Can Santa Fe Survive?


LANL only manufactures one product — Death and destruction

Many Santa Feans understand that Los Alamos National Laboratory, the most lavishly funded nuclear weapons facility in the world, has embarked on a new mission: making plutonium warhead cores (“pits”) on an industrial scale, to involve 4,000 full-time personnel and 24/7 operations…

LANL predicts it will spend $18 billion to start up production over this decade. In constant dollars, this is 15-fold what the Manhattan Project spent in New Mexico — indeed it dwarfs the cost of every other project in New Mexico history.

The pits will cost at least $50 million apiece, 200 times their weight in gold. A single LANL pit, assuming all goes well, will cost as much as the combined annual salaries of 1,000 New Mexico teachers, or the equipment for 5,000 residential solar systems. A major reason our society is failing is because it is kept on a war footing…

This huge program has nothing to do with national security, except in the negative sense. It is not needed to maintain any stockpile weapon. As military planners say, it’s (very) “early to need” and there are now perfectly sound, cheaper plans to do without LANL’s production should something go wrong. Why wait?

What about Santa Fe, then?…

Can Santa Fe survive as a nuclear weapons suburb? It certainly can, as a kind of nuclear “Pottersville” — a sprawling, increasingly ugly “city” with growing inequality, a vacuum where shared ideals should be, with no real urban center or shared human purposes, its most cherished traditions washed away by too much money given to too few people doing “work” society doesn’t need or want. It would be a city divided against itself to be sure, with plenty of poverty, human tragedy and crime.

Santa Fe could be a city that aims for justice and peace, where the obligation of respect binding us together is fostered, where the potential of every child is honored. Those political values are incompatible with manufacturing more nuclear weapons.

Greg Mello — executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group.

The unvaccinated cherish their freedom to harm others.  How can we ever forgive them?

Opinion from the TORONTO STAR

Will we ever forgive the deliberately unvaccinated for having helped spread a disease that killed and disabled so many, devastating the economy, leaving many of us jobless and wretched?…

And will your children forgive you? The always humane Financial Times columnist Simon Kuper wrote about “disenfranchised grief,” a psychological term to describe the feelings of mourners who keep quiet about their suffering because the cause of death is stigmatized. Can a little girl tell people that her unvaccinated dad died of COVID-19?

For each unvaccinated American death, Kuper says, about nine people lose a grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse or child. But a child’s suffering is greatest. Children come first with all of us. Don’t they?…

It was Premier Doug Ford’s responsibility to get everyone vaccinated, N95-masked, and kept safe in schools, on transit, and in the cities and towns of Ontario. He didn’t do it…

But Ford will not punish the unvaccinated, the dim, the cruel, the easily led, the mean-eyed people who cherish the freedom to harm others. Does he consider them his base? If so, who speaks for the rest of us?

Heather Mallick is a Toronto-based columnist covering current affairs for the Star