Saturday, March 29, 2014

Buy, buy, lullabye...

Who Will Buy? (from Oliver)

Who will buy my sweet red roses? Two blooms for a penny. (Repeat 4 times.)

Will you buy any milk today mistress? Any milk today mistress?

Who will buy my sweet red roses?

Any milk today mistress?

Two blooms for a penny.

Ripe, strawberries ripe! Ripe, strawberries ripe!

MILKMAID: Any milk today mistress?
STRAWBERRY-SELLER: Ripe, strawberries ripe!

Will you buy my sweet red roses?

Ripe, strawberries ripe!

MILKMAID: Any milk today mistress?
KNIFE GRINDER: Knives, knives to grind!

Who will buy?

Any knives to grind?

Ripe, strawberries ripe!

ROSE-SELLER: Who will buy my sweet red roses?
MILKMAID: Any milk today mistress?

KNIFE GRINDER: Knives, knives to grind!
STRAWBERRY-SELLER: Ripe, strawberries ripe!

R.S.: Who will buy my sweet red roses?
KG: Any knives to grind?
MM: Any milk today mistress?
SS: Ripe, strawberries ripe!

Who will buy?

Who will buy?

Who will buy?

Who will buy?

Who will buy this wonderful morning?
Such a sky you never did see!

Who will buy my sweet red roses?

Who will tie it up with a ribbon, and put it in a box for me?

Ripe, strawberries ripe!

So I could see it at my leisure,
Whenever things go wrong,
And I would keep it as a treasure,
To last my whole life long.

Any milk today?

Who will buy this wonderful feeling?
I'm so high, I swear I could fly.

Knives, knives to grind!

Ripe, strawberries ripe!

Me, oh my! I don't want to lose it.
So what am I to do
To keep a sky so blue?
There must be someone who will buy...

Who will buy?

Who will buy?

Who will buy?

Who will buy?

Who will buy?

Who will buy this wonderful morning?
Such a sky you never did see!
Who will tie it up with a ribbon,
And put it in a box for me?

They'll never be a day so sunny,
It could not happen twice.
Where is the man with all the money?
It's cheap at half the price!

Who will buy this wonderful feeling?
I'm so high I swear I could fly.
Me, oh my! I don't want to lose it
So what am I to do
To keep a sky so blue?
There must be someone who will buy...


They'll never be a day so sunny,
It could not happen twice.
Where is the man with all the money?
It's cheap at half the price!


Who will buy this wonderful feeling?
I'm so high I swear I could fly.
Me, oh my! I don't want to lose it
So what am I to do?
To keep a sky so blue?
There must be someone who will buy...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Žižek to present seminar series and symposium at Princeton

March 31 through April 16, 2014, 4:30 p.m. · various venues

Cultural critic and Princeton Global Scholar Slavoj Žižek will present a seminar series "Philosophy Through Psychoanalysis" at 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 31, in McCosh Hall, Room 28; and Wednesdays, April 2 and 16, and Mondays, April 7 and 14, in McCosh Hall, Room 46.

In addition he has organized a symposium "Varieties of Materialism Today," with Mladen Dolar and Alenka Zupancic, to be held at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, in McCosh Hall, Room 46.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Year of Dreaming Dangerously, pp. 56-58:

As to the form of subjectivity that fits this constellation, we might begin with “The Stranger,” the famous prose poem by Baudelaire:

Tell me, enigmatical man, whom do you love best, your father,
Your mother, your sister, or your brother?
I have neither father, nor mother, nor sister, nor brother.
Your friends?
Now you use a word whose meaning I have never known.
Your country?
I do not know in what latitude it lies.
I could indeed love her, Goddess and Immortal.
I hate it as you hate God.
Then, what do you love, extraordinary stranger?
I love the clouds ... the clouds ... that pass ... up there ... up there
... the wonderful clouds!

[Charles Baudelaire, Paris Spleen, trans. Louise Varese, New York: New Directions 1970, p.l.]

