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, July 25, 2020

Elon Musk: Oligarch, egotist, jerk!

Covid Saturday fun time.....

“Cohesive” Italian Parliament on neo-colonial missions

The Art of War

By Manlio Dinucci

Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini (Democratic Party) expressed great satisfaction with the "cohesive" vote of the Parliament on international missions. The majority and the opposition approved 40 Italian military missions in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia in compact form, there were no votes against and few abstentions except some dissent in support of the Tripoli Coast Guard.

The main "peacekeeping missions,” that have been underway for decades in the wake of the US / NATO wars (in which Italy participated) in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Libya, and the Israeli war in Lebanon that are part of the same strategy, have been extended.

New ones were added to these missions: the European Union military operation in the Mediterranean, formally to "prevent arms trafficking in Libya;” the European Union Mission to "support the security apparatus in Iraq;" the NATO Mission to strengthen support for countries located on the Alliance South Front.

The Italian military commitment in sub-Saharan Africa is greatly increased. Italian special forces participate in the Takuba Task Force, deployed in Mali under French command. They also operate in Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso, as part of the Barkhane operation involving 4,500 French soldiers, with armored vehicles and bombers, officially only against jihadist militias.

Italy is also participating in the European Union Mission, EUTM, which provides military training and "advice" to the armed forces of Mali, and other neighboring countries.

In Niger, Italy has its own bilateral mission to support the armed forces and, at the same time participates in the mission of the European Union, Eucap Sahel Niger, in a geographical area that also includes Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania, Chad, Burkina Faso and Benin.

The Italian Parliament also approved the use of "a national air and naval task force for presence, surveillance and security activities in the Guinea Gulf." The stated aim is "to protect national strategic interests in this area (read Eni's interests), by supporting the national merchant ship in transit."
It is no coincidence that the African areas, in which the "peacekeeping missions” are concentrated, are the richest in strategic raw materials - oil, natural gas, uranium, coltan, gold, diamonds, manganese, phosphates and others - exploited by American and European multinationals. However, their oligopoly is now endangered by China's growing economic presence.

The United States and the European powers, failing to counter it only through economic means, and at the same time seeing their influence diminish within African countries, resorted to the old but still effective colonial strategy: to guarantee their economic interests by military means, including support for local elites who base their power on the military.

The contrast to jihadist militias, the official motivation for operations such as that of the Task Force Takuba, is the smoke screen behind which the real strategic purposes are hidden.

The Italian government declared that international missions serve to "guarantee peace and security of these areas, for the protection and safeguarding of populations.” In reality, military interventions expose populations to further risks and, by strengthening the mechanisms of exploitation, they aggravate their impoverishment, with a consequent increase in migratory flows to Europe.

Italy directly spends over a billion euros a year, provided (with public money) not only by the Ministry of Defense, but also by the Ministries of Interior, Economy and Finance, and the Prime Minister to keep thousands of men and vehicles engaged in military missions. However, this sum is only the tip of the iceberg of the growing military expenditure (over 25 billion a year), due to the adjustment of entire Armed Forces to this strategy. Approved by the Parliament with unanimous bipartisan consent.

 ~ Reprinted from The manifesto, 21 July 2020 

Friday, July 24, 2020

Homeland a 'democracy'?

A Trumpist federal 'policeman' in Portland, Oregon protecting who?  So Orwellian - war is peace.  Up is down.

The feds in Portland are dressed in more military gear than what Pentagon troops wear in combat overseas. They are dressed for war against US civilians. We are now the enemy.....

They are armed to the teeth and the protesters on the street might have on a mask, hold a sign or banner, and carry some medical equipment to help treat those being brutalized.

I've long asked the question - what makes the American people think Washington won't someday do to us here at home what they have been doing around the world since the US invaded the Philippines from 1899-1902?  The chickens have come home to roost.

While Filipino people viewed Washington's war on them as a continuation of the struggle for independence that began in 1896 with the Philippine Revolution, the US government regarded it as an insurrection. The conflict arose when the First Philippine Republic objected to the terms of the Treaty of Paris under which the US took possession of the Philippines from Spain, ending the Spanish–American War.

Humorist/author Mark Twain at the time has this to say about America's 'deep dive' into imperialism:

The funniest thing was when at the close of the Spanish-American War the United States paid poor decrepit old Spain $20,000,000 for the Philippines. It was just a case of this country buying its way into good society. Honestly, when I read in the papers that this deal had been made, I laughed until my sides ached. There were the Filipinos fighting like blazes for their liberty. Spain would not hear to it. The United States stepped in, and after they had licked the enemy to a standstill, instead of freeing the Filipinos they paid that enormous amount for an island which is of no earthly account to us; just wanted to be like the aristocratic countries of Europe which have possessions in foreign waters. The United States wanted to be in the swim, and it, too, had to branch out, like an American heiress buying a Duke or an Earl. Sounds well, but that's all.

~ Interview "Mark Twain in Clover / Joseph in the Land of Cornbread and Chicken." Baltimore Sun, 10 May 1907, p. 14

And Washington has been doing it ever since - double time - invading, occupying, destroying lives and land, polluting and most importantly of all - rejecting the sovereignty of nations.  All these years of warfare to build an empire has cost the American people an arm and a leg.  It's no wonder that our roads and bridges in Maine are falling apart.  As are our schools and local rural hospitals are closing.

