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, September 11, 2010

UNDERDOGS OR CORPORATE LAPDOGS?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tim Kaine
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party
Tim Kaine (Chair of the Democratic Party) calls the Democrats the underdog party, despite their control of the Senate, the House and the executive branch.

They must just be "having a bad day"..... or a bad time in power.

STAYING ENGAGED DESPITE THE MADNESS

  • I was in the dentist office in Gainesville, Florida on 9-11. The TV was on and I saw the madness happening. Since then it has been non-stop war. For some people today is a chance to beat the war drums even harder. Others, like me, want to reflect on the kind of questions Peter Dale Scott asks in the video post below. Some folks remain in hiding under their kitchen table in hopes that all the turmoil will just go away. But it won't. We must be engaged in all this - there is a higher calling for us in these moments. We must do all we can to stop the mindless killing and keep calling for the redirection of our war $$ to life affirming needs. It ain't easy but we are not the first generations of humans to face difficulties. I figure we owe it to the past and future generations to stay engaged in life.

  • Yesterday our local paper (Times Record in Brunswick) ran a triple play for us on the editorial pages. The opinion page editor wrote a powerful editorial and then two other pieces were done by peace activists. You can see them just below. They were all in advance of a public forum on military spending and the economic collapse being organized by our local group PeaceWorks that will be held next Thursday.

Let's Keep the Dialogue Going (Times Record Editorial by James McCarthy - Opinion Page Editor)

Speak Up Even If your Voice Cracks (Mary Beth Sullivan & Karen Wainberg)

Path to True Security (Lisa Savage)

Last week the Lewiston Sun Journal newspaper here in Maine wrote a powerful editorial (Turning From War to Building Our Economy) along these same lines. They are a paper owned by Republicans and are not normally known for this kind of position. There is clearly something beginning to sprout across Maine and we in the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign feel we have helped to foster this change in climate.

  • I drove most of the route for our Veterans for Peace (November 2-11) Maine Walk for Peace, Human Needs, and Veterans' Care the other day. I started in Farmington and worked my way east to Waterville, Bangor, Belfast and then south to Rockland and Bath. Still need to head further south to Freeport and Portland to finish up the maps. Since that time we have added one more stop on the walk in Skowhegan which will come right after our visit to Farmington. Our graphic layout artist friend Nancy Randolph is now working on a walk promo leaflet which I am excited about - it will have a picture of the state with an outline of the peace walk route on it. I'll post it on here once we get it done.

  • Trying hard to get the details of the walk done before the popular Common Ground Country Fair (September 24-26) which is held each year up in Unity, Maine. VFP will have a table there so we want to promote the walk during that event. A week after that I will head out on the road for a couple weeks of speaking that will take me to Washington DC, Merrimack College in Massachusetts, and then on a trip to India.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I STILL DON'T BUY THE OFFICIAL 9-11 STORY


Peter Dale Scott a former Canadian diplomat and Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. His most recent books are Drugs, Oil, and War (2005), The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (2007), The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11 and the Deep Politics of War (2008) and Mosaic Orpheus (poetry, 2009).

I LOVE THIS GUY


Matthis Chiroux is a former Military Journalist, or as he calls it, "propaganda artist" and was in charge of turning "chicken shit into chicken salad".

He refused to re-deploy citing the illegality of the war in Iraq under the UN Charter, and his sworn duty to uphold the constitution as his reasons. The military offered to allow him to quietly disappear and get his full benefits, but he decided to challenge the military and the war, in court.

He brings the kind of determination, honesty, and energy we need to stop these endless wars. Keep it up brother.

OUT OF THE WOODWORK


Republican candidate for Treasurer of Stark County, Ohio.

This gives you an idea what kind of kooks are signing up with the Grand Old Party these days.

Can you spell Nazi?

It appears he did not get the nomination from his party to be their candidate on election day. Thank goodness......

JAPAN TO LAUNCH MILITARY SAT TO HELP CONTROL CHINA

I was asked by the Japanese board members of the Global Network to send comments about the coming launch of a new military satellite by their country. The comments will be translated and shared widely throughout Japan (with activists and the media) in order to build consciousness about how the U.S. is using space technology to drag Japan into the program to militarily surround and control China. The photo above is of the orbit of the Japanese satellite. Below are my comments:

Sept. 8, 2010

It has come to the attention of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space that JAXA (Japanese Space Agency) will soon launch the Quasi-zenith satellite (QZS) to serve as a complement to existing U.S. military satellites.

