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  • 2013 November Archive at Forget the Rest
    and all his friends made her feel so special She got a grant All the best sheep were going and she could wear her best outfit It seemed like a great career move at the time The butcher told her she wasn t qualified to decide so she thought it best to get a degree perhaps in slaughterology before deciding whether or how she might escape She couldn t really decide what else she could do She didn t think it could really happen to her It was after all so unfair What had she done to deserve it Thinking about slaughter was negative and she didn t want to encourage those kind of thoughts She was just too busy to help the other sheep organize an escape She believed it was God s plan When her friends called with an escape plan she had already told the butcher she d go She didn t care anymore Instead of escaping she went to a distinguished Lannan Foundation lecture about slaughter An experienced meditator she had learned to be one with everything Rather than organizing an escape she decided to pray and went to meditation retreats She thought her parents would approve of her more if she went She thought her children wanted her to go Instead of escaping she always made sure her purchases were green organic Fair Trade and recycled She had strong opinions against slaughter and so did all her friends That she thought should be enough She always voted and donated generously to the butcher s campaign She even saw him at events They were friends Her friends worked for the butcher and she certainly didn t want to offend them She sent many emails and letters to the butcher telling him she disapproved of slaughter and

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  • 2013 April Archive at Forget the Rest
    we now turn 4 In the report s words This report explains that we need only look beyond the predominant short termism of contemporary thinking to perceive that we are at the confluence of four extremely dangerous developments which individually or collectively have already started to throw more than two centuries of economic expansion into reverse Before the financial crisis of 2008 this analysis might have seemed purely theoretical but the banking catastrophe and the ensuing slump should demonstrate that the dangerous confluence described here is already underway Indeed more than two centuries of near perpetual growth probably went into reverse as much as ten years ago emphasis in original From the executive summary The economy as we know it is facing a lethal confluence of four critical factors the fall out from the biggest debt bubble in history a disastrous experiment with globalisation the massaging of data to the point where economic trends are obscured and most important of all the approach of an energy returns cliff edge The 2008 crash resulted from the bursting of the biggest bubble in financial history a credit super cycle that spanned more than three decades How did this happen The Western developed nations are particularly exposed to the adverse trends explored in this report because globalisation has created a lethal divergence between burgeoning consumption and eroding production with out of control debt used to bridge this widening chasm The reliable data which policymakers and the public need if effective solutions are to be found is not available Economic data including inflation growth GDP and unemployment has been subjected to incremental distortion whilst information about government spending deficits and debt is extremely misleading The economy is a surplus energy equation not a monetary one and growth in output and in the global population since the Industrial Revolution has resulted from the harnessing of ever greater quantities of energy But the critical relationship between energy production and the energy cost of extraction is now deteriorating so rapidly that the economy as we have known it for more than two centuries is beginning to unravel I believe this is all pretty much spot on 5 This report is really worth a close read not just for the ideas but for the clarity of presentation It is in this last bullet that we dimly see a potent macroeconomic cause for rising intentionally darkened inflation Take a look at Morgan s rough estimate of the underlying trend in energy returned over energy invested EROEI his Figure 5 13 6 From the report Remember that what is being measured here is not the value of energy but its cost as a proportion of the value that we derive from it Cost and value could only be the same if no surplus existed which would also mean that the economy could not exist either Our assessment of the trend in EROEIs is shown as the red line in fig 5 13 On this basis our calculated EROEIs both for 1990 40 1 and 2010 17 1 are reasonably close to the numbers cited for those years by Andrew Lees For 2020 our projected EROEI of 11 5 1 is not as catastrophic as 5 1 but would nevertheless mean that the share of GDP absorbed by energy costs would have escalated to about 9 6 from around 6 7 today Our projections further suggest that energy costs could absorb almost 15 of GDP at an EROEI of 7 7 1 by 2030 Though our forecasts and those of Mr Andrew Lees In search of energy in Patrick Young ed The Gathering Storm Derivatives Vision Publishing 2010 may differ in detail the essential conclusion is the same It is that the economy as we have known it for more than two centuries will cease to be viable at some point within the next ten or so years unless of course some way is found to reverse the trend emphasis added For the way to reverse the ominous trend keep reading Chris Martenson s prognosis is similar to Morgan s his final conclusion is the same as ours here at the Study Group The Real Reason the Economy Is Broken and Will Stay That Way More and more economic sinkholes 2 12 13 We are far enough and deep enough into the most heroic monetary and fiscal efforts ever undertaken to finally ask why aren t these measures working Or at least we should be Oddly many in DC on Wall Street and the Federal Reserve continue to steadfastly refuse to include anything in their approaches and frameworks other than more of the same The framework we operate from around here is simply encapsulated in the observation that there has never been global economic recovery with oil prices above 100 over barrel That is shorthand for the idea that oil is the primary lubricant of economic growth and that it is not just the amount of oil one has to burn but also the quality or net energy of the oil that matters If we want to understand why all of the tried and true monetary and fiscal efforts have failed we have to appreciate the headwinds that are offered by both a condition of too much debt and expensive energy Neither alone can account for the economic malaise that stalks the world We could similarly look at the Federal Reserve balance sheet or excess reserves or a dozen other indicators that all say the same thing The money supply has been expanded enormously And what do we have to show for it Not much Since 2005 real that is inflation adjusted GDP has only expanded by 0 9 on an annualized basis On a nominal basis not inflation adjusted the number is only 2 9 far below the 5 6 required to sustain a banking system dependent on exponential growth in that range As I see it the economy is broken and it will stay that way Our only hope for an alternative would be to immediately cut our losses in those enterprises that do not make sense in a world of increasingly expensive liquid fuels and invest heavily in those things that will help us transition to a future without fossil fuels emphasis added Eric Janszen writing before the depth of the 2008 crash anticipated Martenson s last point and is also worth quoting in detail The Next Bubble Priming the markets for tomorrow s next big crash February 2008 Harper s Our economy is in serious trouble Both the production consumption sector and the FIRE sector know that a debt deflation Armageddon is nigh and both are praying for a timely miracle a new bubble to keep the economy from slipping into a depression We have learned that the industry in any given bubble must support hundreds or thousands of separate firms financed by not billions but trillions of dollars in new securities that Wall Street will create and sell Like housing in the late 1990s this sector of the economy must already be formed and growing even as the previous bubble deflates For those investing in that sector legislation guaranteeing favorable tax treatment along with other protections and advantages for investors should already be in place or under review Finally the industry must be popular its name on the lips of government policymakers and journalists It should be familiar to those who watch television news or read newspapers There are a number of plausible candidates for the next bubble but only a few meet all the criteria Health care must expand to meet the needs of the aging baby boomers but there is as yet no enabling government legislation to make way for a health care bubble the same holds true of the pharmaceutical industry which could hyperinflate only if the Food and Drug Administration was gutted of its power A second technology boom under the rubric Web 2 0 is based on improvements to existing technology rather than any new discovery The capital intensive biotechnology industry will not inflate as it requires too much specialized intelligence There is one industry that fits the bill alternative energy the development of more energy efficient products along with viable alternatives to oil including wind solar and geothermal power along with the use of nuclear energy to produce