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, January 23, 2016

Today in Gangjeong Village


The Navy base protests continue every day of the year - no matter the weather.  No Navy base on Jeju Island, South Korea!

I  will be helping to organize another delegation to Jeju and Seoul next summer (late July and early August).  Let me know if interested.

Trump This One......


A Trump campaign video had to be pulled that used pictures of WW II Russian veterans with their chests full of medals.

It does help if the presidential candidate knows the difference between US and Russian soldiers.....although it should be remembered that during WW II the US and former Soviet Union were in fact allies against Nazi Germany.

The Soviets lost 27 million people in WW II and the US losses in all of WW II were 419,400.

Twenty Questions from the Audience

At Cape Canaveral, Florida rally in 1990 announcing I had been selected as NASA's first activist in space

I've been getting lots of questions from folks and thought I'd respond to some of them below.
1. Do you really think the US wants to control space?  Imagine the $$$ that can be made moving the arms race (and nuclear power) into space!  Mine the sky for minerals that are now becoming scarce here on Mother Earth.  Big $$$! Pyramids to the heavens.
2. Have you ever considered going to space yourself?  Yes, in fact I won a NASA contest to be the first activist in space - but once on the rocket I learned it was only a one-way ticket.  After I got to the moon I had a hell of a time hitching a ride back home.
3. Come on you are just kidding...  That's not a question.
  
4. Why does the US keep making war?  After having stolen most of the Native American lands here in the east, the 'American exceptionalists' kept heading westward, crossed the Pacific, and then figured they might as well go for the whole ball of wax.  They are still at it.  It's like Las Vegas, they will keep rolling the dice until someone stops them..... 

5. Is it true that you are a Communist agent?  Back in the 1980's during the times of the Cold War I was leafletting at the post office in Orlando, Florida when a man accused me of being a Soviet agent.  I told him, "Yes it is true and that damn Gorbachev is late sending me my check"..... I'm still waiting! 

6. Why do you keep referring to those who run the country as pirates?  I've never seen them dressed like Captain Hook!  I once read that the Bush clan came from a long line of pirates....just saying...... 

7. Do you think your phone is monitored?  Can't hear you, what did you say?  Meet me at the park at noon and we'll talk more about all of this. 

8. Ah, come on, seriously.....are you monitored by the government?  Yes, and I have a thick file to prove it. One police agent once tried to sell me drugs back in my Florida days. 

9. Why do so many people ignore climate change?  Climate change?  What climate change? Don't you mean El Niño?  Here in Maine I've heard many people say they like the warming trend - even some activists.  I'm going to plant banana and pineapple in the spring. 

10. Don't you take anything seriously?  Yes, that's my main problem. 

11. How can you expect anyone to follow you when you are always so negative?  I'm not asking people to follow me - I'm just asking them to rattle their chains..... Do something.....Say something.....Wake up.....Come alive.....Stop impersonating a corpse. 

12. Is there any hope for humanity?  Sometimes I wonder.  

13. Should we all plan to move to Mars?  I've got my space suit ready to go..... no, on second thought the dry, dusty red planet is not so attractive to me.  I'll stay here and tend to my banana and pineapple plants. 

14. How come you don't like Obama?  Who? 

15. You just don't like Democrats, do you?  I loved Jimmy Carter and worked on his campaign because he said, "The arms race is a disgrace to the human race."  Then after he became president he built the Kings Bay Trident nuclear submarine base in St. Mary's, Georgia near the Florida border.  I protested there many times over the years and got wise to the Democrats game.  Fool me once..... 

16. See I knew you were a commie!  I guess you are right.....You should see my impersonation of Lenin....

17. Back to space, do you believe in aliens?  Sure why not? There has to be someone out there with more intelligence than us earthlings.....at least I hope so.  

18. Have you ever met one?  You mean an alien?  God knows.....I've sure met a lot of people who appeared to be from some other planet - how about the crowd in Congress?  They must come from some place else the way they are destroying our Mother Earth. 

19. What is with all this Mother Earth stuff?  Well it makes sense - we are born from this planet which teems with life - our earth is always pregnant with new life.  But now our Mother is in toxic shock and her body is thrashing about in pain.  Look at the huge storm right now along the Mid-Atlantic coast.  Three feet of snow predicted.  Very unusual for that part of the country. 

