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, December 21, 2013

SILENCE OVER THE SECRET BLACK BUDGET



The Pentagon has secured a $630 billion budget for next year, even though it's failed to even account for the money it's received since 1996. A whopping $8.5 trillion of taxpayer cash have gone to Pentagon programmes - none of which has been audited. This black budget has sparked concerns over potential fraud, as Gayane Chichakyan reports.

Some years ago a journalist who writes for Jane's Defense Weekly studied the US black budget to try to determine where this secret budget architecture came from.  He came to the conclusion that the Nazi operatives smuggled into the US after WW II during Operation Paperclip carried the secret weapons development program with them. They had used the secret program during Hitler's regime to develop weapons systems like the V-1 and V-2 rockets.

WEATHER CHANGES


MB and I are on Cape Cod, Massachusetts to attend a wedding.  We went for a walk this morning along the ocean.  The weather here is quite mild for this time of year.

When we left Maine yesterday there was almost two feet of snow on the ground.  After nearly a six hour drive south we found no snow here when we arrived last night.  And much higher temperatures.

We return home tomorrow and the weather report calls for an ice storm in Maine as we head back north.  It's quite amazing how just a few hours difference can usher in such huge changes in weather conditions.

Friday, December 20, 2013

NSA SPY PARTNERS



Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and several other EU countries were named among "third party partners" in the NSA-led global signal intelligence program, a new leak submitted by journalist Glenn Greenwald to Danish TV reveals.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

CONSEQUENCES TO U.S. ARROGANCE



Brazil has rejected a contract for Boeing's F/A-18 fighter jets in favor of the Swedish Saab's JAS 39 Gripens. The unexpected move to reject the US bid comes amid the global scandal over the NSA's involvement in economic espionage activities.

PRIVATIZATION OF THE POST OFFICE



A recent protest in Springfield, Oregon as our corporate dominated government moves to privatize the postal service.  If we want money for post offices, education, healthcare, infrastructure repair, and the development of sustainable technologies then we'd better wake up and smell the coffee.

The buried treasure chest is called the military budget. Make the connections and survive.

PUSHING THE NEXT PRETEXT

New Chinese aircraft carrier was recently challenged by US Aegis cruiser


Sometimes I just shake my head in disbelief.... the recent US-China military near hit (the second time in recent months) indicates that our nation is pushing this power trip thing way too hard.  This game is being ramped up to create "China fear" in the hearts and minds of the people (here and around the world).  China says it is not rolling over.  Someone or something eventually has to give way...

Foreign Policy reports on the recent naval warship "near collision" between the US and China:

On Dec. 5, the U.S. missile-carrying cruiser Cowpens almost collided with a Chinese ship in international waters. The Cowpens was observing the maiden voyage of China's new aircraft carrier, the Liaoning (pictured above), when a vessel accompanying it cut across the Cowpens' bow less than 200 yards away, forcing it to change course. Chinese and U.S. sources agreed that this was the most serious incident between the two countries' navies since 2009, when Chinese ships harassed a U.S. vessel about 75 miles away from southern China's Hainan island -- but Chinese officials are speaking louder about it than their U.S. counterparts. After the story was first reported on Dec. 13, an unnamed senior U.S. defense official told the New York Times that the Chinese ship had been "particularly aggressive" and "unhelpful in trying to increase cooperation between the two navies;" other major U.S. media reports cite unnamed officials as well. But Chinese were willing to go on-record with their side of the story: Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo told the state-run People's Daily that the Cowpens had provoked the confrontation.
On Dec. 5, the U.S. missile-carrying cruiser Cowpens almost collided with a Chinese ship in international waters. The Cowpens was observing the maiden voyage of China's new aircraft carrier, the Liaoning (pictured above), when a vessel accompanying it cut across the Cowpens' bow less than 200 yards away, forcing it to change course. Chinese and U.S. sources agreed that this was the most serious incident between the two countries' navies since 2009, when Chinese ships harassed a U.S. vessel about 75 miles away from southern China's Hainan island -- but Chinese officials are speaking louder about it than their U.S. counterparts. After the story was first reported on Dec. 13, an unnamed senior U.S. defense official told the New York Times that the Chinese ship had been "particularly aggressive" and "unhelpful in trying to increase cooperation between the two navies;" other major U.S. media reports cite unnamed officials as well. But Chinese were willing to go on-record with their side of the story: Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo told the state-run People's Daily that the Cowpens had provoked the confrontation. - See more at: http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/12/16/china_america__near_miss_pacific_cruisers#sthash.eaHCRCL8.tMuW4Vuk.dpuf