sustainable oil substitutes such as liquefied hydrogen from water emphasis added Janszen doesn t mention climate in this passage but climate considerations alone require this emphasis all else aside By the way Janszen s nuclear hydrogen idea didn t pan out It was never practical To its great shame Sandia National Laboratories ostensibly full of smart engineers peddled this notion for some years when an hour or a day with a pencil and calculator would have shown it to be a fantasy I don t know if the White House or anybody in Congress actually believes that current economic policies are going to bring about real economic growth let alone the sudden boom over the next five years predicted by CBO I don t know to what extent policymakers have absorbed the nagging disconnect between reported inflation and what people actually experience when they go to the grocery store the doctor s office and the gas station and what that discrepancy really means for economic and fiscal policy One thing that it means as Stockman of all people points out is that there is a huge flow of money from wage earners to the investing class Another is that we are in economic decline not growth It means there is no economic recovery now jobless or otherwise and there won t be one The illusion of economic growth couldn t be more finely tuned for public consumption if it were invented by George Orwell himself I am the last person who would know how to prevent an economic or financial crash But I can add and subtract and so must conclude with Janszen for the reasons he mentions and others that the only economic frontier big enough and rich enough to make a difference in the U S economy given the energy quality crisis which besets us and with the correct political and social alignment to liberate our society s creative energies and with a large enough local component that cannot be off shored lies in the process of weaning ourselves from fossil fuels To save what our economy or rather to save what we can of it we need to invest in renewable energy energy conservation and dramatic fuel economies in transportation The opportunity does not lie in an all of the above energy strategy which would destroy our climate and therefore our country and civilization that s really more an electoral strategy than an energy strategy The opportunity does not lie in nuclear energy which is in effect parasitic on the present fossil fuel economy as discussed here at note 2 and is strongly affected not just by ordinary dark inflation of cost but another kind of dark inflation of risk Both were mentioned here The conditions for successful massive investment in this new frontier are more ripe than is usually appreciated as Paul Gilding notes Victory at Hand for the Climate Movement March 2013 They could be made riper fast by concerted revenue neutral government action On the other hand they will be forestalled by the DOE supported belief that a Magic Technology Innovation Fairy will come and make everything easy It won t be easy far from it It will be austere Economic changes of great magnitude are always accompanied by great social changes and this one would be too the nature of which is in our hands The no action alternative is massive deleterious social change To repeat our economic energy and climate problems are huge Only huge Schumpeterian change on the scale of World War II has any hope of realistically addressing them with the alacrity needed Timid efforts will be OBE overtaken by events most likely in this decade The economic decline described by Stockman Morgan Martenson and others may be very intense and very sudden as David Korowicz has pointed out in two important analyses Tipping Point Near Term Systemic Implications of a Peak in Global Oil Production An Outline Review Feasta The Risk Resilience Network 2010 and Trade Off Financial System Supply Chain Cross Contagion A study in global systemic collapse David Korowicz Feasta 2012 Degrowth in the sense of a soft landing is unlikely Our backs are truly to the wall As financial and underlying economic systems grow more stressed their sensitivity increases to possible triggers for the collapse described by the above authors The trust necessary to do business may be an early casualty as Erich Kuerschner pointed out to me One such trigger could be federal budget cuts As Richard Heinberg reminds us current deficit spending is about 7 of GDP Deficit Reduction Recession Feb 26 2013 Any significant effort to reduce the deficit will likely decrease GDP by roughly that same amount throwing it into negative territory Heinberg concludes that a recession in 2013 is a mathematical near certainty 7 Another trigger is oil prices increases in which have been precursors to 10 out of 11 post World War II episodes of recession in the U S good references and commentary by Gail Tverberg here Many geopolitical events e g war could be precursors to a spike in global oil prices The U S economy is now made of glass An excellent analysis by the new economics foundation The economics of oil dependence A glass ceiling to recovery 2012 using two somewhat distinct analytical approaches points to the 2014 2015 period as the likely time frame for a further economic downturn barring any oil price shocks in the meantime Recession could delay impact with the glass ceiling And so this long blog post concludes My conclusions include something like the following A permanent economic downturn is inevitable and imminent if indeed it has not been underway for some years now Only a massive urgent investment in moving away from fossil fuels can mitigate or adapt to this downturn which will otherwise steepen perhaps precipitously Dark inflation and increasing economic and political risks should predispose decisionmakers to front load renewable energy energy conservation and non or minimal fossil fuel infrastructure investments All plans and budgets which ignore the coming storm are unrealistic and will be subject to highly contested political re baselining this includes the current highly optimistic but diplomatically tone deaf plans for modernizing the U S nuclear arsenal and Given the severity and imminent nature of the economic crisis citizens should where possible devote themselves immediately and strenuously to it whether by bold forms of political action or by direct construction of mitigating infrastructure businesses and institutions Thank you for your attention 1 I am not sure whether Stockman is referring to a zero growth economic future in which the pie does not expand or to government fiscal policies of austerity in which growth in some programs can only occur if there are corresponding offsets in others 2 As set in the Budget Control Act and subsequently modified by the American Taxpayer Relief Act the caps on discretionary budget authority would rise gradually from a total of 1 058 billion in 2014 to 1 234 billion in 2021 The defense cap will shrink by 55 billion each year which translates to a cut of 9 9 percent for 2014 and slightly smaller percentages for subsequent years The nondefense cap will shrink by 37 billion or 7 3 percent for 2014 and by smaller amounts for later years With those reductions the overall limit on discretionary budget authority will steadily increase from 966 billion for 2014 to 1 147 billion for 2021 CBO estimates an average annual increase of about 2 5 percent CBO Final Sequestration Report for FY2013 March 2013 As will be argued below 2 5 is much less than actual inflation If that is true current discretionary spending caps are declining in real dollar terms i e federal spending is shrinking 3 Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett Peltier The U S Employment Effects of Military And Domestic Spending Priorities 2011 Update Political Economy Research Institute PERI December 2011 4 There are apparently more interesting reports by Morgan here 5 I am no macroeconomist but to my unlearned eyes the analysis of Morgan more or less gibes with that presented by Thomas Palley America s Exhausted Paradigm Macroeconomic Causes of the Financial Crisis and Great Recession 2009 New America Foundation which I have found helpful since colleague Andrew Lichterman pointed it out to me From the summary This report traces the roots of the current financial crisis to a faulty U S macroeconomic paradigm One flaw in this paradigm was the neo liberal growth model adopted after 1980 that relied on debt and asset price inflation to drive demand in place of wage growth A second flaw was the model of U S engagement with the global economy that created a triple economic hemorrhage of spending on imports manufacturing job losses and off shoring of investment Deregulation and financial excess are important parts of the story but they are not the ultimate cause of the crisis Instead they facilitated the housing bubble and are actually part of the neo liberal model their function being to fuel demand growth based on debt and asset price inflation As the neo liberal model slowly cannibalized itself by undermining income distribution and accumulating debt the economy needed larger speculative bubbles to grow The flawed model of global engagement accelerated the cannibalization process thereby creating need for a huge bubble that only housing could provide However when that bubble burst it pulled down the entire economy because of the bubble s massive dependence on debt The old post World War II growth model based on rising middle class incomes has been dismantled while the new neo liberal growth model has imploded The

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  • 2013 March Archive at Forget the Rest
