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, August 18, 2012
HERE IT IS
SELLING THE WARS TO THE YOUNG
I went to Bowdoin College last night to participate in a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop led by our summer housemate, and Bowdoin student, Phui Yi Kong. While waiting for it to start I was flipping though the latest edition of Sports Illustrated that was sitting on a table in the college dance studio where we held the workshop.
On page three was a full page advert for a new Cinemax series called Strike Back: Diplomacy is overrated. The ad has two white guys, not in uniform, looking macho with their machine guns. Explosions are in the background. I tried to lift the image off the Internet but they are only available as posters for sale. They are also selling T-shirts that carry the same message.
One description of the movie that I found called them two secret intelligence agents (one Yank, one Brit of course - coalition of the killing you might call it) from "Section 20". One wag wrote: "REASON TO WATCH Bullets, bombs, breasts, bloodbaths."
Note in the action trailer above the scene is set in Kenya - African continent - the place that Obama is now leading us into endless war to secure precious declining resources. But of course these "brave agents" are only there chasing terrorism and bringing freedom and democracy to these backward people.
And the other indoctrination point - all this is coordinated by military surveillance satellites flying overhead. The message? Military domination in space helps the good guys stay alive and beat the bad guys!
But the thing that grabbed my attention was the sub-headline - "Diplomacy is overrated". It reminded me of the words from Thomas Barnett some years ago when he told a packed audience of military officers during a presentation I watched on C-SPAN that the U.S. won't be doing international treaties anymore because they would restrict "our" ability to do what it (corporate oligarchy) wanted done around the world.
This show should be analyzed along with the other new war promotion series on NBC called Stars Earn Stripes. (In addition to all the other mind-bending violent shows on TV.) There can be no doubt that the next generation is being prepared for a life of "security export". It makes me heart sick.
This also makes me even more clear that our Thunderbird airshow protest in Brunswick on August 25 is the right place to be.
Free the youth from a future of endless war!
Thursday, August 16, 2012
GOD AND GLORY
- I drove south to Biddeford last night for an hour long interview on a public access TV show called Out in Left Field. Today I do another interview with Regis Tremblay who is becoming a prolific public access TV producer here in Maine. Next Monday I do a radio interview on WERU which is north of here. On each of these interviews I am promoting our Veterans for Peace protest on Saturday, August 25 of the Air Force Thunderbird airshow at the former Navy airfield in Brunswick.
- Growing up in an Air Force family I saw alot of these airshows. I witnessed a couple plane crashes over the years and also understand how these events serve as recruiting tools to bring young kids into the military. They also pump up the drumbeat for endless war.
- As a kid I learned to idolize these "Gods of Metal". My dad worked in the base photo lab and brought me home a large framed picture of about 20 Air Force bombers, transport planes and fighters all nicely lined up on the flight line. That picture was one of the few things I kept as our family moved to Florida-Germany-England-South Dakota-Germany-Florida-California while I was growing up. It was on the wall right near my crucifix. God and war. Like apple pie, baseball and Chevrolet.
- It wasn't until I joined the Air Force myself during the Vietnam War that I finally put all the pieces together. With the help of GI war resisters in the barracks at Travis AFB in California (an airlift base for the war) I was able to finally see that those planes were about killing innocent people so U.S. corporations could take their land and resources. Finally reading the Pentagon Papers while in the Air Force helped me see how our government lies its way into war over and over again.
- So I've come full circle from being a recipient of the war propaganda, mindless entertainment, and military psychological operations aimed at the youth to becoming an active war resister. My guess is that a some of the kids that see our Veterans for Peace protest on August 25 will themselves some day see the light as well.
- Last night Richard Rhames asked me about the connection between the recent Batman movie massacre in Colorado and our nation's endless wars. I said that the fabric of our nation - the soul of our nation - was woven together by violence from the genocide of the Native Americans, slavery, Civil War, and then from imperial attacks on the Philippines to the present. We are a killing culture. War is what we do. We make enormous profit from selling violence. It's no coincidence that ultimately it turns inward and we start killing each other. It is what we know.
- The only way out is to recognize the addiction. Raise your hand and repeat after me, "Hello, my name is America and I am addicted to war and violence."
"I NEVER STOPPED TRYING TO FIX IT"
These interviews were recorded at the Texas Keystone Convergence by participants who came from across Texas and across the country to be a part of the Tar Sands Blockade.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
NBC PROMOTING VIOLENCE ON TV
NBC has come up with a new show, which the critics say 'glorifies war.' It debuted last night and is called "Stars and Stripes" but has a cast of people you can barely call stars. It can be sold as way to honor US troops but many don't see it that way. Jody Williams, a long time peace activist and 1997 Nobel Peace Prize winner, joins RT's Liz Wahl for more.
My Take: One can only hope that the 10 former Nobel Peace Prize winners will request that a certain Obama-nator join them in denouncing NBC. One can always hope!!!!!!
MILITARIZING OUR CULTURE
Protest in NYC against new NBC-TV "Reality Show" called Stars Earn Stripes
By Joan Wile
This demonstration of the deadly capacity of modern monster weapons is hosted by none other than retired Gen. Wesley Clark, an anti-war candidate for President of the U.S. in 2004. One wonders how a person proclaiming to deplore war could get involved in such a display of seemingly almost psychotic militarism. Among his so-called celebrity participants are Sara's husband, Todd Palin, celebrated for ... exactly what?
