Monthly Archives: November 2014

Nomenclature for a Nuclear Age

Approximately 7603 words.

A GLOSSARY OF IDEAS DISCUSSED IN
HERMAN KAHN’S CLASSIC BOOK:
ON THERMONUCLEAR WAR

INCLUDING AN ACCOUNT OF HOW TWO DAYS OF INNOVATIVE LECTURES GOT INTO BOOK FORMAT AND AROUSED A WORLDWIDE AUDIENCE IN 1960

The pioneering book On Thermonuclear War (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1960) by Herman Kahn, the nuclear physicist, strategic thinker, and futurist, is 652 closely reasoned pages. It uses first to last a vocabulary mostly unknown to the public at its time of publication–and not much better comprehended since then. The awesome subject of the book is, in the author’s precise words, “the deterrence and waging of thermonuclear ‘Central Wars’ between the United States and the Soviet Union….” (p. viii) The book’s complex contents have long posed a challenge for interested readers.

This article and the scholarship attached does something to remedy that situation. After an essay on how the book came into existence, it offers an alphabetical listing of terminology, called here a Glossary, which was slowly prepared by one who was closely involved with editing the original Kahn book into published form. Kahn did not prepare the glossary; and he never got to see it. None of it claims to offer ideas original with this author; everything derives from Kahn’s book. The claim here is that the attentive reader should emerge with some familiarity with the nomenclature of thermonuclear war. Continue reading Nomenclature for a Nuclear Age

Remembering That Public Speaking on Patriotic Holidays

The following essay was written as the concluding chapter of his recent book, SPEAKING UP FOR AMERICA, which contains a sampling of speeches. Approximately 1248 words.

I no longer remember every single one of the individuals who invited me to deliver all those patriotic speeches. They included leaders of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, chairpersons of committees appointed to commemorate patriotic holidays, a representative of a federal court, and academic figures—all from Jackson County, Oregon. All wanted a patriotic day to be fully observed. Those who invited me expected that I would speak for those once in the American military who were no longer among the living. Even though only a Reservist in those early Vietnam years, I still felt a 23 year veteran’s empathy for the dead who were once in uniform. Continue reading Remembering That Public Speaking on Patriotic Holidays

Remember: Those Notorious Anti-Semitic Protocols are Fiction!

The author found the notorious Protocols of Zion of durable interest years ago when studying Russian History. He slyly suggests “Protocol analysis” could qualify as an intellectual hobby. Condemning it in every generation strikes an always welcome blow against anti-Semitism. Published and archived on History News Network (hnn.com) on November 15, 2012. Approximately 887 words.

Even in this day of obsession with things Islamic and the coming and going of terrorist activities across borders, anti-Semitism in many lands continues to be a civil rights problem worth keeping an eye on. Every generation of young scholars needs to be reminded that the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, an item that crops up every so often over the years, remains a fake and a fraud. Never is it to be elevated to the height of a scholarly contribution to knowledge. Continue reading Remember: Those Notorious Anti-Semitic Protocols are Fiction!

Save and Preserve Our American System

Published and archived on History News Network (hnn.com) on December 4, 2011. Approximately 1068 words.

I regret that a System that really CAN work is being damned once again by those who declaim in the mainstream of long ago radicalism.   I fear that youth among us are unable to recognize and decipher the prose used by yesterday’s Populists, LaFollette Progressives, Wallace zealots, Socialist Worker Trotskyites, Socialist Labor debaters, and similar related radicalisms. Now and then they take to the streets and even sloganeer in our community newspapers.

These supercritical and super activist people know perfectly well that ours is in form a representative democracy that exists in a welfare capitalist system.  Much of the time–but not always–the System ends up working.  Violence of invective, born of understandable frustration and impatience, can be potentially revolutionary.  Remembering the violence in the turbulent 1960s, that would be an unacceptable outcome from today’s street convulsions. Continue reading Save and Preserve Our American System

Can Mitt Romney Rise Above the Mormon Issue to Win it All in November 2012?

Americans beginning to reflect on this matter are glancing back at the elections of 1928 and 1960. The author of this original essay wrote “The United States in 1960” for hnn.com, the History News Network, on July 16, 2008, and LABOR POLITICS IN A DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC, a book on the election of 1928 (published 1964). From the vantage point of having earlier considered the Kennedy and Smith efforts to reach the presidency in spite of religious prejudice, Dr. Bornet offers a useful commentary for our readers. He cast his own first presidential vote in 1940, by the way. This article was published on January 9, 2012 on HNN. Approximately 1524 words.

