Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Saturday, June 15, 2013

DON'T TELL ME THE DEMOCRATS HAVE SCRUPLES


Right out of high school a friend ran for freshman class president at the local Community College near Beale AFB in California where our father's were stationed.  In high school he was not particularly popular nor was he one to follow the crowd.  When I asked him how he went from being a virtual nobody to class president in his first year of college he replied, "Bruce, people are basically sheep."

This poll on the question of NSA surveillance reflects that sad fact.  Democrats, like most Republicans,  largely "follow their leader" and don't bother thinking for themselves.  My friend was right - most people are indeed sheeple.

We can only hope they will get a spine before it is too late.

SHARING SOME FAN REACTIONS

Another fan posted this photo on the Orioles chat site to make the point that the military has infiltrated virtually all sporting events in the US.....in this case sponsoring the black racing car

I checked the fan reactions this morning to my post last night (see post below) about camo baseball uniforms at the most popular Baltimore Orioles chat site.  There were some and thought I'd share them.  It's nice to see some thoughtful responses.  Makes you remember that you are not usually alone in your feelings about some issues.  Finding a way to make your feelings known can often open the door for others as well.

  • On the bright side...we didn't have to see the awful O's hat tonight.
  • I agree, totally awful. And, unlike Memorial Day, I fail to see why Flag Day has to be related to the military. Sure, the military is an important part of America, but it is not the only thing the flag represents. I'm not too fond of all the sports uniforms "tributes" lately. Watching the NFL players wear pink all October is probably the worst. I think there are better ways to show respect than to wear it on your sleeve- literally. 
  • Crap, does that mean we have to suffer the camo again when it's the b-day of the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, etc? Maybe they can wear suits and ties on the FBI's birthday and ninja outfits on the ATF's birthday.
  • Not trying to disrespect the Army. I just find all this dress-up kind of trite. 
  • I love the reason they are wearing them..but I absolutely abhor the look. And I missed the Friday night black tops because of it tonight. 
  • The military industrial complex? Really? The hats were kind of cool. For winning 4 of 5 people sure do have their feathers ruffled tonight. 
  • An eloquent letter that does not take an overt political stance (as in left vs. right or liberal/progressive vs. conservative), but totally reflects my position on the issue (and that of my father-in-law, who's on the opposite side of the political spectrum from me). Yes, enough with the camo hats/uniforms--I'd take the all-orange look 162 days a season if that meant no more camo ever. 
  • Bruce, I admire your courage and mostly agree. But what most people don't know is that this MLB merchandise pays a FRACTION to the military families (auctions aside) and the profit margins even on the July 4 hats are huge. To me its very hypocritical of a multi-billion dollar industry taking a PENNY while promoting the men and women who serve. And they take A LOT of pennies. As far as promoting the war "machine", I may not go that far....but there is a ton of manipulation by MLB at the fans expense...literally...
  • I'd like to hear Tony's [owner of the chat site] take on this issue because he is a true military hero who has multiple stints in Afghanistan, and as such, has huge credibility for me. As do you.
  • This town needs an enema. I think they are kind of cool....for a change of pace. A few times a year won't kill you. 
  • Dear Orioles: Please stop wearing those Cam hideous uniforms. Pay tribute to the Army, the Flag, fine, get rid of the caps and uniforms. 
  • As a war veteran and still serving member of the USAF, I don't mind it one bit.
  • I'd love to have one of the Jerseys held at auction for my man cave. 
  • I like the digicamo unis. And I like the hat for July 4th. I've been wearing the red version from a few years ago recently, trying to get it broken in. I have a lot of O's hats to maintain in my rotation!!
  • This would explain why the Army stopped sponsoring NASCAR. They decided to go after one of the "Big Three". At this rate the 2025 Superbowl will be held at Airborne Ranger stadium at Ft Bragg! 
  • Yet still in National Hot Rod Association.
  • I thank you for your service. While I respect your right to your opinion, I'd say the email is fairly heavily influenced by an overt political stance. It doesn't take a real genius to read between those lines. I'm pretty sure the only corporate agenda controlling MLB is trying to make as much money as the NFL. I doubt any other agenda is in play.

Friday, June 14, 2013

THE MILITARIZATION OF BASEBALL


I love baseball and the Baltimore Orioles are my favorite team.  Because I grew up in a military family we moved every 2-3 years.  I lived all over the US and in England and Germany (twice).  I never really had a home town to speak of.  The Orioles were my roots.

