Nuclear weapons and effective defense
- This essay is on Wikiversity to encourage a wide discussion of the issues it raises moderated by the Wikimedia rules that invite contributors to “be bold but not reckless,” contributing revisions written from a neutral point of view, citing credible sources -- and raising other questions and concerns on the associated '“Discuss”' page.
Both Presidents Obama and Trump worked to renovate the US nuclear arsenal.
However, is there any substantive evidence that the existing nuclear arsenals have ever made any major power safer? If you know of any such evidence, please rewrite this essay -- or at least summarize what you know on the “Discuss” page associated with this article.
Perhaps the most authoritative commentary on this issue is Daniel Ellsberg's book on The Doomsday Machine. In 1961, a decade before he became famous for releasing the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg was planning nuclear wars for the US Department of Defense. He said that at that time, the Pentagon estimated that roughly a third of humanity would likely be killed within six months of a nuclear war, with 85 percent of those dying during the initial exchange and the rest dying of radiation poisoning in the next six months. However, this did not consider the near certainty of a nuclear winter, which would likely produce such massive crop failures that roughly 98 percent of those who survived the initial exchange would starve as existing food stores were consumed and not replaced.
The information from Ellsberg and other sources can be summarized as follows:
- 1. As long as large nuclear arsenals exist, it is only a question of when, not whether, they will be used -- and such use will likely lead to the destruction of civilization.
- 2. There is no feasible scenario under which nuclear weapons could profitably be used.
- 3. The use of "only" one nuclear weapon could easily generate a nuclear response by a country not initially involved. The situation could easily spin out of control resulting in substantial destruction of lives and property even in countries not directly involved. Virtually all large wars like World Wars I and II started small. They grew, because countries not initially involved left the sidelines to support the side they felt was unjustifiably attacked.
- 4. The continued possession of nuclear weapons by major powers like the United States entails multiple risks:
- 4.1. It legitimates their use by people for whom Armageddon and the total destruction of civilization and / or humanity is a desirable goal, e.g., some elements of the Daesh (also known as ISIL).
- 4.2. Nuclear war by miscalculation, as has almost happened on multiple occasions, e.g., during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the 1983 Soviet nuclear false alarm incident, which occurred less than a month after the Soviet Union shot down a civilian passenger jet, Korean Air Lines Flight 007, that had strayed into their air space, killing all 269 passengers and crew.
- 4.3. Nuclear war initiated without authorization by one or more military personnel with the knowledge and access required to defeat the safeguards and start a nuclear war on their own initiative.
- 4.4. It is humanly impossible to design, build and manage any sufficiently complex system, such as a nuclear arsenal, to ultrahigh levels of reliability. Nuclear accidents have happened in the past, including involving nuclear weapons, and it is only a matter of time before another nuclear accident worse than all previous accidents will occur -- unless all nuclear weapons are destroyed first.
- 5. The possession of a few nuclear weapons by minor powers like North Korea may actually enhance their security by deterring threats from other powers. A leader like Kim Jong-un might use his nuclear weapons if he believes he will likely be killed or overthrown otherwise. (Any existing nuclear power would not need a rocket or aircraft capable of delivering such a nuclear weapon to a target. They could already have one in place delivered by an ocean going vessel waiting to be detonated by a cell phone signal -- or the lack of one.)
If these claims accurately summarize the available evidence on this issue, why are they not more widely known? An answer to this question can be found in the research in human psychology led by Daniel Kahneman, for which he won the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. We next discuss this and related research on media funding and governance, followed by suggestions for political action by people all over the world, all of whom could be seriously impacted if not killed outright in a nuclear war.
Human psychology, politics and conflict[edit | edit source]
In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman noted that everyone makes most decisions quickly and effortlessly based on what comes most readily to mind. This is Kahneman's “fast thinking”. We all make too many decisions every day to do otherwise in most cases.
This becomes a dominant feature of human conflict, because different parties think they know different and conflicting things. Kahneman noted that we are capable of research to discover things we don't know and errors in our understanding -- his “slow thinking”. However, Kahneman and others have found that few people devote enough time to researching and understanding the most important issues they face.
