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.

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Upside down world....defending Assange and free press



Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters discusses his fight to help Julian Assange on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight.'

It's an upside down world
up is down
top is bottom
right is left
left is wrong
CNN
MSNBC
preach Russia demonization
Fox interviews Tulsi
and Roger Waters

Go figure
it's all turned around
confused
dazed
don't understand,
why?

Bruce

The virus in a wider context



Dr Ranjeet Brar, an NHS physician, explained on #MOATS this week what the virus is and why it's spreading so quickly.

Friday, March 06, 2020

Voter suppression once again in Dem primaries



What?  

Voting manipulation
by the Democrats
in the United States of America!?

Graham Elwood shows in the video
how voter suppression 
helped Biden in Texas.

And this is supposed to be 
the 'greatest democracy ever on the planet'....!!

Some don't want to acknowledge 
this complicity between the Dems 
and the corporate oligarchy.
It might require they dig in 
with the 'revolution'
but,
that could hurt
their social standing
in the bridge club
or the church,
at the YMCA 
or at work,
might cost your job.

It's a complex world
here in America
people want change,
badly,
but are not so eager
to help 
make it happen.

Can't tell you
how many times
folks have 
told me
over the years,
'Thanks for all you do,
I could never do it. 
I've got the mortgage
and the kids to 
put through college.'

You'd think
they'd then hand me 
a check,
but rarely
happened.

They were probably 
afraid
their name would
get on some list.

Could have
slipped me
some green,
but the NSA 
is watching....

Bruce

More on Biden....history of lies



Let the light shine on the Dems new 'leader'.....

I am still convinced that he is just in this to knock out Sanders.

When they hold the Dem convention this summer, if no candidate has the majority in the first round of voting, they will go to the 2nd round where the 'Super delegates' kick in.

Look for a surprise pick at that point - maybe Hillary or Obama makes a comeback.

Unless of course those who fund and control the Dems are actually quite happy with Trump and will enjoy seeing the 'good cop-bad cop' show in Washington continue during the next administration of 'The Donald' after Biden crashes in November.

Bruce

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Connecting the Pentagon & climate crisis





This video explores how the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex is a massive polluter in terms of both emissions and chemical waste. In addition, the video looks at whether or not these environmental and monetary burdens caused by the military-industrial complex are justified.

Have the multitude of wars the US wages been just, or are they manifestations of imperialism? Ultimately, the video connects environmental destruction with military imperialism and concludes that demilitarization is the only truly effective answer to the carbon footprint of the military.

What's next for Biden & Bernie?




The Democrat National Committee (DNC) has pulled all the levers to ensure that the insurgent Bernies Sanders campaign comes to a screeching halt.  The ruling corporate oligarcy has heard enough about Medicare for all, free college, $15 an hour minimum wage and calls to tax the rich and cut the military budget - even if just a mild cut.

The ruling elite got 'Mayor Pete' to bow out.  He didn't look too happy in his farewell speech back home.  It appeared to be a last minute decision to 'suspend' his campaign.  I saw the video of him on his campaign airplane informing the media onboard that instead of flying to Texas as scheduled, they were changing course and heading back to South Bend, Indiana.  He was called by Barack Obama and told to do 'the right thing'.  Mayor Pete got the message.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) got the word too and she pulled out.  Her immediate job was to deliver the Super Tuesday vote in Minnesota for Biden which she did. 

The CIA/military industrial complex bosses are now pumping up the leaking Biden effort after the conservative South Carolina first bailed out his failing campaign.  But Biden does not need to win, he just needs to slow down Bernie and then limp to the convention where all will be sorted out.

I had awhile back predicted it would be Bloomberg as prez and Sen. Amy Klobuchar as Vice-prez coming out of this summer's Democrat Party convention.  But Bloomberg's roll out was a complete and utter bust and now he too has 'suspended' his campaign.

Biden likely knows where all the bodies (warm and cold alike) are buried so he has a leg up to be able to grab the nomination in the second round of voting when the 'Super delegates' kick in and take over matters at the convention.  Once they finish screwing Bernie holy hell will break out across the country as the Vermont senator's supporters react to the corporate move to drown the process.

