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, July 28, 2007

DYSFUNCTION AT NASA

NASA spokespeople have acknowledged in the last few days that astronauts have been drunk while flying on space shuttle missions. That should be reassuring to everyone.

It was also reported this past week that a NASA employee had intentionally sabotaged equipment for an up-coming shuttle mission.

All this comes at a time when NASA and the Department of Energy are talking about expanding plans to launch nuclear powered payloads into space for their Moon and Mars missions that will ultimately be used to establish permanent mining colonies on these planetary bodies.

NASA tells us not to worry - all of their missions carrying nuclear power into space are safe. Forget sabotaged equipment and drunken astronauts.

All is well at NASA.

Should we continue to pour our precious tax dollars down the dysfunctional NASA rat hole?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

SERVING CHARGES OF IMPEACHMENT TO MAINE'S CONGRESSMEN

Last night the Maine Campaign to Impeach decided to organize two very important events on September 25 (Portland) and 26 (Bangor).

Because the House of Representatives has responsibility for investigating impeachment it was decided to ask impeachment supporters around Maine to join us in a citizen Serving Charges of Impeachment to our Maine Congressmen.

Because both of our two Democratic Congressmen in Maine are now refusing to support impeachment of Bush and Cheney the Maine Campaign to Impeach intends to expand our efforts, working with the growing national movement, to increase pressure on our members of Congress.

Our plan to Serve Charges of Impeachment against Bush-Cheney will include these points:

- Lying to Congress to start a war without legitimate reasons
- Illegal torture throughout the world
- Detaining Americans without charges or counsel
- Illegal wiretapping of Americans

Our action plan is as follows:

Tuesday, September 25 (Portland)

- We will gather at noon in Tommy's Park in downtown Portland right next to Rep. Tom Allen's office
- From noon to 1:00 pm we will spread out throughout downtown Portland and hand out leaflets explaining to the public why we are Serving Charges of Impeachment of Bush-Cheney to Rep. Allen
- At 1:00 pm we will hold a rally at Tommy's Park with speakers outlining the charges against Bush-Cheney and our outrage at Rep. Allen for refusing to consider impeachment even though he has acknowledged to leaders of the Maine campaign that Bush has committed "impeachable offenses."
- At 1:30 pm we will enter Rep. Allen's office as a group and present the Charges of Impeachment
- We will remain in the office until we hear from the Congressman that he will support impeachment of Bush-Cheney
- If Rep. Allen calls the police and we are told to leave the office we are inviting people to remain in the office and risk arrest. (Civil disobedience is a matter of personal conscience and it would be quite acceptable for anyone not wishing to risk arrest to leave at that point.)
- Contact Bruce Gagnon at 443-9502 or globalnet@mindspring.com for more information.

Wednesday, September 26 (Bangor)

- We will repeat the same basic plan outlined above at the Bangor office (23 Water St) of Rep. Mike Michaud. Location of leafleting and rally are yet to be determined. Times will be similar to those outlined above.
- Contact Jimmy Freeman at 469-2552 or packrats@mainisms.com

It is important for us to remember that the impeachment of Richard Nixon helped considerably to end the Vietnam war. At first the Congress refused to consider Nixon's impeachment but due to enormous public pressure it became inevitable.

Today we hear Bush-Cheney say that they will not end the occupation of Iraq as long as they are in office. Congress refuses to cut funding to end the war. Demanding that Bush-Cheney be held accountable for their crimes protects the Constitution and helps to end the illegal and immoral Iraq debacle.

We ask you to share this information with others in your community. We ask you to join the Maine Campaign to Impeach at both of these events on September 25 & 26 by participating in any part of the actions that you are comfortable with.

Help Maine join the growing calls around the nation to bring Bush-Cheney to justice. Help us restore democracy and the rule of law in America.

http://www.maineimpeach.org/

(Check out the video linked in the headline above)

Monday, July 23, 2007

CONYERS SELLS SOUL FOR COMMITTEE CHAIRMANSHIP

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) was fully encouraging and supporting impeachment efforts prior to the 2006 election. Then after the Dems took control of the House of Representatives the new speaker, Nancy Pelosi, sent him a public warning. If you want to remain chair of the House Judiciary Committee then you have to back off the impeachment talk. "Impeachment is off the table," Pelosi said. Conyers dutifully complied.

