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....
- Name: Bruce K. Gagnon
- Location: Bath, Maine, United States
Get the revised version of my book "Come Together Right Now: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire" - updated thru the end of 2008
Saturday, July 14, 2012
CORPORATE MAFIA UPDATE
- U.S. weapons makers sold $60 billion worth of arms on the international market this past year, compared to just $12 billion in 2005. So global instability pays off for the corporate mafia. The Obama administration has made no secret of its plan to more actively promote sales of U.S. weapons internationally. Weapons exports are encouraged both as a national security tool "to help build alliances" and as employment generators. Obama in 2009 announced the start of a comprehensive review of the U.S. export control system, which American corporations contend is "too cumbersome and out of touch with today's globalized market."
- Greenpeace is planning to send boats into Arctic waters off the coast of Alaska this month in order to dramatize Shell Oil's plan to drill exploratory offshore wells. Due to global warming the Arctic ice is melting at a faster rate than expected thus making it possible for oil and natural gas extraction. The Coast Guard has warned Greenpeace to stay away from Shell's drilling and has announced a "500-meter safety zone" around the planned operations. Kumi Naidoo from Greenpeace has responded to threats by the Coast Guard by saying, "We have been warned there will be severe penalties but I now serve notice on Shell that we are at the point where, if needs be, we will break the injunctions and pay the price of that...We have to intensify civil disobedience."
- While recently in Philadelphia for the national Occupy gathering I picked up a leaflet called "Reclaim the Money Power with Publicly Owned Banks." During my April speaking tour along the west coast, in Oregon, a woman came to a couple of my talks and during the question period spoke quite eloquently about the need to take power away from Wall Street by creating state owned banks. The Occupy Banks flyer quotes Prof. Carroll Quigley, Georgetown University, and author of Hope and Tragedy: "The powers of financial capitalism had another far reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole."
- As the states’ credit crisis deepens, four states have initiated bills for state-owned banks, and candidates in seven states have now included that solution in their platforms. The Bank of North Dakota, currently the nation’s only state-owned bank, is the model (with variations) for all the other proposals on the table. The Bank of North Dakota acts as a “bankers’ bank,” including doing “participation loans” with other banks, allowing them to compete with larger banks. In a participation loan, the community bank originates the loan and takes responsibility for it, while the participating bank contributes funds and shares in the risk and profits. The Bank of North Dakota also makes low-interest loans to students, farmers and businesses; underwrites municipal bonds; and serves as the state’s “Mini Fed,” providing liquidity and clearing checks for more than 100 banks around the state.
FORCED OUT IN PARAGUAY FOR TRYING TO DO GOOD
In his first major interview since he was ousted, Paraguay's former president Fernando Lugo has told RT he was forced out - after the opposition threatened widespread violence if he didn't go. Full interview at http://on.rt.com/nbym4a
Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar talks to RT. He believes impeachment was orchestrated from outside Paraguay for economic interests.
Friday, July 13, 2012
APPEAL TO INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
- Gangjeong Village Association
- Jeju Pan-Island Committee for Stop of Military Base and for Realization of Peace Island (26 organizations)
- Korea Environment NGO Network (36 Korean environmental NGOs)
- National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island (125 Korean civil society organizations)
Thursday, July 12, 2012
- I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off today. Our newsletter was ready to be picked up from the printer and I had to arrange a ride to go get it in nearby Brunswick. Now that we are down to one car in the house some things become more difficult. Our friend Ian bailed me out and took me to the printer. I am real pleased with the way it turned out. You can see the online version of the newsletter here
- Our Keep Space for Peace Week poster and flyer arrived yesterday from a different printer so I spent last evening preparing envelopes to mail the poster, flyer, and newsletter to our key contacts in the U.S. and overseas. Our current house guest Phui Yi Kong, a Bowdoin College student from Malaysia, helped me do the final envelope stuffing today. The rest of the newsletters will be mailed to our subscribers by the mailing house connected to the printer. It should be in the mail tomorrow.
