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"Forget the Rest" blog


If you want to help put pressure on NM Dems to stop the new nuclear arms race, now's the time

Aug 1, 2016

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  1. Blog post: "The Crisis at Hand, the Emergency Mode, & the Need for Full-Scale Mobilization," re-posted from forthcoming Solar Times
  2. We have the impression that few of you f you want to help put pressure on the Democrats in the New Mexico delegation regarding nuclear weapons and related issues, there's no time like now.

Dear friends --

  1. Blog post: short, updated version of "The Crisis at Hand, the Emergency Mode, & the Need for Full-Scale Mobilization," re-posted from forthcoming Solar Times

This is a shortened version of a longer talk Greg gave to the Albuquerque chapter of on June 27, 2016 (video). With the fine graphic that adorns the issue, it's in the Summer 2016 edition of SolarTimes, which will probably appear today or tomorrow at the McCune Solar Works home page.

The takeaway is the same: we need to embrace what Margaret Salamon calls "The Emergency Mode" before it embraces us. We need build renewable energy and transportation as fast as we can, simplify, protect vulnerable people and species, and resist.

Since posting this I have had some very positive and interesting questions. I will share those questions in a wider email (a Bulletin).

Meanwhile I should say that I like Salamon's approach for its fidelity to the facts. It is our experience that whole-hearted engagement brings a great deal of energy and happiness, opens all kinds of doors, creates community, and has brought more objective success than I thought possible.

By the way, if you subscribe to Forget the Rest you will be notified about new entries!

  1. If you want to help put pressure on the Democrats in the New Mexico delegation regarding nuclear weapons and related issues, there's no time like now.

As we wrote two weeks ago, all the NM Democrats are enthusiastic supporters of expanded plutonium pit production, the proposed Long Range Stand Off cruise missile (LRSO) (Michelle Lujan-Grisham and Ben Ray Lujan just joined with Republicans to support this weapon), and every other nuclear weapon proposal that has been advanced by the Obama Administration. As we said, if anyone thinks it is possible to rein in climate change, protect the environment, or provide for more equal opportunity in our society while also spending roughly $1 trillion/year on various military, nuclear weapons, intelligence, and "homeland security" accounts, please think again.

Here's Udall deliriously praising New Mexico's nuclear weapons laboratories at the Democratic National Convention -- the first words he spoke prior to announcing New Mexico's votes.

If you want more data about these individuals' support for nuclear weapons, pit production, etc, look back through our Bulletins, or go to the politicians' web sites.

There are many creative ways to influence Democrats in the New Mexico delegation. But they mostly have certain things in common. 

First, for citizens who are not major political donors and who are not close family friends, all these methods are public. That is, they involve publicity. They reveal the writer or speaker to all who care to listen or read, and they are shared. They do not in general include non-public speech such as personal letters or calls. Non-public speech, however reasonable it may be (or seem to be), is not political speech at all, generates no political pressure, and typically has no effect whatsoever on contemporary politicians -- especially when they have, as most do have, profound material conflicts of interest. (Money, our courts tell us, is political speech.)

In this regard, some of you would enjoy (and profit from) reading the last part of Hannah Arendt's masterpiece The Human Condition (on "Action"), one of the best texts on political action available. (Entire text free here.) There you will find this:

With word and deed we insert ourselves into the human world, and this insertion is like a second birth, in which we confirm and take upon ourselves the naked fact of our original physical appearance. This insertion is not forced upon us by necessity, like labor, and it is not prompted by utility, like work. It may be stimulated by the presence of others whose company we may wish to join, but it is never conditioned by them; its impulse springs from the beginning which came into the world when we were born and to which we respond by beginning something new on our own initiative. To act, in its most general sense, means to take an initiative, to begin (as the Greek word archein, "to begin," "to lead," and eventually "to rule," indicates), to set something into motion (which is the original meaning of the Latin agere).
"Wherever you go, you will be a polis": these famous words became not merely the watchword of Greek colonization, they expressed the conviction that action and speech create a space between the participants which can find its proper location almost any time and anywhere. It is the space of appearance in the widest sense of the word, namely, the space where I appear to others as others appear to me, where men exist not merely like other living or inanimate things but make their appearance explicitly.

This space does not always exist, and although all men are capable of deed and word, most of them—like the slave, the foreigner, and the barbarian in antiquity, like the laborer or craftsman prior to the modern age, the jobholder or businessman in our world—do not live in it. No man, moreover, can live in it all the time. To be deprived of it means to be deprived of reality, which, humanly and politically speaking, is the same as appearance. To men the reality of the world is guaranteed by the presence of others, by its appearing to all; "for what appears to all, this we call Being," and whatever lacks this appearance comes and passes away like a dream, intimately and exclusively our own but without reality. [Footnote: Heraclitus' statement that the world is one and common to those who are awake, but that everybody who is asleep turns away to his own...says essentially the same as Aristotle's remark just quoted.

We still find people who think they can write effective personal, private letters to, say, a senator about some issue. I wish it were so! That's not political activity at all. Step out into the light. Don't be shy. Don't waste your time.

Again, it should not have to be said but unless you have a lot of money to give, sharp, clear, fair, persuasive criticism that alienates voters and donors, drawing on widely appreciated truths and universal human values will be more much powerful than praise. Praise will be seen as, and will be, fawning.

Specific helpful activities include (but are not limited to) these:

  • Writing letters to editors;
  • Writing guest editorials;
  • Commenting on news articles in the space provided;
  • Attempting to influence political donors;
  • Bird-dogging politicians at public events, asking embarrassing but fair questions about their support for weapons of mass destruction, pit production, etc.;
  • Organizing public demonstrations at offices;
  • Speaking at churches and other groups; and
  • Writing open letters to OTHER politicians, in OTHER states, about our situation and the members of our delegation.

Thanks again to all,

Greg, Trish, and the rest of the gang

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