    East and South Asia for this reason The U S economy is too oil inefficient to compete on straight price terms for remaining oil stocks this fact could very easily lead to more war The Iraq war was substantially about oil as many key actors have later stated Addiction to oil leads to addiction to war direct and proxy Finally which side are you on These dangers will be mediated for better in many cases and for worse in others by fragile and fallible human institutions many of which are organized for private gain or along nationalistic lines Yet every country and people will soon discover it is in crisis Thus we live in interesting times Other rapidly catastrophic problems which could be mentioned but the impacts of these two problems alone are more than the human mind and heart can comprehend let alone address in practical governance We might seek comfort in individual and community adaptations which are necessary and which we must attempt but which will be inadequate if the goal is to prevent mass destruction and suffering Development of these two crises alone if we do not or cannot prevent them will sweep away all our adaptations some quickly some more slowly So we are now thrown into the most existential of situations Not everyone sees this yet but they will and soon Every single person will sooner or later be touched by the direct or indirect effects of these problems We will choose and we will respond For the sapient it is a brand new existential problem and an opportunity to show our quality Here in New Mexico the dire effects of climate change have already begun to arrive with a vengeance and our weak government and peripheral economy are especially vulnerable to national economic decline Our state s economy now teeters on the edge of precipitous decline The easiest course for us to take in New Mexico and it is a future which many parties near and far are choosing for us is one of recolonialization along progressively more authoritarian and military lines accompanied by passive environmental devastation and depopulation Some of this is baked in the cake The Chihuahuan desert will march north embracing the southern half of the state All forms of water in the soil as well as in rivers reservoirs and pipes will be considerably scarcer Real estate values will decline at a pace and to a degree dependent in part on policy Powerful parties with financial and psychic investments in the status quo will block the dissemination of knowledge not just selectively since it is hard to pick and choose but willy nilly all knowledge for which propaganda and ideology are the ersatz All factors which might lead to devaluation of those fixed investments and income streams such as democratic voice and standing that might eventually lead to other priorities are being systematically cut down abetted by the unconsciousness of those who might otherwise defend them This process is very far along So we have an emergency as surely everybody knows For responsible and healthy adults business as usual cannot continue under such circumstances in either normative or actual terms Responsible and business as usual are not compatible adjectives No one can fully understand all this or what to do about it The Study Group is a collection of people who have been trying to do so for a long time several decades for some of us It is clear that our various roles and careers must now change and they are being changed Each of us can be powerfully protective of life if we choose to be Opinion and sentiment merely avail nothing Which side are you on 1 For a good discussion of this issue see Charles Hall Stephen Balogh and David J R Murphy What is the Minimum EROI that a Sustainable Society Must Have pdf 2 Exceptions are minor Existing hydropower is the least fuel dependent large scale energy source we have although even it requires maintenance services that depend heavily on fossil fuels New hydropower even if it were environmentally acceptable is obviously another matter Nuclear power which we might mistakenly think does not rely on fossil fuels is actually totally dependent on them Leaving aside the uranium mining problem nuclear power requires exacting conditions to operate safely and reliably that include diverse and reliable general and specialized supply chains a stable electrical grid near certain physical security and many other social political and economic conditions that directly or indirectly dependent on thermodynamically cheap fossil fuels Until proven otherwise it is therefore best to assume that nuclear power but only where certain exacting conditions are present the extent of which is highly debatable can amplify or complement a fossil fuel based energy system In any case there is no indication that a safe reliable large scale nuclear power based energy system would be possible without the heavy use of relatively cheap fossil fuels In particular I am unaware of studies that examine the practicality of nuclear power under conditions of declining transport fuel availability Nuclear power because of its extreme energy density several orders of magnitude higher than chemical reactions and the dangers to life posed by those reactions and their waste products appears to be the most fragile non fossil fuel sic energy source we have To some degree this is expressed in its ever rising cost despite extensive public subsidies but many of the most important underlying managerial risks are still clearly not marked to market 3 Other industrial gases we produce in large quantities are far more potent still pound for pound James Hansen tells us that he output of a single refrigerant factory is sufficient to ensure there will never be another ice age 4 Charles Hall and John Day Jr Revisiting the Limits to Growth after Peak Oil Am Sci Vol 97 pp 230 237 May June 2009 http www esf edu efb hall 2009 05Hall0327 pdf Commentary Add a comment Re enraging desert March 20th 2013 by Greg Mello So the question of evil like the question of ugliness refers primarily to the anesthetized heart the heart that has no reaction to what it faces thereby turning the variegated sensuous face of the world into monotony sameness oneness The desert of modernity Surprisingly this desert is not heartless because the desert is where the lion lives There is a long standing association of desert and lion in the same image so that if we wish to find the responsive heart again we must go where it seems to be least present According to Physiologus the traditional lore of animal psychology the lion s cubs are still born They must be awakened into life by a roar That is why the lion has such a roar to awaken the young lions asleep as they sleep in our hearts Evidently the thought of the heart is not simply given a native spontaneous reaction always ready and always there Rather the heart must be provoked called forth which is precisely Marsilio Ficino s 52 etymology of beauty kallos he says comes from kaleo provoke The beautiful fathers the good Plato Hipp Maj 297b Beauty must be raged or out raged into life for the lion s cubs are still born like our lazy political compliance our meat eating stupor before the TV set the paralysis for which the lion s own metal gold 53 was the paracelsian pharmakon What is passive immobile asleep in the heart creates a desert which can only be cured by its own parenting principle that shows its awakening care by roaring The lion roars at the enraging desert wrote Wallace Stevens Heart instinct principle again Pascal James Hillman The Thought of the Heart and the Soul of the World The lion roars at the e nraging desert Reddens the sand with his red colored noise Defies red emptiness to evolve his match Master by foot and jaws and by the mane Most supple challenger Wallace Stevens Notes to a Supreme Fiction Quotes 1 Comment Gov Martinez to New Mexicans the labs and bases are important you aren t March 13th 2013 by Greg Mello Gov Susana Martinez N M will fight for labs bases unlike gridlock in D C state shows bipartisanship Albuquerque Journal 3 13 13 paywall Comment by Greg Mello 3 13 13 The first half of the Governor s guest column is mostly misleading Republican boilerplate about the federal sequester and how it came to be under the assumptions that austerity is naturally required and it is the federal government rather than any particular persons or parties which are causing this particular form of austerity It is the second half that is interesting albeit sad After speaking about the current budget sequester in general terms she suddenly says Unfortunately these across the board defense cuts disproportionately hurt New Mexico Whoa defense cuts What about cuts to discretionary non defense programs which are cut the same as discretionary defense programs Suddenly this is just about defense cuts In 2010 defense spending in New Mexico was just one third of non defense spending in New Mexico if we generously count Department of Energy environmental cleanup as defense Martinez continues According to the U S Census Bureau the federal government spent 28 billion in our state in 2010 That constitutes one third of New Mexico s gross domestic product That is correct We are a sparsely populated state with two national laboratories three Air Force bases and White Sands Missile Range That s what this state has Two labs and four bases That s it What a strange caricature These six employers hire a small fraction of the state s employees certainly less than 10 and some of these like the uniformed military tend to be quite transient Not just the military but also many students post docs consultants and other transients at and around the labs can hardly be said to live in the state in the sense of fully participating in its economy and civic institutions The cuts we face could cost New Mexico 20 000 jobs Both the big labs have recently