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. @BruceKGagnon

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Steady progress in my recovery

It's been 39 days since my knee replacement surgery.  I am getting out more often walking and going to the YMCA where I ride the stationary bike (which feels really good).  My Physical Therapist pushes me hard twice each week to bend the knee and break through the scar tissue.

Two days ago Mary Beth took me to see the doctor for the first time since the operation.  He was very pleased with the healing of the incision and the progress I am making with using the leg.  He decided I could skip the next appointment and just come back in early October.  He's such a nice man - I really grew to like him so much.

The hardest thing for me has been to give up the heavy duty meds which I did a few days ago but resumed taking at 2:00 am last night while once again failing to get to sleep.  They help block the sensation of pain and discomfort.  While not taking them, each night was full of frustrating tossing and turning, getting up, coming back to bed and cursing the night.  My knee is still mostly numb and the nerves are now and again 'firing' as if trying to reconnect.  The doctor says the discomfort is normal (when you quit the meds it's obviously predictable) and suggested I try over the counter pills which so far have been little help to me. 

I get the most relief from frequent icing of the knee. 

In the meantime I've been able to get some work done though the resulting stiffness while sitting at my desk limits my time there.  But I've been generally keeping up with my work and have continued doing a couple of radio interviews each week on the Trump Space Force proposal.  Thank goodness for Global Network advisory board member Karl Grossman who has been a man on fire writing numerous articles, doing radio interviews and more.  It's really been great to have him filling the gap at this crucial time.

I'm also doing prep work to put in motion my trip to Moscow in mid-October that is intended to make arrangements for a larger group trip (25 activists from the GN and Veterans For Peace).  It's been quite wonderful to see the excitement and interest in the study tour that we will take to Russia in the spring of 2019.  We are sadly going to have to turn some people away - but that just might force us to organize a second one later in 2019.  We'll see how that all goes.

I highly recommend an excellent and interesting article on Putin that ran in the Canadian Dimension magazine earlier this year.  See it here


Friday, August 24, 2018

Understanding Korea with Hyun Lee

Will Griffin sits down to interview a contributor from ZoominKorea, an online resource that progressive minded individuals and groups interested in Korean issues as well as other U.S. based media can access for timely updates on major news stories related to Korea.

Hyun Lee just recently returned from a trip to South Korea where she organized a delegation for Jesse Jackson to speak with South Korea’s government representatives and across the country to promote peace on the peninsula.

She has extensive knowledge on Korean history and current issues in the region. In this interview, Hyun breaks down current US-DPRK relations and explains what needs to be done to move forward on a path to peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Uri Avnery 'Presente'

We have this evening said the final goodbye. The hall in which Uri Avnery's coffin had been placed was very crowded. There were TV cameras and Knesset Members from various parties, and a high level Palestinian delegation and very many people who had either known Uri personally or read his articles and books and heard about him. There were very moving speeches and eulogies. And then it was over and the body was taken to be cremated - as he specifically asked and arranged for, already some time ago. His ashes will be scattered by his closest friends in the seashore of Tel Aviv, which he loved.  We will never again see him on the way to the beach, nor hear his voice or read a new article by him. But we will continue his life work without him, as best we can, as he wanted and expected of us, and because it is our own cause. 

To all the very many who wrote us expressing support and condolences in this sad hour, many thanks and our apologies for not being able to give personal answers - the flood is simply far too overwhelming.

Adam Keller
Beate Zilversmidt
on behalf of the Gush Shalom team

See an excellent story in the Washington Post about Uri's life and work here.
He was a man of great courage, vision and determination.   His light will not go out.

Now that makes good sense....

Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul has suggested that one way to influence Russian behavior would be to limit the size of NATO and limit its expansion into Eastern Europe by not insisting that Ukraine and Georgia be members.

“Sanctions are sort of the stick, and the question is what is the carrot. I would say that one of the carrots might be considering whether or not we continue to insist that Ukraine and Georgia be in NATO,” Paul said.

“I think that if you really wanted to influence Russia’s behavior and you were talking in a one-to-one basis with Russia and you were to have some sort of agreement, I think an agreement not to have Ukraine and Georgia in NATO might lead to less conflict in both Ukraine and Georgia.”

We've been warned about censorship....

Facebook has, for the second time, censored TeleSUR English with no explanation.

