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 14, 2020

What happens to the economy under virus shutdown?



Richard Wolff discusses how the US needs public enterprise to create structural changes to the economy for the American working class.

Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City.

Earlier he taught economics at Yale University (1967-1969) and at the City College of the City University of New York (1969-1973). In 1994, he was a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Paris (France), I (Sorbonne). Wolff was also regular lecturer at the Brecht Forum in New York City.

Friday, March 13, 2020

US Senate Candidate Lisa Savage Outlines Covid-19 Response Plan




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday March 13, 2020

For more info: Sam Pfeifle Phone: 207-749-0298       Email: sam@lisaformaine.org  
Twitter: @SamPfeifle    www.lisaformaine.org

Today Lisa Savage, independent Green candidate in Maine's 2020 ranked choice voting US Senate race, issued the following statement regarding the coronavirus pandemic:

The spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) is a challenge to us as a society. It is already exposing deep failures in our political and economic system, including the moral abomination of a pay-or-die healthcare system, the refusal by political leaders to heed scientists’ warnings with policies to protect the public, and a precarious economy that leaves too many working people vulnerable to illness and economic ruin. For our society to overcome a pandemic in this unprepared state, we must meet it with collective will. With accurate information, plus care and attention, we can control the spread of the disease and mitigate its effects. We cannot expect to continue our lives as normal in the coming days and weeks, but if we alter our behavior now for a short while, we may be able to avoid radically altering our behavior for a long period of time.

The most difficult aspect to controlling the disease is that those who carry it may not show any symptoms for as long as 14 days. That’s why it’s vital for us to pause, assess who has the disease as they begin to show symptoms, and then treat those people in isolated settings. 

In order to accomplish this, we must take a series of actions at the local, state, and federal levels and we must take them quickly:

Testing: The federal government must partner with state governors to immediately commit resources to testing kits that can be deployed to every corner of the United States as quickly as possible. There is no higher priority. We must have roadside testing at travel chokepoints and sidewalk testing on city streets, in addition to tests at hospitals and health care facilities. 

Health care: We must enroll everyone without health insurance immediately in some kind of Medicare plan, hiring displaced workers as fast as possible to process virtual paperwork. Coronavirus testing and treatment must be provided without individual cost. 

Travel: We must suspend all non-essential travel and greatly restrict people’s non-essential movement. People should be encouraged to stay local and certain areas may have to be quarantined with enforcement. 

Stimulus: We must pass emergency legislation that suspends rent and mortgage collection in quarantined and restricted areas and subsidizes those companies manufacturing items that are essential to daily social life so that they radically lower their prices. We need to institute a temporary universal basic income that would allow for purchase of food and necessities. 

This may require something on the order of 1% of GDP, or $190 billion. The $1.5 trillion recently injected into the markets is a clear indication that there is no shortage of resources for this kind of stimulus package. 

Military: As quickly as possible, military forces must be converted into humanitarian forces, distributing necessities, doing wellness checks, conducting testing, etc. Bring as many as possible home from overseas. 

Social Services: We must immediately not only cancel SNAP restrictions, but we must extend SNAP liberally alongside and as part of the universal basic income. We will have to create food distribution systems to address food insecurity that will be worsened by disruption of supply lines. A moratorium on evictions will ensure housing security for low income people and families.

Utilities: People must receive subsidies to pay for their power, water, and heating oil/propane, etc., so that no one experiences loss of power, water, or heat. 

Taxation: Corporate wealth must be taxed for the purpose of fighting the spread of Covid-19, which they can pay in in-kind donations. The Internal Revenue Service must be tasked with rapidly cataloging contributions and Tax Day for 2020 must be delayed at least six months. 

Foreign Policy: The time for inter-country brinksmanship and adversarial saber-rattling is over. Sanctions must be lifted to ensure the free flow of humanitarian aid and supplies around the globe. Anywhere this virus continues to thrive represents a threat to global health, including to those of us here in the United States. We must partner with countries around the world to create the most efficient system possible for creating a vaccine and other treatments and administering them as quickly as possible. 

Prisons: Incarcerated people are particularly at risk of contracting communicable diseases. Both the federal government and the states should immediately release nonviolent offenders and incarcerated people whose age or health puts them at high risk, including the many low-income people who are currently incarcerated because of their inability to pay a fine or post bail. Further, we must provide these people with the means to house and feed themselves, along with health care.

Jill & Lisa


The 'Dem exit' begins.....



It's the number one topic today - Biden vs Bernie

Bernie came out on TV and said 'Biden could beat Trump.'  How's that for capitulation as the corporate oligarchy clamps down on the Democratic party process?

Enough talk about socialism - shut it down - just like Occupy movement was shut down during Obama.

