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, February 01, 2020

Signature gathering for Lisa picking up across Maine

Lisa Savage and Kelly Merrill today in Portland, along with other volunteers, gathered many signatures to get Lisa on the ballot for her U.S. Senate run.

Mary Beth and I went to nearby Bath today to gather signatures and in five hours of door-to-door work we got 17 members of the Maine Green Independent Party to give their permission for Lisa Savage to be on the ballot. It was our best personal day ever.  It takes alot of work to find people at home - once you find them they are usually quite willing to sign.  Only registered members of the Maine Green Independent Party can sign Lisa's ballot access petition.

Lisa was down in the Portland area today helping volunteers from that part of the state who were joined by several Green Party members who came up from Connecticut to help out.

In all I'm told the campaign pulled in 100 signatures which puts our total at about 600 in our quest for the 2,000 that it will take to gain ballot access in the November election.

Yesterday five of us went to the University of Maine-Orono where we spent the day talking with students and gathering signatures.  So its been a busy couple of days.

Lisa unwinding with Green party members from Connecticut who came to Maine to help

We've really got to turn up the heat in February so today was a good start for what will be an intense month of activity.

Lisa will be doing house meetings near Belfast and Norway in the coming days.  In addition Saturday, February 15 has been set as a big signature collection day in Belfast which Lisa will be attending.  We are organizing to get a sizeable group in Belfast on that day in the hope we can cover most of the doors in that town all at once.

In addition plans are underway for Lisa to visit Bowdoin College (her Alma mater), University of Maine-Orono, Unity College, University of Maine-Farmington, and University of Southern Maine to do all-day tabling and speaking to students during the coming weeks.

In addition Lisa will be hitting the streets of downtown Portland several times in the coming month during Art Walk evenings and other special times.

Lisa and her team can't be criticized for being lazy as they are working from one end of the state to the other to make this run for the U.S. Senate possible. It's a Ranked Choice Voting election against Republican Sen. Susan Collins which means there will be no 'spoiler' in the race.

We have been seeing a steady flow of disillusioned Democrats signing up as Green Independents so they can sign for Lisa.  Democrats have until February 11 to switch to Green if they want to help Lisa get on the ballot.

Anyone in Maine who wishes to support Lisa can go to her web site and sign up and the campaign will contact you about how to sign her qualifying petition.  The web site link is here.


Latest space issues interview

Listen to "Saying NO to the militarization of space" on Spreaker.

Karl Grossman & Bruce Gagnon's latest weekly interview on space issues on Loud & Clear.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Elections: Keep digging or try something new?

DNC Chair Tom Perez is stacking party committees to sideline Bernie Sanders and to push a corporate agenda that kills progressive ideas and campaigns.

The DNC is setting things up to make a sweep at their summer convention to ensure corporate domination of the party.

Nothing new here but consider the frustration & resignation of those who have wasted another election cycle chasing the elusive Democratic nomination.

Who comes to mind?  Jesse Jackson, Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, Marianne Williamson and many more.  Have they changed the party?  Made it more progressive?

Imagine how all the money poured into those campaigns could have funded a well-organized national political party that could have stood for the very issues we all support?  And attracted a new generation of voters.

Should we keep digging the same hole or try something new?


Thursday, January 30, 2020

Russia bashing is 'good politics' in America.....

Pushback with Aaron Maté

At the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, chief Democratic prosecutor Adam Schiff has claimed that the US is arming Ukraine "so that we can fight Russia over there so we don’t have to fight Russia here" and called Russia a "wounded, dangerous animal."

During his presentation Rep. Schiff (D-CA) states that 15,000 people have been killed during the Ukrainian civil war that has largely been orchestrated by the US and NATO.  He strong infers that Russia killed those people.  In fact the vast majority of the victims are Ukrainian Russian-speaking citizens living in the Donbass (eastern Ukraine along the Russian border) who have been killed by the US supported Ukrainian army and Nazi death squads.