I still think Klobuchar is a safe bet as V-P for whoever gets the nomination for the Dems. They need a woman on the ticket and she is likely the safest pick for the ruling elite plus she hails from a Midwestern state. She is a former prosecutor in Minnesota and was known for her unforgiving harshness against black people.  Klobuchar is also a Cold Warrior who joined Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham in Ukraine not long after the US orchestrated coup d'etat there in 2014.  The politicians (along with Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a supposed 'liberal') posed for a photo with the Nazi death squads that were given new clean uniforms when Washington told Kiev to create a 'National Guard'.


In the end we here in America can't count on a fair national election.  The system is under lock-down. Washington, Wall Street and Hollywood like to say that the Russians stole the last election.  Pure crap.  The last national election was a public circus and this one is heading in the same direction.

The ruling oligarchies are not unhappy with Trump.  He is giving them practically everything they want just as Biden, Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren or Hillary Clinton would also do.

Bernie's movement does represent the next alliteration of the Occupy Movement (that Obama ordered to be shut down) and understands what their candidate is up against.  But for Bernie to succeed he's got to show more guts and take stronger and more inspiring stands against the domination of our government and economy by the oligarchs.  The war mongers in the Democratic Party fear such truth. Bernie might not be the one to take this needed agenda to the next phase.  He's already pledged to support the eventual nominee of the party - just like he did in 2016 when he supported Hillary Clinton.

It's one reason we rarely see Bernie mention foreign policy issues.  While he is indeed challenging the establishment on basic social issues he traditionally stands in the mainstream thought bubble in the Senate when it comes to US global domination.  Just listen to him trash Russia and China.

We are in for a wild ride.

Bruce

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Veterans confront Biden


Veterans Confront Biden on War record at Oakland Super Tuesday Stopover from About Face on Vimeo.


On March 3, 2020 at around 12:00 pacific standard time, only moments after Presidential hopeful Joe Biden addressed voters at the Buttercup Diner in Oakland, California saying he believed he would do better than expected on Super Tuesday, he was confronted by two military Veterans who expressed their anger about Biden’s vote in favor of the Iraq war and ongoing opposition to fully ending the decades long wars and withdrawing United States troops, stressing that those disastrous choices should disqualify him for the presidency.

In the video of the encounter Michael Thurman, an Air Force Veteran and conscientious objector, asks Biden “why should we vote for someone who voted for a war that killed thousands of our brothers and sisters and countless Iraqi civilians?” He went on to stress, “you enabled that war. You also gave a medal to the man who caused that war. That blood is on your hands as well” referencing the ceremony on Veterans Day in 2018 when Biden presented George W. Bush with the Liberty Medal for his “support for veterans.”

Joe Biden responded by mentioning that his son was also dead and stating “it matters to me a lot” presumably in reference to wars and then turning his back on the veterans to walk away. In the past, Joe Biden has been criticized for leveraging his son’s death both for political gain and to sidestep tough questions about his commitment to following through on promises to end the wars. Beau Biden deployed to Iraq in 2008 and later died from cancer in 2015. Joe Biden was quoted in 2007 saying “I don’t want him going, but I tell you what, I don’t want my grandson or my granddaughters going back in 15 years and so how we leave makes a big difference.” Years later while campaigning in 2012, Joe Biden famously stated, “We leave Afghanistan in 2014, period.” Biden has promised again to end the wars this campaign cycle, but has failed to present a clear plan and expressly opposes complete withdrawal.

Thurman was joined by another veteran who deployed to Afghanistan with the Army in 2012 during Biden’s tenure as Vice President. Both are members of About Face: Veterans Against the War (formerly known as Iraq Veterans Against the War), a grassroots organization made up of post 9/11 military veterans advocating for an end to the wars in which many of them participated.

Big day at polls for Lisa in Maine


Lisa Savage with Portland volunteer Jess Falero at a polling station where ballot access signatures were gathered to put Lisa on the ballot in November.  Well over 7,000 signatures were gathered for Lisa across Maine on Super Tuesday - only 4,000 were needed.  Next step is Lisa will be on the ballot in November for the most watched US Senate race in the nation against Susan Collins.


Through most of the winter, volunteers for Lisa Savage spent hours at a time driving miles and miles to try to get one Green Party member signature.  Often when we found the house no one was there or the person had long ago moved.  One signature per hour was the average and we gathered just over 900 signatures before we accepted the fact that it was going to be impossible for us to make our deadline.

The decision was made by Lisa to switch, to become an Independent, which meant we had to gather 4,000 signatures by June 1.  In just one day, on March 3, we had volunteers at more than 50 voting stations across the state and as of late last night it was determined that we had swept past the goal by getting over 7,000 signatures. 