Many other groups advocating non-violent issues and organizing are being censored on Facebook.

Who gets the bread?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Empire collapse

Carl Boggs writes in Counterpunch:

The monotonously endless anti-Russia crusade serves a number of political agendas for Democrats and the Washington power structure.  It rationalizes Hillary Clinton’s stunning defeat, delegitimizes and weakens the Trump presidency, sets momentum for impeachment, and helps drive up Pentagon (and intelligence) spending.  Often forgotten is a yet another, deeper factor: Russia has long been targeted as an intolerable obstacle to U.S. Eurasian supremacy, years before the Trump phenomenon was on the horizon.
A mixture of aggressive U.S. moves – tightening economic sanctions on Russia, increased nuclear “flexibility”, new (hardly veiled) military threats against the Putin regime, and a much-hyped shift from counter-terrorism to expanded confrontation with designated enemy states – is not quite the radical departure being touted. Quite the opposite: it perfectly fits well-established neocon agendas, nowadays pervasive at the White House (Bolton, Matteo, Mattis), as well as within sectors of Congress (Graham, McCain, Menendez, et. al.), the Democratic Party (Clintonites), and corporate media (CNN, New York Times, etc.).  While this same media pretends outrage over Trump’s supposed weakening of NATO, the president and his stable of warmongers move to upgrade the American nuclear triad in Europe and rehearse simulated attacks on Moscow and other Russian cities.  As for the economic punishment, has been described as “sanctions from hell” by one of its senate backers.
The new Pentagon budget calls for expanded U.S./NATO military forces along Russian borders, its purpose to “defeat Russian aggression”, for which nearly seven billion dollars has been specifically earmarked.... " 

We must support Korean reunification

For the divided families
for those broken hearts
bring all the families together
let them be reunited
let there be peace
on the Korean peninsula
at long last

We demand
and we pray

A break from the madness

Monday, August 20, 2018

View of Korean unification talks

South Korea's President Moon’s approval rating was the lowest last week (58%) due to a series of issues. Underlying causes include his team’s shift toward conservative economic policies that favor corporations such as Samsung, on the one hand, and, the main right-wing party’s obstructionism, on the other. 

Many in Korea, especially progressive, feel that President Moon has killed the spirit of candlelight revolution.  As the current peace process depends much on President Moon, his losing support from people negatively impacts the peace process.  Almost every day right wing parties criticize inter-Korean engagement with Neocon rhetoric. Last year, a right wing Korean lawmaker visited John Bolton, delivering a letter promoting hard line policy. That's where they are.

I wouldn't be surprised if there is a direct communication line between Bolton and Korean right wing forces. Excellent interview related with this Professor Tim Beal. As U.S.-DPRK talks stall, need for peace in Korea more urgent than ever.  Listen at Loud and Clear.

My take away: timing, timing, timing and a sense of urgency!

North Korea will once again try to accelerate the stalled peace process via South Korea in hopes of getting some reciprocal reaction from the US. 

South Korea is also pressuring NK to offer the most concrete "concession" to Trump (something he can boast about) ever before the November election such as proving the list of their nuke to the US.

Many pro-engagement and pro-unificationists in South Korea feel that this is our LAST chance for peace and an eventual unification. President Kim Dae-jung tried and failed, President Roh Moo-hyun tried and failed, and President Moon is trying. I strongly agree with this view. We need to have a sense of urgency; now or never. There won't be another candlelight revolution that created this momentum. Koreans are tired and have many of their own domestic problems, including a very, very serious economic crisis, youth unemployment, poverty of elderly, etc. Meanwhile, people in North Korea are dying, perishing, starving...

Our action!: We need to massively help the inter-Korean team as Trump’s team is lost and dominated by John Bolton; Korea’s right wing parties and forces will do whatever to stop the current peace process; and President Moon's team has begun drifting. Our groups can stay focused and provide the most steady, smart and reliable support for the peace process!

By Simone Chun 

Northeastern University 
Boston, Ma.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The money go-round

In the 'More of the same department', The Los Angeles Times reports today in a story entitled Trump backed 'space force' after months of lobbying by officials with ties to aerospace industry:

The concept had been pushed unsuccessfully since 2016 by a small group of current and former government officials, some with deep financial ties to the aerospace industry, who see creation of the sixth military service as a surefire way to hike Pentagon spending on satellite and other space systems.

Sunday song