This is just one more glaring example of the corruption of the Democratic Party leadership.  It escapes me how so many American voters are tripping over themselves to sign up to vote for that party in the coming election.  The Democrats (especially people like Schiff) are doing more to create the possibility of nuclear war with Russia and China than I have ever seen in my life.

Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton University, says that Schiff's rhetoric is "ignorant and debased."

Bruce (parts reprinted from The Grayzone)

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

U.S. demands Iraq join war against Iran or be destroyed

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

U.S. officials have now made clear that if U.S. forces become removed from Iraq as Iraq’s Parliament unanimously demanded and Iraq’s Prime Minister affirmed on January 5th, then the U.S. will try to break Iraq up into separate Sunni and Shia nations, and will also definitely impose sanctions against Iraq or (if Iraq becomes successfully broken up) against the Shia-governed portion of Iraq, in order to destroy Iraq (or the Shiite regions in Iraq) totally.

The U.S. is determined to separate both Lebanon and Syria (both of which are supported by Shia Iran) from Iran so that Iran will become internationally isolated unless and until Iran again becomes controlled by the U.S. Government as it was during the period from 1953 when U.S. imposed the Shah’s dictatorship there, till 1979, when Iranians finally took back control over their country and kicked out the U.S.-and-allied foreign oil companies.

By far the best international journalism about the situation today regarding Iraq has come from the Middle East Eye, which headlined on January 23rd, “US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes”, and sub-headed, “With Shia parties pressuring American troops to leave, Washington wants to create an autonomous region around Anbar to maintain its presence.” Their reporter in Baghdad, Suadad al-Salhy, stated that,

Backed into a corner and influence waning, the United States has in recent weeks been promoting a plan to create an autonomous Sunni region in western Iraq, officials from both countries told Middle East Eye.

The US efforts, the officials say, come in response to Shia Iraqi parties’ attempts to expel American troops from their country.

Iraq represents a strategic land bridge between Iran and its allies in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

Establishing a US-controlled Sunni buffer zone in western Iraq would deprive Iran of using land routes into Syria and prevent it from reaching the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

For Washington, the idea of carving out a Sunni region dates back to a 2007 proposition by Joe Biden, who is now vying to be the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. …

“The creation of a Sunni region has always been an option for the US. The Iranians cannot be allowed to reach the Mediterranean Sea or benefit from the land bridge connecting them to Hezbollah” in Lebanon, the former US official told MEE.

“The project is American, not Sunni. The presence of the American forces has been the guarantor for the Sunnis and the Kurds, so if the US has to leave Iraq, then establishing a Sunni region in western Iraq is its plan to curb Iran and its arms in the Middle East,” he added.

“We are talking about establishing a country, not an administrative region.” …

The Arab Gulf states allied to US, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, support and finance this project, Sunni and Shia leaders and officials told MEE.

“Funding is in place, international pressure is in place, and the necessary military strength is in place to create this region,” a prominent Sunni leader familiar with the talks said.

“Neither Iran nor the Shia forces will be able to stand against the project because the US and Gulf states back it,” the leader added.

“A huge amount of money and investment offered by the Sunni states is at stake, and these will turn the Anbar desert into green oases and rebuild the destroyed areas in Mosul and Salah al-Din. Who will care about oil?”

This is a war by U.S., Saudi Arabia, the other Arab oil monarchies, and Israel, against Iran, and it will become also a U.S.-v.-Russia war unless Russia complies with America’s demand to stay out, and not to defend Iran.

Anbar Province is one of two places where the fanatical Sunni ISIS was located in Iraq, the other being the city of Mosul directly to the north of Anbar. Both areas are so heavily Sunni so that in order for Iraq’s mainly Shiite government to become able to wage an effective war against ISIS in Iraq, it first had to convince Anbar’s residents that this would be something which would benefit all of Iraq and not only Shiites in Iraq. Fallujah and Ramadi, two cities where Iraq’s Government were especially trying to defeat ISIS   in 2014, are in Anbar Province. Until 2015, Iranian General Soleimani’s forces (all of them Shiites) were virtually the only effective forces trying to exterminate ISIS; and therefore, Iraq’s Government had to emphasize that killing ISIS was a patriotic, not a sectarian, matter.

