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, May 30, 2015

Resisting US Bases & Military Empire

  • I am at the airport in Portland, Maine waiting for my flight to DC.  This evening several of us from Veterans for Peace (VFP) will meet with one of the mayors from Okinawa to discuss their growing opposition to US base expansion plans.  Then on Sunday afternoon we'll meet with the new governor of Okinawa, Takashi Onaga, and we will present him with the VFP letter of solidarity and opposition to US bases on their island. Following that there will be a large dinner where we will further socialize with one another.

  • The Okinawa Perfectural Government has reportedly requested that Onaga would have talks with bureau chief-level U.S. foreign affairs and defense officials while in Washington. Okinawa is setting up a permanent lobby office in Washington in order to continue to represent the voice of their people inside the capital of the US military empire.

  • It is very exciting to see the growing non-violent resistance to US military bases happening all over the world.  In Okinawa, Japan, South Korea, Guam, Italy, Sicily, Philippines, Australia, Bahrain, and many other places people have had enough of the military toxic legacy, noise, war making, and bad behavior from American GI's.  There can be no doubt that the US empire is in a period of declining influence.  People around the world understand that the Pentagon is not in their country to bring real security - it is a forward-deployed resource extraction service operating on behalf of corporate capitalism.  It's exciting to be part of that global movement in motion.

  • The American people have a vital role to play in all of this.  In order for the Pentagon's program of "Full Spectrum Dominance" to be successful the military must first have unlimited access to the federal budget.  That means that all social spending must be severely reduced or completely eliminated in order to transfer those taxpayer dollars to the military industrial complex.  It is thus imperative that people campaigning to save social spending in the US actively point to the cancerous US military budget as the 'pot of gold' that must be cut in order for social progress to survive across our nation.
  • PressTV interviewed me the other day about US attempts to militarily control China as Obama's 'pivot' of 60% of US forces into the Asia-Pacific dramatically escalates tensions in that region.  You can listen to the interview here

You Could Be Putin-ized

Freedom of expression and democratic debate is considered by many as noble causes – even as rights. However, public discourse in the West – particularly the US – is neither free nor democratic when it comes to Russia. Why is this the case and is it dangerous? CrossTalking with James Carden and James Carafano.

Friday, May 29, 2015

All of Donbass is Family to Us

Delivering aid to eastern Ukraine which has had the hell kicked out of them for the past year by the US-NATO backed Kiev junta....

By Yevdokiya Sheremetyeva (littlehirosima)

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

I caught myself thinking that I'm not reporting about even half of those whom we are helping. These days we're mainly doing targeted aid. Earlier we were done in only a few days--we delivered most of the food to communal cafeterias and bomb shelters of Pervomaysk. Now, in addition to the old system which is still in place, we are painstakingly assembling lists of the most needy from the village heads--people without shelter, family, children, the orphaned, the injured, etc. And then we deliver aid to them directly.

The geography of aid keeps growing. Georgiyevka, Khryashchevatoye, Vishnyevyy Dol, Chernukhino, Pervomaysk, Stakhanov, Fabrichnoye, Metallist, Krasnyy Luch, Lugansk...These days even a week is not enough. Every day we travel with huge packages, which we have to put together ourselves, house to house, village to village. Forgive me that I don't report on all of them--it's very difficult. I alone am responsible for the accounting and the reports on our trips, and I won't entrust this work to anyone else.

I would like to say that everyone who is under our care is receiving aid regularly. We're not merely acquaintances anymore.
--Dunya, did you get a haircut?
--How was your trip this time?
And all of Donbass is family to us
So here's Galina Vasilyevna. Always greets us with an avalanche of kisses. It was already dark when we arrived.

We delivered two packages to our Olya, the girl from Pervomaysk bomb shelter who gave us her poems which we published. Olya seemed like a little kid during winter, but now I realize she'll soon outgrow me.

What's all this?

