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

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Navy Catches Hell - No Wargames!

Raucous protesters shout down Navy presentation on war games from g graff on Vimeo.

Port Angeles is in the state of Washington in the northwest of the US.

Defending the Sacred


Post by AJ+.

New Nukes



Washington has announced far-reaching plans to boost its nuclear arsenal. This time the U.S. is vowing to flex not only its atomic delivery mechanisms but also update its aging payloads. RT's Gayane Chichikyan reports.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Ukraine Heating Up Again


The US-NATO war on Russia, via Ukraine, is coming back into view now that our elections are over.  Americans can get back to TV and shopping and leave the heavy lifting to Washington and the Pentagon.

All kinds of heavily funded 'progressive' organizations (endowed with corporate money and many strings) will soon be telling us that full bore war (Syria style) in Ukraine will be ok - it will be about freedom and liberty.

One example is the advert above from 'Human Rights Watch' (HRW) which trashes Russia.  But when the microscope took a good look at the piece the bullshit alarms went off.  The pictured woman was in Ukraine not in Russia as inferred by HRW. Behind the woman are Ukrainian cops, not Russian, during the May neo-Nazi burning of the Trades Hall in Odessa where more than 40 peaceful people were killed and many more injured.

Human Rights Watch is working for the man - I've previously read that Hillary Clinton had control of the organization while she was playing Secretary of State.  She put her agent in place to run the operation.

Got to ask, who the hell can we trust?  Bottom line question is who are you getting your $$$$ from?

The Morality of Capitalism?



Ayn Rand will likely be required reading soon in Amerika.....The bible of friendly fascism... the three-piece suit variety.

Try reading this book instead - it illuminates the increasing collusion between Big Government and Big Business to "manage" our society in the interests of the elite.  One of the most important books I ever read was Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America by Bertram Gross.   


Cold War Turned Hot?



How did Russia and the West slip back into what seems like the Cold war all over again? And how is this standoff affecting Americans? Sophie Shevardnadze speaks to American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, political commentator and activist – Professor Noam Chomsky.

Fracked Up



From Popular Resistance:

As part of the week long BXE (Beyond Extreme Energy) protest at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) a protest was held at a construction site that is part of the Cove Point Fracked Gas Export Terminal in southern Maryland. Cove Point is the KXL of fracking. Cove Point will open up the export of gas which is necessary for increasing profits from fracking out of the Marcellus Shale. This construction is occurring at a time when scientific reports say the world should stop building carbon fuel infrastructure because humans need to shift to clean, sustainable energy.
 
Even though the police knew that protesters were coming and that some would be risking arrest, and there were a lot of overt and covert police throughout the construction area, protesters were able to gain access to the fenced -in construction site, climb a massive, steep mound of dirt and hold up a sign that said “We Are More Powerful Than Dominion Profits.” This is the second day in a row where there have been blockades at this construction site.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Guns and Glory: Amerika's Brand of Democracy



Be sure to watch this video til the end - a real taste of politics in Amerika.

Tell Me How You Really Feel





I thought I'd share some comments from folks this morning that seem to hit the nail on the head - at least for me they do.  Take a look if you'd like.  I won't put their names but I promise these comments come from real people.

  • I talked to many people both on phones the past few weeks and at polls yesterday who are FED UP AND ANGRY, i could see SO MUCH ANGER and yet I knew many of them were going to vote the other way... Dems can't keep intellectualizing everything publicly and sounding like professors. They need to be pissed off and populist and vocal and impolite. GODDAMMIT.    

  • It's official;  the continuation of sanctioned hatred,  scapegoating poor people,  trapping and killing of more animal species and I'm willing to bet a nickel domestic violence will significantly increase as well as the destruction of the Natural Environment. Of course,  I question the honesty of the voting system, yes even locally.  And just because we have a vote does not mean we have a democracy and certainly we don't have intelligent, peaceful consensus on anything.  Too large,  too unaware, too Alienated,  too shallow, too corrupt. Good freaking Grief !    

  • lepage [Maine's right-wing Republican governor just reelected] might have won the election, but its up to us to win the people, and empower communities to organize around their own needs. we cannot depend on the system controlled by those who profit off of our subjugation. we can push the boundaries, politically, and open up space for more direct participation, and less blatant attacks on the working class. we are the peoples mic, and we need to amplify those marginalized voices. if we can expect 4 more years of lepage style subversion of democracy, and disrespect of our people, then lets prepare for 4 years of serious direct action, both developing and strengthening community alternatives to the services we are seeing cut, and the level of resistance we need to protect our communities and disrupt  elite interests that treat us and this land like a resource to be used and dominated, bought and sold, and thrown away.    

  • I feel this needs 2 be repeated.  Voting will not uproot oppression.  Only social movements can do that.  
  • A 90-year old man was arrested the other day in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for feeding the homeless.  Been doing it for the past 20 years.  What does that say about us?    

