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

Friday, March 31, 2006

FIGHT TRUTH DECAY


I'm heading to Colorado Springs on Sunday to participate in protests outside the 22nd National Space Symposium. As you can see by clicking the link in the title above, the event is a who's who of the Pentagon and aerospace industry. Last year over 6,000 military and weapons industry personnel were there.

Our Global Network affiliate group, called Citizens for Peace in Space, is once again organizing the protest outside the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. They are calling it the "Only You Can Prevent Truth Decay" protest. The protests will also be taken out into the larger community through a public forum at Colorado College and a visit to the Buckley Air Force Spy & Space War Base in nearby Aurora, Colorado. We will also take folks out to see the several local space command sites in an action that will be called "2006 Space Expose 'Um."

Citizens for Peace in Space (CPIS), particularly its coordinator Bill Sulzman, is a founding member of the Global Network. In a leaflet CPIS says, "We expose this propaganda offering for what it is, an arms bazaar for fat cats and war lords who run the U.S. space program. The official story is full of half truths, coverups, and outright lies. Exposing that is a tall order but someone has to do it."

It should be fun as CPIS is one of the more creative groups around. They always use street theater to get their message out to a wider audience. I am looking forward to the trip and will try to put some short reports from the action on the blog while in Colorado.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

WHO VALUES LIFE THE MOST?


I sometimes hear people say that people in Iraq do not value life the way we do in the U.S. I find that an arrogant statement. Do the people of Iraq love their families any less than Americans do? People in the U.S. have learned to use statements like this to justify our unending empire building that results in legions of dead people that resist U.S. control and domination.

Did the U.S. show how much we valued life when we virtually exterminated the Native Americans? Did the U.S. show its reverence for life when it created the institution of slavery - selling human beings on the auction block in cities throughout the country? Do we value human life today when 46 million of our citizens have no access to health care - the only industrialized nation in the world without a national health care system?

Politicians like to talk about values a lot these days. So do many right-wing conservative groups who consider themselves "right with the Lord." But how do they feel about the war in Iraq, or national health care, or the death penalty? All values issues for sure.

This kind of arrogance, that we in the U.S. are the "exceptional" nation, is a major reason why America is so hated and mistrusted around the world. Until the American people begin to deal with our arrogance, we will remain the laughing stock of the world.

Monday, March 27, 2006

WHITEY ON THE MOON


The Washington Post ran a story yesterday called "U.S. Planning Base on Moon to Prepare for Trip to Mars." The story said that NASA is now planning for a permanent moon base by 2020. The problem - money. Over 40% of NASA's budget is now being spent on the troubled and expensive Int'l Space Station. We were told the space station was originally going to cost tax payers $10 billion but it ended up costing us $100 billion and it is still not completed...probably never will be.

Imagine the cost of a permanent moon base. Do you understand why the Congress keeps talking about the need for "entitlement programs reform"? What are the entitlement programs they want to reform to free up money for the aerospace industry? Try Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what is left of the welfare program.

Why the big rush to get to the moon? "The new thing is China, and they've announced they're going to the moon. The Europeans want to go; the Russians want to go; and if we don't go, maybe they'll go with the Chinese," Mars Institute Chairman Pascal Lee says. "Could we bypass the moon and go to Mars while India and China are going to the moon? I don't think so."

So what is the big deal on the moon that everyone wants to get a hold of? It's called helium-3. Scientists say helium-3 could be used to provide power for fusion reactors here on Earth, making the profits of the oil corporations look like nothing. So the race is on. Who pays for the technological race to the moon? Right, you the taxpayer. Who would profit? Right again, the big aerospace industry corporations. You the taxpayers get left in the dark - without your "entitlement programs."

"Power is the big challenge," says Larry Toups at NASA. NASA and the Department of Energy want nuclear reactors on the moon so they are now laying the groundwork to convince the nation that multiple launches of nuclear reactors heading to the moon will be acceptable. Hold onto your hats folks.

Then add to all that the expensive military space weapons technology that would be needed to ensure that the U.S. "controlled and dominated" the pathway between the Earth and the moon and you've got a whole new arms race. Mucho gravy for the weapons industry.

Someone sent me the words to a Gil Scott-Heron song about the moon. Here it is.

Whitey on the Moon
by Gil Scott-Heron

A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face and arms began to swell.
(and Whitey's on the moon)
I can't pay no doctor bill.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Ten years from now I'll be payin' still.
(while Whitey's on the moon)
The man jus' upped my rent las' night.
('cause Whitey's on the moon)
No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
I wonder why he's uppin' me?
('cause Whitey's on the moon?)
I wuz already payin' 'im fifty a week.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Taxes takin' my whole damn check,
Junkies makin' me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is goin' up,
An' as if all that shit wuzn't enough:
A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face an' arm began to swell.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Was all that money I made las' year
(for Whitey on the moon?)
How come there ain't no money here?
(Hmm! Whitey's on the moon)
Y'know I jus' 'bout had my fill
(of Whitey on the moon)
I think I'll sen' these doctor bills,
Airmail special
(to Whitey on the moon)