base a decision on

pinker has assembled some good data and it is worth your time (some stuff from the better angels of our nature on his website)
=====================================================================================

You say that cruel punishments and slavery have been abolished. But torture was practiced by the United States during the Bush administration, and human trafficking still takes place in many countries.

There is an enormous difference between a clandestine, illegal, and universally decried practice in a few parts of the world and an open, institutionalized, and universally approved practice everywhere in the world. Human trafficking, as terrible as it is, cannot be compared to the African slave trade (see pp. 157–188), nor can the recent harsh interrogation of terrorist suspects to extract information, as indefensible as it was, be compared to millennia of sadistic torture all over the world for punishment and entertainment (see pp. 130-132 and 144–149). In understanding the history of violence, one has to make distinctions among levels of horror. 

 

Haven’t we just been lucky? If Churchill hadn’t stood up to Hitler, if Stalin hadn’t been willing to sacrifice tens of millions of Russians,  if German scientists had succeeded in their nuclear program, then most of the world would be living under the horrors of the Third Reich. 

True, but these counterfactuals go both ways. As John Mueller has put it, “had Adolf Hitler gone into art rather than politics, had he been gassed a bit more thoroughly by the British in the trenches in 1918, had he, rather than the man marching next to him, been gunned down in the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, had he failed to survive the automobile crash he experienced in 1930, had he been denied the leadership position in Germany, or had he been removed from office at almost any time before September 1939 (and possibly even before May 1940), Europe’s

greatest war would most probably never have taken place.” 

 

One could argue that in fact the world has just emerged from a run of stupendous bad luck, one in which three extraordinarily bloodthirsty men—Hitler, Stalin, and Mao—managed to take over powerful states, and were responsible for a majority of the deaths from war and genocide in the 20th century. Many historians have argued as follows: No Hitler, no Holocaust; no Stalin, no Purge; no Mao, no Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. See the section “The Trajectory of Genocide,” particularly pp. 331–336–338, 343. 

 

I repeat: Haven’t we just been lucky? On a number of occasions, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the world came just this close to nuclear annihilation. 

According to the most recent analyses of documents from the Cuban Missile Crisis (see, e.g., Max Frankel’s High Noon in the Cold War), both the US and USSR desperately tried to get out of the crisis, avoiding unnecessary provocations and offering greater concessions than they had to. Other allegedly just-this-close brushes with Armageddon, such as the Vietnam and Yom Kippur wars, were even less perilous. As Mueller puts it, the metaphor of an escalator, in which one misstep could have carried leaders up and away to all-out nuclear war, is misleading. A better metaphor is a ladder: each rung made leaders increasingly acrophobic, and in every case they nervously sought a way to step back down. 


As long as nuclear weapons exist, one cannot say that we are living in less-violent times, especially since it is inevitable that they will be used at some time in the future. 

There is no answer to the question of how to compare the decline in actual deaths from dozens of high-probability categories (homicide, war, domestic abuse, and so on) with the increase in hypothetical deaths from one low-probability category – it is, as they say, a philosophical question. But it’s far from certain that nuclear weapons will ever be used again. The 67-year history of nonuse suggests that, contrary to predictions that blundering politicians and trigger-happy generals have always been on the verge of unleashing nuclear weapons, the likelihood of their being used is probably very small. Of course, even an event with an extremely low odds, when the probability is exponentiated over enough years, becomes extremely probable, but that curve has to be set off against the one representing the probability that the Global Zero project will succeed and that nuclear weapons will go the way of chemical weapons, human sacrifice, and slave auctions – also a low-probability event, but one which has a nonzero chance of happening in this century. 

 

How can you say that violence has declined when we continue to murder millions of unborn babies? 

As I discuss on pp. 426–428, the rate of abortion worldwide has been in decline. I also discuss the question whether people perceive abortion as a form of violence, given the evolving understanding of the locus of moral value over the centuries. 

 

What about all the chickens in factory farms? 

I discuss the chickens in a section on Animal Rights in chapter 7, pp. 469–473. 

 

What about the American imprisonment craze?

