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

Monday, April 28, 2008

HEADING TO BRAZIL FOR GLOBAL GREENS MEETING

I leave in the morning for Brazil where I will speak at the Global Greens conference in Sao Paulo on May 2. It is a great honor to have been invited to speak on a plenary panel called "Climate Crisis: Impacts on communities, economies, and peace and international stability."

I will take the train to New York and then fly from there to Sao Paulo on a long 12-hour flight. Fellow Mainer, and founder of the Greens in this state, John Rensenbrink will be on the same plane and we will share a room once we arrive.

I've never been south of Mexico city in Latin America and look forward to meeting many new people. It appears that I will also co-facilitate a workshop with a group of Japanese Greens on peace issues so that will also be a real pleasure.

I will try to blog while gone, hopefully the hotel I will stay in will have a computer I can use.

I get home on May 5 and will then look forward to no trips for awhile. I could use a good stay home rest for awhile but could not pass up this chance to speak to Greens from about 75 other countries.

THE DREAM IS OVER - BLOVIATORS TAKE OVER

It is time to wake up from the deep sleep. The dream is over.

I read this morning an article in the Washington Post about the large numbers (the surge) of voter registrations in North Carolina as they approach the Democratic party primary. One young woman said she wanted to return to the days when her generation would have a better life than her parents. In her mind it seems one just has to plug in the right candidate and all will be well again. Shangri-la.

Then I read an article about gas prices climbing and convenience store owners not being able to make money as customers are not buying things inside their stores after pumping gas. Many of the store owners are trying to sell their business but there are no buyers.

Then it was an article about hunger in Mauritania and the Post reported that, "Mauritania is caught in a global food trap, producing only 30 percent of what its people eat and importing most of the rest. As prices skyrocket, those who can least afford it are squeezed the most as the world confronts the worst bout of food inflation since the Soviet grain crisis of the 1970s."

My mind wandered to the unthinkable. How long before we face that food shortage here as rich farmlands are paved over for shopping malls across the U.S. and legions of remaining acres are growing corn to make ethanol to feed our cars?

Truckers in Maine are heading to Washington DC today to protest rising fuel prices. The Portland Press Herald reported this morning that, "Independent trucker Albert Raymond said he spent $82,000 to fuel his big rig last year – $12,000 more than the year before.......They plan to join hundreds of truckers from 25 other states for a demonstration at the Capitol today, the latest in a series of protests by truck drivers this month."

Having lived in the American west for some time as a young boy I learned about towns that became like ghosts when the westward expanding railroad passed them by. The trucking industry feels like a ghost town in the making.

The politicians just bloviate [speak pompously]. This is a new word for me but it has captured my imagination. It is a word that resonates with me at this moment. Politicians are blowhards. They talk big, and fast, and loose. They bloviate about all these issues but nothing happens as the corporations just continue to destroy all life around us.

According to World Wide Words, "This word is almost entirely restricted to the United States; it doesn’t appear in any of the British English dictionaries, not even the big Oxford English Dictionary or the very recent New Oxford Dictionary of English. Yet it has a long history.

"It’s most closely associated with U. S. President Warren G. Harding, who used it a lot and who was by all accounts the classic example of somebody who orates verbosely and windily. It’s a compound of blow, in its sense of 'to boast', with a mock-Latin ending to give it the self-important stature that’s implicit in its meaning."

One example of a bloviator is my Congressman Tom Allen, the "good" Democrat from Portland, Maine. He met the truckers on the highway yesterday and called for "an investigation of price fixing, manipulation, rampant speculation and other unscrupulous behavior in the petroleum markets." This is what the Democrats do, they call for investigations and then nothing happens. You and I know that the oil corporations are thieving like crazy, their profits have hit the roof. We don't need another investigation, we need action! Will the Democratic party bloviators actually nationalize oil corporations or move to tax the hell out of their profits and use that money to build alternative transportation like rail systems? Don't hold your breath.

This same Rep. Tom Allen will soon vote on the new Nancy Pelosi plan to give Bush $172 billion more for the Iraq occupation. The Democratic party leadership wants to give Bush money for the rest of 2008 and 2009 so they can get the votes out of the way now in order that people will have forgotten about it by the time of the national election in 2008. Instead of fighting Bush, denying him more money for this insane and costly Iraq occupation, the Dems want to slip him the cash now and then criticize the Republicans for a "failed" Iraq policy. It's a bloviators paradise!

Imagine just for a moment how we could use that $172 billion to repair this crumbling America. Will Hillary or Obama call on Nancy Pelosi to back off that disastrous plan? Will Tom Allen stand up against Pelosi? The fact is right now Tom Allen's staff won't return our calls when we have called his office to discuss this issue.

The American dream is over. Bloviators have taken over. In the place of real democracy we now have hot air, and lots of it.