Here is a report by Bob Fertik on the march to the House office of Rep. Conyers today in DC:

Cindy Sheehan led 200-300 impeachment activists on a march from Arlington Cemetery to the Congressional office of Rep. John Conyers, whose job as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee puts him in charge of impeachment.

"Impeachment is not a fringe movement, it is mandated in our Constitution; Nancy Pelosi had no authority to take it off the table," Sheehan told her group of orange-clad activists Monday. "If Nancy Pelosi doesn't do her constitutionally mandated job by midnight ... I will announce that I'm going to run against her."

I just got a live report from David Swanson, who says Conyers is nowhere to be found - but Sheehan, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, and former CIA presidential briefer Ray McGovern are inside his office holding a press conference!

In fact, there are so many reporters with Cindy that they are taking turns going into the packed office to ask questions. At least 300 activists are lining the halls outside the office, both the marchers and those who went directly to the Capitol.

Update 1:30 EST: Conyers staff is negotiating with activists to move the protest to a larger room. In Detroit, 50 people went to Conyers' district office, but they only let 5 people in and wouldn't let them keep their cellphones so we're not getting any reports.

Update 1:35 EST: Conyers just arrived!! As he walked down the hall, activists shouted IMPEACH so loud the whole floor echoed. Conyers and his staff took Cindy, Rev., and Ray into a private office without the media. Stay tuned!

Update 2:55 EST: After an 80-minute meeting, Cindy emerged and told the activists that Conyers said "our only recourse is elections," and the activists groaned. Cindy announced she will run against Pelosi because she and Conyers haven't "stepped up," and the activists cheered. Rev. Yearwood is giving a fired-up speech and activists are crowding in to Conyers' office for the sit-in.

Update 3:43 EST: Capitol Police arrested Cindy Sheehan, Ray McGovern, Rev. Yearwood, David Swanson, and 20 other activists and put them on a police bus.

But all is not grim - Cindy is calling it her "campaign bus."

Sunday, July 22, 2007

WHAT MORE CAN WE EACH DO TO STOP FASCISM?

A debate is happening on Common Dreams about this peace festival in Portland, Maine on July 14 that made a huge peace sign with the bodies of those present.

Some are questioning the effectiveness of the action. As one person remarked, "It’s like pissing your pants in a dark suit; feels so good for a few seconds and no one notices certainly not the politicians. As [Alexander] Haig used to say, 'Let them march all they want to so long as they pay their taxes.' Getting together and holding hands ain’t a threat to anyone in DC."

The debate is a healthy one and for me the answer lies in the comment that everything we do is important. We should be making calls to Congress, writing letters to the editor, calling for impeachment, holding public rallies, and sitting in the offices of the politicians and going to jail if that is what it takes to get folks to wake up. We can't afford to half-step these days. Each of us must step forward and do more than we have in the past.

Ultimately for me it is about standing in resistance to the insanity now being perpetrated in our name.

Just this morning I sent around an article by Paul Craig Roberts to my email list called Impeach Now Or Face the End of Constitutional Democracy. In the article Roberts says, "Too much is going wrong for the Bush administration: the failure of its Middle East wars, Republican senators jumping ship, Turkish troops massed on northern Iraq's border poised for an invasion to deal with Kurds, and a majority of Americans favoring the impeachment of Cheney and a near-majority favoring Bush's impeachment. The Bush administration desperately needs dramatic events to scare the American people and the Congress back in line with the militarist-police state that Bush and Cheney have fostered."

Roberts fears that the Bush-Cheney pirate team will pull another 9-11 on us and declare martial law, suspend the constitution and even the 2008 elections. Full bore fascism right on our door step.

Roberts says, "Ask yourself: Would a government that has lied us into two wars and is working to lie us into an attack on Iran shrink from staging 'terrorist' attacks in order to remove opposition to its agenda?"

I think if we are honest with ourselves the answer to his question is a definite yes.

We've never quite been in such a moment in American history before. We are today right at the tipping point. It could go either way. What each of us does, or does not do, will be crucial in determining our future.

Let's not get stuck in a debate about which tactics are the "most" important. The most important thing we can do now is escalate our non-violent resistance to fascism in the USA.

Take a minute and think about the future. Think about what it would be like to live under martial law in the U.S. Then go out and do what you will have wished you had done while we still had time to prevent it from happening.

Our future depends on it.