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

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


July 4 in the US is hot dogs, parades, flag waving and baseball. Glory and the pride of empire. Not so around the world.

There are more than 800 US military bases worldwide and in most of these places there are local citizens movements organizing to shut the bases down and send them home.

As we approach the July 4th let's just focus on two of these bases, and communities, for a moment.

In Northern England, up in Yorkshire, is the US Menwith Hill spy base run by the National Security Agency (NSA). The golf ball looking radomes are used to cover huge satellite receiving devices that are intercepting all phone-fax-email traffic from Europe. The US does industrial espionage from this base. And in addition, upgrades are being made at this base to allow for its participation in the US Star Wars program.

The British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament says, "US Missile Defence bases at Menwith Hill and Fylingdales in Yorkshire make Britain a front line target in future US wars. And they operate outside British law and Parliamentary scrutiny. By allowing these bases to be crucial components of the system the UK is complicit in the US military agenda and has put Britain in the front line in any future US war. It has already sparked controversy and provoked a new nuclear arms race, with an increased danger of nuclear weapons use. A potential aggressor could seek to destroy US Missile Defence facilities in Europe in the context of an imminent war with the US."

On July 4 our friends in North Yorkshire will hold their annual "Independence from America Day." We send them our best wishes.
I've written before about Vincenza, Italy where the US is expanding its military base to create a larger hub for expected American military actions in Africa in the coming years to control their resources. Residents in Vincenza have been organizing a vigorous campaign to oppose the base and on July 4 they too will be calling for independence from America.

According to an organization called US Citizens for Peace & Justice, based in Rome, Italy, "On July 4th, just days before Obama arrives in Italy for the G8 summit, Vicenza will celebrate its own 'Independence Day,' that is, independence from the U.S. military! After three years of determined opposition to the construction of a new base in their city, the people of Vicenza show no signs of letting up. They have called for a national demonstration with a protest march that will literally surround the site of the new base."

For years the citizens in many countries saw the US military as protectors. But now there is growing awareness that the US bases in their communities are part of the aggressive endless war plan of the US for control and domination of the resources and people of the world. There are few illusions about US troops being used to promote democracy and freedom.

I'm sure that similar events will be held at US bases in South Korea, Australia, Guam, Japan, Okinawa and other places on July 4.
When the people of the world stop believing in US empire it will collapse. Empire is unsustainable in the long-term and always falls.

Here in the US we must raise our voices in unity with our peaceful friends around the world. No more empire. No more war. Bring all the troops home and close the bases. Use our tax monies to fund human needs and to deal with climate change.

In the spirit of July 4, we all want independence from the military industrial complex!

Monday, June 29, 2009


This is a really important video by Bill Moyers from some years ago on the power of the CIA.

Last year I read a book called The Game Player by a former CIA agent Miles Copeland. He was pro-CIA and very enthusiastic about having worked for the oil corporations during the period of 1950-1970ish.

Copeland worked in the Middle East and with great affection told story after story about helping to kill or neutralize those who stood in the way of corporate control of the oil region.

In one section, where he talks extensively about Egypt, he tells the story about how former Nazi operatives were weaved into the CIA Middle East operation:

"The idea of planting on Middle Eastern governments Germans suspected of war crimes had a lot to say for it, because they were generally both anti-American and anti-Soviet, and presumed to be anti-Semitic and therefore anti-Israel. Most of them were also anti-Arab, although they had the wit to conceal that fact. Anyhow, all of them were opportunists, willing to work for anyone who paid them, and they happily passed on to their Middle Eastern employers any advice prescribed for them. Naturally, we had some trouble in getting clearance for projects involving the use of Nazis and ex-Nazis, but our difficulties disappeared when our friends in Israel's Mossad admitted that they, too, were using ex-Nazis for a number of nefarious purposes, and for the same reasons that they were attractive to us."

Copeland eventually leaves the CIA and goes to work directly for oil corporations but continues doing the same covert work. He described how often, when he would enter a particular Middle Eastern country to work on an operation, the US Embassy and the CIA assigned there did not know what he was doing. His orders were coming from a "higher authority". The secret government at work. It's even more so today.

Yesterday we had our monthly pot luck supper here at the Addams-Melman House. It was a pouring buckets-of-rain day, and I spent alot of time talking with one woman peace elder in our state. She voted for Obama and told me "I just don't want to believe" that he has been such a disappointment. The feeling of betrayal is beginning to creep into her soul. What is left to do she wondered? Take the money out of politics and instant run-off voting (IRV), she asked? Yes I told her, those are good but even if we had that the corporate dominated media would make sure their interests would win elections 9-times-out-of-10. In the end we have to take the whole system on I suggested.

Then this morning I got a call from a Global Network member in conservative Indiana. He had seen my new video and wanted to put it on his cable TV show - his lifeline. He talked for some time about how their local peace group, before the elections drawing a couple hundred to events, was now down to six stubborn people. He too had voted for Obama but was glad to see my critical review of Obama's foreign policy on the video.

We all need permission at times to keep at it, especially when the slogging gets tough. As Pink Floyd says, "I've become comfortably numb."

I told my friend, he is a Veteran for Peace member too, that we've got to see the incoming and outgoing ocean tides in our minds. The rush of activism comes and it goes. The job of an organizer is to keep the fires burning during the out-tide so that when the people inevitably return there is a place for them to move into immediate action. In the lull period we have to stay visible in every possible way and to keep putting the pieces of the puzzle up on the wall so people can begin to interpret the whole picture.

The people though, in their hearts, know the true score. But everyone wants to be liked and they have long ago learned to "toe the line" as they taught us in the military. Take away all desire and will to step out when told by the oligarchy to sit down and shut up.

Eventually though people will be forced off the dime and back into action. The contradictions are catching up with the collapsing system and they are a bit hard to ignore these days.

But we have to go global. We seen people in Iran protesting as they become victims of the big power game now underway spelled - OIL. The only way to take down the global corporate power elite is to link our realities to this larger picture.

But at the same time the place to do that work is locally. We've got to help our fellow citizens to move from fear and lethargy into action. It's a lifetime gift.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


The House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act the other day by a slim 219-212 majority.

Was it a win or a loss for the Climate Change movement? Depends on who you listen to.

