Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Attend A Pax Christi Meeting And Suffer Brain Lock

Yesterday I made the short trip to Santa Fe to check out Pax Christi New Mexico. I had intentions of actually acting like a journalist and interviewing Fr. John Dear or Fr. Louis Vitale. Instead I got brain locked by a workshop on the influence of the Military Industrial Complex on the State of New Mexico. I forgot to do any interviews, but I did get Fr. Dear to autograph a copy of his autobiography "A Persistent Peace". I appreciated not having to pay an exorbitant amount of money to meet two of my heroes and make some new ones. In fact, I didn't have to pay anything. I donated from my heart.

The factoid which brain locked me was that Kirtland Air Force Base is storing 1900 disarmed nuclear warheads. Each of these warheads is reputed to be 100 times more powerful than the ones dropped on Japan. Which means Kirtland is storing the equivalent of 190,000 Hiroshima sized nukes. These are not part of our operational arsenal which is estimated to be somewhere around 8000. I kept asking myself why the US needed to build this kind of nuclear arsenal. This is so far beyond over kill it's incomprehensible.

I had this vision of the proverbial crazy uncle who never found a newspaper or magazine he could throw out. He just had to keep adding and adding to his collection until there was virtually no usable space left in his house and one navigated past tall stacks of newspapers and magazines which shaped narrow little aisles. I'm sure the storage areas at Kirtland are more organized than this image, but still, who benefits from this craziness of our very own Uncle Sam?

I can think of a few people--a very few people. It's certainly not the State of New Mexico whose child poverty rate in some of the very counties the DOD has set up shop exceed 40%. The only county whose poverty rate is below 10% is--shock--Los Alamos, at 2.7%. Albuquerque is in Bernallilo county, and it's child poverty rate is at 20.4%.
Your tax dollars given to DOD contractors in New Mexico between 2000-2008 is $9,602,546,507. That's nine trillion, six hundred two million plus dollars spent in this state by the Federal Government. To give this number another frame of reference, the war in Iraq has cost us 692 billion. And yet with all this money, at a poverty rate of 19.3%, New Mexico is third behind Louisiana and Mississippi. Where has all the money gone? Out of state, that's fer sure.

In effect, what's happened in New Mexico is that it is a dumping ground, testing center, and ugly step child of the Military Industrial Complex. A small coterie of businessman and politicians have lined their pockets by bending over for DOD dollars and allowing unfettered access to the Land of Enchantment for the Wizards of Mass Destruction. The numbers just locked my brain and I forgot to be a real journalist.

I can write that as I scribbled notes on statistics and weapons projects, Fr. Dear was sitting right next to me scribbling the same notes. I think he might have gotten brain locked too. At one point there was an open discussion on the topic of where has all the money gone. The general consensus was Wall Street and their neo con corporate buddies, which means most of it's probably off shore. I, who sometimes needs a verbal censor, stated some of it had to be going to the religious right and some of that meant the religious right in oh say, Africa, if the current synod indicated anything. Why else would those bishops keep mentioning abortion and gay marriage in the States. They had to be getting some kind of payback for their efforts. I thought I maybe had gotten out of line, but I got a very big smile from a certain Franciscan.

I'll post more on this Pax Christi meeting in the coming days because there is more to post, but I had to get unbrainlocked before I could deal with other events. I will say I bought a sweat shirt from Stop The War because this grass roots effort surely deserves support. Their mission is too important not only to the captive citizens of New Mexico, but to the world.

One last thought. Unlike a certain New Age guru, Fr. Dear and Fr. Vitale are the real deal.


  1. The Brain Lock is understandable. With over 9 Trillion dollars of our hard earned tax dollars going into a culture of death, the DOD, for the eight years GW was in office is mind blowing. That so much money was spent on this culture of death is giving me brain lock and it is difficult to speak of this great horrific tragedy.

    This explains many reasons for our economic woes and no investment into the infrastructure that is decaying, while cities like Dubai are being built as tax havens for the wealthy. It justifies a reason to not pay any taxes at all until this situation is changed and there is an end to this type of anti-life expenditures. All the while the Republicans were saying money was going to run out of social security and medicaid and welfare recipients were forced to take crappy jobs to earn their measly welfare check, while money was pouring into the pockets of the military industrial complex. This is an outrage and the GW Bush war machine should be brought up on charges of negligence and dereliction of duty for the misrepresentation of the people of the USofA.

    This also explains the tattered remnants on the right with screams for hatred towards the federal government, albeit in a disgraceful, ignorant and dysfunctional way that would only lead to chaos.

    Glad you were able to meet Fr John Dear and Fr Louis Vitale without having to pay a fortune. Too often, in order to meet certain heroes they are tied to fundraisers, in the secular world and in the Church, and a whole lot of money is required for the pleasure to be in their presence.

    Also, the amount of warheads and the amount of power to each warhead leaves me bewildered and bummed out. I don't know much about the technology of warheads and you say they are "disarmed nuclear warheads." Does that mean that all the components that make it a weapon have been removed? My question relates to whether they still might be a threat environmentally and/or if something might still be capable of setting any one of them off?

    This is a crime! A crime against humanity!

