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: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

US-NATO Bring Mercenaries to Eastern Ukraine


A grim report from eastern Ukraine where self-defense forces in the Donbass see the US-NATO war project stepping up offensive operations.  The Minsk-2 ceasefire required both sides to pull back their heavy weaponry.  The folks in the Donbass did but Kiev's western backed forces (made up of many Nazi battalions) kept the shelling going.  The OSCE monitors (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) are the equivalent of the sad sack referee in the middle of the ring at professional wrestling - always looking the wrong way.

In the meantime Kiev is supposed to be writing into the Ukrainian constitution local autonomy (local elections rather than centrally appointed leaders) for the Russian speaking people in the east (who Kiev calls 'beetles' that should be squished).  So far the Poroshenko regime in Kiev has not delivered on anything. 

The US-NATO criminal syndicate has many levers they can pull to extract vengeance on Russia for having dared intervene in Syria.  The Syrian operation was supposed to go the same way as Libya - this time with Assad getting killed in the gutter.  This is the new 'law and order' crowd in Washington and Brussels.  They are a perfect match with their brothers in crime in Saudi Arabia - the primo head-choppers.

The Story


In Africa
they call
the storyteller
the Griot

Before TV
and handhelds
the people
actually
talked
to one another
they learned from each other
by looking into the soul
not just the screen

The sacred path
connecting
earth and sky
has been
bombed
fracked
droned
surveilled
monetized
and heavily
policed

We are afraid
of nature now
ticks
snakes
spiders
roaches
wolves,
the weather,
all seen
as the enemy
in the war
against
our
mother

Heal
the sacred
hoop...
our only path
to survival
and spiritual
connection

Friday, January 15, 2016

Please Help Support Our Work


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The Back Story on the MLK Assassination


Talk by William Pepper author of "An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King" and "Orders to Kill: The Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King" given February 27, 2003 in Seattle.

I read the second book noted above (Orders to Kill) years ago and it shook my world from an already very shaky foundation (after having read The Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War).  William Pepper knows what he is talking about having represented the King family in a civil lawsuit where the jury declared that the US government was complicit in the MLK assassination.

At around 51:00 in the video Pepper discloses who from the US government did the shooting of MLK.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

What Were U.S. Navy Sailors Doing in Iranian Waters?


If you watched the mainstream media’s coverage of Iran’s capture of American Navy sailors, one would think that these sailors were snatched out of their beds somewhere in middle America and were not engaged in a hostile action, says journalist and author Max Blumenthal of Alternet. CNN repeatedly covered the story without mentioning the sailors were in Iranian waters, Blumenthal tells RT’s Ashlee Banks.



Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Who is the Real Threat to Global Peace?


Last night in one moment of truth (although he was boasting more than anything else) Obama said the following in his State of the Union speech before Congress:

I told you earlier all the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. Let me tell you something: The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. Period. It’s not even close. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined.
~ President Obama January 12, 2016

Digging for the Truth Can Get Controversial


This is the scandalous episode of the German political satire program 'Die Anstalt' about the media leaders' ties to lobby organisations and their use of enemy images in the Ukrainian conflict.

Josef Joffe and Jochen Bittner – a publisher-editor and political editor of the major German newspaper ‘Zeit’ got an injunction against ZDF to prevent this episode of 'Die Anstalt' from being publicly available as it questions the impartiality of the two Zeit journalists. As a result, this episode was temporarily banned from German TV and the ZDF mediathek.

After several months the court ruled in favor of ZDF and the injunction was lifted.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Guantanamo is a Crime Against the Rule of Law


Former Prisoners Want Guantánamo ClosedThese former Guantánamo Bay detainees explain why the military prison has to be closed once and for all.
Posted by AJ+ on Monday, January 11, 2016


America Is Being Destroyed By Problems That Are Unaddressed



By Paul Craig Roberts

One hundred years ago European civilization, as it had been known, was ending its life in the Great War, later renamed World War I. Millions of soldiers ordered by mindless generals into the hostile arms of barbed wire and machine gun fire had left the armies stalemated in trenches. A reasonable peace could have been reached, but US President Woodrow Wilson kept the carnage going by sending fresh American soldiers to try to turn the tide against Germany in favor of the English and French.

The fresh American machine gun and barbed wire fodder weakened the German position, and an armistice was agreed. The Germans were promised no territorial losses and no reparations if they laid down their arms, which they did only to be betrayed at Versailles. The injustice and stupidity of the Versailles Treaty produced the German hyperinflation, the collapse of the Weimar Republic, and the rise of Hitler.

Hitler’s demands that Germany be put back together from the pieces handed out to France, Belgium, Denmark, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, comprising 13 percent of Germany’s European territory and one-tenth of her population, and a repeat of French and British stupidity that had sired the Great War finished off the remnants of European civilization in World War II.