  • The Citizens United decision put a "for sale" sign on our democracy. Corporate special interests and billionaires like the Koch brothers have been spending millions to buy our elections. But we won't stop until we get big money OUT of politics and restore Government By the People. Are you with us?   

  • "Fact: Candidates are pre-selected, pre-packaged cardboard cutouts. Fact: Powerful interests choose them. Fact: Big money owns them. Fact: Ordinary people lose. Fact: Duopoly power rules." Stephen Lendman correctly describes the U.S. 2014 election. Now that the results are in, Republicans won't solve any of our problems, either. The Democrats were just so untrustworthy. Now, we have a chance to take our country back!    

  • But this is all just political entertainment - a distraction - because there is really only one party and neither separately nor combined run the show in Washington. The government here has been taken over by the cabal of bankers, the multinational corporations, the military industrial complex, and the ruling elite - the Oligarchy. This means continued attacks on Social Security, Medicare, the social safety net, Veterans benefits and everything else that benefits the people. This also will mean endless wars for oil and resources, and the continued destruction of the environment. 10-1, Obomba now approves the XL pipeline in very short order. We are now in a fight for our very survival.    

  • Clinton neo-liberals got what they wanted! Now they can advance Trans Pacific Trade Pact-----install myRA to privatize Social Security----and end Medicare by finishing the privatization Obama has well on its way sending Medicare as block grants to the state health systems. Bye Bye union rights and Department of Labor. THAT WAS WHAT OBAMA'S TERMS WERE ABOUT-----MAKING THE DEMOCRATIC BASE OF LABOR AND JUSTICE TOO MAD TO COME OUT TO VOTE. PLEASE START NOW TO ORGANIZE AND RUN LABOR AND JUSTICE CANDIDATES IN ALL PRIMARIES AGAINST NEO-LIBERALS.
    
  • I'm still trying to figure out why so many Democrats think our moderately conservative President is a Liberal. I mean, I understand why Republicans call him a Liberal, modern day Republicans now think Ronald Reagan was too liberal, but Democrats? Have Democrats become so conservative they're seeing centrists as Liberals?
    
  • We were warned. George Orwell laid it out plainly in "Nineteen Eighty-four."   

  • It is official, Republicans now control both US Houses, Supreme Court, Wimp US conservative Democratic president, Obama, the only remaining obstacle. The wars will escalate. Preserved lands will be open to corporate expansion, inclusive of drilling, exploration of the wilderness. All for profiteering for the already very wealthy. A vast majority of american voters suffer from a lack of basic education, lack of social awareness, blinded with a false sense of patriotic duty, allegiance. Wrapped in that US flag, totally vulnerable, susceptible to market forces, they are a sad lot.  Without exaggeration, this extremist Republican element is very dangerous.      

  • How does big money succeed in getting people to vote against their own self interest?

  • A court which usually sits in secret will tomorrow (Thursday) consider whether the Government should be forced to release more information regarding its surveillance of legally privileged communications between lawyers and their clients.

  • Reportedly one half of all Americans did not know there was an election yesterday.

  • America holds its corporate chieftains in such high regard that it looks to them to solve the country's most dire economic problems. This does not always work out.

  • Democrats have lost the Senate, and what happens next is going to depend a lot on what President Obama is willing to stand up and fight for.

  • It's official: The US is the world's leading terrorist state, and proud of it.

  • Earlier this year, Ben Jealous, the former head of the NAACP and current chair Southern Election Fund, put out a report showing how a targeted wave of voter registration among people of color voters could shift the balance of power in key Southern states. But these efforts have come up against a series of cumbersome voter ID laws that have made it harder for people to vote, buttressed by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidating key parts of the Voting Rights Act. "The Republicans aren’t doubling down on voter suppression in states they’re trying to acquire," Jealous says. "They’re doubling down on voter suppression in states [where] they’re afraid of losing control … This is what it looks like when the clocks are being turned back."

  • sorry, but I gotta say "blah blah blah." How about if Democrats try actually fighting for what they claim to believe in, and talking about that constantly with the public, including an election year. Oh silly me, who am I kidding. "If you don't fight hard enough for what you believe in, sooner or later you have to acknowledge that you don't really believe in it." - Paul Wellstone 

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

In the Wrong Game


The Electoral Debacle



My first vote
'72 for McGovern
he lost big
49 states
went for
trickie Dick

It's been downhill
since that
sad night

Last night's
election returns
one more
sled ride
into the land
of Velveeta
and
endless war

The oligarchy
knows how
to spin the people
warp their minds
create false anger
and outrage
that benefits
the corporate agenda
people vote
against their
own interests

I've learned
not to put
all my hopes
in the ballot box
or the rigged
voting machine
I lived in Florida
during days of
hanging chads

My salvation
is the sidewalk
holding my sign
sucking exhaust
from passing
monster trucks
driven by workers
who vote for
three-piece suit
version of fascism
the wedding of
corporations
and government

Nixon impeached
after his big victory
the truth always
visible
from the edge
of the curb
on an American
street

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

In Case We Forgot



A classic documentary about the Vietnam war...