20. OK, now I know you are crazy!  Thanks for the endorsement.  I'm just doing my best. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Genocide in Flint



Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group".  The majority of the residents of Flint, Michigan are poor and unemployed black people having lost their jobs when the auto industry moved out of their city.  They are now superfluous populations and the racist Republican Governor Rick Snyder of that state knowingly allowed this lead in the water crisis to fester.

Capitalism doesn't give one damn about the people - corporate profits come first, second, and last.  The people on this planet need to walk away from capitalism and their sociopathic political agents who are killing us daily with war, environmental destruction, growing poverty and loss of our civil liberties.

The Native Americans said the white man was blinded by his love for the 'green frog skin' - the dollar bill.  The Native people said the white man could not see and understand his relationship to nature because of his spiritual disconnection from our Mother Earth.  Now the corporate masters want to put every one of us on the reservation - a reservation of toxicity, undrinkable water, unclean air, endless violence and dire poverty.

Time has come to rattle our chains while we still can - these corporate pirates are out to kill us all. No one is safe with these bastards in power.

Palin Speaks in Tongues to Endorse Trump

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Syria: Has Anyone Stepped Back from the Brink?


By Michael Jabara Carley

The Syrian crisis is a good example of duplicity and politician hypocrisy. While the Security Council unanimously adopted two resolutions, the first against the financing of Al Qaeda and Daesh and the second for peace in Syria, the war continues, fueled by... members of the Security Council. Is it an inability to be obeyed by his government, or a political incompetency who does not know what to do, or even a Machiavellian desire to make war without saying it?

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, recently visited Moscow to discuss the Syrian crisis with his colleague Sergei Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin. Journalists observed handshakes, smiles, even hearty laughter, between Kerry and his Russian counterparts. Syrian President Bashar al Assad does not have to resign immediately, Kerry declared, and the United States is not trying to isolate Russia. What good news, and what a surprise for the Russians. The Moscow show seemed a great success. Kerry strolled along Stariy Arbat Street, met smiling Russian pedestrians and bought souvenirs to take home. A few days later the UN Security Council passed a resolution, calling for a ceasefire and negotiations. Russian and western journalists alike now say there is some hope to avoid the worst in Syria. And as you may already know, if the United States wants a ceasefire, it’s because their "moderate" Jihadist allies are getting beaten up now by the Syrian Arab Army backed by Russian air support.

See the rest of the story here

All in Favor Say Aye......


The Power of Right-Wing Media

 
A film by Jen Senko

A filmmaker examines the rise of right-wing media through the lens of her father, whose immersion in it radicalized him and rocked the foundation of their family. She discovers this political phenomenon recurring in living rooms everywhere, and reveals the consequences conservative media has had on families and a nation.
 
See more here

How Many Military Bases Does the Pentagon Really Need?


Those who come to my Feb 7 talk in Brunswick will be treated to my very first ever PowerPoint presentation.  There are so many photos I'd like to share that I had to finally break down and learn to do PowerPoint.

In addition to the event above I'll be joining fellow VFP delegation members from Maine Russell Wray (Hancock) and Dud Hendrick (Deer Isle) for a similar talk on Thursday, Feb 4, 7:00 pm at Emlen Hall, Bay School in Blue Hill.  The public is also invited to attend that event.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What Are You Going to Do About U.S. Bases?

The Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins (114 left as of last count in 2009) used to swim around Jeju Island, South Korea every day but since the Navy base construction in Gangjeong village has polluted the water so badly the dolphins now avoid the area.


My Op-Ed about our recent VFP trip to Jeju Island and Okinawa was printed in the Opinion section of our local newspaper today.  The Times Record editor though decided he didn't want people to read one paragraph (see it in red below) and took it out before publishing the piece in the paper and at their web site.  I forwarded evidence from American University Professor David Vine that the U.S. has 1,000 bases around the world so I was even low-balling the numbers with my figure of 800 bases.  It really burns me up to have those who tout 'freedom of the press' censor words that they feel might 'dishonor our troops' - especially in a piece on the 'Opinion' page that is giving voice to people all over the world who suffer from US bases.

Op-Ed 

Imagine building a set of twin military runways out into a pristine bay among the beautiful coral reefs and endangered sea mammals (dugong). Imagine 3.5 million 10-ton dump truck loads of landfill being dumped into the bay to build the runways. Imagine the howls of protests if this was being done here in Maine.  