Almost immediately after the vote I got an email from the environmental coalition called 1Sky which said, "Thousands of activists across the country made a difference improving the bill and in securing this vote... We fought hard for and were pleased by the strengthening amendments that Chairman Waxman secured, which authorizes but does not confirm, more than $30 billion in additional funds and loans to ensure increased efficiency, investments in renewable energy, and research and development in regions with undiscovered renewable energy potential."

One of the few Democrats to vote against the bill was Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) who said about the bill, "It won’t address the problem. In fact, it might make the problem worse."

Kucinich maintained, "“It sets targets that are too weak, especially in the short term, and sets about meeting those targets through Enron-style accounting methods. It gives new life to one of the primary sources of the problem that should be on its way out– coal – by giving it record subsidies. And it is rounded out with massive corporate giveaways at taxpayer expense...Nuclear power is given a lifeline instead of phasing it out...The bill allows polluting industries to qualify as 'renewable energy'... I offered eight amendments and cosponsored two more that collectively would have turned the bill into an acceptable starting point. All amendments were not allowed to be offered to the full House [by the Democratic Party leadership]."

“Passing a weak bill today gives us weak environmental policy tomorrow,” said Kucinich.

Another source I respect is Ted Glick, the Policy Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, who has been a key player in the last couple of years in the effort to get the environmental movement out on the streets for protests and civil disobedience against the coal industry power in Congress.

Ted is not happy with the bill and suggested that, "many groups have to be less willing to align so closely with the desires of the Democratic Party leadership, more willing to say 'no' when asked to support a really bad political compromise."

It is obvious that many environmental groups caved under pressure to support the corporate-dominated bill out of fear that their funders, tied to the Democrats, would punish them for going against the party. Many of these same organizations claim, mistakenly, that they have "access" to the Democrats, they will be listened to, and they can shape policy. It's obvious that their cozy-up-to-the-Democrats strategy does not work.

1Sky says they stood up to the "Big Oil and Coal" lobbies. It looks to me like they got bulldozed by them. As long as they hang onto the coattails of the Democratic Party nothing will change.

Dennis Kucinich says the bill "kicks the can down the road." Those who understand the reality of climate change know we don't have time to play kick the can.

Those organizations that support this kind of corporate dominated policy making don't deserve our support or our donations.


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Cheney Predacted
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Global strike and cyberwarfare - these are two concepts that you'd better get used to hearing as the US military empire moves to expand its doctrine of Full Spectrum Dominance.

The basic idea of cyberwarfare is that we crawl inside the "offending nation's" computer system and shut down (hack) their ability to see what is happening as we launch "preemptive" attacks on them.

Then using "global strike" weapons like nuclear missiles, the military space plane, and other technologies we hit them hard while they are blind.

All very nice stuff, isn't it? The message is that you'd better do as we tell you and save yourself the grief. That's the compassionate empire in us talking. Very proper like, as they say in the United Kingdom.

This is the stuff new arms races are made of....what self-respecting country is going to stand back and let you develop the ability to push them around and not find a way to respond?

The US says we want to "reset" relations with Russia, we want to see China stop building up its military, we want Korea and Iran to stop building nuclear weapons.

Maybe, as the Bible says, "You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother's eye."

Friday, June 26, 2009


What ultimately is the difference between the US Army being the "Crusaders for Christ" and the Taliban?


Thursday, June 25, 2009


Obama’s Emerging Legacy: Wars, Bankers and For-Profit Healthcare

By Glen Ford, Executive Editor Black Agenda Report

As of this writing, the Progressives for Obama website still exists, a relic of Left delusion that should have died of embarrassment months ago. Barack Obama has, indeed, grown in the presidency – but not into the FDR-like figure of his leftish supporters’ imaginations. Nor has his presence in the Oval Office served to spur Blacks and progressives to dramatic action, creating the “push” that Left Obamites had predicted would allow their champion to act on his more “liberal” instincts. Quite the contrary. The “Obama Effect” has led to the near-total collapse of the Left– both its white and Black wings – and made the nation safe for rule by finance capital and militarists.

The military, finance capital and healthcare corporations (insurers are a branch of finance capital) are winning every important battle because, on fundamental issues, President Obama is on their side. It is he who crushed the anti-war bloc in the US. House; who silenced and marginalized single payer advocates, while fawning over health profiteers; who engineered the greatest transfer of wealth in human history to bankers, leaving them free to once again ruin themselves and the rest of us.

So let us give President Obama his due. He not only smashed the Left opposition, he humiliated them.

There is no longer an anti-war bloc in the U.S. Congress. It began to evaporate when Obama took office. The Out of Iraq Caucus has dissolved. The Progressive Congressional Caucus cannot find a mission. And the Congressional Black Caucus can claim only eight members worthy of the label, “progressive.” The list of CBC members among the 32 Democrats that voted “No” to Obama’s $106 billion Iraq and Afghanistan war request is so short, it can be taken in at a glance.
Here are the few, the brave:

Barbara Lee (CA), Maxine Waters (CA), Diane Watson (CA), John Lewis (GA), Donna Edwards (MD), John Conyers (MI), Keith Ellison (MN), Donald Payne (NJ).

Less than seven years ago, only four members of the CBC supported George Bush’s Iraq War Powers: Harold Ford, Jr. (TN), William Jefferson (LA), Albert Wynn (MD) and Sanford Bishop (GA). In the pages of The Black Commentator I called them the “Four Eunuchs of War” and felt confident in writing:

“The rest of the 36 voting members of the Congressional Black Caucus defended Black America's political legacy, voting No. Rep. Barbara Lee (CA) led half of her CBC colleagues in support of her ‘alternative to war’ resolution, demonstrating once again that African Americans are the core of the forces of peace and justice in the U.S.”

It’s been all down hill for the CBC since 2002, a steady slide into corporatism and irrelevance. With the Black progressive “core” definitively demobilized since January 20, the Left is largely adrift.

Obama has accomplished what George Bush could not: virtually silence progressive voices in Congress, so that he can stoke the fires of war on two fronts without significant challenge from the legislative branch. It is a great victory, so why not congratulate the president, and give him the elemental respect of recognizing that he is – or is trying his best to be – a Man of War?

A Murdered Dream

Kudos, again, to the president, for such adroitness in killing a dream whose time appeared to have come: single-payer healthcare. Obama made non-persons of healthcare reform’s best friends in the Democratic Party, barring them from White House-sponsored healthcare events. The president erected a big tent that included everyone except single-payer advocates who, from Obama’s perspective, are the enemy. Instead, he wheels and deals and even invents nonexistent agreements with Big Pharma, Big Hospitals, and Big Insurance, all the while vowing to slice huge chunks out of Medicare and Medicaid.

