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: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Monday, August 16, 2010

IS IT IN THE PAPER?

We stopped subscribing to Maine's largest newspaper this past weekend when our subscription payment ran out. The Portland Press Herald was bought by a right-winger during the past year and the paper has been increasingly taking a strong turn in that direction. Not only was the cost of the subscription going up but the paper was shrinking in size and was being used to promote the tea party agenda.

We also get our local community paper (Times Record) but it only prints on weekdays. Thus we needed a newspaper on the weekend.

We've decided to take the Boston Globe on Sundays. It's a decent paper with more news in it than the Press Herald has. We got the Globe this past Sunday and I found an article in it entitled "U.S. now tries to use a scalpel to fight terrorism." A couple of paragraphs really jumped out at me. They read:

The Pentagon is becoming more like the CIA. Across the Middle East and elsewhere, Special Operations troops under secret "execute orders" have conducted spying missions that were once the preserve of civilian intelligence agencies.


Such programs typically operate with even less transparency and congressional oversight than traditional covert actions by the CIA.

As American counter terrorism operations spread into territory hostile to the military, private contractors have taken on a prominent role, raising concerns that the U.S. has outsourced some of its most important missions to a sometimes unaccountable private army.

Many Americans have no clue this is going on nor do they likely care. They just want the "bad guys" killed no matter how it is done. They don't worry about the loss of accountability or democracy because they have very little opportunity or occasion to practice "democracy" in their busy lives anyway.

The oligarchy counts on this "distance" between voters and decision makers as a way to keep the public out of the gory details of foreign and military policy.

The one thing that stands the best chance of returning the public to the debate about U.S. war policy is the cost of the wars. The public now rates "economic issues" as their #1 concern. Our job is to help the public make this important connection between economic collapse and funding of endless war that is now costing more than $7 billion each month.

Sadly most of our newspapers don't help us make these important connections. We have to find ways to do it on our own.

Fortunately for us in mid-coast Maine our local Times Record has a forward thinking editorial page editor who recently wrote an editorial about these connections. He will also be moderating a community forum organized by PeaceWorks on September 16 in Brunswick to be called "Where do our tax dollars go: What price does our community pay for the military budget?"

Several other local peace groups in Maine are reaching out to their small community papers and asking them to help co-sponsor such an event. The more we get the local media involved in connecting the dots the better off we will be.

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