This story is real, and the plan is to do this on Okinawa at Oura Bay in order to build a new US Marine airfield. Few in America have heard about this calamity, but for more than 450 days people in Okinawa have been protesting by blocking the gates of a US Marine base called Camp Schwab.

In early December I co-led a national Veterans For Peace (VFP) delegation to Jeju Island, South Korea where a new Navy base is being built that will port US warships – including the Aegis destroyers built at BIW.  Twelve members of VFP went on the trip – three of us from Maine.  For the first week we sat with Gangjeong villagers on Jeju Island blocking the construction gate only to be picked up and carried out of the way by police several times each day.  

During the second week of the trip our VFP delegation traveled to Okinawa where the US today has 30 bases. One out of every four Okinawans was killed during the American “liberation” of the island from the Japanese in 1945. We’ve had bases there ever since. At two museums we visited I was astonished to see that since 1953 there have been regular protests against our bases.  

On three occasions we went to the gates of Camp Schwab in order to join the daily human blockades. Most of the people being dragged off by Japanese police for sitting in the road were senior citizens. The women were particularly amazing as they held on to one another and cried aloud demanding that this environmental catastrophe be stopped.  

The VFP delegation met with the mayors of two Okinawan cities that will be directly impacted by the new Marine airfield. One evening we were invited to attend an event inside a huge auditorium that drew 1,300 people. At this convocation Okinawan Governor Takeshi Onaga and other leading politicians spoke out in opposition to the construction of the controversial runway. Gov. Onaga has pulled the airfield construction permit, but the right-wing government in Tokyo, which controls Okinawa, overruled him under the clear direction of US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy (she has repeatedly told the Okinawan people to get over it). Gov. Onaga has gone to the Japanese Supreme Court seeking a ruling that respects their local autonomy. In fact, 80% of the people of Okinawa oppose the new Marine airfield.

The Pentagon today has more than 800 military bases scattered around the world. It’s well known that due to the rapes, drinking and violence toward the host people, US troops are not wanted in most of these places. 

As the Obama administration ‘pivots’ 60% of US military forces into the Asia-Pacific region in order to ‘control’ China, people in Okinawa and South Korea understand they are key targets if and when a war breaks out between Washington and Beijing.  

Not only is a looming war causing such active resistance today, it is the US’s utter disregard for local sovereignty and democracy that inflames people against Washington. The bases being built on Jeju Island and in Okinawa are environmental nightmares. The people are watching their life source – the ocean where their food and livelihood comes from – being torn apart to satisfy the Pentagon’s demand for ‘one more base.’

When our VFP delegation left both of these islands the people asked us the same questions: What are you going to do when you go home?  When are the American people going to stand up and stop this madness that is killing our environment, our culture, and our peaceful way of life?

On Sunday, February 7 PeaceWorks will host my talk about these trips at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick at 4:00 pm. The public is invited.

      ~ Bruce K. Gagnon lives in Bath and is a member of PeaceWorks and Veterans For Peace   

Democrats in 'Group Think' Land



By Robert Parry

A curious reality about Official Washington is that to have “credibility” you must accept the dominant “group thinks” whether they have any truth to them or not, a rule that applies to both the mainstream news media and the political world, even to people who deviate from the pack on other topics.

For instance, Sen. Bernie Sanders may proudly declare himself a “democratic socialist” – far outside the acceptable Washington norm – but he will still echo the typical propaganda about Syria, Russia, Iran and other “designated villains.” Like other progressives who spend years in Washington, he gets what you might called “Senate-ized,” adopting that institution’s conventional wisdom about “enemies” even if he may differ on whether to bomb them or not.

That pattern goes in spades for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other consciously “centrist” politicians as well as media stars, like NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Lester Holt, who were the moderators of Sunday’s Democratic presidential debate. They know what they know based on what “everybody who’s important” says, regardless of the evidence or lack thereof.

So, you had Mitchell and Holt framing questions based on Official Washington’s “group thinks” – and Sanders and Clinton responding accordingly.

Regarding Iran, Sanders may have gone as far as would be considered safe in this political environment, welcoming the implementation of the agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program but accepting the “group think” about Iran’s “terrorism” and hesitant to call for resumption of diplomatic relations.