As usual, we dropped by Lyubov Mikhailovna, a heroic woman who lost a leg and an arm during a summer bombardment while cleaning the local farm of the dead chickens. She wasn't employed there, she was just helping out the city, that hero-woman. I can't repeat that enough.
Thanks to you, we have been able to collect money for a special wheelchair for the one-armed.

We dropped by the Kozlovs in Khreshchevatoye. Nikolay Ivanovich lost an arm during the summer. We brought him food and medicine which he was asking for the last time. Thanks to Lena Zhukova who found and bought everything that was needed. 

I already wrote about our Kutsenko, but I have to write again.
We've visited him several times at the hospital during our last trip.
He's been discharged. Now we are taking care of paperwork to have him admitted to a retirement home for Great Patriotic War veterans. Many thanks to Zhenya and Lena who took up that cause.

There are many others about whom I haven't written but whom we are assisting. The bedridden ill of Khryashchevatoye, Fabrichnoye, and Metallist. The single moms of Lugansk, Metallist, and other places.

We are delivering all manner of goods to the orphanages in Lugansk, Krasnyy Luch, the social protection fund, and other services.

I'll write about them soon! Dunya, the multi-armed shiva, will do it all! ;)
And, of course, many thanks to everyone who is helping us. I hope that when you read these reports, you realize that you have made it possible. ;)
(and why is it that livejournal doesn't use smilies?)

And, as always-- If you want contribute to humanitarian aid, contact me through my livejournal account, through Facebook, or via email: Everything will be delivered and reported.

The Cost of Endless War

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Peace is the Imperative

Ron Dellums is one of my all-time favorite political leaders.  After I joined the Air Force in 1971 I was sent to Travis AFB in California after my training was complete.  There was a race riot on the base as black troops grew weary of the institutional racism inside the military.  Then Congressman Dellums held hearings on our base to help support the black GI's and I closely followed his career after that.

He was a long-time critic of the Pentagon budget while in the House of Representatives.

The Corporate-Government Alliance Illusion

A debate emerges between noted journalists Bob Scheer and Chris Hedges on whether the state can reform its own surveillance practices and whether it can be held accountable by appealing to constitutional principles.

Divide and Rule

  • Tonight was the Maine Veterans for Peace (VFP) monthly meeting in Portland.  Regis Tremblay, Peter Woodruff and I were making the 45-minute trip to the meeting but half way there the traffic came to a dead stop.  Some emergency vehicles worked their way through the miles of two-lane jumble on I-295.  We sat still for about an hour and crawled a bit now and then.  After 90-minutes of waiting the traffic opened up but we turned around and came back home.  By the time we would have reached Portland the meeting would have been more than half over.

In 2013, U.S. Navy researchers predicted ice-free summer Arctic waters by 2016 and it looks as if that prediction might come true. Recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that there was less ice in the Arctic this winter than in any other winter of the satellite era. Given that the Navy has been making plans for "ice-free" operations in the Arctic since at least 2001, their June "Northern Edge" exercises may well prove to be just the opening salvo in the future northern climate wars, with whales, seals, and salmon being the first in the line of fire.
  • The Polish presidential election in recent days was quite interesting.  The expected winner Bronislaw Komorowski views Russia as a threat to European integration and he was the US-EU favorite.  The actual winner Andrzej Duda has been speaking out against Ukraine's growing Nazi problem (during WW II Ukrainian Nazi's joined with Hitler to kill alot of Polish people) and he refused to meet this week with the Kiev regime's President Poroshenko who had to cancel his trip to Poland as a result.  Poland was split damn near in half east-to-west between the two candidates so like Ukraine is today, the Poles are now also a divided people.  
  • This division game seems to be happening just about everywhere these days.  The strategy of divide and conquer appears to be alive and well.  The puppet masters are indeed busy.
  • When I heard yesterday on the radio that Obama's Justice Department was going after FIFA, the world football (soccer) organization, my very first thought was 'Russia'.  I had just read days before that Russia was going to host the World Cup in 2018.  Then this morning I saw Putin in an interview charging the US with messing with things (as usual) that it should not be messing with.  I'd never seen Putin so angry before.  FIFA is to have elections for its top leadership tomorrow. The US is pushing Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan - the son of King Hussein.  Likely a reward to the King for allowing the CIA and Saudi Arabia to train ISIS in Jordan.  There is no place and no organization that is safe from the meddling bloody hands of the USA.  Everything has been turned into a political tool for global corporate domination.Watch for the US to now lead the effort to get the World Cup withdrawn from Russia.  
  • This weekend I will fly to DC to join a Veterans for Peace delegation that will meet with the Governor of Okinawa who is bringing a large group of mayors and other leaders from that island to Washington in order to lobby against the presence of US military bases.  Okinawa (the photo above is from there) is loaded with US bases and the people are in revolt.  Recent elections put in a new governor and several mayors who promised to try to close the bases.  VFP was invited to bring a letter of solidarity to give the governor and I was asked to draft it.  It's gone through several rewrites but the letter is done and the weekend should be real interesting.