stated in different ways and degrees that the personnel cuts they face due to the sequester are minor this year I think uniformed military personnel are exempt from sequester driven cuts check this so military cuts are being focused on procurements and civilians In any case the 20 000 jobs that might be lost if the sequester continues assuming that this figure which is nothing more than a guesstimate from the Bureau of Business and Economic Research study is reasonable primarily would not occur as a result of the sequester at New Mexico labs and bases The greater danger is primarily from cuts in non security spending and potentially from a new political deal that would lead to cuts in earned benefit and safety net programs If the safety net is further cut or frayed in New Mexico watch out If you want private sector economic development you will not like the many ways in which having more people sink deeper into poverty in this state will affect the willingness of businesses to locate here As New Mexicans we must put aside partisan differences and fight to protect ourselves from these indiscriminate federal cuts I met with the National Nuclear Security Administration while in Washington to discuss funding for the critical missions undertaken by our labs and my staff has met dozens of times with the agency s leaders since I took office emphasis added The Governor is doing this because this is what she has been told to care about by the Albuquerque Journal the labs their subcontractors and supportive hangers on and think tanks and by Republican friends and potentates like Heather Wilson and Pete Domenici And of course the Governor is currying favor with the labs themselves as corporations and as voter and donor blocs Because of long standing bipartisan knee jerk political fealty to the labs New Mexico is poised to fall off an economic cliff whether or not the labs and bases are modestly cut Martinez and the rest of our political leaders have failed and are still failing to invest their time and efforts in projects and programs which could make a positive difference in our economic future They have no plan or vision for the state or even any reasonable building blocks for such a thing Our congressional delegation and I have met on various issues and we re committed to working together It s good for New Mexico that former Republican Rep Heather Wilson was appointed to the NNSA committee just as it is beneficial for our state that Democratic Sen Tom Udall has been appointed to the U S Senate Committee on Appropriations where he will have increased influence on our nation s finances None of this will matter because neither of these people understand or as far as we can objectively see from actions they have taken are very attentive to the state s economic situation about its peoples economic situations as opposed to the welfare of specific corporations like the labs These two leaders are in the right place to do things but they are nearly certain to be mostly the wrong things They will benefit the state will suffer New Mexico faces serious challenges Our reliance on federal spending and the likelihood of further federal budget cuts makes recovering from the national recession more difficult We will continue to fight tooth and nail to protect our labs and bases No other federal priorities are mentioned There could hardly be a clearer expression of gubernatorial priority inversion This long repeated pattern is why our state is looking at an economic abyss It is just as Governor Martinez says fully bipartisan This governor s party and she herself support a program of fiscal austerity for everybody but the job creating corporate class and the two richest employee groups in the state at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories both of which are potent millionaire generators as one government analyst puts it Welfare she doesn t like unless it s nuclear or military welfare She supports lower taxes for corporations Skipping to the bottom line her policies if enacted would set the state on a steep path of decline in the hopes of luring jobs here that will pay too little to live on and they will speed destruction of what is left of our environment As then LANL Director Sig Hecker once said circa 1992 Don t look to LANL for economic growth At the time his common sense observation was more or less widely accepted So are we dumber today or just more desperate callous and misguided Commentary Add a comment Bulletin 165 Reflections on the Deterrence Summit March 2nd 2013 by Greg Mello Dear friends I recently returned from a week in Washington where I was mostly at the annual Nuclear Deterrence Summit organized by the Nuclear Weapons and Material Monitor along with a couple of meetings on The Hill That summit themed Maintaining a Credible Deterrent Amidst Funding Constraints was as it always is a pretty good venue for listening and talking to lab directors plant managers subcontractors and the various government decisionmakers involved in nuclear weapons policy and management We were grateful for the opportunity to go In the nature of things any conference of nuclear weapons leaders is a twisted affair as you might well imagine In that business black is white and up is down Modernization of nuclear weapons evil things considered in any light as Fermi and Rabi the scientific progenitors of the scientists attending such meetings today did not hesitate to say in 1949 is considered not just a good but an essential activity The corporations and executives attending such a conference comprise a small universe of mutually assured self interest selling mutually assured destruction to government 1 That said and I think this is something the activist community needs to hear most of the people in the nuclear weapons business and those making decisions about it are quite as decent and honest as most U S citizens today including their critics on the political left and in the anti nuclear movement such as it is Of course the values expressed by the enterprise as a whole are by our lights profoundly wrong But most of the people in it try to be as upright as they can be in day to day matters while avoiding thinking much about the purpose of their work 2 The evil that was new and frightening to Fermi and Rabi is normal today Our moral vision and identity have contracted not been expanded by the scientific progress produced in our weapons labs Vannevar Bush s endless frontier has become a nightmare of nuclear claustrophobia broken dreams and seemingly eternal environmental dangers and costs Most of us see the urgent necessity of looking beyond the blinkered morality of the good soldier or good engineer the one who goes to work every day in order to produce the worst objects in the world the ultimate death machines At least three of the world s major religions flatly condemn such work and so do we 3 But how do we do that We are in this country and this world together and the menace of nuclear weapons is just the beginning of the contradictions in our lives and policies We now know that without lowering the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere quite soon we and everything else we love will be cooked Nuclear weapons per se are not our biggest problem by far At this conference like the previous ones the most tedious aspect is the fundamentalist flavor of much of the discourse the intense intellectual and psychological attachment and rehearsal of a nebulous and highly abstract construct into which great power is projected This is the

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  • 2012 December Archive at Forget the Rest
    as passed by the House and Senate Armed Services markup of this legislation here Study Group Director Greg Mello Overall this is a nuclear lobbyist s bill Numerous provisions are included that will add bureaucratic complexity to the management of the warhead complex tie up federal efforts in ways that stifle reform provide new political power to nuclear management and operating M O contractors and tilt the playing field toward new programs and projects It creates numerous intra federal reporting requirements and duplicative federal work while creating additional review and advisory bodies some of which will place contractors in a federal oversight capacity overseeing their own overseers Running contrary to past direction from a previous Republican controlled House it encourages laboratory employees to augment and substitute for federal employees the number of which it caps and the budget for whom it cuts There could be nothing more federal than national security and within that sphere nothing more inherently federal than nuclear weapons Nonetheless this bill would weaken still further the federal character of this enterprise It ties nuclear warhead policy into a Gordian knot of complexity that will be difficult to set free It establishes presumptions favoring new warheads and multibillion dollar facilities while partially casting aside long standing safety standards that might show up contractor failures This has come about primarily because of a profound failure of leadership by the White House and the Democrats in Congress Pressure by contractors for more business is a constant factor What is new and what is creating these profoundly negative outcomes is the nearly complete collapse of White House leadership starting with the ineffectual and in some cases disloyal seniormost appointees who are currently running NNSA The top individual NNSA Administrator Tom D Agostino was originally appointed by President Bush and he

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  • Forget the Rest
