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, August 08, 2008

BACK IN THE NEWS

Bill-Hillary Clinton are back in the news. Bill for giving Obama a very chilly half-hearted semi-endorsement this past week. The question to Bill: "Is Obama qualified to be president?" His answer was generally, well .........? (One should remember that Bill, as Governor of Arkansas was not the world's most experienced candidate for president either.) Hillary was pulling back just a bit in recent days as she postures for a bigger role in the upcoming Democratic Party convention. They find letting go hard to do.

A question about the Dems convention: Will anti-war and impeachment protesters be shuffled off into bantustans?

I am convinced it was not supposed to end this way. Hillary was supposed to be the presidential candidate and Obama the V-P. But things got out of hand and look at the mess the Dems have now.

I leave for Toronto this morning to speak at the annual Nagasaki day event there. (How is that for smooth transitions?)

I've been to Toronto once before - it's a very international city. Many flavors of people there. Their pro baseball team is not doing so well this year. My Orioles are just below them in the standings - in last place.

It's raining again here - about the 19th time in last 20 days. When I get home on Sunday it'll be time to start working on the ark. All the animals in the neighborhood are lining up outside the door already. They know what's coming next.

One more thing on animals. I've not seen one bird at my feeder in recent months. I've bought the very best in seeds for them. I know that their populations are declining. It worrys me.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

THE SIGNS ARE EVERYWHERE

* Ron Suskind's new book, The Way of the World, is causing quite a stir and resulting in the impeachment word being used more frequently on network TV these days. His book shares more inside scoop on Bush-Cheney lies and deception in order to drag us into war.

* Mary Beth is getting rave reviews for her speech in New York city the other night. It's been posted on quite a few websites around the globe. Last night she spoke in Great Neck, NY and tonight she goes to Staten Island for a talk.

* The Army's recruiting scandal is heating up as young high school kids who decide they don't want to join the military are being threatened by desperate recruiters. This has been going on for years but recent public revelations are giving the recruiting machine a well-deserved black eye. There have even been instances where recruiters have locked kids in hotel rooms refusing to let them out unless they agree to join. That is kidnapping but somehow the military is not punished.

* Thanks to the Internet and Comedy Central shows like John Stewart's Daily Show and The Colbert Report the public is developing a sound bullshit meter to help us separate wheat from chaff. It never fails to astound me how, in spite of endless right-wing talk radio and corporate dominated news reporting on the primary network TV stations, folks are still able to figure out that we are being taken for a long bad ride. The people ain't stupid.

* The photo above comes from a little shoe shop in a Portland, Maine mini-mall where we last sat in the office of Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) calling on her to vote against any more funding for the Iraq occupation. Twice we ended up sitting all-night long. Collins is running for reelection and didn't want the bad publicity from having us arrested. This small shoe shop keeper, just across the way, asked us for one of our signs to put in his store while we were there. Imagine the surprise of Collins staffers when they left their office and saw that sign.......

* Just to be fair and bi-partisan, Rep. Tom Allen (D-ME) who is running against Susan Collins for her Senate seat, is happy these days after the Maine Supreme Court ruled that Independent candidate Herb Hoffman can't be on the November ballot. Hoffman's lawyers are now taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court saying that, "The Maine Law Court has construed and applied Maine law in a manner that not only tramples upon the federal constitutional rights of Mr. Hoffman, but also on the rights of the thousands of Maine voters who validly signed his petitions, and the rights of other members of the electorate who seek to engage in political expression or association through the nomination of non-party candidates to federal or state office."

I am one of those who have had their vote taken from them and will keep you posted on this important story about the loss of democracy in Maine. The Maine Supreme Court basically threw out Hoffman's signatures because they said he had to witness each and every one of them for them to be legal.

Hoffman's response is as follows: "But I guess it was OK for Democrat Tom Allen to do it back in February. We've examined the petitions Rep. Allen filed this year. More than 97 % of them were collected on caucus day. The confusion - and in some cases pure bedlam - that prevailed at the Democratic caucuses this year [because of the huge turnout due to the Obama phenomenon] has been widely documented. Just a cursory examination of the Allen petitions shows numerous instances indicating many of the signatures may not have been properly witnessed under this new standard.

"Had the Law Court subjected the Allen petitions to the same standard as were ours," Hoffman said, "there is a very good possibility that Rep. Allen would have been denied ballot access as well."

* Yes the signs of rebellion are everywhere. Just don't let it get hijacked by the politicians - of any party.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

NEVER AGAIN

Today marks the 63rd year that the Japanese people have asked the world to remember the day that the U.S. military dropped the first atomic bomb.

Each year the Japanese, and people from all over the world, journey to Hiroshima. On the trains they come from all over their nation, folding paper cranes and forming long flowing wreaths of them that they place all over the city. They make their way to the Hiroshima bomb museum where mothers tell the stories of the atrocity to their young children. While there in 1985 I saw this very scene and I was reduced to tears.