As unjust as many current American imprisonment practices are, they cannot be compared to the lethal sadism of criminal punishment in earlier centuries (pp. 144-146). For a discussion of the causes and effects of today’s imprisonment binge, see pp. 121–123.


westslope

westslope Avatar

Location: BC sage brush steppe


Posted: Aug 16, 2017 - 3:08pm

kurt:

I was briefly in west LA in the early 1980s as a volunteer community organizer for the United Farm Workers of America AFL-CIO.  I would run early in the morning when the air quality was 'better'.  

In the early 1970s, on a high school band exchange trip to Toronto I recall not being able to see the Toronto Dominion (bank) towers from 2 blocks away.  I would have been 14 or 15 maybe at the time.  That was an eye-opening experience.

People in Ottawa would talk about how bad the air was in the immediate post-war years because of wood, coal and charcoal used for heating.  

But no, the USA is not leading by example.  The USA charges the lowest excise taxes on dirty gasoline and diesel fuel among all the rich-OECD countries.  Despite air quality improvements over the past few years, your air is still dirty and you are leading in obesity and COPD.  

You have developed these massive networks of low-density suburbs that sprawl huge distances.  

Not so long ago, you invaded and occupied Iraq with a view to installing democracy and stabilizing the region so as to insure stable flows of oil from the area.  

It sure looks like hundred of thousands of innocent civilians were killed for the US cheap energy entitlement.  
 
I would describe Trump's withdrawal from the Paris agreement as incredibly myopic and short-sighted.   Let me explain why.   Team Trump promotes IGNORANCE AS STRENGTH.  American exceptionalism was always a polite way of saying that American voters and governments ignored American experts while voters and governments in other developed countries paid heed to American experts. 

Now American populism has gone the extra mile.  Educated, talented, and productive people in other countries will look at the US ecological footprint and they will react very negatively.   It will become much easier for other governments to say no to American governments, companies and investors.  


kcar

kcar Avatar



Posted: Aug 12, 2017 - 6:34pm

 kurtster wrote:

I lived in LA / OC during these times you refer to.  We used to have smog days where the visibility was less than a quarter of a mile on the ground because the smog was so thick.  There were temperature inversions in the SF Valley that would last for weeks sometimes.  They would only get broken up by the Santana Winds.  Now called the Santa Ana's.  When the offshore Santana's blew, all that smog in the Valley was blown out to the Channel Islands and sat there.  Catalina Island, which I could see from my house everyday, would be surrounded by a ring of smog that made me think of the Rings of Saturn.  Then when the marine onshore winds returned, it all got blown back into the OC.  All that concentrated smog.  Our throats would burn, the air was so bad.  We could not imagine what the people who lived on the island went through.  They had it before we got it.  We had smog days where schools were closed because it was so bad, like snow days back East.  We had to stay indoors more than a couple of times until it got diluted enough.  I remember seeing the SF Bay basin fill up with smog the same way as it does with fog in the 50's, and also very low ground visibility as well.  That's when the PCV or positive crankcase valve was created.  Back in the 60's in HS we where told that a huge asthma outbreak would happen at the turn of the century and the epicenter would be Long Beach.  So they were off by 10 years, but it has happened.

Unless you lived through this stuff, there is no way you can begin to imagine it.

The change in air quality in my lifetime is tremendous.  The change from the 60's to the 70's with unleaded gas made things even cleaner.  The point is that unless you have lived long enough to see how bad things were at one time, there is no way to say that enough hasn't been done so far.  That's not to say that things cannot still be improved, they always can.  And will, because its the right thing to do and even cheaper in the end so it makes business sense.

So yes, the Clean Air Act was a good thing.  But it has been taken to extremes.  Its very hard to notice improvements over the past 30 or so years, because so much was already cleaned up.  Now the changes are more noticed on charts than by the public at large.  