“Understanding that Iran’s behavior in so many ways is something that we disagree with; their support of terrorism, the anti-American rhetoric that we’re hearing from their leadership is something that is not acceptable,” Sanders said. “Can I tell you that we should open an embassy in Tehran tomorrow? No, I don’t think we should.”

Blaming Iran

In her response, Clinton settled safely behind the Israeli-preferred position – to lambaste Iran for supposedly fomenting the trouble in the Middle East, though more objective observers might say that the U.S. government and its “allies” – including Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – have wreaked much more regional havoc than Iran has.

“We have to go after them [the Iranians] on a lot of their other bad behavior in the region which is causing enormous problems in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere,” Clinton said.

Yet, how exactly Iran is responsible for “enormous problems” across the region doesn’t get explained. Everybody just “knows” it to be true, since the claim is asserted by Israel’s right-wing government and repeated by U.S. pols and pundits endlessly.

Yet, in Iraq, the chaos was not caused by Iran, but by the U.S. government’s invasion in 2003, which then-Sen. Clinton supported (while Sen. Sanders opposed it). In Yemen, it is the Saudis and their Sunni coalition that created a humanitarian disaster by bombing the impoverished country after wildly exaggerating Iran’s support for Houthi rebels.

In Syria, the core reason for the bloodshed is not Iran, but decisions of the Bush-43 administration last decade and the Obama administration this decade to seek another “regime change,” ousting President Bashar al-Assad.

Supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni powers, this U.S.-backed “covert” intervention instigated both political unrest and terrorist violence inside Syria, including arming jihadist forces such as Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and its close ally, Ahrar al-Sham and – to a lesser degree – Al Qaeda’s spinoff, the Islamic State. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War.“]

The desire of these Sunni powers — along with Israel and America’s neoconservatives — was to shatter the so-called “Shiite crescent” that they saw reaching from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. Since Assad is an Alawite, a branch of Shiite Islam, he had to be removed even though he was regarded as the principal protector of Syria’s Christian, Shiite and Alawite minorities. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Did Money Seal Saudi-Israeli Alliance?’]

However, while Israel and the Sunni powers get a pass for their role in the carnage, Iran is blamed for its assistance to the Syrian military in battling these jihadist groups. Official Washington’s version of this tragedy is that the culprits are Assad, the Iranians and now the Russians, who also intervened to help the Syrian government resist the jihadists, both the Islamic State and Al Qaeda’s various friends and associates. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Climbing into Bed with Al Qaeda.”]

Blaming Assad

Official Washington also accepts as undeniably true that Assad is responsible for all 250,000 deaths in the Syrian civil war – even those inflicted by the Sunni jihadists against the Syrian military and Syrian civilians – a logic that would have accused President Abraham Lincoln of slaughtering all 750,000 or so people – North and South – who died in the U.S. Civil War.

The “group think” also holds that Assad was behind the sarin gas attack near Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013, despite growing evidence that it was a jihadist group, possibly with the help of Turkish intelligence, that staged the outrage as a provocation to draw the U.S. military into the conflict against Syria’s military by creating the appearance that Assad had crossed Obama’s “red line” on using chemical weapons.

Mitchell cited Assad’s presumed guilt in the sarin attack in asking Clinton: “Should the President have stuck to his red line once he drew it?”

Trying to defend President Obama in South Carolina where he is popular especially with the black community, Clinton dodged the implicit criticism of Obama but accepted Mitchell’s premise.

“I know from my own experience as Secretary of State that we were deeply worried about Assad’s forces using chemical weapons because it would have had not only a horrific effect on people in Syria, but it could very well have affected the surrounding states, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey. …

“If there is any blame to be spread around, it starts with the prime minister of Iraq, who sectarianized his military, setting Shia against Sunni. It is amplified by Assad, who has waged one of the bloodiest, most terrible attacks on his own people: 250,000-plus dead, millions fleeing. Causing this vacuum that has been filled unfortunately, by terrorist groups, including ISIS.”

