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.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Capitalism is God....



The truth has been spoken in the halls of Congress where the green frog skin (dollar bill) is worshiped by those who carry water for the corporate interests.

Native Americans said that when the white people came to this continent they noticed that they were blinded by their love for the green frog skin.  They could not see beyond their paper money and recognize their relationship with nature.  Thus early on the Indians knew that the white folks would destroy the water, the land, the air and they tried to warn the invaders but they were far too busy 'making $$$' to listen.

So today we have massive ecological problems and the talking heads in Washington still have their hearts and minds buried in their paper money.  Trump's walk away from dealing with climate change is just the latest example.

So Rev. Blackmon above gets it right - capitalism has become God for those who 'run' this country and much of the planet.

I am at the Portland airport now heading to Minnesota where I will speak this weekend at Peacestock (a Veterans For Peace event) and then two churches during the coming days.

I've spoken at Peacestock once before (can't remember when, it was some time ago) so it will be fun to be back there again.  I have fond memories of VFP members from Minnesota.  The first time the Global Network held a conference in Huntsville, Alabama in 2001 a big group of Minnesota VFP guys drove down to be with us.

One more thing, last night I ran across an article that reported the US was deploying a 'missile defense' system in Lithuania.  That now makes three nations up close to the Russian border that are hosting US MD systems.  The others are Poland and Romania.  What if Russia was basing its military in Canada or Mexico?  Hello!  See the article here

Bruce

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Story Behind the US 'Color Revolution' in Venezuela



Good expose by Abby Martin as she punches holes in US lies about Venezuela.

It should be remembered that Venezuela has the largest oil deposits on the planet.  Usually that is all the evidence necessary to prove the US wants regime change.

The crime of the Maduro government in Caracas?  Using the profits from oil sales to help the poor. Guilty as charged.....

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

People Know Nothing About Odessa Tragedy



Sergey M., an Odessa, Ukraine anti-maidan activist and eye-witness of May 2nd 2014 tragedy, came to the Hague to take part in memorial event and to tell Dutch people the truth about that day.

Luckily for him, he decided not to go inside the Trade Union House on May 2 but remained on the square, taking pictures of the events.

According to Sergey, the massacre in the Trade Unions House was carefully planned before hand and a group of Ukrainian nationalists sneaked into the building on April 30th. Kulikovo Field activists made their own investigation of what has happened there.

The Ukrainian government has made no effort to prosecute any of those who were responsible for the massacre on May 2, 2014,  In fact the only people in Odessa who have been arrested are the family members of those who were killed by the Nazis that day.

Russia Did It.......



'Connect the dots' and follow the script right back to a Madison Avenue public relations department that is running this 'Russia did it' fantasy.

The goal is to demonize Russia so the American people, and those throughout the west, will roll over like lemmings and allow the Pentagon and NATO to militarily encircle Russia as they work toward 'regime change' in Moscow.

It's a daily thing now that I witness 'progressive' activists spouting the corporate oligarchy line that Russia did it.  It reminds me of 2003 when so many people swallowed the blue pill of 'WMD' being in Iraq which led to 'shock and awe'.  It's sad that so many people allow themselves to be led by their nose right into another war.  This time it would be a war with a nuclear armed global power that has a strong alliance with another nuclear power called China.

Live and learn they say - but this time we might not live long enough if this Russia demonization game continues on its present course.

Might be better if we said, "Wake the hell up and see the writing on the wall!  Quit believing the recycled red baiting drivel that is coming from the corporate funded and directed media."

Bruce

Aussies Take on America......



The West has been in shock for the past week as news of the tragic death of Otto Warmbier spreads.

A young, unfortunate American who was murdered by a brutal regime... just like the 10 others that die in police custody every day in America. But it turns out brutalizing your own people isn't newsworthy.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

War Games Planned for East Coast and Local Waters


By Tim Faulkner
ecoRI News staff

The Navy intends to fire missiles, rockets, lasers, grenades and torpedoes, detonate mines and explosive buoys, and use all types of sonar in a series of live war exercises in inland and offshore waters along the East Coast.

In New England, the areas where the weapons and sonar may be deployed encompass the entire coastline, as well as Navy pier-side locations, port transit channels, civilian ports, bays, harbors, airports and inland waterways.

“The Navy must train the way we fight,” according to a promotional video for what is called "Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Phase III."

An environmental impact study of the war games was released June 30. Public comment is open until Aug. 29. Comments can be submitted online and in writing.

The dates and exact locations of the live weapon and sonar exercises haven't yet been released. In all, 2.6 million square miles of land and sea along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico will be part of the aerial and underwater weapons firing.

The Navy describes the weapons exercise as a “major action.” The live ammunition training includes the use of long-range gunnery, mine training, air warfare, amphibious warfare, and anti-submarine warfare. The Navy says weapons use near civilian locations is consistent with training that has been done for decades.

The Navy, in conjunction with the National Marine Fisheries Service, will announce one of three options for the battle exercises by fall 2018. One of the options is a “no-action alternative.”

The Office of the Secretary of the Navy has full authority to approve or deny the live war games. President Trump, however, has had difficulties finding a new Navy secretary. Venture capitalist Richard V. Spencer is expected to face a Senate confirmation hearing this month. Previous nominee Philip Bilden withdrew from consideration in February over financial disclosure requirements.

The Navy says an environmental review for the excises was conducted between 2009 and 2011. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also prepared an Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement to analyze the potential environmental effects associated with the use of active sonar technology and the improved extended echo ranging system during Atlantic Fleet training exercises.

The live war games would deploy passive and active sonar systems. The Navy said it will use mid-frequency active acoustic sonar systems to track mines and torpedoes. Air guns, pile driving, transducers, explosive boxes and towed explosive devises may be used offshore and inland.
Risks to sea life include entanglements, vessel strikes, ingesting of harmful materials, hearing loss, physiological stress, and changes in behavior.


The Navy says it is using acoustic modeling done by NOAA to minimize impacts to marine mammals such as whales and porpoises. NOAA, however, isn't involved with efforts to mitigate environmental impacts during the war games. Spotters on naval vessels will search for mammals during the exercises. The Navy said it will partner with the scientific community to lessen impacts on birds, whales, turtles, fish and reefs.

While some sea life is expected to be harmed by the explosives and sonar, the Navy says it doesn't expect to threaten an entire population of a species.

Alternative voice:  See Scientific American article on Navy sonar here

Air Show Protest in Maine


Monday, July 10, 2017

Next Peace Walk in Maine

Maine Peace Walk in Brunswick last October


Maine Peace Walk for Conversion, Community and Climate
October 13-21
Bath, Maine


Attending: John Morris, Russell Wray, Martha Spiess, Tom Kircher, Jason Rawn, Bruce Gagnon.

Walk Vision:  The idea of this year’s peace walk will be to stay in Bath the majority of the time and hold vigils twice a day at BIW (morning and afternoon). The middle part of the day we will go door-to-door to drop flyers at every house and business in the city about the conversion of the shipyard to sustainable technologies to help deal with global warming.  One day we will walk to Brunswick and hold a pot luck and program there.

Name of Walk:  Martha came up with a snappy title for the walk – 3 C’s Walk – Maine Peace Walk for Conversion, Community and Climate.  The promotion materials for the walk will emphasize the spiritual nature of the walk, our hearts, climate change, cut backs in social spending, education and environmental care as we blow the kitty on endless war.

Walk Dates:  The walk will run from Oct 13-21. There will be one day off (Oct 18) and we will take the group to Five Islands for a site see and Reed State Park for a cook out.

Jeju Speaker:  We’d like to invite an English speaker from Jeju Island, South Korea to be with us for the whole walk and we’d offer to pay for travel.  Bruce will contact the folks in Gangjeong village.

Daily Vigils:  Jason suggested we also hold vigils at the two BIW locations on Old Bath Road.  All agreed.

Request Co-Sponsoring Groups:  We invite groups to join as a co-sponsor and donate toward walk costs.  So far we have Global Network (that will supply Bruce’s staff time); PeaceWorks $100; Peace Action Maine $50; COAST (provide artwork).  Maine VFP and Boston-area Smedley Butler VFP chapter will also be signing on and providing some level of support.  Checks can be made out to GN and sent to PO Box 652, Brunswick 04011.