They are going to drain us now under Coronavirus
Loss of jobs, economic swing-down
who is gonna suffer?
Who is gonna go hungry?
Who will be homeless?
Who will go without health care and have their limp bodies
tossed into a heap
and buried with one big push of dirt
from a bulldozer,
just like the US did to
innocent thousands
in Panama
during that 1989 invasion
called
'Operation Just Cause'

Like with all
military assaults
Madison Avenue
has a big role to play.
They
will put together a
detailed and coordinated
PR campaign
to ensure that the
election in November
goes as planned.

The oligarchy runs two horses
in every race....
Why take any chances?

The more the public
gives up,
walks away,
makes certain
that Mr. Big
can slide safely
into home plate.

Real push back
must come
from the people
uniting locally around
movements and voices
that speak the hard truths
to the cringing and stunned masses

It will take great courage
for the public
to connect with real
visions....
while Mr. Big's media,
Congress,
Courts,
and Wall Street
map out the coming
period of neo-feudalism

Bruce  

Here are a few comments on YouTube videos that discuss the current frustration with Bernie's weak finish in the Democratic party process.

TheSaltLakers When I made a small donation to The Bernie Sanders campaign I was surprised to get a thank you card that said "Thank you and please vote for my friend Joe Biden."

Peter Sepall  The corporate media is a public relations cartel for concentrated wealth. Expecting it to provide anything but a self serving narrative is profoundly naive.
 
Edward Siegel  I vote for progressive populists - I don't vote for D's or R's - The purpose of parties is to polarize the people against their own interests to favor their patrons.

ashitaka Of the amishi  Screw Biden, and screw Democrats. After this year I'm done with them. Bernie or Bust 2020!!!
 
upnorthgir  After this sham of a primary has reared its ugly head, the Democratic party is DONE, they just gave their constituents the middle finger and told them to fall in line because you have nowhere else to go. Guess what, the constituents are going.....they are done with the party and it's corrupt corporatist pandering. The DNC just lost its base. The party as we once knew it, is done.
Elizabeth's Music and Arts   I have lived and worked all over Virginia my entire life-- from the rural Southern areas where my students literally passed out in class on the regular because they didn't have adequate medical Care and can't afford it, to Central Virginia where I watched my students who don't ever have any food at home organize to find a place to eat on days when school doesn't provide breakfast and lunch, to northern Virginia where, despite the high overall salaries, many workers are still in constant fear of being laid off and there are plenty of people still working in wal-mart and Uber.
mr magoo  Come on folks... everything's going according to the plan. Bernie's a fraud  
Pepito Delospalotes  He doesn't want to win !!! It gets obvious day by day that Bernie is Controlled opposition rallying progressives to hand them to the anointed DNC candidate 

PM ScroMo  The Corporate Democrats know they have lost this one. They have lost many before. But to them it is far more important to lose to Trump than to an FDR like candidate during a global recession.
 Sean Harvey  I learned something important from Bernie - don't back somebody even if they support the right issues if they are not willing to fight everybody who opposes those issues. That lesson cost me 216 dollars. I wish I could transfer that money to Tulsi, who is a natural born fighter.  
Jaideep Paul  Bern betrayed Tulsi when she stood up for him, then he betrayed Tulsi, again, then betrayed his base, again, who stand by him. 
George Carter  "Joe Biden is a friend of mine and I'll be right there for him when the Democratic Party formally steals the nomination from me and gives it to him in Milwaukee" - Bernie Sanders. 
Patrick Connor  I was resistant to the idea that Bernie’s role is of sheepdog to herd the wayward flock back into the tent but am now starting to wonder..
Matt Purvis  He STILL thinks he can convince the establishment to play nice, and adopt his ideas. Is Sanders really that naive? Answer: apparently so.  

K T  I don't care Biden is a relic, if he's chosen by the DNC I've lost all hope, not that there was much, in the USA electoral process. Democracy is at an all time low, the corruption is so bad
Teyi Latevi Lawson  Watching all the drama of the Primaries from France and UK . I will just say this Bernie reminds me of the former UK party leader Jeremy Corbyn who lost the election against Boris Johnson. Bernie just do not have what it takes to be President. They are things you just cannot say, his strategy is very naïve just like was Corbyn's. 
Harley Stout  In my experience, most people my age (Early 20s) have no idea what a primary is, or when their state votes. That could be a huge reason why turnout is so low. I was one of those people in 2016. More needs to be done to get these people informed.  
Tom  Biden’s whole career has been an act of manipulation using lies and misrepresentation.  
Eleventy Won  It's very clear at this point. The democratic establishment would prefer another four years of Trump to Bernie Sanders. I've probably never seen a more clear-cut example of corruption in my life. It's rather insane.  
ani  The mainstream media like CNN and MSNBC are covering him [Biden]. It is like Democracy is dead in America. The media is not doing its job. The people of America are being cheated by DNC and the mainstream media.  
The National Razor  The Democratic party is just to provide the iLLUSION of a choice. 
MoneyThink  Heck, I'm 68 years old, and I don't see how they can reach out to ME. Democrats have no credibility. Republicans have no credibility. They are now both the enemy.
nrf91  "It's too late baby now, it's too late..." ... 4 years of lying about, smearing and cheating Bernie Sanders and the progressive movement and you think we're going to fall in line because you patted us on the head? Nope. You had your chance to embrace us and you chose to embrace the same old neoliberal class warriors for the wealthy. 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Virus update: USA ain't ready yet.....