When gathering Green signatures a collector could only get registered Green Party members to sign.  By registering as an Independent Lisa could have any registered voter sign her ballot access petition - no matter their party.  It just goes to show how this state's ballot access laws are heavily weighed against third parties.  Very unfair.

People signing Lisa's petition in Brunswick - they had to be outside the entire day.  Some polling stations forced the gatherers to be outside - fortunately the weather was decent. Note the use of an ironing board rather than a table by the Lisa team.

Yesterday was also the Democrat Party Super Tuesday primary election for president.  In Maine Sen. Bernie Sanders had been leading until the Dems forced several of their candidates out of the race in order to clear the path for former V-P Joe Biden.  As I write this Biden is leading Sanders in Maine by 35% to 34% with 85% of polling stations reporting their vote totals.  The ones still out could be primarily from the Portland area where Sanders is strongest.  But in the end the corporate machine that runs the Democrat Party has proven they still intend to drown the growing progressive rebellion going on inside that party.

I worked the polls in Bath for 11 hours yesterday (with a one hour break when Barbara West came to relieve me).  I gathered 450 signatures and while there had a brief chat with two of the leading Bernie campaign volunteers in that community.  They were both furious with the Biden maneuver to get several candidates to drop out of the race so that their supporters would turn toward Biden and save his wayward campaign.  The strategy seems to have worked on Super Tuesday.

Biden increasingly stumbles as he delivers his lines.  He talks about the 'middle class being clobbered' but says little about poor people who have largely been abandoned by his corporate party.  (It's shocking that blacks are voting for Biden as he and Obama did virtually nothing for their communities during their eight years in office.)

So there are more than 60,000 Bernie supporters in Maine (and millions across the nation) that are not going to be happy about the corporate plan to squash Bernie's progressive agenda and deny him the nomination.  Here in Maine I'd figure that many of those disenchanted Bernie supporters will support Lisa Savage's campaign as we head toward the November election.  Lisa's Senate race against Republican Susan Collins will surely be the most watched Senate election in the nation.  Now that we've gathered the signatures to get her on the ballot we can expect to see new energy coming her way.

Elections are not the solution to our problems - we need grassroots movements.  But when we combine the grassroots energy behind a candidate like Sanders or Lisa Savage then things can get quite exciting as they connect the dots between the important issues.

Lisa is a great grassroots peace, climate change, and social justice activist.  Onward this campaign for people, planet and peace will go.

Bruce

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Interview with journalist Diana Johnstone



With this interview to Diana, The Saker Italia (SI) wants to face what we now consider most urgent issues: the gap between the Eastern (Russia, China, Iran) and the Atlantic bloc, USA’s global role and its deep “identity crisis”, and the current social and political movements fleeing the European model. Trying to take a look at our geopolitical future.

S.I. One of the hot and “macro” topics is the so-called “new world order”, in particular the evolution of the model of power balance from bipolar to multipolar. The historic opposition between the USA and Russia has been enriched with new players (China and Iran), and of course the American role is changing, a role that also influences the European balance and dynamics. What is the “picture” you can take of this moment? What evolution? Which new players do you think will appear? What is the Israel’s role and/or the Israeli lobby’s influence in this context?


Is there really “historic opposition” between the USA and Russia?  Russia supported the North in the U.S. Civil War while Britain and France were on the side of the South, and Russia and the USA were on the same side in two world wars.  The historic opposition to Russia was more British, recalling the “Great Game” of 19th century rivalry in Central Asia.

Russia was seen as a U.S. adversary on grounds of communism. The communist scare emerged as the perfect ideological pretext for the United States to maintain the dominance it gained from World War.  Western Europe had to be defended from communism. Third World countries had to be prevented from going communist.


Russians themselves evidently believed that U.S. animosity was purely ideological, based on communism.  I think they really believed that the fall of Soviet communism would make the two nations into friendly partners.

All that happened is that the opposition was exposed as purely a matter of power relations. It becomes clearer that this is not an ideological battle between “liberal democracy” and “communist dictatorship” but between the United States and whoever resists U.S. world hegemony.

After two major twentieth century wars that ruined all the major powers, the United States moved in and occupied the power vacuum.  Educated to consider America morally superior to the “old world”, U.S. leaders easily considered their new supremacy to be natural, inevitable and eternal.  They are psychologically ill-equipped to think in Putin’s terms of “a world of equals”.