Obama apologists offer their usual excuse: the president must huddle and compromise with the profiteers, if he is to get any kind of health care passed. The single-payers are well-meaning spoilers. Obama had to muzzle them, so he could get down to business on a practical plan.

What should be clear as day to any lucid, rational observer of the last 150-plus days, is that Obama has not compromised with anybody. Certainly, he never even thought to compromise with single-payer advocates – he simply shut them out of the discussion. And he was never in a position to effectively compromise with the healthcare profiteers and their political servants, since Obama never submitted a Plan of his own, or endorsed anyone else’s. Instead, he encouraged everybody and their momma except single-payer advocates to fashion their own plans – creating a cacophony of what Rep. Conyers aptly calls “crap.” In the end, he will throw his weight behind one or another pile of healthcare crap.

Is Obama incompetent? Only if you believe he sincerely wants a healthcare plan that is as close to the ideal of health-as-a-right as possible, in which case, yes, he has been amazingly incompetent. But why disrespect our president? Give the man credit for knowing what he is doing. Assess his efforts according to the clear logic of his actions, for he has worked wonders.

Obama has succeeded in shutting out of the debate proponents of an idea supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans and an even larger segment of his own party. According to a June 12-16 New York Times/CBS News poll:

“…72 percent of those questioned supported a government-administered insurance plan — something like Medicare for those under 65 — that would compete for customers with private insurers…. Sixty-four percent said they thought the federal government should guarantee coverage, a figure that has stayed steady all decade.”

Only 20 percent of respondents oppose a Medicare-for-all-type plan. It would require the awesome power of a still very popular president to hold back a mob that is composed of damn near everybody, but Obama is up to the task. At the end of the process – this crap storm – that he has so skillfully set in motion, Obama will settle on a legislative contraption that will not even cover all of the 45 million-plus currently uninsured. For-profit healthcare will be safe for the remainder of his term, and possibly much, much longer.
Give Obama his props. He has turned the tide against real reform at a time of generalized crisis, when the chances for creating a civilized healthcare system were most propitious. He is a wonderment!

The Bankers’ Man

Even a man of Obama’s vast talents cannot easily hide the fact that the federal government (including the Federal Reserve) has “spent, lent or committed $12.8 trillion…to stem the longest recession since the 1930s,” as reported by the Bloomberg financial news service on March 31. The vast bulk of the money has gone to finance capitalists, most of it on President Obama’s watch. It is easily the largest transfer of national treasure in planetary history, accomplished in the relative wink of an eye, mostly outside the legislative process. By comparison, the 2008 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the United States – that is, the value of every good and service produced by every man, woman, child and enterprise of any kind in the nation – was $14.2 trillion. By the end of March, the feds had “spent, lent or committed” a sum equal to 90 percent of last year’s total economic activity in the United States – and still counting.

The Obama administration’s facade is cracking on the macro economic issue. Despite his hollow protestations, it is now generally perceived that Obama’s team is allowing “the banks” to get away with murder, theft and mayhem. In reality, the finance capitalist class is virtually inseparable from Obama’s economic apparatus; one is an extension of the other. Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Robert Rubin, Paul Volker and the rest of Obama’s economic Rasputins will no more “rein in” finance capitalists, than they would put shackles on themselves.

Once gain, I must ask that you respect President Obama. Allow him to surround himself with people of like mind, men and women with whom he shares a core worldview. Do not belittle our president, by grumbling that he is being “manipulated” by “the bankers.” Accept that he is a strong leader, who knows what he wants to accomplish and is wise enough to choose a team that reflects his vision. The Obama administration serves the bankers’ interests because Obama wishes to do so.

This will be his undoing – not his expanding wars, not the healthcare fiasco – and much sooner than most think. Obama’s sham banking regulations were unveiled to great fanfare – and bombed, colossally, on the front page of the New York Times. In language that an economics columnist for the “gray lady” of corporate media seldom deploys against sitting presidents, Joe Nocera wrote:

“Everywhere you look in the plan, you see the same thing: additional regulation on the margin, but nothing that amounts to a true overhaul…. Firms will have to put up a little more capital, and deal with a little more oversight, but once the financial crisis is over, it will, in all likelihood, be back to business as usual.”

Nocera’s headline read, “Only a Hint of Roosevelt in Financial Overhaul.” William Greider, writing in The Nation, a bastion of “Progressives for Obama,” concluded that “most of Obama’s reforms are insubstantial gestures, not actual remedies.”

Kevin Baker’s devastating piece in the July issue of Harper’s stripped the emperor naked. Obama was not, as his progressive followers imagined, the second coming of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Rather, he is the political soul-mate of FDR’s predecessor, Herbert Hoover:
"Much like Herbert Hoover, Barack Obama is a man attempting to realize a stirring new vision of his society without cutting himself free from the dogmas of the past—without accepting the inevitable conflict….

“The common thread running through all of Obama’s major proposals right now, is that they are labrynthian solutions designed mainly to avoid conflict. The bank bailout, cap-and-trade on carbon emissions, health-care pools - all of these ideas are, like Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated 1993 health plan, simultaneously too complicated to draw a constituency and too threatening for Congress to shape and pass as Obama would like. They bear the seeds of their own destruction.”

Baker is too kind. He persists in assigning Obama the most progressive of motives, when the content and consistency of his actions point to a profoundly corporate frame of mind and outlook. The president “avoids conflict” with the banks because he has no basic problem with them occupying the commanding heights of power in U.S. society.

It is better, and ultimately more respectful, to judge a politician, or any person, by the accumulated body of his work. Based on his record as candidate and president to date, it is plain that Obama sees the world as the bankers see it. He accepts their advice because he agrees with it. He shares their core ethic, and is therefore always forgiving of their “excesses.” The fate of his presidency is entwined with theirs.

At some point in the near future Barack Obama will become inextricably associated in the public mind with Big Capital – and deservedly so. No one can predict when this perceptual critical mass will be reached, but once it has occurred, it sticks.

The aftershocks of the recent meltdown and the before-shocks of the next, onrushing crisis of capitalism will bring a cascade of calamities to the doorstep of the White House. With each crisis, Obama will do what we now know comes natural to him: protect capital at all costs to society as a whole.