While the public is told that this satellite will be for civilian "peaceful purposes" it is clear to us that these kind of satellites have "dual uses" and will largely be under the control of the military.

When one checks the planned orbit for this satellite it is obvious that it will be used to track U.S. Navy objectives in the Asian-Pacific region where the Pentagon is now doubling its military operations in order to control China's emerging economy.

The U.S. military strategy is to expand military bases in Guam, Okinawa, and South Korea and to open up new Navy porting opportunities in places like Vietnam. At the same time the U.S. is strongly encouraging India to become a junior partner in the space militarization plan aimed at China. Thus China is to be surrounded as NATO expands into the Asian-Pacific region.

All of these new military moves must be tracked and coordinated by space technology. Thus Japan's launch of the QZS helps to give the U.S. military another "platform" and even more capability to "control and dominate" this already dangerous region.

It is well-known that China imports a high percentage of its oil through the waters that the QZS will be monitoring. At the same time the U.S. is increasing its so-called "missile defense" presence in South Korea and Japan. It is the Pentagon's goal to be able to choke-off China's ability to import oil thus giving the U.S. the keys to the Chinese economic engine.

These provocative and aggressive U.S. military moves on the grand chessboard will only make the Asian-Pacific more unstable. People in Japan should learn to recognize the "high-tech" signs of Japanese participation in U.S. imperial operations and reject collaboration with them.

All peace loving people in Japan should renounce Japan's launch of the QZS.

Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
http://www.space4peace.org/

Thursday, September 09, 2010

BOARDING UP BALTIMORE - AMERICA BEING BROUGHT ONTO THE RESERVATION


Baltimore, Maryland or Detroit, Michigan - same story. No jobs, banks disinvesting in the community, government services being defunded.

But there is plenty of money to recruit the poor people from these neighborhoods to join the Army and fight and die in Iraq or Afghanistan.

This is happening all over America. The people are being brought onto the reservation. The oligarchy has no intention of creating real jobs for the people. Our role in the world will be "security export" which means we will build and sell weapons and fight wars to control diminishing resources.

Republicans and Democrats alike understand the coming game and are fine with it. You hear no politician from either party alerting the public to the real plan for our future. If they told the truth their corporate campaign financing would be pulled out from under them.

So what we will get in the coming years is a back-and-forth shell game where the increasing frustrated and angry public throws one party out of power and then in the next election throws the other out.

Nothing will change until the people demand that we end the wars and the trillion dollar a year levels of military spending.

Convert the military industrial complex now. Anything less is just pure public relations bullshit.

Some people are beginning to figure it out. See this editorial by the Lewiston (Maine) Sun Journal newspaper owned by Republicans. We need more of this - Bring Our War $$ Home.

ISLAMOPHOBE'S PAST IN GERMANY

Demonstrators in Kabul called for the death of US President Barack Obama at a rally against Terry Jones' plans to burn the Koran


Terry Jones Accused of 'Spiritual Abuse' at Cologne Church
By Yassin Musharbash and Dominik Peters

Spiegel Online

US fundamentalist pastor Terry Jones, who wants to burn copies of the Koran on Sept. 11, ran a church in the western German city of Cologne until last year when members of the congregation expelled him. Former members have spoken of his hate-filled sermons and insistence on "blind obedience."

The world is holding its breath -- and it's all down to a tiny Christian fundamentalist church in Florida.

Next Saturday, on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Rev. Terry Jones and his colleagues plan to burn hundreds of copies of the Koran on the church's property in Gainesville, Florida.

The White House has condemned the plan, and Muslim organizations around the world have warned of the consequences should the Koran-burning go ahead. But the church is sticking to its plans.