Clinton’s account – which ignores the central role that the U.S. invasion of Iraq and outside support for the jihadists in Syria played in creating ISIS – represents a thoroughly twisted account of how the Mideast crisis evolved. But Sanders seconded Clinton’s recitation of the “group think” on Syria, saying:

“I agree with most of what she said. … And we all know, no argument, the Secretary is absolutely right, Assad is a butcher of his own people, man using chemical weapons against his own people. This is beyond disgusting. But I think in terms of our priorities in the region, our first priority must be the destruction of ISIS. Our second priority must be getting rid of Assad, through some political settlement, working with Iran, working with Russia.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “A Blind Eye Toward Turkey’s Crimes.”]

Sanders also repeated his talking point that Saudi Arabia and Qatar must “start putting some skin in the game” – ignoring the fact that the Saudis and Qataris have been principal supporters of the Sunni jihadists inflicting much of the carnage in Syria. Those two rich countries have put plenty of “skin in the game” except it comes in the slaughter of Syrian Christians, Alawites, Shiites and other religious minorities.

Blaming Russia

NBC anchor Lester Holt then recited the “group think” about “Russian aggression” in Ukraine – ignoring the U.S. role in instigating the Feb. 22, 2014 coup that overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych. Holt also asserted Moscow’s guilt in the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 despite the lack of any solid evidence to support that claim.

Holt asked: “Secretary Clinton, you famously handed Russia’s foreign minister a reset button in 2009. Since then, Russia has annexed Crimea, fomented a war in Ukraine, provided weapons that downed an airliner and launched operations, as we just did discuss, to support Assad in Syria. As president, would you hand Vladimir Putin a reset button?”

While noting some positive achievements from the Russian “reset” such as a new nuclear weapons treaty, help resupplying U.S. troops in Afghanistan and assistance in the nuclear deal with Iran, Clinton quickly returned to Official Washington’s bash-Putin imperative:

“When Putin came back in the fall of 2011, it was very clear he came back with a mission. And I began speaking out as soon as that happened because there were some fraudulent elections held, and Russians poured out into the streets to demand their freedom, and he cracked down. And in fact, accused me of fomenting it. So we now know that he has a mixed record to say the least and we have to figure out how to deal with him. …

“And I know that he’s someone that you have to continuingly stand up to because, like many bullies, he is somebody who will take as much as he possibly can unless you do. And we need to get the Europeans to be more willing to stand up, I was pleased they put sanctions on after Crimea and eastern Ukraine and the downing of the airliner, but we’ve got to be more united in preventing Putin from taking a more aggressive stance in Europe and the Middle East.”

In such situations, with millions of Americans watching, no one in Official Washington would think to  challenge the premises behind these “group thinks,” not even Bernie Sanders. No one would note that the U.S. government hasn’t provided a single verifiable fact to support its claims blaming Assad for the sarin attack or Putin for the plane shoot-down. No one would dare question the absurdity of blaming Assad for every death in Syria’s civil war or Putin for all the tensions in Ukraine. [See, for instance, Consortiumnews.com’s “MH-17’s Unnecessary Mystery.”]

Those dubious “group thinks” are simply accepted as true regardless of the absence of evidence or the presence of significant counter-evidence.

The two possibilities for such behavior are both scary: either these people, including prospective presidents, believe the propaganda or that they are so cynical and cowardly that they won’t demand proof of serious charges that could lead the United States and the world into more war and devastation.

~ Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Primer on 'Missile Offense'

 
Primer on 'missile defense' and Star Wars produced by Global Network board convener Dave Webb from the UK....
 
Dave also chairs the UK's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and runs the Global Network web site at www.space4peace.org  
 
The US-NATO endless war project is encircling Russia and China with these 'missile offense' systems that are key elements in Pentagon first-strike attack planning. These systems are provocative and destabilizing as they give one side a big advantage over the other - thus the reason they were outlawed under the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty between the US and Russia.  
 
Soon after stealing the election in 2000 George W. Bush pulled the US out of the treaty. Since then the US Space Command's 'Missile Defense Agency' has been on steroids developing, testing, and deploying these expensive and dangerous systems.

Oh, That Was the Americans......


 Really good satire - the best satire is that which is laced with truth and this one surely is.....

Monday, January 18, 2016

MLK's Warning of America's Spiritual Death


By Gary G. Kohls 

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Riverside Church speech was titled “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” It was delivered exactly one year before his April, 4, 1968 assassination in Memphis. In the speech, King declared, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

The people who heard that speech recognized it as one of the most powerful speeches ever given articulating the immorality of the Vietnam War and its destructive impact on social progress in the United States. In explaining his decision to follow his conscience and speak out against U.S. militarism, King said:

“I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.”