Does this “enigmatical man” not provide the portrait of an internet geek? Alone in front of the screen, he has neither father nor mother, neither country nor god—all he needs is a digital cloud to which his internet device is linked. The final outcome of such a position is, of course, that the subject itself turns into “a cloud in pants,” avoiding sexual contact as too intrusive. In 1915, Vladimir Mayakovsky entered a train carriage in which the only other occupant was a young woman; to put her at ease he introduced himself by saying, “I am not a man but a cloud in pants.” As the words left his lips he realized the phrase was perfect for a poem and went on to write his first masterpiece, “A Cloud in Pants”:

No longer a man with a mission,
something wet
and tender
— a cloud in pants.

[Quoted from]

How, then, does such a “cloud in pants” have sex? An ad in the United Airlines in-flight magazine begins with a suggestion: “Maybe it’s time to outsource ... your dating life.” It goes on: “People hire professionals to handle so many aspects of their lives, so why not use a professional to help you find someone special? We are matchmaking professionals—this is what we do day in and day out.”
[United Airlines, Hemispheres magazine, July 2011, p. 135.]

After outsourcing manual work (and much of the pollution) to Third World countries, after outsourcing (most) torture to dictatorships (whose torturers were probably trained by US or Chinese specialists), after outsourcing our political life to administrative experts (who are obviously less and less up to the task—see the morons who compete in Republican Party primaries)—why not take this process to its logical conclusion and consider outsourcing sex itself? Why burden ourselves with the effort of seduction with all its potential embarrassments? After a woman and I agree to have sex, each of us need only designate a younger stand-in, so that while they make love (or, more precisely, while the two of us make love through them), we can have a quiet drink and conversation and then retire to our own quarters to rest or to read a good book. After such disengagement, the only way to reconnect with reality is, of course, through raw violence.


Happy Birthday to Slavoj Žižek

March 21st, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Today, March 21, is the birthday of perhaps the most talked-about figure in academia today, Slavoj Žižek. Žižek, born in Slovenia and now a senior researcher at the University of Ljubljana (among many other positions), is famous for his incisive and often biting cultural critiques as well as his rambling, insightful, endlessly entertaining writing and speaking style. Columbia University Press publishes theInsurrections series, which is edited by Žižek, along with Clayton Crockett, Creston Davis, and Jeffrey W. Robbins. On the occasion of Žižek’s birthday, we wanted to take a quick look at the questions of religion, politics, and culture that he has found so fascinating.

Žižek himself is known for his use of Lacan’s psychoanalysis in interpreting German idealism and Marxist political thought, and for his application of this interpretation to modern cultural phenomena. Of particular interest to him has been the role that religion plays in the private lives of individuals and the public sphere. Žižek has been one of the leading academic voices bringing attention to the ways in which ostensibly secular aspects of the modern world are incorporating religious ideas.

In the Insurrections series, Žižek and his coeditors seek to understand the modern “turn to religion” in political philosophy, modern politics, and modern culture. The series contains a necessarily wide range of books that trace the turn to religion using a variety of approaches . 

Theoretical works of political philosophy such as Radical Democracy and Political Theology and Radical Political Theology: Religion and Politics After Liberalism, by series coeditors Jeffrey W. Robbins and Clayton Crockett respectively, provide a picture of how the political and the religious have become increasingly intertwined. Works like Mary-Jane Rubenstein’s Strange Wonder and Richard Kearney’s Anatheism take a more philosophical approach to modern religion. And translations of classic works like Stanislas Breton’s A Radical Philosophy of Saint Paul and the forthcoming play by Alain Badiou, The Incident at Antioch, help readers trace the modern religious turn in continental philosophy to its roots.

However, the two works to which Žižek himself contributed may serve as the best encapsulation of the mission of the Insurrection series as well as representing Žižek’s own diverse interests. 

