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 22, 2020

Understanding the Biden-Harris team

OK.... so I have to admit I was wrong about the whole Democrat party deal.

I thought at the last minute they'd dump Biden and replace him with someone who does not struggle to put a couple sentences together.  But it appears they are going with him all the way.

I also never thought they'd pick Sen. Harris as their V-P candidate.  She comes from a state (California) that they will easily win and she doesn't really help in the rust belt states. During her short time in the Senate, Harris has voted for six out of eight military spending bills.

But in the end, when you look at her terrible record as a prosecutor and Attorney General in California, it does make sense.  She's proven for many years that she is willing to suspend her rhetoric about truth and justice and put the hammer down on the poor.  She accumulated this bad track record essentially to prove to the power structure (in California and beyond) that she will carry water for the oligarchic interests.

See a through background story on Harris by Politico Magazine here.

It does not feel like a serious campaign against Trump from where I sit.  Biden has always been a corporate agent - particularly for the credit card industry that shelters itself in his state of Delaware.

I'll always remember the 2000 Democratic convention in Los Angeles.  (Back in the days when I would actually watch them on TV.)  I saw a speech Biden made to a side gathering of Jewish leaders happening during the convention.  He spoke for an hour about 'Missile defense' (MD).

During the first half of the speech he outlined all the reasons NOT to support MD.  I was actually impressed because he clearly showed that MD was expensive, provocative, destabilizing and would make us more insecure and create a new arms race.  But then he completely shifted gears and used the second-half of his speech to make a bad case for supporting MD.

It was an instructive experience for me because I learned from this that Biden knew the difference between 'right and wrong' but in the end he picked the WRONG choice because of political considerations. He supported MD because of expected corporate profits and most importantly of all because MD is a key element in the Pentagon's first-strike attack plan - the 'shield' to be used to pick-off Russian or Chinese retaliatory strikes.  That told me everything I needed to know about Joe Biden.

Some of my dearest friends are now internally struggling with how to vote in November's presidential election.  They want Trump defeated (and they know Biden sucks) but they think they must vote for the Dems and then immediately begin working to push the Biden administration to the left.  Good luck with that.

I heard this same idea (support them now and then organize to push them leftward after they are in office) during the Bill Clinton and Obama elections. In both cases most liberals went back to 'normal life' after the elections figuring that with the Dems in the White House things would get better.  (All kinds of local peace groups across the country shut down operations after Obama was elected.  Eight years of trying to stop the George W. Bush wars were enough for them.  The fact that Obama became the 'drone president' didn't bring many of them back to the streets.)

Wall Street and the military industrial complex remained in control but Clinton and Obama did a nice job of sounding like they were going to work for the people while doing the bidding of the powerful.

Just yesterday we learned that the Corrupt Democrat National Committee Secretly Cuts Ending Fossil Fuel Industry Subsidies from their platform!

Sometimes I feel like the Biden-Harris team will be on a Kamikaze mission.  Sort of like the John McCain-Sarah Palin 2008 slide in oblivion.  It was clear that in 2008 the corporate oligarchies that run America wanted Obama to stay in the White House so they picked the worst possible Republican team to take the fall against Obama.

This time around the corporate masters picked Biden (who has his age/early Alzheimer's issues, among others) and Harris who is another bright, articulate and ambitious politician who has demonstrated her loyalty to the ruling elites.  Harris proved during the primary season that she was not popular with party voters - thus a 'perfect choice' for the V-P candidate......

The rulers complain alot about Trump but let's be realistic.  He's given them virtually everything they want.  He helps divide the nation against itself keeping the public from turning their attention to the corporate rulers who are stealing us blind.  Wall Street is happy with Trump as is the military industrial complex which is grabbing over $1 trillion a year from taxpayers.  Space Force is even now in place.

So I see this national election as much like a professional wrestling match where the crowd is whipped up to a frenzy and taken to entertainment fantasy land.

Keep in mind Trump's statement in January 2016 when he famously said, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, ok? It’s, like, incredible.” It would almost appear that Trump never really thought he would win the 2016 election.

 The Washington Post reported in 2015:

Four Trump allies and one Clinton associate familiar with the exchange said that Clinton encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party and offered his own views of the political landscape.
Why would Clinton have encouraged Trump to run?  Maybe to blow the Republican party apart with his wrestle-mania tactics?  What if the plan was to have Trump get the Republican nomination, do a Kamikaze run, thus making it easier for Hillary Clinton to win in 2016?

In the end it's all a circus - a distraction - a production written by Madison Avenue and Hollywood.  The rulers can't take any chances by allowing any real fair elections in the US.  So we get the scripted version and surprisingly millions continue to swallow the pill.