This is exploited by ambitious leaders and by media organizations.
- Every media organization sells changes in the behaviors of its audience to their funders, the people who pay their bills.
Thus, every media organization has a conflict of interest in honestly presenting information that might offend someone with substantive control over its funding -- unless the funding is primarily controlled by the audience, as it was in the first 70 years or so of US history, as discussed in the next section.
Citizen-directed subsidies for journalism[edit | edit source]
Political corruption thrives the world over in part because the mainstream media are either owned or substantially influenced by the beneficiaries of the corruption:
- Political corruption expands to consume the available money.
- The primary restraint on corruption is an adversarial press.
In this regard, a case can be made that the US Postal Service Act of 1792 made a greater contribution to making the US what it is today than the American Revolution. This claim is contrary to the standard narrative of US history and therefore requires evidence.
Why was the American Revolution different?[edit | edit source]
The first big question of the American Revolution is why it seems so different from other violent revolutions like the French, Latin American, Russian, Chinese, and Cuban revolutions as well as the French-Algerian War, the First Indochina War, and the US war in Vietnam? At least by some interpretations, the American Revolution was the only one of these that did NOT replace one brutal repressive system with another. Why?
Also, the land claimed by 13 British colonies in America that declared independence from Britain on July 4, 1776, was roughly a third of that of the contemporary Spanish colony of New Spain, most of which became Mexico in 1821. Since then, the US has grown substantially, while Mexico has shrunk. Why?
Simón Bolívar, the acknowledged “Liberator” of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama, complained shortly before he died in 1830 that,
- "America is ungovernable. Those who served the revolution have plowed the sea. ... This country will fall unfailingly into the hands of ... tyrants".
How did the US avoid the level of internal conflict that contributed to the dismemberment of Mexico and other countries after independence?
By some accounts, these differences can be explained by two things:
- 1. The British colonies that rebelled in 1776 already had possibly the most advanced democratic culture on the planet at that time: almost 60 percent of adult white males could vote in 1776, and the Revolution did not change that.
- 1.1. This democratic culture made it easier for the revolutionaries and the leaders in the early United States to settle their disagreements in ways that maintained their cohesion.
- 1.2. Because the Revolution had essentially no impact on democracy, it was NOT different in this regard from other violent revolutions of history. The American Revolution did NOT bring democracy, liberty and justice for all, as suggested by the standard narrative.
- 2. Citizen-directed subsidies for newspapers provided by the US Postal Service Act of 1792 helped limit political corruption and encourage literacy, both of which contributed to the cohesion and economic growth of the brand new United States of America.
By contrast, New Spain and its successors, primarily Mexico, had neither a comparable tradition of local self governance nor a comparably subsidized and diverse adversarial press to limit political corruption and facilitate resolution of conflicts that maintained cohesion. These two points provide a plausible explanation for why the US grew by a factor of more than four while Mexico shrank, losing territory in many ways, mostly to the US and to new countries south of Yukatán.
This is also consistent with the database of all the major violent and nonviolent governmental change efforts of the twentieth century created by Chenoweth and Stephan. In broad outline, they found that nonviolent revolutions tended to improve the level of democratization, but violent revolutions on average had no statically significant impact on democracy.
We next look a bit more closely at the US Postal Service Act of 1792.
US Postal Service Act of 1792[edit | edit source]
The US Postal Service Act of 1792 is not well known but may be the single greatest achievement of the men who organized and led the American Revolution: Under this act, newspapers were delivered up to 100 miles for a penny and beyond for a penny and a half, when first class postage was between six and twenty-five cents depending on distance. These were citizen-directed subsidies for media amounting to roughly 0.2 percent of US Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to media scholars McChesney and Nichols. This seems to have impacted the evolution of the US political economy during its first 70-100 years in two important ways:
- It limited political corruption.
- It encouraged literacy.
Both of these factors tend to increase economic growth.
Comparing the post-revolutionary experience of the US with that of the other violent and nonviolent governmental change efforts mentioned above suggests the following:
- Democracy, liberty and justice likely would have advanced quicker if the American revolutionaries had limited themselves to nonviolent actions.