A Crime to Feed the Hungry - Where is Jesus When We Need Him?

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Fort Lauderdale police charged three men -- including two pastors and a 90-year-old man -- for feeding the homeless in public on Sunday, the first such cases made by the city after the a new ordinance effectively banning public food sharings took effect Friday.

The first to be charged was homeless advocate Arnold Abbott, 90, who has been feeding the homeless in Fort Lauderdale for more than 20 years. Also cited were two Christian ministers -- Dwayne Black, pastor of The Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale, and Mark Sims of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs.

All three men face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Nuke Boys Like Alcohol

This chair is at an  ICBM launch control facility near Minot, N.D., on the Minot Air Force Base. There has been a series of firings of commanders lately - take a close look at the words on the patch on the chair.  Click on the photo if you need a larger view. 

I was up earlier than normal this morning in order to help set up our table at the Bath polling station.  Selma Sternlieb took the first two-hour shift so I came home and immediately did an interview with PressTV in Iran.  They wanted my comment on a story about nuke silo commanders being fired that was published in the military newspaper called the Stars & Stripes.  I read the story which you can find here.  I came to only one conclusion - alcoholism.

I told Press TV that I grew up behind the barbed wire fences.  One primary military retention strategy is alcoholism.  You make the GI dependent on the booze (and the military job) and then you have them in a position where they must carry out your orders.  Often their conscience is drowned in the drink.  It happened to my step-father who was in the Air Force.  From about three years old until I was 18 I lived in the military culture.  Then in 1971 I joined the Air Force.  I witnessed first-hand how the military pushes booze on the troops.  And think of the profits for the alcohol industry.  Can you imagine organized crime connections here?

My Air Force bosses would come around to our office early on a Friday and say that if you would go to the Prop Shop (Airman's club) at noon and drink until 5:00 pm you could leave work.  If you didn't want to go to the 'club' then you had to stay in the office until quitting time and must look 'busy'.  So of course everyone goes to the club and by 5:00 pm are drunk.  It's the one place where lower grade airmen (like me) got to tell their immediate bosses how they really felt about stuff.  The drink helps eliminate inhibitions.  So run that game over a 20-year career for many in the military and you can see how drinking becomes an epidemic.

As long as the GI can function at work there is no problem.  A drunk can hang on until full retirement.  That is what happened with my step-father.  I saw many people like this when I was in the Air Force.  It's the biggest welfare program going today - damn near full socialism - except you have no voice and the morals tend to lag.

So reading the Stars & Stripes story I came to the conclusion that most of these nuke button pushers underground in North Dakota (cold and increasingly fracked) were wanna-bee jet jockeys.  For whatever reason they washed out of flight school and were sent underground...the booby prize.  These folks are deeply resentful and are very susceptible to alcoholism.  The patch on the commander's chair in the photo is clear evidence of alcohol's role in the military culture.

Reading the description in the article about one of the commanders who was fired was illustrative in itself:

The most recent incident involving Jones was in September and occurred at a thrift store operated on F.E. Warren by volunteers, Sheets said. According to the investigation report as described by Sheets, Jones went to the shop, called Airman's Attic, to discuss shopping hour policies.

"He hit the sign on the Airman's Attic door and repeatedly hit the shop's front counter while raising his voice, using profanity" and threatening to shut down the place, Sheets said.

It was this incident which prompted a complaint to the 90th Missile Wing's inspector general, leading to the investigation and the decision by Hayes to remove Jones.

Three other incidents of allegedly inappropriate behavior on base by Jones during 2014 were substantiated in the investigation, including one in May in which his behavior was described by one officer and a witness as shocking.

When you feel powerless and miserable you want to strike out.  The military likes that in their GI's but it is supposed to be kept under wraps.  This North Dakota story broke out into global media.  The nukes boys are now being watched and they damn well should be.  The whole nuclear weapons system needs to be shut down.  Instead Obama and a bi-partisan Congress are upgrading the nuclear weapons program.  In a sadly cynical way this story helps force Congress to kick more money into the nuclear mess.  Properly timed in the Stars & Stripes.

Monday, November 03, 2014

What is Going on in Africa?


Winter Hits Kiev



Residents in Kiev, Ukraine protested and blocked streets due to lack of heating, hot water and electricity.

Maybe instead of making war on their fellow citizens in eastern Ukraine the NATO puppet government in Kiev might want to take care of things back home.

