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, April 11, 2020

Grounded on the Mothership


Earlier this week as MB and I walked through our mostly quiet town of Brunswick, Maine we saw colorful signs of spring popping out of the ground.  Then on Thursday and Friday we were gifted with a beautiful couple of inches of large snowflakes that graced the trees seen from our apartment windows.  Our quiet town became even more still.  Nature has that wonderful ability to hush the noisy human race.

Lately, during this virus epidemic shutdown, I've come to wonder if our Mother Earth might just be intervening to slap her unruly children up side the head in order to get our attention.  We are so busy with this and that, rushing about destroying this lovely planet, that most hardly even notice what harm we collectively cause.

Growth has become almost a 'sacred word' to the capitalists who have no thought or concern about what our industrial society is doing to the mothership.  They press on, blinded by their love for the dollar bill, unable to feel our spiritual connection to this tiny spinning orb that gives us life.  In fact, many of them are rushing forward with great zeal to move our 'civilization' into the heavens where they believe they can promote limitless growth and at the same time extract massive profits from the unregulated gold rush that awaits them.

This sickness of spirit blinds many.  Yesterday I put Will Griffin's new video for the Global Network (see just below) on the Facebook page of The Mars Society.  Almost immediately more than 30 comments were posted boasting about the profits to be made from mining the sky.  They laughed at our concern about repeatedly launching nuclear devices into space.  Several commentors claimed that 'this time' human civilization would get it right and create an almost perfect world in the space colonies they envision.

I responded, not with anger, to several of the commenters reminding them about past space nuclear accidents by the US and Russia (see here), about space junk that now circles our planet, and that unless our consciousness changes before we rush headlong into space we will be poised to carry the 'bad seed' of greed, war, and environmental degradation with us into the heavens.


This was just too much and after several hours of this back-and-forth on their Fazebook page my entry was removed.  When I checked out the link that gave the reason for removal it said the following:

Group Rules That Were Violated: Be relevant
Please post only articles, photos, videos, graphics, etc. that involve Mars exploration and planning for human missions. Off topic or irrelevant posts will be removed.
Of course my post was not at all 'Off topic' nor was it irrelevant.  My only transgression was that I had challenged them to consider what kind of seed they intend to carry into space.  But in an organization where the president is a Lockheed Martin executive, no such friendly discussion can be allowed.  Space capitalism, mining the sky, rejecting the United Nations Moon and Outer Space Treaties, Trump's 'Space Force', questioning the use of nukes in space - none of this can be allowed to be discussed.

As unemployment accelerates across the US, and our national economy teeters toward full collapse, one must wonder how Washington could imagine spending hundreds of billions of needed dollars on space colonization projects while doctors and nurses go without sufficient resources to deal with the growing virus across the land.

We know that the aerospace industry understands that they must come up with a 'dedicated funding source' to pay for their expensive vision to bring the 'free market' into the heavens - despite the UN's call to make space 'the province of all humankind'.  Thus they've set their sites on those pesky 'entitlement programs' for defunding - which are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what little is left of the social safety net.  These are the programs the space colonization industry has sent their lobbyists to Washington to secure on their behalf. (I know this because the plan was outlined in an editorial years ago inside the industry publication called Space News.)

Thus it should not come as any surprise to me that my post on The Mars Society page was removed.  Many years ago while on a speaking tour of Southern California I was reading an article in the Los Angeles Times about the Mars Society and their grand vision.  I will never forget the quote from the president of the club.  It read:  'The Earth is a rotting, stinking, dying planet.  We must terraform [make green with life] Mars and move our civilization there.'

Imagine the cost to turn Mars into a beautiful planet full of life - like our Earth mothership.  If that is even possible.  It is indeed a sickness of spirit.

Bruce

Capitalism wants to 'control and dominate' space



Trump signed an executive order to allow corporations and citizens, aka billionaires, to begin mining the moon.

In addition, they want to use nuclear reactors to fuel spacecraft so they can mine Mars in the future. 

Corporations already dominate Earth, and it isn't enough for them. They want more. So, now they want to dominate Outer Space. 

Another excellent video by GN board member Will Griffin.

You can find the Pentagon's 'Vision for 2020' that spells out the quest for global and intergalactic domination here 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Extraordinary times: Lisa turns in ballot access signatures



US Senate Candidate Savage Delivers Signatures To Qualify for Maine’s November Ballot

Yesterday, Maine independent Green candidate for U.S. Senate Lisa Savage delivered petitions with 5,581 notarized and certified signatures, collected from Maine voters in 45 cities and towns to the Secretary of State’s office in Augusta. The Secretary’s office must now review and verify the petitions as the last step before Savage is placed on the ballot in November as an independent. She needed a minimum of 4,000 signatures from registered Maine voters and could deliver no more than 6,000.

