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 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, March 16, 2019

We need a new foreign policy



“This new Cold War [is] more dangerous than the preceding Cold War,” professor Stephen Cohen tells Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer in the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence.”

Cohen, a professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University, has a new book out that addresses the possibility of a U.S.-Russia armed conflict in the near future. Part of the current rejection of the Kremlin that has brought the two nations to this dangerous brink, according to Cohen, is rooted in the U.S. political elites’ desire to maintain their ability to determine the world order. When Vladimir Putin was first elected, the professor explains, it became immediately obvious that he wanted Russia to take part in shaping “how the world is structured.”

Joining the two is Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, to discuss the neo-McCarthyism that has been unleashed by Russiagate and what the journalist calls “Trump derangement syndrome” that leads liberals to buy into hysteria surrounding Russia so long as it serves an anti-Trump agenda.

While Vanden Heuvel argues that the American left is making significant progress on domestic issues, even progressive leaders such as Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren “have to some extent bought into this new Cold War.”

Listen to Cohen, Vanden Heuvel and Scheer discuss in depth both the dangerous as well as hopeful paths the U.S. is headed down as it grapples with its domestic and foreign policy under the shadow of a new Cold War, and “new [progressive] insurgencies” continue to make headway despite the American establishment’s firm grip on power and a wave of neo-McCarthyism that threatens to censor dissent.

You can also read a transcript of the interview here.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Next BIW 'christening' on April 27 - protest planned


Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?

Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002) 'Stealth' destroyer Christening


Saturday, April 27, 2019
Starting at 10:00 AM
Gates Open at 9:00 AM

Bath Iron Works
700 Washington St, Bath, ME 04530

BIW will be celebrating the Christening of our third Zumwalt Class Guided Missile Destroyer, named after the 36th president of The United States, Lyndon B. Johnson. We would be honored if you would join us at our shipyard to take part in this historic occasion.

(Please note that this is a closed event and we may not be able to accommodate all requests) 

Request Tickets:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Photography allowed? – Outside pictures, yes.
  • Where can I park? – Regular parking lots and Taste of Maine park and ride will be available. Entry will be at the North End Railroad lot. All guests will be bused to the Ceremony area. No walking in the shipyard on the day of the event.
  • Will there be handicap access? – There will be handicap parking available, as well as buses and golf carts. 

Anti-NATO events in DC


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Hedges: "That's America"



One of the best speeches by Chris Hedges that I've seen yet.  He shares his heart and soul more than in the past and it is heart breaking and deeply honest.  He tell stories about teaching revolution in prison and the hard core results.

Hedges lays it all out for us and calls on us to find our 'spark of life' to push forward against oligarchy, no matter the results - hope comes from action he often says.

This man has such a good conscience....he is a real human. A real honest preacher.

Bruce

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Climate change update


They are calling it the 'Bomb Cyclone' today in the midwest.

In a few years, as climate change gets worse, the winds will become so powerful that those electric power lines on the left side of this short video will be blown away.

The smart thing would be to bury the power lines now but there is no $$$ to do it.  Why?  Because Washington has decided that the #1 priority of the nation is 'security export' - meaning endless war and all tax money must go for military production.

It's a losing strategy and the American people, already paying dearly, are going to pay way more in days to come.

America is heading for an intense collapse.  Mother Earth is going through toxic shock.

Bruce

U.S. cyber attack on Venezuela?


Who else would have, or could have, done this besides Washington?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A budget for a collapsing America



Trump’s budget more than doubles the war-fighting slush fund and proposes cutting social safety net by 9% at a time when White House rhetoric against Iran is heating up and Netanyahu, Mohammed bin Salman, and Trump all face corruption charges and challenges at home.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson interviewed by Paul Jay.