NATO Dramatically Outspends Russia on Military

Apparently that image of Russia as an aggressor within Europe has gotten to some. The so-called Arctic challenge exercises have been dubbed one of Europe's largest fighter jet exercises. Up 4000 personnel from nine states - including the UK, the US, France and Germany are participating. This is the latest in a string of NATO led drills across Europe in recent months. To discuss this lets bring in Tony Robinson from the Pressenza News Agency

100 Bows on Jeju Island

Each morning activists do 100 bows at the front gate of the Navy base currently being built in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea.  The base will port US Navy warships including aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and Aegis destroyers which will be used in Obama's 'pivot' of Pentagon forces aimed at China. 

As they do each bow these words are read on a loud speaker.

1. While holding in my heart that truth gives freedom to life I make my first bow.

2. Believing that the first step in solving a problem is self reflection I make my second bow.

3. Looking back at my foolishness of living without knowing the root meaning of life I make my third bow.

4. Recalling how I have been unable to live my life seeking truth based on facts I make my fourth bow.

5. Being struck by the crisis of life, the crisis of peace in today's culture I make my fifth bow.

6. Holding in my heart the fact that anti-life and anti-human contradictions and dangers have their origin in my own dualistic world view I make my sixth bow.

7. As I hold in my heart that possessions create other possessions and wars only give birth to other wars and cannot solve problems I make my seventh bow.

8. As I hold in my heart that it is illusory to think that riches and first place bring happiness I make my eighth bow.

9. As I hold in my heart my embarrassment over my ignorance for not knowing what is my role in the world I make my ninth bow.

10. As I hold in my heart that the way to life-peace is a life of relationship where I and thou have existence dependent on each other I make my tenth bow.

11. As I hold in my heart that the way to life-peace is to know and cultivate oneself from the viewpoint of life I make my eleventh bow.

12. As I hold in my heart that the way to life-peace is to accept the world's pain as my own pain I make my twelfth bow.

13. As I hold in my heart the truth that true love of self is to love my neighbor as myself I make my thirteenth bow.

14. As I hold in my heart that the way to life-peace is reflection responsive to the realities of my life I make my fourteenth bow.

15. As I hold in my heart the words that show the way for a life of truth to be understood and put into practice by anyone I make my fifteenth bow.

16. As I hold in my heart that the way to life-peace is a penetrating vision of the truth of existence and the truth of life, just as they are, I make my sixteenth bow.

17. As I hold in my heart that the way to life-peace is listening intently to the sound of oneself and the sound of the world I make my seventeenth bow.

18. As I hold in my heart that the way to lead the reform of the world is to reform one's own life I make my eighteenth bow.

19. Recalling the times my life on the inside and on the outside was not able to be straightforward I make my nineteenth bow.

