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.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

CALLING FOR CONVERSION

An aerial view of Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard in Maine



I was out at the Advent vigil at BIW today.  It was about 10 degrees though felt much colder with the breeze coming off the river.  There were 10 of us there for the second to last of the weekly Advent season vigils.

One of the vigilers, a long-time local person, said that she felt the workers "get our message" but they are just in a place of fear where they worry about maintaining their comfortable lifestyle.  Many of the workers are driving in "style" as they leave the shipyard in their big V-8 pick-up trucks.  A very high percentage of them drive such rigs.  They don't come cheap and it must cost well over $100 to fill the gas tank these days.  That in itself could make you feel like you were walking on a tightrope.

I had an email this morning from a guy who is predicting major economic collapse for the US in the coming year.  He says that the military empire will quickly fall as a result.  The US would not be able to afford the bases or the price tag of the high-tech space directed control and domination program now in place.  There is no doubt that the one trillion a year cost of this US war machine is unsustainable.

Already we see unemployment insurance, food stamps, Head Start and other vital programs being trashed in order to keep the sinking war machine afloat.  Pretty soon, no matter how they try, there won't be $$$$ left to keep the Pentagon humming at its current rate. (This of course is one key reason why the US is corralling the NATO allies to help pay for the expanding offensive war system.)

My sign today depicted a high-speed rail system with the words "Made in Bath" and was painted by a local artist friend.  We know that the studies show that if we built rail at places like BIW we'd create twice the jobs that we currently get from building weapons for endless war.  You can see one such study here.

There will be a national conference call next Monday, December 16 at 7:00 pm to talk about growing interest in the conversion effort across the country.  The state of Connecticut this year created a conversion commission to plan for the inevitable.  I will be on the call.  Here is the info about it:

Monday, December 16th at 7:00 pm EST; 4 pm PSTCall-in number: 559-726-1300; Code 463900#

Friday, December 13, 2013

A VIEW INSIDE KIEV



Members of the European Parliament are pressuring Ukraine's government to hold early elections - as a way out of the crisis that's gripped the country. Ukraine's government has said it could renegotiate the terms of the association deal, if Europe provides more money. The sides met in Brussels and agreed to discuss a new roadmap towards a possible deal. While in Kiev, anti-government protesters continue to defy the authorities, blocking the city centre with barricades and suspending the work of government institutions. And as RT's Aleksey Yaroshevsky reports, it's not only causing chaos in the streets but also taking a toll on the country's economy.

XMAS IN THE BEAST'S BELLY


The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

This one speaks for itself......

THE LATEST NEWS



[Seventeen] people on their way to a wedding in Yemen were killed in an air strike after their party was mistaken for an al Qaeda convoy, local security officials said on Thursday.

The officials did not identify the plane in the strike in central al-Bayda province, but tribal and local media sources said that it was a drone. Fifteen people on their way to a wedding in Yemen were killed in an air strike after their party was mistaken for an al Qaeda convoy, local security officials said on Thursday.

When I went to the Drone Summit in Washington last month a woman from Yemen really caught my ear when she said they they'd never heard of al-Qaeda until the US weaponized drone strikes began.  She also said that they believed the US was testing drones on them and would some day use them on the American people as well.  Think a bit about that one.......


  • There has been an interesting discussion on a Veterans for Peace list about the situation in Ukraine.  One Vietnam veteran, Bill Perry from the Philadelphia area, wrote a response to an earlier email that said, "Hats off to the 50 some Afghan veterans who stood up to the special police, the Berkut, in Ukraine."

    I wouldn't get too excited over this...

    CIA Asset Popovic (Orange Revolution, and other "Color revolutions", as well as some of the "Arab Spring" uprisings) are ALL part of our CIA & State Dep't Geopolitical plan of  installing the US/NATO "Missile Shield" around Russia (similar to our "Asia Pivot" to encircle China).

    The fact that "I made it absolutely clear to him that what happened last night, what has been happening in security terms here, is absolutely impermissible in a European state, in a democratic state,” Victoria Nuland, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, said after a two-hour meeting with [Ukraine head man] Yanukovych".

