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  • 2015 September Archive at Forget the Rest
    go home and get a nice quiet sleep The worst of war is that it ends in peace that is it absents itself from remembrance a syndrome Chris Hedges calls collective or blanket amnesia beyond understanding beyond imagining Peace is visible already writes Marguerite Duras It s like a great darkness falling it s the beginning of forgetting I will not march for peace nor will I pray for it because it falsifies all it touches It is a cover up a curse Peace is simply a bad word Peace said Plato is really only a name Even if states should cease from fighting wrote Hobbes it is not to be called peace but rather a breathing time True yes cease fire yes surrender victory mediation brinkmanship standoff these words have content but peace is darkness falling The dictionary s definition an exemplary of denial fails the word peace Written by scholars in tranquillity the definition fixates and perpetuates the denial If peace is merely an absence of a freedom from it is both an emptiness and a repression A psychologist must ask how is the emptiness filled since nature abhors a vacuum and how does the repressed return since it must The emptiness left by repressing war from the definition of peace bloats it with idealizations another classic defense mechanism Fantasies of rest of calm security life as normal eternal peace heavenly peace the peace of love that transcends understanding peace as easy shalvah in the Hebrew Bible and completeness shalom The peace of naivete of ignorance disguised as innocence Longings for peace become both simplistic and utopian with programs for universal love disarmament and an Aquarian federation of nations or retrograde to the status quo ante of Norman Rockwell s apple pie These are the options of psychic numbing that peace offers and which must have so offended Jesus that he declared for a sword To dispel such quieting illusions writers along with those hounded by Mars roil the calm The pages are thick with death because writers do not hold their peace keep silent play dumb Books of war give voice to the tongue of the dead anesthetized by that major syndrome of the public psyche peace The one virtue of the dictionary s definition of peace is its implied normalization of war War is the larger idea the normative term giving peace its meaning Definitions using negation or privation are psychologically unsophisticated The excluded notion immediately comes to mind and in fact the word peace can be understood only after you have grasped the war War is also implied in another common meaning of peace peace as victory The fusion of peace with military victory shows plainly enough in the prayers for peace which tacitly ask for winning the war Do people ever pray for surrender Unconditional surrender would bring immediate peace Do they ever light candles and march in supplication of defeat The Romans understood this inner connection between peace and victory Pax the goddess

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  • 2015 April Archive at Forget the Rest
    US economy however mistaken and stupid that is Both the US and Russia understand what is going on not just in Ukraine but in many other modalities and across many other fronts as a kind of hybrid but real conflict or in a single syllable a war This is a very serious situation with deep US roots and it will not be resolved into the kind of relative amity many thought existed during the START II era for the foreseeable future NATO expansion Yugoslavia US withdrawal from the ABM treaty and now Ukraine have permanently ended that among many other insults Politics in the US and in Russia have moved to the right in the last decade or two In the US I would say this process has gone on since the late 1970s In the US this process is continuing with no end in sight In the US it takes 67 Senate votes to ratify a treaty and those 67 votes wouldn t be there even if a president wanted such a treaty which no foreseeable future US president will I say foreseeable because these conditions will eventually change in the US but only I believe when the existence of the US state is visibly threatened from non military threats internal and external or else when a thorough political change occurs as a result of unmistakeable magisterial forces that galvanize ruling elites and citizens alike Don t think of the US as a democracy please Meanwhile while nuclear weapons are expensive they are expected assuming a trillion dollar outlay over the next 30 years a low estimate for the program of record to not rise to more than 6 of all military spending While DoD and military leaders already say repeatedly that the program of record is not affordable under current budgets and Republicans look to further cuts to social programs including from mandatory spending in pension accounts filled by paycheck deductions over many years nuclear weapons aren t so expensive as to drive the US to seek a nuclear weapons convention or ban One interesting question is the limit of foreseeable how far in the future lies the prediction limit of even the most broad brush judgments such as the above For example will the US be able to put a single new Ohio class replacement submarine into service in 2031 as planned The US Navy is a very impressive organization the contractors are very capable and the individuals in charge of this program are very impressive people Even so I for one can t say for sure they will succeed because there are too many environmental and resource issues that will come to bear which will be expressed economically socially industrially and politically These are black swans or really grey swans because some of the coming crises are already visible to some extent The nature of these and other growing problems and of our social and political response to them is unknowable of course But the default