The first, Hegel and the Infinite, is a collection of essays (edited by Žižek, Crockett, and Creston Davis) attempting to apply Hegelian thought to modern philosophical issues, an effort that Žižek has been making his entire career as an intellectual. In his preface to the collection, Žižek acknowledges the difficulties to Hegelian thought posed by the post-Hegelian break, the rejection of metaphysics that created the popular conception of Hegel as the last of the idealist metaphysicians (and often as the “absolute idealist”). However, he also claims that the chaotic history of the twentieth century demands a Hegelian reading, and ends with the dramatic statement (Žižek undeniably has a gift for the dramatic statement) that “the time of Hegel still lies ahead—Hegel’s century will be the twenty-first.”

With essays ranging from a contemplation of the perverse in Hegel to a comparison of madness in the work of Hegel and Van Gogh, Hegel and the Infinite is a perfect representation of Žižek’s love of applying traditional philosophical thought to oft-overlooked aspects of culture. Žižek’s own essay, the last in the collection, is entitled “Hegel and Shitting,” and argues against what he calls “the pseudo-Freudian dismissal of Hegel” as a thinker whose Idea is a “voracious eater that ‘swallows’ every object upon which it stumbles” by looking at excreting, the opposite process of consumption, in Hegelian thought. The use of such universal but taboo subjects in coming to terms with complex theoretical models is one of Žižek’s most effective explanatory techniques.

While Hegel and the Infinite is an excellent example of Žižek’s academic thought applied to culture, his contribution to Udi Aloni’s What Does a Jew Want? shows his application of religious thought to political issues through the medium of culture. In his essay “The Jew is Within You, But You, You Are in the Jew,” Žižek places quotes from movies and political officials side by side in an attempt to understand how popular conceptions of what it means to be a Jew inform the political actions taken historically against Jews in Europe and currently by Jews in Israel. There can be no doubt when one reads What Does a Jew Want? that he is perfectly at home working with the filmmaker Aloni; Žižek seems to take particular delight in extracting Marxist and Hegelian insights from Aloni’s film Forgiveness. In its essence, though, his message in his essays in Aloni’s book is quite serious, and is much the same as the theme of the Insurrections series. Modernization does not simply involve a “phasing out” of religion from society; instead, many of the most important aspects of religion have been adopted by parts of society that are commonly seen to be wholly secular. Žižek’s concluding sentence to his introduction of What Does a Jew Want? could well apply to his own sizeable collection of works: “So, if you want to dwell in your blessed secular ignorance, then do not read this book—at your own risk!”

The Marvelous Land of Indefinitions

The poet's business is telling the truth. -Ricardo Miro

How nice! How convenient!
We have all gathered to read and listen to poems
As if everyone were actually equal
Laborers in the corn fields
Girls in the cigarette factory
Though someone always seems to be saying
"A poet's task is making poetry... blah blah blah"
But poeting with poor people doesn't end poverty.

How sweet it is! How nice!
First poems and last words
Are heard here, dedicated to friends
Describing the ultimate artistic inspirations
Incorporating all the latest stops and turns
Of fashion

          the alleys oh like psychedelic birds
          and the transfiguration of being,
          of self, of the essence, blah blah blah
It's annoying.

Clearly, this poetry reading
Will not be heard in the town square
Because people don't listen to poetry
Since poetry is "the nectar of the gods"
And these readers are demigods
Rising up to nirvana and adulation
All of those others who read, write,
Or listen to this stuff

Tranquilly, everyone reads
After cocktails

Happily, an interesting poem
Reminds me of Proust
Or something from a 16th Century French book
No one assumes responsibility for sense or vision
Because, in the final analysis, poetry
Is something personal

Newspaper headlines are full of lies
And the radio is full of lies

Because everyone goes along
In slavish style follows the ways of the word
(European, Anglo-Saxon, White)

And the style, the form is what's important
Incomprehensible to everyone else
But them. Oh, in the final analysis
Everyone else is a part of the problem
And we're in the "in" crowd.