    The fact that this scumbag made this statement, and was backed up by John Kerry, saying the exact same thing, should make you want to look into this, a bit more.

    ANY objective observer knows both she, and John Kerry are flat out lying, about "this wouldn't happen in a democratic state". How bout dem OCCUPY's that were VIOLENTLY cleared in NYC, Philly, Oakland, SF, L.A., Greece, Portugal, Spain, et al?  Hundreds of beaten & gassed Occupy's, across the planet ~~   ALL "Democracies".

    When you see our Sec'y of State, our Sec'y of Defense, and oBOMBa's administration ALL lying to promote BALKANIZATION, red flags should go up.

    Once red flags go up, you can learn that these wonderful Ukrainian Veterans are Neo Nazis, and the street crowds are Reich wing libertarians, and, most comical, the actual working folks in the EU countries do NOT want the Ukraine peeps in the EU.

    WTF
    SMOKE, MIRRORS, and BULLSHIT.
    Typical Great American Theater!
    bill perry

Thursday, December 12, 2013

CLIMATE CHANGE UPDATE



Stop wasting global resources on militarization.  These precious resources are urgently needed to deal with climate change.

Convert the global war machine now.

Remember the seventh generation!

WHO IS WATCHING WHO?



Congress provided the legislative vehicles for the NSA’s massive spying programs—and it’s time to roll them back.

The incredible abuse of government power demonstrated by the NSA spying programs shows the grave threat that secret and unchecked government surveillance programs present to democratic freedoms.

Act now to back legislation that repeals the surveillance state sections of the Patriot Act and FISA.

ON THE INSIDE TRACK



A very interesting look inside of North Korea from the seats of five New Zealanders on motor bikes.

Some really strikingly beautiful nature scenes in the video and it is obvious that they encountered many wonderful people.  It reminds me how much our view of North Korea is tainted by years of unrelenting US propaganda. 

Take a look and see for yourself.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

REACTING TO THE BAD CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET DEAL



Only hours before Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) announced yesterday that they reached a two-year budget agreement (The BiPartisan Budget Act of 2013), representatives from a broad coalition demanding a budget that would cut military expenditures in order to increase funding for a wide range of domestic programs called on Congressional leaders to craft a budget for people, peace and the planet.

This deal is very likely to pass thru the House and Senate.  The agreement will return some of the previous millions of dollars cut back to the Pentagon and continue cutting human needs programs.  It's an austerity budget.

For any push back to be effective it must spread widely across this big and difficult to organize nation.  But we have some things going in our favor: (1) The legacy of the occupy movement, which planted the seed of the 99%, is still strong. (2)  The new pope is speaking some pointed truths about capitalism. (3) The recent widespread public rejection of Obama's planned Syria attack unified the people and gave them a victory. (4) The growing despair and impatience of Mr. & Mrs. Average across America is growing daily. (5) The near universal understanding that corporations now run our government and foreign policy.

All of these factors combine to serve as a lightening strike waiting to happen.  Each of us should find ways in our local communities and regions to connect these dots and build local campaigns which offer the public an opportunity to step into a global political movement that is the best chance in our lifetime to turn back corporate control of the economy and politics.

Corporations have gone global - our organizing and articulation must as well.  In Thailand the riot police have put down their helmets, shields, and sticks and joined with non-violent protesters in the streets.  The police did not want to beat their own family and neighbors.  They recognized that they too cared about the issues the people are raising.

Let it be here as well.

AS MAINE GOES.......

In Maine six voters are required to sign the filing papers to begin the process to take an issue to statewide referendum.  I was one of those six who today met at our capital in Augusta.  Our next step is to gather 60,000 voter signatures to bring forward a citizens initiative calling for a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics - Move to Amend



We met today in Augusta at the state capital - Republicans, Democrats, Greens and Independent voters - all agreeing on the need to get big corporate money out of politics.

Since the 2010 US Supreme Court ruling called "Citizens United", when the high court ruled that corporations had the rights of individuals, we've witnessed an explosion of corporate money influencing our elections at the federal, state and local levels.

