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  • Bulletin #164: Thank you, 15 Feb 2013
    and unyielding but our habits are rigid Did a man try heroism magnanimity truth sincerity and find that there was no advantage in them That it was a vain endeavor Of course we do not expect that our paradise will be a garden H D Thoreau letter to Harry Blake 3 27 1848 Actually that is precisely what we often do hear the complaint that the paradise of politics and worldly affairs populated as it is largely by so many fine people working hard for the common good isn t all that it might be No kidding but so what We all start out with imperfect understanding and flawed approaches to the very difficult problems we face Yeoman perseverance that draws upon and uses all our faculties will perfect them its alchemy refining us and all our relations and enriching the public sphere Character said Heraclitus is fate If you have been reading these bulletins carefully or working with us in other ways you know that you are now among those who must come to grips one way or another with the emergency nature of our situation For us ignorance is no longer an excuse You know we must act as effectively as possible It is easy for us in such a situation to grasp at straws or to be stunned into passivity like a deer in the headlights Or we may think that we can somehow escape the burden of our time by withdrawing into some hypothetical separate peace There is no such peace There will not be peace in our time O bliteration of false hopes Clive Hamilton says requires an intellectual knowledge and an emotional knowledge The first is attainable The second because it means that those we love including our children are almost certainly doomed to insecurity misery and suffering within a few decades if not a few years is much harder to acquire To emotionally accept impending disaster to attain the gut level understanding that the power elite will not respond rationally to the devastation of the ecosystem is as difficult to accept as our own mortality The most daunting existential struggle of our time is to ingest this awful truth intellectually and emotionally and continue to resist the forces that are destroying us Chris Hedges The Myth of Human Progress 1 13 13 This insecurity misery and suffering is not decades away It is not even continents away For millions of people it s here right now Author William Gibson famously remarked The future is already here it s just not very evenly distributed It s going to be more distributed soon during the present decade The sooner we and our governments understand what is happening and why and what can be done the better it will be It is a rude awakening Get ready to be called rude because being truthful means breaking with social convention for compassion s sake There is nothing nice about our situation Our house is burning and now

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin164.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin #163: Invitation, 28 Dec 2012
    gain Far from losing one s soul some form of political action that is right for you but not the dilettantish engagement usually sold by nonprofit groups is now essential to any mature and fulfilling life Indeed the collective success of that engagement may be essential to have any life at all The Study Group is looking for a few good men and women There are many ways to be involved First and foremost we are looking for people who can be involved at least half time most of which needs to be in Albuquerque We don t have much money but I doubt very much that any of us reading this letter are going to starve or freeze to death Write call or visit Some of what we did this past year The Los Alamos Study Group has been in the forefront of some of the nation s most important nuclear policy debates this year Considerable progress has been made overall as you can see from the record on our web site Some specialized products and background materials are not on our home page but rather on the CMRR page and its links Our legal work is here some legislative work is here We have patiently continued our educating activity all year again and again correcting the propaganda that officials in government journalists and outside experts should never have allowed to take root Events have vindicated our views not just on CMRR NF but also on NIF MOX and other subjects and we expect that to continue Meanwhile the waste of official attention time and money is very damaging to the country I Greg Mello was in Washington D C for nine weeks this year speaking to decisionmakers and analysts across government from the White House to the Pentagon and everywhere in between We also meet with nonprofit organizations in Washington and once a year with nuclear weapons contractors at a conference which is coming up in February I have been asked to speak Some of these contractors privately agree with us about some issues such as CMRR Peter Neils our board president was with me in Washington for a week this year as well In between these face to face meetings we ve been in fairly frequent communication with many of these same parties and others trying to mutually understand how the U S can manage its nuclear weapons complex and stockpile in a way that is open to the dramatic changes we believe are necessary and desirable As we said last time not only is nuclear disarmament desirable but to a considerable extent it is now inevitable The longer it is postponed the greater the harm that will be inflicted on U S national security in the broadest sense Simply put a terrible storm is coming Not only is the U S very much not ready but we are making that storm worse day by day We have no idea who and what will survive yet still