With their champion saddled with such baggage, it will be interesting to see when “Progressives for Obama” become extinct.


The Mother Earth is so fragile. She is a tiny satellite spinning through the vastness of space and little do we think about the incredible journey we are all on. We are a part of her.

We humans spend so much time fighting and arguing with each other that we miss the beauty of the ride. We forget to look up at the night sky and we lose sight of the magic of the moment.

Our little planet is over-stressed, over-populated, over-polluted, and taken for granted. We seem to have a love-hate relationship with our mother ship. We say we want to protect her, to clean her up, but then we go on trashing her day after day.

We build space rockets so we can go find some other planet to extract resources from and colonize saying that this tired old home of ours is dieing and we've got to be rid of her. Some gratitude and respect that is.

What a wonder life is here on planet Earth. The colors, the smells, the tastes, the sheer beauty of this place.

How lucky we are to be here. How sad that we don't hardly even know it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Allegations of abuse and neglect at a US detention facility in Afghanistan have been uncovered by the BBC.

Former detainees have alleged they were beaten, deprived of sleep and threatened with dogs at the Bagram military base.

The BBC interviewed 27 former inmates of Bagram around the country over a period of two months.

The Pentagon has denied the charges and insisted that all inmates in the facility are treated humanely.

Ian Pannell reports from Kabul.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


My letter to the editor was published in our local paper, The Times Record, today. Just as I was posting this I learned about US drones killing another 45-50 people in Pakistan as they were attending a funeral of people who had recently been killed by these Unmanned Aerial Vehciles (UAV's). Click on the link in the headline above for the BBC story. This situation is totally out of hand and Obama has to take responsibility. That is, if the peace movement, has the courage to call him on it.

Dear Editor:

The national media made a big deal about President Obama killing a fly. His “I got the sucker” was even compared to a similar moment by honest Abe Lincoln.

But sadly little time in the national media is spent describing the tragic consequences to hundreds of innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan who have been killed by United States unmanned aerial vehicles, or “drones” as they are popularly called.

These drones are directed by military space satellites and flown by U.S. soldiers sitting at computer terminals inside Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nev. The Air Force named these drones the “Predator” and the “Reaper.” The pilots watch in “real time” as cameras on the drones send back images from the war zone and in split-second time a button is pressed and missiles are fired. Is it the Taliban? Is it a wedding?

Can there be the slightest doubt that this “hands off” way of killing today is absolutely repugnant? What does it say about us as a nation that we can cavalierly kill from a distance with little conscience or public outcry?

It’s as if we are just killing flies.

Bruce K. Gagnon, coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Bath

Monday, June 22, 2009


We lecture and threaten Iran and North Korea about the evils of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). But the US routinely tests our own WMD's from Vandenberg Air Force Base in southern California. And there will soon be another "test firing" of a Minuteman III nuclear missile from that base.

A protest is planned at the time of the next launch of a Minuteman III from Vandenberg. The target of the rocket will be the Ronald Reagan missile test range, Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

The protest will begin at the start of the launch window on midnight June 29. You can see launch details at

The vigil will be held at the front gate of Vandenberg. The protest will continue until the rocket is launched.

The event is sponsored by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power is Space. Andrew Lichterman of the Western States Legal Foundation will be the keynote speaker at the front gate vigil.

We must become "dehypnotized" so we can see things as they are. The US uses the fear of other nuclear pipsqueak nations to get our own citizens to support massive US military buildups that are all about dominating the world.

If the US was genuine in wanting other nations to stop the development of their nuclear capability then we'd lead by example, as is required by the United Nations Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and we'd get rid of our own evil WMD.

But alas we don't do the honorable thing and the world looks at our mad ramblings and says - you are a hypocritical nation.

And they are right.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Obama will travel to Russia on July 6 for meetings with President Dmitri Medvedev. The primary purpose of the meetings is to attempt to reduce nuclear weapons on both sides.

Today the US has about 5,500 nuclear warheads while Russia has about 3,900 of their own. Russia has said they were willing to reduce to a level of about 1,000.

There are two major sticking points though to negotiations. The first is US and NATO military expansion eastward which has resulted in the current surrounding of Russia. In recent years the Pentagon has built military bases in Romania and Bulgaria and will soon be adding more in Albania. NATO has expanded into Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia right on Russia’s border. The US next wants to bring the Ukraine and Georgia (both also bordering Russia) into the NATO military alliance.

On top of all that, the proposed Bush deployments, which Obama has yet to reject, of "missile defense" interceptors in Poland and a Star Wars radar facility in the Czech Republic only makes Russia more fearful of US intentions.

So with all that in mind can you imagine the sheer lunacy of Obama' s Secretary of War Robert Gates, in the video above, suggesting that we put a Star Wars radar facility in Russia? Oh joy, I'm sure Russia will be thrilled with this notion!?

Of course Russia rejected the idea as they well should. But it's an early indication at the bizarre negotiating position the US is taking at this point. You want to have successful nuclear disarmament negotiations with Russia? Surround them and then suggest they let you put a radar inside their territory so it will be easier to hit them in a first-strike attack.

That's change we can believe in!

Bang-zoom, to the moon!


Report on California's economic implosion.....the solution you ask?

An end to social progress?

But California weapons production plants continue to hum along.....why not cut military spending and use that money to restore education, health care, and other needed programs?

Why are we not talking about that?

Saturday, June 20, 2009


* This video helps us get a bit wider view of the US role in Iran today. Last year, you might recall, Seymour Hersch at The New Yorker, reported on US funding of terrorists inside Iran and the placement of Army special forces troops in that country for destabilization missions. (Some would dare call it an invasion of sorts.)

* I just got the link to a speech I made in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida last March. You can see it here The speech was an overview of Obama's foreign policy.

* Speaking of Mr. are two updates in the Obama Watch department.

The Washington Post reports that, "A federal judge has sharply questioned an assertion by the Obama administration that former Vice President Richard B. Cheney's statements to a special prosecutor about the Valerie Plame case must be kept secret."

