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Rational Insanity: the Mad Logic of America’s Nuclear ‘Doomsday Machine’

By James Heddle – January 9, 2018 – Article on  

“I want to say – and this is very important – in the end, we lucked out!  It was luck that prevented nuclear war.  Khrushchev was rational.  Kennedy was rational.  Castro was rational. — Holding up his thumb and forefinger slightly apart. —  Rational individuals came that close to total devastation of their societies…and that danger exists today.”

Former U.S. Sec. of Defense Robert McNamara – talking about the Cuban Missile Crisis – in ‘The Fog of War,” a documentary film by Errol Morris

“Today we still have over 20 thousand real world nuclear weapons.  Enough to blow up everybody on the planet several times over.  Those weapons pose the immediate problem of a danger of terrorism, the immediate problem of the possibility of nuclear war.…  I believe we are on the brink of a new nuclear arms race.  It breaks my heart.  Today, the danger of a nuclear catastrophe is actually higher than it was during the cold war. Let me say that again…”

Former U.S. Sec. of Defense, William J. Perry, January, 2016 

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The Real Nuclear Triad: Energy, Weapons and Waste

By James Heddle – November 7, 2017 – from

Never before has the unbreakable connection between nuclear energy, weapons and waste been so blatantly obvious to the public eye…yet, with so little notice.

Although President Trump has threatened to obliterate North Korea and its 25 million people ‘with fire and fury the like of which the world has never seen,’ the NYT is reporting that America’s Asian allies doubt Washington’s ‘resolve’ to defend them with nuclear weapons and they want their own – an idea recently also floated by Trump himself.

In a new twist on the last century’s discredited ‘Atoms for Peace’ meme, the new nuclear delusion seems to be that the more countries that have nuclear weapons (Iran and North Korea excepted), the more ‘secure’ the world will become.

Speaking recently at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, Trump’s VP Mike Pence, a self-declared devout Christian who ‘gave my life to Jesus,’ declared “… there’s no greater force for peace in the world than the United States nuclear arsenal.”

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Perspectives on “Nuclear Winter” – April 2016
Carl Sagan and other Cold War scientists once feared that a nuclear war could plunge the world into a deadly ice age. Three decades later, does this theory still resonate?


Our collective nuclear nightmare
Article by Mark Beeson –   – April 3, 2016

Some things never change, it seems. For my entire life people have been protesting about the madness of nuclear weapons. Policymakers have been studiously ignoring such protests for just as long. Not only have the bombs remained unbanned, they have also proliferated and become bigger and “better”. To Barack Obama’s credit, he has at least tried to do something about a threat that still puts all the others in the shade – if that’s quite the way to describe global warming. The prospect of what is euphemistically known as “nuclear exchange” between any of the major powers may still be remote, but it is not unthinkable. The possibility of accident or miscalculation remains all too real, as do the possible consequences. The recent Nuclear Security Summit that Obama hosted illustrated both the difficulty and the continuing necessity of achieving something. The talks were conducted against the all-too-predictable backdrop of North Korean provocation as it took the opportunity to test a new missile in defiance of US sanctions and Chinese irritation with its increasingly unpredictable ally. read more…
Click on image to download PDF version.

Click on image to download PDF version.

Aug. 6, 2015 – Thoughts at Livermore H-Bomb Laboratory on the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima bombing. Poster by Dennis Rivers for, a San Francisco peace advocacy organization. Click image for letter-size PDF file.

Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 Years Later August 8, 2015 – Mary Burton Risley – Op/Ed: Silver City Press

In August of 1945, I was a saucy three year old, daily comic relief for my eight month’s pregnant mother, my grandmother and my already war-widowed aunt, all of us living in Roswell with my gravely ill elderly grandfather.

As a career Marine officer, my father had already fought in the bloody South Sea Island battles of Guadalcanal, Saipan and Tinian and was training for the planned invasion of Japan at Kyushu. Then, on August 6th and 9th our country detonated the first atomic weapons ever used over the two Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Estimates of the death toll during the first days and months after the explosions range from 225,000 to 240,000 human beings. The visual target building at Nagasaki was the city’s Urakami Cathedral, in which 6,000 of the city’s 12,000 Roman Catholic parishioners were worshiping, all killed instantly by the explosion. People died horribly for years after, as well, from radiation-induced cancers. Unbeknownst to me, my world changed forever on those two days, the world of all living earthly beings changed, because the government of President Harry Truman had demonstrated that human ingenuity, desperate effort, pride and fear could now destroy life as we know it on our planet. read more…

11/8/2014 – Aging nuclear arsenal grows ever more costly L.A. Times

8/31/2014 – Marshall Islands Sues Nuclear Weapons States


On April 24, 2014, The Marshall Islands filed landmark cases in the International Court of Justice and U.S. Federal District Court. The Claim:

The nine nuclear-armed nations have failed to comply with their obligations, under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty and customary international law, to pursue negotiations for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons.