Across the nation 15 states have passed non-binding resolutions calling on Congress to create new laws regulating money in politics.  Nothing has happened.

Here in Maine our state legislature was one of those to pass a resolution and more than 26 local towns/cities across the state have also passed similar resolutions.

Now the next step is to hold a binding citizens initiative (vote) that calls on Congress to enact a constitutional convention that would write the 28th Amendment to the Constitution declaring that corporations are not people and money is not speech.

The real work lies ahead as the signature collection process is never easy to do but with the proper organizing effort can be accomplished.

The other five signers today on the We the People Maine Initiative were:  State Senator Edward Youngblood (Republican from Brewer); Dave Marshall (Green Party Portland City Councilman); Naomi Cohen (Campaign coordinator); Philip Worden (Attorney); Jacqui Deveneau (Chair of Greater Portland Move to Amend).

THIS WAS NOT IN KOREA



The fascist South Korean puppet government, fully under the control of the US corporate empire, is now paying operatives living in the US to disrupt protests done by progressive Koreans inside the US.

Below is an account of a recent protest at Yale University (New Haven, CT) that was against the South Korean (ROK) government and was disrupted by former ROK military men now living in the US.

On Dec. 7 (Sat.), a candle protest in demand of ‘Out, Park Geun-Hye,’ carried out by the Korean residents from the parts of Connecticut and New York, turned into a hell by the groups of right wing Korean residents from the New York. The groups of mostly ROK veterans were almost on the verge of being arrested for their awful violence on protesters.

It is known that the leader of a group wearing military uniform is a President of the ROK veteran association based in New York. It is also known that he is directed by the ROK vice-consulate in NY who was dispatched from the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS). Each of the group is known to be paid of about $100 USD for one time mobilization. A leader of such group has leaked that about $2,000 including meal fee are paid for about 30 mobilized right wing people to interrupt people’s one time non-violent protest.

A woman who is a President of the NY Parents Association and also a government officer of the Education Dept., City of NY (Parents coordinator) - principally prohibited to contact with the intelligence departments from other countries - is in fact, taking a role of ROK NIS agency, such as by her meeting with the ROK NIS personnel, which would be greatly mattered.

An informant told that in case of NY, money is delivered from the ROK veterans to the account of Mr. M, whose origin is an ex-ROK navy officer. Mr. M is known to be one of famous figures in NY for his past career of Advisory chief of the Korean Society, NY.

As such, it is confirmed that the ROK government is illegally supporting funds to the ROK veterans in the United States to stop the Korean residents’ candle protest, which would bring a big ripple in the US not to mention the Korea-domestic political field if it becomes an issue.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

THOU SHALL NOT KILL......



Love thy neighbor as thy self.......

CYBER COUP CALLED OUT BY SOUTH KOREAN LAWMAKER


DP lawmaker says Pres. Park should step down after ‘cyber coup’

Opposition party distancing itself from lawmaker’s remarks, which they say are her personal position 

the hankyoreh (South Korea)

By Song Ho-jin, staff reporter


Jang Ha-na, a young first-term proportional representative Democratic Party lawmaker, caused a stir on Dec. 8 when she declared that last December’s presidential election was rigged as a result of the interference of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and the Cyber Warfare Command and called on President Park Geun-hye to step down and make way for a special presidential election during the regional elections in June of next year.

“It has been confirmed that the National Intelligence Service systematically posted 22 million messages using 2,270 Twitter accounts to help Park Geun-hye be elected president,” Jang said in a personal statement. “The only option remaining for Park, who came to office through a completely rigged and unfair election, is to apologize to the Korean people and resign immediately.”

“Park Geun-hye’s father became president through a coup that relied on guns and tanks. The only thing different in this election is that it was a cyber coup carried out by the National Intelligence Service and the army’s Cyber Warfare Command,” Jang said.

“Calling on Park and the Saenuri Party to reveal the truth and to take stern measures against those responsible is a waste of time. By holding a special presidential election at the same time as the regional election on June 4th, we can resolve all of the conflict in an efficient and economic manner,” Jang said, urging Park to make a decision.