As I write this I am listening to a recent interview with filmmaker Oliver Stone.  He's was talking about those inside the Pentagon, during the JFK administration, who wanted the US to push toward war with Russia because at the moment the Pentagon was confident they could "win the war".  Stone named Navy Admiral Arleigh Albert '31-knot' Burke as one of those key players who wanted war.  Today the Navy has named an entire class of Navy destroyers after Burke.  These destroyers, outfitted with 'missile defense' systems, are being used to encircle and provoke Russia and China.  The admiral would be proud - his blitzkrieg strategy still on the verge of being implemented by the Nobel Peace Prize president.

The cost of this enormously aggressive strategy is being felt in communities across the nation.  Here in Bath high percentages of children in school come from poor families.  Jobs are scarce, people are losing their homes, the homeless population is expanding rapidly, people can't afford to heat their homes, and our right-wing Gov. LePage keeps talking about the need to reform welfare.  Kick the cheats off the dole!  Studies show that the "cheats" are few and far between but that tens of millions of $$$$ in corporate welfare are handed out in Maine.  We are waiting for the Democrats to take that one on.... if they wish to defend the poor and struggling families they must take on the corporations.

But they must be pushed to do so.  A coalition rally to this end will be held in Augusta, Maine inside the capital Hall of Flags on January 9 at 1:00pm.

The Rally of Unity is a collaborative demonstration by the Alliance for Common Good, an ad-hoc coalition of over 20 environmental and social justice groups assembling as a unified front to give voice to ordinary Maine people and to push back against corporate dominance in government, with hopes to organize into the future.  We recognize that our democracy has been abandoned, so we must work together to tell to our elected officials that we want:

  • Maine Money and Resources for People, Not Corporations!
  • A Maine Economy that Protects the Environment
  • Money Out of Politics

WEST COAST IN DANGER



Nuclear Engineer Dr. Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, confirmed that ocean currents are carrying the radioactive water to the West Coast. "There are several hundred tons of radioactive water that are pouring into the ocean at the site every day," Makhijani said.

According to a study published in the Journal Deep Sea Research 1, it will begin arriving this March.

TEPCO is in over their head and another earthquake could finish off the Fukushima plant.  At that point some scientists predict Japan would be fully contaminated and the west coast of the US would have to be evacuated.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

NO MONEY FOR WHAT?


Monday, December 16, 2013

JOHN MCCAIN VISITS UKRAINE



If you've wondered about the politics of some of the protesters in Ukraine this video should help clear the picture.  Right-wing militarist Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) just went to Kiev to threaten Russia.  While McCain and the US are deeply interfering in the Ukraine situation they have the gall to tell neighboring Russia to leave Ukraine alone.  That would be like Russia coming to our country and telling Canada and the US how they should relate to one another.  Arrogant nonsense.

There can be no doubt that the US is spoiling for a fight with Russia.  Very dangerous and stupid.  Russia's response in recent days was to move some of their nuclear missiles closer to their European border.

I've seen more evidence that some elements of the Ukraine protests are from ultra right-wing parties.  For McCain to show up there should confirm that the worst elements of the US corporate oligarchy are deeply "embeded" in the so-called Ukraine revolution.  So is big $$$$ from the CIA.

JEJU UPDATE

The Spirit of Gangjeong #1 from Regis Tremblay on Vimeo.

Done by Regis Tremblay from Maine.  Regis has a son in the Army who served a year in Afghanistan.  Regis was very active in the Maine Occupy movement making videos and widely publicizing their messages on public access TV across the state.

He made the film The Ghosts of Jeju and recently has been touring the country promoting the Gangjeong village struggle.

IN THE SNOW

We had a big storm yesterday that brought about a foot of snow.  I spent hours yesterday and today shoveling and raking off the roof.  I enjoy being outside, particularly while the storm is still in motion, in the wind and swirling snow. For me it's a mystical experience and takes me back to my young days in blizzards while living in South Dakota. Those were great times for me in so many ways.