The United States benefitted greatly from this death. The economy of the United States was left untouched by both world wars, but economies elsewhere were destroyed. This left Washington and the New York banks the arbiters of the world economy. The US dollar replaced British sterling as the world reserve currency and became the foundation of US domination in the second half of the 20th century, a domination limited in its reach only by the Soviet Union.

The Soviet collapse in 1991 removed this constraint from Washington. The result was a burst of American arrogance and hubris that wiped away in over-reach the leadership power that had been handed to the United States. Since the Clinton regime, Washington’s wars have eroded American leadership and replaced stability in the Middle East and North Africa with chaos.

Washington moved in the wrong direction both in the economic and political arenas. In place of diplomacy, Washington used threats and coercion. “Do as you are told or we will bomb you into the stone age,” as Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told President Musharraf of Pakistan. Not content to bully weak countries, Washington threatens powerful countries such as Russia, China, and Iran with economic sanctions and military actions. Consequently, much of the non-Western world is abandoning the US dollar as world currency, and a number of countries are organizing a payments system, World Bank, and IMF of their own. Some NATO members are rethinking their membership in an organization that Washington is herding into conflict with Russia.

China’s unexpectedly rapid rise to power owes much to the greed of American capitalism. Pushed by Wall Street and the lure of “performance bonuses,” US corporate executives brought a halt to rising US living standards by sending high productivity, high value-added jobs abroad where comparable work is paid less. With the jobs went the technology and business knowhow. American capability was given to China. Apple Computer, for example, has not only offshored the jobs but also outsourced its production. Apple does not own the Chinese factories that produce its products.

The savings in US labor costs became corporate profits, executive remuneration, and shareholder capital gains. One consequence was the worsening of the US income distribution and the concentration of income and wealth in few hands. A middle class democracy was transformed into an oligarchy. As former President Jimmy Carter recently said, the US is no longer a democracy; it is an oligarchy.

In exchange for short-term profits and in order to avoid Wall Street threats of takeovers, capitalists gave away the American economy. As manufacturing and tradeable professional skill jobs flowed out of America, real family incomes ceased to grow and declined. The US labor force participation rate fell even as economic recovery was proclaimed. Job gains were limited to lowly paid domestic services, such as retail clerks, waitresses, and bartenders, and part-time jobs replaced full-time jobs. Young people entering the work force find it increasingly difficult to establish an independent existence, with 50 percent of 25-year old Americans living at home with parents.

In an economy driven by consumer and investment spending, the absence of growth in real consumer income means an economy without economic growth. Led by Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve in the first years of the 21st century substituted a growth in consumer debt for the missing growth in consumer income in order to keep the economy moving. This could only be a short-term palliative, because the growth of consumer debt is limited by the growth of consumer income.

Another serious mistake was the repeal of financial regulation that had made capitalism functional. The New York Banks were behind this egregious error, and they used their bought-and-paid-for Texas US Senator, whom they rewarded with a 7-figure salary and bank vice chairmanship to open the floodgates to amazing debt leverage and financial fraud with the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

The repeal of Glass-Steagall destroyed the separation of commercial from investment banking. One result was the concentration of banking. Five mega-banks now dominate the American financial scene. Another result was the power that the mega-banks gained over the government of the United States. Today the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve serve only the interests of the mega-banks.

In the United States savers have had no interest on their savings in eight years. Those who saved for their retirement in order to make paltry Social Security benefits liveable have had to draw down their capital, leaving less inheritance for hard-pressed sons, grandsons, daughters and granddaughters.

Washington’s financial policy is forcing families to gradually extinguish themselves. This is “freedom and democracy “ America today.

Among the capitalist themselves and their shills among the libertarian ideologues, who are correct about the abuse of government power but less concerned with the abuse of private power, the capitalist greed that is destroying families and the economy is regarded as the road to progress. By distrusting government regulators of private misbehavior, libertarians provided the cover for the repeal of the financial regulation that made American capitalism functional. Today dysfunctional capitalism rules, thanks to greed and libertarian ideology.

With the demise of the American middle class, which becomes more obvious each day as another ladder of upward mobility is dismantled, the United States becomes a bipolar country consisting of the rich and the poor. The most obvious conclusion is that the failure of American political leadership means instability, leading to a conflict between the haves—the one percent—and the dispossessed—the 99 percent.

The failure of leadership in the United States is not limited to the political arena but is across the board. The time horizon operating in American institutions is very short term. Just as US manufacturers have harmed US demand for their products by moving abroad American jobs and the consumer income associated with the jobs, university administrations are destroying universities. As much as 75 percent of university budgets is devoted to administration. There is a proliferation of provosts, assistant provosts, deans, assistant deans, and czars for every designated infraction of political correctness.