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  • 2015 February Archive at Forget the Rest
    more The threshold fact I am trying to get across in this little sketch is first that there ARE implications that part is hardly news and second that they are arriving Now That s what s new Oil is not just one resource among others Oil is irreplaceable in our civilization All modern economies depend on large supplies of relatively cheap oil Economic growth is strongly correlated with growth in oil supply Nearly all post WWII recessions are associated with oil price increases Liquid fuels refined from crude oil are superior to all other fuels in energy density ease of transport and simplicity of use meaning a large and critical fraction of our economy requires oil not coal not electricity from any source not natural gas not ethanol not biodiesel not biomass and not even condensate produced at oil and gas wells but crude oil There are no scalable substitutes If there were it would take many tens of trillions of dollars invested over decades to convert our infrastructure transportation systems and land use patterns to utilize them Production and installation of renewable energy equipment requires a functioning oil based economy Operating nuclear power plants let alone building them requires plentiful inexpensive oil Oil has about ten times the energy density of TNT One barrel of oil does the physical work of a human working for about 11 years Since U S citizens each consume on average about 22 barrels of oil per year oil supplies each American with the energy equivalent of about 242 slaves Oil has been the master fuel in all the mobile elements of what we might call the long 20 th century which has been defined by oil Everything in our civilization especially our rather delicate financial arrangements now depends and with varying response times on the availability of oil within a certain price window Too high and the non oil part of the economy can t pay for the oil it requires for optimal or normal growth as it is usually defined say by the Congressional Budget Office CBO in its deficit predictions used by Congress to define and allocate federal spending and taxes If the price is too low the oil industry won t be able to pay for the production transport and refining of oil Oil fields infrastructure and personnel are constantly depleting rusting or aging and retiring and everything must be continually replaced As the world s easy to produce oil is gradually depleted the price window between what is affordable to the economy we have built on the one hand allowing economic growth and what is necessary to stimulate new production on the other hand gradually closes This can also be discussed in thermodynamic terms but let s stick with money The more wasteful our economy or the more unequal the lower the affordable price The more depleted the world s oil fields the higher the price necessary to procure the marginal barrel of oil The big news which has been hidden for the past three years really and is now coming into the open in the form of the oil price declines of the past few months is that the Goldilocks oil price window has closed There is no just right price any more Oil consumers cannot afford the marginal barrel of oil and the price has collapsed to well below what it costs to produce oil in essentially all of the world s new oil fields Even before the price fell many major oil companies were cutting back on their oil production investments selling assets and closing refineries They are in business to produce money after all they have to be not oil The boom in tight oil and bitumen from Canadian oil sands which has been the only source of net new oil production in the world since 2011 has simply not been profitable for production companies which as a result have been losing cash They have financed their operations with an ever expanding mountain of high yield junk bond debt inflated by hype OPEC s low cost producers meanwhile have not cut back their production to make room for the frackers but have rather kept steadily on Oil demand in a weak global economy has not kept pace with the increment of new oil provided to U S consumers by U S frackers which has decreased U S import requirements and so the price has collapsed According to the Bank of Canada one third of current oil production is uneconomical if prices stay at 60 bbl long enough as Matt Mushalik informs us on his excellent blog Oil is at less than 50 bbl today Most analysts expect oil prices to remain depressed until at least the second half of this year Nobody really knows what will happen because oil price is in the short run very sensitive to economic conditions everywhere which are unusually volatile to speak euphemistically We may experience price whiplash as Orlov colorfully remarks Past some point high priced producers will naturally stop producing the excess inventory will get burned up and the price will recover Not only will it recover but it will probably spike because a country littered with the corpses of bankrupt oil companies is not one that is likely to jump right back into producing lots of oil while on the other hand beyond a few uses of fossil fuels that are discretionary demand is quite inelastic And an oil price spike will cause another round of demand destruction because the consumers devastated by the bankruptcies and the job losses from the collapse of the oil patch will soon be bankrupted by the higher price And that will cause the price of oil to collapse again And so on until the last industrialist dies His cause of death will be listed as whiplash the shaken industrialist syndrome if you will Or then again we may not Global deflation is another possibility You can see many others One way