Secondly, you of course remember Mr. Obama's promise to bring transparency to Washington as part of his big sweep for change. Well it now appears that he has decided not to disclose the White House visitor logs. He doesn't want us to know which corporate hacks are meeting with him inside the "people's house". According to the group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, "Taking the exact same position as the Bush administration, the Obama administration claimed the records are presidential, not agency records, and otherwise exempt in their entirety because of the possibility in some instances they could reveal information protected by the presidential communications privilege." They are suing Obama and expect to win the case.

* Lately I've been distributing a large number of Keep Space for Peace Week posters around the US and internationally. Space week is the time of year that we ask local groups and supporters to hold an event that will help build the public consciousness about the need to keep space free from weapons and war making. This year space week will be October 3-10. Our theme this year is that military space technology now coordinates all war on the Earth, like the satellites that direct drone attacks over Afghanistan and Pakistan, and should be considered space weapons. Be sure to let us know if you plan any kind of an event in your community during space week.

* Texas is a huge state and has many key space technology factories and installations but for some unknown reason the Global Network has had a hard time developing good organizing contacts there. But that appears to be changing. Just yesterday I made contact with one of the staff in a group called Texans for Peace and we are already at work.

One of the key places in Texas is the city of San Antonio. Global Network board member Loring Wirbel from Colorado Springs describes what is going on there this way:

"Bill Sulzman and I met with a friend of his from San Antonio about ten years ago, and we walked the National Security Agency (NSA) area called "Medina Annex," which has been there since the Reagan era. At the time, it was recognized to be one of the biggest NSA collection areas for processing (computers underground, no radomes), focused on Central America. Medina is still there. One year ago, San Antonio won the contract for what the NSA was originally calling "Storage Station Freedom", and is now called Texas Cryptological Center. It is midway between the main Lackland AFB and Medina, and it serves as a storage area for the NSA's massive needs to store voice and email before processing. The site is in an old Sony chip plant, and the site was found by the real estate agency that is known as "agency to the intelligence agencies," Corporate Office Properties Trust (really, COPT is a spook agency of sorts). Last month, the Air Force chose San Antonio as the headquarters for its Cyber Command and 24th Air Force, in charge of computer attack and defense. As you've probably seen in the flurry of recent NY Times articles, even though AF and Strategic Command will be nominally in charge of Cyber Command, the real boss will be the NSA - no surprise. Safe to say that San Antonio has eclipsed Buckley AFB in Colorado to be the largest overall NSA site in the US outside Baltimore."

Loring is our resident expert on space technology issues and we regularly lean on him to help us understand what is really going on inside the bowls of the space-tech world.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Italian peace activists in Vicenza invite American soldiers to go home. These are their words:

By now each fraction of our days is touched by the growing military presence in town.
We got even used to several situations, almost without realizing it.

Since childhood, many of us have seen Camp Ederle as a common part of Vicenza, like Monte Berico, the Station, Corso Palladio …

We got so used to it that, year after year, the base enlarged eating up land right in front of us, without even noticing it.

In the area, almost doubled, occupied by Camp Ederle, the buildings are becoming taller now. There is a new season of growing volumes.

Exactly the same is happening at “Villaggio della Pace”, trying to forget the heavy irony of this name.

For many of us, American cars with “AFI” plates were normal, just like now, when seeing a car with “ZA ...” plate we know that most likely it could have an American driver.

For a certain period of time we tolerated (with some protests) the noisy sound of the helicopters’ rotors, a noise that soon could come back with frequency, if we don’t stop it.

At a certain point, after months and months of drunkenness on “Dal Molin”, not forgetting Pluto – Fontega - San Rocco – COESPUAFRICOM … it feels like we may have reached the limit of tolerance.

When you start to feel that the U.S. military presence is bothering even the fresh early morning walk, you start to say: “Hold on a minute, what’s going on ? We must say STOP IT”

This is probably why the spontaneous early morning presence of citizens around Monte Berico, as already experienced a few months ago, has come back.

The need to give them a clear message comes from deep inside: “U.S. soldiers, this is for you: GO HOME”.

They, the U.S. citizens, did something similar with the British 233 years ago. Don’t we have similar rights too?


* I'm taking it a bit slow today after working my tail off for the past week and a half on my two August speeches for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I spent one whole week doing research and then several days making notes and putting them in order. Then I did my first draft of the speech in a 12-hour blaze of mind dump and am quite pleased with what I came up with. Now I've got a couple local folks looking it over before I send it to a few others for their comments.

* Our Global Network friends in Albuquerque, New Mexico are holding a protest today about the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. They plan to "visit the three offices of our Congressional delegation to tell them to GROUND THE DRONES and to stop the development of the horrible laser and death ray weapons taking place now at Kirtland AFB."

* If you haven't yet seen the upgraded Global Network web site you should take a look at it here. The chairperson of our organization, Dave Webb from Leeds, England, is also our web master and has just done a total remake of the site. It's getting nice reviews.

* It's raining here today, I think the great flood is on the way. Forecasters predict rain everyday for the next week. The slugs are dancing in our garden.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Read the latest by Chris Hedges: Iran Had a Democracy Before We Took It Away

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I am sick to my stomach. I watched in total horror yesterday the sad performance by the Democratic Party as they begged, borrowed, and stole the votes to pass the $106 billion war supplemental in the House of Misrepresentatives.

One particularly disgusting moment was watching House Majority Leader Steney Hoyer (D-MD) stand up and invoke the name of Ronald Reagan to sell the war package.

Progressive blogger Jane Hamsher, meanwhile, reported on Monday that it appeared Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was "cutting deals with Republicans to go easy on them in the 2010 elections in exchange for votes." In the end, the White House got five Republicans to vote for the funding, including New York Republican John McHugh, the man President Obama nominated two weeks ago to be Army secretary.

Journalist Jeremy Scahill wrote about the vote that "What repelled the Republicans from a vote to fund the war was hardly a sudden conversion to pacifism (in fact, their position was hypocritical). It was largely when the White House and Congressional Democratic leadership added a provision to the bill that will extend up to $100 billion in credits to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This sent many Republicans to the microphones to denounce the funding as a 'global bailout' and will undoubtedly be used as a campaign issue in 2010 to attack the Democrats who voted for the spending bill."

John Nichols at The Nation explains the IMF bailout this way: "It's also the Democrats bailout of some of the biggest banks in Europe. Those banks are in financial trouble because they made risky -- and ultimately unsustainable -- loans in Eastern Europe. But, with an assist from the Obama administration and a Democratic Congress, the foreign banks will get a bailout, with U.S. tax dollars funneled through the IMF... With money from U.S. taxpayers, the IMF will protect the European banks, thus allowing the governments of France and Germany to spend precious resources on job-creation and social programs -- rather than bank bailouts."