But King went farther, diagnosing the broader disease of militarism and violence that was endangering the soul of the United States. King said, “I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.”

Poisoning America’s Soul

King knew very well that the disease of violence was killing off more than social progress in America. Violence was sickening the nation’s soul as well. He added “If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read ‘Vietnam’.” King urged his fellow citizens to take up the causes of the world’s oppressed, rather than taking the side of the oppressors. He said:

“I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

“We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace and justice throughout the developing world – a world that borders on our doors.

“If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality and strength without sight.”

King pointed to an alternate path into the future: “Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter – but beautiful – struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard?”

Signing His Own Death Warrant

By denouncing so forcefully the war crimes that the U.S. military was committing daily in the killing fields of Vietnam, some of King’s followers understood that he had just signed his own death warrant. But King, being a person of conscience, was compelled to express his deep sense of moral outrage over the horrific maiming, suffering and dying of millions of innocent Vietnamese civilians in that unjust war that afflicted mostly unarmed women and children and that was going to leave behind lethal poisons in the soil, water and unborn babies that would last for generations.

He knew that non-combatants are always the major victims of modern warfare, especially wars that indiscriminately used highly lethal weapons that rained down from the air, especially the U.S. Air Force’s favorite weapon, napalm — the flaming, jellied gasoline that burned the flesh off of whatever part of the burning adult or child it splashed onto.

King also connected the racist acts (of American soldiers joyfully killing dispensable non-white “gooks” and “slants” — often shooting at “anything that moves”) on the battlefields of Southeast Asia to the oppression, impoverishment, imprisoning and lynching of dispensable, deprived non-white “niggers” in America.

King saw the connections between the violence of racism and the violence of poverty. He saw that the withholding of economic and educational opportunities came from the fear of “the other” and the perceived need to protect the white culture’s wealth and privilege – with violence if necessary.

King knew, too, that fortunes are made in every war, and the war in Vietnam was no exception. In his speeches, he talked about that unwelcome reality that the ruling class preferred not be discussed. That meant his well-attended Riverside Church speech threatened not only the powerful interests already arrayed against his civil rights struggle but also the interests of the war profiteers and the national security establishment.

War is Good Business

The longer the Vietnam War lasted, the more the weapons manufacturers thrived. With their huge profits, there was a strong incentive for these financial elites to continue the carnage. And therefore the Wall Street war profiteers financed, out of their ill-gotten gains, battalions of industry lobbyists and pro-military propagandists who descended upon Washington, DC, and the Pentagon to claim even more tax dollars for weapons research, development and manufacture.

With that funding secured, armies of desperate jobs-seekers were hired to work in thousands of weapons factories that were strategically placed in congressional districts almost everywhere, with weapons research grants likewise being awarded to virtually every university in the nation. Thus, weapons-manufacturing and R&D soon became vitally important for almost every legislator’s home district economy as well as for the household budgets of millions of American voters who indirectly benefitted from the U.S. military’s killing, maiming, displacement, starvation and suffering of non-white people in war zones.

King’s anti-war stance was based on his Christianity and on the ethics and life of Jesus, but it was also based on his standing as a revered international peace and justice icon. Those factors made him a dangerous threat to the military/industrial/congressional/security complex.

The powerful forces that were working hard to discredit King had already infiltrated the civil rights movement. Their efforts, cunningly led by the proto-fascist and racist J. Edgar Hoover and his obedient FBI, accelerated after the Riverside speech. The FBI ramped up the smear campaigns against King. Eventually he was “neutralized” with a bullet to the head. [The case for believing that King’s murder was not simply the act of lone gunman James Earl Ray is laid out in many studies, including attorney William F. Pepper’s An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King.]

King’s Prophetic Vision

Now, almost five decades after his anti-war speech (which was widely kept from the public), it is clear how prophetic King’s observations were. America is indeed losing its soul. Violence, racism, militarism and economic oppression are still American epidemics.

Both upper- and middle-class investors of get-rich-quick schemes in America have succumbed to predatory lenders, cannibalistic corporate mergers and acquisitions, psychopathic multinational corporate schemers, corrupt crony capitalists, and the rapist/exploiters of the land and water by extractive industries – all schemes that will eventually burst as part of predictable economic bubbles.

