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

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Slow Down Fast Track



Opponents of fast track trade authority from Popular Resistance, Public Citizen, Communication Workers of America and Friends of the Earth rallied on Capitol Hill to welcome Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe as he came to speak to a Joint Session of Congress with a three story tall Trojan Horse. The theme of the protest was ‘No Fast Track for Secret Corporate Trade Deals’.  Banners read “No Fast Track for Secret  Trojan Treaties” and “Stop the TPP: Transparency Release the Text.”  There were also signs in Japanese which said: “U.S. citizens stand in solidarity with Japanese citizens against the TPP” and “TPP = Trojan Horse”

See whole story here

Friday, May 08, 2015

Send Message to Congress - No TPP!



The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the largest--and worst--trade deal you've never heard of and Republicans in Congress want to work with the Obama administration to "fast track" its passage.

On Elections and Activism



  • I am on the train heading south to New Jersey for the United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC) conference. I will speak in a plenary panel and a workshop about US-NATO military expansion up to the Russian borders and deployments of "missile defense" systems which are dangerously linked to Pentagon first-strike attack plans. The conference is called STOP THE WARS AT HOME AND ABROAD! You can get more information about the conference here. Some parts of the event will be live streamed, get details here
  • While waiting for my train in the Boston station I ran into Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein who is on her way to Baltimore to join the 'Million Moms March'.   We talked briefly about the recent surge on the left (even though we still need alot more help) and the presidential announcement by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  In the end we both agreed that the real question is once Sanders is defeated by Hillary (the choice of the oligarchy) in the Democratic Party primaries what will progressive voters do then?  Are they going to vote for the corporate puppet Clinton or move on and join the growing alternative political movement that is about creating real opposition to the money-dominated political system that currently exists?
  • I began my political life as a Young Republican for Nixon in 1968 and then voted for the anti-Vietnam war candidate George McGovern in the 1972 presidential election while still in the Air Force.  I quit voting for the Democrats years ago and can say with some pride that I never voted for Bill Clinton or Obama.  I voted for Ralph Nader twice, then Cynthia McKinney, and Jill Stein last time around.  Those who are itching to support a woman for president can still do so by pulling the lever for Stein in the next election.
  • I find it hard to argue with those who maintain that voting is a waste of time - especially after recent cheating on elections during the Bush years.  I just don't like the idea of giving up my right to vote - there have been times when I've gone to the polls on election day and handed in a blank ballot because I couldn't stomach any of the names on the lineup card.  
  • But in the end I do fully agree that elections are only one very small part of citizenship in any society.  What really counts is what you do the rest of the time in between elections.  As is often chanted during street protests and actions of non-violent civil resistance to corrupt corporate power - "This is what democracy looks like!" 
  • I am certain the UNAC conference will be a great event.  Many of the most dedicated and effective organizers across the nation will be there - a real cross section of age, color, gender, and political strategy.  All of us will likely agree that the time has come for a real revolution in America - something that won't just come from the voting booth.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Remembering the Fight Against Nazi Germany



A brief summary of the number of dead during World War II can be found below:

Soviet Union: 28,000,000
Germany: 9,000,000
Poland: 5,800,000
China: 20,000,000
Japan: 3,000,000
United States: 420,000 
United Kingdom: 450,900 
France: 550,000
Italy: 454,600
Yugoslavia: 1,700,000

See more countries listed here
Germany: 9,000,000
China: 4,000,000
Japan: 3,000,000 - See more at: http://www.historynet.com/world-war-ii#sthash.SAsgw8Iz.dpuf

U.S. Troops in Ukraine



Three hundred American soldiers have arrived in western Ukraine. In the latest dispatch, Vice News traveled there to find out what their mission is.

This Vice News report raises some questions for me.  They are doing alot of reporting from Ukraine and many of their reports veer toward support of the US-NATO war project.  First off, how did Vice News get access to this highly scripted event that included the US Ambassador to Ukraine and a speech by president (I use that word reluctantly) Poroshenko?  Lately in Ukraine the puppet government has been killing or expelling any real journalists that dare tell the truth about what is actually going on.

I come away from the video with the clear sense that most of the American GI's could probably not find Ukraine on a world map and know virtually nothing about the civil war that was started by the US-NATO war machine.  But if they end up being there awhile they might learn more than they had ever bargained for.

World War II?



