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, January 07, 2017

Wonderful Wedding in Taiwan


Pre-wedding ceremony at Emily's grandfathers house to get blessings of the passed on relatives.

The parents of the bride and groom on stage for a toast

Two days ago we took a 90-minute high-speed rail ride from Taipei to the southern Taiwanese coastal city of Kaohsiung were Emily is from.  Her parents picked us up at the rail station and took us to her grandfather's home where the elders blessing ceremony was held.

After a huge traditional lunch we made our way to the Grand Hotel in Kaohsiung were we stayed for two nights. The wedding was also held at this beautiful place.  


About 250 people came to the hotel - interestingly some people dressed up but many came in quite casual dress.  Emily the bride wore three different dresses during the ceremony.  Imagine the stress on her to have to keep changing.  Remarkably she held up well throughout.

It's quite a thing to see your own son get married - even more moving when it is done in a country with such a different language and culture.  Julian's mom Becky Acuna and I are so proud of him as we watch him navigate his way with a wonderful new family and way of life in Taiwan.

Today Emily's parents are taking Becky, MB and me to a beach park for the day before we head back to Taipei tomorrow.  Then on Tuesday MB flies back to Maine and I head to Okinawa for a week of peace walking with the Japanese Buddhist order Nipponzan Myohoji as we protest US military bases there on that beleaguered island.

A nice video made of wedding highlights was made - see it here

Friday, January 06, 2017

Washington Peddling Lies



The sloppiness of the alleged DNC hack by itself proves it was not organized by a nation state, and the “utter nonsense” presented as proof of Moscow’s involvement is rather evidence of intelligence agencies being “ignorant and naïve,” John McAfee told RT.

Cybersecurity legend McAfee is one of the modern computer tech pioneers and the developer of the first commercial antivirus program, who has been in the business for the past 50 years. He is also the CEO of MGT Capital Investments, and a former presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Read This Book!


If the United States in 1945 had been able to ...shed some of its illusions about China, to understand what was happening in that country, and to adopt a realistic policy in America's own interests, Korea and Vietnam would probably never have happened....We would not still be confronted with an unsolvable Taiwan problem....And Mao's China, having come to power in a different way and not thrust into isolation by a hostile West, might be quite a different place.

Those words by US State Department Foreign Service Officer John Service sum up the essence of this very important book.  Service was one of just a handful of American government officials who had any real clue about China and was in the end fired by President Franklin Roosevelt (the grandson of a 'China-trade' opium dealer) because he dared to speak out about US China policy.

I learned so much from this book - it opened my mind in so many ways. For example it changed the way I now think about FDR.  He was totally clueless about China and was a complete captive of the 'China lobby' at the time which was led by Christian fundamentalists in the US who thought their mission in life was to bring China to heel and turn it into a replica of the US - a Christian and capitalist nation.

The disgusting reality of the absolute corruption of Mao's rival Chiang Kai-shek was something I knew a bit about but the back story around Chiang having Roosevelt, Congress, Time Magazine and the 'Christians' wrapped around his finger was more than astonishing - to the tune of massive amounts of US taxpayer dollars and a completely doomed Asia policy.

The book reads easily and I could not put it down during our flight from Boston to Beijing - even though a string of movies were available to me during the long flight.  I kept reading.

I urge everyone to read this book - I got it for $4 online and that included the postage.

You will learn so much - especially how our system works overtime to ignore reality and to remain mired in illusion and corruption.

Bruce

No War in Korea!


Talk grows in U.S. of possibility of military strikes on N. Korea 
 
By Chang Jae-soon

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (Yonhap) -- Talk is growing in the United States of the possibility of using military strikes to take out North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities after the North's leader, Kim Jong-un, threatened he's close to testing a long-range missile apparently capable of hitting the U.S.

Kim said in his New Year's Day address that the communist nation has reached the final stage of preparations to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. The remark was seen as a thinly veiled threat that Pyongyang is close to developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the continental U.S.

The threat appears to have stoked genuine fears of security among Americans, with reporters bombarding the Defense Department with questions of what the U.S. is going to do about the North's missile, including whether it's going to shoot it down or even launch a preemptive strike before it's fired.

It also prompted President-elect Donald Trump to send a tweet: "North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen!"

 On Wednesday, a private intelligence analysis firm, Stratfor, even laid out a list of potential targets in North Korea, including the Yongbyon nuclear complex, home to the North's plutonium-producing reactor and reprocessing facility.

"When considering an attack on North Korea, there are two broad categories of strikes to deliberate. The first is a minimalist strike, specifically focused on dismantling the North's nuclear weapons program. In this scenario, the United States would engage North Korean nuclear objectives only," Stratfor said in an analysis piece carried by MarketWatch and, titled, "How the U.S. could derail North Korea's nuclear program by force."

   "By not launching strikes on other North Korean targets, Washington leaves the door open, if only slightly, for de-escalation if Pyongyang can be convinced that the strike is not part of a regime change operation. What benefits Pentagon planners in this scenario is that a limited strike requires less resources and preparation, enhancing the element of surprise,"

   Potential targets in the minimalist strike include the Yongbyon complex, including the 5-megawatt nuclear reactor and the reprocessing plant, as well as the Pyongsan uranium mine that provides fuel for the reactor, and the Pyongsong nuclear research and development facility, known as the North's "Silicon Valley," Stratfor said.

