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"Forget the Rest" blog


Teach-ins (3), receptions (2); community leaders largely silent and absent as NM economy, society collapse under militarism, climate change

June 8, 2016

(Letter to local members only; tell us if you want off this closed list.)

(June 5 reminder and update for reference.)

Dear friends --

Almost every day we hear (usually second-hand) that some community leader, church leader, organization, politician, or journalist doesn't want to talk or think seriously about the deeper crises facing our state, though of course not expressing it in precisely those words. Amazing, isn't it?

Or else these community-serving professionals offer policy narratives and choices that aim at "justice," or "jobs" or "economic growth" and so on, as if the state was not in the grip of military, nuclear, and fossil fuel corporations and their agents on the one hand, and climate deterioration on the other hand. Any of these factors if not stopped will prevent those attractive outcomes. Churches meanwhile usually offer spiritual solace as if that was possible outside mature political engagement with the devastating realities of our society and environment.

We sympathize, but only up to a point.

Somehow a lot of people think the climate can go to hell, or the military and its contractors arrive with even greater force in our communities, without us going to hell also.

Especially if we are comfortable, or absorbed in the hologram of the mass media and its addictive spectacles, we may not notice the ongoing dissolution of our society and its underpinnings.

Unless we act, we and our children, plus much of nature, will be roasted in a nuclear explosion -- either slowly by the light of one 93 million miles away, caught in our poorly-managed earthly solar cooker, or quickly, by a new sun someone brings down upon our heads.

Or we could starve in a nuclear darkness brought upon the whole world by other self-immolating fools -- in South Asia, for example. There has never been a shortage of fools.

A lot of people seem to confuse modern thermonuclear weapons with the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The scale is very different.

A nuclear explosion is like a sudden sun, very bright and very close. After 2 seconds the fireball from a 800 kiloton SS-25 Russian warhead would be nearly a mile across and about 800 times brighter than the noonday desert sun. Everything organic touched by its light would burst into flame, out to a radius of 7 miles. In most of that area -- as big as Albuquerque -- small fires would coalesce into a single giant fire, with wind speeds greater than a Class 5 hurricane. Even at Dresden in 1945, a 3.9 kiloton bombing event, survivors at the periphery of the (engineered) mass fire saw (BBC interview) flaming women and children flying through the air and strong men clinging to curbs, desperately crawling against the wind that was blowing inwards toward the fire.

The Kirtland Underground Munitions Storage Center (KUMSC), with two or three or more thousand nuclear warheads and bombs in storage, is surely a high-priority target. One big warhead there would likely kill most of the people in Albuquerque within an hour. Downwind the fallout would be heavy for a hundred or more miles, past Santa Fe, not even considering the effect of thousands of US bombs that could be vaporized in the fireball and dropped downwind.

These are the weapons promoted by senators Udall and Heinrich more enthusiastically than by any other Democratic senators. These are the weapons in which President Obama is investing $1 trillion or more. Make no mistake: Obama has started a new nuclear arms race. Using just a small fraction, less than 1%, of existing nuclear arsenals would threaten the survival of 2 billion people through the millions of tons of soot they would inject into the stratosphere.

These are the weapons which the University of New Mexico would take into its bosom as it seeks to co-manage Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), where most parts of US nuclear weapons are designed.

These are the weapons which Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) wants to redesign and rebuild by the thousands, with the dirtiest work -- plutonium processing and manufacturing -- to take place in the Santa Fe metro area. The citizens and institutions of Santa Fe are being asked to stand aside. The newspapers and local political leaders stand (or bow) in paralyzed silence and acquiescence.

As we explained (Bulletin 219), senior figures in the nuclear military are coming to the University of New Mexico on June 20-21st to further cement New Mexico's role as a nuclear-military colony and supplier of subservient workers, especially for the dangerous jobs with nuclear materials and nuclear waste which smart young people from other states don't want.

We hope you will come to one or more of the events we have organized (calendar), and /or to the Deterrnece Symposium at UNM on June 20th & 21st. See also Stop the War Machine's Doomsday Forum Facebook page.

Participants at these training events and demonstrations will make a real contribution to the cause, build bridges with other organizations, and will come away with the tools and experience to be powerful advocates.

In Santa Fe, space could become limited at the private reception on the evening of the 17th. We need you to RSVP for that event as soon as possible.

At the evening receptions on the 16th (Albuquerque) and 17th (Santa Fe) we will hear in detail our first-hand accounts and the fantastic news that more than 127 countries have pledged to work toward banning the very possession of these horrible weapons. We need to do our part here in New Mexico and we certainly can. Believe it or not, the politics and prospects for nuclear weapons look very different from the viewpoint of these countries, whose determination has been growing month by month. Feeling a bit lonely in the Land of Nuclear Enchantment? Literally thousands of activists are involved worldwide. Increasing numbers of diplomats understand that nuclear weapons and global militarism threaten the very survival of their countries. The legitimacy of "nuclear deterrence" has become entangled with the idea of security and power for a very few only. We need to do our part! And if we don't, you can kiss economic development and jobs and justice and renewable energy goodbye. They won't be for us.  

Thank you for your attention and see you soon!


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