Naturally the radical Islamophobes know very well that their deliberate provocation could trigger potentially violent protests and riots. But they have washed their hands of any responsibility. "Let's just make one thing clear," the wannabe Koran-burners write on their blog. "A small church, in a small town, down a back road, burning copies of its own books, on its own property, is not responsible for the violent actions anyone may take in retaliation to our protest."
Terry Jones, the man behind the action, is the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center, a church that manages to attract a Sunday congregation of just 50 people, members of the radical fringe of the evangelical movement. Jones, a 58-year-old former hotel manager with a distinctive mustache, is also the author of a polemic book titled "Islam Is of the Devil."

'Climate of Fear and Control'

In the United States, Jones has already attracted attention on several occasions as an Islamophobic provocateur. What is less well known is that the pastor led a charismatic evangelical church, the Christian Community of Cologne, in the western German city up until 2009. Last year, however, the members of the congregation kicked founder Jones out, because of his radicalism. One of the church's current leaders, Stephan Baar, also told the German news agency DPA that there had been suspicions of financial irregularities in the church surrounding Jones.

A "climate of fear and control" had previously prevailed in the congregation, says one former member of the church who does not want to be named. Instead of free expression, "blind obedience" was demanded, he says.

Various witnesses gave SPIEGEL ONLINE consistent accounts of the Jones' behavior. The pastor and his wife apparently regarded themselves as having been appointed by God, meaning opposition was a crime against the Lord. Terry and Sylvia Jones allegedly used these methods to ask for money in an increasingly insistent manner, as well as making members of the congregation carry out work.

Andrew Schäfer, a Protestant Church official responsible for monitoring sects in the region where Cologne is located, confirmed the accounts. "Terry Jones is a fundamentalist," he told SPIEGEL ONLINE.

Both major churches in Germany have "sect commissioners" who monitor the activities of religious groups, sects and cults. Although they are obviously not totally impartial, the officials' findings are usually considered to be trustworthy.

'Delusional Personality'

Former church members are still undergoing therapy as a result of "spiritual abuse," Schäfer said. According to Schäfer, Jones urged church members to beat their children with a rod and also taught "a distinctive demonology" and conducted brainwashing.

"Terry Jones appears to have a delusional personality," speculates Schäfer. When he came to Germany in the 1980s, Jones apparently considered Cologne "a city of Hell that was founded by Nero's mother," while he thought Germany was "a key country for the supposed Christian revival of Europe," Schäfer says.

Terry Jones used his powers of persuasion to expand the congregation. By the end, Schäfer estimates, it numbered between 800 and 1,000 people. They had to work in the so-called "Lisa Jones Houses," charitable institutions named after his first wife who has since died, under very poor conditions.

Increasingly Radical

Jones became increasingly radical as the years went by, former associates say. At one point he wanted to help a homosexual member to "pray away his sins." Later he began to increasingly target Islam in his sermons. A congregation member reported that some members were afraid to attend services because they expected to be attacked by Muslims. "Terry Jones has a talent for finding topical social issues and seizing on them for his own cause," says Schäfer.

By the end of 2007, the community had had enough. Members confronted him and tried to change the direction of the church. But Terry Jones refused to make changes, they say. In the end, Jones, his wife and their fellow preachers were expelled from the church and he moved back to the US. "The community imploded," says Schäfer. It only has some 80 active members today.

Now the whole world is condemning Jones for his planned burning of copies of the Koran. Schäfer, for his part, sees Jones as a fanatic who is courting global media attention because he couldn't cope with the "immense loss of power and significance."


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

VIDEO OF VFP CONFAB MARCH

FOOD RIOTS IN MOZAMBIQUE - SIGN OF THINGS TO COME



Thirteen people died and hundreds were wounded last week in the African nation of Mozambique when police cracked down on a three-day protest over a 30% hike in the price of bread. The UN says the riots in Mozambique should be a wake-up call for governments that have ignored food security problems since the global food crisis of 2008, when countries around the world saw angry protests in the streets over the rising prices of basic food items.

PENSION FUNDS TO BE RAIDED BY OLIGARCHY



Unions in France say more than two million people have joined a series of nationwide protests against plans to increase the retirement age.

The same is coming here in the U.S. as Obama's commission on Social Security is recommending a similar plan - work longer, get less for retirement.

The oligarchy has to somehow pay for increased militarization and endless wars and their plan is to destroy pension funds - both public and private.