20. As I hold in my heart that life-peace is of value greater than anything else in the world I make my twentieth bow.

21. In order to set up my life not strapped by language but have existence regulate language I make my twenty-first bow.

22. In order to set up a sense of values and a way of life that is not a slave of money I make my twenty-second bow.

23. In order to strengthen my philosophy and beliefs of a life free from a sense of relative deprivation I make my twenty-third bow.

24. In order to strengthen a life that overcomes the artificial order made by human greed and respect the order of the natural cosmos I make my twenty-fourth bow.

25. As I savor the first paragraph of the book of life-peace that thoroughly describes a geological world view based on the facts of life I make my twenty-first bow.

26. As I hold in my heart the truth of the cosmos's life that one thing's existence is a condition for another thing's existence I make my twenty-sixth bow.

27. As I hold in my heart the truth of the cosmos's life that the non-existence of another thing is the condition for the non-existence of this thing I make my twenty-seventh bow.

28. As I hold in my heart the eternal truth of order in the universe, inter-dependency, support, creation and obliteration, I make my twenty-eighth bow.

29. As I reflect on the fact that existing life is intertwined like a net I make my twenty-ninth bow.

30. As I savor the second paragraph of the book of life-peace that thoroughly describes how life in the universe is in fact originally a community of one body, one life I make my thirtieth bow.

31. As I hold in my heart that all life depends on nature and exists as a living community I make my thirty-first bow.

32. As I hold in my heart that our country depends on its neighboring countries and lives as a community of nations I make my thirty-second bow.

33. As I hold in my heart that our religion depends on neighboring religions and acts as a community of religions I make my thirty-third bow.

34. As I hold in my heart that our village depends on neighboring villages and lives as a community of villages I make my thirty-fourth bow.

35. As I hold in my heart that our family depends on neighboring families and lives as a community of families I make my thirty-fifth bow.

36. As I hold in my heart that I depend the other and I live as a community of life I make my thirty sixth bow.

37. As I hold in my heart that all beings depend on each other, support each other, and live as an eternal community of existence I make my thirty-seventh bow.

38. As I hold in my heart that community life becomes blessed only when it walks in the truth of mutual dependence and help I make my thirty-eighth bow.

39. As I savour the third paragraph of the book of life-peace repenting a life lived selfishly I make my thirty-ninth bow.

40. As I repent a selfish human-centered life that treats nature, the root of life recklessly, I make my fortieth bow.

41. As I repent my selfish life centered on my own country, overlooking the importance of our neighboring country, which our country depends on, I make my forty-first bow.

42. As I repent my closed way of life centered on my own religion, disobeying the will of the originator and not recognizing the dignity of neighboring religions I make my forty-second bow.

43. As I repent my selfish way of life centered on my family and failing to give thanks to neighboring families on whom we depend I make my forty-third bow.

44. As I repent my selfish way of life centered on myself, treating lightly the dignity of the other, who is the parent of my life, I make my forty-fourth bow.

45. As I repent my life selfishly and wrongly centered on my own groups, my country, my religion, my family, I make my forty-fifth bow.

46. As I repent my life of wrong self-love, with its logic of power and possession, of competition and dominance, I make my forty-sixth bow.

47. As I savour the fourth paragraph of the book of life-peace on how to serve and honor all life I make my forty-seventh bow.

48. As I resolve to live by the truth that human life and security and happiness comes from first honoring nature as the God of my life I make my forty-eighth bow.

49. As I resolve to live by the truth that my country's security and peacefulness comes from honoring my neighboring country as God of my own country I make my forty-ninth bow.

50. As I resolve to live by the truth that my religion's true light comes from honoring my neighboring religion as God of my religion I make my fiftieth bow.

51. As I resolved to treat my neighbor as one of God’s family and I realize this will guide my family in a secure, happy and truthful way, I make my fifty first bow.

52. As I resolve to live by the truth that my security and peacefulness comes when I treat others as the living God, I make my fifty second bow.

53. As I deeply comprehend reality and lead a life of contentment, which is the fifth article of the Life and Peace Scripture, I make my fifty third bow.