They act for the seven billion of us who live on this planet to end the nuclear weapons threat hanging over all humanity.

Reflections on The Human Costs of Nuclear Weapons:

NUCLEAR SAVAGE (Film Trailer 7 min) The Pacific Island Experiments of Secret Project 4.1

For more info about this documentary, please visit

   Review of this film by Catholic peace activist John Dear

Religiously-inspired witness against nuclear weapons – 2013 (4/29/2013 article in Washington Post   – please forgive intrusive ads)


October 20, 2012:  Backcountry resisters opposed to nuclear weapons infiltrate Vandenberg Air Force Base on 50th anniversary of Cuban Missle Crisis

Their statement:  Exactly 50 years ago, this planet was brought to the brink of complete destruction during what is referred to as the Cuban Missile Crisis. We believe that all missiles are a crisis (whether located in Cuba or elsewhere) as they are contrary to the laws of the Creator whose names are many, but whom we call (as did the evangelist John) LOVE. Vandenberg AFB has continued since the near catastrophe of October 1962 with its preparations for both nuclear and “conventional” war through continued missile tests, launches of military satellites and other preparations for killing in violation of the commandment, “love one another.” Acknowledging that love is an active rather than passive state of being, we cannot sit by while the evils of Vandenberg AFB are allowed to continue unchecked.
We acknowledge that the land on which Vandenberg AFB is located was stolen from its true owners, the Chumash people. We understand that the missile tests conducted here pollute both the coast of California, with exhaust from rocket fuels, and Kwajalein Atoll of the Marshall Islands, with depleted uranium. It is our belief that the millions of dollars spent on war-making and preparations for war could be used to feed those who are hungry, house those who are homeless, and provide health care to those who are sick and we consider it a sin that schools are closed and homes foreclosed upon while military spending goes unchecked.
Because of these sins and innumerable others, we have come to this place to pray for peace, in the form of nonviolent direct action, with the belief that “wherever two are more are gathered” there is God. Without question, Vandenberg AFB is a place in need of God, whose gospel is peace and whose message is reconciliation between all peoples. Our hope is both that our action will somehow hasten the kingdom of brother and sisterhood and that others will heed our example and nonviolently “occupy” this base in the weeks and months ahead for the purpose of transforming this land from a place dedicated to death into one of hope and love.
Fr. Louie Vitale, OFM David Omondi, Los Angeles Catholic Worker Theo Kayser, Los Angeles Catholic Worker
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Jan. 13, 2013: The Myth of Nuclear [Weapons] Necessity New York Times

October 17, 2012: Court may drop charges against “Vandenberg 15” anti-nuclear protesters. 
As David Krieger, one of the Vandenberg 15, has stated, “Current US nuclear weapons policy is illegal, immoral and runs a high risk of resulting in nuclear catastrophe. We cannot wait until there is a nuclear war before we act to rid the world of these weapons of mass annihilation. The US should be the leader in this effort, rather than an obstacle to its realization. It is up to the court of public opinion to assure that the US asserts this leadership. The time to act is now.” (Read  Putting U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policies on Trial in the Court of Public Opinion ) “We were protesting a rehearsal of a holocaust,” said defendant Daniel Ellsberg. “Every minuteman missile is a portable Auschwitz.” Video of Ellsberg:  
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A History of Weapons Too Dangerous to Own – February 23, 2012

Daniel Ellsberg discusses decades of hair-raising miscalculations and near-misses as the United States, the Soviet Union and uncounted local military commanders  wobbled blindly at the edge of accidental nuclear war and global suicide, a process that continues today.  A talk sponsored by the  Nuclear Age Peace Foundation . .

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The Painful Truth of the Present Moment… –  March 31, 2012

Dr. Helen Caldicott speaks on “The Medical Implications of Fukushima, Nuclear Power and Nuclear Proliferation.” A talk sponsored by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation . .

Current News on Nuclear Weapons – October 2011: No Nukes: Bringing The Right And Left Together 

NUCLEAR WEAPONS UPDATE/Editor’s Comment: The leading strategists of both the  Republican and Democratic parties have reached the  recent conclusion that the United States does not  actually need nuclear weapons any more. The scales of  military strategy have tipped against nuclear weapons. The continuing manufacture and deployment of nuclear  weapons endangers the USA much more through  proliferation risks than the actual nuclear weapons  could protect the USA through military use.

