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

Friday, May 23, 2014

RESIST CORPORATE DOMINATION OF FOOD


OUR PROGRAM IS HARMONY



I'm still smarting after the turn down I got when the Maine Army National Guard wouldn't allow me into the Arctic ice melting jamboree they had in Bangor earlier this week.  Mr. Big was gathering to say their devious blessings over "new gifts" from the very Earth they so despise.

I've often wondered if Mr. Big was from another galaxy and just landed here by accident, or had intentionally come here to mine the hell out of us.  We are all the worker bees.

But things got out-of-hand and now there are too many of us and the oli-i-garchy is trying to thin the herd.  Wars, plagues, famines ... they don't care.  Mr. Big has other fish to fry.

Extraction and mega industrial development - exploiting every damn speck of ground for whatever they can get out of it.  The people are left in the back wash.

Human liberation and ecological kinship are our goals.  Our best hope for survival is with the indigenous wisdom that understands how to live on the Earth.  The people of the north have always walked faithfully in their frozen world - only taking what was needed to survive.  A balance in nature.

Now Mr. Big is eager to grab the oil and natural gas under the shrinking Arctic ice and everything changes.  Imagine the oil spills, the military bases, and the warships competing for control.  You know how this works....

Those warships are getting more and more expensive as Obama rewards his oligarchic sponsors, the Crown family in Chicago, that hold majority stock in warship builder General Dynamics corporation.

All these things comeback to a core, a center.  The program of Mr. Big is to control everyone and everything on the planet.  The wedding of capital and government.

Our program is harmony.

Mr. Big ain't interested in harmony.  

A CLEAN CHIT?

THEM VETERANS ALWAYS GET THE SHAFT

Thursday, May 22, 2014

MOYERS DENOUNCES OBAMA



Bill Moyers criticized President Barack Obama for his decision to seemingly leave the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the hands of the anti-net neutrality forces he opposed as a candidate.

“They believed he would keep his word, would see to it that when private interests set upon the Internet like sharks to blood in the water, its fate would be in the hands of honest brokers who would listen politely to the pleas of the greedy, and then show them the door,” Moyers said of the supporters Obama won when he promised to keep the internet free from corporate influence. “Unfortunately, it turned out to be the infamous revolving door.”

Moyers explained that Obama’s choice to head the commission, Tom Wheeler, not only “bundled” more than $500,000 for Obama’s successful re-election campaign, but also a “top gun” for the cable and telecommunications industries. What’s more, Wheeler has staffed the FCC’s legal team with a coterie of former telecom attorneys, some of whom had actually lobbied against net neutrality before joining its ranks.

WHAT WORKS FOR THE MEDIA



The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) has helped develop “Pressing Your Case: Nonviolent Movements and the Media,” an educational video series to explore ways that nonviolent campaigns and movements can better relate to world media. It features four sessions, hosted by internationally known news anchor Riz Khan.

See the rest of the episodes here

A THROWBACK



This documentary was made just prior to the start of Bush's "shock and awe" in 2003.  Randy Adkins owned a local video shop in Gainesville, Florida where he made copies and fixed equipment among other things.  People used to bring old film into his shop when their parents died and they cleaned out the attic.  That's where he got alot of the Nazi footage in Arsenal of Hypocrisy.

I was touring the country doing talks at the time with an overhead projector showing documents about the US Space Command's mission of  "full spectrum dominance".  While in State College, Pennsylvania I was hosted by Veterans for Peace member Peter Shaw who suggested I produce a video of the things I was sharing in my talk.  He even made the first sizeable donation to make it happen.

I went to Randy and asked him if he'd like to make a documentary.  He'd never done one before nor had I.  So on a very hot Florida day he set me up in his garage and turned on the lights.  I went through my overhead slides, but by then I had the talk nearly memorized, and did it in one take.  By the time we finished the one hour of filming I was burning up inside the steaming airless garage.

