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

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Monday, December 19, 2011

TECHNOLOGY AND OTHER COLD, HARD MATTERS


  • It's cold here, last night dipping down to about 6 degrees. Just a touch of snow on the ground. Weather reports predict 46 degrees by Thursday as we continue the up and down cycle that is not normal for this time of year in Maine. It's the kind of weather fluctuations that make people sick as our bodies can't adjust to the back and forth.

  • I will attend my City Council meeting tonight as they will be once again debating the merits of the new so-called 'Smart Meter' wireless devices amid concerns about their impact on residents' health, privacy and power bills. So far my city council has declared a 6-month moratorium on their installation by a slim 5-4 margin. There will be an effort to overturn that decision this evening. I am still learning about the issue but tend to feel like we need to slow down the runaway train and stop the corporate arm-twisting that is pushing these things.

  • The Russian Phobos-Grunt space probe, launched on November 9 to go to a moon of Mars, had its rocket system fail to fire it into deep space from low Earth orbit. Phobos-Grunt is expected to fall to Earth between January 6-19. It's been confirmed that “one of the craft’s instruments” contains 22 pounds of Cobalt-57. The Russian space agency expects that “between 20 and 30 fragments of the probe with a total weight of up to…440 pounds will survive the fiery plunge and shower the Earth’s surface.” Journalist Karl Grossman (one of the founders of the Global Network) reports that while Cobalt-57 isn’t plutonium, considered the most deadly radioactive substance, it still can be harmful. He quotes Argonne National Laboratory’s Human Health Fact Sheet that Cobalt-57 has a half-life of 270 days, “long enough to warrant concern.” (The hazardous lifetime of a radioactive material is 10 to 20 times its half-life.) The document notes that Cobalt-57 can cause cancer. It “can be taken into the body by eating food, drinking water, or breathing.” It's no wonder we all are so wary of technology and the constant claims that everything is safe. Don't worry - be happy! Ugh......

  • I've begun working on the next Global Network newsletter. It will be a special 20th anniversary edition as the organization was founded in 1992. One of our board members, Holly Gwinn Graham from Olympia, Washington, recently sent me photos from many past GN events that I had never seen. It will be fun to weave them into the newsletter.

  • I watched CBS-TV news show 60 Minutes last night and they did a segment on the large numbers of foreclosed and vacant homes in Cleveland, Ohio. The banks don't want them, and don't want to pay for their upkeep since they are not selling, so the city has been left holding the bag. They are bulldozing the homes left and right as the numbers of homeless people multiply like a bunch of rabbits. Wouldn't it make more sense to change the mortgages and let people pay something so they can stay in their homes? This unforgiving capitalism has got to go. It's as outdated and cruel as feudalism.

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