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, June 13, 2009

VOTE ON WAR $$$ LIKELY ON TUESDAY



See this article on the Dems pressuring members of their party

NEW CONFLICT ZONE

This short news report is about resources in the Arctic region that are now becoming available for "extraction" due to the melting of the Arctic resulting from climate change.

There is going to be major conflict between the US and Russia over control of the Arctic. As this report says Russia has the largest land mass on the planet that connects with the Arctic. The US is now rounding up allies like Canada and Norway to challenge Russia for control of this region.

As fossil fuels decline around the planet this conflict will become more visible.

Makes one wonder again why the US refuses to put heavy emphasis into energy conservation here at home as well as dramatically expanding wind, solar, mass transit and the like. Despite all the talk about green jobs only a token amount of our national budget is going this way.

Instead the greatest percentage of our national treasury, what is left of it anyway, is going into expanding military operations worldwide to grab control of the world's remaining fossil fuels.

You'd almost start to think that the oil corporations were in control of making policy in Washington.........

Friday, June 12, 2009

LAST CHANCE TO STOP WAR FUNDING

202-224-3121

This is the phone number to call in Washington to reach your Congressperson and Senator.

The final votes are coming soon on the $105 billion war funding bill for Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan

The leadership in the Democratic party are pushing their members hard to vote for the war funding bill (that now includes a mish-mash of other items like "cash for clunkers" which is a $4,500 credit for trading in your SUV, torture photos, Guantanamo detainees, the international monetary fund, and pandemic flu.)

The only way this madness will end is if you do something to help.....such as call your Congressperson now.......

202-224-3121

This is one of those moments when the peace movement has to show up. Are you with us?

RESEARCHING MORE WAR


* This photo above from Afghanistan haunts me. (Click on the photo for an even better view of it.) This is what we've done to that country since our "long war" against the people began in 2001. They did not have anything to do with 9-11, most of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden has yet to be found. I've always, with tongue slightly in cheek, suggested someone check the basement of the White House. This war has to do with pipeline routes for moving Caspian Sea oil and natural gas. And it has to do with making sure that Russia and China can't easily move those resources where they'd like to. Congress is getting ready to appropriate more money for this war. I urge you to call your Congressional delegation now and say NO MORE WAR MONEY!

* I have been working for the past week on a couple of keynote speeches I've been invited to deliver in Hiroshima on August 1 and Nagasaki on August 8 by Mayor Akiba from Hiroshima. It's quite an honor to get that invitation and I've already got over 25 pages of notes. I've requested, and been getting, lots of advice from friends around the world on things I should focus on in the talks.

* A key date I am now tracking is July 6 which is when Obama will travel to Russia to meet with President Dmitri Medvedev for talks on nuclear disarmament. The public relations campaign between the two nations has been heating up lately as both sides have been posturing to try to gain some global image advantage which indicates to me that both countries recognize that the negotiations on Obama's "global zero" proposal will be a tough sell.

With NATO surrounding Russia and US proposals to put "missile defense" systems into Poland and the Czech Republic still on the table, Russia has made clear that they would be fools to get rid of their nukes. Throw in the recent talk by the Pentagon's StratCom about the "Prompt Global Strike" system (the military space plane) that would fly to the other side of the world in an hour and then drop a devastating first-strike conventional attack on Russia or China and you can begin to understand any hesitation.

The New York Times reports today the following on this story:

He [Secretary Gates] said Washington had put forward some options for collaboration, among them “putting [US] radars in Russia, having data-exchange centers in Russia.” He said at the July summit meeting between Mr. Obama and the Russian president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, that the leaders could “make some steps where they will partner with us and Poland and the Czech Republic in going forward with missile defense in this third site.”

Moscow received the remarks coolly, with Mr. Nesterenko [Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman] commenting that they “reflect the U.S.’s wishful thinking, rather than the way things actually are.”

For Russia, any reconfiguration that preserves sites in Poland and the Czech Republic “is just window dressing,” said Dmitri V. Trenin, a political analyst.

“I’m not sure everyone in the U.S. understands how much is at stake as far as the Russians are concerned,” said Mr. Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. “The issue for the Russians is, what are the U.S.’s long-term intentions vis-à-vis Russia? And they are looking at missile defense for the answer to that question.”

An unwillingness to scrap the Eastern European facilities would be seen by hawks in Moscow as evidence that “the hidden agenda is to contain and destroy Russia,” he said.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

TIME TO RENOUNCE VIOLENCE



Naomi Klein writes about this video:

"His name is Ezra Nawi. You've probably never heard of him...Ezra Nawi is one of Israel's most courageous human rights activists and without your help, he will likely go to jail in less than 30 days.

"His crime? He tried to stop a military bulldozer from destroying the homes of Palestinian Bedouins in the South Hebron region. These homes and the families who live in them have been under Israeli occupation for 42 years. They still live without electricity, running water and other basic services. They are continuously harassed by Jewish settlers and the military."

You can support Ezra by going here

While in Cairo President Obama said there would never be peace in the Middle East until the Palestinian people renounce violence. One has to wonder if Obama will equally call on Israel to renounce their violence, and injustice, against the occupied Palestinian people.

WHAT WE DO IN AMERICA

Top 10 Military Spenders in 2008 (in billions of dollars)

1. United States — $607.02
2. China — $84.93
3. France — $65.74
4. United Kingdom — $65.35
5. Russia — $58.66
6. Germany — $46.87
7. Japan — $46.38
8. Italy — $40.69
9. Saudi Arabia — $38.210
10. India — $30.0

From the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) annual report on global military spending

Just gaze at those numbers for a moment.....how is it possible that Osama bin Laden is a threat to the U.S.?