Tenure-track jobs, the bedrock of academic freedom, are disappearing as university administrators turn to adjuncts to teach courses for a few thousand dollars. The decline in tenure-track jobs heralds a decline in enrollments in Ph.D. programs. University enrollments overall are likely to decline. The university experience is eroding at the same time that the financial return to a university education is eroding. Increasingly students graduate into an employment environment that does not produce sufficient income to service their student loans or to form independent households.

Increasingly university research is funded by the Defense Department and by commercial interests and serves those interests. Universities are losing their role as sources of societal critics and reformers. Truth itself is becoming commercialized.

The banking system, which formerly financed business, is increasingly focused on converting as much of the economy as possible into leveraged debt instruments. Even consumer spending is reduced with high credit card interest rate charges. Indebtedness is rising faster than the real production in the economy.

Historically, capitalism was justified on the grounds that it guaranteed the efficient use of society’s resources. Profits were a sign that resources were being used to maximize social welfare, and losses were a sign of inefficient resource use, which was corrected by the firm going out of business. This is no longer the case when the economic policy of a country serves to protect financial institutions that are “too big to fail” and when profits reflect the relocation abroad of US GDP as a result of jobs offshoring. Clearly, American capitalism no longer serves society, and the worsening distribution of income and wealth prove it.

None of these serious problems will be addressed by the presidential candidates, and no party’s platform will consist of a rescue plan for America. Unbridled greed, short-term in nature, will continue to drive America into the ground.

~ Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

Not Bad - Especially Coming from a Republican

 
In an interview with RT, Virginia state Senator Richard Black says that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are the two biggest threats to world. “It’s not Iran, it’s not Syria, it’s not any other country. It emanates from Saudi Arabia,” Black says, noting the prominence of the Islamic doctrine of Wahhabism. Meanwhile, Turkish President Erdogan intends to impose an absolute dictatorship, the senator says.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Russian TV Covers Star Wars & U.S.-NATO Military Aggression

РАДИУС ПОРАЖЕНИЯ from GOOD EMPIRE on Vimeo.


This is a new Russian TV documentary on Star Wars and US-NATO expansion up to Russia's borders.  The documentary maker came to Bath, Maine last October 31 to film our protest at the Bath Iron Works (BIW) 'christening' of another Aegis destroyer outfitted with so-called missile defense systems.  The filmmaker told me he had recently watched the documentary Pax Americana & the Weaponization of Space and was inspired to cover the issue.

I was interviewed for the Russian film as was fellow Global Network board member Wolfgang Schlup-Hauck in Germany who speaks about US deployment of nuclear weapons in his country.  In addition Global Network co-founder and journalism professor Karl Grossman from New York was also interviewed for the film.  Former CIA analyst turned peacenik Ray McGovern (a Russian expert) was also featured and the film beautifully ends with Ray reciting a Russian poem.

The documentary ran about two weeks ago on Russian TV and the filmmaker wrote to me saying it had caused a good discussion across their country.  While the film is in Russian it is still fairly easy to follow the story line as it is full of clips illustrating the points being made by those interviewed.

This documentary really underscores the deep concerns in Russia as they witness US-NATO encirclement of them for what many in Washington claim will be "regime change" in Moscow. The US-NATO are playing with fire as Russia is one country that can actually fight back.  I don't believe that Russia is looking for war but they appear ready to stand up to the big bully if necessary.

In 2015 the US spent 34% of the world total of military spending - add in the NATO members portion and you reach well over 50% of global military spending.  Russia actually only spent 4.8% of the world total - hardly enough to become the 'new Hitler' as US-NATO often claims.

Since the film ran on Russian TV the hits on this blog from Russia have increased by hundreds every day.  I welcome those Russian visitors and remind them that many of us in the US are working hard to stop this criminal corporate military syndicate that runs our country but we are not having a great deal of success.  We need a unified global movement in order to stop the cancerous US-NATO war machine from killing us all. 

Do the Russian people have a right to defend themselves from this mounting danger of US-NATO war mongering - particularly as they see the Washington-Brussels military machine arming, training and directing Nazi death squads in western Ukraine?

Even though I am a passionate peace activist I felt during the 1980's that the people of El Salvador and Nicaragua had the right to defend themselves from US military aggression.  So too today I believe that the people of Syria, eastern Ukraine and Russia have the right to defend themselves against Washington-Brussels criminal war making and regime change.  Just look at what the US and its NATO allies have done to Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya in recent years.

This film begins and ends with the drumming by Mainer Peter Baldwin and friends who came to the October 31 BIW 'christening' of another Navy destroyer.  That drum beat is the heart of our movement for peace and justice.  We can't let that heartbeat ever stop.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Woman Stands Up


The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, has called on leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to offer a public apology to a Muslim woman verbally abused by the crowd and kicked out of one of his campaign rallies in South Carolina.

Sunday Song