The only people who want nuclear weapons now are the  wealthy corporations that manufacture them, and the  politicians they have bankrolled. This is exactly the  influence of the “military-industrial complex” that  Pres. Eisenhower, a Republican president, warned us  against in his farewell address. And it is a perfect  example of an out-of-control government program that the  country no longer needs, but that bureaucrats and  contractors keep going for their own interests. Meanwhile the United States has fought two wars in the past 10 years, and in each of those wars American  soldiers died for lack of proper equipment. We have sent  our young soldiers into battle wearing outdated flak jackets and driving Humvees with no armor, while  spending billions on nuclear weapons that we don’t need.  Please explain to me the patriotism or the military  logic of this. We in the United States are also laying  off schoolteachers, firefighters and police officers. We  are cutting out the things we really need, in order to  buy something, nuclear weapons, that we don’t need.  Excuse me?!!! See:

Giant, new, (and completely unnecessary) nuclear weapons plant proposed for northern New Mexico. (2011)  Get the facts from the Los Alamos Study Group .

Nuclear Weapons and the University of California by David Krieger, President, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

Union of Concerned Scientists – Resource page on nuclear weapons position paper and excellent library of technical articles   

  Long Term Effects of Uranium Mining on Navajo People and Their Land

Blighted Homelandclick image above to view audio slideshow

Government Losing Track of Nuclear Bomb Parts at Kentucky Plant

President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address in which he warns about the growing “military-industrial complex.”
The Nuclear Guardianship Library   –   An archive of articles from many perspectives on the long-term, responsible care of nuclear materials.
The Growing Nuclear Danger  by Steven Weinberg, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics.  A careful evaluation of current nuclear dangers from a July, 2002, issue of The New York Review of Books.
A Renunciation of Nuclear Weapons One Citizen at a Time   Documents in support of United States citizens’ renunciation of nuclear weapons use on their behalf.

May, 2003, editorial from the Los Angeles Times against nuclear weapons

A Background Briefing on Radioactive Pollution   –   A 26-page review of problems associated with radioactive pollution from nuclear power, weapons and waste – by Wendy Oser and Molly Young Brown, M.Div. Citizen Action Guide USA for the Abolition 2000 campaign to outlaw nuclear weapons   –   A resource kit for people in the United States who want to campaign against nuclear weapons.  Contains statements, petitions, resolutions for schools, cities and counties, and informative articles and declarations concerning the dangers of nuclear weapons and the pressing need to build a world-wide agreement to outlaw them.

Hope From Ashes: Why Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki?   by Dennis Rivers, 2006.   “Every August 6th people around the world gather to mark the deaths and injuries of the inhabitants of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  And once again we join them, gathering in this memorial garden, surrounded by folded paper cranes, and struggling to find an appropriate response to one of the world’s great catastrophes.”
Dangerous development:  The U.S. Senate is moving toward authorizing the development of new nuclear weapons… July 14, 2000: We Are Taking a Detour From Deterrence , an article in the L.A. Times by retired  Rear Admiral Eugene J. Carroll Jr., Vice President of the Center for Defense Information in Washington.
Nuclear Weapons vs. Nuclear Power: For many years, advocates of nuclear energy have argued that nuclear energy and nuclear weapons are two separate issues. In fact, the two have always been intertwined behind the scenes. The story below documents the explicit linking of  U.S. nuclear power plant to the production of tritium for nuclear weapons.  The big question is: how many other countries will convert their nuclear power plants to atom bomb factories?… Dec. 12, 1999: U.S. Civilian Reactors to Produce Nuclear Weapons Material (from the Environment News Service) .

  notes from the bottom of the radwaste  tank…    Some things to think about:   

A = USA military budget for 2007: Approximately 700 billion dollars

B = Population of planet earth in June 2007: Approximately 6.6 billion people

Disturbing arithmetic:   A/B =   approximately $100 of U.S. guns, bombs, planes and military pay  for every man, woman and child on planet Earth (about $2,300 for each US citizen and resident, young and old, about $9,200 per year for every US family of four)

Thought Questions: At what point does something like this become “too much” ?

What sort of tensions would the world have if we spent this amount on schools, hospitals, housing, solar panels and employment training around the world? What role do you play in relation to this process (which now influences most people on Planet Earth)? How do you feel about the role you play in this process?

Links to major sources of anti-nuclear-weapons information:

Global Zero – A world without nuclear weapons.  Global Zero is the international movement for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. Since its launch in Paris in December 2008, Global Zero has grown to include 300 eminent world leaders and more than 400,000 citizens worldwide; developed a step-by-step plan to eliminate nuclear weapons, built an international student movement with more than 100 campus chapters in ten countries, and produced the acclaimed documentary film, Countdown to Zero.


Los Alamos Study Group  advocates – Nuclear Disarmament – Environmental Protection – Social Justice – Economic Sustainability.  Opposes the emerging new arms race that is being cloaked in the language of  “stockpile maintenance.”

Tri-Valley CAREs – Communities Against a Radioactive Environment is located near the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which has been designing nuclear warheads, and leaking radioactive material into the neighborhood, for many decades.

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (Santa Barbara, Calif.) features articles and position papers on nuclear weapons control and nuclear waste disposal.