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December 28, 2012

Bulletin #163: Invitation

The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise – with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country…We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.

Abraham Lincoln, message to Congress, December 1862

Dear friends –

On the 26th I wrote about some of the good news in nuclear weapons policy, some already in the rear-view mirror and so at least somewhat clear to us, some yet still ahead of us and quite unclear.

Yet we can have confidence that things which can’t continue, won’t.  That sword will kill many, and bring many to life.

I would like to ask again: please consider helping our work financially yourself, and by reaching out for us to your friends.  Think big.  Thank you.

You can contribute electronically, by check, or you can make a donation of stock (contact Trish).  You can become a sustaining donor (pdf).

If you’ve been politically active at all, you have probably found our society is largely depoliticized, for many reasons that we all could sagely expound upon.  As discouraging as that realization and experience can be, it has another aspect, summarized in a bumper sticker we saw recently: “The world is run by the people who show up.”  The field of leadership, stony as it is, is largely abandoned.  It awaits you.

So overall, and not exclusively in the Study Group context by any means, I want to beg you – all of you – to please have faith in yourself and step forward into the political arena in your own way.  There is very little to lose and everything to gain.  Far from losing one’s soul, some form of political action that is right for you – but not the dilettantish engagement usually “sold” by nonprofit groups – is now essential to any mature and fulfilling life.  Indeed the collective success of that engagement may be essential to have any life at all.

The Study Group is looking for a few good men and women.  There are many ways to be involved.  First and foremost, we are looking for people who can be involved at least half time, most of which needs to be in Albuquerque.  We don’t have much money but I doubt very much that any of us reading this letter are going to starve or freeze to death.  Write, call, or visit.

Some of what we did this past year

The Los Alamos Study Group has been in the forefront of some of the nation’s most important nuclear policy debates this year.  Considerable progress has been made overall, as you can see from the record on our web site.  (Some specialized products and background materials are not on our home page but rather on the CMRR page and its links.  Our legal work is here; some legislative work is here.)

We have patiently continued our educating activity all year, again and again correcting the propaganda that officials in government, journalists, and outside experts should never have allowed to take root.  Events have vindicated our views (not just on CMRR-NF but also on NIF, MOX, and other subjects) and we expect that to continue.  Meanwhile the waste of official attention, time, and money is very damaging to the country.

I (Greg Mello) was in Washington, D.C. for nine weeks this year, speaking to decisionmakers and analysts across government from the White House to the Pentagon and everywhere in between.  We also meet with nonprofit organizations in Washington and, once a year, with nuclear weapons contractors at a conference, which is coming up in February.  I have been asked to speak.  (Some of these contractors privately agree with us about some issues, such as CMRR.)  Peter Neils, our board president, was with me in Washington for a week this year as well.

In between these face-to-face meetings we’ve been in fairly frequent communication with many of these same parties and others, trying to mutually understand how the U.S. can manage its nuclear weapons complex and stockpile in a way that is open to the dramatic changes we believe are necessary and desirable.

(As we said last time, not only is nuclear disarmament desirable but to a considerable extent it is now inevitable.  The longer it is postponed the greater the harm that will be inflicted on U.S. national security, in the broadest sense.  Simply put, a terrible storm is coming.  Not only is the U.S. very much not ready, but we are making that storm worse, day by day.   We have no idea who and what will survive, yet still we continue in the old ways.)

We’ve been active in the press, as you can see on our web site, sometimes reaching a broad audience via the wire services, the trade press, re-posting organizations, and when forwarded by government officials to their own lists.  We’ve been interviewed on radio shows in New Mexico and elsewhere, and an interpretation of our work was the subject of a TV documentary in Europe. (What a lot of work that was!)

We’ve continued our litigation, a high-value (and resource-intensive) effort, in limbo since August due to judicial inaction and the Defendants’ confusion over their own policies – which was why we sued them in the first place.

We have participated in Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigations and met with the Department of Energy (DOE) Inspector General (IG).

We’ve held numerous public meetings, all rather lightly attended.  (Our situation in New Mexico does not offer any pathways for effective, light democratic engagement in nuclear issues.  It is a very fertile situation and a very serious one, one with great promise for people willing to get deeply involved, but the commitment threshold necessary to make a difference is pretty high.)

We get many requests for articles and assistance of various kinds, to which we can only respond to a small fraction, given our small staff and limited time to requests for information and analyses from congressional staff and others in government.  We know of blockbuster media stories but they require time to develop.  Another staff researcher and writer would greatly amplify what we can do, as would other roles we could describe.

That’s it for now, and thank you for your attention.

Greg Mello, for the Study Group

We appeal as human beings to human beings: Remember your humanity, and forget the rest.

1955 Russell-Einstein Manifesto


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