Next we began sticking images into the script and Randy added the footage that he had dug up.  It was a low budget operation and one of the things I am most proud of having done during my organizing career.

Arsenal of Hypocrisy got around the globe a time or two and helped a great deal to expand the discussion around these important issues.

I'M WORTH MORE



Adriana has worked at McDonald’s for 4 years. She has a 2 year-old boy at home. She wants him to have a better future than she had. And she has some things to say to McDonald’s. That’s why she was one of 101 McDonald’s workers to be arrested yesterday during the massive protest at their headquarters.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

FROZEN OUT OF MELTING ICE CONFAB

  

I tried hard to get into the "Leadership in the High North: A Political, Military, Economic and Environmental Symposium of the Arctic Opening" conference held yesterday and today in Bangor, Maine and in the end was unsuccessful.  The event was co-sponsored by University of Maine School of Policy and International Affairs and the Maine Army National Guard.

My first try was to directly contact the organizers on May 1 to request a ticket for entry.  I was told the event was sold out.  I didn't believe it.  I wrote a blog post about the event and the bigger issues of melting ice in the arctic and the desire by Mr. Big to drill baby drill.  I also sent the blog piece to our local paper which printed it as an Op-Ed.

One of our Global Network board members created a fake identity and tried to register for the conference and was successful - all the way from England.  This was around May 14 - two weeks after I was told the joint was sold out.

My next step was to ask a professor friend at the University of Maine if he could intervene on my behalf to get me into the conference.  He tried but nothing came of it.  His contact at the university had to go begging to the military and the request was ignored.

A couple days ago I got a call from a local newspaper editor asking me if I still wanted to attend the event.  Yes I said....the editor said they would try to get me in as their reporter.  This did not work either.

For some reason (fairly obvious I guess) I was frozen out of this event.  It makes me damn angry to think that a public institution like the University of Maine can be part of an event that goes out of their way to exclude citizens who have a real interest and concern about the subject at hand.  It indicates to me that in this case the university was subservient to the Maine National Guard who obviously had final say on who got inside the conference and who did not.

Just in case you wondered, our Global Network board member got an email from the conference a couple days ago that said in part:

From: Lyon, Darryl W LTC USARMY (US) <darryl.w.lyon.mil@mail.mil>
Sent: May-16-14 4:58 PM
To: T Lorincz
Subject: Arctic Symposium (UNCLASSIFIED)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

I have you listed for the symposium as a guest of the University of Maine's Strategic Policy and International Affairs department.

Here's the agenda.

Our conference will be held on Tuesday, May 20th and Wednesday, May 21st in Bangor, Maine at the Regional Training Institute. The address is Building 700, 289 Hildreth Street North, Bangor, ME 04401.

The purpose of this unclassified symposium is "to explore the challenges and emerging opportunities arising from the significant increases in Arctic activity due to the diminishment of sea ice and the emergence of the new Arctic environment."

PANDERING FOR POWER



V-P Biden was in Romania yesterday pitching for NATO expansion.  Note the way he says "Romania belongs to NATO". 

NATO has become the primary military tool of corporate capitalism to be used to take down any nation that hesitates being "absorbed" by Mr. Big.  Russia and China refuse to become full adjuncts of Wall Street and the financial district in London thus they are being surrounded by the cancerous NATO and their partners.

Back in 2000 Biden was running for president but his campaign went no where.  During the Democratic party convention in Los Angeles I watched a speech Biden  gave on "missile defense" (MD) that aired on C-SPAN.

During that speech I was blown away by Biden's depth of knowledge and understanding about the negative implications of MD.  The first half of his speech was clear about the expensive, destabilizing, provocative nature of the program.  But then he stopped, symbolically took off his white hat and replaced it with a black hat, and then went on to conclude that we needed MD because it would essentially help us control the world.

In that moment I could see that Biden had no core of decency, he was just another power hungry political hack that did the bidding of the corporations.  He knew the truth, he could spell it out as well as anyone, but in the end he took the dive into the dark world because that is where the pirate's treasure chest of power was buried.