Those busted bubbles regularly wipe out investors (except for the large, deep-pocketed “insiders” who, usually being forewarned, will have sold their holdings just in time, before the publicly revealed “bust”), leaving the taxpayers to bail out the financial messes that were created by the so-called “invisible hand of the market” but are really caused by the cunning work of corporate gamblers.

King was trying to warn us not just about the oncoming epidemic of violence toward victims at home but also about the tens of millions of people around the world who were and are still being victimized by U.S. military misadventures. King was also warning us about the multinational corporate war profiteers whose interests are facilitated and protected by the U.S. military – whether they are operating in Asia, Latin America, Africa or the Middle East.

The Pentagon budget averages well over $700 billion per year, including wars that are often illegal and unconstitutional. That amounts to $2 billion per day with no visible return on investment, except for the military contractors, the oil industries and Wall Street financiers.

Vast sums also are needed to address the physical and mental health costs needed for the palliative care for the permanently maimed and psychologically-traumatized veterans. Hundreds of millions of dollars more are spent paying down the interest payments on past military debts.

All those potentially bankrupting costs represent money that will never be available for programs of social uplift like combatting racism, poverty and hunger, or paying for affordable housing/healthcare, universal education or meaningful job creation. Can anyone else hear a demonic laugh reverberating down Wall Street?

King was warning America about its oncoming spiritual death if it didn’t convert itself away from military violence. But most observers of the U.S. see America still worshipping at the altars of the Gods of War and Greed. Our children may be doomed.

The vast majority of American Christian churches (whether fundamentalist, conservative, moderate or liberal, with very few exceptions) have failed King’s vision, despite the lip service they sometimes give to King on MLK Day. Churches whose members were brought up on the Myth of American Exceptionalism (and the myth of being “God’s chosen people”) consistently refuse to take a stand against the satanic nature of war.

Past the Point of No Return?

If America is to avert future financial and military catastrophes, King’s central warnings about the “triple evils” of militarism, racism and economic oppression must be heeded. That means a retreat from worldwide network of budget-busting military bases. And, if America wants to shed the justified label of “Rogue Nation,” the covert killing operations of its secret black ops mercenary military units all around the world must be stopped, as should the infamous extrajudicial assassinations by America’s unmanned drones.

If King’s 47-year-old warning continues to be ignored, America’s future is bleak. The future holds the dark seeds of economic chaos, hyperinflation, unendurable poverty, increasing racial/minority hostility, worsening malnutrition, armed rebellion, street fighting, and perhaps, ultimately, institution of a reactionary totalitarian/surveillance police state in order to control citizen protests and quell rebellions.

In 1967, many Americans considered King hopeful vision for a better future as irrational idealism. He was told that the task was too great, the obstacles were too imposing, and there was no will for even the churches to reverse their age-old, conservative pseudo-patriotism and society’s institutional racism. I suspect that many of the churches that called King a communist and therefore ignored him back then wish that they could turn back the clock and give King’s (and Jesus’s) path a try.

King finished his speech with these challenges: “War is not the answer. We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace and justice throughout the developing world – a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality and strength without sight.”

And he had these sobering words for the churches that are immersed in a polytheistic culture (the worship of multiple gods, including the gods of war and mammon) and thus are tempted to quietly ally themselves with those gods rather than the God of Love that King was devoted to:

“I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. I have looked at her beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlay of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over again I have found myself asking: ‘What kind of people worship here? Who is their God?’”

Today, the task is even tougher, the obstacles much more imposing, but the path that King outlined remains. MLK Day should be a good time to start seriously reconsidering King’s radical message.

~ Dr. Gary G. Kohls is a retired physician who writes about peace, justice, militarism, mental health and religious issues.

MLK on War, Racism and Poverty

 
An almost lost Dr. King speech, from the Pacifica Archives; this speech was given at the first and only National Conference for New Politics. It is an amazing speech which looks at American's three deadliest sins, War, Racism and Poverty.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sunday Song - Bonus Shot


"Take Back America" Darlene McBride MadTV"Take Back America To 1955..." sing along with Darlene McBride, the favorite artist of Redneck Republicans everywhere!
Posted by Redneck Republicans on Friday, January 15, 2016

The Fate of Humanity.....

 
Don't lose the Internet......

Sunday Song