"These facilities form the heart of North Korean nuclear production infrastructure. If they were destroyed or disabled, the North Korean nuclear production network would be crippled, set back years at least," it said.

U.S. defense officials were quoted by Reuters as saying that if ordered, the U.S. military has three options to respond to a North Korean missile test: a pre-emptive strike before it is launched, intercepting the missile in flight, or allowing a launch to take place unhindered.

Still, many arms and defense experts agree that a military strike is too risky to consider, especially in consideration of the proximity of Seoul to the border with North Korea and the possibility of the North showering artillery shells on the bustling capital area.

Military strikes "would be a wild gamble, especially with the Seoul-Inchon region — South Korea's commercial, political and population heart — so close to the border. Although the DPRK would lose any war, it could cause horrendous casualties before succumbing," said Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan.

"Yet the great achievement of America's military presence for the past six decades has been to prevent precisely such a conflict from occurring," he said in a recent piece carried by the National Interest.

Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on North Korea's military, was also quoted by Reuters as questioning whether U.S. missile defenses could shoot down a test missile, saying destroying North Korea's nuclear and missile programs would be a huge and risky undertaking.

Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), was also quoted as saying that the North's main nuclear and missile test sites were on different sides of the country, and an ICBM can be launched from anywhere in the country because it's mobile.

Robert Manning, a senior Atlantic Council analyst, said U.S. options are limited on the North.

"While everyone says North Korea is at the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda, other than strengthening deterrence, imposing tough sanctions that remove North Korea from the international financial system, there is little the U.S. can do in the near-term that does not risk a war, thousands of U.S. and hundreds of thousands of South Korean deaths," he said.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Assange on Fox News



Normally Fox News would vilify Julian Assange but in this case they gave him a chance to explain that Russia did not 'hack' the US election.

I can't blame Fox News for wanting to protect their chosen candidate Trump as he has repeatedly said that he does not believe Russia did any hacking of the US election.  CNN and MSNBC protect the Democrats all the time.  Turn about is fair play.

It's obvious to me that the Democrats are trying to pass blame onto Russia for their own disastrous loss to Trump in the election.  In addition, the neo-cons, who basically control the Dem party, were eager to push toward regime change in Moscow after Hillary got elected.  Their plans were interrupted when many working class people (largely former Democrats) in the rust belt states voted for Trump because the Obama administration did virtually nothing for these voters who turned out to be hungry for change due to their bleak economic situation.  (Obama did virtually nothing for the black community either during his eight years in office while he was very generous to Wall Street.)

Assange holds steady during this interview to the true mission of Wikileaks which is to expose government corruption and corporate domination of the political process.

I remain an admirer of Assange and am grateful to Fox News (no matter their agenda) for this extensive interview.

Bruce

Mining Corporations Want Rules Changed in Maine



Update on Maine's metallic mining rules by Hendrik Gideonse at Alliance for the Common Good rally in Augusta yesterday.

Made it to China


MB and I made it to Beijing at about 9:00 pm last night after a 14-hour flight from Boston.  Usually I'd watch 4-5 movies during that long of a trip but I was so engrossed in the book called The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia that I read the book during the flight.

After arriving we took a six-minute ride on a hotel shuttle from the airport and this is what Beijing looked like to us - maybe the air pollution was even worse than pictured above.  We went to bed and woke up around 3:00 am and never got back to sleep.  At 6:00 am we left the hotel heading back to the airport for our flight to Taiwan and the smog was so thick that the shuttle driver could barely see in front of him as he crawled along the road.

On the plane we read a newspaper article that said the pollution was largely coming from factories that were illegally releasing toxic smoke when they should not be doing so.  Many people are wearing masks with some kind of air regulator on them.  It reminded me of India where I recently experienced the reality of night skies without being able to see stars or the moon.  We humans are killing ourselves.

Today we arrived in Taipei and my son Julian picked us up at the airport and took us to our hotel near his apartment.  His wedding to Emily is on January 7 and before then we'll be seeing some sites.  The air here is clean and clear and the weather feels much like Florida without the intense humidity.  Beijing was very cold and three hours later we wished we were wearing shorts and sandals.  Our poor bodies are confused by all the changes they are going through right now.

More later...right now a nap is in order.

I highly recommend reading the book.  It's a mind blower in many ways.  I'll write more about it when I can. In the meantime you can read the review linked above.

Bruce

Monday, January 02, 2017

Global Network Membership Form 2017

The Global Network's 2015 annual space organizing conference was held in Kyoto, Japan.  We took a side trip to the Ukawa village along the coast to join villagers who have been protesting against the deployment of a US 'missile defense' radar aimed at China.



Working 25 Years to Stop the Militarization and Nuclearization of Space


Membership in the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space is open to all organizations and individuals.

Please add__________________________________to the Global Network membership list.                     (Organization/Individual Name)

Enclosed is our annual dues for 2017 in the amount of __________________ (pay what you can best afford on a sliding scale between $10 - $100).

Donations to the Global Network are tax deductible. (If you've already donated for this year we thank you.)

(One easy way to donate is using the internet. Go to our web site at www.space4peace.org and look for the green Donate Now! button and contribute via your credit card. This is a secure process.)

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Sunday, January 01, 2017

Pushing for War with Russia



Ukraine's fascist madman Poroshenko gives 'award medals' to US madmen Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Later Graham told the media that 2017 should be a 'year of offense' against Russia.  These cats are out of their minds but are now in power in Washington.

Katie - bar the doors!

Sunday Song