On 17 September 2016 U.S. President Obama bombed Syria’s army in the heart of Syria’s oil-producing region, the city Deir Ezzor, for Syria’s ISIS to move in and take Syria’s oil. During October through December 2016, two of Syria’s main enemies, Obama, and Turkey’s leader Erdogan, established a system to reinforce ISIS in Deir Ezzor, by supplying them ISIS fighters fleeiing from Mosul in Iraq’s north. On 11 December 2016, I headlined “Obama & Erdogan Move ISIS from Iraq to Syria, to Weaken Assad”, and reported that the U.S. and Turkey were offering a deal to fighters for ISIS in Mosul, a way to stay alive but not in Iraq. They would relocate west into Syria, so as to assist the U.S. and its allies to overthrow, or at least seize territory from, Syria’s Government. America’s war against Syria used basically three proxy-forces as boots-on-the-ground: Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Kurds — all three being Sunnis. The Sauds provided most of the funding for it, because the goal was to place Syria under the control of the Sauds. And the U.S. sticks by that goal. No matter how much the people in Syria oppose it. It’s not only Trump who is obsessed with this goal; Obama was, though he wasn’t as obsessed with destroying Iran as Trump is.

On January 24th, Middle East Eye’s Washington reporter Ali Harb headlined “At what point do US troops in Iraq become an occupation force?” and he took the most literalist approach possible to this question, in which the obvious answer should be “as soon as we invaded and occupied the country on 20 March 2003.” He got an answer from the U.S. Government, saying that “diplomatic notes, which are not public, remain the legal basis for the presence of about 5,000 American soldiers in Iraq today” and that “the letters contain a provision that gives US forces one year to withdraw after they are formally asked by Baghdad to leave.”

So: if this U.S. Government, which has become infamous for violating its contracts (such as the Iran nuclear agreement and the Paris Climate Agreement), alleges that it can stay in Iraq for another year and yet still remain within the bounds of those “diplomatic notes, which are not public” — and which a supplicant Iraqi Government had allegedly consented to in 2014 — then Iraq’s Government will need to wait until 5 January 2021 before accusing the U.S. Government of violating that secret and coerced “1-year cancellation clause.” And, if Iraq’s Government is, at that time, still insisting that U.S. terminate its occupation of Iraq, then, Joe Biden’s 2007 plan will start being implemented, to break Iraq into its Shiite Arab southeast (friendly toward Iran), Sunni Kurd northeast (backed by U.S.), and Sunni Arab southwestern desert half of Iraq’s expanse (hostile toward Iran).

There would be no more land-connection between Iran to Iraq’s east and Syria to Iraq’s west. For Iran, that would be like cutting off its two arms. Furthermore, Ali Harb noted that the Obama-Trump Administrations’ Pentagon official Brett McGurk said that “If the U.S. leaves Iraq, it means NATO, 20 western partners also leave.” McGurk was suggesting that Iraq without U.S. would become then again a U.S. enemy. The U.S. regime is determined to destroy, one by one, each country that tries to block U.S.-and-allied billionaires from taking them over.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

What do we really know?

Michael Bloomberg was in Portland, Maine yesterday selling his multi-billion dollar campaign.

The media were giving him free media coverage and touting him as a 'centrist' who could unite the country.

If I had to predict at this point I'd say the Democrats will 'pick' Bloomberg as their presidential candidate and they will also choose Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) as the V-P.  Klobuchar is a corporate favorite who opposes Medicare for All and who is really bad on foreign policy.

So it could look like two New York city rich guys running against each other for president.  As I like to say the 'mob' against the 'mafia'.