Some years ago the industry publication Space News ran an editorial saying they were sending their lobbyists to Washington to "secure the entitlement programs" which translates to going after Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and what is left of the welfare program (after Bill Clinton got through with it) to pay for new high-tech space weapons programs.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

PEACE WALK ORGANIZING BEGINS NOW

On Wednesday afternoon I will drive north to Farmington, Maine to meet with Veterans for Peace member Doug Rawlings to begin working on the Maine VFP peace walk that will run from November 3-11.

Doug came on the walk I helped organize as it passed through Maine last spring. He brought along a good number of students from University of Maine Farmington where he works and we both had determined that we need to do it again as soon as possible. We also agreed that we wanted Brother Kato from the Peace Pagoda in Leverett, Massachusetts to lead the walk again and these days in November were open for the folks from Nipponzan Myohoji to be with us.

I will start in Farmington and then drive the walk route and begin mapping it so we have the exact details on paper before we start. I'll be looking for rest stops, places for lunch breaks, and the like. The walk is planned to go from Farmington-Waterville-Bangor-Belfast-Rockland-Bath-Freeport-Portland. Already I have found local coordinators for most of the evening stops where they will organize pot luck suppers, a program, and make sleeping arrangements for us.

We will end the walk on November 11 by participating in the annual Veterans Day parade in Portland.

Doug and I want to make a special effort to get more students involved in the walk and have already begun spreading the word. Just today I had a call from a student at Bowdoin College in Brunswick who was interested in helping us.

There will be several key issues we intend to address during the peace walk: ending Afghanistan war, cutting military spending, veterans issues surrounding PTSD and suicide, and the environmental costs of war. We haven't settled on a title for the walk yet but have a working name at this point - Walk for peace, human needs and veterans care.

Please consider coming and joining us for this walk on November 3-11. It will be a wonderful fall experience as we take our peace message directly to these communities throughout our state.

IT'S THE CIVILIANS WHO ARE BEING KILLED


Dr. Dahlia Wasfi was born in New York in 1971 to a Jewish-American mother, and a Muslim-Iraqi father. Wasfi spent her early childhood in Iraq, which was then under Saddam Hussein. In 1977, she returned with her family to the United States. She graduated from Swarthmore College in 1993 with a B.A. in biology, and from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1997.

Monday, September 06, 2010

DOWNEASTER HOME

It's 11:00 pm and we just boarded the last train back home to Maine - the Downeaster. We'll get to Portland at 1:45 am and then need to drive another 45 minutes north to Bath. It will be a late rising in the morning.

Today we went to the Yankee-Oriole game and the O's won 4-3 in front of 46,000 mostly Yankee (the evil empire) fans. (Things were not cheap there.....popcorn $7 a bag which I bought, beer $9 a bottle which I skipped.) Sadly we had to leave in the 7th inning in order to get back to Manhattan in time to get the train from New York's Penn Station to Boston. Once in Boston we had a two-hour wait for this last train north.

We had a nice time visiting my son Julian. When we arrived Saturday in Jersey City, New Jersey he was nearly finished unloading his U-Haul into his new apartment. I helped him pull off his bed and his motorcycle and then we began unpacking and helping to clean his place. It's a nice apartment in an ethnically mixed working class neighborhood. His landlord is an Italian couple who have tons of tomato plants growing in the back yard.

I'd never been to Jersey City before - it is right across the river from Manhattan and only takes a few minutes to get there by train from the city. Next door is Hoboken, New Jersey which seemed like a lively place. I think he will enjoy like living there. Julian is teaching debate at a Korean school and seems to be enjoying it.

Julian has been in New York city for the past year after 10 years in northern Texas. Quite a change of scenery as you can imagine. Much more to do in New York and much more intellectually stimulating for him.

While on the train I read an article that quoted Secretary of War Robert Gates saying, "The U.S. is spending over $100 billion a year in this fight in Afghanistan."

I had been using the figure of $7 billion a month in Afghanistan so I am going to have to revise that upward. The real question though is how much is "over"? Is it really $105 billion or $120 billion or more? I imagine that Gates, Obama, and the Congress are reluctant to say but I'd like to pin that down. It makes a big difference. For now I think I will say more than $8 billion a month. If any of you see more on this please let me know.