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin163.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin #162: Thank you for your support this year; good news, 26 Dec 2012
    Materials Storage Facility NMSF another big plutonium project at LANL s TA 55 That toppled from its own absurdity with a little help from us we were the Complainant here pdf one push among others In 2000 the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Updates CMRU project once the largest capital project in the weapons complex also fell apart in large due to the results of seismic investigations that we successfully demanded in a lawsuit See also our influential 1997 memorandum posted without figures When Senator Bingaman proposed the CMRR project in April 1999 the Albuquerque Journal quoted me as saying It s like a horror movie It keeps coming back There s never a stake through the heart When will we wake from the Night of the Living Dead ideas We couldn t stop the first CMRR building the Radiological Laboratory Utility and Office Building RLUOB but we helped stop the second one They ll be back but their energy is almost spent There s more good news The Pentagon has been reviewing NNSA s project and program budgets DoD has concluded that NNSA needs much more money than NNSA says it needs to complete those projects This means ceteris paribus that some additional money must be taken from some national security source in the federal budget or else some projects will need to be downscaled slowed or canceled canceled now that is or the stage set for canceling them later As for more money the mood on the Virginia side of the Potomac is very grumpy Stay tuned Also sooner or later the facts about the extravagant salaries being paid around the warhead complex are likely to see the light of day When government analysts start calling NNSA a highly productive millionaire generator as I heard this month trouble for the greedy contractors can t be far behind Even more good news it just hasn t happened yet Some day the U S nuclear arsenal will be cut back to well below New START levels Those levels are unaffordable in the long run as many now understand The U S just cannot afford so many new nuclear capable bombers submarines and ballistic missiles So it is a safe bet they will not be acquired It is quite possible but by no means certain that very few will be There are a lot of reasons for this but one of them is that the future just isn t what it used to be That particular piece of news has not penetrated the thicker skulls in Washington DC But it will The sooner the better Deeper cuts may not happen under this Administration or then again maybe they will if the fiscal political and military stars align soon enough which I somehow doubt But align they will The nature and requirements of the nuclear weapons enterprise its limited geostrategic benefit and its moral repugnance and the converging crises that are rapidly engulfing our society and economy are all in collision The dysfunctions

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin162.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin #161: Brief report from DC, 3 Dec 2012
    the remaining 120 million in unspent CMRR NF funds away but the armed services committees with their benighted and obsolete posture of support for CMRR NF do not agree Neither do we but for a different reason the request would fund highly dubious new plutonium investments in the conspicuous absence of any overall plan or environmental impact analysis The appropriations committees have no intention of funding CMRR NF in the current or coming fiscal year The only source of new cash with which they might do so the Pentagon understands and has repeated stated that CMRR NF is unnecessary for now And of course they have their own needs and massive boondoggles and powerful contractors When Peter and I were in DC we attended a talk by former NNSA chief Linton Brooks who expounded on the remaining pockets of support for CMRR NF now With regards to specific facilities I m extremely disturbed by the delay in the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research and Replacement Facility in Los Alamos but not for the reason most people are I m disturbed because the political class including those who work within a few blocks of where we re standing keeps telling the executive branch you need to make hard decisions So my successor made a hard decision He didn t do what we have historically done stretch out every program a little bit and assume we re going to get more money in the out year He essentially moved one of the major facilities far into the future He did it after devising a strategy that shows you can meet DOD requirements I think frankly if you don t want administration officials to make tough decisions you probably ought to think about how inherent supporters react when they do I think this is the right decision Ideas of reversing it are not strategically necessary and they re almost certainly not politically and fiscally possible I think the deferral of CMRR was a sound management decision I think what we have learned from the B61 among many other things is that the mere fact that we know how to do something and that would be really good to do doesn t make it the right thing to do in a fiscally constrained environment Perhaps the simplest explanation of the seemingly futile pursuit of CMRR NF by so many people who ought to know better is that it helps tilt the political playing field toward additional funding for the LANL contractor and the nuclear warhead enterprise generally and it propagandizes all parties toward this same end For NM Democrats the dogged pursuit of a dead nuclear weapons project provides electoral protection from attack by Republicans It is however a new low in futility as far as our state s economic and social development is concerned and a new political and intellectual debasement Senator Domenici by contrast had a stronger reality principle He promoted live wasteful and destructive nuclear projects often successfully What official Washington cannot

