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Report from the Doomsday Forum and surrounding events; talk Monday evening

June 24, 2016

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  1. Thank you; report from the Doomsday Forum and surrounding events
  2. Manhattan Project National Historical Park (MPNHP): protest -- and survive
  3. "The Need for Full-Scale Mobilization for Climate (and everything)" -- talk by Greg in Albuquerque Monday evening
  4. Internships, fellowships, careers

Dear friends --

1. Thank you; report from the Doomsday Forum and surrounding events

To those of you who participated in the whirlwind of recent events organized by the Study Group, Stop the War Machine, and others -- thank you.

The "Strategic Deterrent Coalition" (SDC) symposium needed a firm response and we did our best to mount one, both within the event itself and outside, where a diverse group of about 20 people picketed on Monday evening and again on Tuesday afternoon.

In context, that number of picketers was sufficient to prompt photos in both the New Mexican and the Albuquerque Journal. No article appeared without noting opposition. Despite the Dog Head Fire (still burning in the Manzanos on those days), these articles appeared:

On Monday we sent this press release out widely:

Other regional media follow-up is expected on particular topics. I have a request to write for a national magazine blog about this strange event. Valentina and Astrid are also writing.

It was and is, as the military attendees might say, a "target-rich environment." So many lies, so little time. And so many requests, so little time.

The emotional atmosphere of the forum was expected but the degree of it, and the lack of rational content, beggared belief. See for example these two videos shown at the conference, one wildly counterfactual (though produced by a supposed "think tank") and the other maudlin in the hyper-patriotic, militaristic style to which we former citizens of the American Empire are by now all too accustomed. We're living Orwell's dream.

Our three teach-ins (at our offices, in Santa Fe, and at the University of New Mexico (UNM) (this last in cooperation with the UNM Peace and Justice program, Stop the War Machine, the Peaceful Skies Coalition, and Burque Media), reached about 45 people in aggregate, including some new and younger faces. Carol Miller of Peaceful Skies presented in Santa Fe as well.

We are deeply grateful to these and other cooperating organizations (such as Veterans for Peace) for their organizing, leadership, and participation.

Our two evening programs (Albuquerque and Santa Fe) were attended by still other people. Attendees heard from Visiting Fellow Valentina Bellafante about European nuclear weapon hosting and sharing arrangements, including the expected B61-12 variant (the "omni-bomb") now under development in New Mexico and elsewhere. Attendees also heard about the good news of significant international progress toward a treaty prohibiting the possession of nuclear weapons. We are very grateful to our Santa Fe host.

At the last minute the SDC changed its conference venue away from UNM to the Crowne Plaza Hotel. SDC host Sherman McCorkle told the crowd of 275 attendees this was necessary because of the great number of registrations. Yet the combined UNM ballroom SDC had booked has a capacity of 600 spread out banquet-style (as at the Crowne Plaza), or 780 banquet-style if a partition were folded up. We believe the more likely explanation for moving the conference was security.

We are assembling videos, audio and photographic materials from the SDC symposium, protests, and the UNM teach-in. We will post these. Trish will make a short video compilation of highlights from the UNM teach-in.

There were a couple of revelations about US weapons programs that need writing up and follow-up in Washington.

We will discuss local followup with other groups next week.

For what it's worth, I was able to have a one-on-one conversation with the four-star commander of STRATCOM, Cecil Haney, about the new nuclear war dangers posed by the more accurate warheads being produced for the Navy, in combination with other planned deployments. I tried to make him aware of Ted Postol's expert analysis (longer version, shorter version with audio here). I am pretty sure he understood me perfectly. I doubt he agreed. I could talk, but he could not answer except in the vaguest terms.

Thanks to these events we now have some regional momentum, in the form of a larger cadre of knowledgeable members who can write letters to the editor, guest editorials, and who can reach out to others on their own. Don't wait for us! We need your help. It's been said before: the harvest is rich but the laborers are few.

2. Manhattan Project National Historical Park (MPNHP): protest -- and survive

The ill-advised Manhattan Project National Historical Park is a bogus gift. But it will keep on giving if we are willing to turn it into a physical site of protest.

Greg (with a hat tip to others we know who called in) was on KUNM's call-in show yesterday ("Telling The Story Of The Manhattan Project, Jun 23, 2016). It wasn't a bad program, "everything considered." But such programs are useless if we don't change our lives. "Public awareness," I think you know, is meaningless. The quantum of politics is the self -- I. Me, then you, then we. Forget for the moment the third grammatical persons, him and her and them.

3. "The Need for Full-Scale Mobilization for Climate (and everything)" -- talk by Greg in Albuquerque Monday evening

Greg will speak at the monthly 350.org speakers series meeting on June 27, at 6:30 pm at the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center, on "The Need for Full-Scale Mobilization for Climate (and everything)." Please join us and invite your friends.

4. Internships, fellowships, careers

We are near to announcing our fall program. Most people can't imagine that such a small organization can be effective. Yet sometimes we are, even in cases where others have given up and or haven't tried because of what seem like impossible odds.

We aren't so great; it's just that rampant failures of leadership leave yawning gaps which we can sometimes fill. Because these gaps are so many and so great, and because of who we are, there are great opportunities here for the right persons.

"We are not," as Rumi said, "a caravan of despair." Far from it.

Thanks again to all,

Greg, Trish, Valentina, Lydia, and the rest of the gang


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