But none of this should be a surprise to anyone - look at how the indigenous people were treated in this country by 'God's chosen people' who came to these shores looking for 'liberty' - and how slavery survived in the 'land of the free' where democracy was supposedly to reign.

We've never had real democracy here.  In fact as the two corporate parties control politics they are tightening the screws to make sure that alternative political voices are not heard.  Loyal Republicans and Democrats are just fine with that as long as 'their party' comes out on top.

Don't ask for real elections - real debate - real issue discussions.  The goal is to dumb down the public and keep them chained to the (good cop-bad cop) corporate political machine.

My last vote for a Democrat who ran for president was Walter Mondale in 1984.  I've not taken the bait since.  Might not have alot to show for my stubbornness but at least I can live with myself.

I just can't see spending my entire adult life working for peace and justice and then turn around and vote for one of the agents of the war machine.

Journalist Chris Hedges says:

James Baldwin explained why black people don't have midlife crises. Why? Because they do not buy into the myths of America. Black people know that the system in America is rigged. Black people know this when they are children. By comparison, white people buy into these illusions of meritocracy and individualism and American exceptionalism and similar beliefs. That is why the highest rates of suicide right now are among middle-aged white men, because they are finally starting to realize that the system does not care about them.


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Russian perspective on a new arms race in space

Vladimir Kozin is one of Russia's leading scholars and advisors on nuclear treaties, nuclear disarmament, nuclear capabilities, and US-Russia relations on all things nuclear.

He is a member of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and a special advisor to the Presidential Administration.

His words are of supreme importance to every American, European and citizen of the world. Our very existence hangs in the balance.

Kozin came to Kiruna, Sweden in 2013 to speak at one of the Global Network's annual space conferences.  (The event was co-sponsored by the Swedish Peace Council and Women for Peace.) See the report from that conference here.  He was an impressive and sincere speaker and when the GN held its Russia Study Tour in 2019 Kozin came and spoke to our group while we were in Moscow.

Thanks to Regis Tremblay (originally from Maine and now living in Crimea in the Russian Federation) for this interview.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Life is sooooo complicated.....

Plus this bonus song to go along with Ron Placone's comedy bit....

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Not a way to treat anyone, veteran or otherwise....


By Zane Sparling, Portland Tribune

Christopher David is not a man of steel.

But he has earned that and other nicknames — some call him “Captain Portland” or “Supersoldier” — after David stood as solidly as a rock while federal officers pepper-sprayed him twice and struck him at least five times with a baton during a rally outside the Hatfield Courthouse on Saturday, July 18.

Of the attack, captured on video by the Portland Tribune, David says he “just took it.”

“I knew I was never going to react. I was never going to fight back,” he said. “I’m a little too old to be beaten by a bunch of young guys.”

David, 53, of Portland, is hardly an anti-establishment type. He says he attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, after high school, later serving with the Navy Seabees while becoming a commissioned officer and aeronautical engineer.

The unmatched series of protests here have waxed and waned for more than 50 nights, but Saturday’s rally was David’s first, his attendance spurred by reports of unmarked vans snatching protesters off the streets without due process.

He arrived around 8 p.m. and was just planning on leaving when federal officers burst out of the bricked-up front of the courthouse around 10:45 p.m.

David said he slowly approached the officers, hoping to engage them in dialogue.

 “I felt these gentlemen were violating their oath of office, and I wanted to talk to them,” he explained.

Things didn’t go according to plan.

As some federal officers rushed to push down makeshift barricades propped against the outer doors of the courthouse, one officer pushed David back. He stood stock-still as several more officers swarmed forward, striking him with a baton and pepper-spraying him. David says he lost his vision momentarily, due to the spray and clouds of tear gas engulfing the park.

He sat down on a park bench, before being pulled back from the flashpoint by a street medic, going by the name Tav, who treated David and ensured that he was taken by an ambulance to the hospital.

David says he has two fractures in his hand and, while it’s currently in a splint, he is expecting to need surgery later this week.

After a flurry of attention, David is hoping life will return to normal soon. While he never did speak with the camouflaged feds, he said he hopes they hear his message: “That oath of office is essentially swearing loyalty to the Constitution of the United States, and what they’re doing is not constitutional anymore.”

~  Zane Sparling, reporter email: Follow me on Twitter @PDXzane.

Covid by the numbers, trouble by the score.....

Yes the U.S. is #1 indeed!

The chart speaks for itself.
Don't we really need a single-payer Medicare for All program in this country?

Monday, July 20, 2020

Excellent speech by Lisa Savage for U.S. Senate

Lisa Savage is an Independent Green running for the US Senate seat in Maine now held by Republican Susan Collins.

She recorded this eight-minute speech to the recent national Green Party convention from outside of her husband Mark Roman’s woodworking shop in Solon, Maine.

Lisa will be the only candidate for the US Senate seat in Maine that will have a real progressive agenda in November’s Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) election.

If your values align with Lisa's, please help to spread the word about a senator for people, planet, and peace!

Yesterday on the Ellsworth bridge again are from the left Russell Wray (Hancock), Dud Hendrick (Deer Isle), Connie Jenkins (East Blue Hill) and Rob Shetterly (Brooksville).

Photo by Starr Gilmartin (Trenton).

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Sunday song