  2. I should have also said about the tattered remnants of the fundamentalist and neo-con right wing, their ignorance and too willing to blame others for the failures in the culture and the economy caused this disgrace of government policy to go on. Bishops who supported GW Bush, in my humble opinion, are no better than any kind of murderer.

  3. Colleen so glad you got to meet the real deal!! :) .. cuz so many aren't as you said...

    The whole stinking system is insane... it is more of the same, militaristic, power hungry, win at all cost, mentality that is the U.S.

    Can anything save us from these madmen?? :(

  4. Butterfly, the warheads have been disarmed in their wiring, but the uranium/plutonium pits and the detonating explosives still remain in the warhead.

    There are all kinds of worries about threats to the environment from all kinds of programs.

    This is not just a neo con problem or the result of GW. President Eisenhower saw this tyranny by the Military Industrial Complex as the biggest threat to US democracy. This was the topic of his last speech in office. The latest unfettered splurge is more directly attributable to Ronnie Reagan than GW.

    "Star Wars" technology is alive and well and operative in New Mexico. So are highly sophisiticated drones, lazer weapons of all sorts, and robotic soldiers operated by real ones in perfectly safe and untouchable gaming rooms.

    I noticed the latest Air Force recruitment add is aimed directly at the young adult who is fluent with video gaming. That's no accident.

  5. this is so wierd but yesterday I said to God " are there not any peaceful catholics out there " we homeschool our children so I am exposed to many american homeschoolers and also many catholic american homeschoolers . on my fb page on homeschool boards etc. so many comments are so hatefelt hate in thier hearts . the assumption all catholics must be conservative in thinking .I'm not american nor am I conservative and somehow I feel I am put in a box of the bad catholic .
    I'm not liberal nor conservative . Maybe it is coming from a horridly abusive background I just know regardless of emtion I must be peaceful . I cannot risk hate coming into my heart because I know full well what human beings are capable of doing . my mennonite friend said I was way more of a passafist then her relatives ;-)
    I believe conversation ( change ) comes thru being rational not by being a bully , forceful and abusive . I always try and remind myself I belong to Him not a country and when it comes down to it it is Him I am accountable to not my fellow catholics or a country or political system . I also in our last 3 elections have chosen to spoil my ballot by voting for ST.Francis & Mother Teresa I think next time it may be Thomas Merton .

  6. Colleen, that is what I thought but was not sure about the "disabled" warheads and it seems there is still the capability and statistical possibility or even probability of extreme danger from these weapons being set off, by enemies or by human error or any number of other scenarios that could set off a chain reaction of a major nuclear event or environmental disaster. The amount of fallout from such a catastrophe might affect the entire globe and environmentally cause the globe to go into an earlier time of evolution like the Snow Ball Earth, but newly entitled Deep Freeze-Dried Nuclear Earth that would take perhaps billions of years to recover from.

    Your points are well taken. I focused on the GW Bush era's responsibility primarily because it was noted that the period these expenditures of over 9 Trillion dollars took place persisted and continued during GW's term without a hint of the least bit of concern or refrain from this obscene & insane expense & action, 2000 thru 2008 and the Republicans were in control of the Congress during that time. Ronnie Reagan's mindset and further enabling the military industrial complex to further develop more sinister weaponry, as if what we had was not sinister enough, certainly are contributing factors to this mindless continuation of overkill production of WMDs into Bush's term in office who showed absolutely no contempt at all towards steaming ahead into wars and allowing independent contractors such as Blackwater to financially gain from war as well, being accountable to no one, not even our own laws and government.

    The US military expenditures into the military industrial complex are diabolical and insane. I can't help but think of this quote that "he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword." 9/11 was an example of how even something that is for non-military purposes can be used against us and even with all the fire power in the world we could not and did not stop 9/11/2001.

    The only way to prevent wars and terrorism are to become peaceful and follow Jesus' example.

    Tragic that the repetition of war is a recurring theme in man's history. When will they ever learn?

    No wonder so many people believe the world will end soon. With these types of weapons around it will be miraculous if any of us survive another generation. Sad but this is true. This explains the levels of hysteria, depression, anxiety attacks and fear within the human psyche of anyone who knows where the real culture of death truly is located.

  7. My last sentence there could use some editing and perhaps say instead:

    "This explains the levels of hysteria or depression, anxiety attacks or fear within the human psyche even at a subconscious level that seems to be escalating in the populations of the world.

  8. lol I meant conversion not conversation
    I just had to come back and say Thank You for the links for the two priests websites ! just awesome and I so would like to find a copy of those books . The older priest reminds me of my most beautiful priest I know he is a retired oblate just so humble and truely lives his life in service and poverty to help aboriginal people here .
    Thanks again for the great blog

  9. Rox, I hope you find their books. Fr. Vitale is just wonderful. He's one of those true elders who has gained enough wisdom that humor bubbles forth from him a lot. He's very intense about what he teaches, but that intensity seems to feed the joy and humor and not the anger and confusion.

    Fr. Dear and I seemed to be not quite there yet, as we sat next to each other and forcefully scribbled our notes. We're on the path though--he much further than me.