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/wordpress/2015/02/ (2016-02-16)
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  • 2014 December Archive at Forget the Rest
    paradigm of discussion familiar to most U S parties nuclear weapons are seen as having security value The non military destruction they entail is relegated to collateral damage if it is discussed at all By contrast in the humanitarian law and morality or weapons of mass destruction paradigm it is the morally and legally transgressive qualities of nuclear weapons as almost universally regarded which are the starting point for discussion In this paradigm any security benefit supposedly gained by nuclear possessor states by nuclear threats i e deterrence or by nuclear use is inherently immoral corrosive of existing law and anticivilizational However uncomfortable it may be to the nuclear weapon states and the states which participate in nuclear deterrence through nuclear sharing or extended deterrence arrangements it is a matter of settled law that mass murder genocide or the global destruction of life that would result from nuclear winter can never be justified by any supposed political or military outcome Needless to say we believe the second paradigm is a more factual and fertile starting point for discussion It does not exclude the universal need for security in all its aspects but in doing so it does not privilege the security desires of one set of countries over others It puts human security not state power relations in the foreground The fruitfulness of the humanitarian approach can be seen in the far reaching arguments for an explicit ban on nuclear weapons and deterrence that were read to the Conference from His Holiness Pope Francis by Papal Nuncio Silvano Tomasi It is a powerful testament An excellent and detailed overview of the conference and its meaning is available from Reaching Critical Will The following three articles by Dr Rebecca Johnson shown here with summaries are recommended The Austrian pledge to ban nuclear weapons 15 December 2014 Driven by the imperative of human security for all Austria pledged at the HINW conference to work to stigmatise prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences and associated risks Nuclear survivors testimony from hell to hope 9 December 2014 Participants at the HINW Conference were screened for nuclear contamination yesterday before listening to testimony from survivors mobilising for the abolition of nuclear weapons in what Pope Francis called our common home Gathering speed to ban nuclear weapons 8 December 2014 The Third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons HINW opens in Vienna today with arguments for humanitarian disarmament growing in strength This time the UK and the US will attend What will be the likely outcome We can also recommend these blog posts from the conference by John Loretz of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War IPPNW December 9 2014 The Austrian Pledge December 9 2014 Vienna conference builds on foundation laid in Oslo and Nayarit December 8 2014 CSF Vienna day two the writing on the wall December 7 2014 The courage to ban nuclear weapons ICAN Civil Society Forum opens in Vienna

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/wordpress/2014/12/ (2016-02-16)
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  • 2014 July Archive at Forget the Rest
    been no net environmental victories So this is no time to take more of what Martin Luther King called the tranquilizing drug of gradualism Revolutionary changes are at hand and will seem abrupt however much we would like them not to be That rough beast is on the move We need to wake up Now more than ever for sanity s sake if not for our children we must remember your humanity and forget the rest In that forgetting there is freedom Use it Commentary Add a comment Season of the Witch July 4th 2014 by Greg Mello Season of the Witch Owing to past neglect in the face of the plainest warnings we have entered upon a period of danger The era of procrastination of half measures of soothing and baffling expedience of delays is coming to its close In its place we are entering a period of consequences We cannot avoid this period we are in it now So said Winston Churchill in 1936 So it is now What s a bit spooky is that for most of us life may seem somewhat normal despite what educated persons know to be mortal ecological threats not to mention the other threats including nuclear war We know we have sown the wind what whirlwind must we endure or fail to endure We see portents with greater or lesser clarity We know something s brewing These are wyrd times when we are especially conscious of our own fates and those of our communities and our world Meanwhile quite a few best laid schemes of the powerful our corporate captains and our custodians of empire who harrow lives as the poet s plow overturned the mouse nest are going agley This is especially true in the Department of Energy DOE But the outcomes for us and for them are much more complicated than simply grief an pain For promis d joy So many plans are failing now that it seems the ground rules of history in the making the kind of history we in the U S have taken for granted since the Second World War are shifting Perhaps they are just becoming more visible Like the poet we backward cast our e e on prospects drear like the end of the Cold War an event now revealed to have applied as far as the U S foreign policy establishment is concerned to the Soviet Union but not to us Ending the Cold War bilaterally just didn t quite happen an interpretation to which our Ukrainian putsch is just the latest testimony An forward tho I canna see I guess an fear Some of the ground rules we might not have seen have to do with thermodynamics with the annoyingly compelling fact that our economy beneath the froth of money has a physical and an energetic basis Our economy depends in particular on oil cheap oil We mention energy and oil in particular first among the crises we could list because oil

