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"Forget the Rest" blog


Pre-register by March 18 to reserve a speaking slot at the March 22 hearing re LANL; other updates

March 15, 2016

(Letter to local members; tell us if you want off this exclusive list. We usually send emails to this list only rarely.)

Re: Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) public hearing (agenda) at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, 201 West Marcy Street (map) on Tuesday, March 22, 5:00 - 6:30 pm (Session 1) and 6:45 - 9:00 pm (Session 2, with public comment).

Dear friends --

First, I failed to notice this passage on the web site for this event:

Persons interested in speaking during the public comment period are encouraged to pre-register by submitting a request in writing to the Board’s address or by telephone to the Office of the General Counsel at (202) 694–7062 prior to close of business on March 18, 2016.

My apologies!

Second, some of you might be interested in a new blog post ("We must triage the threats we face") at Forget the Rest, posted by request after our last Albuquerque meeting, with an introduction.

Third, if you haven't seen it some of you will be interested in new piece by Laura Paskus on the Administration's "Clean Power Plan," at New Mexico In Depth. I have a comment there, only partially developed, to the effect that the CPP will have a trivial or possibly negative effect on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The point of my comment, which I left for readers to figure out for themselves, is that in our policy proposals as well as our tactics, we must go very far beyond what is being proposed by the environmental groups who support the President's policy. I sent some of them those calculations last year but no one ever called or wrote back.

I tend to agree with one of the speakers at our recent Albuquerque meeting who remarked that the environmental groups working on energy and climate have now formed an almost impervious bubble or echo chamber. In saying that I don't mean to tar everybody equally with the same brush. Still, our public discourse, and our tactics, about energy and climate in this state are absolutely abysmal. There is no effective organizing going on that I -- and many others with whom we speak -- can see.

Finally, many of you who read the New Mexican probably saw this: "Sandia, Los Alamos national labs, cultivating economic growth for New Mexico." Nothing could be further from the truth than this title, as decades of failure ought to sufficiently attest.

For background please see:

If you scroll down after the New Mexican article you will see my off-the-cuff comment and any others that have accreted since this morning.

The key quote in this article: Lujan [-Grisham] said she understands that despite some progress, “the economic growth here has not materialized.”

Think about that. Seventy years of not materializing. Seventy years of new faces and old repeatedly trying to see "some progress." Seventy years of hopeful tripe from politicians and journalists.

It is all too easy to make another trip to the DOE casinos when you are playing with other people's money. What an addiction.

The labs are the political heroin of New Mexico [thanks to Carol Miller for this trope].

William Weida, former chair of economics at Colorado College, once remarked, "The people who look to the labs for economic development are people for whom 60 years of data are not enough." It's 70 years now and the same people are singing the same sad song.

Dr. Weida also remarked, more pointedly, that New Mexico's greatest economic development problem was the failure to understand that "The Bomb" -- by which he meant not just the physical bomb and its institutions but also the complex of loyalties and ideologies that have taken the catbird's seat in this state -- has been "a mistake."

Others, and more pointedly still, call it New Mexico's "Stockholm Syndrome," for the positive psychological valence [transference, I should have said] that hostages can develop for their captors.

In fact the present situation works swimmingly for those who drive this folly. "Tech transfer" entrepreneurs want and get a second tranche of taxpayer dollars, the first not being enough of a subsidy for technologies which can't cross the threshold into something anyone actually might want enough to stimulate conventional business loans and development activity.

The real gold mine comes next, when a DoD- or Homeland Security-funded buyer, let's say (amazing, isn't it, how much of this vaunted technology is all about domination, fear, and war), actually places the first big order for the suicide- bomber-detecting radar illustrated above, or the surveillance software mentioned. Then the entrepreneur -- who has moved his start-up to California or wherever by this time -- can really cash in and retire.

Wow. What a fantastic economic development model for New Mexico.

Of course economic development for New Mexico is not a major interest for anyone involved in perpetuating these myths. If it were they would take the problem more seriously. They might even look at the data.

Best wishes,


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