Our two House members from Maine courageously voted against the war supplemental and IMF bank bailout. But there is not much pride in this hollow victory for us in Maine as we see the contemptible Democratic party only yield 32 votes out of 256 members in the House of Representatives. The first time this was voted on, before it went to the House-Senate conference committee to resolve differences, 51 Dems voted against it in the House. Thus 19 switched back in support of the supplemental this time, when it really counted, and proved that "party loyalty" comes before allegiance to their constituents or to the anti-war pledges they made to voters when they ran for office.

This vote yesterday ought to be the final straw for people who call themselves peace activists and still remain loyal to the Democrats. You'd think they would have felt this slap up-beside-their-heads but sadly many will go back for more. Those hard-headed folks now hold the key to ending these genocidal wars in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan. Until these Democratic Party worshipping "peaceniks" turn cold on the donkey party I'm afraid nothing much changes in America.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


One of my favorite writers, Chris Hedges, in a new piece called The American Empire is Bankrupt, says:

There are meetings being held Monday and Tuesday in Yekaterinburg, Russia, (formerly Sverdlovsk) among Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other top officials of the six- nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The United States, which asked to attend, was denied admittance. Watch what happens there carefully. The gathering is, in the words of economist Michael Hudson, “the most important meeting of the 21st century so far.”

It is the first formal step by our major trading partners to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. If they succeed, the dollar will dramatically plummet in value, the cost of imports, including oil, will skyrocket, interest rates will climb and jobs will hemorrhage at a rate that will make the last few months look like boom times. State and federal services will be reduced or shut down for lack of funds. The United States will begin to resemble the Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe. Obama, endowed by many with the qualities of a savior, will suddenly look pitiful, inept and weak... The Asian countries have been financing their own military encirclement. They have been forced to accept dollars that have no chance of being repaid. They are paying for America’s military aggression against them. They want to get rid of this.

My son Julian has a favorite thinker/writer as well by the name of Slavoj Zizek who is a philosopher and psychoanalyst from Slovenia. Zizek, recently commenting on the victory of Obama, had this to say about the future:

The financial meltdown has made it impossible to ignore the blatant irrationality of global capitalism...Saving endangered species, saving the planet from global warming, finding a cure for Aids, saving the starving children...All that can wait a bit, but 'Save the banks!' is an unconditional imperative which demands and gets immediate action...Consequently, to put it in old-fashioned Marxist terms, the main task of the ruling ideology in the present crisis is to impose a narrative that will not put the blame for the meltdown on the global capitalist system as such, but on its deviations - lax regulation, the corruption of big financial institutions, etc...The danger is thus that the predominant narrative of the meltdown won't be the one that awakes us from a dream, but the one that will enable us to continue to dream. And it is here that we should start to worry: not only about the economic consequences of the meltdown, but about the obvious temptation to reinvigorate the 'war on terror' and US interventionism in order to keep the economy running.

So now for the real purpose of the blog post...what do we do now? Just again yesterday someone asked me this question as people regularly do. My first reaction is dive in, take the Nestea plunge, and find your path. We each have a path. In my book I quote the Hopi Elders in Arizona who said:

It is time to speak your truth, each of you. Do not look outside yourself for the leader. There is a river flowing very fast. Trust the river has its destination. You must let go of the shore, push off into that river. Keep your eyes open and your heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate. The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves. We are the ones we have been waiting for...

While reading in bed last night I saw a great quote from Leo Tolstoy:

The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.

And might I add, serve the Mother Earth, protect her and we protect the future generations. So what we can do then could include some of the following:

Work to stop home evictions; help organize global trade unions, help organize global peace demonstrations; work to halt funding wars and call for conversion of the military industrial complex; create community-based banking institutions; live in an intentional community where you share living expenses with others; grow as much of your own food as possible; help educate those who can't read; work with the children who the society is abandoning; read more; sell a car in your household; make your own list of things you can do and have friends over for dinner to compare notes.

The bottom line is that social isolation must end. Every "man" for himself must end. And probably most importantly, the old business model of organizing that says "My issue is the most important" must end. All activists and organizers must connect the dots to show how all these issues are interrelated and that when one pulls on the loose threads the whole garment comes apart.

Monday, June 15, 2009

June 12, 1982

This date, June 12, 1982, lives in my memory. It is the day I began working on space issues.

Almost one million people demonstrated in New York City on that day against nuclear weapons. The nuclear freeze campaign took off like a bat out of hell right after that. It was a historic event.

I didn't go to the protest but instead watched the rally and speakers on C-SPAN from my little wooden bungalow in downtown Orlando, Florida. My son Julian was just one and a half years old at the time.

After the disarmament rally was over C-SPAN switched to a right-wing conference where Lt. Gen. Daniel Graham was speaking. At the time he was Ronald Reagan's head of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), or Star Wars as we called it.

Following Graham's formal speech he was taking questions from the audience and a guy asked him, "Hey, General they say there are almost a million people in NYC today protesting for disarmament. Aren't you worried about that?"

Without missing a beat Graham responded, "No, I think it's great. They are out there protesting against ICBM's and we're moving into space. They don't have a clue. Let them keep doing what they are doing."

In that very moment I became a peace in space activist. I hardly knew anything about space but I lived in Central Florida, just next door to the "space coast" at Cape Canaveral, so I began looking into the issue. The next year I went to work for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice and in that job took people to the space center over and over again to help expand the public consciousness about what the Pentagon planned for space. (More of their plans here too.)

So 27 years later we are still at it, trying to head the space warriors off at the pass as they used to say on the old TV cowboy movies.

It's a date that will live with me forever.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


If you haven't called yet you should: 202-224-3121

No more $$$ for war....say it and mean it.


Cindy Sheehan and Alex Jones talking about the essential question of our day - is the peace movement for real or is it nothing more than an agent of the Democratic Party?

The corporate power structure divides the people from one another - you are a conservative, you are a liberal.....while they fleece us.

See the rest of the interview here

It's a real lesson that when we stop demonizing each other we find areas where we can agree and find space to work together. Sure we don't always have to agree with each other on every issue, but the idea is to expand our movement strategically by finding alliances with people who share similar broad goals. In the case of Alex Jones, he is one of the leading voices for conservatives and libertarians (the Ron Paul people if you will) who is talking about oligarchy, endless war, empire, and loss of democracy. That is something to build on.