The ones who never read are ready to gossip!
Did you see so and so's new book?
          I just got accepted in Reader's Digest
Blah blah blah

But that's okay
          Okay because we made the best of it
Seated at god the father's right hand
Ok because here where nothing's happening
No one can truthfully say
                                             us least of all
That we're lazy
Hate to work,
Know nothing but gambling, drinking, fiesta, good sex
(The common definition of a Panamanian)
What's on our mind is the office,
                                                       Security, the kids.
          Daily bread.
A payday every two weeks or the 30th

Everyone goes along
Because unemployment goes up every day
It's okay exploit the farm workers
Ok than rent keeps going up
          that young people are lost in marijuana and "free love"
         because all the world drinks Coca-Cola and smokes Viceroys
And everyone prefers blonds and white folks
And cathedral arched eyebrows
         because the gringos don't worry themselves about anybody
(Only duck hunting in January - and that not too often -
And controlling the nation's economy)
          because the others who suffer
In the final analysis, this is the 51st state
In the wonderful land of indefinitions
Where everyone goes along
Where poets gather to read poems
And sip cocktails
                   And talk har har har
                   Chat har har har blah blah blah
                   Talk har har har
To evade the compromise
Escape the moment
Avoid facing destiny and the "secret word"
                   Each day growing clearer
                   Each day blah blah blah
                   Hovering blah blah blah

by Lorenzo Thomas

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Trotsky explains Marxism

trotsky bourgeoise are punks

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Former Top NSA Official: “We Are Now In A Police State”

32-year NSA Veteran Who Created Mass Surveillance System Says Government Use of Data Gathered Through Spying “Is a Totalitarian Process”

Bill Binney is the high-level NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information. A 32-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency, Binney was the senior technical director within the agency and managed thousands of NSA employees.

Binney has been interviewed by virtually all of the mainstream media, including CBSABCCNNNew York TimesUSA TodayFox NewsPBS and many others.

Last year, Binney held his thumb and forefinger close together, and said:
We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.

But today, Binney told Washington’s Blog that the U.S. has already become a police state.

By way of background, the government is spying on virtually everything we do.

All of the information gained by the NSA through spying is then shared with federal, state and local agencies, and they are using that information to prosecute petty crimes such as drugs and taxes. The agencies are instructed to intentionally “launder” the information gained through spying, i.e. to pretend that they got the information in a more legitimate way … and to hide that from defense attorneys and judges.

This is a bigger deal than you may realize, as legal experts say that there are so many federal and state laws in the United States, that no one can keep track of them all … and everyone violates laws every day without even knowing it.

The NSA also ships Americans’ most confidential, sensitive information to foreign countries like Israel (and here), the UK and other countries … so they can “unmask” the information and give it back to the NSA … or use it for their own purposes.
Binney told us today:

The main use of the collection from these [NSA spying] programs [is] for law enforcement. [See the 2 slides below].

These slides give the policy of the DOJ/FBI/DEA etc. on how to use the NSA data. In fact, they instruct that none of the NSA data is referred to in courts – cause it has been acquired without a warrant.

So, they have to do a “Parallel Construction” and not tell the courts or prosecution or defense the original data used to arrest people. This I call: a “planned programed perjury policy” directed by US law enforcement.

And, as the last line on one slide says, this also applies to “Foreign Counterparts.”

This is a total corruption of the justice system not only in our country but around the world. The source of the info is at the bottom of each slide. This is a totalitarian process – means we are now in a police state.

Here are the two slides which Binney pointed us to:

[2 images]
(Source: Reuters via RT; SOD stands for “Special Operations Division,” a branch of a federal government agency.)

We asked Binney a follow-up question:

You say “this also applies to ‘Foreign Counterparts.’” Does that mean that foreign agencies can also “launder” the info gained from NSA spying? Or that data gained through foreign agencies’ spying can be “laundered” and used by U.S. agencies?
Binney responded:

For countries like the five eyes (US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand) and probably some others it probably works both ways. But for others that have relationships with FBI or DEA etc., they probably are given the data used to arrest people but are not told the source or given copies of the data.