- The citizen-directed subsidies for journalism provided by the US Postal Service Act of 1792 and the relative democratic character of the new US likely made substantially greater contributions to extending democracy and justice for all than the violence of the American Revolution.
Citizen-directed subsidies for journalism in the twenty-first century[edit | edit source]
McChesney and Nichols have further recommended that the US (and presumably other countries) devote 0.2 percent of GDP to citizen-directed subsidies for journalism. That translates into roughly $100 per person per year in the US.
Any such investment could help educate the public and build trust in the media and in people with different perspectives. Media funded by advertising have an inherent conflict of interest in disseminating honest information: As noted above, they sell changes in audience behaviors to the people who pay their bills. Market forces push them to segment their market, thereby Balkanizing and exploiting the international body politic to benefit the powerful at the expense of everyone else.
Public subsidies for media should be managed to help people everywhere understand why others believe differently, thereby building bridges rather than walls.
This is important, because political and military leaders are generally selected on their ability to win short term political and sometimes military battles. Some of the enemies manufactured in this way last for generations. For example, the US has yet to overcome the destruction of its Civil War.
- Effective defense requires media that help build bridges rather than walls.
There are many aspects to effective defense that seem virtually unknown and often denigrated by existing leaders. Some of these are discussed elsewhere, e.g., in the Wikiversity article on “Winning the War on Terror”.
Every individual and group have a right and an obligation to defend themselves. If others use violence, do not assume that the most effective response is also violent, because violence often produces collateral damage that drives people off the sidelines to support the opposition. Indeed, collateral damage that they create is why we fight, but collateral damage that we commit is unfortunate but necessary. This asymmetry helps explain why wars nearly always last longer, cost more, and produce less than any of the leaders initially believed.
Rule of law and nuclear weapons[edit | edit source]
In this section we discuss legislation (1) banning first use, (2) banning a single decision maker, (3) eliminating foreign nuclear weapons, (4) approving the UN nuclear weapons ban, (5) developing a proposed treaty requiring an immediate trade embargo on any country using a nuclear weapon, and (6) levying a national security tax on goods and services coming partly from nuclear nations.
“No first use” legislation[edit | edit source]
The Markey-Lieu bill on “Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017” was introduced into the US Senate by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and the US House by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) as H.R.669 on January 24, 2017. It so far has languished, apart from roughly 500,000 Americans signing petitions supporting it by May 4, 2017.
On November 15, 2017, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) introduced H.R. 4415, a different bill that would make it the policy of the United States not to use nuclear weapons first. This issue was also discussed two days later in the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but a report of that discussion did not mention any specific bill.
Similar legislation has been suggested in the [[w:United Kingdom|UK].
Citizens in every nuclear democracy could organize and campaign for similar legislation where adequate safeguards of this nature are not already in place.
No single decision maker[edit | edit source]
Especially since the bellicose comments by both Presidents Donald Trump of the US and Kim Jong-un of North Korea, some have suggested that governments should require approval by multiple decision makers before nuclear weapons could be used. This issue was discussed in a symposium organized by Physicians for Social Responsibility in the fall of 2017 and by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on November 14, 2017.
Countries with foreign nukes[edit | edit source]
Germany has US nuclear weapons on its soil under the control of the German military. This appears to violate the 1990 treaty on German reunification, in which "Germany reaffirmed its renunciation of the manufacture, possession, and control of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons." It is also seems to violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which Germany is a party.
There has been an active anti-nuclear movement in Germany. They could ask their government for legislation with two provisions:
- Make it a serious felony for German military personnel to do anything with nuclear weapons.
- Require the US to remove all such weapons within, say, a month of the passage of such legislation.
Citizens of other countries with foreign nukes could take similar action.
UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons[edit | edit source]
On July 7, 2017, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was approved by the United Nations General Assembly with a vote of 122 in favour, 1 against (Netherlands), and 1 official abstention (Singapore). 69 nations did not vote, among them all of the nuclear weapon states and all NATO members except the Netherlands.
As of 22 September 2017, 53 states have signed the Treaty and three have ratified it. It will become effective if and when at least 50 countries have ratified it.