We had an excellent planning meeting on Afghanistan in Augusta, Maine yesterday led by CodePink activist Lisa Savage (on the right). Twenty-four activists came from across the state and we made plans to build a campaign in Maine to expand the public consciousness about the madness of the current US war policy in Central Asia.

It now appears that Maine's two representatives in the House of Representatives, Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree (on the left in the photo), are leaning against the war supplemental that is expected to be voted on early next week. If you haven't called your member of Congress yet please do so right away.

If Michaud and Pingree do stand up against the tremendous pressure coming from the Democratic party leadership and the White House on this vote then we have something to be proud of here in Maine. But next we must move our two Republican "moderate" senators which will be no easy task. They both now support "everything" to do with war.

During a break in the meeting yesterday one new friend, a dear man with a great loving heart, asked me if we could talk someday about how one avoids burnout due to an overwhelming sense of the sadness that comes from US endless war. I told him I'd love to and that I wanted to share a short story in the meantime that might be helpful.

I told him how years ago, while coordinating the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice, I was feeling very down one day while trying to carry the problems of this beautiful and sad world upon my shoulders. A wonderful Quaker friend, Al Geiger from Jacksonville, told me that I need not feel that it was my job to change everything, that in fact it was an impossibility. Instead, he told me, I had to let go of outcomes and just do my very best and release the rest. This very simple wisdom was liberating for me. It wasn't that I need not feel, or care, anymore. It was just that I didn't have to carry the whole load. He gave me permission to feel proud of my hard work and then to give way to the truth that I was only one person with limited ability to make everything change.

Polls now show of course that 70% of the American people want the US out of Iraq. But at the same time only 50% want our troops out of Afghanistan because many people are still sold on the fact that the long war there is the "good war." Some of that is because President Obama says so and many activists, having voted to put him in power, now feel they must support him.

Our meeting yesterday acknowledged that we have major challenges ahead of us to bring the other 50% of American citizens around on Afghanistan-Pakistan. That will no easy task. But we have to do the best we can and learn to live with (not accept) the rest.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


See this article on the Dems pressuring members of their party


This short news report is about resources in the Arctic region that are now becoming available for "extraction" due to the melting of the Arctic resulting from climate change.

There is going to be major conflict between the US and Russia over control of the Arctic. As this report says Russia has the largest land mass on the planet that connects with the Arctic. The US is now rounding up allies like Canada and Norway to challenge Russia for control of this region.

As fossil fuels decline around the planet this conflict will become more visible.

Makes one wonder again why the US refuses to put heavy emphasis into energy conservation here at home as well as dramatically expanding wind, solar, mass transit and the like. Despite all the talk about green jobs only a token amount of our national budget is going this way.

Instead the greatest percentage of our national treasury, what is left of it anyway, is going into expanding military operations worldwide to grab control of the world's remaining fossil fuels.

You'd almost start to think that the oil corporations were in control of making policy in Washington.........

Friday, June 12, 2009



This is the phone number to call in Washington to reach your Congressperson and Senator.

The final votes are coming soon on the $105 billion war funding bill for Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan

The leadership in the Democratic party are pushing their members hard to vote for the war funding bill (that now includes a mish-mash of other items like "cash for clunkers" which is a $4,500 credit for trading in your SUV, torture photos, Guantanamo detainees, the international monetary fund, and pandemic flu.)

The only way this madness will end is if you do something to help.....such as call your Congressperson now.......


This is one of those moments when the peace movement has to show up. Are you with us?


* This photo above from Afghanistan haunts me. (Click on the photo for an even better view of it.) This is what we've done to that country since our "long war" against the people began in 2001. They did not have anything to do with 9-11, most of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden has yet to be found. I've always, with tongue slightly in cheek, suggested someone check the basement of the White House. This war has to do with pipeline routes for moving Caspian Sea oil and natural gas. And it has to do with making sure that Russia and China can't easily move those resources where they'd like to. Congress is getting ready to appropriate more money for this war. I urge you to call your Congressional delegation now and say NO MORE WAR MONEY!

* I have been working for the past week on a couple of keynote speeches I've been invited to deliver in Hiroshima on August 1 and Nagasaki on August 8 by Mayor Akiba from Hiroshima. It's quite an honor to get that invitation and I've already got over 25 pages of notes. I've requested, and been getting, lots of advice from friends around the world on things I should focus on in the talks.

* A key date I am now tracking is July 6 which is when Obama will travel to Russia to meet with President Dmitri Medvedev for talks on nuclear disarmament. The public relations campaign between the two nations has been heating up lately as both sides have been posturing to try to gain some global image advantage which indicates to me that both countries recognize that the negotiations on Obama's "global zero" proposal will be a tough sell.

With NATO surrounding Russia and US proposals to put "missile defense" systems into Poland and the Czech Republic still on the table, Russia has made clear that they would be fools to get rid of their nukes. Throw in the recent talk by the Pentagon's StratCom about the "Prompt Global Strike" system (the military space plane) that would fly to the other side of the world in an hour and then drop a devastating first-strike conventional attack on Russia or China and you can begin to understand any hesitation.

The New York Times reports today the following on this story:

He [Secretary Gates] said Washington had put forward some options for collaboration, among them “putting [US] radars in Russia, having data-exchange centers in Russia.” He said at the July summit meeting between Mr. Obama and the Russian president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, that the leaders could “make some steps where they will partner with us and Poland and the Czech Republic in going forward with missile defense in this third site.”

Moscow received the remarks coolly, with Mr. Nesterenko [Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman] commenting that they “reflect the U.S.’s wishful thinking, rather than the way things actually are.”

For Russia, any reconfiguration that preserves sites in Poland and the Czech Republic “is just window dressing,” said Dmitri V. Trenin, a political analyst.

“I’m not sure everyone in the U.S. understands how much is at stake as far as the Russians are concerned,” said Mr. Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. “The issue for the Russians is, what are the U.S.’s long-term intentions vis-à-vis Russia? And they are looking at missile defense for the answer to that question.”