- I am organizing a speaking engagement tonight of well-known peace activist Medea Benjamin (CodePink) who is doing a tour through Maine this week promoting her book called Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. We are having a potluck supper for her at the home of one of our supporters so I also had to cook something to bring. The talk is at 7:00 pm tonight at the public library in Brunswick.
- Hopefully things slow down a bit tomorrow.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
THOSE POOR WEAPONS MAKERS
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
RUSSIAN VIEW OF SYRIA SITUATION
It’s puzzling how the US can treat radical Islamists in Syria as allies while fighting against them as enemies in Afghanistan, says the chair of the Russian parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Washington’s double standard approach is evident in the Syrian crisis. It supports the armed opposition, which wants to turn the country into a dictatorship, claiming that their war against the Assad government has democracy as the goal, Aleksey Pushkov told Russia Today.
This civil war now underway in Syria is fast becoming a proxy war between the U.S./NATO and Russia. It could be a sign of things to come as the U.S./NATO surround Russia and continue to try to destabilize countries that are allied with Moscow. Watch closely what is going on in Georgia, on Russia's southern border, as the U.S. puppet government there is inching its way into NATO.
The Obama administration should be made to answer this charge that they on the one hand support radical Islamists in Syria while fighting them in Afghanistan. It's a common U.S. tactic and few in the U.S. are making this important distinction.
ARE WE REALLY THE GREATEST?
Beginning scene of the new HBO series The Newsroom explaining why America's not the greatest country any longer....the first part was quite good but the drama with the music at the end was a bit much.
Still an interesting clue as to what is showing on mainstream TV these days.
STOP TRIDENT REPLACEMENT IN UK
Scotland votes on independence in 2014 and may tell UK to remove Trident nuclear missiles. The majority of Scots oppose the existence of nuclear weapons in their country. But decisions on "defense" remain with London. The UK government has made clear their plan to renew the Trident program.
Peace groups throughout the UK are now organizing to block the Trident replacement program that would cost $157 billion over the next 30 years. Better those funds be used for health care, education, and dealing with climate change.
Monday, July 09, 2012
GOT A NEW DOGGIE
We got a new dog today. His name is Homer. He is a two-year old Treeing Walker Coonhound and looks very much like the dog in this photo.
We had two dogs who both died at the age of 14 during the past year or so. We took a break from getting another one for awhile but lately I've been missing having a dog. I dreamed about my old dog Red last night and figured it was time.
So today housemate Karen and I went to the local humane society to meet Homer who I had seen on their web site when I checked it out last night. They only had about six dogs there. I quickly passed up the mean looking one and the screaming barking, jumping one. Homer was just laying in his cage playing hard to get. I bent down and called him over. He thought about it for a bit and then came over and seemed very friendly. We took him for a walk in the nice pine tree wooded area surrounding the dog pound and he responded well to us. Since he is a hunting dog his nose was to the ground the whole time. We took him home.
We learned that he came from a dog pound in Jacksonville, Florida where he was on the death list. Much to my surprise they told us that they have to import dogs from the south because New England has very few dogs available for adoption. In Homer's case he went from Florida to Alabama and then Tennessee before coming to Maine. He's not seen snow yet. He speaks with a southern accent.
We've already taken him for three walks since he got here and after being in captivity for awhile he was pretty worn out by night fall. We bought him a new dog bed and he took to it pretty quick. I've been reading about his breed and the story is that they are smart and loving dogs but need alot of exercise in order to keep from going crazy. They must be kept on a leash or in a fenced yard because once they get on a scent they take off.
The walking will help keep us all in shape. His gentle spirit has already captured our hearts. I am happy with my new doggie.
Sunday, July 08, 2012
DEMANDING ELECTORAL REFORM
A week after Mexico's presidential election, thousands are still protesting against the result.
PRI-party candidate Enrique Pena Nieto won by a margin of nearly seven points.
Many accuse the old-guard PRI party of vote-buying: giving out gift cards in exchange for support.