Citizens of countries that have not signed it can organize to push their governments to do so. In countries that have signed but not ratified it, citizens can lobby for ratification.
A treaty saying that using nuclear weapons would trigger a trade ban[edit | edit source]
In addition to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, countries could also develop a treaty that would require an immediate reaction by all parties to the treaty in response to any report of a nuclear explosion, including the following:
- The immediate suspension of trade with countries accused of having used a nuclear weapon pending resolution before the International Court of Justice.
- The temporary confiscation by all countries not accused of such use of all property of citizens of accused countries.
- Any mutual defense treaty with an accused country would be immediately suspended pending a ruling by the International Court of Justice. Military personnel of an accused country in a non-accused country would be required to leave immediately or place themselves under the command of the military of the host country.
- Hearings before the International Court of Justice leading to decisions regarding which countries used a nuclear weapon. In these deliberations, citizens of accused countries would be required to recuse themselves, and both accused and aggrieved countries would be invited to present evidence. In these deliberations, the detonation of a nuclear device would be ascribed to the country of origin, whether it was stolen or used legally. There are at least two reasons for not making a distinction between legal and illegal use of nuclear weapons: First, states could secretly order the use of a nuclear weapon while officially denying it. Second, theft of a nuclear weapon indicates a failure of oversight, and that failure should be treated equal to legally authorized use.
- The Court would be authorized to award both compensatory and punitive damages to be paid from property temporarily confiscated under item “2” above and to return any property not so awarded to the people who owned it before the case was referred to the Court.
A national security tax[edit | edit source]
The entirety of humanity could suffer greatly from nuclear exchange between the US and North Korea. If Russia or China chose to respond with some of their nuclear weapons, nuclear fallout could become a major problem for people everywhere.
Recognizing this, non-nuclear nations could adopt a tax or tariff on trade with nuclear powers, because the mere possession of nuclear weapons by any state, especially a superpower, threatens everyone the world over.
References[edit | edit source]
- Allison, Graham (2012). "The Cuban Missile Crisis at 50". Foreign Affairs 91 (4). http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137679/graham-allison/the-cuban-missile-crisis-at-50. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- Bacevich, Andrew J. (2008), The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, Metropolitan Books, pp. 178–179, ISBN 0805090169.
- Chenoweth, Erica; Stephan, Maria J. (2011), Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, Columbia U. Pr., ISBN 978-0-231-15683-7. For their data see, Chenoweth, Erica, NAVCO Data Project, Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, retrieved 2017-03-17. For further discussion of this work, see Winning the War on Terror.
- Dunnigan, James F.; Martel, William (1987), How to stop a war: the lessons of two hundred years of war and peace, Doubleday, ISBN 0385240090.
- Ellsberg, Daniel (2017-12-05), The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, Bloomsbury USA, ISBN 978-1608196708, retrieved 2017-12-05. See also Ellsberg, Daniel; Goodman, Amy; González, Juan (2017-12-06), Daniel Ellsberg Reveals He was a Nuclear War Planner, Warns of Nuclear Winter & Global Starvation, Democracy Now, retrieved 2017-12-06.
- McChesney, Robert W.; Nichols, John (2016), People get ready: The fight against a jobless economy and a citizenless democracy, Nation Books, ISBN 9781568585215.
- Robert McNamara; James G. Blight (2003), Wilson's ghost: reducing the risk of conflict, killing, and catastrophe in the 21st century, PublicAffairs, Wikidata Q64736611.
