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Bulletin 226: Please help support our work

December 1, 2016

Dear friends –

The arrival of winter is the most important time for nonprofits such as this one to raise necessary funds. We don't pester you with requests, and hope you will respond when we do ask. We are asking.

Many of you have been stalwart supporters all along, financially or with gifts of your precious time and skills. Thank you.

I wish I could share with you some of the notes of gratitude we receive throughout the year, because the Study Group is really a partnership with each of you who contribute, in whatever ways you have been (and are) contributing, material and otherwise. Those notes are for you too.

Those of you who wish to donate and have not yet done so can do so by check, sent to the address below, by credit card over the phone or via secure link, by donating stock (thus avoiding capital gains and the associated taxes), or by donating your car, boat, or real estate. You can set up a monthly donation.

We set great store on your peer-to-peer fundraising. You have contacts and friends we do not. Some of you know potential major donors, whose larger gifts could lend wings to our work and make possible the fruitful steps we can see, but can't yet take. Fundraising conversations that you initiate on our behalf are themselves very important political work. (We will try to make this as easy as we can for you -- see near the end of this letter.)

The Study Group has two local corporate partnerships that benefit customers, the Study Group, our communities, and the earth:

  • Positive Energy/Sunpower: high-efficiency, long-life, hassle-free solar installations, including all permitting and paperwork for tax credits. $100 to LASG for any consultation (please mention us); an additional $400 with system installation (please mention us).
  • McCune Solar Works/One World Co-op: high-end PV modules; also systems tailored for renters; high-reliability, no-maintenance, long-life, non-toxic battery systems; low-cost emergency backup; more. $500 to the Study Group with system purchase and other deals that help all of us.

The Study Group is a 501(c)(3) public charity. We can and do lobby Congress. All donations, in any form, are fully tax-deductible.

If you have any questions at all please call 505-265-1200 or drop by the office (2901 Summit Place NE, Albuquerque) if you are in town. If you come by, ask for a complementary 25th anniversary mug. (We also have lovely Diana Bryer posters for sale made especially for us -- "One Earth, One Family" -- selected books, and commemorative organic cotton T-shirts in selected sizes.)

In part because it has been an election year, with an increasingly lame-duck attitude in the administration, blind momentum has dominated the nuclear weapons business, sort of like a spaceship drifting silently through space -- or a warhead. I can therefore suggest that if you want an overview of our work on the issues, you can consult our 2015 fundraising letter, and for that matter the one before that, from late 2014. Neither is obsolete in any important way, except in this: 2016 has been a banner year for progress toward a treaty banning nuclear weapons (see "Historic UN vote to mandate negotiation of treaty banning nuclear weapons" or for more, this page).

I (Greg) haven't told you any of what we learned in Washington last month, or what we expect to be key issues in 2017. Of course there will be a fiscal train wreck deluxe -- and it will only get worse from here on out. Next year we will hear about some flagrant managerial problems in the nuclear enterprise. We will see increasing detail and commitment to plutonium warhead core ("pit") production (again). We may hear about the big problems in National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA's) plans and in DoD nuclear procurements; what forms those revelations will take remain to be seen. When will the momentum break? Or will our society -- suddenly, it will seem -- become a lot more militaristic? (For a very cursory preview of a few of these issues see Bulletin 224: New directions in nuclear disarmament).

We are very proud of the Study Group community. With our staff of two and our small and our mostly pro bono legal team -- an effort supported by you and some of the best volunteers anyone could want -- we were able to bring about the indefinite delay and final cancellation of one of the highest modernization priorities of the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, namely the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF). CMRR-NF was the $6 billion (B) (internally estimated at >$10 B) flagship of the proposed expanded plutonium warhead core ("pit") production infrastructure at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

Unless I am missing something, the CMRR-NF was the only nuclear weapons modernization project canceled under President Obama. (Of course there's a new plan now. We'll see how that works out. With your help, it won't.)

That success was not some kind of fluke. Local, detailed knowledge can be powerful.

Circumstances are favorable right now for further successes, the nature of which I can't really discuss here. Not everybody sees those opportunities or is in a position to capitalize on them. We do, and we are. Please help us.

I would like to invite those of you who are local to the "World Headquarters" (2901 Summit Place NE) during the early weekday evenings (from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm) over the next couple of weeks to help with fundraising, starting Monday, December 5. At first we primarily need to make calls and send any followup materials requested by mail. My own schedule is somewhat uncertain due to the family illness mentioned, but more senior volunteers here can also help coordinate your calls and outreach, if you are interested. I'll make sure there are plenty of tasty and nourishing snacks available and simple talking points to use. Bring your cell phone and a brain-preserving headset if you have one. (We have just the one land line.) Please RSVP if you are thinking of coming over. Some days may be better than others. 

It may be possible to arrange a similar "phone-a-thons" on specific days in Santa Fe, led by others there. If we are able to arrange this I will send a note to our local list there. (Write me if you live in or near Santa Fe and want to be on that list, and are not.)

Thank you all for your support. Onward!

Greg Mello, for the Study Group

Next time: a more complete outline of what we see as the most promising new directions in nuclear disarmament, as promised in Bulletin 224. This is in draft now, not quite ready for prime time.

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