The ugly numbers: 

  • Trump's budget calls for $750 billion in military spending for FY2020, a nearly 5% increase, which exceeds even what the Pentagon requested
  • Trump’s budget calls for cutting $845 billion from Medicare (health care for the elderly)
  • Trump’s budget calls for cutting $1.5 trillion from Medicaid (health care for the poor)
  • Trump’s budget calls for cutting $25 billion from the Social Security retirement program
  • Trump’s budget calls for cutting $1.7 billion from child nutrition and eliminate food assistance for millions
  • Trump's budget calls for cutting $1 billion from the National Science Foundation (The NSF provides about one-quarter of all federal research grants and covers fields such as engineering, mathematics, computer science and social sciences. It also funds the purchase of large-scale scientific equipment.)
  •  And many more social & environmental programs would be cut and destroyed by the Trump budget
It's not just Trump's budget,
it was Obama's budget,
it was Bush's budget,
it was Clinton's budget,
it was Bush's budget,
it was Reagan's budget,
it was Carter's budget.

It is the budget of corporations and politicians who continue to exploit the working class.


Now is the time for the American people to rattle their chains and demand that Congress CUT THE BLOATED AND WASTEFUL PENTAGON BUDGET!

FORGET THE ATTACKS ON SOCIAL PROGRAMS!  

Lenten Vigil at BIW







We had our first Lenten Vigil at BIW last Saturday - sixteen attended.  The vigils will continue each week until Easter.

We meet in front of the BIW administration building at 11:30 am and then just before noon we walk down the street to a gate where workers pour out.

These regular protests have been going on at the shipyard where destroyers are built for many years.  Some dedicated folks keep showing up demanding disarmament and conversion of the place to build technologies that would help us deal with our real problem - climate change.

Why can't we build offshore wind turbines, commuter rail systems, tidal power systems and more?  It's public tax dollars that build fossil fuel guzzling war ships.  Why shouldn't we demand that Washington stop making endless war and instead help provide a real future for the coming generations?

Studies show that making such a sustainable transition actually creates more jobs than we presently get from military production.

Bruce
Photos by retired BIW worker Peter Woodruff (He also made the sign I was holding)

Monday, March 11, 2019

See for yourself...



Tulsi Gabbard - CNN Presidential Town Hall in 2019

I know it is early yet to be focusing on the 2020 presidential election.  But for many reasons it is right in front of us.

I just watched this CNN town hall from Texas.  Tulsi comes across quite impressively.  I found nothing I could argue with.  I recall that she went to Standing Rock in North Dakota when that pipeline fight was going strong.  But I've also heard friends who live in Hawaii call out Tulsi for not being active in similar fights in her own state.  That is an important observation.

On the island of Kaui in Hawaii there is a 'missile defense' base with recently deployed Aegis-Ashore interceptors that are key elements in Pentagon first-strike attack planning.  If I had the chance I'd ask Tulsi why she supports this base.  And how can we ever cut the military budget, as she so rightly suggests, until we deal with our local communities addiction to military production.? It's often the only job in town.

The Democrat National Committee (DNC) requires candidates for president in 2020 to have 65,000 unique donors to qualify for the debate stage on corporate-controlled TV. This means that the Dems are trying to put a numerical and economic hurdle in front of candidates who wish to reach the public's ears.  I don't like that.  It's undemocratic and of course a total corporate strategic to stifle real debate.

I haven't voted for a Democrat for president since Walter Mondale lost to Ronald Reagan in 1984.  I've been voting independent or Green Party ever since then.  But I will acknowledge I am at this point impressed with Tulsi.  I like her combination of excellent political analysis and spiritual (not religious) articulation.

I think more people should listen to Tulsi - she has something to say.

Whether she becomes president is not so important to me.  We need her voice (and many, many others) going around the country helping the people see a path out of this current neo-feudal darkness.

Bruce

Seeing the humanity in one another....



"Come Together" is a documentary about the American Soviet Peace Walk from Leningrad to Moscow in the summer of 1987.

The aim of the Walk was to help end the Cold War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., by "ending the arms race nobody wants." 

About 250 American and 250 Soviet citizens took part, walking over 450 kilometers from the city of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) to Russia's capital of Moscow.

The documentary also includes footage from the first-ever joint U.S.-Soviet rock concert on July 4, 1987, which marked the culmination of the Peace Walk.

"Come Together" was jointly produced by the American and Soviet filmmakers.  The film has been digitized and made available online by the International Peace Walk (IPW) Inc. and the Our Move Archive.

This material is intended for non-commercial, educational purposes only, with the goal of promoting learning, research, and activism in the area of nuclear nonproliferation, peace, and citizen diplomacy.