This attitude has been very successfully exploited by Israel’s champions, whether the neoconservative policy elite, Hollywood or AIPAC.  They have managed to identify Israel as a little America, land of those who escaped wicked European persecution to create a free nation in the wilderness and who must forever fend off the enemies of democracy.  The Israeli influence has had a very negative effect on both the American ideology and American methods, from targeted assassinations of political enemies to methods of crowd control.

I would not call Iran a “new player”.  The United States holds an old grudge against the Islamic Republic dating back to the 1979 embassy hostage crisis. Saudi Arabia and especially Israel exploit this to portray their own most powerful regional adversary as a threat to the United States, when in reality Iran only seeks peaceful relations with the West.

The “new players” that could make a difference would be Western European countries whose leaders would manage to free themselves from the military and ideological occupation by the United States that has lasted over seventy years.  But so far, Europe’s irresponsible obedience provides the decisive support to U.S. worldwide pretensions.

S.I.  Focusing on Europe, the EU is increasingly perceived by its citizens as a bureaucratic rather than a political or cultural entity. Also considering the foreign policy of Macron and Merkel, what’s your view on the current EU’s state of health?

The EU is indeed a bureaucratic rather than a political or cultural entity. Still worse, its treaties lock its member States into neoliberal economic policies and bind its defense to NATO.  In short, the EU is the most advanced experiment in U.S.-dominated globalization.

In this context, neither the EU itself nor its member states can pursue their own foreign policy.  That is why they are flailing about helplessly as they recognize that following the United States is leading them off the cliff.


French President has been widely quoted for remarking that NATO is “brain dead”.  I just read an interview with Alain de Benoist who rightly observed that it is the European Union which is brain dead, whereas NATO is flourishing. That is all too true.  NATO is actually making Europe’s foreign policy through its military buildup against Russia, and they all go along, although only Poland and the little Baltic States really approve.

The EU’s domestic policies are widely unpopular, and the foreign policy is dictated by NATO.  Yet the EU persists because populations have been indoctrinated for generations that only these particular supranational structures preserve Europe from war – even as Europe has been being dragged into wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria… and what comes next?

S.I.  The resolution of the European Parliament, which historically equated Nazism with communism, has recently aroused much controversy. Recalling also that the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazism will be celebrated this year in May – a victory obtained mainly thanks to the Soviet government – what is your opinion on this ideological operation, easy to become a decisive political-cultural watershed for the identity of the European Union itself?

The European Parliament has no authority to do much of anything, least of all to define historic truth.  This shameful resolution illustrates the intellectual vacuity of the current European political class as a whole.

The equation of Nazism with Soviet communism is based on the propagandistic practice of throwing both of them into a bag labeled “totalitarianism”, a questionable abstract concept which refers to techniques of ideological control, ignoring the sharp differences of intention and practice. The point is to discredit extreme left and extreme right and preserve the “liberal center” as the only innocent place to be.  By installing an official version of history and an official liberal ideology, the European Parliament seems to be leaning toward a bit of totalitarianism itself. Since there is no such thing as a common European sensibility, the EU tries to identify itself with abstract ideas and historic myths, much like its sponsor, the United States.

S.I. Still talking about Europe, we see the movement of the yellow vests and the recent victory of Sinn Fein in the Irish elections. We see all these movements and expressions that are strongly in contrast not only with the concept of the EU but are also openly anti-establishment. What kind of future do you see for these movements? Which others are possibly ready to explode?

The European Construction was designed (notably along the lines laid out by Jean Monnet) to put an end to nation states and even to politics, replaced by capitalism and technocratic governance. But politics is reasserting itself in various ways.  The lid is shaking and may come off.  In France, the problem with the EU is that the neoliberal straitjacket blocks the sort of mixed economy, with a strong State role, an industrial policy, public services and social benefits.  For Hungary, EU immigration policy threatens the identity of a small nation with a difficult language.  These movements call attention to the growing differences between historic nations that according to the concept of the EU were supposed to grow into one European people.  But right in the very center of the EU, Belgium is coming apart because prosperous right-leaning Dutch-speaking Flanders doesn’t want to share social costs with French-speaking, left-leaning Wallonia.  This illustrates a North-South split that haunts the EU. If little Belgium can’t hold together after two hundred years, a King and a good soccer team, how will Finland and Portugal, Malta and Denmark, Germany and Greece merge into a nation?