- Sagan, Scott D. (1993), The Limits of Safety: Organizations, Accidents, and Nuclear Weapons, Princeton U. Pr., ISBN 0-691-02101-5.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Ellsberg (2017)
- Ellsberg, Daniel; Goodman, Amy; González, Juan (2017-12-06), Daniel Ellsberg Reveals He was a Nuclear War Planner, Warns of Nuclear Winter & Global Starvation, Democracy Now, retrieved 2017-12-06,
[The US Department of Defense] did plan that they were going to kill ... 600 million, but actually they weren’t including the effects of fire. ... Actually, that’s the biggest effect of thermonuclear weapons. So the number would really have been, at that time, well over a billion, plus the Soviet retaliation against Europe. So we’re talking about over a billion people, a third of the Earth’s population at that time. And I’ve actually heard Edward Teller, one of the sources of Dr. Strangelove, the fictional Dr. Strangelove, the father of the H-bomb, Teller, say, “At most, thermonuclear weapons could cause the deaths of one-third of the population,” very close to what the joint chiefs had said. ...[T]he cities would burn ... [a]nd ... there would be smoke ... . [T]here were only three so-called firestorms in World War II—Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo—where the fires were so widespread that they caused a column of air to rise abruptly very high into the stratosphere. And what had not been calculated before, 'til 1983, was that the millions and millions, possibly 100 million, tons of smoke and black soot would be lofted into the stratosphere, where it would not be rained out ever, and it would spread quickly around the world, causing a blanket that would destroy—or, rather, absorb—most of the sunlight from reaching the Earth, 70 percent of the sunlight, killing all the harvests worldwide and preventing any vegetation, starving ... 98 or 99 percent of the people ... .
- Ellsberg, Daniel (2017-12-05), The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, Bloomsbury USA, p. 2, ISBN 978-1608196708, retrieved 2017-12-05,
The lowest number, at the left of the graph, was 275 million deaths. The number on the right-hand side, at six months, was 325 million..
- Both Ellsberg (2017) and McNamara have said this explicitly with regard to nuclear weapons. This is a special case of a more general phenomenon called system accident. The literature in that field documents that it is humanly impossible to manage any complex system to ultra-high levels of reliability. Managers will defer maintenance on failed redundant components, because, they know the system will operate without that maintenance -- and they ignore the increased risk of failure. Engineers will override safety warnings, because they believe they can safely do so, etc. For a documentation of near misses with nuclear weapons, see Sagan (1993). For some of McNamara's comments on this, see McNamara and Blight (2003).
- In addition to Ellsberg (2017) and McNamara and Blight (2003), see the section on “Bombing to win” in the Wikiversity article on “Winning the War on Terror”, including especially Bacevich (2008).
- A nuclear war could produce massive loss of life and property in countries not involved or to non-combatants in involved countries even without a nuclear winter. Several independent research effort since 1947 have disproved some of the most dire predictions of the "nuclear winter" hypothesis.
- Dunnigan and Martel (1987).
- Bacevich (2008).
- See Cuban Missile Crisis, especially the section on “Later revelations”. For example, a Soviet submarine commander almost launched a nuclear torpedo on his own initiative, according to Dobbs, Michael (2008). One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 303, 317. ISBN 978-1-4000-4358-3.. See also Sagan (1993).
- For a list of 11 such incidents as of 2017-11-30, see w:List of nuclear close calls.
- The w:List of nuclear close calls includes one that occurred on 23 October 2010 when "Commanders at a U.S. Air Force base in Wyoming lost most forms of command, control, and security monitoring over 50 nuclear ICBMs for approximately 45 minutes. ... Although military officials maintain that the missiles remained under control and were not susceptible to outside attempts to gain control, former Air Force launch officer Bruce G. Blair expressed concerns that missiles in this status could be vulnerable to launch attempts by hackers or compromised missile crews." Even a nuclear missile that officially requires two people on opposite sides of a large room to push buttons simultaneously after getting a special code from higher up in the chain of command could be defeated by someone with sufficient knowledge of the electronics rewiring the equipment to circumvent those safeguards.
- Publications by Scott Sagan reviewed “close calls during the Cold War that could have resulted in a nuclear war by accident.” See esp. Sagan (1993).
- Some senior US statesmen like former US Senator Sam Nunn, former US Secretary of Defense William Perry, former US Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz have also advocated nuclear disarmament, though not necessarily unilaterally.