President Donald Trump delivered a Wednesday night address that only caused more confusion about how government officials plan to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Real News will continue to cover the coronavirus as it spreads.

Hiding in plain sight....



Isn't it obvious?

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Cornel West in Flint: Moral & spiritual crisis in America



Dr. Cornel West spoke at a Bernie Sanders rally in Flint, Michigan with a particular focus on the racial issues of Michigan and the US as a whole.   

Truth in the numbers



China virus update



Many in the west mocked China's response to the virus outbreak.  But it appears to me that Beijing threw everything they had at the problem.

I fear that in the US, where medical care has dollar signs written all over it, the response to a widespread outbreak of the virus would not be nearly so effective.

In this country workers and the poor can't afford to even imagine going to the doctor if they come down with any symptoms.  How could they ever hope to pay the hospital bills?  How could they even contemplate taking time off from work to isolate themselves if they had symptoms?  They could lose their job and their homes.

I hope the worst is indeed over in China.  My heart breaks for Italy and Iran, or any other nation, that is now facing this virus.  I worry daily about its impact here in America.

Mary Beth works with the homeless population in Portland.  Tell me how the homeless, in such huge numbers across this big country, could ever hope that our 'for profit' healthcare industry would give a damn about them?

Bruce

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

And the band plays on.....



The man can't help himself - he is a habitual hack....

Talking politics in the grocery bean section


I walked to the local grocery store to do some shopping yesterday.

I was checking out the bean section (one of my favorite places) and a woman saw my Lisa 4 Maine button on me and asked who it was.  So I proceeded to tell her about Lisa Savage.

The woman is in her late 70's and is from Mexico.  She told me she used to be a domestic worker for one of Maine's leading families.

I liked her immediately - a kind smile and she listened closely as I answered her questions.  She asked me Lisa's position on abortion and I told her that Lisa supported leaving those questions to the woman, her family and her doctor.  She explained that she is against abortion and a Republican.  We talked about immigration, war, corporate control of Washington and more.

She listened closely to me while I answered her questions and I respectfully listened to her as well.

Then she asked me about Ranked Choice Voting (RCV).  She said most older people are confused by it.  I asked her if she'd like me to try to explain it.  She said yes, please try.

So I took three cans off the shelf - one can of black beans, one can of artichoke hearts and one can of white beans.  I said when you go to vote you rank the candidates by your preferences - say the black beans is your first choice, then the white beans is your second and the artichoke hearts last.  She got that part.

Then I bumbled around trying to explain what they do if none of the candidates get more than 50% of the vote in the first round - they drop off the last candidate and shift their votes to the others.  This is where I didn't do so well but my new friend was extremely patient with me while I floundered.  For a much better explanation of RCV go here.

In the end we had a very pleasant good-bye with each of us forgetting why we had been standing in front of the bean section of the store.

I wished I had got her contact information.  MB spent several years in Mexico and loves the culture and the people there.  She would have liked this nice woman even if she was a Republican.

I told her that I had once been a Young Republican for Nixon in 1968 so I don't judge folks based on their political affiliation.  In my life I went from Republican to Democrat (have not voted for a Dem for prez since Walter Mondale in 1984) to Green Independent.

I try to meet people on face value.  You show me respect and you get it back from me.  We can talk politics all day long and we don't have to agree.

In the end this kind woman told me she would keep an eye on Lisa and would likely pick her as #2 choice in the RCV election for US Senate in November.

Bruce

Monday, March 09, 2020

More truth emerges about Biden



Edward Snowden revealed then-Vice President Joe Biden and then-Secretary of State John Kerry pressured countries that protect whistleblowers and asylum seekers to deny him entrance.

In an interview with MSNBC's Brian Williams, Snowden said he applied for asylum to countries such as allies France and Germany but every time it got pulled.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Celebrate with Lisa Savage in Portland & Belfast


WHO: Lisa for Maine volunteers, staff & the candidate: Refreshments and a chance to share stories from the field plus your ideas for next steps in our campaign to elect a senator for people, planet, and peace.
WHERE: Margaritas Mexican Restaurant, 424 St. John St., Portland & Waterfall Arts, 256 High St., Belfast
WHEN: Saturday March 14 & Saturday March 28, from 2-4pm on both dates
WHY: Celebration of volunteer effort resulting in 9,000+ signatures for ballot access
FMI: Call 650-8863 or 607-4255

Sunday song