-----------------
Credits:
Co-producer, Co-director, Cameraperson: Cathy Zheutlin
Cameraperson: Edis Jurcys
Co-director: Dmitri Devyatkin
and others..

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Hospital bed in Iran....


U.S. ECONOMIC SANCTIONS DELAY U.S. ACTIVIST FROM GETTING CRITICAL TREATMENT IN IRAN

David Hartsough, renowned activist, experienced deep chest pains during the recent CODEPINK delegation to Iran. A procedure to restore blood flow to his heart was needed immediately, but US Economic Sanctions on Iran blocked his health provider from sending money. That life-threatening experience has deepened David’s resolve to stop US economic sanctions, which are acts of war against the people of Iran.

AN AMERICAN CASUALTY OF US ECONOMIC SANCTIONS ON IRAN

I went to Iran with a peace delegation of 28 Americans organized by CODEPINK, women-led peace activist group.

The first day in Iran we had a very fruitful hour-and-half conversation with Javad Zarif, the Foreign Minister of Iran. He listened to our thoughts and concerns and then shared his perspectives about what is needed to help move our countries to a more peaceful and mutually respectful relationship.

Unfortunately, during that day I got increasingly severe chest pains. Friends encouraged me to go a hospital to have my heart checked. We went to the Shahram Hospital where they quickly did tests and discovered that there was major blockage in the arteries of my heart. The doctor in charge encouraged me to undergo surgery immediately (angioplasty) to avoid having a heart attack.

My heart was heavy in more ways than one. I had been working on and looking forward to this trip to Iran for many months. I hoped that our delegation could contribute to moving our government from extreme economic sanctions and threats of war toward building peace and mutual understanding.

The hospital was ready to do the medical procedure the next morning. My health insurance in the US is with Kaiser Permanente, and Kaiser tells all their members that they are covered for any medical problems while traveling outside of the US. However, when we checked with Kaiser, I was told that they could not send the money to cover the procedure because of the US economic sanctions against Iran.

We appealed that decision but were told the decision was final. No money could be sent to Iran for medical care, even of an emergency nature for US citizens. The doctors also told me that if I were to fly back to the US without surgery, I could very possibly have a heart attack – which could be fatal.

For each of three days they prepared me for the surgery, but for three days the answer came back “NO. No money could be sent to Iran for this procedure. It was not permitted by US government.”

Fortunately for me, two wonderful women at the US interest section of the embassy of Switzerland in Iran, heard about my situation and were able to convince the US Embassy in Switzerland to loan the money to me to be used for my medical procedure. Within hours I was moved to The Pars hospital, which specializes in heart work and the procedure was done by Dr. Tiznobeyk, a very skilled heart surgeon.

I spent another night in the hospital and then went back to the hotel to recuperate. I am, of course, very grateful to be alive but am acutely aware that people in Iran can’t turn to the Swiss embassy for help.

While in hospitals in Iran I talked with doctors and nurses, and heard many stories about people who could not get needed medicines for their illnesses, and died as a result. For example, one person had cancer and the medicines were available in Europe, but they could not do the financial transactions to buy them and she died. The economic sanctions have also caused extreme inflation and the cost of food, medicine and other necessities grows almost daily.

I have come to understand that economic sanctions are indeed acts of war. And the people who are suffering are not the government or religious leaders of Iran, but the ordinary people. I hope my personal story may be helpful to assist Americans to realize the violence of economic sanctions in which millions of people of Iran continue to suffer and die because of our government’s policies. I fully agree with what the Iranian Foreign Minister told us: You cannot get security for one country at the expense of security for other countries. We badly need to learn that real security can only be found when we have security for all nations.

I come back home with a heart which is much stronger and also with a much greater commitment to stop US policies of economic sanctions which I believe are acts of war. I will continue the work of getting the US to rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement and get on the track of peace-building rather than threatening acts of war. I hope you will join me.

~ David Hartsough is a Quaker from San Francisco, author of Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist, Director of Peaceworkers and Co-founder of World beyond War and the Nonviolent Peaceforce.

For more info on the trip see: codepink.org/iranblogs
For more info on the effect of US sanctions on Iran see: https://worldbeyondwar.org/iranian-sanctions-iraq-redux/

Sunday song