Who writes the history?  Who rules the world?

Friedman: "We get to invade people and they don't get to invade us"



Speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Feb 3rd, 2015 by Dr. George Friedman, founder and CEO of Stratfor, on US policy in Eurasia.

Here is one more arrogant voice of the ruling corporate oligarchy.  This is what the world sees and hears from the US - no wonder America is so despised.

Watch the man on the left as Friedman reveals his ugly and provocative 'truths'.... does he wonder for a moment if he is standing in the right place.... or is he an aspiring oligarchic functionary and just learning not to flinch?

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Science at MIT: From the Cold War to Climate Change



Noam Chomsky and Subrata Ghosroy who are both with MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their topic is the Pentagon funding of university research.

Noam needs no introduction and Subrata is an expert on space technology issues. Subrata used to work for the US Congress as a staffer but left after studying the corruption inside the 'missile defense' testing program which he was commissioned to investigate and report on but the government was unwilling to do anything about his important findings.

Subrata will be speaking at the Global Network's 23rd annual space organizing conference in Kyoto, Japan at the end of July.

Stacking Wood


I was gone from home all day getting the car serviced, going to my chiropractor, and then attended our local PeaceWorks planning meeting in Brunswick til 5:00 pm.  Then when I got home I worked for two hours on my round woodpile.

It's a real challenge - the wood is supposed to lean toward the middle but as I go higher up it wants to lean outward.  Not a good sign.  The idea is to fill the center with odd shaped pieces that help hold it up as it gets taller. I like stacking wood - its one thing I can work on and see some real progress unlike much of my political work.

Tonight I'm going to watch a baseball game and rest my aching back.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

U.S. Congress Obstructs Peace in Ukraine


How the Senate Armed Services Committee Is Undermining Minsk II

A peaceful solution to the crisis in Ukraine may be at risk

By James Carden
The Nation

On April 28 three European foreign ministers—Serbia’s Ivica Dačić, Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Switzerland’s Didier Burkhalter—met in their capacities as members of the OSCE’s Ministerial Troika to discuss the latest developments in eastern Ukraine. According to the OSCE, the foreign ministers “reiterated that [the Ukraine] crisis can be resolved only through peaceful means and that the political process in that regard should be advanced without delay” and “called on all sides to fully and unconditionally respect the cease-fire.”

Meanwhile, on April 26, Financial Times reported that Kiev is coming under increased pressure from Western European capitals to do its part to implement the Minsk cease-fire agreement. According to FT, German diplomats expressed frustration that Kiev is “dragging its feet” in implementing the agreement. For his part, French President Francois Holland has warned Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that “the only line of conduct is the full implementation of the Minsk accord.”

Yet it seems these calls for a peaceful solution to the crisis are not only falling on deaf ears, but are also purposefully being undermined, in Washington.

To wit: the same day the aforementioned troika met in Belgrade, the 28th, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on “United States Security Policy in Europe,” though perhaps, given the tenor of the hearing, it should have been held under the rubric “The Russians are Coming!”

Armed Services Committee Chairman, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), got right to the point, running down a list of Russia’s sins—real and imagined. He derided the Obama administration’s “so-called reset” policy and warned of Mr. Putin’s “neo-imperial objectives.” McCain accused Russia of violating the Minsk II cease-fire agreement and hectored NATO allies to follow the example of Poland and Estonia and increase its defense expenditures. Unbelievably, McCain closed his remarks by telling the gallery, which included a visiting delegation of Ukrainian parliamentarians, that “none of us wants to return to the Cold War.”

Depressingly, there seemed to be little daylight between McCain and the committee’s ranking member, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI). Both he and McCain have called on President Obama to “provide defense lethal assistance” to Ukraine. Only Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) expressed any skepticism towards the idea of sending lethal aid to Ukraine. The situation that pertains in the Washington of 2015, is in stark contrast to the previous Cold War. Today, it would seem, Democrats and Republicans are engaged in a contest of who can ‘out-hawk’ the other on Russia.

McCain and Reed set the tone of Tuesday’s hearing by striking a martial note at the outset, and the witnesses, representing the Council of Foreign Relations, the Fletcher School of Diplomacy and the Atlantic Council, were all too happy to pick up where the Senators left off.

