DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:Nuclear lies and broken promises

Conn Hallinan
Saturday November 23, 2019 - 11:00:00 AM

When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told an economic meeting in the city of Sivas on Sept. 4 that Turkey was considering building nuclear weapons, he was responding to a broken promise.

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the government of Iran of lying about its nuclear program, he was concealing one of the greatest subterfuges in the history of nuclear weapons.

And the vast majority of Americans haven’t a clue about either.

Early in the morning of Sept. 22, 1979, a US satellite recorded a double flash near the Prince Edward islands in the South Atlantic. The satellite, a Vela 5B, carries a device called a “bhangmeter” whose purpose is to detect nuclear explosions. Sent into orbit following the signing of the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963, its job was to monitor any violations of the agreement. The Treaty banned nuclear explosions in the atmosphere, underwater and in space.

Nuclear explosions have a unique footprint. When the weapon detonates, it sends out an initial pulse of light, but as the fireball expands, it cools down for a few milliseconds, then spikes again.

“Nothing in nature produces such a double-humped light flash,” says Victor Gilinsky. “The spacing of the hump gives an indication of the amount of energy, or yield, released by the explosion.” Gilinsky was a member of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a former Rand Corporation physicist. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Talking to Republicans about impeachment

Bob Burnett
Saturday November 23, 2019 - 11:06:00 AM

The holidays are coming. And with them, more opportunities to talk to those recalcitrant Trump supporters in your family. Such as Aunt Bertha who believes God sent Donald on a mission. And Uncle Bert who wants Trump to blow up Washington. Here are ten tips on how to talk to them about the impeachment process. Ten responses to familiar Republican (false) arguments.

Contention 1: "Democrats are trying to overthrow the 2016 election." This a good place to start the conversation because there is an element of truth in this Republican argument. Response: Yes, impeachment is about removing the President from office and replacing him with the Vice President. Democrats are using this process because they believe Donald Trump has committed grave offenses that threaten our Democracy. (Helpful hint: Don't mention that Vice President Mike Pence could also be a candidate for impeachment because of his involvement in the Ukraine scandal.) -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Symptoms do not Invalidate

Jack Bragen
Saturday November 23, 2019 - 10:44:00 AM

About fifteen years ago, maybe more, I participated in a pilot program intended to prepare mentally ill people for IT careers. The executive director of the program was mentally ill and was believed to be cured of her condition, or something to that effect. The program also involved mental health professionals, including, I think, a psychiatrist.

The executive director did something unethical, and this caused the program to end. The individual, it seemed to me, hid behind the cloak of continuing symptoms to explain and excuse the behavior. Yet, according to that person, he/she was supposedly not fit to run the program because he/she was still ill.

I take exception to this logic. Mentally ill people, to be valid individuals, should not be expected not to be mentally ill. -more-

Balancing free speech and safety at UC Berkeley — from Yiannopoulos to Coulter

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday November 23, 2019 - 10:51:00 AM

On November 20, 2019, Ann Coulter — American conservative media pundit, syndicated columnist, lawyer, and supporter of Trump’s wall — spoke at U.C. Berkeley sparking angry protests.

The Berkeley College Republicans invited Coulter for a talk entitled, “Adios, America!” Advertising said the writer would discuss the “current United States immigration system and the dangers of mass immigration.” Many protestors carrying signs condemning her as a fascist. While some masked protesters were arrested at the event, there was no violence or destruction of property. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Saturday November 23, 2019 - 11:12:00 AM

The Awesome Power of Ivankanomics

During a November 12 speech to the Economic Club of New York, Donald Trump proudly and loudly boasted that his daughter, Ivanka, had personally "created 14 million jobs—14 million and going up."

It will come as no surprise that Trump's claim didn't actually jibe with the facts.

Since Trump became president, the entire US economy has added fewer than 6 million jobs. So Trump's boast must mean that the other 8 million of the First Daughter's job-creation miracle must have occurred in low-pay, overseas factories, where most of her lines of designer goods have been manufactured. -more-