Among the 50-60 participants in the action were MFSO (Military Families Speak Out) mothers with sons deployed in Afghanistan; Veterans for Peace; Gray Panthers; Brooklyn for Peace; U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW); OWS Anti-War Committee; World Can't Wait; PANYS (Peace Action New York State); and peace grandmothers groups including the Granny Peace Brigade, Grandmothers Against the War, and the Raging Grannies, who sang their spirited anti-war songs throughout the demonstration.
Reviews of the show were mostly negative. In addition to being objectionable as gung ho war propaganda, it was a profoundly boring mishmash interspersed by seemingly a zillion commercials.
Said the New York Times: "The teams race to complete missions under conditions that include live ammunition and explosives, the claim being that this will give the stars a taste of what real soldiers experience. That is an absurd overstatement, of course, since no one is shooting back or planting roadside bombs intended for them."
"The show is treacly, exploitative military porn, according to the early reviews" said a writer for WIRED.
The protesters had with them a petition launched by Roots Action, with approximately 18,000 signators (so far) urging that NBC "air an in-depth segment showing the reality of civilian victims of recent U.S. wars." When women of Military Families Speak Out attempted to deliver the 500-plus-pages petition to an NBC executive, the head of security, Jim Kelly, lined up near the protest with six other security officials throughout the demonstration, insisted that they could not do so. There was a stand-off for over an hour while the women negotiated with him as he stalled them. Ultimately, the only thing he would allow was for them to give it to him personally, which they did. Will it ever be seen by a top NBC executive? Unfortunately, probably not.
The cause to shut down "Stars Earn Stripes" was aided immeasurably by nine Nobel Peace Prize winners, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who sent a strongly worded letter to Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, Gen. Clark, Producer Mark Burnett, and others urging its cancelation.
In part, the letter read: "We call upon NBC to stop airing this program that pays homage to no one, and is a massive disservice to those who live and die in armed conflict and suffer its consequences long after the guns of war fall silent." Tutu's huge reputation attracted media coverage in the thousands all over the world to the Nobel Prize recipients' opposition.
Encouraged by passersby's sympathetic responses to the protest as well as the enormous media attention, the coalition decided to proceed with further actions. They plan to continue their Monday protests throughout the four-week run of the series, initiate a letter-writing campaign to NBC top-level people, and launch a boycott of the many sponsors.
A FLEET OF WHAT?
We saw a series of these fly over at low altitude, no sound, slower than commercial airliners fly, going westward. After someone posted a comment saying 'Delta MD-88', I did some research, then decided to go out to the airport [appears to be in Arizona] to see any Delta jets out there. What I found was a bunch of planes painted to look like Delta planes.
Obviously they're not top secret, anyone with binoculars from the community around could see what is up. Anyway, comment what you will, just keep it cool.
Mark Allen Channel (4GUESTS.COM)
THE DAILY GRIND
You might have to click on start button several times to get it running.....
At around 2:30 you will see Professor Yang Yoon-Mo in his brown traditional Korean clothes up against the construction gate. Yang has been arrested multiple times and while in jail in 2011 and earlier in 2012 did extensive hunger strikes nearly leading to his death.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
UP AND AWAY
- I've been working on the initial list of Keep Space for Peace Week actions that will be held worldwide during October 6-13. It always starts out slowly and I have to repeatedly send the list out before many folks get their information to us but the list always keeps growing. You can see the 2012 space week poster here
- I've been emailing today with renowned peace activist Kathy Kelly. She is coming to Maine next week for a speaking tour and will come for an interview on my public access TV show on Aug 22. That same evening she will speak in nearby Brunswick at the public library at 7:00 pm.
- On Aug 25 Maine Veterans for Peace will organize a protest at the Air Force Thunderbirds airshow in Brunswick. We will begin at 9:00 am with a march from the Joshua Chamberlain statue at Bowdoin College and end up at the front gate of the former Naval Air Station (now called Brunswick Landing) for a vigil until noon. The theme is Stop Recruiting Our Children for War. Our flyer reads: War Plane Air Shows - Expensive, Polluting, Propaganda, Military Psychological Operations, Promote Idolatry & False Patriotism, Mindless Entertainment, Glorify War. Join us if you can.
STOMPED ON THE BODY OF CHRIST
Regina Pyon reports from Gangjeong village:
Fr. Koh is co-chair of Korean Catholic Solidarity for the Peace Island Jeju which all the 15 justice and peace commissions at diocesan level participate since last October. Catholic Confederation for Justice, one of the largest lay umbrella group belonging to the Solidarity, also issued a statement.
You can watch a video that tells the story here
Monday, August 13, 2012
GET BIG MONEY OUT OF POLITICS
The money-ruled American political system has a pretty straight-ahead Wall Street agenda and is designed to eliminate opposition the way dictatorships do, Jill Stein, the US presidential candidate for the Green Party, shared with RT.
WALL STREET BALL
Wall Street's least favorite baseball team "The Tax Dodgers" prepare their performance tactics for a big upcoming game. Citizens for Tax Justice illustrate the problem of corporate tax dodging, a former police captain fights against "corporate sociopaths," and The Yes Men and Common Cause detail the corporate hijacking of the US political system through devious means.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
ON WAY HOME FROM CONVENTION
Barbara is currently tearing up her grassy front yard in North Miami and turning it into a vegetable and flower garden - she's calling it "Occupy my yard". She has hired her yoga teacher, who is also a gardener, to help her with the big project. This morning as we were leaving Barbara's home to take me to the airport her garden helper told us that she was so moved by the Nagasaki event (on Aug 9 at a church where I and others spoke) that she talked politics for the first time during her hour long yoga class yesterday. She told the 50 people in the class that they need to get on the ball. This is a sign to me that our present crisis moment is calling people to reach their highest self and many are indeed responding. Very exciting to hear.