The most hawkish of the three, the Atlantic Council’s Ian Brzezinski (perhaps channeling his father Zbigniew), opined that the United States should impose tougher sanctions on Russia in order to “aggressively shock the Russian economy by shutting off its energy and financial sectors from the global economy.” Further, Washington should “provide military equipment to Ukraine, including air defense and anti-tank weapons as well as key enablers, such as drones…”

Most alarmingly, however, was Brzezinski’s recommendation to grant the NATO supreme allied commander the “authorities necessary to deploy in real time against provocative Russian military operations,” thereby taking the decision to go to war with a nuclear armed power out of the hands of the commander in chief and transferring it to the NATO commander in Brussels.

Two days later, as it happened, it was that very NATO commander’s turn before the Armed Services Committee. US Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, who, according to a recent article in Der Spiegel is viewed by many European diplomats as a serial exaggerator, told the committee that NATO’s principle concern is a “revanchist Russia” which in his view is a “global, not regional” threat.

Since, in his view, the current lull in the fighting in eastern Ukraine is only allowing Russia to “prepare for another offensive” it would “not make sense to take any of our own options off the table.” Indeed, later on in the hearing, in response to a question from Senator McCain, the general said, “I support the use, um, [quickly correcting himself] the consideration, of offensive military aid …” His referencing of “offensive” weapons raised an eyebrow from Senator Reed who quickly interjected to ask if the general had misspoken. Breedlove confirmed that he had not.

Breedlove’s testimony also inadvertently helped confirm the basis of one of Russia’s principal objections to American policy: that it is being hedged in on all sides by the American military. Breedlove testified about what he called a Russia Strategic Initiative which seeks to coordinate the various combatant commands which border Russia: CENTCOM (US Central Command); EUCOM (US European Command); USNORTHCOM (US Northern Command); USPACOM (US Pacific Command), the better to respond to a future Russian offensive.

Breedlove also praised the US European Command’s Ukraine Joint Initiative which has carried out a series of 25 visits to Ukraine with the goal of helping Kiev identify and address its most urgent military needs. Breedlove also noted that NATO is “war gaming and table topping scenarios” in the event the US decides to arm Ukraine. Should we fail to send military assistance to Ukraine, the General warned, somewhat paradoxically, that “inaction is also an action and the Russians will react to that as well.”

And so, it is hard, given the tenor of the policy discussion on Capitol Hill over the past week, to escape the conclusion that President Obama is under intense pressure—not only from both political parties, but also, disturbingly, from the NATO supreme allied commander—to wade ever deeper into the Ukrainian morass.

American Mercenary Fighting for Kiev



A former American Marine who fought in Iraq acknowledges "we" are now fighting on behalf of the US-NATO sponsored war on the Russian border.

These days the US fights along side of Nazis in Ukraine and the head-chopping monarchy of Saudi Arabia in Yemen and Syria.  How far America has fallen......

Monday, May 04, 2015

Sen. Sanders Running Against Hillary



Vermont senator and self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders has declared a run for president and the Democratic Party nomination against corporate captive Hillary Clinton.  Should be an interesting race as he appears to be carrying the Occupy movement message about the 99% into the corporate dominated electoral fray. There  are some legitimate concerns about Sanders positions on Israel and wanting to bring the F-35 boondoggle to Vermont.

See more here

I've long maintained that when the black community surges, as they are now doing after the cop killings in Ferguson, New York City and Baltimore, they help open the door for other progressive movements to slip into the light.  I can hear people sensing that things are moving again - the ebb and flow of movements is part of nature - they come and go.  The tide has been out for a long time and just might be on its way back in again.  We each can help push things along in our own ways.  It's the right time to step on the pedal.

Planning for War with China


US “Grand Strategy” for war against China laid out

By Nick Beams

The advanced stage of discussions in US foreign policy circles over the pursuit of an ever-more aggressive policy toward China has been revealed by the recent release of a chilling report under the auspices of the influential Council on Foreign Relations.

Entitled “Revising US Grand Strategy Toward China,” the report is nothing less than an agenda for war. It is authored by Robert D. Blackwill and Ashley J. Tellis, both of whom have close connections to the US State Department and various American foreign policy think tanks.

The report’s central theme is that US global dominance is threatened by the rise of China and this process must be reversed by economic, diplomatic and military means.

Significantly, at the beginning of the report, its authors cite the Pentagon’s Defence Planning Guidance document of 1992, produced in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which insisted that US strategy had to “refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor.”

