STOP CASSINI Newsletter #10 -- May 8th, 1997

Various environmental issues...

By Russell D. Hoffman

Copyright (c) 1997

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index


This newsletter issue discusses general current events in our STOP CASSINI fight.

Thanks, Russell Hoffman, Webmaster, STOP CASSINI

**** STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER Volume #10 ****

Subject: Enlisting help from established anti-nuclear voices, environmentalist's need to use the tools available, and information on the latest posting at the STOP CASSINI web site.

****** VOLUME #10 May 8th, 1997 ******

By Russell D. Hoffman
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman


A friend has been trying to interest Dr. Helen Caldicott in our battle with NASA over Cassini, having heard her speak on a Pacifica station a few days ago, and she did not mention Cassini at all in the whole hour. He asked me how we might be able to get her attention.

Frankly, I doubt Dr. Caldicott sees Cassini as a major enough battle for her. She may be right about that from some point of view -- what does she know, she might ask herself, about rocket science? And with 100 nuclear power plants in this country alone, and 70,000 nuclear weapons the world over, I can see where this looks like one tiny, tiny piece in the radioactive jigsaw puzzle of poison.

But what she probably doesn't realize is that we've tightly wound NASA up over the very issue she and all the anti-nuke people crave to bring forward--that LOW LEVEL RADIATION KILLS. So if she hears what we are doing, I think she will perk up her ears and help -- and most importantly, help enlist others to help.

Our goal, I think, is to convince everyone that Cassini is a battle we all should fight. I believe we have distilled the Cassini fight down to the essense of the environmental battle--that dilution is NOT the solution to pollution. This is a key issue. Bad statistics is the name of the game in the nuclear industry, and we have worked extremely hard to show that NASA's statistical analysis of a potential Cassini accident is bad science. We need people to tell NASA to answer ALL our charges. They keep bouncing us from topic to topic as though it were merely a matter of educating US about what they are doing, but in reality, each new document they send us to is a rehash of their same old tired nuclear lies.

The environmental movement has been pushed around long enough. It's time to stand our ground and start fighting some of these battles harder, with no compromise. I have watched the environmental movement decay in the last 25 years from a growing and powerful irritation to a backstepping, deal-making, cooperative, non-idealistic coalition of poorly directed small-stepping compromisers. Worse than that, everyone from oil companies to paper companies to nuclear power stations now pays full lip service to environmentalism. Even our local nuclear power station (plagued with pipe corrosion problems and leaks) had a booth at the local 1997 EARTH DAY festival in San Diego! (The booth had been removed later in the day, and I don't know the details of the situtation. They were definitely there in the morning, though.) A nuclear generating station at an Earth Day celebration. How low can we go? The environmental movement is quite dead if that can happen. And not one person I spoke to that day had even heard of Cassini. "What's a Cassini?" they would ask.

Not all parts of all environmental movements are like this, but far too many are. It's time to start standing our ground on some issues, and uniting our voices more. Awareness of real issues is at an all-time low, even as scientifically acceptable proofs of environmentalist's positions become stronger. But should we even need 'proofs'? In many instances, merely good indications should be enough. The planet is in dire straits, heading for global destruction. With that as the final result, the 'proof' should be on the other side to prevent it! Not on us to prove the doomsayers are right! We only get one chance. Reason suggests caution.

Yet dire warnings on global warming, nuclear power, depletion of natural resources, and 1000 other issues are being debated and then ignored. The GLOBAL EXPERIMENT ON OUR ENVIRONMENT continues virtually unabated. If the environmentalists are right, or even half-right, or even one-tenth right, this planet will not survive to the next millenium, maybe not even the next few centuries. A stronger effort is needed.

We have been beaten by being fractionalized. There are too many issues to fight, and when we specialize (as I have on Cassini) we inevitably weaken the rest of the movement. I have not written one word in defense of our cherished Redwood Forests in months, for instance. Last year I sent out hundreds of letters on that issue.


Frankly, we all should get used to all fighting *every* battle. We must find a way to get environmentalists shouting again.

What we need to do, is to unite like when we do 'the wave' at the stadium. All of a sudden, we all need to speak out at once on an injustice and DO THAT INJUSTICE IN. We need to show that we are in agreement with those who have concentrated their efforts on an issue, so that they know they are not fighting alone and so that their opponents know they are not fighting alone.

When it's our turn to strike, everyone we come in contact with should get used to helping, like the local seating partners doing the wave at the stadium when it reaches them. Everyone pitches in just for a moment, and just like that, we once again have a movement.

You never really know where the battle will appear next, but if someone like Amnesty International puts a petition in front of you -- for god's sakes, sign it! Send in the emails to Prez. Clinton and all. That's all we should need to ask. I believe that would be enough, if enough people would do it. I believe 90% of all Americans are environmentalists at heart. Lazy environmentalists, but environmentalists nonetheless.

Instead of once a year on Earth Day, what if environmentalists could call out 50,000 EACH WEEK to protest something in each of 20 major cities in the U.S.? Can't be done? Probably not, but not because there aren't enough environmentalists. NO, that's not it. A friend of mine explained it to me recently:


To one of my oldest friends,

I have read (plowed through, grappled with, taken the bull by the horns, etc) your well thought out dissertation on the Cassini project. As a long time supporter of NASA (as you well know,) I find myself on the horns of a dilemma. You have, in the past often tussled with long odds on a subject that has captured your fancy, often with impressive results. Yet I find myself curiously blase on your latest tilting. I think a great deal has to do with the fact that I am know in my [5th] decade on this earth. Does this mean that I am sheepishly accepting anything to come? NO! It just means I am developing the proverbial "feet of clay". I may be too quick to accept NASA's explanations and assurances, but that is just me. I am still proud of [the] contribution people like you and I made in the 70's and early 80's concerning nuclear power, and, as you know, we were right!