The storm ended just in time for the driveway to be plowed and we lit the wood stove in our living room.  Then just after it got dark key folks from our recent BIW corporate subsidy campaign came for a potluck so we could all reconnect.  Our committee became very close during that intense process, each of them a gifted leader, each with great energy and a cooperative spirit.  It was a pure delight to work with them all.  So we kicked the ball around a bit just to see where our collective interests might take us.  Early signs are that cutting corporate welfare at the local/state level and conversion of BIW are on the table. 

This morning I drove to Harpswell, which is one of the five long finger-like islands that jut out into the ocean here along the midcoast. There is a public access TV studio there where the producer of This Issue, Eric Herter, can put our show together.  My guest this morning was Orlando Delogu who is Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Maine law school.  Orlando helped us out during the height of the campaign opposing the BIW tax break and spoke before our Bath city council about the unfairness of the unneeded tax subsidy.  He's a very passionate man and I enjoyed watching him in action then as well as having him on the show today.  His bottom line is that big corporations don't need the money, they just take it because they can.  Until the public speaks out loudly Mr. Big will keep taking the fat.

The Lakota people called the white man wasi'chu which in their language means the 'one who steals the fat'.  The story is that the first time the Lakota people ever saw a white man he was sneaking inside their food storage tepee and took the buffalo fat that they saved for the worst of times. 

We've got to deal with the wasichu....they are robbing us blind.

KISSING THE NSA'S ASS



CBS TV's show '60 Minutes' used to break many important news stories.  In recent years they've taken the dive and increasingly have become apologists for the corporate agenda.  This particular show on the NSA runs cover for the agency in order to put the American people at ease. 

Of course the NSA is lying but what's new.  They've fragmented the surveillance state system in such a way that they can offer this kind of "deny-ability about doing harm" and the corporate media has to let them slide.

Such is the pervasiveness of the clamp down machine these days.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

THERE IS A WAR GOING ON



Following a deadly U.S. drone strike on civilians in Yemen, members of a dozen peace groups wearing blue scarves gathered yesterday at the entrance of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. With guards and barricades on one side and cars whizzing by on Rt. 123 on the other, they held a vigil in memory of civilians, especially children, killed by U.S. drone bombings in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“The CIA touts that drones are accurate,” said Jack McHale of Pax Christi USA to about 30 protestors from groups including CODEPINK and Veterans for Peace. But, he said, according to the Navy’s own analysis, they’re no more accurate than traditional air power. “I think we saw that this week when a wedding party was targeted and 17 people were killed as a result of an armed drone in Yemen.”

OFF THE AIR


Peter Woodruff and I have had a weekly radio show on WBOR at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine for the past six years.  Peter works at Bath Iron Works and is a loyal union man.  We've had past union leaders on the show.  We talk politics, play commentaries, and put on good music connected to our theme that night.  Peter has been the stalwart spending hours each week finding new music and timely commentaries for us to share with our midcoast audience.  How many listeners?  Know one knows.  I used to ask folks to raise their hands high if they were listening so we could count them......

But its done now.  WBOR has come out with a new policy that all DJ's need to get a security clearance.  We are both refusing to take the "background checks" and ran that fact up the line of authority at the college.  Don't expect much sympathy since its a college decision to corporatize their security operation in the first place.

The company that would do the background checks is called HireRight.  The name speaks for itself.  Here is what the company offers their clients in today's "security market":

  • Superior in-country and global coverage
  • Customizable solutions to screen anyone in your organization, from the mailroom to the boardroom
  • The power to order, manage and view background checks via the Web or a pre-integrated solution
  • The most accurate and current information available
  • Quality searches processed in the fastest time possible
  • Unwavering commitment to legal compliance
  • All information passed through rigorous quality controls

Peter and I are slowing down a bit and have lots on our plate.  We'll miss the radio show but the larger issue screams out to me.  They are of course creating global databases with large amounts of profile information - and it is now reaching further into our communities and militarizing them. Even WBOR radio is now a state security entity.  The corporate state does intend to engulf the people with military operations and will use that apparatus to weed out those who don't cooperate with the program.  If you fail the test you'll be cast into the weeds to fend for yourself.  Hard times are coming.

Peter and I will keep finding new, even more effective ways, to reach the people.  We are going down swinging at the baseball.  The odds are that now and then you can hit the top of the fence during your lifetime.  It's worth trying but only if you keep the sacred prayer in your heart.

Hoka hey!

SUNDAY SONG