It's become harder and harder for me to remain a fan but I keep trying in spite of the big $$$ takeover of sports.  But the worst part for me is the increasing militarization of baseball.  Just tonight, after being at a meeting in Portland to hear a peace movement speaker, I came home to check to see how my O's did.  They beat the Red Sox.  I was excited until I saw the camouflage uniforms the O's wore on the field.  This is happening with increasing regularity.

I feel like we are living in Nazi Germany where Hitler used every manifestation of popular culture to promote his dark war agenda.  He ingratiated himself with youth scouting, he gave awards to families that had been on the land for hundreds of years as many German farm families had, he gave awards to families with certain numbers of kids which was almost all German families...... it went on and on.

In the US we know we've become an occupied country when every where we turn we see indications of the militarization of our culture.  Baseball is just the canary in the coal mine. I often tell the story about the Sears department store trotting out a new kids clothing line a couple years ago - military uniforms for boys. The message: this is your future, this is all you can be.

I had to do something so I wrote the following letter to the Major League Players Association tonight.  It's a small gesture but I can't remain silent about this.  I also posted these comments on a Orioles fan chat site.  It will be interesting to see the responses.

Dear MLBPA,
I am 60 years old and a lifelong Baltimore Orioles fan.
I am also a Vietnam-era veteran who learned during that time to be opposed to our endless wars.
I am deeply troubled by the growing takeover of MLB by the military industrial complex.  It is sold as patriotism and "support our troops:" but what I see is the use of baseball to sell the military mindset and endless war to the public.
Baseball belongs to everyone.  Once it begins to come under the control of any particular corporate agenda the sport loses.
The camo hats and uniforms, the constant hyping of the war machine at games indicates that this takeover is well underway.
I can feel myself slipping away from the game that I love so much because I find it hard to watch this dangerous militarization of baseball.
I hope the players are concerned about this as well.  If not, we are all in trouble.
Thanks.
Bruce K. Gagnon
Bath, Maine

MORE TRUTH ON NSA, CYBER COMMAND AND GOVERNMENT DECEPTION



As the U.S. vows to take "all necessary steps" to pursue whistleblower Edward Snowden, James Bamford joins Democracy Now to discuss the National Security Agency’s secret expansion of government surveillance and cyberwarfare.

In his latest reporting for Wired Magazine, Bamford profiles NSA Director General Keith Alexander and connects the dots on PRISM, phone surveillance, and the NSA’s massive spy center in Bluffdale, Utah. Says Bamford of Alexander: "Never before has anyone in America’s intelligence sphere come close to his degree of power, the number of people under his command, the expanse of his rule, the length of his reign, or the depth of his secrecy."

The author of "The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America," Bamford has covered the National Security Agency for the last three decades after helping expose its existence in the 1980s.

RUNNING ON INSPIRATION


Here is the best story yet from Gezi Park in Istanbul, Turkey.  Stories sent via those damn "smart phones".


Piano concert in Taksim

Istanbul, June 14, 1201 hrs.

Dear people,

Every revolution needs its heroes. Ours is called Davide. He is the piano man.

Yesterday and tonight he has been playing in Taksim for twelve hours straight, until ten o’ clock in the morning. When the rain started, people held a canvas over him and his piano, and he continued to play. ‘Imagine’, ‘Let it be’, ‘We are the World’, ‘Bella Ciao’, etc. etc. Fifty meters away there was a row of police buses and water cannons ready for the final attack. On the other side, candles were burning in honour of the people who died in the protest.

Same concert, next morning.

Throughout the night, live streamers had to work in shifts to cover the marathon. People from around the world were touched by so much beauty. Messages of solidarity kept pouring in from every inhabited continent.

Davide is a Sicilian who lives in Germany. He came here with his piano on a truck to defend Gezi park. “This is what I can do,” he told me afterwards, “it’s not much, but it’s loud.” He intends to resist until the threat on the park is lifted.

That threat was reiterated earlier in the day by prime minister Erdogan. He appealed to the Turkish mothers to take their children out of the park, because things could turn very ugly.

In response, the Turkish mothers showed up to form a human chain around Gezi in support of their children.

Afterwards, they swirled through the park by the hundreds, harvesting applause wherever they went.

The threat of brutality didn’t stop the people from gathering in the park. Once again, the place was packed by citizens of all ages determined to resist.