Monday, March 17, 2014

NASA-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'?

Natural and social scientists develop new model of how 'perfect storm' of crises could unravel global system

by Dr. Nafeez Ahmed

A new study sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of 'collapse' are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that "the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history." Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to "precipitous collapse - often lasting centuries - have been quite common."

The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary 'Human And Nature DYnamical' (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharri of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.

It finds that according to the historical record even advanced, complex civilisations are susceptible to collapse, raising questions about the sustainability of modern civilisation:

"The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent."

By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.

These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: 

"the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity"; and "the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or "Commoners") [poor]" These social phenomena have played "a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse," in all such cases over "the last five thousand years."

Currently, high levels of economic stratification are linked directly to overconsumption of resources, with "Elites" based largely in industrialised countries responsible for both:

"... accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels."

The study challenges those who argue that technology will resolve these challenges by increasing efficiency:

"Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use."

Productivity increases in agriculture and industry over the last two centuries has come from "increased (rather than decreased) resource throughput," despite dramatic efficiency gains over the same period.

Modelling a range of different scenarios, Motesharri and his colleagues conclude that under conditions "closely reflecting the reality of the world today... we find that collapse is difficult to avoid." In the first of these scenarios, civilisation:

".... appears to be on a sustainable path for quite a long time, but even using an optimal depletion rate and starting with a very small number of Elites, the Elites eventually consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society. It is important to note that this Type-L collapse is due to an inequality-induced famine that causes a loss of workers, rather than a collapse of Nature."

Another scenario focuses on the role of continued resource exploitation, finding that "with a larger depletion rate, the decline of the Commoners occurs faster, while the Elites are still thriving, but eventually the Commoners collapse completely, followed by the Elites."
In both scenarios, Elite wealth monopolies mean that they are buffered from the most "detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners", allowing them to "continue 'business as usual' despite the impending catastrophe." The same mechanism, they argue, could explain how "historical collapses were allowed to occur by elites who appear to be oblivious to the catastrophic trajectory (most clearly apparent in the Roman and Mayan cases)."

Applying this lesson to our contemporary predicament, the study warns that:

"While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory 'so far' in support of doing nothing."

However, the scientists point out that the worst-case scenarios are by no means inevitable, and suggest that appropriate policy and structural changes could avoid collapse, if not pave the way toward a more stable civilisation.

The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth:

"Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion."

The NASA-funded HANDY model offers a highly credible wake-up call to governments, corporations and business - and consumers - to recognise that 'business as usual' cannot be sustained, and that policy and structural changes are required immediately.

Although the study is largely theoretical, a number of other more empirically-focused studies - by KPMG and the UK Government Office of Science for instance - have warned that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a 'perfect storm' within about fifteen years. But these 'business as usual' forecasts could be very conservative.

Dr Nafeez Ahmed is executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and author of A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation: And How to Save It among other books. Follow him on Twitter@nafeezahmed

Sunday, March 16, 2014


By Charles P. Pierce on March 13, 2014

Oh, Paul Ryan. Your zombie-eyed granny starving won't get you into heaven any more.

The ZEGS from Wisconsin stepped on another rake yesterday while talking on Bill (Sportin' Life) Bennett's electric radio program. This is what he said.

"That's this tailspin or spiral that we're looking at in our communities...Your buddy Charles Murray or Bob Putnam over at Harvard, those guys have written books on this...We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work...There is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with."

(Let us pause for a moment and admire the shiny brass balls it takes to have a discussion imply that "inner city" men have a problem with their ethic between a guy who went to high school and college on Social Security survivor's benefits -- You're welcome, dickhead -- and a problem gambler who'd bet on which of his toenails would grow the fastest. Big shiny brass balls. See them gleam.)

This is not a dogwhistle. I mean, really, Charles Fking Murray? This is a goddamn air-raid siren. 

If you're talking about a "cultural problem" in the "inner city," and citing Charles Murray while you're doing it, well, you're pretty much broadcasting in the clear to the people you want to reach. That entire phony "listening tour" that you went on? Useless now. Want to run for president? You just wrote a radio and television ad for any Democrat who wants to run for president, including all of the dead ones. Your campaign is in the wind now, dude. Between this and that stupid brown paper bag fable that you cribbed at CPAC, you're no more ready for primetime than you were when Uncle Joe Biden laughed you off the stage back in 2012.


This is the risk of making a career within the conservative bubble. Sooner or later, you blurt something out in the code and the rest of the world hears it. He didn't say "inner city" by accident. He didn't cite a white supremacist like Murray by accident. He didn't go on Bennett's radio show accidentally. He knew what he was saying and to what audience. He was extremely articulate. And he remains the biggest fake in American politics

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Here's a List of Every Time Someone Lost Control of Their Nukes


Read more:


Broken Arrows: Nuclear Weapons Accidents
Since 1950, there have been 32 nuclear weapon accidents, known as “Broken Arrows.” A Broken Arrow is defined as an unexpected event involving nuclear weapons that result in the accidental launching, firing, detonating, theft, or loss of the weapon. To date, six nuclear weapons have been lost and never recovered.


Date: November 10, 1950
Location: Quebec, Canada
A B-50 jettisoned a Mark 4 bomb over the St. Lawrence River near Riviere-du-Loup, about 300 miles northeast of Montreal. The weapon’s HE [high explosive] detonated on impact. Although lacking its essential plutonium core, the explosion did scatter nearly 100 pounds (45 kg) of uranium. The plane later landed safely at a U.S. Air Force base in Maine.

Date: March 10, 1956
Location: Exact Location Unknown
Carrying two nuclear capsules on a nonstop flight from MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa, Florida to an overseas base, a B-47 was reported missing. It failed to make contact with a tanker over the Mediterranean for a second refueling. No trace was ever found of the plane.

Date: July 27, 1956
Location: Great Britain
A B-47 bomber crashed into a nuclear weapons storage facility at the Lakenheath Air Base in Suffolk, England, during a training exercise. The nuclear weapons storage facility, known as an “igloo,” contained three Mark 6 bombs. Preliminary exams by bomb disposal officers said it was a miracle that one Mark 6 with exposed detonators sheared didn’t explode. The B-47′s crew was killed.

Date: February 5, 1958
Location: Off Georgia, United States
In a simulated combat mission, a B-47 collided with an F-86 near Savannah, Georgia. After attempting to land at Hunter Air Force Base with the nuclear weapon onboard, the weapon was jettisoned over water. The plane later landed safely. A nuclear detonation was not possible since the nuclear capsule was not on board the aircraft. Subsequent searches failed to locate the weapon.

Date: February 28, 1958
Location: Great Britain
A B-47 based at the U.S. air base at Greenham Common, England, reportedly loaded with a nuclear weapon, caught fire and completely burned. In 1960, signs of high-level radioactive contamination were detected around the base by a group of scientists working at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE). The U.S. government has never confirmed whether the accident involved a nuclear warhead.


Date: January 24, 1961
Location: North Carolina, United States
While on airborne alert, a B-52 suffered structural failure of its right wing, resulting in the release of two nuclear weapons. One weapon landed safely with little damage. The second fell free and broke apart near the town of Goldsboro, North Carolina. Some of the uranium from that weapon could not be recovered. No radiological contamination was detectable in the area.

Date: July 4, 1961
Location: North Sea
A cooling system failed, contaminating crew members, missiles and some parts of a K-19 “Hotel”-class Soviet nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine off Norway. One of the sub’s two reactors soared to 800 degrees Celsius and threatened to melt down the reactor’s fuel rods. Several fatalities were reported.