54. As I resolve to discard the human egoistic greed to exploit nature, I make my fifty fourth bow.

55. As I resolve to let go of chauvinistic nationalism which makes other countries insecure, I make my fifty fifth bow.

56. As I resolve to let go of the superiority of my religion which makes other faiths insecure, I make my fifty sixth bow.

57. As I resolve to abandon family-centered ideas which make other families insecure, I make my fifty seventh bow.

58. As I resolve to let of egoistic thoughts which make others suffer, I make my fifty eighth bow.

59. As I respect and become thankful for the values of natural world, I make my fifty ninth bow.

60. As I respect and become thankful for the values and traits of other nations, I make my sixtieth bow.

61. As I respect and become thankful for the values and traits of other faiths, I make my sixty first bow.

62. As I respect and become thankful for the values and personalities of other families, I make my sixty second bow.

63. As I respect and become thankful for the values and traits of other people, I make my sixty third bow.

64. As I realize that mutual cooperation and helping each other is the path towards a truthful life, I make my sixty fourth bow.

65. As I understand that the truthful path of mutual cooperation can be realized by our reflection and sacred aspirations, I make my sixty fifth bow.

66. As I deeply understand that my vow of Truth and Peace is the corner stone of my life, I make my sixty sixth bow.

67. As I deeply resolve in my heart not to inflict psychological or physical violence in any circumstance, which is the first article of the vow of Life and Peace, I make my sixty seventh bow.

68. As I repent for all my transgressions of a psychological, verbal, sexual, economic and social nature, I make my sixty eighth bow.

69. As I regret that I was resentful not toward myself but toward society, I make my sixty ninth bow.

70. As I resolve to treat everyone wherever and whenever with a peaceful mind and action, I make my seventieth bow.

71. As I resolve to become thankful for the friendship of all living beings, I make my seventy first bow.

72. As I resolve to respect all lives without any prejudice and bias, I make seventy second bow.

73. As I resolve to live in a humble and diligent way in order to abandon injustice within myself as well as in this society, I make my seventy third bow.

74. As I resolve to resist all kinds of prejudice and all causes of violence, I make my seventy fourth bow.

75. As I understand and respect others and thus realize my life shines, I make my seventy fifth bow.

76. As I resolve to have the attitude of deep listening and conversation, which is the third article of Life and Peace Vow, I make my seventy sixth bow.

77. As I remember that the beginning of violence starts from my opinionated ideas and hatred towards others because of differences, I make my seventy seventh bow.

78. As I remember that I need to learn the history, but need to be liberated from the past, I make my seventy eighth bow.

79. As I resolve to solve all matters in a candid and humble way and treat others with great patience and generosity, I make my seventy ninth bow.

80. As I protect all human’s freedom of expression and diversity of all cultures, I make my eightieth bow.

81. As I resolve to live the fire of sharing and modesty, which is the fourth article of Life and Peace Vow, I make my eighty first bow.

82. As I am certain of the truth that the life of frugality is the path for eternal progress, I make my eighty second bow.

83. As I resolve to live my life by respecting and helping others, I make my eighty third bow.

84. As I resolve to create the peace village within myself first, I make my eighty fourth bow.

85. As I resolve to protect all lives and their environments which is the fifth article of Life and Peace Vow, I make my eighty fifth bow.

86. As I repent that my way of living has polluted the environment, I make my eighty sixth bow.

87. As I ponder that the path to help nature, farming village, agriculture is the way to make all living beings alive, I make my eighty seventh bow.

88. As I resolve to protect all eco-systems and respect all the cycles of natural lives, I make my eighty eighth bow.

89. As I resolve to become the pioneer who realizes the peace of the Korean peninsula, which is the sixth article of Life and Peace Vow, I make my eighty ninth bow.

90. As I understand that peace can be realized only through the action of truth, love and non-violence, I make my ninth bow..

91. As I resolve to become the pioneer to actualize non-violence and prevent the war in Korea, I make my ninety first vow.

