Proposition One is a grassroots movement for disarmament of nuclear weapons and
the conversion of nuclear and other arms industries to provide for human and environmental needs.

The concept was proven viable by the victory of DC Initiative 37.
The bill
has continuously been introduced in Congress since 1994.
Now we are asking you to replicate the Voter Initiative Campaign across the entire country.
___________________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

About the tour....

Hi!  It's time to bring you up to date.

We've returned from an amazing journey of 24,000 miles of talking to people about the need and right to vote on whether or not we should continue to possess, research, build, maintain, store, or otherwise support the continuing existence of nuclear weapons (which cost US citizens over $52 billion in 2009, and over $7 trillion since the 1940's).

In four months we toured in 22 states, talking up Nuclear Disarmament at over 30 sites including five downtown libraries, umpteen churches of various denominations, seven peace centers, multiple community centers, six universities, two youth conferences (Think Outside the Bomb in Albuquerque, NM, and Powershift at UNC Chapel Hill, NC), three casinos, several restaurants and coffee shops, the Venice Beach boardwalk, outdoor festivals in Idaho and Montana, and one Augusta, GA, sports bar where we were on a live radio show.   We were also on radio in Kansas City, MO, and both radio and TV in Portland, OR.


We learned in Missouri that the Progressive (Green) Party of Missouri voted to endorse Proposition One, and Midge Potts, who is running for Senator of Missouri, joined us in Columbia and is now working in Washington, DC.

In Kansas City, Missouri, a video was posted online at http://www.youtube.com/lutherjondo where Ann Suellentrop of Alliance for Nuclear Accountability speaks about the local efforts to shut down the Honeywell nuclear weapons facility, which produces 85% of US nuclear weapons (the non-nuclear components). The plant has polluted the two rivers which converge nearby with toxic chemicals.  This would be a great pilot project for conversion (see http://prop1.org/prop1/).  If local workers begin to trust that they won't lose their jobs, just be retrained while the factory is being rebuilt to produce truly clean energy systems, then there should be a lot more enthusiasm, and if it works in Kansas City, it will give hope to others in the military-industrial complex who fear losing their jobs. Ann and the amazingly creative community in Kansas City are terrific allies. 

During our tour we visited most parts of our nuclear weapons complex, including the two National Weapons Development Labs in Livermore, CA, and Los Alamos, NM; the Trinity test site at Alamogordo, NM; the Nevada Test Site north of Las Vegas, NV, and the Pantex facility in Amarillo, TX, a key place where nuclear weapons are actually dismantled, and the plutonium pits stored in the thousands. 

We saw the massive cleanup sites at Hanford, WA, the Idaho National Labs, and Rocky Flats in Golden, CO, which is only 12 miles uphill and upwind of downtown Denver.  We wonder what the Denver cancer rates are, and weren't surprised Rocky Flats was one of the first nuclear weapons facilities closed (in part thanks to the extreme diligence of Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center in Boulder). 

We checked out eight different reactor sites, including the nation's largest, Palo Verde, near Phoenix, AZ, which is the only nuclear power plant in the US which is not on a major river, lake, or the coast, and gets the water for the cooling stations from liquid waste pumped miles across the desert from local communities.  A clever idea, but the pipeline is incredibly vulnerable.

We saw a gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment plant in Paducah, Kentucky, and a geiger counter assembly plant on a commune in Tennessee.

We saw unmanned drones landing at Creech Air Force Base (next to the Nevada Test Site), and vigiled most of the night outside a test launch at Vandenberg Air Force Bace on the southern California coast. 

On August 6, Hiroshima Day, we paid our respects at a WWII era Japanese internment camp, south of Palmer, AZ, and on August 9, Nagasaki Day, we enjoyed the performance and support of WILPF's Raging Grannies in Tucson, AZ.

We joined several different anti-war protests in Oakland and Hollywood, CA, Albuquerque, NM, Carson City, NV, and a Health Care rally in Phoenix, AZ.

We distributed over 200 copies of two videos, "Proposition One: Peace Through Reason" and "The Strangest Dream," and dozens of copies of Arjun Makhijani's seminal book, "Carbon Free, Nuclear Free," and over 500 copies of three fliers. 

We are hoping that we will be able to continue the tour until election day 2010 and perhaps beyond.

Our current plans are to
1) participate in Alliance for Nuclear Accountability actions in Washington, DC and the retreat following DC Days,
2) support a walk/tour during April from Washington, DC to New York City (through Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey), to join the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) actions the first week in May,
3) tour New England after the NPT,
4) tour the northern and midwestern states,
5) return if invited to communities which want to put nuclear disarmament on the ballot.
6) Ellen hopes to tour Florida after the "Alternative New Year" at St. Mary's, Georgia, where she's been invited to speak on New Year's Day 2010.

We need help.  Clearly we can't arrange the events where we'll be speaking.  We need volunteers in Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, etc. who will host an event.

We've spent $10,000 so far, mostly on gas.  Not bad for 24,000 miles, four people and a dog over four months. If we're going to go any further, we'll need some backers.

Please contact us at et@prop1.org or Proposition One Committee, PO Box 27217, Washington, DC 20038 if you want to help, in any way you can.

Hope to hear from you!

Ellen Thomas

Jay talks about Aiken and Augusta

The trip's over?  Not yet!

Road weary, after rolling through the theme park cities of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee, (Dollywood was just up the road), we climbed through the sunset in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (the seventh and last park of the trip), and finally coasted down the homestretch through Cherokee, past Asheville, and into Tryon, North Carolina, with only one night to rest at Ellen's mountain home before heading out again.

The next morning, after unpacking the van and detaching the trailer, Jay and Ellen were headed to Aiken, South Carolina -- the closest town to the largest remaining pillar of the US Nuclear Weapons Complex -- the Savannah River Site (SRS).  This is the government's preferred location for all sorts of diabolical schemes, like MOX fuel transported from all over the country for "reprocessing."  See http://nirs.org for lots of information on MOX and Savannah River.

We were hosted by David Matos of Aiken Peace, who arranged events in both Aiken SC and Augusta GA. David has been organizing with his Unitarian Universalist Church congregation for several years, as well as the "Alternative New Year" at the Trident nuclear weapons base in St. Mary's, Georgia.

We spoke to a small group in the sanctuary, and fielded questions from several people who had family members who worked at SRS, one of whom is working there currently.  As always we were struck by the compassion and commitment of the group we met -- especially those ladies who had been conducting weekly vigils against the ongoing Iraq/Afghanistan wars, deep in the heart of conservative country, for the past five years.  They told us some good news, though--that back when the war(s) had started, their street corner vigiling brought jeers and raised middle fingers, but now they were mostly greeted with smiles and peace signs.  Another testament to the power of consistent and peaceful public witness.

Kindly hosted by David in his home in Aiken, we got up the next morning and drove to the Savannah River Site.  It's easy to find, just pick up Atomic Road in North Augusta and take it south.  After you pass the little berg of Jackson, you'll know you're in the right place when you see the signs that say, "NO STOPPING NEXT 17 MILES."

Feel at home yet?  Don't worry, there's one exception.  About 10 miles down there's a little Historical Marker for the deceased town of Ellenton, SC -- which the government picked up and moved in 1950 when they decided to establish the Site.  Now there's New Ellenton (just north of SRS, on the way back to Aiken), but if you want to pay your respects to where old Ellenton was, you'll have to pick yourself up a US Govt. issue security clearance.

Without that clearance there's not much to see along that road. . .mostly tall timber and a few well-guarded entry points, presumably to busy installations well out of sight.  Apparently the mutant wildlife only comes out at night. . .we sure didn't see any.  We did see, however, a large billboard explaining how many new jobs were added thanks to the Economic Stimulus Package. . .  Leave no radioactive industry behind!  Having seen quite enough (well -- nowhere near enough, but already too much), we left before local security could come and give us the old Department of Energy hassle.

Next stop: back north across the Savannah River into Augusta, Georgia, where we were due for a 1 pm interview on an AM talk radio show at a local sports bar.  For the record, I have never seen so many TVs in one room.  Maybe our host, Anthony Esposita, will still be there, digging into local issues like public transit hikes and nuclear disarmament activist visits to town.  He was quite cordial with us, though talking a bit more than listening, but he announced our event (at the downtown Augusta library that night) several times, and, hey, it was amazing to see so many TVs. . .  (Of course we are scouring the web for available downloads for your listening pleasure, but otherwise Ellen & Jay's first stint on AM talk radio may have been lost to posterity.)