- Whitney wrote, "Yes, nuclear weapons are a credible deterrent [to US aggression against North Korea], but, no, that’s not why North Korea set off a hydrogen bomb" on January 6, 2106. Whitney cited William Blum as reporting that the US has "overthrown or tried to overthrow [57 governments] since the Second World War". Whitney, Mike (January 8, 2016), "Does North Korea Need Nukes to Deter US Aggression?", CounterPunch, retrieved 2017-11-19 Blum, William, Overthrowing other people’s governments: The Master List, William Blum, retrieved 2017-11-19
- Gutiérrez Escudero, Antonio, ed. (2005), "6. Carta al general Juan José Flores, jefe del estado de Ecuador (Barranquilla, 9 de noviembre de 1830) [Letter to General Juan José Flores, head of state of Ecuador, Barranquilla, November 9, 1830]", Simón Bolívar: aproximación al pensamiento del Libertador (approximations to the thoughts of the liberator) (PDF) (in Spanish), Escuela de Estudios Hispano-Americanos (CSIC), Sevilla, p. 12, retrieved 2017-11-06
- Some might also add the basic expansionist character of the new nation and its relatively welcoming attitude toward immigrants. However, that expansionist character could be a result of the two points mentioned here rather than a direct contributor itself to the growth of the US. The famous term "manifest destiny" became fashionable only after it had already been achieved. It seems to have been coined in 1845 but "did not reflect the national spirit. The thesis that it embodied nationalism, found in much historical writing, is backed by little real supporting evidence", according to Merk, Frederick; Merk, Lois Bannister (1963), Manifest Destiny and Mission in American History: A Reinterpretation, Harvard U. Pr., p. 215, ISBN 0674548051, retrieved 2017-11-19, cited from the Wikipedia article on "manifest destiny"
- Keyssar, Alexander (2000), The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States, Basic Books, p. 7, ISBN 046502968X cited from Graves, Spencer (2005-02-26), Violence, Nonviolence, and the American Revolution (PDF), Productive Systems Engineering, retrieved 2017-11-07
- Chenoweth and Stephan (2011)
- Even the US Bill of Rights was not uniquely American: The common citizens of the brand new United States of American demanded that they retain the rights they had had under legal documents like the English Bill of Rights of 1689, which itself updated and secured rights English citizens had officially had since the Magna Carta of 1215. And the rights promised by the US Bill of Rights were too often only unenforceable words on paper until the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) initiated a program of litigation, activism and education following its founding in 1920.
- In 1800 New Spain lost the Louisiana territory to France. A small portion of that is now part of Canada. In 1931 Mexico lost Clipperton Island to France.
- Chenoweth and Stephan (2011)
- McChesney and Nichols (2016, p. 167).
- The impact of both corruption and education are discussed in the Wikiversity article on Winning the War on Terror.
- Ray Raphael claims that the "First American Revolution" occurred in Massachusetts in 1774, as local farmers demanded the reinstatement of the Massachusetts Charter of 1691 with substantial success, after the British government had suspended it in response to the Boston Tea Party, December 16, 1773. This "First American Revolution" was essentially nonviolent, involving in some locations half of the adult male population. See the section on the American Revolution in the Wikipedia article on Ray Raphael as well as Raphael, Ray (2002), The First American Revolution: Before Lexington and Concord, New Press, ISBN 978-1565847309.