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  • 2014 May Archive at Forget the Rest
    homeostasis and exploitation of others If elite lifestyles and control are to continue exploitation must be intensified We can understand the dynamics of this quite well without a NASA funded study comments on one are here by the wise Florentine chemistry professor Ugo Bardi The most important tasks for us in such a time are to a wake up and b act Action if halfway successful will bring more awakening better action and so on This is not really happening in New Mexico We re observing the opposite general withdrawal and an increase in passivity even among those who are politically aware and seemingly sympathetic It s time to warrior up A lot of people imagine that being educated or holding opinions or talking with like minded friends or reading a Bulletin or press release by the Los Alamos Study Group are political acts Dream on Others imagine that decreasing one s ecological footprint will help save the earth by reducing one s impact by setting a good example and by working out the kinks as to how to do it This is mostly a delusion The more private one s actions the less communal and governmental they are the less important they are The other 99 9 will consume what you do not and greedy corporations will organize that extraction exploitation and consumption very professionally Your example will not be voluntarily followed Still others imagine that inner peace exists and is more important than community and planetary survival or that planetary survival will be taken care of by others Others imagine that writing white papers will change the minds of people whose salaries and careers depend on not changing their minds The whole notion that we can save ourselves without achieving political change with change in government and law

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/wordpress/2014/05/ (2016-02-16)
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  • 2014 April Archive at Forget the Rest
    the inspections that were part of the Jerry rigged plan causing one or more radioactive waste spills in the basement The story of CMR ancient and modern is a much longer story than we have time to lay out here But the above question why is there a Bolas Grande project is important The answer we believe is that these confined vessels contain Pu 242 Cider an isotope in short supply that is precious to nuclear weapons designers And who knows when new kinds of nuclear weapons might have to be designed Gotta stay ready Gotta keep your powder in this case PuO2 made from Pu 242 dry Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty you say Why should the spirit of the CTBT constrain the nuclear weapons program of this great country It s a spur to innovation it is and to funding We re the indispensable nation after all We stand taller see farther etc These vessels are left over from the Appaloosa program at LANL in which these vessels were used for confined explosions containing plutonium Pu 242 has the virtue of having a critical mass ten times that of Pu 239 meaning that an exact copy of a nuclear weapon primary atomic bomb can be made at full scale and detonated inside one of these tanks with as much diagnostics as can be mustered certainly with external high speed x rays LANL abandoned the program in circa 1970 when a simple worst case analysis showed that basically the lab and town of Los Alamos might need to be abandoned with hundreds if not thousands of fatalities in the event of a catastrophic tank failure under the most adverse wind conditions Much more sophisticated analyses are now available but the basic conclusion is the same these tests are too dangerous to conduct Perhaps readers understanding our time constraints will forgive me if I do not explain in depth why Pu 242 tests are not needed or at least part of how such tests relate to planned controversial scaled experiments involving plutonium and to the subcritical tests conducted at U1a facility at the underground Nevada National Security Site NNSS or provide further details on the CVD project which has been pending for many years Meanwhile some folks with or without robots have now got to scrape out the Pu 242 or at least that part of it which has not been driven into the steel Of course there will be Pu 242 containing diamonds too Not a girl s best friend Anchor Tom Joles at KOB TV had a priceless investigative piece in the late 1990s about these same used Appaloosa vessels which were then as they are now sitting behind the main plutonium facility PF 4 visible in Google maps here and the Appaloosa program In that televised story the head of TA 55 shortly thereafter removed admitted to rather a great deal on camera LANL and the Department of Energy DOE at that time had aimed to start up

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  • 2014 February Archive at Forget the Rest