We went downtown to scout the evening library location (meeting a very friendly and helpful lady at the tourism bureau/Augusta history center), then headed south again to see the local nuclear plant.  This one, called Plant Vogtle (with a silent "t", like VOH-gul), is 20 miles south of town and right across the river from SRS.  You can see the enormous twin cooling towers in the distance from the Augusta beltway, but it's a half-hour drive to reach them, and not much to see once you get there (again, those with security clearances probably have better luck).  We arrived, took our snaps, and high-tailed it back to Augusta to meet our new friends at the library.

Our last event of the 2009 Summer Tour had about as big an audience as the first (back in the Sautee-Nacoochee Valley in May, in North Georgia, just about 90 minutes away!), and once again we probably learned as much from them as they did from us.  Again, these folks were the arch-dedicated, bearing repeated witness to peace in their hometowns, deep in conservative country.  It doesn't look like Georgia is going to have any initiatives or referenda against nuclear weapons any time soon. . .but it's great to know that people like David Matos and his friends are active, and we hope they visit us at the Peace House the next time they are in Washington, DC.

We thought about staying the night again in Aiken, but then figured that -- after 23,800 miles -- what's another 150?  So Ellen Thomas pointed us north to Tryon and around midnight we arrived safe, ready to sleeeep, review the tour, and plan for the next leg(s) of the Proposition One in 2010 Campaign!

Thanks for joining us for part of the journey--we hope to see you in person soon!

Jay Marx

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

We're home! by way of Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, South Carolina and Georgia

It's October 14th, 2009, and we're sitting in the mountains of North Carolina, feeling SO blessed by the past four months.

Two or three days ago (I'm too tired to count) we drove 17 hours from St. Louis, MO to Tryon, NC, slept five hours, then headed toward South Carolina and Georgia.

In the past 32 hours we spoke in Aiken, South Carolina and Augusta, Georgia, showing the film "Proposition One: Peace Through Reason," and brainstorming with other activists. How can we bring the hope of nuclear disarmament and the dangers of nuclear weapons industries to the consciousness of young people who weren't born in the shadow of the cold war and its films? How about to people such as those at the heavily-contaminated "national sacrifice zone," the Savannah River Site (SRS), who are afraid of losing their jobs and have been told by the Department of Energy that SRS is "the cleanest" of all nuclear weapons production sites and they mustn't worry.  Right.

Today we were on an hour-long segment of Anthony Esposito's AM radio (1230) talk show in Augusta 15 hours ago, at which I suggested that it might be time to emulate the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, which organized an event in 1983 when 16,000 people surrounded Rocky Flats, Colorado, demanding it be shut down.  The radio host found that a good time to stop for a commercial.

I hadn't finished making my point, but we were able later to reassure listeners that Proposition One isn't intended to put people out of a job; rather, the intent is to make sure the money saved from halting nuclear weapons production will be used to pay people while they retrain, to help corporations retool, to mass-produce solar panels and windmills and other truly clean and renewable energy systems instead of weapons of any sort, as well as to clean up the radioactive and chemical messes that have already been made.

Just as the automobile industries were transformed into war industries during World War II to fight fascism, Jay likes to say, war industries can be transformed into clean energy industries to fight global warming, a much more unifying enemy.

Back soon.  Nice to be home,

Ellen

Thursday, October 1, 2009

From Idaho to Utah to Colorado, with a side trip to Wyoming and Montana....

So, now, it's two weeks later already, and again we're going to have to encapsule the multitude of experiences.  Traveling takes so much TIME!

Idaho was beautiful, and so were the activists in Boise, where we had two great events.  Liz Woodruff of Snake River Alliance did an incredible job of planning, promoting and hosting the "Dinner For Disarmament" at the Shangri-La Tea Room (a wonderful event!).

She also kindly included us in the "Peace Corner" at Boise's annual  Hyde Park Street Fair at Camel's Back Park, combining forces of SRA, Vets for Peace, the Idaho Peace Coalition & Prop1 to hold down the peace vibe in a blue corner of red Idaho.  And Liz's family provided us elegant hospitality (Thanks, Dr. & Mrs. Briggs!).

After Boise, we went to West Yellowstone and spent the night with the Buffalo Field Campaign folks before heading through Yellowstone National Park.


The Buffalo Field Campaign was established to protect the buffalo from cattle ranchers who want them killed when they leave the Park.  People come from all over the country in the dead of winter to go into the park and not only keep watch, but respectfully (with head lowered and body in a non-threatening pose) turn buffalo around if they're headed in the wrong direction.  The young people at the lodge were incredibly healthy!  They spent the summer cutting, hauling, and splitting wood to heat the lodge all winter.


During our day-long drive through Yellowstone, we saw bubbling mud pits, spouting geysers, elk, antelope, and numerous buffalo.  We had a profound experience with one old bull who chose to walk across the road right in front of the van.  On the way out of Yellowstone on the last day of summer, it snowed!

We spent the night in Bozeman, Montana, with Jim MacDonald and Genevieve Calmes, and their boy River, hiked up to a waterfall, then took off for Pocatello, Idaho, where (former DC teacher and Statehood activist) Tom Briggs arranged a room at the university and hosted us in his home.


Early the next morning we went to the Idaho National Labs, where (thanks to Beatrice Brailsford of Snake River Alliance) we were given a VIP tour of the cleanup currently underway.  We'll post separately about that experience.

We then rejoined allies Snake River Alliance and  HEAL Utah in Salt Lake City for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission "workshop" (hearings) about re-classifying depleted uranium (DU) as a waste stream, affecting whether DU should be brought in massive quantities into Utah.  (Vanessa Pierce and Christopher Thomas of HEAL Utah, and Beatrice Brailsford of the SRA, were at the table for the good guys!) Then, with the public allowed only 15 minutes of testimony at the very end of two full days of hearings, Jay managed a quote in the Salt Lake Tribune with his testimony:


"Activist Jay Marx of the Washington-based Proposition 1 Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament likewise told officials he questioned the need to increase production of the waste. Nuclear energy is history and renewables are the future, he said, so there's no reason to expect the quantities that the NRC foresees."

Before we left, we got a glimpse of HEAL's downtown offices as they were busy preparing a follow-up press conference on the Utah state capitol steps, and caught an interview with their newest staff member, brought on specifically to focus the public (and Utah's two red senators) on ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) when it comes up in the spring.  Go, HEAL!


From Salt Lake City we drove to Colorado, by way of Canyonlands and Arches national parks, incredibly beautiful places to wake up in the morning. 

 We drove through Moab, Utah, and visited the site where uranium mine tailings are finally being cleaned up from where they've been resting beside and polluting the Colorado River for the past 50 years, 2 miles from downtown.


It was disturbing to see that the only thing keeping the dust from flying as they dig was a sprinkler.  At Idaho National Labs, the contractor has built a structure around where they're working so none of the dust escapes.  


In Colorado Jay gave a great talk at the University in Boulder (thanks to Duke Austin of Students for Peace & Justice).




Meanwhile Ellen videotaped a presentation by Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center which was happening simultaneously in another building across campus.  Leroy Moore, a co-founder of RMP&J, passed around a petition asking that Rocky Flats not be opened to the public as a nature preserve, as currently planned.

We also visited RMP&J offices and heard about their work.  They have a wonderful photograph of some of the 16,000 people who linked hands and surrounded Rocky Flats in 1983, one of the many citizen actions which ultimately led to the temporary shutdown of that plutonium pit four years later, and final shutdown in 1992.


We visited Rocky Flats, and were surprised to discover that there's virtually no security, and perhaps a dozen construction firms have offices right beside or on Rocky Flats.


So now, as the leaves are turning yellow and red and the nights are turning cold, we're on our way home, and ready to be back.

Today we leave for Oklahoma, where we'll be speaking in Oklahoma City (on the 4th) and Norman (Oct 3rd), where we came through early on our tour back in June.

Then we'll be going to Kansas City, where we have a series of events the 5th - 7th, Columbia (the 8th), and St. Louis, Missouri.  In St. Louis we'll be at St. Louis Public Library, Carpenter branch,  3309 S. Grand Ave., on October 10th at 3 pm.

From there we drive to The Farm in Tennessee on the 11th, then to Aiken, South Carolina, then back home to DC.

Ellen will be going on to North Carolina and Florida, Jay will stay in DC.

Meanwhile we're planning our next tours.  Ellen will be in Vermont for town hall meetings in February, and hopes to connect with folks who have already expressed interest in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.  Jay may go to support the Los Alamos Blockade over spring break (proposed at Think Outside the Bomb by Lisa Fithian), and will join Ellen in New York the first week in May for the NPT review at the UN.  Then we'll head north and west and try to get to all the other states we weren't able to visit on this tour.

Please let us know if you want us to visit your town & group!