Full disclosure:  I've not voted for a Democrat running for president since my pick of Walter Mondale in 1984.  I can't spend my life doing my peace & justice organizing and then turn around and support politicians that work against every thing I stand for.

Friday, August 21, 2020

History lesson: Gen. Smedley Butler tells all....

Born in 1881 to a family of patriotic Quakers, Smedley Butler quickly rose through the ranks of the military becoming the most decorated military figure of U.S. history- a record he holds to this day with multiple medals of honor, an Army distinguished service medal and Marine Corps Bruvet medal (to name just a few).

By the end of the British-orchestrated meat grinder known as WWI, the General had become an activist patriot giving speeches across America in denunciation of the private financiers steering America’s war-driven economy. Speaking to veterans in August 1933, the general said:

“I have spent 33 years being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism… I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped rape half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street… In China, I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested… I had a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, and promotions. I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate a racket in three cities. The Marines operated on three continents…”

In spite of his outspoken criticism of crony capitalism, Wall Street’s elite simply presumed all men had their price, and Butler was probably just indignant because he was never given a big enough piece of pie.

The Wall Street Putsch is Launched

These financiers needed someone like Butler to channel the rage of the striking veterans of WWI across America who had been fighting for the bonus pay promised them years earlier but which didn’t exist due to the 1929 collapse. A force of hundreds of thousands of disgruntled seasoned soldiers was exactly what was needed to overthrow Roosevelt, but leadership was sorely lacking, and General Butler was their man for the job. He was a war hero who was seen as honest and loved by the veterans. He was perfect.

Under the guiding hand of JP Morgan’s Grayson Prevost Murphy, two representatives of the American Legion (Commander Bill Doyle and bond salesman Gerald MacGuire) approached Butler in July 1933 for the job of rallying the Legion’s veterans and began dropping hints of a larger coup plot. Butler became suspicious, but continued playing along with the plan to see how far this went up the ladder of power (1).

Over the course of the next several months, Butler discovered that America’s financial elite centered around John Pierpont Morgan Jr., the Harrimans, the Melons, Warburgs, Rockefellers and Duponts were at the heart of the plot. These men used their agents such as Gerald MacGuire a Morgan-affiliated bond salesman, Democratic Party controllers John W. Davis and Thomas Lamont (both occupying directorships in the House of Morgan), Robert Sterling Clark (heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune), Grayson Prevost Murphy and Harriman Family investment banker Prescott Bush. All of these characters had become well known “investors” in European fascism, owned the biggest media platforms including Fortune and Time Magazine (both of which promoted Mussolini extensively for years), and controlled the levers of industry.

Luckily, the 1932-1934 Pecora Commission exposed these forces publicly as the architects of the great depression, making their ability to acquire popular support and sympathy more than a little difficult.

Outlining his Committee’s findings Pecora had written publicly: “Undoubtedly, this small group of highly placed financiers, controlling the very springs of economic activity, holds more real power than any similar group in the U.S.A.”

Butler Blows the Whistle

When the time was right, Butler blew the whistle by approaching the Special Committee on Un-American Activities (the McCormack-Dickstein Committee) which began an investigation on November 20, 1934. Unlike the Committee on Un-American Activities which made its reputation destroying patriotic lives under the communist witch hunt of McCarthyism, this earlier version was aligned to FDR and dedicated solely to identifying Nazi activity in America.

At first sceptical of the general’s claims, the committee soon  substantiated everything over the course of  a month long investigation and made their findings public to FDR and congress on December 29, 1934. An invaluable part of the hearings were the testimonies of journalist Paul Comly French whom Butler recruited to act as the general’s intermediary with the bankers.

Butler told the committee that MacGuire stated it “wouldn’t take any constitutional change to authorize another cabinet official, somebody to take over the details of the office—to take them off the President’s shoulders” and that “we’d do with him what Mussolini did to the King of Italy”.

When French asked MacGuire how the coup would help solve unemployment, MacGuire responded: “We need a fascist government to save the nation from the Communists… It was the plan that Hitler had used in putting all of the unemployed in labor camps or barracks—enforced labor. That would solve it overnight.”

Although the full transcripts were not made public, Butler did get the message to the population by giving his story to as many journalists as possible and recorded a message to the people in 1935.

See more here

Thursday, August 20, 2020

U.S. & Russia face off in Syria

For the first time in about a year, Syrian pro-government forces and the US-led coalition found itself engaged in what seems to be direct clashes near the village of Tal al-Dhahab in northeastern Syria. 

Syrian sources said that on August 17 an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter struck a checkpoint of the Syrian Army in the province of al-Hasakah after the Syrian Army and pro-government locals blocked a US military convoy in the area. According to state-run news agency SANA, the strike killed a soldier and injured two others.