    until 2020 reductions must be 15 per year to stay within the 500 GtC limit which emphasizes the urgency of initiating emission reductions emphasis added James Hansen et al Assessing Dangerous Climate Change Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People Future Generations and Nature 6 pp summary and commentary whole paper Let us set aside the climate crisis just for a moment and consider the energetic basis of our civilization specifically the transportation fuels necessary to run it The best official data available now show that conventional oil production peaked around 2008 and is now in terminal decline A former British Petroleum geologist has warned that the age of cheap oil is long gone bringing with it the danger of continuous recession and increased risk of conflict and hunger The first hammer blow the peaking of conventional oil production has already fallen quadrupling the price of oil and shocking our frothy finance system and the real economy so badly it has taken trillions of dollars in near zero interest loans to the biggest financial organizations just to maintain the ragged illusion of normality What makes our society and our nested economic arrangements very fragile is also what makes them very unjust very environmentally destructive and anti democratic Our common problems have common solutions but do not be deceived there is no utopia no better world ahead There is a less bad world if we choose it In this country alone millions of livelihoods as well as prospects for tens of millions of young people to someday join the middle class have come to what is very likely a permanent end There is no serious plan to get those livelihoods back There can t be without a radical commitment to substitution for the economic resources which have become limiting That change will involve financial losses losses of power and status for many of the people now running the show so some not all of them resist mightily By and large the superwealthy would still be wealthy after the necessary transition but that minor diminishment and flexibility for the common good is not part of everyone s moral code The nature of the resources we need now is radically changing away from oil and gas which will never again be available at prices low enough to re start real not fictitious bytes in a hard drive economic growth and toward dispersed renewable energy and the human skill wisdom and care it will take to manage a society which is no longer rich Surely everyone knows at some level that more and more of us must now make our living by loving as Thoreau put it The social contract the environmental contract must make up a larger and larger part of our economy replacing mindless consumerism and the mindless mass entertainment that enables it or else there will be no economy We must now turn to one another and speak new words for the first time as Gary Snyder put it so many years ago Surely everyone knows that all the new debt aka claims on our children s productivity will never be repaid When the U S shale oil boom begins to plateau and decline a process that could well begin next year or the year after or the year after that as many industry analysts now understand today s anemic recovery itself the product of jiggered government statistics will collapse How far and fast that process goes and with what pauses and what turbulence is anybody s guess but one thing is certain the rising tide of trouble will engulf the lowest stratum of society first it already has and then the next Already the life expectancy in Albuquerque s richest census tracts is 28 years more than in its poorest Thanks to the Albuquerque Journal s Mike Bush for reporting this research apparently done by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies to be used by Peter Winograd of the UNM Center for Education Policy in a lunch talk to be hosted by the Albuquerque Press Women tomorrow February 10 To see the future that is gradually spreading just look at our poorest neighborhoods and rural regions today not to mention at the refugees and riots in many countries today People aren t risking their lives in those demonstrations just to vote People riot when they perceive that they have little to lose They want material benefits and opportunities which they are denied They want respect and dignity and these come with a material as well as a social and political price tag This economic decline so fast in historical terms it will be called a collapse in retrospect will probably be a good thing because the way we live has unleashed a climate catastrophe which if not quickly reversed will not may destroy civilization and most life on earth This will happen very fast indeed it is happening now What we do in the next decade is likely to be determinative of the outcome on a scale of centuries Unfortunately merely decreasing emissions no matter how steeply is almost certainly no longer enough We waited too long What each of now does or fails to do has consequences that far exceed the apparent ambit of our lives Each of our voices is now more important than ever Does the individual know said Jung that he is the makeweight that tips the scales Well no in our experience the individual generally does not know and many people do not want to know We are seeing a great deal of understandable fear in our communities fear of information fear of discussion fear of commitment People are shit scared for darn good reasons and many of you are hiding whether you know it or not Scared you may be just as we are but please do not hide We often hear I can t do any more than I am Jung does not imply doing more and neither do

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