I believe there are many millions like this friend. Too involved in life and raising a family today to fight hard for tomorrow's future. But he would like it to be known where his heart lies. I can assure him, that Bill Clinton does NOT know how this friend really feels!

Then, there are those others -- the dead, the children, and the as yet unborn. I believe they deserve considerations. The dead may have died from an industrial poison -- they cannot send a letter to Clinton asking him to stop poisoning the planet! But the only reason they cannot vote is because that industrial poison has killed them! What a fine way to limit the roll-call! The most ardent environmentalists are usually the survivors, but in every instance, they are at least one vote short.

And the children and the as yet unborn -- whom we KNOW we are condemning to horrors and death by our actions. Would they vote in favor of poisoning their world of tomorrow so that we can have some pleasure today? And I don't mean 10 generations or 100 generations from now, a time some people think is an impossibly distant future. No, I mean the children of the 21st Century, the new millenium -- what a mess we've left for them! It's their world we are destroying, yet of course, they have no vote either.

Another comment from another friend:

"Perhaps [a] page could be "How to avoid being lynched by your children when they grow up". Ie, by keeping a record of letters written and anything else you did to try and stop the madness. (Points, maybe: 1 for a letter, 10 for an arrest, 50 for actual imprisonment...)"

We know there's a guilt trip we should be laying on society. It's a fair, honest guilt trip. We're all mighty, mighty guilty.

I believe organizing for throwing combined punches is the way the environmentalists will win battles in the future. And, if the environmentalists DON'T start winning some major battles, this planet, and human life, is doomed. Not in 10 years. Not in 20. But right now. Right now, people are dying because of what humanity has carelessly and needlessly done. Most pollution today was not even created in order to benefit someone past or present, but was actually created because we did not know about, or did not care about, how not to create it. Most problems could be greatly alleviated by simply DOING MORE WITH LESS. That is one of the main goals of environmentalism. In reality, right now, automobile gas milage standards are being RELAXED, instead of strengthened. That's nuts.

What we as a world of polluters are doing is dooming huge sections of the population to death, pain, illness, and poverty by our actions today. The world won't end in 100 years at the rate we're going, or even perhaps in 500. But the suffering will increase tremendously unless we clean up the place. Poisoning the planet won't simply end life on Earth. What it will actually do is far worse. It will first maim and sicken, and then it will kill.


Environmental movements all need to embrace the new tools. Email and the Internet must become a vital tool for environmentalists, if only because it is being used by the other side and we cannot allow them to be the only ones to have such a strong advantage. But it must also be a vital tool because it raises global consciousness and global knowledge. Lastly, it should be recognized for what it is: the greatest non-violent weapon that mankind has ever known.

We have a tool available and we need to all learn to use it -- the Internet. We need to organize around it, and trust it -- make sure we have lots of eggheads (ten times better than myself, a computer programmer for almost 20 years) to ensure a secure, safe, reliable network, but we MUST network!

Sure, Cassini isn't that big a thing, compared to 100 nuclear power plants in the U.S. alone, and 70,000 nuclear warheads, and 96% of all Redwoods already cut down.

But is it a winnable battle? It might be.

Can one man win it alone?

No way. Not without a hundred thousand other voices.

Here's a quote from another friend, one who has no real knowledge of my fight with Cassini. All he knows is I'm fighting NASA:

"Glad to see you haven't lost your spirit, if anyone can take on NASA single handedly it's you."

I can take them on by myself, that doesn't bother me. But I can't WIN by myself! It takes letters, inquiries, demands for justice -- the whole nine yards.

So, dear friend, how do we even get Caldicott to believe we are for real? Beats me! But I think the approach to use is to try to convince her that we are fighting the #1 anti-nuke battle here -- that LOW LEVEL RADIATION KILLS. Dilution is NOT the solution to pollution!

We are proving that NASA actually knows this, but won't live by it. We are trying to force NASA to do its statistics based on this fact.

Sure, we also fight for honest and responsive government, but Caldicott should understand that this is her battle as much as anything, and we need her help to hype it.

Latest Posting at the Stop Cassini web site:

We have posted an answer to a JPL document which someone from NASA sent us to as a non-answer to an inquiry sent to the White House in February. The article is called: "FALSE, TRUE... and TRUER. An answer to a NASA/JPL document." Here is a quote from it:

"NASA hides the real facts and the real math inside complex verbal descriptions, tables of exponential numbers, and inappropriate calculations. This is NASA's biggest problem: Bad science is being used to bolster the few weak real arguments NASA has to justify pursuing the nuclear option. In fact, the nuclear option is a dead end." Here is the URL:


For more on the need for environmentalists to use the Internet and email and other modern tools, and for detailed explanations of just how they might go about doing this, see JIM BRITELL's series called THE USUAL SUSPECTS. Here's the URL of the table of contents for these brilliant essays which all environmentalists should read:

Thanks again for reading,

Russell D. Hoffman
STOP CASSINI webmaster.


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First placed online May 16th, 1997.
Last modified September 29th, 1997.
Webwiz: Russell D. Hoffman
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman