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, September 19, 2020

History lesson: GI's resist Vietnam war


Produced by BBC

When I joined the Air Force in early 1971, after my training, I was sent to Travis AFB in California for my permanent duty.  It was an airlift base for the war so there was lots of anti-war organizing outside the base gates and inside the barracks.

As it turned out my first roommate was an organizer in the GI resistance movement and meetings would often be held in our room at night. 

I came into the Air Force as a Young Republican for Nixon, but being in that room and reading their newsletter called 'Travesty' changed by life. It was there that I became a peace activist. 

Thus this is one of my all-time favorite documentaries.

Enjoy it.


Friday, September 18, 2020

Lisa Savage stood out in the Senate debate


 Credit: George Danby / BDN

Bangor Daily News
I was stunned Friday evening watching the U.S. Senate debate. Until then, you’d almost not know that there were four folks running for the office. During the debate, Lisa Savage stood out as the most competent and honest candidate and because of that and many other qualities, she is the most qualified to represent the people of Maine in the U.S. Senate. The only problem is we have heard next to nothing about her in the news.

Savage answered the questions she was asked concisely and clearly. Her front-running opponents dodged questions and answered in calculated sound bites for use in their highly-produced, expensive campaigns. Maine people deserve to be represented by straightforward, honest people who are transparent about their motivations and their intentions. Savage has run a campaign devoid of the usual “dark money,” PACs and corporate donations.

Savage’s policy positions make practical sense for the people of Maine and the United States. She is for revitalizing our economy and cutting spending on endless wars by taking care of the folks at home and redistributing funding toward building energy-efficient infrastructure via the demilitarized Green New Deal, instead of continuing to support a bloated Pentagon budget. She pointed out the example of Bath Iron Works quickly pivoting their production to make COVID-19 testing supplies in the midst of a global pandemic. Imagine what they could do with more planning for solar or wind energy! She is for providing affordable health care to all Mainers. And, for the record, she is for funding the Veterans Administration and fully accounting for the actual cost of the military.

Mainers are independent thinkers with less influence from corporations than some of our neighbors. We enjoy the homegrown, locally produced products and services for which Maine is known. Why would we want to be represented by a candidate who is supported by outside interests? Savage is driven by her experience as a school teacher and as chief negotiator for her local bargaining unit of the Maine Education Association. She understands the needs of working people — most folks in Maine — and has the experience to represent us.  

As independent thinkers, Mainers appreciate the opportunity to vote for the best candidate. We do not have to compromise and vote for the person we think will beat our least favorite candidate. Instead, with ranked-choice voting, we can vote for our actual first-choice candidate, even if they are not on a major party ticket, without fear of “throwing away” our vote or “spoiling” the election. Many Mainers will agree that Savage is a better choice than either of the front-runners, regardless of what their party affiliation is or has been.

If the newspapers and other news organizations around the state would include Savage‘s transparent and down-to-earth campaign in their coverage and in the polls, we would all be able to make a much more informed decision in the coming election. We, the readers, are counting on them to provide the most complete, accurate coverage possible. 
~ Chrystina Gastelum of Biddeford is a business owner and massage therapist. She’s a member of the city’s Conservation Commission. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Dark Side of 5G: Military Use


The art of war

By Manlio Dinucci

The September 12 demonstration “Stop 5G” in Rome rightly focuses on the possible electromagnetic consequences for health and environment, in particular on the decree that prevents mayors from regulating the installation of 5G antennas in the municipal area.

However, the Italian public continues to ignore a fundamental aspect of this technology: its military use. We have already warned about it in the manifesto (10 December 2019) but with poor results. The subsequent programs launched by the Pentagon, officially documented, confirm what we wrote nine months ago.

The "5G Strategy," approved on May 2, 2020, stated that "the Defense Department must develop and employ new concepts of operation that use the ubiquitous connectivity that 5G capabilities offer to increase the effectiveness, resilience, speed, and lethality of our Forces."

The Pentagon is already experimenting military applications of this technology in five air, naval and land forces bases: Hill (Utah), Nellis (Nevada), San Diego (California), Albany (Georgia), Lewis-McChord (Washington), Dr. Joseph Evans, technical director for 5G at the Department of Defense, in a press conference on June 3 confirmed.

He then announced that 5G military applications will soon be tested in seven other bases: Norfolk (Virginia), Pearl Harbor-Hickam (Hawaii), San Antonio (Texas), Fort Irwin (California), Fort Hood (Texas), Camp Pendleton (California) and Tinker (Oklahoma).

Experts predict that 5G will play a decisive role in the development of hypersonic weapons, including nuclear warheads: huge amounts of data must be collected, processed and transmitted very quickly to guide them on variable trajectories, escaping interceptor missiles. The same data collection is necessary to activate the defenses in the event of an attack with such weapons, relying on automatic systems.

The new technology will also play a key role in the battle network, being able to connect millions of two-way radio equipment in a limited area.  

5G will also be extremely important for the Secret Services and Special Forces: it will make possible much more effective espionage systems and increase the lethality of drone-killers.  

These and other military applications of this technology are certainly being studied in China and other countries as well. Therefore, the ongoing 5G is not only a trade war.

The strategic document of the Pentagon confirmed it: "5G technologies represent crucial strategic capabilities for the national security of the United States and for that of our allies." It is therefore necessary to "protect them from our adversaries" and convince our allies to do the same to ensure the "interoperability" of military applications of 5G within NATO framework.

This explains why Italy and other European allies of the US have excluded Huawei and other Chinese companies from 5G telecommunication equipment supply tenders. 

"5G technology” - explains Dr. Joseph Evans in the press conference at the Pentagon – “is vital to maintain military and economic advantages of the United States," not only against its adversaries, especially China and Russia, but against its allies.

For this reason, "the Department of Defense is working closely with industrial partners, who invest hundreds of billion dollars in 5G technology, in order to exploit these massive investments for military applications of 5G," including military and civilian "dual-use applications". . .

In other words, the 5G commercial network, built by private companies, is used by the Pentagon at a much lower cost than would be necessary if the network were built solely for military purposes.

 The common users, to whom the 5G multinationals will sell their services, are going to pay for a technology that, as they promise, should "change our lives," but at the same time it will be used to create a new generation of weapons for a war, meaning the end of human generations. 

~ The Manifesto, 8 September 2020 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Let's make a list.....



So let's count the ways we build community. How many different ways do we help take care of one another?  Let me start a list and you can add to it.

  • Public parks (local, state, and national)
  • Public sewer & water systems
  • Roads, bridges, sidewalks
  • Public radio & TV (although they learn too far toward promoting the corporate agenda these days)
  • Public libraries
  • Public schools
  • Public financing of elections
  • Public hospitals
  • Public banking
  • Medicare, Medicaid & Social Security
  • Public transportation
  • Post office
  • Airline control towers
  • Public welfare relief programs
  • Snow removal from public roads
  • Coast Guard (Even Republicans like the Coast Guard.  Just last week a pro-Trump 'boat rally' in a Texas lake got out-of-hand and a bunch of the boats began to sink due to all the waves created by their mega-power boats.  So as they faced danger and possibly death, the Repubs called on the 'government' to bail them out. Some stories are just so precious as they illustrate blind hypocrisy.)   

  • Pentagon?  (I'm ambivalent about this one but the public does pay for it even though the weapons industry is a profit making syndicate.  A minimal defense of our shores and borders would be sufficient protection for the American people.  What we have now is pure offense - should be named 'The Offense Department' that serves their corporate masters.)
  • Public utilities (More than 2,000 publicly owned electric utilities in the United States provide up to 25 percent of electricity that Americans use. Because public utilities commonly keep salaries under more control than private utilities, customers pay up to 14 percent less for energy from public utilities. In smaller municipalities, profits from cooperatives and public utilities make up a large part of city budgets. Such organizations are also on the leading edge of developing green energy initiatives, and some expect to be producing up to 35 percent of their energy via renewable sources by 2020.)
  • Student Loans and Grants 
  • Garbage collection, public landfills and recycling programs
  • Fire departments, paramedics and other emergency services
  • Environmental protection programs (as challenged as they are by the corporate polluters.)
  • Justice, courts, prosecutors and jails (All publicly financed but largely used by the corporate oligarchs to suppress the poor, the weak, and people of all colors.)
  • Urban planning departments (Where raging battles are underway between developers and those who do want to design a sustainable way of living.)
  • Museums (Many museums are privately owned by organizations and groups, but many are also taxpayer-funded state, national, and federal museums.)
  • CIA & FBI (We would be better off without either of them.  Imagine how much tax payer $$$$ we'd save....)
  •  Corporate/Business Subsidies (This is the type of socialism that is acceptable to the Republican party. Your tax dollars are given to big corporations to do things that often they should not be doing - like fracking, making weapons, oil spills, cancer-laden pharmaceuticals, and lots more.)
  • Veteran's (VA) Health Care (I use the VA at Togus, Maine and it is really great.  But everyone should have access to free health care - thus I support Medicare4All!)
  • Free school breakfast & lunch programs (Increasing as America is collapsing more and more children are going without food every day.  Fortunately they get some food at school.  But with the current pandemic and many schools closed, how will they get those meals?  These are the kinds of things our nation should be funding rather than the CIA, endless war, and tax subsidies for Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and company.)