Ellen, Jay, Troy and Sophia the Peace Dog




Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Next stops: Boise, Yellowstone, and Salt Lake City

I can't believe it's been so long since we had a chance to blog.  The journey has been near-constant since New Mexico.



Since Albuquerque's "Think Outside The Bomb" we've been to Mesa Verde, Colorado, where the Anasazi (or "ancient ones")  lived on the mesa for centuries, then under cliffs for 100+ years, then mysteriously vanished.  It's said they became the Pueblo and Hopi.  Conjecture is that climate change forced them to leave.

We had planned to stop at The Black Hole to return the non-functional geiger counter, but they were closed. Anyone want a vintage bright yellow geiger counter as a prop for street theater....?


When driving through Taos we noticed the Peace House, and turned around to visit for a few minutes, wishing we had known about them earlier so we could have given some advance notice.  Please send contact information of people you think we should meet as we tour the eastern and northern states next spring!  (et@prop1.org)

In Santa Barbara, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and San Jose, we  were hosted by wonderful WILPF activists such as Shirley Lin Kinoshita, and spoke at six events.  There was enthusiastic discussion about a potential voter initiative.  We also went to Vandenberg Air Force Base with a dozen hardy souls in the wee hours of August 23rd, where Father Louis Vitale and Sister Megan Rice from Nevada Desert Experience were arrested for trying to deliver a letter from Japanese people asking that the US stop testing missiles.

We spoke to a Veterans For Peace group in Eureka, California, where we were urged to put our videos on YouTube.  May the time and know-how materialize!

In the tiny town of Markleeville, California, near Reno, high in the pine-clad mountains, we stayed with Marie Bravo of Code Pink, talked with two of her activist friends from Lake Tahoe, and enjoyed the sound of bears roaming the streets in the middle of the night.

The next day we dropped Jay off to network (etc.) at Burning Man in the playas north of Reno, Nevada.  Troy and I then drove to Laytonville, California, to rest a couple of days with friends.  On the way from there to Portland we stopped by the Peace Center of  Nevada County in Grass Valley, CA, which was founded decades ago by Utah Phillips, again wishing we had known they were there so we could have given some advance notice.  Next time!

In Portland, Oregon, we were hosted by Carol Urner of WILPF Disarm.  Ellen was interviewed on radio and public access television.  During the event on September 6th, where David Rovics sang his beautiful song "Hiroshima," Ellen was sorely missing Jay's charisma as she tried to keep folks interested, when Jay showed up, scruffy and exhilarated, having hitchhiked from Burning Man.  He charmed everyone, of course.

We stayed a couple of days with Laurie Solomon near Mt. St. Helens, Washington, who had helped organize the events in Portland, and then headed to Seattle, where we visited with Geov Parrish (Peace Action Washington) and several others who have started a nuclear weapons strategy group.


The next day we visited Jackie Hudson and Sue Ablow of Ground Zero, the Trident submarine base watchdog in Bangor, WA.  Jackie spent several years in prison for a Plowshares action recently.  Their building was burned down when no one was present, but has been rebuilt by volunteers and will be ready for them to occupy soon.

After a feast and tour, we took a ferry back to Seattle, then headed for Hanford Nuclear Weapons Reservation near Richland, Washington, on the Columbia River.



At Hanford, we were stopped by police.  We'd love to have a photo of the security guard who told us all sorts of stuff while we waited for the county police. For example, he said there have been 300 mini-tremors in the hills behind Hanford this year!  This is not the sort of information that makes the news.  He asked us not to photograph him as his "right."  ?????

South of Hanford, we slept at Stonehenge, on the Columbia River.  Stonehenge, which is at the same latitude and of the same dimensions as the original in England, was built by THE Sam Hill after WW I to remember the sacrifices of war.  You remember, the fellow who inspired the question, "What in the Sam Hill are you doing now?"  Unfortunately, the signs in the area now imply that he was glorifying the courage and patriotism of the soldiers who died, but his own statement was more anti-war.

In Missoula, Montana, we were hosted by Darla Torrez of Seeds of Peace Collective, and Barry and Sue Adams arranged for us to spend the day and evening with Students For Peace and Justice at the University of Montana, and with Women For Peace (a WILPF branch).

Missoula is a lovely town nestled at the confluence of five rivers, surrounded by mountains, and inhabited by fascinating people.  It has had a peace sign on the mountainside for 30 years. 


Ellen painted the third side of the trailer on Saturday in Missoula, near the weekly street market and the 14th annual Hempfest being celebrated side-by-side along the Clark Fork of the Yellowstone River.  All sorts of folks stopped by to ask questions and sign the petition.  We've gathered over 300 names of people who want to know more.

Right now we're in a beautiful log three-story log "cabin" on a lake in mid-Idaho, guests of  Liz Woodruff, the organizer of the Boise "Dinner for Disarmament" tomorrow night at  Shangri-La Tea Room.  Sophia the peace dog is in heaven, running and swimming and exploring the woods.

Next on the tour:  Yellowstone National Park (and the Buffalo Field Campaign), and Salt Lake City.  Then Colorado.  Let us know if you want us to stop by!

Ellen, Jay, Troy, and Sophia

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Think Outside The Bomb youth conference was excellent

The Think Outside The Bomb conference was excellent -- engaging and highly informed speakers, engaged and very sharp youth, some 50+ from around the country who got together to figure out what to do about nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. The conference is organized each year by young people for young people.

There were powerful presentations by several Native Americans who work on behalf of those most affected by the mining of nuclear material and its aftermath, as well as talks and workshops by a broad spectrum of other nuclear experts and activists. We spoke about Proposition One In 2010 Campaign, of course, and were invited to speak in Kansas City, Missouri on our way back east by a strong contingent of creative folk.

A high point was the field trip to a “reclaimed” mine in the nearby Grants uranium belt, near the foot of what is now known as Mt. Taylor, known to the Dineh (Navaho) people as the southernmost of the four sacred mountains that border their tribal lands. At least the US was finally, recently, persuaded not to mine there further. . .

The final day of the conference took us all up to Bandelier National Monument, yet one more site of exquisite natural beauty, and another place that was once home to the ancient Anasazi, or Pueblo and Hopi ancestors. Our attempted hike into the backcountry with 10 intrepid nuclear abolitionists took us first up to the summit of the closest mountain (Frijoles Mt. – overlooking the whole area, even down into Santa Fe, some 40 miles southeast. Oh, and a solid hawk’s eye view of Los Alamos National Laboratory to boot — Bandelier’s next door neighbor). By the time we worked our way over to Frijoles canyon, it was too late for us to head down to the creek waters and the backcountry ruins and petroglyphs, so we had to content ourselves with knowing they were there, and head back to finish, and depart. . .

Leaving the conference, Proposition One determined to head north through Taos, and ultimately to take our friend Steve to help harvest fruit at the organic farm he calls home, the White Buffalo Organic Farm in Paonia, Colorado (the oldest organic farm in the state, right on the bank of the North Fork of the Gunnison River).  Beautiful.  Tough to leave, sad to leave him there, but after a handy repair job on the front of the trailer, and switching out the right rear tire, and a few hugs and warm goodbyes, we were back on our way.

More to come. . .

Jay, Ellen, Troy, and Sophia

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Too Much To Report In One Message

We've had many experiences since our last report, too many for one posting.  I'm in Oakland, continuing to paint the trailer.  These photos were taken while we camped at Bandolier National Park in Los Alamos, New Mexico with youth from all over the country who had attended the Think Outside The Bomb conference in Albuquerque August 13-16.

Wednesday we talk in Berkeley, Thursday in Santa Cruz, and Friday in San Jose.  From there we head to Burning Man near Reno, NV, then up to Portland, visiting various spots in Oregon for a week.  We'll announce dates and places as soon as we know them.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

“NON-RADIOACTIVE” NUCLEAR REVIEW HEADS WEST AGAIN

[Please feel free to use all or part of the following press release]

PROPOSITION ONE IN 2010! CAMPAIGN
PO Box 27217, Washington, DC 20038

August 15, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jay Marx (marxjay@gmail.com) or Ellen Thomas (et@prop1.org)
cell 202/210-3886 or 202/368-4690, ofc. 202/682-4282

“NON-RADIOACTIVE” NUCLEAR REVIEW HEADS WEST AGAIN

Proposition One aims to put Nuclear Disarmament and Economic Conversion on the ballot in every state; Santa Barbara event coincides with Vandenberg AFB missile launch

WASHINGTON, DC – The Proposition One in 2010! Campaign, a national multi-media action tour that educates the public on the need and opportunity to eliminate nuclear weapons, will present at the Santa Barbara Central Library at 2pm on Wednesday, August 22, returning to the West Coast from an outstanding four-day youth conference with Think Outside The Bomb in Albuquerque, NM.