    teaching they provide emphasis added Economism in other words is anti religion This cult pervades our society s whole mental sphere In its practical application it is little more than the worship of money We train our best and brightest to be its acolytes its excellent sheep I qualified our basic tasks with the adjective effective We all aspire to effectiveness in our political action but the fact is that effective action is quite rare among liberals and progressives They are losing and they are taking us down with them Too many people want to believe in almost anything Technology will save us Bernie will save us Hillary will save us Renewable energy will save us Just fill in the blank What this kind of hopeful ideation means is that we hope we will be able to remain prosperous and secure keep on shopping and keep taking climate destroying vacations halfway around the world We would be wrong in all of that We have a doctor friend in Santa Fe who often says by way of parting benediction Avoid optimism It is very good advice given his and our environment of pervasive brightsiding see Ehrenreich Bright sided How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America In many circles and not just those of New Age would be magicians negative thinking is not allowed Illusions must be maintained We are all awash in fallacious positive propaganda about our economy which is deteriorating not improving and this process will continue about climate policy baby steps are too slow to matter and neither the administration nor Congress has proposed even baby steps the Clean Power Plan won t help the climate about oil and gas reserves depleting not increasing with new oil increasingly unaffordable about the U S role in the world principally responsible for the wars underway today as David Stockman recently explained about our democracy almost nonexistent on a national level and so on It is for us as Chris Hedges writes emotionally difficult to fully grasp just how far the United States has fallen let alone how pathetically inadequate are the ordinary liberal approaches to the crisis A disenfranchised white working class vents its lust for fascism at Trump campaign rallies Naive liberals who think they can mount effective resistance within the embrace of the Democratic Party rally around the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders who knows that the military industrial complex is sacrosanct Both the working class and the liberals will be sold out Our rights and opinions do not matter We have surrendered to our own form of W ehrwirtschaft a policy of armaments and war as national economy We do not count within the political process The longer fantasy is substituted for reality the faster we sleepwalk toward oblivion There is no guarantee we will wake up Magical thinking has gripped societies in the past Those civilizations believed that fate history superior virtues or a divine force guaranteed their eternal triumph As they collapsed they constructed repressive dystopias They imposed censorship and forced the unreal to be accepted as real Those who did not conform were disappeared linguistically and then literally The vast disconnect between the official narrative of reality and reality itself creates an Alice in Wonderland experience Propaganda is so pervasive and truth is so rarely heard that people do not trust their own senses We are currently being assaulted by political campaigning that resembles the constant crusading by fascists and communists in past totalitarian societies This campaigning devoid of substance and subservient to the mirage of a free society is anti politics While Hedges fierce generalizations should not be all accepted at face value there are some exceptions and he is implicitly challenging us to find them or to create our own beachheads in occupied territory he is correct in the main Most of the so called political activity we see around us in the U S will fail or has failed already because it based on hopeful lies This creates a political and personal crisis for us because the activity that is apparently required is not at all convenient or so it may seem More of us are waking up now Have a cup of coffee We ve got a job to do It s not that bad once you wake up Dress warmly Our friends are waiting Many hands make light work Commentary Add a comment The Manhattan Project National Historical Park Moral Failure for America Danger to This Country and the World November 10th 2015 by Greg Mello This is the text of the brochure some of us will hand out in Los Alamos tomorrow November 11 at the Grand Opening of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park As a rushed paper product it has no hyperlinks except a couple at the bottom See here for some background and of course the Atomic Heritage Foundation AHF for much more In fact given AHF who needs a Park Their products are better than a Park as I have told them But they have wanted both The creation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park MPNHP represents a triumph of parochial self interest over the judgment of history serious national security policy and basic human morality The purposeful incineration of cities was then as it would be now a heinous war crime There were and still are no extenuating circumstances for that kind of crime full stop But will that be the story told at this Park Of course not The Nuremberg Tribunal articulated the principle that even those in the military are required to disobey unlawful orders in cases where moral choice exists Of course we know the institutionalized impetus to wanton destruction can be very difficult to resist in war for everyone military and civilian alike So we must resist justifying it now in peacetime We cannot avoid judgment just because we won the war or hide behind a false moral relativity It was simply a terrible mistake to build and use the bomb a mistake in which people were swept along in a kind of enforced but well paid group trance note 1 They handed over moral agency to others above them others who at the very top once Roosevelt died were thoroughly racist or who saw the coming victory as a great imperial opportunity There is nothing great about the regimentation of thousands of technicians and divorce of science from morality resulting in state sponsored mass murder with strong racist overtones that can be heard down to the present day The communities surrounding the three MPNHP sites have been eager for some sort of recognition and prestige to compensate for the crimes they enabled during the war and even more so to vindicate themselves and their communities for creating the doomsday arsenals that still threaten the human race from which they have profited enormously both personally and as communities Politicians and businesspersons have their own very personal agendas in this matter as well Last week the First Committee of the United Nations passed a resolution by a vote of 124 to 35 with 15 abstentions affirming that given the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons it is inconceivable that any use of nuclear weapons irrespective of the cause would be compatible with the requirements of international humanitarian law or international law or the laws of morality or the dictates of public conscience The resolution further states that given their indiscriminate nature and potential to annihilate humanity nuclear weapons are inherently immoral note 2 What is there to celebrate here until the day when the Manhattan Project finally ends in Los Alamos The Park Will Be Hostage to Parochial Interests The political pressure to adopt supportive narratives regarding past and current weapons activities at two of these sites which involve billions of dollars in appropriations annually is already overwhelming There is no reason whatsoever to believe the National Park Service NPS can or will be an objective interpreter of current national security issues which is part of what this Park would implicitly do NPS will need to work with the Department of Energy DOE the partnership being celebrated today as well as civic groups local governments businesses donors and volunteers Under such conditions objective interpretation of the Manhattan Project which involves war crimes for which the U S has never apologized is inconceivable The proposed Park sites are near or within active nuclear weapons design testing and production sites underscoring the impossibility of any objective interpretation at these locations Multibillion dollar contracts and projects are at stake This is not Manzanar The significance and continuing legacy of the Manhattan Project is politically contentious and disputed This significance is central to the Park idea The original bill S 507 at sec 2 2 A and SA 2492 at a 2 A quotes a panel of experts who state that the the development and use of the atomic bomb during World War II has been called the single most significant event of the 20th century Really Creating such a Park inherently endorses the Manhattan Project and its modern day successor activities as positive national achievements Indeed that is the purpose of the Park Supposedly objective background materials supporting the Park proposal are already one sided significantly incomplete and or historically incorrect Bechtel National Park The balkanization of ownership and control of these sites between federal and powerful non federal actors ensures in practical terms that NPS will be subordinate to these other actors For example Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL is operated by a for profit consortium of contractors Los Alamos National Security LLC which annually receives and spends in the neighborhood of 2 2 billion LANS and DOE jointly control access security safety and maintenance at LANL LANS is a highly interest conflicted party DOE does not manage these sites Quite simply this proposal aims to use NPS for propaganda purposes for the state and for its contractors This will be quite apparent and jarring to many domestic and international visitors The propaganda aspect of the proposed Park is oddly invisible to many well intentioned supporters The Park Adds No Real Value The proposal does not involve significant natural or national resources and is therefore not harmonious with core National Park missions The DOE properties at LANL involved in this proposal are basically worthless ugly sheds and bunkers These sites will not provide a comprehensive picture of the Manhattan Project which occurred at dozens of sites not three Extensive interpretative museums concerning the Manhattan Project already exist at Los Alamos and elsewhere Some are taxpayer funded Extensive resources are available on the internet for those who are interested Few if any of these sites will be tourist draws or provide marginal economic value to the surrounding communities At LANL that s a fantasy Some sites are already national landmarks It is not clear there is any added benefit to National Park status At Los Alamos Park status will not add preservation value These assets are already protected Some sites will be accessible by the public only rarely and under guard and public access will interfere with the national security missions underway surrounding those sites At other sites public access may interfere with cleanup activities Public enjoyment referencing here the NPS mission will be minimal for these locations The Park Will Be Costly and Hard to Administer The cost of the proposed Park which is not yet fully known will compete with the massive maintenance backlog in the National Park system Or if borne by DOE these additional costs will compete with other missions DOE does not have anywhere close to enough funds to clean up its sites or even tear down its large inventory of abandoned buildings some of which date from the Manhattan Project Given the inherent management problems it is quite likely that the cost of the proposed Park for the NPS in dollars and otherwise will exceed current expectations It is also quite possible that the chronic problems at some of these sites combined with the inherent problems in this proposal will combine to damage the reputation of NPS not just in this country but to some degree worldwide The sites are small widely separated have complicated ownership and boundary configurations and significant safety and security issues will be rarely accessible to the public in some cases and in some cases LANL are operated by for profit contractors not the federal government As of April 2013 DOE had not assessed the operational difficulties in terms of security and public health and safety applicable statutory and regulatory requirements and the potential new cost of national park designation at our sensitive national security and cleanup sites At present there are no management plans no budgets and no appropriations At present the Park consists only of enabling legislation the Memorandum of Agreement and a map of initial DOE locations As NPS web site says Details of the park interpretive themes park facilities visitor contact stations park management structure and specifics about what eligible properties outside the Department of Energy properties should be included in the park are not included in this agreement and will be identified in future planning efforts The Park Glorifies Nuclear Weapons Undercutting Nonproliferation Norms and Promoting a Militarized Society If producing and using nuclear weapons was a great achievement for one country why should it not be so for others and for terrorist groups We may believe America is exceptional in this way but others do not and it is their views which are important to them not ours Why is it in the interest of U S national security to establish what amounts to a multi site nuclear weapons national park There are already other NPS administered parks dating from the Cold War Because it has the largest economy the largest military by far and the largest cultural influence the U S is a norm setting state It is one thing to make terrible mistakes even great ones many states have done so It is quite another to celebrate historic and continuing mistakes as if they happened merely in the past The Park Suborns NPS to Serve a Militarized State This Park is already a disinformation machine obscuring present realities as much or more as past ones thus continuing the work of the propagandists hired by the Manhattan Project in 1945 As such it harnesses NPS to a militarized and corporatized state that creates ignorance and passivity in an increasingly powerless population As Stewart Udall wrote in the Myths of August the first big change of the Atomic Age was to alter the American system of government creating new national security institutions to safeguard atomic secrets The national security state was born Today that militarized security state has metastasized to a scale and degree that would be unrecognizable to the America of 1946 or 1947 in terms of cost deployments and in its unquestioned prominence in our society This Park would not have been proposed or approved in a peace oriented society Its existence is as much part of the militarization and authoritarian shift in American life as it is an illustration of the growing moral numbness which has accompanied the application of violence by the U S in more and more countries around the world Notes 1 In this regard see Charles Tart quoted in Brian Davey http www resilience org stories 2015 11 04 the attention seeking economy information and the manufacture of ignorance 2 For text background and votes see links in http www lasg org press 2015 press release 06Nov2015 html Commentary Add a comment Beyond peace September 23rd 2015 by Greg Mello Yesterday September 21 was the International Day of Peace I hope not to be misinterpreted but I don t like it for all sorts of reasons Is it because I am not in some horrible war and can t see the value of peace Not really Would anyone shooting at me stop because it was the International Day of Peace It s a feel good holiday isn t it Is it because I like war No I was a conscientious objector in 1971 and have ordered my life accordingly since then leaving easy and lucrative work to work for what Peace No for nuclear disarmament justice environmental wholeness and economic security They go together especially in New Mexico where nuclear armaments are such a powerful industry Not for peace then For something like human dignity and solidarity in the living landscape For us in the U S peace is not something we have and it is not something we will have Our president recently bragged that he has bombed seven countries since taking office If anything that is an undercount Of course I don t like it but it s a fact Americans tend to take aspirations for peace personally It s about my peace I want to be peaceful the heck with you The aspiration for peace is just terribly ambiguous and it comes with a bad psychology which we as community workers have to face Psychologist James Hillman in A Terrible Love of War Penguin 2004 pp 29 36 explains quoting at length The name of this void of forgetfulness is peace whose short first definition is the absence of war More fully the Oxford English Dictionary describes peace Freedom from or cessation of war or hostilities a state of a nation or community in which it is not at war with another Further peace means Freedom from disturbance or perturbation especially as a condition of an individual quiet tranquility When Neville Chamberlain and his umbrella returned from Munich in 1938 after utterly failing to grasp the nature of Hitler he told the British people he had achieved peace in our time and that now everyone should 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 of peace was usually configured with a cornucopia of riches and plenty an idealization that recurred in recent fantasies of a peace dividend to fill our coffers now that the Cold War was won Also accompanying Pax were a caduceus twin serpents winding around a staff indicating the healing arts and an olive branch Soon enough around the turn of the era 40 BC she became Pax Victoria an the olive branch merged with laurel leaves the crown of victors Not only does peace too quickly translate into security and a security purchased at the price of liberty Something more sinister also is justified by peace which de Tocqueville superbly describes as a new kind of servitude where a supreme power covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules minute and uniform through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate to rise above the crowd The will of man is not shattered but softened bent and guided men are seldom forced by it to act but they are constantly restrained from acting Such a power does not destroy but it prevents existence it does not tyrannize but it compresses enervates extinguishes and stupefies a people till a nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrial animals of which government is the shepherd We are engaged in a struggle for life It will not be peaceful nor should it be It should be nonviolent but in the hands of peace advocates nonviolence has almost lost the name of action In the contexts in which we work the dangerous ambiguity of peace works against the clarity and commitment that are the sine qua non of harmonious productive nonviolent action of all kinds Peace even begins to mean something like civility A lot of blocking destructive and unethical conduct is justified in the name of peace Even nonviolence can be a kind of bludgeon For the peaceful violence can be defined as anything which makes us uncomfortable and threatens our peace Peace out What good is this word and this idea There are usually better ones Commentary Add a comment Comment to colleagues regarding a comprehensive nuclear disarmament treaty as a viable diplomatic option April 19th 2015 by Greg Mello Sent to a number of colleagues this morning Dear colleagues With great respect to all who are working on this issue I think it is important to face the fact that the US and Russia just to pick the two states with most of the nuclear weapons will not for the foreseeable future negotiate any kind of nuclear weapons convention or enter into any other comprehensive disarmament treaty under any circumstances Neither will they enter into a ban treaty again for the foreseeable future a long time long enough to make any such strategy irrelevant for us the living Those who imagine that there could be a nuclear weapons convention negotiated need to supply some convincing data and arguments There are none I know of It is all wishful thinking The historical data all go the other way What the General Assembly says or what Ban Ki Moon says is meaningless in this regard because no significant political process that commits voting states lies behind these pronouncements and votes and because the US and Russia will not surrender their nuclear weapons because of ANY UN votes or pronouncements They simply have no influence To say otherwise would be to assume an unthinkable surrender of sovereignty and national identity for these two states as well as other nuclear weapon states The chemical weapons convention and biological weapons convention are not good models for eliminating nuclear weapons because these other weapons were not so deeply interwoven with the identity of these two states and because in the US at least their military utility was correctly perceived as low to nil to negative and at the time nuclear weapons were and still are available as the winning weapons in any conflict whatsoever should a Dunkirk style defeat loom for US expeditionary i e imperial forces anywhere in the world for example I am quoting from some or another old official justification The above describes the political reality prior to the US fomented coup in Ukraine and the advent of open efforts to destabilize Russia economically and politically an effort which in the US is perceived by dominant factions as necessary for the long term health of the 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 political tendency in the US is to move to the political hard right in response to scary problems US participation in a nuclear weapons convention is probably even less likely in the event of serious internal crises To be sure the US nuclear modernization program of record is already failing to some extent and is understood to be failing to some extent by sophisticated internal actors We can be confident it will fail further and more and more deeply over time We can t tell how or how much But none of this adds up to endorsement of complete nuclear disarmament or negotiation of a nuclear weapons convention The only disarmament diplomacy which can succeed for the foreseeable future is one that does not require participation by the nuclear weapons states including the US and Russia This is one of the many reasons why efforts to produce a ban are so important even though the US Russia and other nuclear weapons states will never sign such a treaty The mechanisms by which a ban will help produce disarmament in non signatory nuclear weapons states are in general not going to be those which are discussed by diplomats let alone NGOs in open international settings To pick just one example a ban will immediately lower the legitimacy of nuclear threats in the world s eyes and therefore the likelihood of nuclear use This is very important because the risks of nuclear war are I believe growing All nuclear weapon states are implacably hostile to effective disarmament diplomacy by definition really I take it as obvious that there is no disarmament process anywhere underway now Anybody who wants nuclear weapon states involved in disarmament diplomacy is in effect helping that diplomacy fail I really hope that values such as openness in diplomatic processes and any other values that are quite secondary or tertiary to nuclear disarmament don t get in the way of producing a ban treaty The US at least can be expected to use all of its resources to undercut efforts to produce any threatening disarmament measure including a ban up to and including putting financial pressure on states and actors within states blackmail getting disarmament diplomats fired or transferred away and so on Greg Mello Commentary Add a comment Pouring Gas on the Ukrainian Fire February 8th 2015 by Greg Mello This is a guest post by Steven Starr Steve is first class activist parent medical scientist and director of Clinical Laboratory Science at the University of Missouri He teaches on nuclear weapons issues and maintains the highly recommended nucleardarkness org web site We have been following the developing situation in Ukraine a disaster that was made in the West led by the U S with great alarm Steve s letter is timely and completely accurate as far as I can tell There appears to be almost no serious objections being raised against the loud voices now calling for the US to send large quantities of weapons to Ukraine It is not just John McCain demanding that Obama OK massive arms shipments to Kiev Consider the new report Preserving Ukraine s Independence Resisting Russian Aggression What the United States and NATO Must Do released by three prominent think tanks this last week the Brookings Institution the Atlantic Council and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs The report was signed by Ambassador Steven Pifer Senior Fellow the Brookings Institution and former U S Ambassador to Ukraine Strobe Talbott President the Brookings Institution and former Deputy Secretary of State Ambassador Ivo Daalder President the Chicago Global Affairs Council and former U S Permanent Representative to NATO Michele Flournoy Chair Center for a New American Security and former Under Secretary of Defense Ambassador John Herbst Director Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center the Atlantic Council and former U S Ambassador to Ukraine Jan Lodal Distinguished Fellow and former President the Atlantic Council and former Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Admiral James Stavridis Member of the Board the Atlantic Council Dean Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Tufts University and former Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Charles Wald Member of the Board the Atlantic Council and former Deputy Commander U S European Command The report see http www brookings edu research reports 2015 02 ukraine independence russian aggression recommends that The White House and Congress should commit serious funds to upgrade Ukraine s defense capabilities specifically providing 1 billion in military assistance this year followed by an additional 1 billion each in the next two fiscal years The U S government should alter its policy and begin providing lethal assistance to Ukraine s military and The U S government should approach other NATO countries about also providing military assistance to Ukraine Strobe Talbot of the Brookings Institution states at 21 minutes into this interview that In the context of what is happening in Ukraine today the right way to characterize it is an act of war on the part of the Russian Federation This means that there is going on in Ukraine today a literal invasion it is not a proxy war it is a literal invasion by the Russian Armed Forces it is a literal occupation of large parts well beyond Crimea of Eastern Ukraine and it is a virtual annexation of a lot of territory other than just the Crimea And in that respect this is a major threat to the peace of Europe to the peace of Eurasia and therefore a threat to the interests of the United States and I would say a threat to the chances of a peaceful 21st century However I would note that the Chief of Staff of Ukraine s Armed Forces General Viktor Muzhenko stated on January 29th 2015 stated that there was no evidence of the presence in the conflict zone in the southeast of Ukraine any regular units of the Russian army Muzhenko said that There is absolutely no way you can possibly hide huge military formations on a relatively small territory wide open to reporters and OSCE representatives It is certainly true the war in Ukraine has become a proxy war between the US and Russia and no doubt the Russians are supplying arms and material along with troops not in Russian uniforms But if the US chooses to take the course recommended by Brookings et al this will surely cause a major reaction from Russia and it will encourage the ultra nationalists and neo Nazis in Kiev to continue the war This is a deadly combination of events that will propel the US and Russia ever closer to armed conflict At present the Ukrainian military forces are about to suffer another major defeat in Donbass having something like 8 000 of its troops surrounded and cut off in a cauldron If they do not surrender they are likely to be butchered Meanwhile the Ukrainian currency has lost half its value the economy is in ruins and armed groups are forming in many of the largest cities apparently in anticipation of a coup against Poroshenko It is precisely these armed groups who are made up of the neo Nazi factions who have absolutely no intention of seeking a diplomatic solution with the separatists in Donbass The country is in utter turmoil with some of the most violent extreme right wing groups having the most control in the Kiev government Is this who we wish to arm It is not clear that Poroshenko can even remain in power much longer Hence the hasty trip by Merkel and Hollande to Moscow to meet with Putin Note that no American representative went with them and that the meetings with Putin were held without any staff members attending It seems fairly clear that