- McChesney and Nichols (2016, p. 167): "If the United States government subsidized journalism on the second decade of the twenty-first century as a percent of GDP to the same extent it did in the first half of the nineteenth century, it would spend in the area of $35 billion annually." Per MeasuringWorth.com, the nominal US GDP in 2016 was $18.7 trillion. 35/18700 = 0.002 or 0.2 percent. It is difficult to determine the optimal level of citizen-directed subsidies for journalism, but an argument can be made that 0.2 percent of GDP is low. The most relevant natural experiment relating to this question is the evolution of the US political economy in the 60 years following the adoption of the US Postal Service Act of 1792, when these subsidies provided most of the funds for journalism. During that period, these subsidies arguably helped make the US what it is today. However, the amount spent on advertising more recently might be a more reasonable target: Advertising "became a major force in capitalist economies in the mid-19th century, based primarily on newspapers and magazines", according to the Wikipedia article on "History of advertising". Between 1919 and 2007, advertising averaged 2.2 percent of US GDP. The effects of this 2.2 percent on the US political economy have had both positive and negative elements. On the positive side, advertisements help people find goods and services they want and need. On the negative side, media organizations supported by advertising must of necessity flinch before disseminating content that may offend a major advertiser. In addition, most advertising sells "image". The factual content of ads is often nonexistent and sometimes grossly misleading. Advertisers should not distort the priorities of a country, as they apparently have. This suggests that a sensible target for citizen-directed subsidies for journalism might be 2 percent rather than the 0.2 percent that was provided by the US Postal Service Act of 1792. For data on advertising as a percent of GDP, see "Annual U.S. Advertising Expenditure Since 1919". Galbithink.org. September 14, 2008. Retrieved 2017-11-20.. See also the Wikipedia article on advertising. Another way to consider the level of funding needed for citizen-directed subsidies for journalism is to compare with accounting: William K. Black noted that any Chief executive officer (CEO) in a private firm is capable of finding accountants and auditors that will facilitate malfeasance in office. He called these executives "control frauds". His primary examples came from the Savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and early 1990s, including especially Charles Keating. However, the phenomenon is not limited to private businesses. Public examples include the City of Bell scandal and the fact that the "As of March 2016, the DoD was the only government agency to have failed every audit since all government agencies were required to pass such audits by the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990." There are roughly 1.4 million accountants in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's roughly 0.4 percent of the US population and 0.9 percent of the 154.4 million employed individuals. Another BLS source shows accounting and auditing increasing from 0.1 to 1.4 percent of the workforce between 1910 and 2000. Moreover, accountants, especially certified public accountants, tend to have higher incomes than most other employees. Thus, we can expect that between 1 and 2 percent of the US GDP goes to accounting. Citizen-directed subsidies for journalism could be phased in gradually by asking local governmental entities to devote a portion of what they spend on accounting to subsidies for journalism selected by people who live in that jurisdiction. That number could be increased later, with the increase justified by the improved productivity of the local economy resulting from the more effective citizen engagement. For a discussion of "control frauds", see the associated Wikipedia article and Black, William K. (2005). The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One. University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-72139-0. For the number of accountants and CPAs, see Ng, Stephanie (March 6, 2016), Number of CPA in USA: Interesting Statistics and Trend, I pass the CPA exam, retrieved 2017-11-21
- Dunnigan and Martel (1987).
- Markey, Edward J. (January 24, 2017), Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017, S., US Congress, retrieved 2017-11-07
- Lieu, Ted (January 24, 2017), Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017, H.R., US Congress, retrieved 2017-11-07
- Blanchard, Rose; McCall, Meghan; Wilson, Geoff, eds. (May 4, 2017), 500,000 Americans Support Markey-Lieu Bill, Ploughshares Fund, retrieved 2017-11-07
- However, "[a]s of 11/19/2017 text has not been received", according to Smith, Adam [D-WA-9] (2017-11-15), To establish the policy of the United States regarding the no-first-use of nuclear weapons, US Congress, retrieved 2017-11-19 See also Smith, Adam [D-WA-9] (15 Nov 2017), H.R. 4415: To establish the policy of the United States regarding the no-first-use of nuclear weapons., Govtrack, retrieved 2017-11-19
- Carlson, Stephen (November 17, 2017), "Congress hears testimony on use of nuclear weapons", Stars and Stripes, retrieved 2017-11-19
- Downman, Maxwell (15 May 2017), Should the UK adopt a Restricted First Use policy?, BASIC: British American Security Information Council, retrieved 2017-11-07
- Helfand, Ira (2017-11-01), Prescription for a Nuclear-Free World: Dr. Ira Helfand at NAPF’s 2017 Evening for Peace, Waging Peace, retrieved 2017-12-03
- Corker, Bob (2017-11-14), Corker Statement at Hearing on Authority to Order the Use of Nuclear Weapons, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, retrieved 2017-12-03 Favila, Aaron (2017-11-14), Senate to explore president's unchecked nuclear authority, CBS News, retrieved 2017-12-03
- "Trump sends Twitter threat to 'Little Rocket Man'", USA Today, 2017-09-24, retrieved 2017-11-07
- The most dire predictions of nuclear winter models were substantially revised downward after retreating Iraqi forces set fire to roughly 600 oil wells that burned for months: The models predicted much larger and more wide spread problems than actually occurred.