Later that night, Proposition One will join anti-nuclear activists from across Southern California to protest the expense and waste of continuing US militarism at the missile launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

From there the campaign will head north to the East Bay (the 26th), Santa Cruz (the 27th), and San Jose (the 28th), then on to Mendocino and Humboldt Counties in California, through Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Wyoming, on the way to Boise, Idaho for an event on the 17th of September. From there they will go to Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma and Missouri on their way home.

This is the second time the campaign has been through Santa Barbara on a four-month tour of the western United States, after traveling across the country from Washington, D.C.

The troupe is headed by Washington, DC, peace activist Ellen Thomas, who maintained a round-the-clock anti-nuclear vigil in front of the White House for 18 years, and in 1993 helped coordinate the successful DC Ballot Initiative 37 for Nuclear Disarmament and Economic Conversion, which has been introduced into US Congress nine times since 1994 by DC’s Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Campaign Coordinator Jay Marx says, “We use film, stories, songs and facts to educate people on everything we wish we didn’t need to know about nuclear weapons - from Alpha particles to X-rays, from Americium to Yellowcake, from Alamogordo to Zimbabwe, and from ambivalence to di-Zaster (or Nuclear Zero).”

The program includes the film “Proposition One, Peace Through Reason,” discussion with Proposition One co-founder Ellen Thomas, a review of the state of nuclear disarmament with activist Jay Marx, musical inspiration, and audience discussion and organizing.

The Summer Action Tour kicked off in May in North Georgia’s Nacoochee Valley, and will conclude October 11th, tabling at a Bonnie Raitt benefit concert in Columbia, South Carolina.

Tour dates are still developing throughout the western US, but currently scheduled upcoming tour dates and locations include:

Aug. 20 – Las Vegas, NV – Nevada Desert Experience
Aug. 22 – Santa Barbara, CA – Santa Barbara Central Library 2 pm; Vandenberg Air Force Base midnight
Aug. 26 – Berkeley, CA – Redwood Gardens – 7pm
Aug 27 – Santa Cruz, CA
Aug. 28 – San Jose, CA
Aug 29 – Laytonville, CA (Mendocino County)
Aug 30-31 – Humboldt County, CA
Sept. 1-? – Ashland, Corvallis, and Portland, Oregon (in that order)
Sept. ? –Washington
Sept. ? – Montana
Sept. ? - Wyoming
Sept. 17 – Boise, ID
Sept. ? – Utah
Sept. ? – Colorado
? - Oklahoma
? - Kansas City, Columbia, and St. Louis, MO
Oct. 11 – Columbia, SC

Please contact the Proposition One in 2010! Campaign to endorse the campaign, invite speakers, or for more information.

Contact: Jay Marx (marxjay@gmail.com) or Ellen Thomas (et@prop1.org)
cell 202/210-3886 or 202/368-4690, ofc. 202/682-4282

Available for Radio, TV or Print Interviews are:
Ellen Thomas – DC Activist, White House Vigiler, NucNews editor, Proposition One co-founder, WILPF Disarm Committee Co-Chair
Jay Marx – Writer, Activist, former Washington Peace Center Coordinator
Steve Mobray – Musician, Teacher, Activist

Weblinks:
http://prop1.org
http://propositiononein2010.blogspot.com (Campaign Blog)

Endorsers include: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Nuclear Watch South, Code Pink, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, AfterDowningStreet, Peace Action, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Nevada Desert Experience, Think Outside The Bomb, Washington Peace Center, Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Committee….

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Palo Verde, the largest Nuclear Power Plant


We drove to the largest nuclear power facility in the U.S. (located on 4,000 acres in the deep desert).

"Due to its location in the Arizona desert, Palo Verde is the only nuclear generating facility in the world that is not located adjacent to a large body of above-ground water. Instead, it evaporates water from the treated sewage of several nearby municipalities to meet its cooling needs. 20 billion US gallons (76,000,000 m³) of treated water are evaporated each year. Bechtel Power Corporation was the Architect/Engineer/Constructor for the facility initially under the direction of the Arizona Nuclear Power Project.

"Palo Verde was of such strategic importance, due to a variety of its features, that it and Phoenix were documented by the former Soviet Union as target locations in the event of nuclear conflict during the Cold War. The site team and nearby town of Wintersburg remain a key focus of work in regard to homeland security, ranking in importance along with Arizona's major cities, military bases, ports of entry, and tourist sites. Security guards working for the utility are armed with semi-automatic weapons.

"In an Arizona Republic article dated February 22, 2007, it was announced that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had decided to place Palo Verde into Category 4, making it one of the most monitored nuclear power plant in the United States. The decision was made after the NRC discovered that electrical relays in a diesel generator did not function during tests in July and September 2006.

"The finding came as the 'final straw' for the NRC, after Palo Verde had several citations over safety concerns and violations over the preceding years, starting with the finding of a 'dry pipe' in the plant's emergency core-cooling system in 2004.

"The selection of the present site for Palo Verde was controversial. Critics claim that the site was not the first choice because it was in the middle of nowhere, had no water supply, and put the Phoenix-Metro area into jeopardy in the event of even a minor accident, because of the prevailing westerly winds, would endanger the capital. Critics claimed that that site was selected over alternatives because it was owned by a relative of Keith Turley, who received almost $2 million for the land. Keith Turley was the president of APS (Arizona Power Service)."
(Wikipedia) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palo_Verde_Nuclear_Generating_Station

--

Meanwhile:

Ariz. nuclear worker found with pipe bomb; plant locked down
Nov 03, 2007 AP
http://www.sunjournal.com/node/102817

Arizona Farewell




Arizona, despite the crippling heat (108 after dark!), was an amazing experience.

In Phoenix on August 6th we met with some folks at the Fair Trade Café, thanks to the efforts of Liz Hourican of Code Pink, who also kindly hosted us for two nights, and took us on a tour of Phoenix highlights. Especially impressive was a statue created from melted-down weapons, pictured here.

On August 7th we stopped by Senator John McCain's office building, and later presented to a fine crew of uber-dedicated anti-nuke folks at the Quaker Meeting House, where we stayed one night thanks to the kindness of Jason and his wife.

We also had three excellent days in Tucson, where we stayed at the Pima Friends’ (Quaker) Meeting House, managed by Jeanmarie Simpson, a playwright and actress, and by Pat Birnie, both members of WILPF Disarm Committee.

The sun was setting on the 8th as we pulled into the Cancer Survivor’s Pavilion at Reid Park, where the Tucson Raging Grannies presented a colorful collection of great songs and a moving memorial to the Nagasaki bombing.

The next day we showed the film “The Strangest Dream,” about the life and work of Joseph Rotblat, the only nuclear physicist to leave the Manhattan Project before its “success” in 1945. He later won a Nobel Prize for his work in nuclear medicine, and later still won another Nobel – the Peace Prize – for helping organize the international Pugwash Peace Conferences. It is a beautiful and inspiring story, and was appreciated by the audience of 30+ in the basement of the downtown Tucson Library. We particularly appreciate this film because it shows that great minds 50 years ago were saying the same things Proposition One says...

Afterwards, WILPF gave a sensational pot luck back at the Quaker house and we spent two delicious hours eating, talking and planning with some of Tucson’s finest activists.

Monday, August 10, we spent organizing, planning ahead and following up, taking advantage of the road respite that the Pima Friends House provided. The highlight of the day was meeting with Jack and Felice Cohen-Joppa, longtime editors of the Nuclear Resister newsletter, and their friend John Hyde, another spectacularly dedicated Quaker anti-nuclear activist who has endured several jail stints over the course of his decades of peace work.

We talked at length about their history, major moments in the movement, and what the future may hold. We were lucky to capture part of the interview on video, but as always seems to be the case, some of the gems were missed, like the fact that, though Tucson has no nuclear industries per se, the nearby Air Base houses the “Warthog” planes that are primarily used in dropping depleted uranium (DU) munitions, and Felice has a “Permanent Ban and Bar” order for her repeated anti-DU demonstrations there. (Jack has received a similar order for passing out pro-peace literature at air shows.) Next summer on the 4th of July, they will celebrate 30 years of the Nuclear Resister (and their sister paper in Wisconsin, Nukewatch Quarterly) with a demonstration at the Oak Ridge plant in Tennessee.

Great colorful murals all over Tucson. Next time we’re back, we'll do a photo safari of Tucson murals… That, and a trip to the Atlas Missile museum, which displays the control room, silo, and missile (decommissioned like all Atlas missiles since 1965). Considering the welcome we had here, and the enthusiasm of the people we met, who knows if it might not be soon ... to help put Proposition One on the ballot in 2010!