Date: December 5, 1965
Location: Pacific Ocean
An A-4E Skyhawk attack aircraft loaded with one B43 nuclear weapon rolled off the deck of the USS Ticonderoga. Pilot, plane and weapon were never found.

Date: Mid-1960s (Date undetermined)
Location: Kara Sea
Soviet nuclear-powered icebreaker Lenin was forced to dump its reactors in the Kara Sea. Some accounts said the Lenin experienced a reactor meltdown.

Date: January 17, 1966
Location: Palomares, Spain
A B-52 carrying four nuclear weapons collided with a KC-135 during refueling operations and crashed near Palomares, Spain. One weapon was safely recovered on the ground and another from the sea, after extensive search and recovery efforts. The other two weapons hit land, resulting in detonation of their high explosives and the subsequent release of radioactive materials. Over 1,400 tons of soil was sent to an approved storage site.

Date: April 11, 1968
Location: Pacific Ocean
A Soviet diesel-powered “Golf”-class ballistic missile submarine sank about 750 miles northwest of the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Reports say the submarine was carrying three nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, as well as several nuclear torpedoes. Part of the submarine was reportedly raised using the CIA’s specially constructed “Glomar Explorer” deep-water salvage ship.

Date: November 1969
Location: White Sea
The U.S. nuclear-powered submarine Gato reportedly collided with a Soviet submarine on November 14 or 15, 1969, near the entrance of the White Sea.


Date: April 12, 1970
Location: Atlantic Ocean
A Soviet “November”-class nuclear-powered attack submarine experienced an apparent nuclear propulsion problem in the Atlantic Ocean about 300 miles northwest of Spain. Although an attempt to attach a tow line from a Soviet bloc merchant ship; the submarine apparently sank, killing 52.

Date: November 22, 1975
Location: Off Sicily, Italy
The aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy and the cruiser USS Belknap collided in rough seas at night during exercises. Although it was declared as “a possible nuclear weapons accident,” no subsequent nuclear contamination was discovered during the fire and rescue operations.


Date: October 3, 1986
Location: Atlantic Ocean
A Soviet “Yankee I”-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine suffered an explosion and fire in one of its missile tubes 480 miles east of Bermuda. The submarine sank while under tow on October 6 in 18,000 feet of water. Two nuclear reactors and approximately 34 nuclear weapons were on board.

Date: April 7, 1989
Location: Atlantic Ocean
About 300 miles north of the Norwegian coast, the Komsomolets, a Soviet nuclear-powered attack submarine, caught fire and sank. The vessel’s nuclear reactor, two nuclear-armed torpedoes, and 42 of the 69 crew members were lost.

Date: August 10, 1985
Location: Near Vladivostok, Russia
While at the Chazhma Bay repair facility, about 35 miles from Vladivostok, an “Echo”-class Soviet nuclear-powered submarine suffered a reactor explosion. The explosion released a cloud of radioactivity toward Vladivostok but did not reach the city. Ten officers were killed in the explosion.


Date: September 27, 1991
Location: White Sea
A missile launch malfunction occurred during a test launch on a “Typhoon”-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine.
Date: March 20, 1993
Location: Barents Sea
The U.S. nuclear-powered submarine Grayling collided with a Russian Delta III nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. Both vessels reportedly suffered only minor damage.

Date: February 11, 1992
Location: Barents Sea
A collision between a CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) “Sierra”-class nuclear-powered attack submarine with the U.S. nuclear-powered attack submarine Baton Rouge. Both vessels reportedly suffered only minor damage. There is a dispute over the location of the incident in or outside Russian territorial waters.


Date: August 12, 2000
Location: Barents Sea
The CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) “Oscar II” class submarine, Kursk, sinks after a massive onboard explosion. Attempts to rescue the 118 men fail. It is thought that a torpedo failure caused the accident. Radiation levels are normal and the submarine had no nuclear weapons on board.