If Mitt Romney is the eventual nominee of the Republican Party this year, will the American public disregard his Latter Day Saints membership, loyalty, and affection (amounting to dedication), or will a substantial part of the electorate turn on him with Christian based, upright, uncompromising venom? In short, will the election bring out the best or the worst in voters as they finally reflect silently at ballot box time on what they are, who they really are, and what they think will motivate this candidate who professes something called Mormonism? Continue reading Can Mitt Romney Rise Above the Mormon Issue to Win it All in November 2012?

Maybe Add Values Teaching to Our American History Survey Courses?

Published and archived on History News Network (hnn.com) on May 15, 2011. Approximately 2079 words.

The aged author of this essay just showed his faith in the value of patriotism when in spring 2011 he published his book Speaking Up for America. Available from iUniverse, Amazon, etc., the 176 page book consists of 12 speeches, the first delivered May 30, 1963, and two essays.

This essay of advice and guidance will recommend seven ideas that in my view should be present in one way or another in an extensive survey course in American History at both the college and secondary school levels. An eighth idea, advancing the idea of patriotism, is brought forward now and then in my 2011 book Speaking Up for America. The first seven will be advanced shortly.

One of the arguments being waged at this time, many will acknowledge, is that between those endorsing the Howard Zinn school of social history content and endorsement, and the historians trained in United States history a generation or  more in the past. This essay is not about that continuing fight but is relevant. Continue reading Maybe Add Values Teaching to Our American History Survey Courses?

Graduates: Give “The Future” a Break!

I hate to admit I cannot remember where this was published; maybe it was Jackson County, Oregon, maybe somewhere in Georgia. My computer is no help on this matter. It’s from 2004. Approximately 1015 words.

My day started with an old song on the radio: “The best is yet to come, and won’t it be fine….” When, by accident, Mr. Rogers came up on Public Television when I turned it on, he was unabashedly cheerful and obviously expected his audience of youngsters to share his enthusiasm for “tomorrow” and his total confidence in it.

Considering the mood that vast numbers of the planet’s residents have worked themselves into in 2004, these attitudes are atypical and far out of the mainstream of normal assessment these days. Vast numbers of people, when pressed, seem pessimistic about both the short term and long term prospects for humanity. Crying in one’s beer has become appropriate conduct. This morning’s paper has a headline referring to “America’s Escalating Panic.” Ye Gods! Continue reading Graduates: Give “The Future” a Break!

Veterans Day is a Time for Love of One’s Country

Published and archived on History News Network (hnn.com) on November 11, 2011. Approximately 910 words.

What can be said on Veterans Day 2011 that has not been said repeatedly over our years of remembering war and that final peace? Above all, we will recognize that the death of a loved one in war’s conflict, perhaps a continent away, is central and remains a catastrophe. Continue reading Veterans Day is a Time for Love of One’s Country

When the Space Race Began

Copyrighted 1959. Approximately 19,578 words.

An Introduction to Space, Based on a Pioneering
Scientific Report to the Congress in 1958

A condensation of The RAND Corporation’s volume Space Handbook, prepared for historically minded readers in a new century.

This is a condensation of the pioneering research study Space Handbook, which was researched and written by Robert Buckheim and other scientists and engineers of The RAND Corporation. It was first crafted early in 1958 in classified form as RM-2289-RC for the Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration of the United States House of Representatives (which was then drafting the National Aeronautics and Space Act). In slightly revised form it was published by the Government Printing Office in Washington, D. C. in 1959.   It became a hardcover book issued by Random House (1959). The original report and book contained many tabulations, diagrams, tables, and engineering renderings.

This condensation for the general public was drafted in the year 1959 by Vaughn Davis Bornet, who was then a recently employed staff member of RAND Administration.   The original 239 page fine print version (301 as illustrated in the book) was reduced to 70 typed pages. The author of each chapter was required to read his portion of the manuscript and sign off on it as a completely accurate summary. (Most of them acquiesced with patient resignation.) Although put in line to be published for a non-specialized audience (finally, with internal order L-23982 of December 11, 1962), it somehow got detoured. The author treasured his handwritten original and kept a clean copy of the final manuscript, expecting ultimate publication. The RAND Corporation is now permitting the condensed version to be published on a nonprofit basis.

Here we have a rendering for the general reader of the scientific and engineering space knowledge of that point in time. The purpose of the entire Space research enterprise, wrote RAND president Frank R. Collbohm to the Congressional Committee in his letter of December 1, 1958 was “the development and accomplishment of a vigorous, adequate astronautics and space exploration program” for the United States. Continue reading When the Space Race Began