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, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Writing from the train station in Boston after just arriving from Portland on the bus. Maine Veterans for Peace member Tom Sturtevant is with MB and me for the trip. We will be staying at the Catholic Worker House while in DC. Lots in the news today of importance to us.

The federal budget for 2010 is now being developed by Obama and Congress. Here are some early signs:

* Defense News reports that "The Obama administration has directed defense officials to sign a pledge stating they will not share 2010 budget data with individuals outside the federal government......The Pentagon and Office of Management and Budget have agreed on a fiscal 2010 defense budget top line figure of $537 billion. That level is nearly $50 billion lower than the $585 billion defense plan created during the final months of the Bush administration, and $24 billion higher than the already enacted $513 billion 2009 defense budget."

These dollar figures do not include war funding.

Why is Obama making people working at the Department of Defense sign secrecy agreements? I thought he was going to be open and above board?

* Another news outlet reports "President Barack Obama today will seek $205.5 billion more for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, including $75.5 billion through the end of this fiscal year."

Just a few days ago Obama said he was going to cut the federal debt in half during his first term. One way to do this he said was to cut funding for the Iraq occupation. But when he simultaneously expands the Afghanistan operation and moves US troops there from Iraq, won't Obama have to move the money from one war front to the other? Am I missing something here? Please help me out.

* Maine's share of the economic stimulus package will include $160 million for road and bridge repair. Public transit will get $13 million. So much for using the funds to move us from the car culture into new green technologies like expanded rail systems. No vision here - what happens a year or two from now when the roads need repair again and we still don't have a significant public transit system?

* Democrats are urging Secretary of War Gates to "focus missile defense spending on theater systems such as Aegis missile defense system and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, both built by Lockheed Martin Corp, and the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile program run by Raytheon Co and Lockheed.....beefing up spending on theater missile defense systems should be the department's highest missile defense priority given growing concerns about short- and medium-range ballistic missile attacks."

* The Gainesville Sun reports this morning that the head of the University of Florida space nuclear power department, Samim Anghaie, is under investigation by federal investigators for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from NASA. I met Anghaie when our sons played basketball together on the same high school team in Gainesville. The money, to be used to develop nuclear reactors for space missions, was allegedly diverted by Anghaie into personal accounts which he used to purchase six cars, six pieces of real estate, and put into several bank accounts. Anghaie and I used to sit together and talk at ball practices while watching the kids play. It wasn't until some time later that Anghaie and I learned about each others work on the space nukes issue. It's a small world isn't it?


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