“Thanks everyone for working so hard,” said Savage on the steps of the Burton Cross Building, wearing a mask and with just her husband and press coordinator in attendance. “I’m very gratified that so many people have confidence that I would make a good senator and that we can win this ranked choice voting race. This isn’t the big celebration we had hoped for in turning in our petitions, but the important thing is we’ll be on the ballot.”

While the campaign in fact gathered more than 9,000 signatures, thousands of them are still being processed by city and town clerks throughout the state, many of them overwhelmed with duties related to the COVID-19 outbreak. With the Secretary of State’s office already looking to move to a skeleton staff, and likely to be occupied with tough decisions about moving June’s primary election and other matters, the Savage campaign felt it was prudent to get qualifying signatures in as soon as possible, giving the Secretary’s office plenty of time to process and certify the signatures safely before the June 1 deadline.

Due to this quirk, as well, the 5,581 signatures included zero from Portland. To qualify for the ballot without signatures collected from Maine’s largest city demonstrates the breadth and depth of the campaign’s support.


“We want to thank the Secretary of State’s office and Deputy Secretary Flynn,” said Savage, “for working with us to safely hand over the petitions during the pandemic.” The campaign left the box of petitions outside the fourth floor office of the elections department while Secretary Flynn watched from inside the doors, to maintain chain of custody. Then, keeping six feet apart, Flynn took the petitions inside the office, where they will be quarantined for two days. The Secretary’s office estimates it may take weeks to work through the signatures and officially place Savage on the ballot, with current staff and workload.

Responsible social distancing precluded an event to submit the signatures, but many campaign volunteers expressed their enthusiasm for the momentum Savage will carry as the first official name on the November ballot, considering the parties will have to wait until July to name their nominees.

“Our leadership in the years leading up to this particular pandemic has just been completely inadequate,” said Austin Witham, of Portland. Politicians have “been so busy getting at each other's throats and turning the American people against each other that we have absolutely no current response that's going to save an adequate amount of lives. We need people like Lisa to actually get in there and focus on supporting the American people."

Steven “October” Paul, also of Portland, is excited about the prospect of supporting Savage in a ranked choice environment. “It eliminates any kind of temptation for people to think there’s a spoiler candidate,” he said.

Unity College student Cody Pajic said Savage is his candidate for ensuring that government response to the pandemic doesn’t leave people like him out in the cold. The recent stimulus package is a good example, he said. If a parent claims a college student as a dependent, it could be a double whammy where the student has lost income from working at school, and is financially independent, but isn’t eligible for a stimulus check. “So you’re just not getting any payments from this $2 trillion stimulus payout, that the corporations are going to be benefiting from massively. And that really pisses me off,” he said.

Find information about Lisa Savage, her policy positions, background, and how to support her people-powered campaign at www.LisaforMaine.org.

Wash your hands!


Thursday, April 09, 2020

USS Theodore Roosevelt sailors comprise more than half of Navy’s coronavirus cases


Stars & Stripes

 More than half of all U.S. sailors who have tested positive for coronavirus are attached to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, according to Navy data released Wednesday.

Across the Navy, 548 service members have contracted the illness and 286 of those are Roosevelt sailors, the update said. Nearly all the ship’s crew has been tested, with 10% coming back positive. None have been hospitalized.

It’s unclear with which ships, installations or units the remaining cases are associated. The Department of Defense late last month directed all services to refrain from releasing coronavirus numbers specific to commands.

Pilger on neo-liberal destruction of society



On this episode of Going Underground, we speak to legendary journalist and film-maker John Pilger about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

He discusses the fact that the Conservative government was warned about shortages leaving the NHS vulnerable in pandemics 4 years ago, the damage privatisation has done to the National Health Service, budget cuts which have seen bed capacities fall to record lows, his criticisms of the Boris Johnson administration’s response to Coronaviurs, the lack of mass-testing in the U.K. which has been seen in other countries such as Germany, South Korea and China, the government blaming China for the Coronavirus crisis, and the threat to Julian Assange’s life as he is denied release from prison as Coronavirus claims its first victim in Belmarsh Prison and more!

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Spring time in Crimea



A new video from the Botanical gardens in Yalta, Crimea.

I've been to these gardens twice in the past two years - once in the fall and the other in the spring.

A beautiful place.

Enjoy the tulips!

Wonderful protest in Los Angeles



Rent strike!

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Coming soon - more info to follow


Co-sponsored by UK's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).  More details coming soon.