One person commented after this video on YouTube with the following:

Phone John McCain and Victoria Nuland [fuck the EU fame] they will give you some cookies.
Maybe instead of the US-NATO shipping more weapons of war to Kiev the citizens of the Ukraine should demand peace with their fellow citizens and an end to their corrupt government doing the bidding of the west.

Sweden Freaks Out - Again



Recently there was a big scare in Sweden that Russia had sent a nuclear submarine into their waters.  There was no evidence of this but the global media gobbled it up. It turned out to be more fear tactics on the part of NATO as they attempt to bring Sweden and Finland into the 'western alliance' - better known as the US war machine's 'European Branch of Operations'.

This video is a parody of the Swedish fear about a 'Moskol' attack.

It should come as no surprise that the US Ambassador to Sweden is Mark Brzezinski who is the son of former US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski (under Carter administration - he armed the Taliban in Afghanistan) who is a confirmed Russia hater.

In addition to Mark Brzezinski pushing Sweden into NATO he is also pushing Sweden to join in corporate trade agreements with the US and is actively promoting confrontation with Russia over control over the Arctic region.

Pushing to Revive Our Drowned Democracy

Reading the names of innocents killed by US drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan outside the gates of Hancock Field drone base near Syracuse, New York in April, 2013.  More than 30 were arrested that day including several of us from Veterans For Peace

  • My volunteer lawyer finished up with negotiations today and sent me the court document to sign that ends my arrest case at the Hancock Field drone base in New York.  I reluctantly agreed to plead guilty to Disorderly Conduct (two counts) under the New York Penal Law.  I'm told these charges will be expunged from my record.  The government charge of Obstructing Governmental Administration was dismissed.  The so-called "Order of Protection" (OP) that I was handed when arrested (which says I can't go near the base commander Gregory Semmel or his base for two years) was extended for two more years but amended.  Previously the OP has been used to rearrest anyone who returns to the base for any protest... even if they don't 'cross the line' onto base property.  That is now changed to allow me to return to protest at the base as long as I don't do an action of civil resistance by crossing the line.  A tiny victory for constitutional rights.  There have been frequent arrests for non-violent resistance at the base in the last couple of years. 
  • A troubling but not unexpected story out of South Korea comes our way.  The Korean paper called the hankyoreh reports:
The return of five US military bases to South Korea is being held up over Washington‘s refusal to pay decontamination costs for the sites after a government inspection found all five to have “harmful” levels of soil and underground water contamination, a lawmaker is claiming.

Woo Won-shik, a lawmaker with the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, announced on Nov. 2 that Korea Environment Corporation harmfulness assessments gave “harmful” ratings to all five of the US military bases that are currently being discussed for a return to South Korean control.

Woo cited Ministry of Environment briefing data for the sites, which include the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO) in Busan; Camp Casey and Camp Hovey in Dongducheon, Gyeonggi Province; and Camp Eagle and Camp Long in Wonju, Gangwon Province.

The harmfulness assessment was conducted in accordance with joint environmental impact procedures agreed upon by South Korea and the US in 2009. Assessments performed since 2011 on the five bases that are under discussion for return have turned up measures in excess of worrisome levels for total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs), benzene, toluene, and other petroleum-based contaminants, as well as heavy metals like lead, cadmium, and fluorine.
  • Tomorrow is election day and I am coordinating an effort in our city of Bath (population about 8,500) to gather petition signatures at the polls.  The effort is called We The People Maine and is a statewide organization of citizens working together to improve our democracy and create a nation where “corporations are not people” and “money is not speech.”  We are gathering signatures across Maine in order to hold a statewide referendum calling on the government to hold a constitutional convention on one subject only - to add an amendment taking the power of $$$ out of our election process.  As it stands now the corporations have drowned our democracy with their cash and corruption.  I'm not sure we are going to reach the 60,000 signature mark we need to force the referendum but it gives us a good organizing tool to talk with folks about the issue.  Five other local citizens will help sit at the table during the 12-hour election period here in Bath.  I'll do a three hour shift to close out the day.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Industrial Ag




Cut Off from Nature



Sacred Economics traces the history of money from ancient gift economies to modern capitalism, revealing how the money system has contributed to alienation, competition, and scarcity, destroyed community, and necessitated endless growth.

Today, these trends have reached their extreme - but in the wake of their collapse, we may find great opportunity to transition to a more connected, ecological, and sustainable way of being.

Change Comes Slow


It's snowing outside
not normal
snow usually
after Thanksgiving
it's the change
coming our way

things not finished
with the garden
nor putting away
everything in the yard
leaves not all raked

hunkered in
wood fire
more doors closed
keep heat in kitchen
becomes
community room

go inside
and ponder
the deepest
scars
healing comes
change comes
slowly
sometimes
too slow

Sunday Song