WE SUPPORT BRADLEY MANNING!



St. Pete for Peace, Bradley Manning Support Network, Occupy Tampa, Tampa Light Brigade, Vets for Peace and others protest at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on June 1, 2013.

MacDill AFB hosts United States Central Command (CENTCOM), United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM), Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) and a detachment of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

WHAT MORE PROOF DOES ONE NEED?



It's a classic...shows you can't believe a word that comes out of any of these guys mouths....they are all hacks.

Anyone that still believes anything that Obama-Biden say (and the Democratic Party) need to have their heads examined.  The evidence is more than clear that both the Dems and Repubs are playing the American people like a fiddle.

It's time to quit dancing with these crooks. Protest and survive.  Remain timid and we all go down hard.  It's your call.

NEWS RELEASE: INT'L SPACE CONFERENCE IN SWEDEN'S 'HIGH NORTH'

Svalbard Satellite Station in Norway helps serve US war fighting operations thus violating the Treaty of Svalbard 



For Immediate Release

Contact:  Bruce Gagnon (GN Coordinator) globalnet@mindspring.com (207) 443-9502  and Agneta Norberg (Stockholm) lappland.norberg@gmail.com


Concerned activists and writers from around the world will gather in Kiruna, Sweden on June 27-29 to discuss how the ‘High North’ of Sweden has become one of the largest training places (called NEAT) for NATO war exercises and advanced weapons testing. 

The High North also hosts ground stations for military satellites and tests drones that are increasingly being used in the US-NATO war in Afghanistan.

Indigenous Samic people will be present at the conference to talk about the impact of these military operations on their lives.

Swedish Peace Council Vice-Chair Agneta Norberg stated:  “US-NATO wants to control Russia and eventually get a hold of the enormous resources under the Arctic ice cap that is now melting due to climate change. To make Russia obedient the US-NATO is surrounding Russia with missile defense interceptors – key elements in their first strike system. For this purpose huge radars are installed in Vardö, Norway, close to Russian border, and on Thule base in Greenland. Norway and the US have established satellite stations on the Island of Svalbard which violate the Treaty of Svalbard that forbids the deployment of any war making technology.”

Global Network board convener Dave Webb (Chair of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK) said:  “Not many people know that the satellite receiving stations in Sweden and Norway fulfill an important role for NATO and the US military. Space technology is vital to the military’s global reach and we really need to support and stand with those campaigning for alternatives to war in their protest against these installations spread around the world.”

The three days of events are being sponsored by the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (GN), Women for Peace, and the Folke Bernadotte Academy. People will be coming to the conference from Japan, Germany, England, Russia, France, United States, Norway, Finland and Sweden.

2013 marks the 21st annual meeting of the Global Network.  Each year the organization holds a space organizing conference in a different country.  In 2012 the group met on Jeju Island, South Korea where villagers are protesting the construction of a Navy base for US warships.

The GN was founded in 1992 to stop the nuclearization and weaponization of space.  Today the GN has 150 affiliate groups located on all continents of the world. 

For more information about the conference check the GN's website at http://www.space4peace.org

INCONVENIENT INTERRUPTION



Protesters in solidarity with whistleblower Private Bradley Manning interrupted President Obama as he stumped for Ed Markey's senate campaign June 12 in Roxbury (Boston) Massachusetts. They chanted 'Whistleblowing's not a crime! Free Bradley Manning!' and blew whistles. One protester was arrested.

The loyal liberal base, who hated when George W. Bush waged wars and prosecuted whistleblowers, were not pleased that anyone would interrupt their Democratic Party love fest with such inconvenient issues.

Our Maine friend Ridgely Fuller (top right of screen in black shirt chanting) made the trip and sent me the video.

Being a resister most often times requires one to be a bit of a pain in the ass rather than a go-along-get-along person.

Just yesterday I had a message from Global Network board member Lynda Williams (physics teacher in California) who was at a climate change conference.  She was devastated to realize that not one person there was willing to say a mumbling word about the world's biggest polluter with the largest carbon boot print on the planet - the PENTAGON.  In fact some of the science-niks present were even suggesting that we should hope and pray that the military will come up with the "technical solution" to climate change.  Lynda was talking to various folks at the event but finding no interest in discussing the military.