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  • Study Group Archive 2013
    Mello Mar 28 posted Apr 3 2013 Some useful recent peak oil references and excerpts pdf 1 1MB portions used in talk on Mar 28 2013 If Iran shouldn t have nukes neither should U S Albuquerque Journal op ed Neils Mar 30 2013 Bulletin 167 Whither New Mexico world capital of weapons of mass destruction Mar 27 2013 Bulletin 166 Public Discussion on March 28th in Santa Fe Mar 21 2013 Bulletin 165 Reflections on the Deterrence Summit Feb 21 2013 Bulletin 164 Thank you Feb 15 2013 Broken Promises The White House Special Interests and New START Anonymous Dienekes Feb 5 2013 Press Releases Defense bill passes Congress mandates new underground plutonium factory modules in Los Alamos press release Dec 20 2013 Santa Fe Mayor s Los Alamos cleanup proposal is empty posturing greenwashing for renewed warhead production charges New Mexico policy group press backgrounder Nov 12 2013 124 states condemn unacceptable effects of nuclear weapons ican press release Oct 21 2013 Secretary Moniz visits New Mexico nuclear weapons labs in usual secrecy no hope or change on offer press release Sep 3 2013 Obama Administration Unveils 25 Year 275 B Plan for Nuclear Warheads Production Plants press release Jun 20 2013 Obama Berlin Speech Fails to Offer Significant Nuclear Policy Steps press release Jun 19 2013 As Problems Mount U S Nuke Warhead Chief Steps Down press release May 17 2013 Latest plan for Los Alamos plutonium facilities involves construction of underground factory modules press release May 7 2013 Administration requests large increase in nuclear warhead spending Apr 10 2013 Press release 2 after budget release with graphs Press release 1 before budget release Press backgrounder White House Military Reportedly Seek Nuclear Arms Reductions Feb 12 2013 Press release President signs FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act Jan 3 2013 pdf News Media Should the Nuclear Triad Be Saved Time Swampland Dec 25 2013 U S nuclear weapon plans to cost 355 billion over a decade CBO report Reuters Dec 20 2013 link to CBO report W78 88 Life Extension could be deferred in FY2015 budget Nuclear Weapons Materials Monitor Dec 20 2013 Watchdogs applaud stalling of park bill Los Alamos Monitor Dec 14 2013 Manhattan Project Park stalls in U S Senate Los Alamos Monitor Dec 14 2013 Los Alamos working to create national park Associated Press Nov 29 2013 Coss LANL resolution gets mixed reaction Los Alamos Monitor Nov 13 2013 Mayor s proposal to remove waste in Los Alamos criticized Santa Fe New Mexican Nov 12 2013 Analysis Funding cuts loom at labs Albuquerque Journal Oct 12 2013 Los Alamos Nuclear Time Bomb RT Breaking the Set interview at 4 40 Oct 9 2013 Editorial Bureaucratic ineptitude entrenched at LANL Albuquerque Journal Oct 6 2013 Lab management of waste facility faulted Los Alamos Monitor Oct 4 2013 Los Alamos lab waste plant over budget behind schedule Albuquerque Journal Oct 3 2013 Los Alamos Management of Waste Facility Faulted Associated Press Oct 2 2013 see the

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  • Study Group Archive 2012
    Trims Workforce Good News Says Green Policy Group press release Feb 21 2012 NNSA delays proposed plutonium warhead plant for at least five years press release 2 Feb 13 2012 BREAKING NEWS Proposed Plutonium Expansion at Los Alamos To Be Indefinitely Deferred in Today s Budget Request Trade Publication Reports press release Feb 13 2012 Administration Hints at Smaller Nuclear Force Amid Wider Defense Cutbacks press release Jan 5 2012 News Media Congress tries CPR on CMRR Los Alamos Monitor Dec 21 2012 Panel Pushes New Lab At LANL Albuquerque Journal North Dec 20 2012 Los Alamos says plutonium study doesn t negate need for pit manufacturing Nuclear Weapons Materials Monitor Dec 14 2012 Research shows nuke weapon pits age gracefully Los Alamos Monitor Dec 8 2012 Nuclear Weapons Laboratories National in Name Only Foreign Policy in Focus Dec 7 2012 Lawrence Livermore analysis suggests 150 year plutonium life Nuclear Weapons Materials Monitor Dec 7 2012 Administration vows to veto CMRR funding Los Alamos Monitor Dec 1 2012 Data Dump LANL s massive database is a flashpoint but can anyone use it Santa Fe Reporter Nov 27 2012 LANL Security Fix Now At 41M Albuquerque Journal North Nov 9 2012 McMillan memo Nov 7 2012 NNSA Pledges to Fix Los Alamos Plutonium Site Defense System Global Security Newswire Oct 29 2012 Work on new security system at major Los Alamos nuke lab delayed after overruns Associated Press Oct 26 2012 Security upgrade project at LANL delayed Santa Fe New Mexican Oct 26 2012 Problems Driving Cost Hike Delays on LANL Security Project Nuclear Weapons Materials Monitor Oct 26 2012 HASC wants CMRR decision reassessed Lab Project has been deferred by NNSA and administration Los Alamos Monitor Oct 20 2012 House Armed Services Committee Not on Board with CMRR Reprogramming Nuclear Weapons Materials Monitor Oct 12 2012 Just Say Nuke Southeastern New Mexico goes nuclear Is that bad Santa Fe Reporter Oct 9 2012 NMCF s removal raises ruckus Activists find themselves on both sides of issue Los Alamos Monitor Oct 6 2012 Costly LANL project falling farther from realization Santa Fe New Mexican Sep 30 2012 As LANL closes out CMRR NF some in Congress look to keep project alive Nuclear Weapons Materials Monitor Sep 28 2012 WaPo s Dana Priest s Alarmist Excursion Into the Nuclear Weapons Industrial Complex Foreign Policy in Focus Sep 19 2012 Article paints bleak picture of LANL KSFR radio interview Sep 18 2012 Public comment still open on plans to expand WIPP Santa Fe New Mexican Sep 5 2012 Anti nuclear activists question plan for shipping plutonium from warheads to New Mexico Associated Press Aug 22 2012 Critics Decry Value of Bloated Labs Albuquerque Journal Aug 12 2012 As plutonium options become more clear Kehler softens concern Nuclear Weapons Materials Monitor Aug 10 2012 LANL Plan B said to Cost 800M Albuquerque Journal North August 8 2012 Former STRATCOM Chief stands by comments on pit production boost Nuclear Weapons Materials Monitor Aug 3 2012

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  • Study Group Archive 2011
    2011 Letter to House Armed Services Committee from Rep Heinrich et al Feb 8 2011 Bulletin 128 Senate funders would re start construction of 6 billion plutonium fortress Sep 8 2011 Bulletin 127 PLEASE ACT NOW as the Senate moves toward cutting Obama s proposed increases in warhead spending Sep 6 2011 Nuclear research threatens Indians in New Mexico Cicero German political magazine Gabriela Jaskulla Sep 5 2011 translated from original Earthquake design of US nuclear reactors far too lax Press TV Sep 5 2011 Bulletin 126 Thanks to many we had a wonderful benefit evening last week Aug 29 2011 Godfrey Reggio keynote speaker for Los Alamos Study Group fundraiser Aug 25 2011 NRC resistant to improving nuclear plant safety standards Press TV Aug 25 2011 Bulletin 125 What Can I Do Aug 22 2011 Bulletin 124 Invitation to fundraising event and another CMRR resource Aug 17 2011 Bulletin 123 Public talk Tues Aug 9 The Meaning of Nagasaki Dr Hugh Gusterson Aug 7 2011 America not committed to NPT Press TV interview Willem Malten Aug 7 2011 Bottom of the Bucket List Manhattan Project National Historical Park Foreign Policy in Focus Russ Wellen Jul 27 2011 Bulletin 122 Work session tomorrow evening about proposed plutonium warhead factory Jul 25 2011 Manhattan Project park should be shelved The New Mexican editorial Jul 24 2011 A National Park for Nukes Counterpunch BondGraham Jul 20 2011 Anti Nuclear Groups Protest Proposed Manhattan Project Park New York Times Greenwire Jul 19 2011 Anti Nuke Group Fights Manhattan Project National Park Plan Because It Glorifies Bombs Seattle Weekly Jul 19 2011 Anti nuke groups to fight Manhattan Project parks Associated Press Jul 18 2011 Bulletin 121 Discussion Tues evening in Los Alamos regarding proposed plutonium facility Jul 17 2011 Honoring the Past Albuquerque Journal Jul 15 2011 Council on International Relations CIR Nuclear Power In Terminal Decline But Still Very Dangerous and Distracting references Mello Jul 13 2011 Los Alamos area facing new threats Press TV Willem Malten Jul 6 2011 Los Alamos laboratory in danger Voice of Russia Jul 1 2011 Drought and wildfire bring another sad chapter for Los Alamos Taos News Carol Miller Jun 30 2011 Greg Mello s interview by Amy Goodman Democracy Now Las Conchas fire LANL Jun 28 2011 Draft SEIS for the CMRR NF DOE EIS 0350 S1 Comments Jun 28 2011 Bulletin 119 Las Conchas Fire business as usual is over for our society public discussion Jun 27 2011 Bulletin 117 New CMRR resources House likely to propose warhead spending cut Jun 6 2011 Bulletin 115 XSEIS the SEIS why not try democracy and new resources May 22 2011 Bulletin 114 Santa Fe meetings continue Tues pm Albuquerque meetings discontinued boycott the sham SEIS hearings take REAL action May 15 2011 Bulletin 113 Report on the recent hearing the need for discernment May 6 2011 Congressman Markey to OMB Will U S Taxpayers have to Bailout Electric Utilities for Bad Nuclear Loans May 6 2011

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/archive/archive11.html (2016-02-16)
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