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it is probably time to discuss this.

For years we have quietly known and accepted the negatives of having an NSA. Things like we need it for our protection, or it makes things safer, tended to overide our fears that they know too much already, and I can’t do anything in private anymore…

We accepted that as progress.

However, when you have an organization so secret, that members of Congress are shocked to find out what it is doing, that no one knows who is authorizing who gets spied upon and what, that when brought before the courts for overstepping the Constitution, it can’t be prosecuted because a) it operates under “secret” laws, b) with “secret operations”, c) authorized by “secret courts” …. it is time to shut the entire operation down.

Why do we have the NSA when we have the CIA and the FBI. The FBI covers domestic spying. The CIA covers international spying. So, unless we find out that there are aliens and the NSA is really running the world while we think otherwise, then it probably ought to go.

I find it interesting that those on the far right, and those on the far left are the most outraged by this disclosure. We’ve been stating that news on this blog after the story was broken back in 2007-8 and not one press person cared. I supposed the AP Story opened their eyes this time. Struggling to put a finger on why, I came up with the theory primarily by looking at Congress, that it is the libertarians on left and right who are against, and the conformist, primarily in the center who are acceptive. So this gives us a split where the bottom third and the top third of the political body are opposed to the middle third… If you look at Congress that is exactly how it splits up. Moderates are pro domestic spying, the libertarians are not.

Probably similar is the theory that those beholden to corporate interests are pro-spying, after all, that is normal in the corporate environment; interoffice spying is not limited by any judicial system because it is deemed to be private. Those aghast, tend to fight corporate intrusion from their original political perspective, either left of right.

What the NSA does, watch everything to discern what is happening to increase its chances of survival, is not new. Intelligence has been the secret success of many an empire. Knowing what someone will do before they do it, is pretty comfortable in a world where in a day, we probably pass within 10 feet of 10,000 people (that includes inside our vehicles).

That is what all governments with the capacity, do. The biggest argument against it, is that it is un-American. Sure we have the “ability” to do it, but do we have the restraint, not to…

America has always been ruled by restraint. When Washington was entreated to be the King, he restrained and said no. When the heads of Europe all bet that Washington would invent a method to stay in power, he restrained, and government turned over peacefully. When the US was left in charge of a broken Europe, it put it back together and went home. The only country to invade another and give it back willingly to its original owners.

We had a scare in Boston a while back. Did the NSA protect us then? It’s a secret, no one knows. In Newtown 26 bodies littered the floor of an elementary school. Did the NSA protect us then? When a gunman burst into Aurora firing into the audience, did the NSA protect us then? When Gabby Gifford took a bullet, where was the NSA? Did the NSA protect us then?

That is the point. We are always in danger. But our personal lives are more at risk if our private information should fall into a competitors hands, than being victim of a terrorist. In Boston just 2 people died. In Newton 26. But each and every one of us, is at risk that selective information from ones past, can be used in secret to smear each and every one of us, should it fall into the wrong hands.

What would happen if we shut the entire agency known as the NSA down? A big nothing. They overstepped. It is not knee-jerking anger to respond “Shut them down right now!” It it calm, cool reasoning tipping the balance, that points out simply that is the right way to go.

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There seems to be some confusion surrounding the recent bomber incident. When I first heard the story break, while driving home listening to Allan Loudell on WDEL, there were five nuclear warheads missing. Later, while on line, I researched the story and there were indeed 5 nuclear warheads discovered in Barksdale under the wings of a B-52, loaded on 5 decommissioned cruise missiles.

Two days later, poking around for anything new, I saw the total was updated to 6 nuclear warheads…..My focus was elsewhere and I paid it no mind. Today, looking for news on the Air Combat Command’s stand down, I realized something had been overlooked……

Essentially this: “Hello, do you know you have 5 nuclear warheads sitting under a B-52 in Barksdale? ” Let us check: “yep, there they are.” Now two days later: Minot, can you comment on the 5 nuclear warheads taken from your base? You mean six? There were 6 warheads on that plane.” “OK, we’ll update that to six….Can you comment sir?……..”

Most people who have direct experience with nuclear weapons, tell me the safeguards are too redundant for anyone to accidentally load these weapons. The probability for an accidental loading is decreased exponentially by the fact that there are no conventional warheads that fit this missile. That is in fact why this missile is being decommissioned, in favor of dual capacity missiles.

Those who think accidents can happen, do not understand the systems in place to make sure they do not happen. Here is the declassified version of the standard operating procedure for the loading of a nuclear weapon.

A sophisticated computerized tracking system is used for nuclear weapons. Multiple sign-offs are required to remove the weapons from their storage bunkers.

The AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile was designed to carry nuclear weapons. No non-nuclear warhead is available for this missile. So the only possible error could have been loading nuclear warheads on the missiles instead of practice dummies.

The practice warheads have standard blue and yellow signs declaring “Inert, non-nuclear”. The nuclear warheads have at least three distinctive red warning signs. This error is therefore highly improbable, absent tampering with signage.

Nuclear weapons are transported from the storage bunker to the aircraft in a caravan that routinely includes vehicles with machine guns front and rear and guards with M-16s. All steps in the process are done under the watchful eyes of armed military police.

Rules require that at least two people jointly control every step of the process. If one person loses sight of the other, both are forced to the ground face-down and temporarily “placed under arrest” by observant security forces. All progress stops until inspections are made to assure the weapons weren’t tampered with.

All nuclear weapons are connected to sophisticated alarm systems to prevent removal or tampering. They could only be removed from the storage bunker by turning the alarm off. And the squad commander clearly would not have authority to turn off the alarm.

So without question, the loading of these nuclear tipped missiles was done directly under orders. For the record here is the Pentagons explanation.

The Air Force admitted to an inadvertent error: The intent was to transport ACMs without weapons. According to military officers, the nuclear warheads should have been removed before the missiles were mounted on the pylons under the wings of the bomber.

Now, you the reader, square that official explanation with the standard operating procedure directly above it. In doing so, keep in mind this group, the 5th Wing, received a citation this past March for its safety record. Something does not stack up……………..

But something even more surprising occurred. The mistake was admitted. Not only that, it was emphasized by a system wide stand down, September 14th, to draw emphasis to it. All this fuss over something the public didn’t know or apparently care deeply about, since as a nation we have implicit trust in the competence of our military.

So was this intended to be a message? It appears so. The disciplinary actions placed upon the officers and men of Minot, could be described as paid vacation…..quickly rescinded at some future time. Talk and no actions. Sounds to me like a message being sent…..

If so, to whom? The speculation of course is that Iran is the target. In fact it would fit right into the Cheney play book for them to think we had nuclear weapons on standby ready to carpet bomb their Natanz nuclear laboratory.

Talk about negotiating with an ace in your hand…..

However there is another scenario that must be considered. That is the fact that every time this administration has had their back against the wall, they always bring up the concept of a nuclear weapon exploding in one of our cities.

As the republicans poll number edge closer to zero, perhaps soon to go into negative territory (lol), perhaps the explosion of a nuclear device in a Liberal city (Boston? or San Francisco?), might appear within the context of their bunker mentality, to be the lesser of two evils………..

Ridiculous as such an assertion may be, it certainly crosses every American’s mind, as evidenced by the length of time such figments of fiction stay upon the world’s best seller lists……..

Diligence is required to insure that it stays in the realm of fiction. And speaking of diligence, …..does anyone know what happened to that missing nuclear warhead, you know, the one that left Minot, but was not found in Barksdale?

Did someone in this administration just steal a 150 kiloton warhead?

Just outside Liberty College in Lynchburg, Virginia is sounding, more and more, like the safest place to live…….