And the US is not stopping either and we are leading by example.  But ... to bear the economic burden for other countries for the purpose of tilting at windmills, doesn't cut it with me.  We can help as long as it doesn't hurt, but when it does hurt us, we have to stop helping and make the laggards carry their own weight.  Its not like we have done nothing and need to be punished for it.  

rant off

 

Would you care to back those assertions in bold with evidence? I'm not sure what economic burden you're talking about. There are a number of studies that dispute your assertions:
 
https://journalistsresource.org/studies/environment/environmental-regulations-economy-jobs-pollution-epa

https://thinkprogress.org/new-study-the-economic-benefits-of-epa-regulations-massively-outweigh-the-costs-1bdd9097856a/



If EPA head Scott Pruitt has good reasons to roll back EPA regulations, why is he trying to conceal his actions and limit information traditionally provided by the EPA?

 
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/us/politics/scott-pruitt-epa.html?_r=0


kurtster

kurtster Avatar

Location: drifting
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 12, 2017 - 5:17pm

 islander wrote:

I've been reminding people that Los Angeles used to look like this all the time, and Denver had their 'brown cloud' too. That they don't anymore speaks to the effectiveness and need for the clean air act. 

 
I lived in LA / OC during these times you refer to.  We used to have smog days where the visibility was less than a quarter of a mile on the ground because the smog was so thick.  There were temperature inversions in the SF Valley that would last for weeks sometimes.  They would only get broken up by the Santana Winds.  Now called the Santa Ana's.  When the offshore Santana's blew, all that smog in the Valley was blown out to the Channel Islands and sat there.  Catalina Island, which I could see from my house everyday, would be surrounded by a ring of smog that made me think of the Rings of Saturn.  Then when the marine onshore winds returned, it all got blown back into the OC.  All that concentrated smog.  Our throats would burn, the air was so bad.  We could not imagine what the people who lived on the island went through.  They had it before we got it.  We had smog days where schools were closed because it was so bad, like snow days back East.  We had to stay indoors more than a couple of times until it got diluted enough.  I remember seeing the SF Bay basin fill up with smog the same way as it does with fog in the 50's, and also very low ground visibility as well.  That's when the PCV or positive crankcase valve was created.  Back in the 60's in HS we where told that a huge asthma outbreak would happen at the turn of the century and the epicenter would be Long Beach.  So they were off by 10 years, but it has happened.

Unless you lived through this stuff, there is no way you can begin to imagine it.

The change in air quality in my lifetime is tremendous.  The change from the 60's to the 70's with unleaded gas made things even cleaner.  The point is that unless you have lived long enough to see how bad things were at one time, there is no way to say that enough hasn't been done so far.  That's not to say that things cannot still be improved, they always can.  And will, because its the right thing to do and even cheaper in the end so it makes business sense.

So yes, the Clean Air Act was a good thing.  But it has been taken to extremes.  Its very hard to notice improvements over the past 30 or so years, because so much was already cleaned up.  Now the changes are more noticed on charts than by the public at large.  

And the US is not stopping either and we are leading by example.  But ... to bear the economic burden for other countries for the purpose of tilting at windmills, doesn't cut it with me.  We can help as long as it doesn't hurt, but when it does hurt us, we have to stop helping and make the laggards carry their own weight.  Its not like we have done nothing and need to be punished for it.  

rant off


islander

islander Avatar

Location: Seattle
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 12, 2017 - 8:39am

 westslope wrote:

No kidding, eh?   We have been under a blanket of smoke for almost 2 weeks now.  

Normally, it blows over into Alberta but this time, it blew down to the coast, even parts of Vancouver Island were shrouded in smoke.  And to the USA.   I wonder where the smoke in Montana will go.

We saw some blue sky yesterday.  It has been a while.  It would be nice to start using the p100 filter mask for I dunno... sanding the deck as opposed to wearing it while doing light gardening duties.
 
These coincidental wild fires help to bring into focus the potential consequences of President Trump's crude, macho threats directed at North Korea.   Instead of 2 weeks of a smoke blanket, imagine a decade or more of a constant smoke blanket, and multiple times more deadly particulate matter and radiation.  

 
I've been reminding people that Los Angeles used to look like this all the time, and Denver had their 'brown cloud' too. That they don't anymore speaks to the effectiveness and need for the clean air act. 
westslope

westslope Avatar

Location: BC sage brush steppe


Posted: Aug 12, 2017 - 7:57am

 islander wrote:

Hey we're just now finally getting rid of all our BC smoke down here, so I'm hoping to avoid mushroom clouds for a week or two.