The recent announcement that Biden's son was appointed to be top lawyer for the board of directors of Ukraine’s largest oil company came as no surprise.  This new job came just weeks after V-P Biden had gone to Kiev and declared unwavering support for the regime installed into power there in the US led coup d'etat. 

Even though he was denied power in 2000 Biden eventually found his way to the White House as part of the Obama team.  The Obama administration has increased the pace of MD deployments surrounding Russia, including land-based MD systems soon to go into Romania.  Biden knows its a bad idea to put these first-strike missile systems on the Russian border but he is willing to walk away from the truth in order to grab power.

These cats have no shame and obviously no real conscience.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

SELLING THE SPACE PRODUCT IN COLORADO



Citizens for Peace In Space and other groups protest the opening banquet of the annual Space Symposium at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs on May 19, 2014.

The protest was to counter the message of the military industrial complex's annual celebration of greed and secrecy and this year highlighted America's favorite weapons system, the killer Drones.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop, General Dynamics and Raytheon lead the way but a host of other smaller companies who feed at the pork barrel banquet were there.

Organizer Bill Sulzman [co-founder of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space] said:

This is the epitome of business as usual. These are the major players who lobby for and then get the lions share of the $800 billion Pentagon annual budget. There will be a lot of civilian space stuff on display also. It's the 'spoon full of sugar that helps the medicine go down'.  In this sense it is a rip off of bona fide space enthusiasts.
This event and others like it set the priorities for our future military policy. This is the continuation of a wrongheaded policy which is sending us off the cliff of overreach.

And all those Pentagon dollars coming our way will not lead to a better tax base for our local and state governments. Tax exemptions for local military bases take a big bite out of public revenue. This includes the thousands of "civilian" personnel who work in tax free government buildings at bases such as Peterson and Schriever in Colorado Springs.

The symposium bills itself as a look into a better future. It's just more of the same.

In 2009 a Brookings Institution study estimated that for every "militant" killed by these unmanned drones, there were 10 civilian casualties.  Each of them will have 10 grieving relatives who will become "militants", combatants or enemies.

The New America Foundation estimates between 261 and 305 civilians have been killed in Pakistan.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism says 475 - 891.

Last weekend a NATO air strike killed 20 people in eastern Afghanistan, including at least one woman and 10 children ages 1 to 12. The attacks came at the end of one of the bloodiest weeks of the entire US occupation, which began in 2001.

NATO claims 2 combatants were killed in the strike.

UK BEING DRAGGED IN



The U.S. is to plough more than 300 million dollars into upgrading a military base in the UK, used as a key part of the NSA's spy programme. RT's Polly Boiko reports.

Global Network board member Lindis Percy (Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases) in the UK is interviewed near the end of this video.

OPEN THE DOOR TO TRUTH

THE MAP IS WRONG?




WHO GOT THE CASH?


The appeals are coming from many organizations over the email asking us to write Congress in opposition to another round of military spending for fiscal year 2015.  The Pentagon is asking for $601 billion but those numbers will be supplemented by the secret military black budget; the Department of Energy's nuclear weapons development; militarized half of NASA's budget; and many more examples.  Add that all up and we top the $1 trillion mark.  We are a killer nation.

The appeals to contact Congress are helpful so that we know what is going on.  But those appeals are missing one very important ingredient.  They usually don't mention the fact that the Democrats and Republicans are on their bended knees begging for more Pentagon $$$ in their congressional districts.  How are we to really end military spending when both parties are slaves to endless war?

Our good local liberal Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) is at the front of the line with hands extended on behalf of the military industrial complex.  When asked to talk seriously about converting the military machine she demurs.

All the soccer moms, and high school theatre club moms organizing bake sales, and sportsnik dads grilling burgers to raise $$$ for Little League are trying to create a good future for their kids.  But we are all sinking fast.  There is little articulation and truth coming from these quarters about the real needs and how we can best deal with them.  Can we really fund the schools with bake sales?  Folks are reluctant though to rock the boat.