 Webinar Speakers

Prof. Dave Webb (Chair @Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament)
Dave Webb has been Chair of CND since 2010 and is also Chair of Yorkshire CND. He is the convener of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, a member of Scientists for Global Responsibility and until recently a Professor of Engineering and Director of the Praxis Centre at Leeds Metropolitan University.
https://cnduk.org

Bruce Gagnon (Coordinator @Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space)
Bruce was a co-founder of the Global Network when it was created in 1992. His articles have appeared in publications like: Earth Island Journal, National Catholic Reporter, Asia Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, Albuquerque Journal, Sekai Journal (Japan), CounterPunch, Space News, Z Magazine, and Canadian Dimension. Bruce published his book in 2008 called Come Together Right Now: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire.
http://space4peace.org/

Lynda Williams (Board Member; Science Educator and Activist @Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space)

Lynda Williams (California): is a physicist and science entertainer who is devoted to nuclear disarmament and the proliferation of peace. She performs science cabarets and promotes scientific literacy as a means to motivate political empowerment, peace and social justice. Lynda lives and teaches in northern California and produced a CD with anti-Star Wars songs to benefit the GN. http://space4peace.org/  

Still riding in Maine

Starr Gilmartin (Trenton, Maine) on her bike and finding a way to promote Lisa Savage's campaign for the US Senate against current Republican Senator Susan Collins.


It will be a Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) election for the Senate here in Maine.  So there is no spoiler - people get to rank their favorite choices.

You can learn more about Lisa at her web site here

During this isolation from the virus Lisa is staying quite busy (her public school where she teaches of course has been closed) - in particular she has been calling for the closure of Bath Iron Works in support of the union who is demanding that workers be allowed to stay home and be paid while off work.

Lisa has also been calling for rent and mortgage relief for all people who need it. The rich fat cats are being well taken care of by Washington (including Sen. Collins) but very little is being done for working and poor people who once again are being kicked to the curb.

Rattle your chains now folks - if you don't no one will do it for you.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease - so keep squeaking real loud!  

Bruce

How should we deal with the reality of this epidemic?


By John Andrews (Massachusetts)


• Inaction on the part of of both Democrats and Republicans is responsible for us being unprepared for COVID-19.  The failure did not start in January 2020.

• We need to invest in adequate public health and stop letting our investments be dictated by the need to help profit-driven capitalist companies exploit sick people.

• We need Medicare-for-All so that everyone gets preventive health care and adequate treatment.

• We need to develop vaccine production that is not dependent on capitalist corporations that wait for an attractive return-on-investment opportunity before they get busy.

• We need paid sick days for every worker in America so that no one feels pressured to come to work when they are sick.

• We need to separate health care from employment.

• We need to have a coordinated national plan for addressing pandemics and other health challenges - not an uncoordinated mishmash of independent players who are urged to get involved voluntarily. Note Pagan Kennedy writing in the Boston Globe: “We often talk about the pandemic as a kind of war. If it is, then each Massachusetts hospital is a battleship. Without a clear chain of command, the battleships drift about and may even end up crashing into one another. In order to work as a fleet, the battleships must be united under one admiral and a team of captains.”

• We need housing assurance programs that put tenants first and don’t drive families into debt.

• We need assured employment programs that ensure a living wage job for every person that wants to work.

Monday, April 06, 2020

OMG!



Leaked audio of Acting Navy Secretary, Thomas Modly, calling out outsted aircraft carrier captain surfaces; Fox News' Jennifer Griffin reports.

What is going on in Iraq & Iran?




The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continues to push for war in Iraq against Iran militias, while the world is concentrated on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

What happened to Bernie?

 
On one list serve I frequent there is a growing discussion about Bernie Sanders, Biden, and the likelihood that the corporate-dominated Democrat National Committee (DNC) will do a backroom deal and appoint their next presidential candidate - done under 'extraordinary circumstances'.  Here is my response to one man who was defending Bernie and mourning the deflating of his campaign.  

Bernie endorsed and campaigned for Hillary – she opposed his key priorities

In the last debate Bernie said he’d support Biden for prez – who has said, among other ramblings, that he would veto Medicare for All if elected

Bernie complained in the Senate hearings about, and then voted for, the recent 2-4-6 trillion dollar corporate bailout....

Bernie missed his chance to be a real leader for the people – people have grown tired of his continued caving's – he missed the historical moment when he was most needed

People that know, say Bernie is a go-along to get-along kind of guy.

I thank him for talking up Medicare for All and many other needed programs

But when questioned about how he’d pay for these proposals – rarely since 2016 has he laid a strong glove on the Pentagon and empire
 
I don’t mourn for Bernie

We need folks who will push the powerful even harder

Our lives are at stake

Bruce

Washington refuses to stop its war machine



Abby Martin breaks down all the hidden acts of US foreign policy aggression under the cover of the COVID19 pandemic.

Sunday song