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"Forget the Rest" blog


Reminder: video and discussion tonight! 7 pm, 901 Solano Dr. NE

Aug 18, 2016

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Dear friends --

Tonight we will have an interesting video ("White Light, Black Rain"), Skype (we hope!) with Hiroshima survivor Shigeko Sasamori, and discussion, at 7:00 pm, Astrid Webster's house, 901 Solano Dr. NE (map).

Through her family in California we have finally found Shigeko, who is in Japan, but until the sun rises over there we won't know if she can call in.

Our meetings with officialdom in DC next week are taking shape. August, a vacation month in DC, is a good month for in-depth conversations and briefings with staff who are not on vacation. Of course, many are. This particular trip is timed to reach staff before the annual appropriations bills are finalized, before next year's budget request is shaped, and before some studies relevant to nuclear policy issues and projects we care about are completed.

Please invite your younger friends to this event. There are really a lot of issues on the table, not just about the future not just of nuclear weapons, but how to pay for them, how many kinds and numbers of nuclear weapons to pay for, and whether to ramp up our present wars -- including our multi-pronged attack on Russia. The U.S. social contract is being re-litigated, primarily on the streets, in Congress, and in push-back from a few countries that dare to be sovereign. As in the early 1930s, or as it was in the late 1940s in another way, things are going to change rapidly in America in the very near future. How they change is partly up to us. It is very difficult to imagine this country addressing its internal problems, or replacing its climate-destroying energy and transportation systems, if we are also starting up more wars.

As matters now stand, wars and threats of war, are considered solutions, not problems.

We will be discussing upcoming public visits with our congressional delegation tonight. Their lack of leadership is conspicuous, and we have to gently but very firmly bring them to realize that merely coasting along won't be enough. Time's up.

In this regard, we might have mentioned how Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham told us that her political advisors say she needs to cozy up to the military and to Sandia National Laboratories as much as possible, to compensate for liberal positions she wants to take (she mentioned gun control).

Since then she has voted with Republicans to fund what would be a dramatic increase in the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, via a stealthy long-range cruise missile with variable yield warhead that can be used either in a massive nuclear first strike, or in lower-yield nuclear strikes in regional wars -- for example against Chinese targets to retaliate against attacks on U.S. aircraft carriers and other capital ships. "Escalation control" is the key idea. Obama himself just used the phrase.

You thought we had an arms limitation treaty with Russia -- New START? It does not apply to this weapon, and anyway it expires in 2021. The Russians may withdraw sooner than that as they have warned, if the U.S. goes ahead with missile deployments in eastern Europe in 2018.

Two years ago, we sort of accidentally got a briefing from a recent former member of the Pentagon targeting staff about how wonderful (= terrible) this weapon would be -- how much pressure it would put on our "adversaries" to be able to launch hundreds of undetectable nuclear missiles simultaneously. Does it make you feel safer to know that Pentagon planners think Russia and China would feel pretty helpless against our advancing nuclear might? Well that's their idea. The enthusiasm is palpable.

But it won't work like that. Russia and China have PLENTY of ways to make the U.S. pay, plenty of ways to make us feel (and be) just as insecure as they.

All this machinery of threat and muti-dimensional conflict is ratcheting up again right now, with real wars and real covert operations and so on, not to mention proxy wars that have killed hundreds of thousands.

Lujan-Grisham, like her cousin Ben Ray Lujan up north, also abandoned a majority of Democrats to vote for a multibillion-dollar plutonium pit factory in Los Alamos, a particular interest of ours.

Both projects are part of the proposed $1 trillion investment in nuclear weapons (that's operation and modernization -- both) that Obama has promised over the next 30 years.

As far as we can tell, Lujan Grisham doesn't understand, and in a practical political sense (as opposed to a sentimental sense) doesn't really care, about any of this. She thinks she cannot afford to care about peace, or how the military and labs and new bombs are paid for. We need to convince her that she and her successors cannot afford NOT to think about these things.

We have exciting news to share from Geneva as well, very good news. We are very proud that Study Group board members and our former interns and fellows, are playing a very central role in these world-changing events. Please do come!

Greg, Trish, Astrid, Valentina, and gang

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