On Tuesday, August 11th, we regretfully said goodbye to Tucson and headed east towards New Mexico, on our way to Think Outside the Bomb in Albuquerque. We were at White Sands as the sun set, a strange and beautiful sacred land, which has been bombarded for decades by toxic ammunition and missiles.

We spent the night at 9,000+ feet in Sierra Blanca high above Ruidoso, NM, seeking cool weather. It was a joy, after so much hot desert, to awake at dawn among tall pines and grass at a scenic overlook, chilly enough for a sweater, cuddling up to Sophia the peace dog, who had been avoiding contact because of the heat ever since Los Angeles. We wound down the mountain to get as close as possible to the Trinity Test Site near Alamogordo. We were stopped by a gate and mountain at Stallion Range Camp, a small military town, and photographed some strangely shaped clouds rising from beyond the mountain. At first we thought they must be testing weapons, later wondered if they were making artificial clouds for weather purposes, probably we’ll never know….

Unfortunately, our geiger counter isn’t working, so we weren’t able to gauge the radioactivity near the Trinity test site, 64+ years after the world’s first atomic explosion, but we do intend to get satisfaction on our $80 investment from the owner of The Black Hole, where we purchased it, when we return to Los Alamos with the TOTB crew on Saturday night.

Now we’re back in New Mexico at the first morning of the Think Outside The Bomb conference, surrounded by eager young minds, where we'll be until Sunday. More about this next posting….

Ellen and Jay, Steve and Troy

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Half-Closed Reactor of San Onofre



We took a day trip south from LA to San Onofre nuclear power plant much too near San Clemente, which hangs on the cliffs above beautiful beaches. There on the Pacific shore, sandwiched between two popular beaches for swimming and surfing, loom two ominous domes. . .

"Unit 1 is no longer in service. This reactor was a first generation Westinghouse pressurized water reactor that operated for 25 years, closing permanently in 1992. Units 2 and 3, Combustion Engineering pressurized water reactors, continue to operate and generate 1,172 MWe and 1,178 MWe, respectively. The plant is operated by Southern California Edison. Edison International, parent of SCE, holds 78% ownership in the plant; San Diego Gas & Electric Company, 20%; and the City of Riverside Utilities Department, 1.8%.
The environment is protected from potential unexpected releases of radioactivity by strong, spherical containment buildings. This containment structure feature was missing at the reactors at Chernobyl.
The closest fault line is the Christianitos fault, which is supposedly inactive." (Wikepedia)

All well and good, but consider the following!

"San Onofre safety lapses disclosed" - Los Angeles Times, 1/15/08

"More falsified documents investigated at San Onofre" - North County Times, 6/28/08

"San Onofre's Problems Continue" - February 25, 2009 Voice of San Diego (excellent!)

"Regulators criticize safety "culture" at San Onofre nuke plant" - North County Times, 5/7/09

Please remember, one end product of the nuclear reactor cycle (plutonium) is the beginning product of the nuclear weapons cycle. . .
What if we put the 52 BILLION U.S. dollars each year currently going to nuclear weapons towards the development and deployment of renewable and sustainable energy solutions and environmental restoration, instead?

ALSO: Please know that our journeys are also being charted at the WILPF Disarm site!

et

Fare well, SoCal...



Farewell, southern California, at least until our return to Santa Barbara Public Library at 2:00 pm on Saturday, August 22nd, and then to Vandenberg Air Force Base at 11:30 pm that night.

We've had a multi-layered experience in our "No War" van as we've explored the campgrounds, beaches and mountains of southern California. It's a journey first to meet other activists, especially antinuclear ones, and to collect their stories as we share ours. It's also, for all of us, a return to places important to our childhoods. We visited the golden hills of Palos Verdes, on the coast south of Los Angeles, where Ellen spent the first 14 years of her life, and found Steve's birthplace in the lovely hills of Upland. (We plan to visit Jay's childhood home in Colorado, and Troy's birthplace in Ohio.) We toasted at Venice Beach with our signs and literature on display in a parking lot (with no result), and paid a short, non-productive visit to the Los Angeles Catholic Workers, who are very busy helping people personally, and cynical about the political process.

However, there were terrific contacts along the way.

We joined and photographed an Iran Free Speech Solidarity rally just before we left San Francisco, and spent a great evening with David and Carol Lee Krieger in their beautiful home in the Santa Barbara Hills. David is the creative force behind Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and Carol Lee is an ardent clean water advocate.

We also connected with Sandy Stites of Santa Barbara WILPF, who arranged for us to show our film and speak at the Santa Barbara Public Library.

We encountered a "Free Speech" (only with a permit) zone in Venice Beach; Jay has a citation to prove it.

We lunched in Los Angeles on Saturday with Roger Easton, who is the glue that binds the Los Angeles Area Nuclear Disarmament Coalition.... (more next message)

et

Our sentiments exactly....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

East Bay, CA, and Beyond. . .


Since we last posted, we've been visiting with great folks, exploring the SF Bay Area, and Ellen's been recuperating from a twisted, scraped ankle, having overlooked a 3-inch step when headed out to the van for the night shortly after arriving in Oakland. It's okay now, and we're all very ready to hit the road again, despite the exquisite kindness of our hostess in Oakland, artist Ruby Pearl.

Meanwhile we've met with great people like Marylia Kelley of Tri-Valley Cares ( http://www.trivalleycares.org/ ), who keeps a close eye on the Lawrence Livermore National Labs, and the folks on the "Trinity to Trident Interfaith Peace Walk for a Nuclear-Free Future In Respect For Mother Earth" when they stopped in Livermore, California for a demonstration at the gate of LLNL last week. (Ellen and Jay had spent time with another crew of peace walkers during the "Walk For A New Spring" earlier this year.)

Also we met with the Bay Area chapter of United for Peace and Justice, and with Jackie Cabasso of Western States Legal Foundation ( http://www.wslfweb.org/ ) and Abolition 2000 ( http://www.abolition2000.org ), who are all calling for a massive demonstration at the UN Non-Proliferation Treaty Review in New York in May, 2010, to call for global nuclear disarmament as required by Article VI of the NPT. Jackie is also U.S. contact for the Mayors For Peace Campaign, and asks us to ask you to ask YOUR mayor to become a Mayor For Peace! She informs us that there is a campaign to bring the legality of nuclear weapons to the World Court once again. (The World Court ruled in 1996 that the USE of nuclear weapons is illegal; hopefully they will now rule that the POSSESSION of nuclear weapons is illegal.)

Here's our confirmed schedule at the moment:

Monday, July 27, San Luis Obispo, CA, 7 pm (contact Liz Apfelberg (WILPF), 805-783-2383)
August 6 - Hiroshima Day - Phoenix, AZ - 7 pm, Fair Trade Cafe, 1020 N. 1st (contact Liz AZ (Code Pink), 480-236-0051)
August 7 - Phoenix, AZ - Phoenix Quaker House - contact Liz AZ (Code Pink)
August 8 - Tucson, AZ - 7 pm, Reid Park at 22nd (Cancer Survivors' corner)
August 9 - Tuscon, AZ - Film - "The Strangest Dream" - Tuscon Public Library
August 13-16 - Albuquerque, NM - "Think Outside The Bomb" Youth Conference
August 22 - Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA (11:30 pm) (contact MacGregor Eddy (WILPF), macgregoreddy@gmail.com)
August 26 - Berkeley, CA - 7 pm, Redwood Gardens (contact Cynthia Johnson, cyn1234@sbcglobal.net)
August 28 - San Jose, CA - 7-9 pm, Peace & Justice Ctr. 48 S. 7th St. (contact Shirley Lin (WILPF), sanjoseraginggrannies@yahoo.com)

From there we'll be headed to Ashland and Portland, Oregon, Seattle and Hanford, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, and then home to DC and North Carolina.

We hope to see you on the road, or in the streets!


Ellen, Jay, Steve, and Troy
and, of course, our Peace Dog, Sophia

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Nevada Desert Experience (No Nukes, No Drones!)


Last time we wrote, we were on our way to Las Vegas from Santa Fe. Along the way we stopped in Grants, New Mexico, and were blessed with a kachina doll, “The Healer.” We prayed it would heal the seared lands of New Mexico and Nevada from their radioactive poisons as we passed through.

We awoke the next morning on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Ellen was chided from there to Yosemite to stop using the camera while she was driving. But only her grandchild Emma will be able to say if the footage was worth it (Emma, and the terrified motorists in the oncoming lanes). “But the mountains are all so different!” Ellen explains.