An unwillingness to scrap the Eastern European facilities would be seen by hawks in Moscow as evidence that “the hidden agenda is to contain and destroy Russia,” he said.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Naomi Klein writes about this video:

"His name is Ezra Nawi. You've probably never heard of him...Ezra Nawi is one of Israel's most courageous human rights activists and without your help, he will likely go to jail in less than 30 days.

"His crime? He tried to stop a military bulldozer from destroying the homes of Palestinian Bedouins in the South Hebron region. These homes and the families who live in them have been under Israeli occupation for 42 years. They still live without electricity, running water and other basic services. They are continuously harassed by Jewish settlers and the military."

You can support Ezra by going here

While in Cairo President Obama said there would never be peace in the Middle East until the Palestinian people renounce violence. One has to wonder if Obama will equally call on Israel to renounce their violence, and injustice, against the occupied Palestinian people.


Top 10 Military Spenders in 2008 (in billions of dollars)

1. United States — $607.02
2. China — $84.93
3. France — $65.74
4. United Kingdom — $65.35
5. Russia — $58.66
6. Germany — $46.87
7. Japan — $46.38
8. Italy — $40.69
9. Saudi Arabia — $38.210
10. India — $30.0

From the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) annual report on global military spending

Just gaze at those numbers for a is it possible that Osama bin Laden is a threat to the U.S.?

Why is the U.S. now militarily surrounding Russia and China? How many in that list above are U.S. allies?

Is it any wonder that the roads and bridges in America are falling apart and that our public schools have to turn to the Pentagon for funding?

Is it possible to have a military empire and still build a loving and caring nation at home?

What does it say about the soul of America when we spend 54% of every federal tax dollar on the military while the public remains virtually silent about that very fact?

How is it possible to have a functioning democracy when both mainstream political parties are heavily funded by the same weapons corporations that receive this massive amount of money from Congress?

Why doesn't the media talk more about this breakdown in democracy and huge war funding?

Have we become hard-hearted about the fact that we live in a killing culture here in America?

Are we still human?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


More at The Real News

I can't believe I missed this one. It's a couple weeks old but a really important 9-minute interview. It very effectively reveals what the real source of tensions between the US and Russia are all about. I've written about it often here on the blog but now you can hear it, with nice graphics too, from another respected source.

F. William Engdahl is an economist and author of the best selling book "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order." Engdhahl has written on issues of energy, politics and economics for more than 30 years, beginning with the first oil shock in the early 1970s. He contributes regularly to a number of publications including Asia Times Online, Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Foresight magazine; Freitag and ZeitFragen newspapers in Germany and Switzerland respectively. He is based in Germany.


Bill Moyers interviews award winning journalist Jeremy Scahill about the war in Afghanistan and how the Obama administration is turning to private corporations to provide growing numbers of troops for the war.

Schahill raises the serious concern, "I feel that the end game in all of this could well be the disintegration of the nation state apparatus in the world and it could be replaced by a scenario where you have corporations with their own private armies."

Scahill, who wrote the book exposing Blackwater's dirty role in Iraq and New Orleans after the hurricane, is right on this one. By privatizing war you have the final leg in the plan for corporate domination of the world - 21st century feudalism. Sadly Mr. Obama seems quite content with the development.

See the full Moyers interview with Scahill here

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Paul Jay, from The Real News, speaks again to Leo Panitch, Professor of Political Science at York University in Canada about the relevance of Karl Marx’s theories today. They discuss climate change and the economy as seen from a Marxist perspective. Panitch says that many non-Marxists are advocating Marxist-like ideas, such as putting "banks into the hands of the State" because "in the face of this [economic] crisis, it's rational."

Panitch reminds us "that what Marx was about was trying to help people overcome their social isolation, which is produced in this market, individualistic, commodified society....and undertake a massive social and political transformation."

There is one kind of socialism in America that is fine - that is socialism for the rich. Read about it here.


The military is moving to take over our public schools. All across America the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and the Space Command are worming their way into control of schools. Even in other countries a similar move is underway to militarize education.

As local communities face fiscal crisis and job losses they are forced to cut back on education spending. As they cut funding parents worry about what kind of future their children will have.

Enter Mr. Big.

Mr. Big has all the dough these days. Mr. Big promises to impose discipline in school. Mr. Big is hiring. Mr. Big promises college funding to kids if they join Mr. Big's cult. Mr. Big promises to make a "man" out of any boy or girl who joins the cult.

From Chicago to Colorado Springs, from Hawaii to Atlanta this trend is accelerating at a break neck pace.

According to the Associated Press, "The Marines are talking with at least six districts - including in suburban Atlanta, New Orleans and Las Vegas - about opening schools where every student wears a uniform, participates in Junior ROTC and takes military classes."

Of course these military schools are targeting the poor and minority communities who have declining tax bases and growing unemployment. Rich kids, who attend well funded white schools, need not apply.

The Chicago school system, where Obama's Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was a big booster of military schools, has opened five public schools since 1999 based on a military academy model. Over 10,000 students attend the schools, which offer college preparatory courses combined with a military curriculum.

An article, published by The Raw Story reported, "Pauline Lipman, a professor at the University of Illinois, is disturbed by the almost exclusively minority and inner-city focus of the program. 'Why are they good schools for low-income, African-American and Latino students and not good school for affluent white kids?' she asks. 'Are we saying that those students need a different kind of discipline?'

"Lipman and Darlene Gramigna of the American Friends Service Committee are both concerned about the militarization of the school system and suspect that the program is intended as a tool for military recruitment. 'It would be really naive to think that the military would, in fact, be expanding these schools and these programs if the schools were not about recruiting students,' said Lipman."

This is how Hitler did it in Nazi Germany. He went after the youth and indoctrinated them in the ways of the military. Mussolini in Italy followed Hitler's model of youth indoctrination in order to create generational support for his fascist state.

An old friend in Germany told me that she never questioned Hitler's youth movement as a vehicle for her Nazi indoctrination. It was what all the other kids were exposed to as well and it all seemed normal she said.

When you remember that the Pentagon is saying that America's role under corporate globalization will be "security export" this all begins to fit together.

The military industrial complex is militarizing the culture of our nation to prepare for endless war. It is not just about recruiting. It is about creating automatons - children that follow orders whether in the military or in society at large. They want to create kids who learn to obey the oligarchy. They want citizens who support everything war.

Watch out for free gifts from Mr. Big.

See the PBS NewsHour video report on the controversy here

For an alternative view of education read this interview with Henry Giroux here