S.I. In what is geographically Europe, we are witnessing the terrible conflict in Ukraine. Can you give us your opinion on the role of Europe? Do you think that the end of the conflict is likely to happen, and if so, how?

The role of Europe is simply deplorable.  Seen from Washington, Ukraine is a big wedge to drive into Russia. Using Ukraine against Russia has been U.S. policy since the end of World War II. The usual U.S. tactic is exploitation of minority discontent to promote regime change, and the massive immigration of anti-Soviet, anti-Russian Ukrainians to North America has provided plenty of encouragement.

European policy makers should have had a more profound understanding of how dangerous it would be to exploit internal Ukrainian differences, stemming from a violent and complicated history marked by conflicting interpretations of history.

In the contrary, the whole current mess began with demands that Ukraine make a sharp choice in favor of economic accords with the EU, cutting ties with Russia, its main trading partner with strong historic links.  This was bound to revive and exacerbate divisions between the two halves of the country – Western Ukraine which looks West and Eastern Ukraine which looks East.  Germany had its own pawns in Ukraine, and was pushing the EU takeover, but lost to the Americans.  The United States exploited the uproar to back a coup giving control of the Kiev government to forces favorable to NATO membership. This amounted to a clear threat to bring Russia’s principal naval base in Crimea under US control. Russia was able to fend off this unacceptable threat peacefully, thanks to the well-established fact that most Crimeans wanted their territory to return to Russia.  This was overwhelmingly demonstrated by referendum.


Now, any seriously educated person in Europe can understand that this was not a “Russian invasion” of Ukraine but a deft move to head off a potential military confrontation.  Contrary to the NATO bombing that detached Kosovo from Serbia, it was both peaceful and democratic.

Meanwhile, the people of the Russian-speaking Donbass region revolted against the coup that overthrew the President they had voted for in favor of a hostile regime including neo-Nazi elements. Russia very easily could have invaded Eastern Ukraine in support of Donbass rebels but did not do so.  Yet Atlantic solidarity obliged everyone to proclaim that Russia “invaded Ukraine” and thus “threatens to invade its neighbors”.

So Ukraine is mired in a frozen conflict. Yet the way out was clear enough almost from the beginning, when leaders from France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine met in 2014 during commemorations of the D-Day Normandy landings in an attempt to work towards a solution. The outlines of a solution have been obvious from the beginning: a decentralized Ukraine, perhaps a federation on the German model, which would enable the regions to enjoy self-government. Only the Americans have an interest in the ongoing Ukrainian civil war, as a thorn in the side of Russia. The United States made it clear during the Yugoslav crisis of the 1990s that it could not stand back and allow Europeans to solve their own problems.  Ukraine is a critical test of that control.

S.I. Looking at the world map, what are your thoughts and predictions on the near geopolitical future?
Today, Syria is still the central point of confrontation between great powers. I try to understand the past and the present, and never venture to predict the future. But I can worry.  I worry about insane NATO military exercises on Russia’s borders.  I worry today about the reckless and totally illegal Turkish intervention in Syria, which is bringing a NATO member into direct conflict with Russia.  The very existence of NATO is a threat to the world, and if European leaders weren’t “brain dead”, they would demand its dissolution. Meanwhile, I read that there is strong opposition to Erdogan’s adventurism from the Turkish people.  Instead of artificial “regime change” engineered by U.S. agencies, we need more genuine critical movements of European peoples demanding that governments meet domestic needs and end military confrontation.

~ Diana Johnstone is an American political writer, focusing primarily on European politics and Western foreign policy. She received a BA in Russian Area studies and a PhD in French literature at the University of Minnesota. Active in the movement against the Vietnam War, she organized the first international contacts between American citizens and Vietnamese representatives.

Diana worked for Agence France Presse, for In These Times as European Correspondent, and she was press officer of the Green group in the European Parliament from 1990 to 1996. Most of Johnstone’s adult life has been spent in France, Germany, and Italy, and from 1990 she has lived in Paris. Her writings have been published in New Left Review, Counterpunch, and Covert Action Quarterly.

Monday, March 02, 2020

DNC moving to build support for Biden



Well done video

Tulsi on Syria & Turkey



Donald Trump needs to make it clear to NATO and Erdogan that the United States will not be dragged into a war with Russia by the aggressive, Islamist, expansionist dictator of Turkey, a so-called “NATO” ally. #StandWithTulsi

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Sunday song