92. As I resolve to resist with non-violence any kind of authority, custom and violence that make people unhappy, I make my ninety second bow.

93. As I resolve to study and practice the truth, which is the seventh article of Life and Peace Vow, I make my ninety third bow.

94. As I realize that my spiritual study and practice to calm my mind is the path to realize peace in the world, I make my ninety fourth bow.

95. As I realize the path to cure and purify my mind is the way to realize peace in the world, I make my ninety fifth bow.

96. As I realize that my small deeds of non-violence, words and thoughts are the foundation of world peace, I make my ninety sixth bow.

97. As I realize that I am the light of life and peace, I make my ninety seventh bow.

98. As I pray that the light which I illuminates shines on my neighbors and this society, I make my ninety eighth bow.

99. As I pray that all people become the light of life and peace and this illuminates the world, I make my ninety ninth bow.

100. As I pray that the light that I kindle leads all sentient beings to live in peace and happiness, I make my one hundredth bow.  

What's Changed?

Welcome to this exclusive Rap News broadcast, helmed by the veteran anchor, and Iraq War Hero, Brian Washington. Today we seek to understand the cause of the tension which has gripped the Police States of America following the seemingly unstoppable deaths of black people at the hands of Officers of the Piece. What is the cause of these #BlackLivesMatters hastags and the protests erupting around the country? What is this ‘R-‘ word that everyone keeps bandying about…? What about that ‘history’ thing? Featuring newly installed Chief of Militarised Police, General Baxter, and a guest from the ‘Civil Rights’ movement, one Marvin Uggenrite, join indefatigable warrior for truth, Brian Washington, as he attempts to get to the bottom of this… or scrape the bottom of the barrel trying. For the first time ever Juice Rap News tunes into the Main Stream Media BS frequency for an entire episode… what could possibly go wrong?

Written & created by Giordano Nanni & Hugo Farrant in a suburban backyard home studio in Melbourne, Australia, on Wurundjeri Land.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

This is What the U.S. Pays For.....

Gorlovka is in a region controlled by eastern Ukrainian self-defense forces. The Kiev junta's military was behind the attack. Locals also say the mortars came from the direction of army positions.

Kiev says self-defense forces shelled their own families and neighborhoods.  

Memorial Day War Machine Resistance

Video from Brunswick, Maine Memorial Day parade with PeaceWorks and Veterans for Peace delegation.

We actually should have had more than 100 people with us during the parade but many supporters are afraid to show their face in public or they have given up hope that anying good will come from protesting any more.  One thing we can be sure of is that when good people don't speak out, especially when their own government has become fascist (the wedding of corporations and the state), then you can count on for sure that things will indeed get worse.  It's astounding to me how many people have so little courage of their convictions.  Mind blowing.....

One person wrote me yesterday after my blog post about 'liberals' and thought I was too hard on them.  The critic said we need everyone with us.  But are many liberals really with us?  What do they actually do to speak out against endless war and its deadly connection to austerity budgets?  Please show me - correct me if I am missing something?

I recently went to a meeting of a room packed full of liberals and the person running the meeting asked for a show of hands of those willing to write a letter to our local paper about our right-wing Gov. LePage's war on the poor in Maine.  I didn't see one hand go up.  I read the local paper everyday and keep waiting to see some of these liberals writing to the paper.  It's a rare occasion.

So if the liberals are too timid (or lazy, or not carrying enough, or whatever) to even write a letter what makes me think that when the clamp comes down hard on us that we will be able to count on those hiding in the shadows?

Yes it's gotten so bad that even people who carry flags and banners in a local parade are considered the radicals.  Heaven help us all......

You are not supposed to say these kind of things in polite company - usually the people that tell you that are trying to cover for their own complicity on some level.  I'm over this though man - I'm tired of seeing people in Gaza, Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Ferguson, Baltimore, Cleveland and beyond being killed with US $$$ and Pentagon support.

It's a frigging global war and we are all right in the middle of it.

Video by Peter Woodruff