Particle Beams

"Luminous Quanta of Divine Intelligence…" dispelling the nuclear delusion

Posts Tagged ‘peace

Two-Minded World

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This morning as I drank my cup of tea I flipped through the pages of Sunset magazine with its beautiful pictures of gardens and nature hikes and fabulousfood; and I envied those who have gardens, who go camping in spectacular places, who can afford these furnishings, these homes.

Then I reminded myself of the many people struggling with chronic illness, or raising a child with birth defects, or suffering crushing poverty.

On the floor where it had fallen from my dining table was my unopened copy of TriValleyCARES newsletter. I reached over to pick it up.

TriValleyCARES is the watchdog group that keeps a steady eye on Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California. I am getting ready to move back to California, and will be only about an hour from LLNL, in a lovely area of Sonoma County where most people forget completely about nuclear weapons laboratories. They manage to be more oblivious of the menace than people here, who live in a state that seems dedicated to the military goals of this militaristic nation, especially nuclear.

In New Mexico we have two national nuclear laboratories within an hour of one another. We have one of the largest nuclear waste disposal sites, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, WIPP. Of course we also have the Trinity Test Site, where the first nuclear bomb was exploded in 1945, a historic site. We have a plant where uranium is processed, and of course we have uranium mines, and the ever-present threat of new uranium mining. We’re surrounded.

Not that California doesn’t have its share, home to Lockheed Corporation for example. Do you live in a state where there is no contamination from nuclear reactors? I also just read that the tanks in Hanford, Washington, are leaking…

So, this is our world.

On the one hand, we have hikes up in the stunning Sierra mountains; on the other, we have nuclear weapons being designed and manufactured, and leaking their toxic garbage into our water supply.

Taking the TriValleyCARES newsletter into the bathroom, I learned something new about plutonium pit manufacture planned for the Los Alamos Lab.

It seems that pits manufactured in Los Alamos are going to be transported to Livermore to be burnished and finished and then transported back to Los Alamos!

I can’t think of anything more stupid, unless it is something I learned from the movie “The Economics of Happiness,” which I watched on my computer last night, that nations now export foodstuffs like eggs and tomatoes while at the same time importing the same foods to feed their own people!

The miles traveled by foods in a time of diminishing fuel supplies where corporations drive the compulsion to obtain what we “need” by frakking is wasteful and stupid enough, but how about sending plutonium pits back and forth on the beautiful highways of the West?

Does that sound fiscally responsible? Or SAFE?

Reading this article reminded me of something I read last night about Obama’s budget proposal. Here it is, from Democracy Now!

The Obama administration has been accused of backtracking on vows to move toward nuclear disarmament following reports it plans to spend more than $10 billion to upgrade its nuclear arsenal. The plan would extend the life of U.S. nuclear B61 gravity bombs stored in Europe and apply new tail fins to make the bombs into guided weapons. Joseph Cirincione, head of the nuclear arms control group the Ploughshares Fund, told The Guardian: “The billions of dollars we are lavishing on the B61 is criminal. This is billions of dollars spent on a weapon whose mission evaporated at the end of the cold war,” he said.

Not only is our Great Emancipator willing to spend billions on this project while agreeing to strip funds from unrelated budgets for Social Security and MediCare, but these B61 bombs are 50 megatons – three times the size of the bomb that leveled Hiroshima – and said to be “more useable” because they will allegedly create “less fallout” due to releasing less debris into the atmosphere.

I’m so happy that these monstrosities, which will devastate any city on which they are dropped, will release less radioactive fallout to pollute the atmosphere over the United States of America, which is always on the side of the Good, and only goes to war to promote peace.

Norman Solomon nailed it when he said, “War becomes perpetual when it’s used as a rationale for peace.”

That movie, War Made Easy, is something else I watched last night on the Internet.

This is my life, your life, in today’s crazy world. Between these two realities, we struggle to stay sane, raise children, earn a living, and read labels on bread and other staples when we stop at the grocery store on the way home.

On the one hand, we have people watching movies on huge TVscreens in their California backyards, and on the other, we have governments subsidizing – with our tax money! — the design and production of bombs of enormous murderous capacity.

In the gap between these two realities, people scattered all over the world are trying to create a “new paradigm,” and new ways of living based on that paradigm that will make it possible for us to survive on this deeply endangered planet.

The crisis is real, and it’s urgent. What are we willing to do in order to restore our planet and ensure that life is possible for our children and grandchildren?

Says Vandana Shiva, “We are either going to have a future where women lead the way to make peace with the Earth, or we are not going to have a human future at all.”

Let’s go, women of the world. Time for The Uprising.