While asserting that China has a “grand strategy” for regional and ultimately global domination, the authors make clear they regard the threat to the US position as arising from China’s economic growth within the present international order.

Accordingly, in advancing the core elements of an American “grand strategy,” the authors place considerable importance on economic issues. As part of a plan to “vitalize” the economy, the US should “construct a new set of trading relationships in Asia that exclude China, fashion effective tools to deal with China’s pervasive use of geo-economic tools in Asia and beyond, and, in partnership with US allies and like-minded partners, create a new technology-control mechanism vis-a-vis China.”

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which currently excludes China and for which Obama is now seeking fast-track authority from the US Congress to negotiate, is regarded as essential. Failure to deliver it would “seriously weaken” the US grand strategy.

The relationship with Japan is regarded as occupying first place. The report’s proposals include an expansion of the US-Japan security relationship to encompass all of Asia, the upgrading of the Japanese military, aligning Japan with concepts such as Air-Sea battle—a massive attack on military facilities in mainland China—and intensifying Japanese cooperation with ballistic missile defence (BMD). Anti-missile systems are seen as vital for a first-strike strategy, which aims to render inoperable any retaliation.

With regard to South Korea, the report calls for increased BMD capacity, as well as a comprehensive strategy, developed with Japan, to bring about “regime change” in North Korea.

See the whole article here

Politics is Dead - What Comes Next?


Sunday, May 03, 2015

Taking it to the Streets in Kiev



Thousands rally in Kiev, Ukraine commemorating victims of Odessa massacre last year and those recently 'eliminated' by the corrupt 'government' in Kiev.  The US-NATO backed Kiev regime reported arrested the organizers of this event after it was over.

Actually a Real Hero


Local News Roundup

Maine Veterans for Peace meeting last Thursday




  • National Veterans for Peace (VFP) activist/leader Tarak Kauff was in Maine this past week and came to our VFP meeting in Augusta.  I also got to spend time with him while in New York City last weekend.  It is always fun to be with Tarak and we did some brainstorming about organizing the national VFP project called 'Peace at Home, Peace Abroad'.  He taught MB and I a new card game that we'll be playing in the days ahead.  He is not in the photo above because he and another person were taking photos of us. 
Our VFP delegation in New York City peace march last weekend

  • Also visiting at the same time was Jason Rawn (in top photo back row, 2nd from left) who just returned from a six-week peace walk that started on the west coast and ended up in New York City at the Peace & Planet protest to the United Nations last Sunday.  Jason is a key organizer in our next Maine Peace Walk (tentative date October 9-22) that will start in Ellsworth and end up in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  The theme will be the militarization of the seas and our route will be straight down US 1 along the coast.  Jason and I will drive the walk route the week after next to start mapping it all out.  (Our next walk planning committee meeting will be here in Bath on May 23.  Starts at noon with a pot luck lunch.  All are invited.) Jason is also going with us to Kyoto, Japan for the Global Network's 23rd annual space organizing conference at the end of July.

  • MB and I are heading south today to Biddeford, Maine to listen to friend Richard Rhames play with his band at the Veterans Alliance.  He told me they might have to play more country than rock since this is a more conservative crowd.  I've been wanting to see brother Rhames in action for a long time and finally get the chance.  He was my last interview on my TV show This Issue.  Richard plays guitar and is the lead singer.  Going to be a real treat.

  • Next weekend I am back on the train heading to New Jersey for the United National AntiWar Coalition convention.  I'll be on a plenary panel talking about Ukraine and then I'll do a workshop on the same theme.  Of course I will tie in the Pentagon's cancerous NATO expansion and deployments of 'missile defense' along the Russian border as key reasons for the coup d'etat and civil war.  I'll be rooming with long-time South Florida friend Will Van Natta.  Back in 1997 when I was organizing the Cancel Cassini Campaign (space mission with 72 pounds of deadly plutonium-238 on-board) it was Will the lifeguard that swam many miles in the ocean to oppose the launch.  He was a big hit with the media and his action helped us take that issue to the public.  See more about the conference here

  • We had two cords of green wood delivered last week and I need to start stacking it soon.  Yesterday I spent alot of time on YouTube learning about round wood piles - in German Holz Hausen - which are really beautiful and take up alot less space.  So this is my goal and we'll see how well it turns out.  


Sunday Song