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin161.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin160: Election over. Challenges same. Opportunities better? We want you. Nov 8, 2012
    down hard on LANS which should after this latest fiasco be asked to show cause as to why the company should still be managing LANL given the CMRR NF boondoggle 635 million appropriated to date with no building and little finalized design to show for it the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Plant RLWTF stop work order and other major problems Neils Mello heading to DC This coming week Peter Neils and I Greg Mello will be heading to Washington DC to meet with a range of parties about nuclear weapons policy focusing in part on NNSA plutonium programs and in part on broader reforms We also will raise climate change and related economic issues in the national security and Energy and Water Appropriations contexts because these crises have now reached the point of urgent obvious national security concern This is the first of two trips to DC we have scheduled this fall Some of you will be interested in the request letter we sent outlining some of the issues posted here Now that the election is over what can I do You can do a lot if you want to How much we can do no one least of all ourselves can see We have no idea what cooperating circumstances may arise For example who would have imagined that Mayor Bloomberg would be suddenly endorsing Barack Obama because Bloomberg thought he was the better man to deal with climate change just days before the election Climate change which had not been mentioned by Obama up to that point was suddenly very topical We have to have faith not grandiosity but faith That we have but little faith is not sad but that we have so little faithfulness By faithfulness faith is earned H D Thoreau letter to Harry Blake May 2 1848 If you need to feel hope you re courting despair and if you court despair you will stop working So try to wean yourself from this need to have hope Try to have faith instead to do what you can and stop worrying about whether or not you re effective Worry about what is possible for you to do which is always greater than you imagine Archbishop Oscar Romero There are barriers One is the enormous barrage of cynical flak one gets from sophisticated people who will have you believe that they know better than to undertake any sort of action This cynicism is passive as is the ironic sensibility that has widely replaced moral engagement Indeed the consumer society is characterized by passivity from top to bottom including passivity by those in leadership positions many of whom simply have no idea of the power for good the power to protect judge and inspire they hold but do not use Too many of us imagine ourselves powerless It is a deadly failure of imagination related to the spiritual passivity called acedia in the Middle Ages It includes the tacit belief that our private interests should trump the public

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin160.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Bulletin #159: Elect yourself, 17 Oct 2012
    to Republicans in 2010 in return for 11 Republican votes in the Senate for New START ratification are collectively unaffordable and always were infeasible These promises included upgrading or replacing every bomb bomber warhead missile ballistic missile submarine and building not to mention deploying a technologically impossible and diplomatically indefensible missile defense system The NNSA is approximately 97 privatized which leaves the agency with too little institutional knowledge and power to effectively manage its big contractors At the nuclear labs especially corporate greed is shameless What has happened under Obama that is positive is that civilian and military leaders are kicking the can down the road together which establishes a basis for decisions next year and afterward In the coming years we are likely to see nuclear disarmament leadership coming as much from the military as anywhere else Here in New Mexico we see what appear to be desperate attempts to promote nuclear weapons in editorials in our largest newspaper and from Senate candidates Oddly and wrongly weapons projects are usually linked to the state s economic health The reality is otherwise Leaving aside most of the errors on which the myth of our nuclear dependence rests these writers and politicians fail to explain how nuclear weapons will be an engine of growth an assumed good in their world How in the world will static Soviet style pure federal employment comprising two or three percent of the state s total workers become an engine for economic growth As a political issue nuclear weapons in New Mexico really stand for something else entirely something like who shall rule and what shall matter The centrality of nuclear weapons is closely tied politically and institutionally one person and one committee at a time to the maintenance and pursuit of a whole range of regressive policies in this state Then there are the opportunity costs Our congressional delegation without fail serves the labs first Every hour so spent every meeting every committee assignment so oriented is a loss to our state Cumulatively in our competitive world these losses have been very damaging to the state s economic and social development to our civic institutions and to the protection of our environment While our delegation may be the last to learn of it nuclear weapons have already lost much of their supposed importance The Cold War world that built the great nuclear edifice is fading dependent on physical and political conditions that are disappearing Gone is the heroic mode of work that sickened tens of thousands of people and contaminated great swathes of land The nuclear industrial base and supply chains cannot support any great load and never will The old morality and motivation of public service has been largely replaced in the nuclear enterprise by self interest and corporate interest For all these reasons and many more the world of nuclear weapons is falling down not all the way down but down We have a story to tell about that and we hope you