We've been trained since we were in the crib to respond to the prompts from the corporate mind machine that uses every possible vehicle to turn us into consumers.  Consumers of products and also consumers of politics.  The corporate agenda leads us down the primrose path and tells us which candidates are acceptable and which are not.  All the while convincing us that we live in the 'greatest democracy in world history'!

Trump got a huge jump start from the media when he ran in 2016.  They essentially made him because the idea was to have him run against Hillary to ensure that she won.  She was so disliked by the public they needed someone hated even more than her and that is how we got Trump.  But then the disillusioned Democrats in the rust belt turned on their own party and voted for Trump because the Democrats in Washington did virtually nothing for them as millions of corporate industries moved jobs overseas.

If you make a study of it you will find that the media does in fact create the inevitable.  Read the mainstream media articles and see how they constantly use language that favors one candidate over the other.  Watch how they completely omit some candidates from their coverage (no mention of them, no photo of them, etc).  Watch how the media takes an unknown guy like Pete Butta-jig (a small city mayor with no national experience or constituency) and use words like 'strong 4th place in the polls' to create an impression that he is surging.  This is all mind manipulation.

They did the same thing in 1976 when they found an unknown peanut farmer and governor of Georgia and made Jimmy Carter president.  (Another guy with no national constituency.) They needed a 'fresh face' after the Vietnam War but his campaign was orchestrated by Zbigniew Brzezinski and his Wall Street boss David Rockefeller at the Trilateral Commission.

Brzezinski also bragged years later that he discovered Barack Obama when he was a student at Columbia University at a time when they were looking for ambitious people of color to develop as candidates whom the elite would control.  We all know how that one worked out in the end.  Hope and change.....Obama's campaign won an award for its great public relations gimmickry - the highest recognition one could ever wish for from Madison Avenue.

If we dare step outside of this corporate constructed electoral 'reality' even some of our own friends and associates on 'the left' will try to sheep dog us back into the corral by saying things like 'you are trying to make the perfect the enemy of the good'.

What that means to me is accept the imposed limitations from the start.  Accept that we will have to pick someone who will be a political 'half-stepper' because this is the best we can get under the circumstances. Leave your idealism and your vision at the door and step into the 'real world' of politics.

Sadly or not, I grew up on military bases attending schools run by the US military.  I was trained to be patriotic and to swallow the 'greatest democracy' pill.  Then when I was in the Air Force during the Vietnam War one day at lunch I was in the BX (base exchange store) and found a book on the rack entitled 'The Pentagon Papers'.  Reading this book changed my life as I learned how the media, the White House, Congress and the Pentagon all lied for years about the Vietnam War. (The same kind of lies that still sell us the war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.)

My problem is that I actually believe in the idea of democracy and I believe that each of us has the right (and the obligation) as citizens to strive to bring this vision of 'we the people' into focus.

I also believe in the idea of freedom - freedom of thought, of action, and when it comes to electoral strategies, freedom to choose your own course.  If that means supporting the Green Party then OK.  If it means supporting the Democrats then OK.  If it means not voting at all because you can't stand the process (and the pre-selected candidates) then that is OK as well.

The ultimate key is what one does the rest of the time when elections are not underway (although in America these days elections never seem to end).  We can't just think that voting is all one has to do to ensure 'democracy' works.  That is a very limited interpretation of citizenship.

So yeah let's debate which candidate is the 'best' and which party should be supported.  That should always be an acceptable topic for discussion.  But let's not declare that one party (Greens for example) is not to be considered because it might limit the ability of another party (the Democrats) to win.  That is a false construct as far as I am concerned.


Monday, January 27, 2020

Vote for Democrats? Don't waste my time......

An open letter by Noam Chomsky, Bill Fletcher, Barbara Ehrenreich, Kathy Kelly, Ron Daniels, Leslie Cagan, Norman Solomon, Cynthia Peters, and Michael Albert is being circulated calling on the Green Party not to run a candidate for president this year.