And then the next day this development occurred:

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

U.S. prison problem - time to go bold

Norway's Prison System

‘The most important thing is how we treat people’ — Norway has developed a prison system that looks a lot different from that in the U.S., which has the world’s largest incarcerated population.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Should we 'Recapitalize' the military industrial complex?

I've been working on a speech I will be giving in late September to Nebraskans for Peace.  I will talk about STRATCOM (Strategic Command) which is headquartered at Offutt AFB in Omaha. 

I have been watching videos of speeches by the present and past commanders of STRATCOM.  STRATCOM's mission includes Dominant intelligence, space surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic attack, nuclear command & control, 'Missile defense' and more.  They made the point that the biggest task today is to integrate all of these warfare systems into one big operational capability. They brag that STRATCOM is in charge of more than 150,000 personnel around the world.

You could call STRATCOM 'Wars R Us'.

The STRATCOM commanders talked alot about this being the 'era of great power competition' and they made certain to demonize Russia, China, North Korea and Iran as our latest enemies. 

These countries are indeed increasing their military capabilities as they see US-NATO bases expanding and encircling them.  When these four latest 'enemies' respond to US provocative military moves we hear Washington demanding that we 'counter their responses'.

It's an old game that has been run since the US Army wars against the Native Americans.  When Crazy Horse surrendered and was put on the reservation in South Dakota the then emerging military industrial complex had fake news stories published in the big newspapers across the country saying that the Lakota warrior was back on the war path killing white women and children.  It was a lie but Congress swung into action and appropriated more $$$ for the Indian wars that by the late 1870's were essentially over.

It's been the same story ever since.  Sound the alarm - frighten the public - claim that we (the biggest war spender on the planet) are in danger of being attacked.  The politicians are paid off with campaign donations and our economy becomes addicted to military production. It's quite a simple formula that most Americans repeatedly fall for.  Even most liberals in Washington.

The Pentagon is not satisfied with their current $1 trillion per year military budget  - $750 billion plus the other costs like nuclear weapons that are hidden in the Department of Energy budget, etc.

STRATCOM is claiming that they need even more money to 'recapitalize' the nuclear triad (nuclear forces deployed on bombers, submarines and underground missile silos).

It must be remembered that the Repubs and Dems get along just fine on the issue of funding the endless war budget. The Congress passed during Obama (and continued under Trump) the nuclear modernization program for the next 20 years at the cost of $1 trillion.

The Pentagon wants new submarines, and new nuclear missiles for them.  They want new aircraft carriers because most of the present ones are unreliable.  They want more 'Missile defense' systems (the shield that would be used after a US first-strike attack is launched on Russia and/or China) on the air, land and at sea.  They want new command & control centers to coordinate the nuclear triad. They want new military satellites that would help direct World War III.

The military industrial complex has a plan to pay for all of this as well.  They want to defund Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and what little is left of the 'social safety net'.  This is likely one key reason why both parties oppose Medicare4All.

You'd think that in an election year the ever expanding military budget would be an issue.  Especially during a virus pandemic and massive economic shutdown where millions are out of work and soon to be evicted for non-payment of rents or mortgages.

But it is not.  Why?


Monday, August 17, 2020


Sunday, August 16, 2020

Stop the sea-based war games!

Despite COVID-19 and people’s resistance, the world's biggest multinational maritime war exercise, Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) is being held off the shores of Hawaii from Aug. 17 to 31, 2020.

RIMPAC is an unnecessary and reckless biannual war exercise for the US domination of the Indo-Pacific region. It infringes on the sovereignty of the Hawaiian people, destroys the ecological systems (such as killing cetaceans), and threatens the peace in the Asia Pacific. This year, 23 ships and 5,300 military personnel from around 10 nations are joining RIMPAC.

Those of us who have gathered at Peace for the Sea camps since 2014 express our solidarity with people in Hawaii who call out “CANCEL RIMPAC!”.

Australia, Brunei, Canada, France, India, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, the United States and New Zealand: all the countries participating in RIMPAC should immediately leave Hawaii alone!

Thanks to Hotpinkdolpins (Jeju), Gangjeong Human Chain (Pang Eunmi, Jeju), Gangjeong 100 Bows (Fr. Mun Jeong-hyeon, Jeju), Gangjeong Kayak Team (Jeju), World Without War & Peace Momo (Jjuya, Seoul), Toshio Takahashi (Okinawa) and EAPHET(Taiwan) for sending photos/videos.

Video made by Inter-Island Solidarity for Peace of the Sea Jeju Committee. 

Sunday song