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: Bath, Maine, 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.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

SURVEY SAYS

* I spent a couple of hours last night beginning to compile the large stack of surveys we have been receiving from all over Maine in response to our call for folks to take the Bring Our War $$ Home survey out to their neighbors. In the mail yesterday we got a package with 183 completed surveys from Belfast, Maine where the Waldo County Peace & Justice group and the Raging Grannies spent several days on the street collecting responses. We have a planning meeting on May 22 here at the Addams-Melman House to review the survey results and to brainstorm our next steps in the campaign. You can see the survey here

Once I am finished tabulating all the surveys I will post the final results on the blog. I am actually quite amazed by the responses to several of the questions.

* The Portland Press Herald (under new conservative ownership and becoming a really bad newspaper) reported the other day that Obama's Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was in Japan to ride on their high-speed rail as the U.S. is now getting ready to award $8.5 billion in contracts for 13 regional mass transit rail projects. The U.S. will be taking bids from Japanese, German and French rail manufacturers. The absolutely sad part of the story is that there is virtually no expertise in the U.S. when it comes to building rail systems. Why can't we convert weapons manufacturing sites into rail production facilities? Why is the Congress not demanding that we do this conversion to rail? Instead of doing that Congress is getting ready to hand Obama another $33 billion for more war in Iraq and Afghanistan which is now costing us $12 billion per month. Think about that number for a moment - we spend more on war each month than we will spend ($8.5 billion) to build 13 regional rail systems across the U.S. (which will take many years to complete). Absolutely disgusting!

* The New York Times reported yesterday that the Aegis destroyer based "missile defense" interceptor program has not been performing as claimed by the Pentagon. The Navy had been suggesting that the testing program of the SM-3 interceptors was going quite well (they said that 84% of the tests hit their targets), and in 2008 we know they fired one of the missiles into space to knock out a failed satellite proving that the system had "anti-satellite" (ASAT) weapons capability. But new studies by scientists Ted Postol (MIT) and George Lewis (Cornell) "finds only one or two successful intercepts — for a success rate of 10 to 20 percent."

The Times report continues, " Most of the approaching warheads, they say, would have been knocked off course but not destroyed. While that might work against a conventionally armed missile, it suggests that a nuclear warhead might still detonate. At issue is whether the SM-3 needs to strike and destroy the warhead of a missile — as the Pentagon says on its Web site.

"The political implications of the critique are potentially large. Democrats, traditional critics of missile defense, have been largely silent about Mr. Obama’s enthusiasm for this new generation, which for the moment is aimed only at shorter- and mid-range missiles, rather than ones that fly between continents."

BIG STORY:
I think this is a huge story because the Pentagon had been fooling everyone until this Postol-Lewis study came to light. The Democrats, who love this new program of SM-3 interceptors being promoted by Obama for deployment throughout the Asian-Pacific and the Baltic Sea as a way to surround China and Russia, will now have to back track on their cherished program. It also throws serious doubt upon the Navy's plan to build more expensive Aegis destroyers in Bath, Maine if the interceptors on-board are not working!

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