But the big money ain't in bake sales and BBQ's.  The real cash money is inside the sanctified vaults of the weapons industry.  And they know they got a good thing going!

One can only hope that the public will begin to find more courage.  I'm going to Kansas next month to see my son who will be there from Taiwan where he coaches debate.   I'm going to try to see the Wizard of Oz and look for ways to get more courage. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

SPACE WEEK POSTERS AVAILABLE


Space week posters now available for order.  Can purchase them for $3 each or five for $12.  Artwork done by W. B. Park in Florida.

Send check to:  Global Network, PO Box 652, Brunswick, ME 04011 or pay online here

Just indicate in the comments section that you are ordering posters.

NUCLEAR GAME IN UKRAINE



Political turmoil and violence in Ukraine's east are not the only challenges facing the country right now. Energy supplies are a major concern, and Kiev has decided to use US nuclear fuel at its atomic plants which constitute a major part of the country's power grid. RT's Irina Galushko explains why many fear Kiev is jeopardizing safety for politics.

WHERE WE ARE HEADING?



I first heard Thomas Barnett (then an instructor at the Naval War College) do a version of this talk called Pentagon's New Map around 2002.  I watched the three hour version on CSPAN one evening.  He was on that occasion introduced as the "strategy guy" for Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld.

Barnett's arrogant presentation was ultimately about how the US's job under corporate globalization would be "security export".  We won't have jobs in the USA anymore because corporations have gone looking for cheaper labor.  So we will build weapons and wage war for declining resources on behalf of the corporate agenda.

Barnett says that we have to bring down those around the world in the "non integrating gap" with forces he calls "Leviathan".  But following shock and awe, Barnett suggests, we need to do the next step much better - what he calls "systems administration".  These troops will never come home, he likes to say, meaning they will essentially run a particular country that has been taken over by Mr. Big.

Some years back I saw that Lockheed Martin was getting contracts from the Pentagon to teach new generations of "systems administration" warriors.  Clearly we are talking about running the global empire for capitalism.

It's worth watching the video to have a clearer understanding.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

COMMENTING ON THE UKRAINE MESS


The comments below are some that are following an impressive article called  The New Cold War’s Ukraine Gambit by Michael Hudson.  Hudson is research professor of economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City.


EoinW 
I find it hard to believe China will sit by and watch Russia fall. They have to be aware how isolated and vulnerable that would make them. The Chinese have gone along with the American game because it benefited them. The more reckless US leadership becomes the more that threat outweighs the benefits. Going after Russia has got to be as reckless as one can get.


Crazy Horse 
Just how is the American Imperial Military Assassin Drone Death Star strike force going to be used against an economic alliance between Russia and China? I think they might encounter a little more opposition than when they are used against tribal villages in Pakistan.

Si 
Quite a read!
What hits home for me is that the narrative provided in the article requires concentration in order to begin to understand the forces that are in play. The concept (in reality) of a demoralised population who bow down and look to their oppressors for favourable treatment is chilling.
The battlespace has always included a psychological dimension, but now I wonder if it has been brought to an art form. ‘To subdue an enemy without doing battle’ is one of the ultimate aims within the Sun Tzu.
And unfortunately the ‘enemy’ is us, anyone who is not one of the minority of powerful insiders.


digi_owl 
We humans like to think of ourselves as rational (just look at the crazy that is “rational expectations”). But as psychology, and its marketing bastard, has learned, we are pretty much slaves to emotions. What we think of as rational acts, are emotional acts that we rationalize in hindsight.
As such, politics to day had done a 180 on the days of FDR. Now it is all about hitting those emotions hard, fast, and often. Shock and awe is more than a US military doctrine.
In a sense modern political marketing has taken the post-roman religious message and filed off the religious symbolism. Now we don’t fear hell in the afterlife, we fear terrorists (and their “rogue state” backers) bringing hell to our doorstep. And only the valiant politicians (and their corporate supporters) stand in their way.