Logo, Banner & Sweat Shirts: Russell will design a logo and make a banner.  We’ll also order sweatshirts and put the walk logo on the back with VFP logo on front – we will sell them at cost.

Van:  We will rent a 15-passenger van as in the past.  Russell will make reservation and mount Maka the dolphin on top with banner on side.

Flyer:  We will make a pizza-style door hanger flyer.  Bruce will draft the copy and send to committee. Will emphasize the goal to convert BIW to environmentally sound renewable energy systems.

Brunswick Program:  Jason suggested we hold a panel discussion after the Brunswick pot luck supper.  He envisions people talking about Jeju (Where do these warships go when they leave BIW?); How the river is contaminated by BIW operations; Conversion of the shipyard; Invite BIW and union reps to speak, etc.

Key Dates:  We’ve already sketched out some of the key dates for events during the walk.  They include:

* Oct 13 - Orientation, sharing tasks, dinner together, one vigil at BIW
* Oct 14 – Begin door-to-door work across Bath
* Oct 17 – Walk to Brunswick for potluck supper and program
* Oct 18 -  Day off and visit to Five Islands & cookout at Reed State Park
* Oct 20 -  Jeju film showing in Bath
* Oct 21 -  Grand Finale event in Bath
** Each day will also include morning and afternoon vigils at various BIW entry points

Tasks & Committees:  We outlined some jobs and committees that will be necessary.  Please keep them in mind and feel welcome to pick something to help out with.

* Fundraising – Al Johnson, Bruce (Funds needed for van rental & gas, Jeju airfare, flyer printing, food, art supplies)
* Door-to-door coordination – Bruce
* Van driver
* Food plan & prep
* Outreach – Tom Kircher, Leslie Manning
* Flyer draft – Bruce & committee
* Panel – Jason
* Media/Video
* Finale planning

Nipponzan Myohoji:  We will be inviting Buddhist monks/nuns from the Nipponzan Myohoji order to join us for the peace walk again this year.

Next meeting:  We will hold our next planning meeting in conjunction with the Brunswick Blue Angels airshow protest on Saturday, August 26.  (Airshow protest at former Naval air station will be from 9am to noon).  After airshow we will come to Bath and have lunch at the Galley restaurant on Centre Street across from the Addams-Melman House.  Then we will meet at the AMH until 3:00 pm-ish.  All are invited to either or both events.

Thanks to a great committee and a fun meeting.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

"It's a Secret Program'



From director Sonia Kennebeck and executive producers Wim Wenders and Errol Morris, NATIONAL BIRD follows the harrowing journey of three U.S. military veteran whistleblowers determined to break the silence surrounding America’s secret drone war. Tortured by guilt for their participation in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, and despite the threat of being prosecuted under the Espionage Act, these three veterans offer an unprecedented look inside this secret program to reveal the haunting cost of America’s global drone strikes.

Also featuring famed defense attorney Jessalyn Radack—best known for representing Edward Snowden—NATIONAL BIRD is the first film that has revealed so much first-hand information about the U.S. drone program through on-the-record sources, connecting the stories of veterans and survivors as never seen before in a documentary.

Loukie Lofchie Presente!

Loukie Lofchie (right) with her friend Debbie Leighton

Some of you know that Loukie Lofchie has been some days at the Gosnell Hospice House in Scarborough.  This is the note I just read from her dear friend Caroline Clavell:

Loukie went out with the full moon at 11:52p.m. [Saturday July 8]. Stan [Lofchie]  called us just after midnight. [My husband] Glenn and I got there soon after. The nurses were very kind and gentle and gave him plenty of time. We brought Stan home around 2 a.m. and are heading back to our house now... I am so glad for everyone's help. - Caroline

Martin McDonough and Caroline spent all of Sunday afternoon with Loukie and Stan; I brought him some Thai food; Elena Schmidt visited and stayed well into the night.

Loukie was a shining light to so many of us.  I'm guessing that Stan would love to receive some cards in the mail... maybe a memory or an old photo or two.... (20 Forest Terrace, Brunswick, ME  04011).

We discussed having a celebration of Loukie's life, but have done no planning yet.  We will keep all in touch.

In gratitude for Loukie's life,

Mary Beth Sullivan

Sunday Song