Remembering Nagasaki Aug 9, 1945

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PARTICLE BEAMS: Dispelling the nuclear nightmare with the laser of truth

This blog is going to be about, (sigh), nuclear weapons and how to get rid of them. I named it Particle Beams because those are lasers like the ones that they are trying to use to create Strategic Defense against incoming nuclear missiles. So far, Strategic Defense, commonly known as Star Wars, does not work. Reagan gave up a chance to make a treaty with Gorbachev for nuclear disarmament because he wouldn’t give up his Star Wars and Gorbachev wouldn’t sign any agreement as long as Star Wars was in place.

This is how disarmament always gets derailed. Fear and distrust over-ride good sense and hope. We’re afraid of the Bomb – afraid of our own shadows – and with good reason.

I believe it’s going to take something more than bean-counting to eliminate this terrible scourge that threatens to annihilate human life in seconds,  leaving the planet uninhabitable for centuries.

It’s going to require an evolutionary leaptake vision — an understanding of where the bomb came from, why it was invented, and how we can evolve out of the insane mess it has made of our so-called civilization.

Because if you look at America today – its secrecy, its lies, its domination by the military-industrial complex, its corruption, and what’s beginning to look like its inevitable demise, you can trace all that back to the invention of the Gadget.

In order to develop the vision we need to actually get rid of it (and survive), we’re going to have to bring the dread thing out of the closet, examine it, discuss it and demand that it be buried once and for all.

According to repeated surveys, two-thirds of the American public agree that nuclear weapons should be eliminated. But even then, most people just don’t want to talk about bombs over dinner.

I am here to encourage everyone to stare this gruesome thing in the face so that we can get rid of it. You know, it’s just like conquering monsters in nightmares: you have to look at them! Like the Witch in Wizard of Oz — when Judy Garland poured water on her, she melted. Just like that.

This blog, “Particle Beams,” is about piercing the delusions of the nuclear imagination and making it disperse. Just like that.

Because that is what is sustaining the whole multi-billion dollar nuclear enterprise: a delusion. The belief that this country needs 5,000 thermonuclear weapons on hair trigger alert to protect us from our enemies, who are currently a batch of ragtag terrorists lurking in the mountains of Pakistan and threatening to take 4 million American lives with a nuclear bomb to pay the US back for 4 million Muslim lives presumed to be lost as a result of American policies.

Someone should just laugh. Really. It’s beyond ridiculous. Yet here we have people like Senator John Kyl pressuring President Obama to budget more and more money for nuclear weapons “modernization” by saying “we won’t ratify that New START Treaty you finally signed with Russia unless you pay for more weapons.” Do you know that the nuclear weapons budget is already higher than it has ever been — higher than at any time during the Cold War?

I mean, life was more civilized in the sandbox, boys. Give it up!

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) deserves an entry of his own, and he’s going to get it.This is supposed to be an introduction for heaven’s sakes! You know, “a letter to the world/that never wrote to me.” [Emily Dickinson]

For unknown reasons, I’ve been thinking about the bomb my entire life. I don’t ever want to live through what the Japanese people endured in Hiroshima or Nagasaki. I don’t want my children to live through it. I don’t want you to live through it or die in it, and I don’t even know you. Nobody should have to experience nuclear war.

People like to say that we should just forget about it. What you resist, persists, they say, bungling the words of the great psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who meant the opposite of this excuse for denial. He meant that if you resist your own deepest desires, they will go into your shadow but they will never go away.

Another common perspective on the bomb is that even talking about nuclear war is too negative. Let’s talk about positive things – angels, gardens, peace and cookies.

That’s another pretty excuse for denial.

Taking a stand against something negative is a positive act. Two negatives make a positive – isn’t that basic algebra? If you say NO to a very bad thing, you are putting positive energy in the right direction.

So today, on the 65th anniversary of the US bombing of Nagasaki – a completely extraneous and unnecessary act of cruelty that even freaked out J. Robert Oppenheimer – I ask you to consider for one minute what it would be like if a nuclear bomb was exploded in an American city.

If you don’t know, please go see the new movie Countdown to Zero, so that you can find out. You need to know! The way to make something dark and nasty go away is to bring it to consciousness. That is what Jung meant.

Countdown to Zero was made by the makers of An Inconvenient Truth, and it caps a worldwide effort to eliminate nuclear weapons once and for all (see for example It’s very well done. You can find the movie listings at the movie’s web site.

I think you’ll agree with what we are saying here in New Mexico, where the bomb was built: “65 years is enough! IT’S TIME TO RETIRE THE BOMB.”

I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you about a great new youth movement called Think Outside the Bomb. I look forward to your comments!

Written by stephaniehiller

August 9, 2010 at 2:32 pm