An excellent response was written, which I agree with, which you can find here.

I ain't voting for no corrupt, corporate Democrat if they get the nomination - Biden, Bloomberg, Butta-jig, Klobuchar, Warren, etc...

TWO new polls released today show Tulsi Gabbard's growing strength in New Hampshire, both counting as qualifying polls for the February debate.

One of these polls was conducted by CNN. Yes, that’s correct; CNN’s OWN polling qualifies Tulsi for the debate in the same week as denying her a place in an upcoming presidential town hall — showing Tulsi 1 point behind Amy Klobuchar, tied with Andrew Yang, and 3-5 points AHEAD of Tom Steyer and Deval Patrick who were both invited instead of Tulsi.

So the Democrats are already rigging their primary races with the assistance of the corporate media.

Why? It's quite simple - Tulsi dares call out the warmongers in her own party.  That is a deadly sin in American politics thus she must be demonized as a Putin-lover, etc......

Don't tell me I have to vote for this corrupt corporate party! Don't try to blame the Greens (or anyone else) for the enormous failures of the Democrats.

I am not going to spend my entire adult life working to stop endless war$ and then turn around and vote for a political party that is complicit up to their eye-brows in approving massive military spending and promoting these wars.

If you want to vote for the ultimate 'nominee' of the Democrats you go right ahead.  But don't tell me I have to do so.  It's none of your damn business who I vote for.  I'm a free man.

I fell for Jimmy Carter's line when he said "The arms race is a disgrace to the human race" and then he went ahead and built the Trident nuclear submarine base in Kings Bay, Georgia.  The last Democrat I voted for in a presidential election was Walter Mondale because he seemed like a nice man. (What does that actually mean?)  But I later regretted that decision once I learned more about his record in the Senate.

I lived in Florida during the Al Gore loss to George W. Bush.  I voted Green that year.  I was among those blamed for Gore losing.  But if there had been no Green on the ballot I'd have written in Joe Smooski.  I saw how in Florida the black vote was dramatically suppressed and didn't hear a mumbling word out of Gore's mouth in defense of those voters.  Never a word.  But I've been blamed countless times since 2000 for his loss.

Each time a corporate Democrat loses people like me get blamed.  In 2004 John Kerry lost to Bush and I, among others, got blamed.  I'll never forget Kerry in his debate with George W. Bush saying, "If elected I will spend $100 billion more on the military than President Bush will."  I was not going to vote for Kerry!

The fact is both Kerry and Bush went to Yale and were members of the elite Skull & Bones Club.  Both parties play good cop-bad cop and ensure the corrupt oligarchies win no matter what.

If you were paying attention you'd have noticed that the vast majority of the Democrats recently joined with the Republicans in Congress to pass the 2020 NDAA that gave the Pentagon even more money ($738 billion) than they requested.  Who says they never agree on anything?

I might be dumb but I'm not stupid.  I know how this game is played.  I've seen Democrats talk a good game for years about ending war$, doing something about climate change, dealing with poverty, fighting for health care and they never do.  I owe that corporate dominated party nothing.

So don't try to tell me who I should vote for - it's none of your damn business.  Sure I will argue the merits of one candidate or party verses another but on election day it is a personal choice.  It's the one time I get to say NO THANKS to those who pretend to stand with those who suffer but at the same time take campaign money from those causing the suffering.

My prediction is that the Democrats will screw Bernie Sanders this year the same way they did in 2016.  Already the media is demonizing him daily.  They've got their convention rigged so in the 2nd ballot the 'super delegates' swing back in to ensure an 'acceptable' corporate candidate gets the nomination.

Don't ask me to vote for that hack - the choice of the very corporations I've spent my life opposing.  Don't waste my time.


From the streets of Portland, Maine

A veteran tells his story in a poem.  Very true, real and moving.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Sunday song