The atomic age is a story about civilian suffering at the hands of the military. Modern warfare largely kills innocent people. Women, old people, and children who are not dressed in uniforms nor carrying weapons are the ones who are killed today in war. How can any military profess honor in battle and victory when we know that virtually all high-technology weapons are indeed weapons of mass destruction?

How can any country, especially the U.S. government, claim that its nuclear weapons are good and necessary while maintaining that other countries are evil for possessing the same?

Historian Gar Alperovitz's research on the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shows that Japan had already lost the war by August, 1945. Alperovitz quotes Navy Admiral William Leahy, the senior military officer in the U.S. as well as chief of staff to President Harry Truman, as saying, "It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons...My own feeling is that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages."

The use of the atomic and hydrogen bombs signaled the start of the Cold War. The bombs were dropped as a military experiment and to show the Soviet Union that our post World War II foreign policy would be centered around the bomb. The nuclear arms race had begun and it continues, fully apace, to this day.

We must always remember the August 6th and 9th "barbaric" attacks by the U.S. on the Japanese people and we must vow to resist our military nuclear policy to ensure these ungodly weapons are never used again.

There can be no security in nuclear weapons or war of any kind. War today must be abolished or it will certainly abolish us. Each of us, just like in the time of slavery, have a moral obligation to the current and future generations that nuclear weapons be outlawed.

We have a moral obligation to abolish war and instead use the vast global resources wasted on killing to give life and ensure that all the people of the world can live in peace. There can be no more important task for any of us - especially those of us who have brought children into this world.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

MORE ON JFK - MESSING WITH THE $$$ SUPPLY

After I recently sent out my review of the new JFK book by Jim Douglass I have received quite a few emails telling me about Presidential Executive Order 11110. Frankly I had never heard of it before so I have done some research into it.

On June 4, 1963, the virtually unknown Presidential Executive Order 11110, was signed by John F. Kennedy with the authority to basically strip the Federal Reserve Bank of its power to loan money to the U.S. federal government at interest. With the stroke of a pen, President Kennedy declared that the privately owned Federal Reserve Bank would essentially soon be out of business.

JFK's order gave the Treasury the power "to issue silver certificates against any silver bullion, silver, or standard silver dollars in the Treasury." This meant that for every ounce of silver in the U.S. Treasury's vault, the government could introduce new money into circulation. In all, Kennedy brought nearly $4.3 billion in U.S. Notes into circulation. The ramifications of this bill were enormous.

JFK was killed on November 22, 1963 and the U.S. Notes he had issued were immediately taken out of circulation and replaced with Federal Reserve Notes.

Some people think the Federal reserve banks are U.S. government institutions. They are not. They are private credit monopolies which prey upon the people of the U.S. to the benefit of the predatory money lenders who own and run them.

JFK challenged the two most successful vehicles that have ever been used to drive up debt and thus make the bankers profit - war and the creation of money by a privately-owned central bank. His efforts to have all troops out of Vietnam by 1965 and Executive Order 11110 would have severely cut into the profits and control of the New York banking establishment.

Critical articles about the Federal Reserve banking system are not easy to find but there are some out there. There was also a book written in 1987 by well-respected political writer William Greider called Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country that reviews the history and controversy surrounding the federal reserve.

Green Party Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney has called for the 'Nationalization' of the Federal Reserve, saying we must "remove the economic middle men" and put the process of currency back into the hands of the people of the nation.

Former President Woodrow Wilson was one of those who helped push for the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. He later wrote: "A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated [in the Federal Reserve System]. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men.... We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world - no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men."

There is not much public jabber about this issue these days because we are talking about the very foundation of capitalism and it is another "off the table" subject in this country.

When one considers the reasons for JFK's assassination, as those who have emailed me strongly suggest, messing with the federal reserve can get you in big trouble. In JFK's case his Executive Order 11110 appears to have been one more step over the line. He put the public's interest above the interest of the oligarchy and paid the ultimate price. At the very least we should even bother to know the story.

Monday, August 04, 2008

TIME TO PLAN FOR SPACE WEEK LOCAL ACTIONS

Go to the web site Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space for more details about Keep Space for Peace Week.

Please help us spread the word about this important international week of local activities.

Keep Space for Peace Week gives us a good chance to bring these Star Wars issues and U.S. plans for "global control and domination" via space technology to the public consciousness.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

SPEAKING TOUR OF NEW YORK

Mary Beth leaves on Monday morning for New York City where she is being hosted by several groups for a speaking tour. Anne Gibbons from CodePink has organized the trip for her after coming to Omaha for the Global Network conference last April and hearing Mary Beth speak at that event.

The leaflet above advertising one of the events is quite stunning and I know that it will be a good series of talks for all involved. (If you click right on the leaflet you will be able to read the whole thing.)

This message of conversion is being heard by folks here in Maine and our chapter of Veterans for Peace is going to be doing a workshop on the topic at the national VfP conference in Minneapolis later this month. The hope is that national VfP will make conversion of the military industrial complex a priority in the coming year. That would surely be a great thing.

We just have to keep talking about economic conversion over and over again until it sticks with people. There is an old saying that people have to hear something 6-7 times before they really get it.