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.
"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
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.
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.
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...
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?)
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!