We were hosted for two nights in Las Vegas by Jim Haber and Sister Megan of Nevada Desert Experience (NDE), who welcome all activists who come to join their witness against nuclear weapons. We were drawn to Vegas thanks to an invitation from Code Pink – Phoenix. Liz Hourican was one of a group of wonderful women staying at the Goddess Temple in Cactus Springs for a series of actions against war in general, and especially our ongoing remotely-operated drone war in Afghanistan/Pakistan.

On Monday, July 13, we joined NDE and Code Pink in a sunrise demonstration at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, north of Las Vegas, to protest the Predator Drones which are tested and used for training on the base. Some of the base personnel remotely operate drones which are in the air halfway around the world, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. At this demonstration was Father Louis Vitale of Pace Bene, who to our great fortune was in town for a rare homecoming. (The current home of the Nevada Desert Experience was previously home to the Franciscan Order that Father Louis founded there in the early 1970’s.)

We displayed our vintage yellow banner that reads: “Proposition One - Convert the War Machines – visit our website prop1.org” and noticed a number of military folks looking closely at the website (http://prop1.org) as they passed our yellow and Code Pink pink displays. A few of the local police took offense when Fr. Louis, Sister Megan, Code Pink sister Lisa from Washington state and Toby from Code Pink in the Bay Area knelt in the entrance to the base at 7:30 am, briefly stopping busses full of incoming workers. The guards were quite rough as they got impatient, tossing 79-year-old Sister Megan onto the asphalt, dragging her on her back and dropping her head on the gravel at the side of the road. Lisa was grabbed by the nose and hauled out of the street. Incredible dedication. . .

After promising Jim Haber and Sister Megan that we would return to Las Vegas soon, we set off late Monday morning across the mountainous desert (it’s all Basin and Range in Nevada, friends) to … and too fast through … Yosemite National Park. The sunset skylines of Half Dome and other wonders visible from Tioga were spectacular – but no suitable campsites were to be had. So we slept on the edge of the Merced River, then drove this morning to Livermore, California, home of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Sandia Labs - the other two major nuclear weapons labs in the country, after Los Alamos (Sandia also has a large facility in Albuquerque).

There was a small adventure awaiting, the first of its kind on this trip. Our friend Marylia Kelley—head of Tri-Valley Cares, undeterrable local watchdog of LLNL and Sandia, and one of the premier complex transformation advocates in the country—suggested we pay a visit to the one-square-mile lab site (as compared to the 47 square miles of Los Alamos, or the some-1500 sq. mile, bigger-than-the-state-of-Rhode-Island Nevada Test Site) just down the road. So we headed south, searching for the Visitor Center and optimistically hoping to find an expert to help us with our new, already haywire geiger counter.

Turning into the western gate, we quickly determined it was employees only, u-turned around and headed away, rolling the videocamera all the while. Apparently the Department of Energy employees hired to protect the Labs were not impressed by our drive-by filming, so we were swifly followed down the northern perimeter of the lab (set back from the road and protected by a 100-yard belt of barren land), and pulled over before we reached the east-side Visitors Entrance.

The officers were not amused by or interested in our geiger counter, and demanded ID from Ellen, who was driving, and Jay in the passenger’s seat. After 20 minutes of slow broil in the July California valley sun, they returned with a more pleasant aspect and gave back our documents. Seemingly satisfied that we were who we said we were, they gave us the go-ahead into the complex, but no sooner had we parked then another officer came up to Ellen, this one an Alameda County Sheriff. He explained that Livermore took these labs quite seriously, and politely put us all through the same rigmarole, filling out little ticket-looking “crime investigation” sheets on all four of us, rousting even Troy, who was napping in the back of the van, as Steve played “Wish You Were Here” on his 12-string guitar.

Finally cleared of wrongdoing we were allowed to enter the Visitor Center—but not with the geiger counter OR the video camera. The Energy Dept. Cop who pulled us over originally assured us that “nobody in there knows what to do with that thing, and anyway we don’t know what’s in it.” Jay resisted the temptation to show the internal workings of a vintage 1984 Civil Defense geiger counter to four men who guard the number one radioactive weapons lab in the country, and we walked into the Visitor Center armed only with the audio recorder.

Inside was actually a lovely display, and a lovely woman – Diane – who accompanied us around the displays, while indicating that her husband has worked at the lab for almost 25 years, as had her father. We explained our geiger counter plight, and she showed us theirs: a lovely (and working) lime-green model with a hand probe and an audio tick that accelerated when brought close to the three radioactive display items: tungsten welding rods, Coleman lantern mantels, and shards of bright orange Fiesta Ware plates that were popular in the seventies until it was discovered that the paint was radioactive (the hottest item in the display case, as it turned out). She did admit that the device could not tell the difference between alpha, beta and gamma rays, and that she wasn’t sure about it herself.

The rest of the center included descriptions of the actual weapons that had been developed at the lab (including an almost 6 foot tall model of an MX III warhead); aerial photos of the lab territory and “Area 300,” the actual physical test site about 10 miles away; a timeline of the lab and the historical events during its history; a section describing the technologies available for fighting terrorism; and even a section mentioning carbon-free energy and describing how LLNL scientists helped produce the data for Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.” Two orange bikes hooked to light bulbs help youth understand how to create electricity, and show off the program that lets employees across the complex pick up a bike in front of any building and drop it off in front of any other, no locks needed. Incredible what you can do with a budget of a few billion dollars a year, isn’t it?

We’re told that tours are available on Tuesdays, two weeks’ reservation required, and we hope to see one before we have to move on—after all, how many [particle accelerators] or [laser intensifiers] do you get to see in a lifetime? But we’ll leave the videocamera at home. . . IF we pass the security check and get a badge. . . As we told the officers today, we’re only tourists – antinuclear tourists, to be sure, but good Americans all the same.

Now we’re safe in an East Oakland base camp with another friend of Prop 1, artist Ruby Pearl, and we’ll be in the Bay Area for a few days before heading on a short Northern California loop, then back through on our way to Southern Cal, AZ, and back to New Mexico for Think Outside the Bomb in Albuquerque on August 13-16. The tour is finally solidifying, and dates and places will be posted at this site as they congeal.

More soon…..
Ellen, Jay, Steve, and Troy

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Headed for the Nevada Test Site


We just spent a week of camping, walking, resting, reconnecting and rejoicing in the majestic San Pedro Mountains with the Rainbow Family, during which time we were cut off from phone and computer contact (glad to be back!). We made some great contacts with folks we'll be visiting in California, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Idaho and Montana over the next months . We'd love to tell you more about the Gathering but you'd never believe us--you'll just have to see one for yourself (next year in Main Meadow!).

On the way down from 9300 feet we passed through Los Alamos: Birthplace of the Atomic Bomb, and still home to Los Alamos National Laboratory(LANL) - owned by your US Department of Energy. Vestiges of top secret security remain throughout the city, especially at the massive atomic "campus" (read: weapons research and production facility) across the Rio Grande gorge. Street names like Oppenheimer, Trinity, and Bikini Atoll are constant reminders of the nuclear history there. Unfortunately, we arrived too late at The Black Hole - a salvage yard for materials from the lab started by a former LANL scientist - to acquire our much needed geiger counter, so we may have to return to this curious, haunting town on the mesas.

Now we're in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico, with Jay Coughlin, who heads Nuclear Watch New Mexico (http://nukewatch.org) and is one of the most knowledgeable activists around--both on nuclear issues and about his incredible home state. Good thing we'll be back in New Mexico next month for the Think Outside the Bomb conference in Albuquerque (August 13-16), because as both the birthplace of the bomb and the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico has much to teach.

Next stop: Las Vegas, Nevada, where we expect to link up with Code Pink allies, and then on to the Nevada Test Site this weekend for a big rally with many seasoned nuclear activists at the Nevada Desert Experience.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Campaign is well underway!


July 1, 2009-The Campaign is well underway!
It's July 1st, and we've been on the road for a week. We're only a few miles away from the Rainbow Gathering, waiting for the grocery store to open in Cuba, New Mexico. We've had an excellent week, full of good people, beautiful views, and the excitement of a heavily-loaded trailer whose wheels and axle were inadequate to the task of trekking two thousand miles or more. After multiple stops to replace small wheels, in a typically serendepitous series of mini-miracles, we found ourselves yesterday in Amarillo, Texas, at a trailer shop whose workers were all on holiday, but the owner kindly allowed Steve and Jay to replace the axle and wheels in his shop, which they did in two hours flat! Now the trailer is a very happy camper, and so are we.

Among our adventures so far: filming two nuclear power plants, and seeing the Pantex nuclear weapons facility.

The first was Sequoyah Nuclear Plant located in east Tennessee 18 miles north of Chattanooga, two cooling towers on one bank of Chickamauga Reservoir, with luxury homes facing the daunting view on the other bank. Photos at http://www.janandpat.net/otherexp/power/images/sequoyah1.jpg and http://www.tnriver.com/TnRiver/images/485RSequoyahNucPlt.jpg


We've made several significant stops so far.

Stop 1:
Springfield, MO
"Tiny" Rush Hour Demonstration on the Campus of Missouri State University - in solidarity with Iranian voters who are protesting against a stolen election. IRAN - We Feel Your Pain! American progressives know what it's like to have an election (or two) stolen. . . We demonstrated in favor of election integrity, Iranian democracy, and Freedom of Expression and Assembly.
(of course, Iran wouldn't be where it is today if it weren't for the CIA-aided royalist coup in 1953 that overthrew the DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED Prime Minister Mossaddeq, reinstalling the pro-American Shah who was, in turn, overthrown by the Islamic Fundamentalist revolution that installed the Ayatollah Khomeni in 1978, so. . .) Not to dwell on the distant past, however, we should emphasize that we support no particular candidate (though it wouldn't be bad to have a President of Iran who was a little less belligerent, especially with the nuclear rhetoric) and we ESPECIALLY do not call for any kind of US intervention, other than citizen solidarity and support of the People of Iran who are demonstrating peacefully in the streets against the religio-political establishment of Iran. Unfortunately, that viewpoint didn't come across clearly in the article. See http://www.news-leader.com/article/20090626/NEWS06/906260346/1015/Demonstration-draws-tiny-turnout and photo http://cmsimg.news-leader.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=DO&Date=20090626&Category=NEWS06&ArtNo=906260346&Ref=AR&Profile=1015&MaxW=318&Border=0

Later that evening, at Magic Bean Coffeehouse, Midge Potts, a well-loved member of the Missouri Green Party and of Code Pink, announced her Progressive/Green/Independent candidacy for the Senate, using Proposition One as her platform! She is sure nuclear disarmament will be on the ballot in Springfield in 2010, and perhaps throughout Missouri.
She played afterward with her band Dis-/Un-/Anti- See photo at http://cmsimg.news-leader.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=DO&Date=20090626&Category=NEWS06&ArtNo=906260346&Ref=V2&Profile=1015&MaxW=180&Border=0
ALSO playing were White Flagged Bomb Brigade (Tyler and Daniel, who are featured in the photo in the paper. Daniel is also a navy vet, an excellent local activist, and host of the ensuing Open Mic night)
About 30 appreciative folks came through

Stop 2:
Fayetteville, Ark
Omni Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology
We spoke and showed the newly revised "Proposition One - 2009" film on U-Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to a number of kind folks, some who had been in DC and met Thomas at the White House vigil many years before, others who had worked on Nuclear issues for many years. Now they are subscribed to NucNews, and tapped in to the Prop 1 circle. We made a pitch for "New York at the NPT in May 2010" and spoke about WILPF - identifying one probable new member. Also, great music from a local trio called "The New Cliches" - (Dan Dean, Laura and Quinn Kelly). SUPER thanks to tour hosts for the evening, Omni Treasurer Karen Takemoto and partner LaDeana Mullinix, who put us up in style in their lovely home on the outskirst of Fayetteville.

Stop 3
Mt. Ida, Arkansas
After moving inexorably away from the winding, lush green mountain roads of North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, the rolling east Arkansas hills, through high temperatures in the laboring Van, needing gas. . . Buffalo River. Buffalo Gift Shop. Emma's museum of Junk. Eureka Springs, colorful resort. Dutch Oven Cookoff. Arkansas is the south and also the West .Less green, parched vegetation, first cactus on trip west.

Surprise! .. . a nuclear power cooling tower glimpsed while crossing the Arkansas river in Russelville/Dardanelle. Furtive shots were captured on camera from a precarious perch. Unfortunately un-filmed was the friendly worker from the plant ("Arkansas Nuclear One") giving us directions to where we could see the plant. See http://www.nukleer.web.tr/nsv/resim/abd-arkansasno.jpg, http://l.yimg.com/g/images/spaceball.gif

We hiked on Crystal Mountain near Mt. Ida, Arkansas (and were followed and intimidated by two well-heeled thugs who claimed we were trespassing on their crystal mine and our best bet was to get out of town, as they had called the sheriff! We were actually visiting the protected claims of our friend Kasherah Harper. Kasherah will do what she can to spread the word about the voter initiative campaign.

Stop 4
Norman, Oklahoma
We rested a few hours, then spoke with a dozen young people near the University, and identified two who are interested in bringing Proposition One to Oklahoma, and who would like us to come back in late September to speak to a couple of hundred people. They say it's easy to put initiatives on the ballot in Oklahoma -- but getting the politicians to abide by them is a different matter. We left in the wee hours and headed for...

Stop 5
Amarillo, Texas
We visited with David Murphree, who showed us the Pantex nuclear weapons facility, where we filmed the tops of 88 huge round bunkers where at least half of the United States' plutonium pits are stacked awaiting ... ? (What ARE we going to do with them?)

Current Plans:
We've received invitations from New Mexico, California, Arizona, North Dakota, and Colorado so far out west, plus several places in the East. We plan to attend the Nevada Desert Experience July 11-12 at the Nevada Test Site, and "Think Outside the Bomb" Conference in Albuquerque August 13-16. We plan to head for California mid-July, then visit northwestern states before going to Albuquerque mid-August. These plans may change during the next week, when we meet allies at the Rainbow Gathering near Cuba, New Mexico, where we're perched right now waiting for the sun to come up....

Back as soon as possible with more reports.... Please send us your questions, suggestions, and especially contacts!

Ellen Thomas and Jay Marx

Friday, May 22, 2009

Proposition One In 2010 Campaign Road Show


Well, folks, here we go! on the Proposition One In 2010 Road Show! http://prop1.org

This summer, we will tour the country to visit every state in the continental U.S. that has the initiative process. We want to meet with you to describe how we managed our Initiative 37 campaign in Washington DC, and to encourage you to let your politicians know that you want Solar Panels and Windmills, Not Missiles and Nukes!

WHY should you care? You mean aside from the environmental devastation already inflicted on humanity by nuclear weapons production, maintenance, and use, and the likelihood that this will increase if we don't bring it to a halt? And shouldn't we support President Obama's April 2009 call for the elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide with a strong show of votes?

HOW can you get involved? Let us know you want to help us with the summer-long educational Proposition One in 2010! Campaign Road Show.

In late June we will head west from the mountains of North Carolina through Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

If you want us to stop and speak to your group, contact us today!

Jay Marx, Campaign Coordinator and Ellen Thomas, Executive Director
202-682-4282 (DC Office) jaymarx[at]prop1[dot]org 202-210-3886 (Cell) et[at]prop1[dot]org

PROPOSITION ONE COMMITTEE
PO Box 27217, Washington, DC 20038
http://prop1.org
Yes, We Can ...
Convert the War Machines
Provide for Human Needs
http://prop1.org/prop1/
(See next blog to find out more.)


Friday, May 1, 2009

Legislation in Congress

Proposition One is a grassroots movement for disarmament of nuclear weapons and the conversion of nuclear and other arms industries to provide for human and environmental needs. The concept was proven viable by the victory of DC Initiative 37. You can sign the petition online, can print out a petition to circulate and mail back to us, and can help in other ways as well.

GOOD NEWS! On March 19, 2009, DC's Delegate to the House of Representatives, Eleanor Holmes Norton, re-introduced for the NINTH time her "Nuclear Disarmament and Economic Conversion Act," HR-1653, which was inspired by Proposition One / DC Initiative 37.

The bill was first introduced in 1994, then 1995, 1997, and 1999, when U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey (CA) joined Ms. Norton and several experts on nuclear disarmament issues to announce active support for the legislation, and again in 2001, 2003, and 2005, when Representative Woolsey, plus John Lewis and Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, and Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas, quickly signed on, and in 2007 (see Ms. Norton's announcement). Other co-sponsors have included Fortney Pete Stark (California), David Minge and James Oberstar (Minnesota), Charles Rangel (New York), Al Wynn (Maryland), Earl Hilliard (Alabama). As each Congressional session ends, all unvoted-on legislation expires and must be re-introduced. Your help is needed in obtaining LOTS of co-sponsors in this Congress! So far Representatives Dennis Kucinich (OH) and John Lewis (GA) have agreed verbally to co-sponsor. Bipartisan support would be very helpful.

Contact Proposition One Committee for more information.


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PROPOSITION ONE COMMITTEE
P.O. Box 27217 * Washington, D.C. 20038
(202) 682-4282

About Proposition One - Economic Conversion of War Machine

THE CONVERSION PROJECT

MISSION STATEMENT:

Promoting New and Safe Energy Sources

As we enter the new millenium, it is abundantly clear that humankind has squandered many of the earth�s precious resources. In addition, we continue to utilize toxic, often deadly sources of energy. Moreover, through arrogance, ignorance and irresponsibility, we continue to behave reprehensibly by continuing to build, test, and stockpile weapons of mass destruction and to allow the spread of nuclear weapons for profit around the world. We maintain nuclear arsenals under the misguided and arrogant notion that we as a nation possess the wisdom and compassion necessary to avoid their usage, and that possession of these weapons might stop people from making war.

This notion flies in the face of an obvious and historical reality. People have been taught to believe that this situation is permanent; however, there is a way out.

We currently possess the knowledge, and in several instances the technology to provide the energy that we require for both personal and industrial use, without continuing to risk our own demise. These technologies are environmentally safe, abundant, potentially more productive, and certainly as profitable as the limited technologies and energy sources into which we are currently investing many billions of dollars. These include solar, wind, hydrogen, biomass, and with enough research funding, may soon include cold fusion and zero point energy (also referred to as space or free energy). These technologies have not been properly developed for a variety of reasons, none of which can be considered viable or even rational when viewed from the perspective of what is best for humankind.

These new technologies have been largely ignored, both by the U.S. Government and particularly by Corporate America. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with business for profit, there is a case to be made for decisions that favor people and life over accumulation of profit and wealth. In fact, it is reasonable to postulate that the corporations that pioneer and/or shift into the new technologies should reap tremendous and sustained revenues, much like those that made timely entries into the computer/high tech arena. However, the circumstances as they currently exist are that energy sources are and have always been controlled by a small group of corporate entities. These corporate entities enjoy an intimate and often incestuous relationship with the government, vis-�-vis the Defense/Military establishment. This often unholy alliance keeps us squandering tremendous resources on unnecessary weapons systems and finite energy sources.

We are all participating in the worse possible lose/lose scenario imaginable. First, fossil fuel sources that we now rely on for most of our power needs are depleting at an alarming rate. Second, nuclear technology produces toxic wastes. Third, our weapons systems of mass destruction are supposedly deterrent weapons, meaning that since everyone has them, no one will dare to use them because the results would be catastrophic. Should one follow this reasoning to its logical conclusion, then these weapons will never be used and we will have poured trillions of dollars into a �black hole�, not to mention the misuse of time and other resources that can never be recovered.

THE CONVERSION PROJECT � AN INTERNATIONAL ARMS AND ENERGY CONVERSION COUNCIL is an outgrowth and associate project of PROPOSITION ONE COMMITTEE, a Washington DC based, not-for-profit organization . The objective of The Conversion Project is to aggressively promote the conversion from fossil fuel and nuclear powered energy usage (both civilian and military) to that of the more environmentally benign energy technologies. Our hope is that the resulting dividend from these safer and more cost-effective technologies may be used for more positive and productive human needs and endeavors. To accomplish this objective the Conversion Project will initially employ a four-pronged offensive:

A) Lobbying the Federal Government

B) Lobbying Corporate America

C) Creating an International Information Clearinghouse

D) Brokering Collaborative and Cooperative Endeavors Between the Disparate Disciplines Within the Scientific Community

Lobbying the Federal Government

The United States Congress has the responsibility to collect and spend the people's money. Having that authority, Congress has spent nearly 6 trillion of the people's dollars on nuclear weapons alone over the past 50 years. Billions of dollars continue to be spent each year to develop, enhance and maintain nuclear weapons and power facilities, and to contain the toxic wastes that nuclear technology produces. Billions more are spent annually in like fashion to supply us with fossil fuel based energy. Clearly, Congress is acting irresponsibly with the people's money.

Responsible stewardship would mandate amortizing the 6 trillion dollars over the next 50 years, using it for more humane endeavors.

Responsible stewardship should not include spending resources on fossil fuel based industries because these fuel sources are rapidly depleting, some scientists predict within 50 years. Fossil fuels are also said to be major contributors to the greenhouse effect.

Responsible stewardship should not include spending resources on nuclear energy technologies because these technologies have proven to be unsafe (e.g. Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union and Three Mile Island, USA). In addition, the extremely toxic waste material produced by these power plants is yet to be safely contained.

The most irresponsible stewardship of the people's resources is the continued presence of nuclear weapons. There is worldwide consensus that these weapons should never, indeed, must never be used again if we hope to continue to exist on this planet. The people's money would be more intelligently spent on sources of energy that are abundant and life enhancing.

The Conversion Project will lobby Congress to pass laws that will provide incentives for the scientific community and the business community to research, develop and mass produce wind, solar, hydrogen, biomass, and any other environmentally compatible and infinite energy source technologies. These laws and initiatives must be creative and comprehensive.

Lobbying Corporate America

It is a given that companies are in business to make and maximize profits. However, over the past twenty years, the concepts of corporate responsibility and corporate good neighboring have become part of the business lexicon. Initially, these initiatives were considered unnecessary expenses and met with very rigid resistance within the corporate community. Over time of course, businesses around the globe began to understand the importance of these concepts and thus began to realize tangible financial and spiritual benefits.

This phenomenon provides the basic foundation and approach for The Conversion Project�s lobbying efforts toward the corporate world. In short, our message to industry is that it is morally responsible AND financially advantageous to phase out the business of finite and toxic energy production and to phase in clean, safe, infinite energy technologies. This will undoubtedly be a formidable challenge because it is basic human nature to resist change. Certainly, it is in the nature of big business to avoid forays into unknown and uncharted waters. That was in large part the reason for such intense initial reluctance of businesses to take the high-tech leap during the 1970�s and 80�s. However, once the Federal Government and the academic community began initiatives to stimulate that industry and a few visionary companies began to promote and to mass-produce high-tech products and services, the information and high-tech industries exploded. Many of those visionary companies and others that joined in later have produced legendary revenues, profits, and dividends for tens of thousands of shareholders. Perhaps the most well known examples of this phenomenon are of course, Apple Computers and Microsoft, Inc.

The Conversion Project asserts that the legendary stories of the new energy technology field have yet to be written; that the legendary revenues, profits, and dividends have yet to be earned. Therefore, simultaneous to our lobbying efforts in Congress, we seek to persuade Corporate America that it can enhance the quality of life for humankind and at the same time stay true to its primary bottom-line objectives.

Creating An International Information Clearinghouse

Information is the most valuable commodity as we enter the next millennium. Although there has been a fair amount of research done in various areas of new energy technologies, much of this research is not easily accessible to the business community, the activist community, the general public, and even to the government and scientific community in some cases. In order to reach a consensus regarding comprehensive phasing in of the new energy technologies, more complete and accurate information about them must be made available.

The Conversion Project will seek to fill this void by collecting and disseminating up to date information about solar, wind, hydrogen, biomass, cold fusion, and other alternative technologies as it becomes available and on a continuous basis. This information will be made available on the internet within the web pages of the Proposition One Committee.

Brokering Cooperative and Collaborative Endeavors Between the Disparate Disciplines Within The Scientific Community

This is a somewhat delicate issue because it seems to be an unspoken truth within the scientific community. A major impediment to accomplishing completed working models of the various alternative technologies and in many instances even reaching agreement on the validity and viability of certain technologies, is the seeming inability of scientists of differing fields of study to work together in a productive manner. An illustrative example of this phenomenon is seen in the efforts to verify "Zero Point Energy" (ZPE). More mainstream physicists discount the validity of this concept based upon the fact that some Z.P.E. experiment results are in violation of the known laws of physics. These scientists are then shunned by the mainstream scientific community, making efforts to get funding impossible and therefore slowing down or halting further experimentation. Also, there are far too many instances of researchers from different nations who may be working on similar or identical projects refusing to share data and in some cases, outright hiding of data, which in turn prevents the possibility of major breakthroughs. Moreover, there is often a contentious relationship between the theorists in a given field and the engineers who must ultimately build the mechanisms that bring the theories to fruition.

The Conversion Project asserts that these obstacles, born of misplaced ego and destructive nationalistic pride, are counter-productive and no longer acceptable. Humanity's need for more life enhancing technologies far outweigh these frivolous motivations. Therefore, we will seek to bring these disparate groups together through direct consultations, conferences, symposia and any other reasonable methods that will propel us toward the truth.

For more information or to express interest in serving in an advisory capacity, please e-mail us.

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