This morning she sent me this message:

In closing remarks as the microphone was passed around I said, first, how good it is to see scientists working to save the planet but, secondly, that I was disappointed that there was no mention of the military and its contribution to climate change and that there will never be a chance of reducing GHG if the military continues to pollute indiscriminately AND I said, The real inconvenient truth is that you can't be a climate activist without being a peace activist. I said I was interested in hearing people's opinions. Well no one applauded my talk whereas everyone else got applause. Only one person replied saying that we have to be positive and work with the military to green it blah blah blah....it was awful. And this is the film maker who made Cosmos with Carl Sagan. I'm still shaking from speaking up but it is the fact. A young woman came up to me and said, and this is what they all say, 'new technology comes from the military and maybe they can solve the problem." It is mind numbing.
The old saying is stand up and speak out even if your knees are shaking.  It's good to see alot of that going on across the land.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

SECRET COURT NOT REALLY A COURT



A series of bombshell NSA leaks has renewed the call for more oversight of our nation's spying agencies. But, the best the White House and Congress can offer is a secret court that issues secret warrants and writes secret legal opinions. RT Political Commentator Sam Sacks reports on what exactly is going down in the secret FISA court.

Authoritarian governments use secrecy and fear to control their citizens.  That is what we have in the US today - all nicely wrapped up in a flag.  You can dress fascism up all you want but in the end you have to call it what it is.....fascism - the wedding of corporations and the government.

The facade is crumbling all around us.  People around the world have long ago learned that the American "democracy show" was like a Hollywood production - all image and no reality.  Now that same truth is coming home to the American people.  Some still refuse to see the writing on the wall but many have begun to acknowledge the truth.

The corporate dominated media is working overtime to bring on talking heads who defend the government's secrecy and destruction of our constitutional rights to privacy, speech, assembly and free press.  They are fearful that even greater truths will be revealed by other courageous whistleblowers.  In a panic they must press ahead hard to crack down in a futile attempt to stop the bleeding.

But the horse is now out of the barn and there will be no returning.  The corporate democracy show is over and it's just a matter of time before the final curtain falls. 

JULY 4 PARADE IN BATH - DRONES & SURVEILLANCE


Obama has indeed announced that 30,000 drones will be flying over the US in the coming years to watch all of us.  Reassuring isn't it?

Here in Maine the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign and PeaceWorks are going to do a joint effort for the July 4 parade in Bath this year. This parade draws a huge crowd and gives us a great chance to spread our message about protecting our rights to privacy.

Since the drone and the surveillance issues are so important right now we are going to combine them as our theme for July 4.

We urge you to consider joining us on July 4 to help carry puppets, signs, and banners. The parade begins at 11:30 am and we will gather just after 10:30 am by the cemetery (across from the pizza place) on Lincoln and Congress Ave. (Or you can come to the Addams-Melman House at 212 Centre St and leave your car here.)

Some ideas we have for signs are: Drones over Maine Watching You; We've Got our Eyes on You; One Nation Under Surveillance; Protect Our Constitutional Right to Privacy; and One Nation Under Drones.

What better time than July 4 to remind people just how fragile our constitutional rights to privacy really are these days.

We'll have a pot luck picnic at the Addams-Melman House after the parade.  All are invited.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

BEING SPIED ON BY ALL THE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT



Charged with overseeing the NSA's domestic surveillance programs, the FISA court wears out its rubber stamp. 

HOLLYWOOD AND SELLING WAR




Monday, June 10, 2013

THIS IS A CHEMICAL WAR



Here is an important video from inside the center of protests in Turkey.

All around the world governments are cracking down on freedom and liberation movements.  To risk life and limb people must be quite fed up with the existing order that is increasingly under the control of corporations.

It is clear to me that the people in Turkey have tried to remain non-violent in their resistance to their corrupt government but they have reached the point where they must find ways to defend themselves.  Building barricades and throwing tear gas canisters back at the police is not violence.

The Turkish government has obviously declared war against dissent in their nation.  Things will indeed never be the same there ever again.

ARCHITECTURE OF OPPRESSION



Vietnam war-era whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg writes:

In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden's release of NSA material – and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago. Snowden's whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an "executive coup" against the US constitution.

Since 9/11, there has been, at first secretly but increasingly openly, a revocation of the bill of rights for which this country fought over 200 years ago. In particular, the fourth and fifth amendments of the US constitution, which safeguard citizens from unwarranted intrusion by the government into their private lives, have been virtually suspended.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

SUNDAY SONG BONUS TRACK



From the Turkish resistance.......

SUNDAY SONG