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, January 22, 2018

Your $$$ for War and Corporate Profits



The gap between the super rich and the rest of the world widened last year as wealth continued to be owned by a small minority, Oxfam has claimed. Some 82% of money generated last year went to the richest 1% of the global population while the poorest half saw no increase at all, the charity said. Oxfam said its figures - which critics have queried - showed a failing system. In 2017 it calculated that the world's eight richest individuals had as much wealth as the poorest half of the world. This year, it said 42 people now had as much wealth as the poorest half, but it revised last year's figure to 61. Oxfam said the revision was due to improved data and said the trend of "widening inequality" remained.
  • The U.S. military is preparing for a changing climate, but not in order to protect the Earth’s environment. The Pentagon’s first and foremost concern is to respond to global warming only in so far as that response enhances the military’s “operational effectiveness” – its ability to fight. Jim Mattis, Secretary of War, has spoken out about the dangers of climate change, running contrary to the commander-in-chief whose National Security Strategy omitted it as a threat. Analysts expect the military to continue with its climate change adaptation and preparedness programs, despite the President’s denialism. However, even as the U.S. military takes steps to make itself more fuel and energy efficient, the Department of Defense remains the world’s largest institutional fossil fuel guzzler. Big increases in the military’s size, pushed by Trump and Congress, are only going to make the Pentagon’s and the world’s carbon emissions worse – which could ultimately impact national security and “operational effectiveness.”

The title of the 2018 National Defense Strategy — “Sharpening the American Military’s Competitive Edge” — pretty much sums up the tone that has been set by Secretary of War Jim Mattis. The plan is straightforward: compete, deter and win. And that applies to outer space, too. “Space is like any other domain of war,” Mattis said following a speech at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where he laid out the broad themes of the new strategy. Asked by a member of the audience to elaborate on how the U.S. military would fight enemies in space, Mattis delivered one of his trademark one-liners: “Don’t try it.” In space, the US has to become so strong to make it obvious to adversaries that they would have “no benefit to be gained” from attacking U.S. systems, Mattis said. Capabilities in this case are not traditional military weapons but space systems that are resilient to attack. “It’s not about what you might think, guns in space shooting at each other,” Mattis said. To deter enemies, the military has to make it hard, if not impossible, for them to interfere with U.S. satellites. “For every satellite up, we’ll have a hundred more that could launch as fast as they’re taken out,” he said.

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