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....

My Photo
Name:
Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Friday, March 16, 2007

BUDGETS CONTINUE TO FAVOR ENDLESS WAR

The Democratic Party controlled House Appropriations Committee voted yesterday to recommend $124 billion for the Iraq occupation for fiscal year 2007 (recall that Bush only asked for $93 billion). It goes to the full House next week for approval.

While Congress is hashing out 2007 Iraq money, the Bush team of pirates have also submitted their 2008 budget request to Congress.

  • Bush has requested $622 billion for military spending in the 2008 budget. This is an increase of $40 billion over the previous year.
  • Pentagon spending has increased 48% during the Bush reign.
  • Bush is asking Congress to approve $145 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan for 2008.
  • The Pentagon requests $16 billion in 2008 for Star Wars research and development

To pay for these major increases in military spending and more tax cuts for the rich, Bush proposes more severe cuts in human needs programs in 2008.

  • Cut Medicare by $66 billion over the next five years.
  • Cut Medicaid by $11 billion over the next five years.
  • Cut other domestic programs by $114 billion over the next five years. These programs would be head start for kids, veteran's health care, environmental protection, scientific research, low-income housing and health assistance.

Now is it just obvious to me that you can't have guns and butter at the same time? The Democrats claim that you can. Some real hard choices have to be made here and at this point it is quite apparent what is getting cut and what is not.

The Dems just handed Bush more than he wanted for Iraq in 2007. What makes us think they will suddenly change course in 2008?

Those who believe we will see change just because the Dems have taken control of Congress are fooling themselves. You are riding a sinking ship. The sooner you get off and start swimming the better chance we have of saving lives before we all drown.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

THE NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY IRAQ STRATEGY

The word has just come down from Washington.
The Dems have got a bold new strategy.
It was to be called “head ‘em off at the pass”.

The idea was to outflank Bush and his team,
To come up with a plan to get out of Iraq.
To end this nightmare once and for all.
To bring the troops home
and stop wasting our national treasury
on a senseless and illegal occupation.

Reward the loyal voters from the last election.

But somehow the wires got crossed.
Somewhere between Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid
things got turned around.
No one knows for sure how or why.

Maybe it was a young intern who messed up,
or maybe a lobbyist from the war machine
intercepted the transmission and changed the message.
Possibly it was complicity and slavishness.

A news conference was organized,
all the cameras and microphones were turned on,
lights shining brightly on Pelosi’s make-up,
Uncle Harry was punching the imaginary shadows again.

The intros were made.

Ladies and gentlemen,
we welcome you to this important
Democratic Party news conference
where we will now unveil our new strategy
to deal with the president’s surge.

First, we passed the non-binding resolution.
Then we considered for just a second
cutting the occupation funds,
but that is a radical idea and
we have to take care of the troops,
and our corporate donors,
so that was ruled out.
Impeachment is also off the table.

So we are doing the next best thing.
We will do what we do best,
what we are known for here in Washington.

We are pleased to announce that
our new strategy will be,
not to stick our necks out
as the public requests,
but instead to stick our heads
up our collective small “d” ass.

Remember us in 2008.

We are the opposition party.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

INTERNATIONAL PEACE IN SPACE CONFERENCE TO BE HELD IN GERMANY

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space will be holding its 15th annual space organizing conference in Darmstadt, Germany on March 23-24. The group is made up of over 140 peace groups around the world who are working to oppose the introduction of weapons and nuclear power into space. The theme for the annual meeting will be The Role of the European Union in the Militarization of Space.

The Darmstädter Friedensforum, the International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation (INESAP), and the Pressehütte Mutlangen will cosponsor the annual space conference.

Activists will come to Germany from as far away as the U.S., India, Australia, England, Romania, Hungary, Sweden, and other European countries. Of particular interest this year will be discussions about Bush administration attempts to put “missile defense” systems in Poland and the Czech Republic in spite of massive public opposition in those countries to the deployments. Russia is particularly alarmed as they see the U.S. continually expanding military outposts eastward and has promised to respond in kind to U.S. military moves.

According to conference organizer Regina Hagen of INESAP, "Militarization of space is a vicious circle. The more one country depends on military use of satellites, the more others do the same as can currently be seen with the European Union’s development of the Galileo reconnaissance system. And when the military depends on space systems, the next logical step is to protect these systems with weapons. This brings war to space. This must be stopped."

Global Network Coordinator Bruce Gagnon stated, “One key obstacle to international disarmament is U.S. determination to move the arms race into space. With U.S. efforts to create full spectrum dominance other nations are saying that they must maintain their existing nuclear forces, or develop new nuclear arsenals and military space systems, as a deterrent to U.S. plans for control and domination via space technology.”

The Global Network contends that the administration of George W. Bush has taken international cooperation off its foreign policy agenda. “Current U.S. nuclear forces have essentially become an arsenal of hypocrisy as Bush lectures the rest of the world about the evils of weapons of mass destruction while the Pentagon builds more nukes, space weapons programs, and plans for preemptive attack on Iran,” Gagnon said.

Full conference details are available at the Global Network’s website www.space4peace.org

Sunday, March 11, 2007

WHO ARE YOU TO CHALLENGE ME?

I heard a story the other day
about a Bangor Daily News (BDN) media official
telling peaceniks they had not covered their recent protest
because it was old news.
Redundant....old hat.....
stuff like that.

One peacenik thought about it
and wrote the guy back
and wondered if the BDN
was going to judge car crash stories
and murders and fires
by the same journalistic standards.

I'm certain the BDN scribe was insulted by such audacity.
How dare you say such things to me he must have thought.
I am the creator of the community reality
I am the maker of fortunes and careers
I am the breaker of hearts and lives
I am the one who does as his corporate bosses tell him
I am the chief lackey around here.
Who are you to challenge me?

I remember many years ago
a media gate keeper telling a friend and me
not to worry our pretty little heads
about informing the public on a particular concern.
The newspaper, the Orlando Sentinel, had a plan.
They were on the case and had it under control.

The media was the message
the media is the god.
A democratic debate was not needed
activism was not needed
the public was not needed
agitation was not needed
ideas from the great unwashed were not needed
the media boys were on the case.......
Go home and find something useful to do
with your otherwise wasted lives.

And so it goes today
from Iraq to Bangor.
The pages are filled with all the news that is fit to be printed.
Whole sections of the paper are left blank for me now
as I rustle though the daily rag
passing the big adverts,
the color pictures of men in orange suits
in handcuffs
on their way to trial
for another sensational murder
or driving under the influence
of a crazy society.

Pages of stories about oranges looking like grapefruit
and birds singing in winter
while Baghdad blows up again
and people cry invisible tears
and Washington burns our health care money
as politicians tell us they are almost there.

The news is twisted
and turned
and flattened out
and squeezed
and bled
and contorted
and changed
and shortened
to fit the tiny spaces
between the ads for women's underwear
and cars
and SUVs
and hummers
and big stories about violent video games
and returning heroes from a war far away.

A letter here and an announcement there
keep alive the illusion
that all is well here at home.
That democracy and the old ways are sound.

But the truth lies with the rusty scissors
as fewer pages are clipped
and stored
in our scrapbooks
where the stories of our lives
used to be collected
to pass on to our children
so we could teach them
about the good work that was done
to keep the fires alive.

Somehow the spirit rages on.
The Russians learned to read between the lines
of Pravda
and today we turn the Times upside down
trying to learn the same lesson
so we can be free again.