 
No kidding, eh?   We have been under a blanket of smoke for almost 2 weeks now.  

Normally, it blows over into Alberta but this time, it blew down to the coast, even parts of Vancouver Island were shrouded in smoke.  And to the USA.   I wonder where the smoke in Montana will go.

We saw some blue sky yesterday.  It has been a while.  It would be nice to start using the p100 filter mask for I dunno... sanding the deck as opposed to wearing it while doing light gardening duties.
 
These coincidental wild fires help to bring into focus the potential consequences of President Trump's crude, macho threats directed at North Korea.   Instead of 2 weeks of a smoke blanket, imagine a decade or more of a constant smoke blanket, and multiple times more deadly particulate matter and radiation.  


kurtster

kurtster Avatar

Location: drifting
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 11, 2017 - 6:46pm

 westslope wrote:
 
I believe it is important that we all view regional nuclear war as a potentially liberating experience. 
 
and of course we can't forget Vera Lynn


Prodigal_SOB

Prodigal_SOB Avatar

Location: Back home again in Indiana
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 11, 2017 - 6:21pm

 westslope wrote:
I believe it is important that we all view regional nuclear war as a potentially liberating experience. 
 
 
 
 It's a classic.  Somebody had to post it  
oldviolin

oldviolin Avatar

Location: esse quam videri
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 11, 2017 - 2:40pm

 Red_Dragon wrote:
And me without any MREs.

 
First world problem...


buzz

buzz Avatar

Location: up the boohai


Posted: Aug 11, 2017 - 1:29pm

 Red_Dragon wrote:
And me without any MREs.

 
how would a Mono-propellant Rocket Engine help? 
 
or is it a Market Research Executive?
 
{#Stupid} 

kurtster

kurtster Avatar

Location: drifting
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 11, 2017 - 1:03pm

 Red_Dragon wrote:
And me without any MREs.

 
Don't worry.

It'll be over before dinner's ready ...
Red_Dragon

Red_Dragon Avatar



Posted: Aug 11, 2017 - 12:38pm

And me without any MREs.
islander

islander Avatar

Location: Seattle
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 11, 2017 - 12:27pm

 westslope wrote:
Good one Scott!  I already re-posted to the BC flyfishing forum. 
 
I believe it is important that we all view regional nuclear war as a potentially liberating experience. 

 
Hey we're just now finally getting rid of all our BC smoke down here, so I'm hoping to avoid mushroom clouds for a week or two.
westslope

westslope Avatar

Location: BC sage brush steppe


Posted: Aug 11, 2017 - 12:20pm

Good one Scott!  I already re-posted to the BC flyfishing forum. 
 
I believe it is important that we all view regional nuclear war as a potentially liberating experience. 


islander

islander Avatar

Location: Seattle
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 11, 2017 - 12:02pm

 ScottFromWyoming wrote:


 
I'm stealing this for the weekend.
ScottFromWyoming

ScottFromWyoming Avatar

Location: Powell
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 11, 2017 - 8:59am


westslope

westslope Avatar

Location: BC sage brush steppe


Posted: Aug 11, 2017 - 8:14am

 Lazy8 wrote:
 westslope wrote:
-  send more money to RP so the Goldsmiths can move the RP operation to a secure bunker and acquire a short-wave transmitter

But the sound quality!

 

Well, when times are tough, sacrifices must be made!   
 
The argument could be made that RP should be treated as an essential service or an entitlement.  


kurtster

kurtster Avatar

Location: drifting
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 11, 2017 - 7:57am

 marko86 wrote:
Duck and cover
 
Been there, done that ...  saw it when it was new  ...

what ever gets you through the night ...


Lazy8

Lazy8 Avatar

Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 11, 2017 - 7:51am

 westslope wrote:
-  send more money to RP so the Goldsmiths can move the RP operation to a secure bunker and acquire a short-wave transmitter

But the sound quality!
marko86

marko86 Avatar

Location: North TX
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 11, 2017 - 7:32am

Duck and cover