Tsigantes 
Writing from Greece, I can assure you that blaming the victim (in our case the Greek people) is a key demoralisation ploy. a propaganda tool, and means to create distraction for the austerity-imposing governments and EU/Troika [EU-IMF-ECB]. Germany has been the lead offender in ‘morality and blame politics’, precisely – I would suggest – because it stood to benefit most. Meanwhile, in Europe the morality spotlight is never turned on Germany itself.


Banger 
I tried to find something wrong or overdone in Hudson’s analysis and I could find nothing. His narrative about Ukraine and how it fits into U.S. Russia policy is spot-on. Most Americans don’t understand that the sort of Machiavellian maneuverings Hudson speaks of has become, essentially, U.S. policy. The split in Washington is between those who want to be more aggressive and use military force to spread neoliberal hegemony and those who prefer to let corruption take its course–but that’s another discussion. But all sides in Washington agree on the goal and that is a U.S. centered global Empire ruled by a permanent oligarchy. 
 
VietnamVet 
No matter what corporate media doesn’t say; democracy movement money was spent to bring Ukraine and its resources under Western control. At first I thought Russia would invade to protect the Eastern Russian speaking provinces; but even with a Civil War heating up there Russia hasn’t intervened yet. With right sector thugs marauding through the East, supported by the American government, killing civilians, the chaos will spread and expand.

SUNDAY SONG



Money & Corruption / I Am Your Man

Written by: Ray Davies (The Kinks)

We are sick and tired
Of being promised this and that.
We work all day, we sweat and slave
To keep the wealthy fat.
They fill our heads with promises
And bamboozle us with facts,
Then they put on false sincerity
Then they laugh behind our backs.

1st Chorus
Money and Corruption
Are ruining the land
Crooked politicians
Betray the working man,
Pocketing the profits
And treating us like sheep,
And we're tired of hearing promises
That we know they'll never keep.

Money and Corruption
(Etc. repeat 1st Chorus above)

Promises, promises, all we get are promises.
Show us a man who'll understand us, guide us and lead us.

We are sick and tired
Of having to ask them cap in hand
We crawl on the floor
We beg for more,
but still we are ignored.
We're tired of being herded
Like a mindless flock of sheep
And we're tired of hearing promises
That we know they'll never keep.

1st Chorus
Money and Corruption
Are ruining the land
Crooked politicians
Betray the working man,
Pocketing the profits
And treating us like sheep,
And we're tired of hearing promises
We know they'll never keep.

We've got to stand together
Every woman, every man,
Because money and corruption are ruining the land.
Show us a man who'll be our Saviour and will lead us.
Show us a man who'll understand us, guide us and lead us.
Show us a man.
Workers of the nation unite.
Workers of the nation unite.

(Mr. Black sings)

I visualise a day when people will be free
And we'll be living in a new society.
No class distinction, no slums or poverty
I have a vision of a new society.
And every home will have a stereo and TV,
a deep freeze, quadrasonic and a washing machine.
So workers of the nation unite.

I am your man
I'll work out a five-year plan
So vote for me brothers
And I will save this land
And we will nationalise the wealthy companies
And all the directors will be answerable to me,
There'll be no shirking of responsibilities
So people of the nation unite.

Union Man I'll work with you hand in hand
For we're all brothers to our Union Man.
I am your man,
Oh God how I love this land,
So join together save the Fatherland.

I visualize a day when people will be free
And we'll be living in a new society.
No class distinction, no slums or poverty,
So workers of the nation unite,
Workers of the nation unite,
People of the nation unite.

CREATING PRETEXT FOR WAR



US intel source claims Ukraine part of NATO secret campaign Gladio; psychopathy tests for our leaders; and a mainstream host storms out the studio after a vicious exchange on false flags.