While the Democratic Party has criticized the 2012 presidential election as having been illegal and unjust, this is the first time that a party lawmaker has openly called for the president to step down and for another presidential election to be held.

The ruling party immediately issued a heated response. “In short, I feel like we’re watching an absurd soap opera,” said Yoon Sang-hyun, deputy floor leader of the Saenuri Party (NFP). “These remarks are an insult to Korean voters and an affront to the president.”

“These were very regrettable and unfortunate remarks,” said Prime Minister Chung Hong-won in a full meeting of the Special Committee on Budget & Accounts.

DP spokesperson Park Yong-jin released a statement aimed at calming the situation. Park said that Jang had made the comments in a personal capacity. He expressed regret that Jang had made an official expression of her personal position that clashed with her party’s position.

Monday, December 09, 2013

PICK YOUR PLATE OF POISON



This video gives a taste of what the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP would bring. Created by Geoffrey Leighton based on a banner designed by Natasha Meyers and painted by ARRT! (Artists Rapid Response Team in Maine).

OBAMA KNEW HE HAD NO CASE



Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh joins Democracy Now to discuss his new article casting doubt on the veracity of the Obama administration’s claims that only the Assad regime could have carried out the chemical attacks in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta earlier this year. Writing in the London Review of Books, Hersh argues that the Obama administration "cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad." The administration failed to disclose it knew Syrian rebels in the al-Nusra Front had the ability to produce chemical weapons. Evidence obtained in the days after the attack was also allegedly distorted to make it appear it was gathered in real time.

JEJU: NOW & BEFORE



The Navy base project in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea now scars the coast.  It is important to remember that prior to the US deciding it would "pivot" 60% of its military forces into the Asia-Pacific, this village was declared a "special environmental preservation area" by the federal government, and that was in addition to the designating of Jeju the "Island of Peace" by the national government.

The US need for more bases, ports-of-call, airfields and barracks due to Obama's military pivot to surround China clearly trumped South Korean national preservation declarations.  Uncle Sam gets what he wants when he wants it or else!

Now the coastline is a friggin mess.  Lately there is talk (not surprisingly) about the need for an air base on Jeju as well.  After all, these Navy admirals will need a place to land their private special jets when their wives return from shopping trips to Seoul. 

Samsung is the lead construction contractor for the Navy base.  Boycott Samsung products!

We all have to deal with our arrogance and externally imposed feelings of insecurity.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

TRICKLE DOWN HUMAN CARING



Pope Francis denounces trickle-down economics as unfair to the poor, but Fox's Stuart Varney respectfully disagrees with the infallible Holy See.

ANOTHER BIG STORY BY HERSH

Whose sarin?

London Review of Books

By Seymour M. Hersh


Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.

But in recent interviews with intelligence and military officers and consultants past and present, I found intense concern, and on occasion anger, over what was repeatedly seen as the deliberate manipulation of intelligence. One high-level intelligence officer, in an email to a colleague, called the administration’s assurances of Assad’s responsibility a ‘ruse’. The attack ‘was not the result of the current regime’, he wrote. A former senior intelligence official told me that the Obama administration had altered the available information – in terms of its timing and sequence – to enable the president and his advisers to make intelligence retrieved days after the attack look as if it had been picked up and analysed in real time, as the attack was happening. The distortion, he said, reminded him of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, when the Johnson administration reversed the sequence of National Security Agency intercepts to justify one of the early bombings of North Vietnam. The same official said there was immense frustration inside the military and intelligence bureaucracy: ‘The guys are throwing their hands in the air and saying, “How can we help this guy” – Obama – “when he and his cronies in the White House make up the intelligence as they go along?”’

See the rest of this big story here

SHATTERING THE CLASS MYTHOLOGY



Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years. He has written nine books, including "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle" (2009), "I Don't Believe in Atheists" (2008) and the best-selling "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America" (2008). His book "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.

Part two of the interview......

SUNDAY SONG