Why is the U.S. now militarily surrounding Russia and China? How many in that list above are U.S. allies?

Is it any wonder that the roads and bridges in America are falling apart and that our public schools have to turn to the Pentagon for funding?

Is it possible to have a military empire and still build a loving and caring nation at home?

What does it say about the soul of America when we spend 54% of every federal tax dollar on the military while the public remains virtually silent about that very fact?

How is it possible to have a functioning democracy when both mainstream political parties are heavily funded by the same weapons corporations that receive this massive amount of money from Congress?

Why doesn't the media talk more about this breakdown in democracy and huge war funding?

Have we become hard-hearted about the fact that we live in a killing culture here in America?

Are we still human?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

NATO PROVOKES RUSSIA


More at The Real News

I can't believe I missed this one. It's a couple weeks old but a really important 9-minute interview. It very effectively reveals what the real source of tensions between the US and Russia are all about. I've written about it often here on the blog but now you can hear it, with nice graphics too, from another respected source.

F. William Engdahl is an economist and author of the best selling book "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order." Engdhahl has written on issues of energy, politics and economics for more than 30 years, beginning with the first oil shock in the early 1970s. He contributes regularly to a number of publications including Asia Times Online, Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Foresight magazine; Freitag and ZeitFragen newspapers in Germany and Switzerland respectively. He is based in Germany.

PRIVATIZATION OF WAR


Bill Moyers interviews award winning journalist Jeremy Scahill about the war in Afghanistan and how the Obama administration is turning to private corporations to provide growing numbers of troops for the war.

Schahill raises the serious concern, "I feel that the end game in all of this could well be the disintegration of the nation state apparatus in the world and it could be replaced by a scenario where you have corporations with their own private armies."

Scahill, who wrote the book exposing Blackwater's dirty role in Iraq and New Orleans after the hurricane, is right on this one. By privatizing war you have the final leg in the plan for corporate domination of the world - 21st century feudalism. Sadly Mr. Obama seems quite content with the development.

See the full Moyers interview with Scahill here

Sunday, June 07, 2009

DREADED "S" WORD - PART 2

Paul Jay, from The Real News, speaks again to Leo Panitch, Professor of Political Science at York University in Canada about the relevance of Karl Marx’s theories today. They discuss climate change and the economy as seen from a Marxist perspective. Panitch says that many non-Marxists are advocating Marxist-like ideas, such as putting "banks into the hands of the State" because "in the face of this [economic] crisis, it's rational."

Panitch reminds us "that what Marx was about was trying to help people overcome their social isolation, which is produced in this market, individualistic, commodified society....and undertake a massive social and political transformation."

There is one kind of socialism in America that is fine - that is socialism for the rich. Read about it here.

MR. BIG IS CALLING

The military is moving to take over our public schools. All across America the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and the Space Command are worming their way into control of schools. Even in other countries a similar move is underway to militarize education.

As local communities face fiscal crisis and job losses they are forced to cut back on education spending. As they cut funding parents worry about what kind of future their children will have.

Enter Mr. Big.

Mr. Big has all the dough these days. Mr. Big promises to impose discipline in school. Mr. Big is hiring. Mr. Big promises college funding to kids if they join Mr. Big's cult. Mr. Big promises to make a "man" out of any boy or girl who joins the cult.

From Chicago to Colorado Springs, from Hawaii to Atlanta this trend is accelerating at a break neck pace.

According to the Associated Press, "The Marines are talking with at least six districts - including in suburban Atlanta, New Orleans and Las Vegas - about opening schools where every student wears a uniform, participates in Junior ROTC and takes military classes."

Of course these military schools are targeting the poor and minority communities who have declining tax bases and growing unemployment. Rich kids, who attend well funded white schools, need not apply.

The Chicago school system, where Obama's Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was a big booster of military schools, has opened five public schools since 1999 based on a military academy model. Over 10,000 students attend the schools, which offer college preparatory courses combined with a military curriculum.

An article, published by The Raw Story reported, "Pauline Lipman, a professor at the University of Illinois, is disturbed by the almost exclusively minority and inner-city focus of the program. 'Why are they good schools for low-income, African-American and Latino students and not good school for affluent white kids?' she asks. 'Are we saying that those students need a different kind of discipline?'

"Lipman and Darlene Gramigna of the American Friends Service Committee are both concerned about the militarization of the school system and suspect that the program is intended as a tool for military recruitment. 'It would be really naive to think that the military would, in fact, be expanding these schools and these programs if the schools were not about recruiting students,' said Lipman."

This is how Hitler did it in Nazi Germany. He went after the youth and indoctrinated them in the ways of the military. Mussolini in Italy followed Hitler's model of youth indoctrination in order to create generational support for his fascist state.

An old friend in Germany told me that she never questioned Hitler's youth movement as a vehicle for her Nazi indoctrination. It was what all the other kids were exposed to as well and it all seemed normal she said.

When you remember that the Pentagon is saying that America's role under corporate globalization will be "security export" this all begins to fit together.

The military industrial complex is militarizing the culture of our nation to prepare for endless war. It is not just about recruiting. It is about creating automatons - children that follow orders whether in the military or in society at large. They want to create kids who learn to obey the oligarchy. They want citizens who support everything war.

Watch out for free gifts from Mr. Big.

See the PBS NewsHour video report on the controversy here

For an alternative view of education read this interview with Henry Giroux here