U.S. Defense Department
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
National Security Archive
Joshua Handler, Princeton University
United Press International
The Associated Press
Blind Man’s Bluff : The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage

Fear of Wages

by Paul Krugman

Four years ago, some of us watched with a mixture of incredulity and horror as elite discussion of economic policy went completely off the rails. Over the course of just a few months, influential people all over the Western world convinced themselves and each other that budget deficits were an existential threat, trumping any and all concern about mass unemployment. The result was a turn to fiscal austerity that deepened and prolonged the economic crisis, inflicting immense suffering.

And now it’s happening again. Suddenly, it seems as if all the serious people are telling each other that despite high unemployment there’s hardly any “slack” in labor markets — as evidenced by a supposed surge in wages — and that the Federal Reserve needs to start raising interest rates very soon to head off the danger of inflation.

To be fair, those making the case for monetary tightening are more thoughtful and less overtly political than the archons of austerity who drove the last wrong turn in policy. But the advice they’re giving could be just as destructive.

O.K., where is this coming from?

The starting point for this turn in elite opinion is the assertion that wages, after stagnating for years, have started to rise rapidly. And it’s true that one popular measure of wages has indeed picked up, with an especially large bump last month.

But that bump is probably a snow-related statistical illusion. As economists at Goldman Sachs have pointed out, average wages normally jump in bad weather — not because anyone’s wages actually rise, but because the workers idled by snow and storms tend to be less well-paid than those who aren’t affected.

Beyond that, we have multiple measures of wages, and only one of them is showing a notable uptick. It’s far from clear that the alleged wage acceleration is even happening.

And what’s wrong with rising wages, anyway? In the past, wage increases of around 4 percent a year — more than twice the current rate — have been consistent with low inflation. And there’s a very good case for raising the Fed’s inflation target, which would mean seeking faster wage growth, say 5 percent or 6 percent per year. Why? Because even the International Monetary Fund now warns against the dangers of “lowflation”: too low an inflation rate puts the economy at risk of Japanification, of getting caught in a trap of economic stagnation and intractable debt.

Over all, then, while it’s possible to argue that we’re running out of labor slack, it’s also possible to argue the opposite, and either way the prudent thing would surely be to wait: Wait until there’s solid evidence of rising wages, then wait some more until wage growth is at least back to precrisis levels and preferably higher.

Yet for some reason there’s a growing drumbeat of demands that we not wait, that we get ready to raise interest rates right away or at least very soon. What’s that about?

Part of the answer, I’d submit, is that for some people it’s always 1979. That is, they’re eternally vigilant against the danger of a runaway wage-price spiral, and somehow they haven’t noticed that nothing like that has happened for decades. Maybe it’s a generational thing. Maybe it’s because a 1970s-style crisis fits their ideological preconceptions, but the phantom menace of stagflation still has an outsized influence on economic debate.

Then there’s sado-monetarism: the sense, all too common in banking circles, that inflicting pain is ipso facto good. There are some people and institutions — for example, the Basel-based Bank for International Settlements — that always want to see interest rates go up. Their rationale is ever-changing — it’s commodity prices; no, it’s financial stability; no, it’s wages — but the recommended policy is always the same.

Finally, although the current monetary debate isn’t as openly political as the previous fiscal debate, it’s hard to escape the suspicion that class interests are playing a role. A fair number of commentators seem oddly upset by the notion of workers getting raises, especially while returns to bondholders remain low. It’s almost as if they identify with the investor class, and feel uncomfortable with anything that brings us close to full employment, and thereby gives workers more bargaining power.

Whatever the underlying motives, tightening the monetary screws anytime soon would be a very, very bad idea. We are slowly, painfully, emerging from the worst slump since the Great Depression. It wouldn’t take much to abort the recovery, and, if that were to happen, we would almost certainly be Japanified, stuck in a trap that might last decades.

Is wage growth actually taking off? That’s far from clear. But if it is, we should see rising wages as a development to cheer and promote, not a threat to be squashed with tight money.