There are alot more examples of how our collective taxes are used for good and for bad.  The reason why politics is important is because the 'government' will do with your money what ever those who are running the show tell them to do.  Thus the need to stand against the corporate domination of politics in America.  It's your money.  It's our future at stake.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Bannering by Red's Eats in Wiscasset


While standing near Red's Eats (one of Maine's most famous tourist traps for lobster rolls owned by a family named Gagnon) on US 1 by the bridge in Wiscasset for two-hours yesterday, holding banners and signs, a new record for honks was set with 212.

Seven of us (Nick, Jon, Marty, Bruce, Lisa, Patsy and Vera) worked both sides of the very busy highway where traffic slowly comes on and off the bridge ensuring everyone got a good look at us.

Truckers were quite friendly with their big horns.

Nick is a Wesleyan student who lives in Hallowell and borrowed a car to come join us for the first time.  He is interested in doing more of this.  I gave him a handful of merch items to hand out to friends.  Jon Olsen brought along first-timer Marty.

Our next bannering will be Thursday, Sept 17 in Westbrook from 3:30 - 5:30 pm.  We will banner at the intersection of Main Street and Stroudwater Street.  I suggest folks park at the church located at 677 Main St.

Everyone we speak to says Lisa did extraordinarily well in the debate on 9-11.  Word of mouth is spreading fast.  This bannering campaign is helping to reinforce that she has an active following and is running a 'people powered' campaign rather than a dark money corporate one.
Future bannering days will be held in Yarmouth, Bath, Farmington, Lewiston, Waterville, Camden, Hallowell, Kennebunk, Skowhegan and many more.


Monday, September 14, 2020

Duck your heads Brunswick!


Cell phone footage shot by Eric Van Dongen, who was watching the launch of Astra's 3.1 rocket which failed shortly after lift-off and crashed to the ground.

The rocket launch was on 9-11 from the spaceport at Kodiak Island, Alaska. (Local residents call it the 'spacepork'.)  They were promised it would be a civilian launch complex but nearly all launches so far have been military Star Wars tests.

Representatives from the spaceport responded to the accident by saying:

    The fire was put out quickly and no one got hurt, Mark Lester, president of the Alaska Aerospace Corporation told KMXT Radio.

    “The launch was terminated early, which is part of our safety process,” Lester told the station. “We are prepared for these things. The key is public safety, and everything we did to keep the air, waterways and land free from the public is exactly why we do that in conditions like this.”

    Since each test can provide new information and data, the launch was a success, Lester told KMXT.

    In a blog post, officials at Astra, the company launching the rocket, said they were pleased with what happened with Rocket 3.1, and that they expect it to take three rocket flights in order to get a rocket into orbit.

    “Early in the flight, our guidance system appears to have introduced some slight oscillation into the flight, causing the vehicle to drift from its planned trajectory leading to a commanded shutdown of the engines by the flight safety system,” they wrote regarding what occurred during the flight.

Maine state legislative leaders are pushing a proposal to create a 'Spaceport Complex' in Brunswick at the former naval air station.  See the resolution now before the legislature to begin the process here.

Brunswick is alot different from Kodiak Island - much more populated area with all kinds of development near the former naval base.

This proposal to create the 'Spaceport Complex' has been done rather quietly with many legislators signing on in support.  The public is just beginning to learn about the plan.  It is being sold as jobs, jobs, jobs.

We'll keep you posted as we learn more.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sunday song