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  • Bulletin #158: CMRR-NF is no longer feasible. Why, and what now? 1 Oct 2012
    it will give great negotiating power to two of the members of Congress who are most hostile to their post CMRR NF plans In our view the Administration should not request money or initiate work on new projects without a clear plan that has been vetted with other agencies Congress the other sites involved and the public There may also be issues of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act NEPA In addition the projects proposed appear too expensive for what they purport to do Some of the work looks like it should be already paid for in other line items and projects The new plan the full extent of which is not clear looks a lot like a political payoff There is no need for the Administration or Congress to rush into half baked new projects to avoid constructing CMRR NF As we wrote in Friday s letter It is no longer feasible to re initiate the full CMRR NF project This would be true for any new project on that scale There is no foreseeable future funding stream that could be applied to such a project Keeping CMRR NF design teams alive for several years in the absence of a clear mission need is irresponsible expensive distracting and will not produce any useful or coherent result Momentum for momentum s sake is not we believe what NNSA needs at this time The reasons for this infeasibility are basically the same as they have been for years Reasons Not to Build or to Delay CMRR NF pdf May 22 2011 except that baked in the harsh sun of fiscal limitations and NNSA cost overruns the reasons CMRR NF was once unnecessary have now hardened into reasons why it is now for all intents and purposes impossible Even LANL was wondering aloud back in 2008 whether CMRR NF was possible to build LANS in 2008 CMRR NF may be cost prohibitive pdf April 5 2008 Huge cost overruns are plaguing every single NNSA project The W76 Life Extension Project LEP which aims to upgrade the most numerous warhead in the arsenal is in financial and schedule trouble DOE Inspector General Follow up Audit of NNSA s W76 Nuclear Warhead Refurbishment Program IG 0870 The B61 LEP may now cost 10 billion B for just 400 bombs Senator Cost of B61 Refurbishment Skyrockets To As Much As 10 Billion Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor Two independent government analysts tell us the Uranium Processing Facility UPF is certain to cost more than 10 B as now planned These are huge cost overruns in both absolute and percentage terms and there are many more which could be cited The upshot is that the future appropriations that were once planned for CMRR NF have vanished into the widening black hole of NNSA s growing costs Not just CMRR NF but also other projects recently deemed more important than CMRR NF inevitably will now have to be downscaled as well as some projects like the

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  • Bulletin #157: Public talk & discussion this coming Wednesday in Santa Fe
    and newcomers alike A great deal has been going on behind the scenes in Washington D C that affects us here in New Mexico the World Capital of Nuclear Weapons as we know and we will try to answer everyone s questions as best we can We would really like you to bring some of your friends or family This is important Many people ask us What can I do Well this is one answer bring one or two people you know to meet and conspire with you and with us This meeting will be the first in a series of such informational discussions this fall some but not all of which will be open to the general public Update on the proposed plutonium pit production annex the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility CMRR NF I promised a full update on this topic but have reconsidered It is complicated and there are serious downsides to publishing all we know here Just briefly The CMRR NF project is deferred but rumors of its complete demise are exaggerated One element of the CMRR NF project is widely though not unanimously supported at this time a short but 140 million tunnel Very large sums are also being lined up to upgrade the just completed Radiological Laboratory Utility and Office Building RLUOB and for other purposes as we explained in materials provided with Bulletin 155 see Comments on the 60 Day Study Aug 8 2012 pdf A few members of Congress including all four New Mexico Democrats remain committed to what degree and with what effect remains to be seen to building something expensive and plutonium related at LANL either now or a few years from now They want commitments to build Some of these are Democrats some are Republicans The interrelationship

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/ActionAlerts/Bulletin157.htm (2016-02-16)
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