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. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Monday, February 27, 2006


The March edition of Harper's Magazine has a cover story calling for the impeachment of George W. Bush. It was written by Lewis Lapham, the editor of Harper's. (Click on the headline link above for the story.)

Lapham begins the article with a quote from Kurt Tucholsky that says, "A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates." Very well said indeed.

Lapham studied the impeachment resolution being offered by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). House Resolution 635, says Lapham is a description of the "Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq as the perpetration of a crime against the American people."

Asked what he hoped to prove by introducing the impeachment resolution, Conyers told Lapham, "To take away the excuse that we didn't know." So that two or four or ten years from now, if somebody should ask, "Where were you, Conyers, and where was the U.S. Congress?" when the Bush Administration declared the Constitution inoperative and revoked the license of parliamentary government, none of the company now present can plead ignorance or temporary insanity, can say that "somehow it escaped our notice" that the President was setting himself up as a supreme leader exempt from the rule of law.

"I don't think enough people know how much damage this administration can do to their civil liberties in a very short time. What would you have me do? Grumble and complain? Make cynical jokes? Throw up my hands and say that under the circumstances nothing can be done? At least I can muster the facts, establish a record, tell the story that ought to be front-page news," concluded Conyers.

And that is just what many Democrats have done. They have said there is nothing we can do. The Repubs control the House so an impeachment resolution is a waste of time - it will never pass. There is nothing we can do about Bush. You have to elect a Democratic Party controlled House of Representatives before we can do anything. And so they do nothing about major league law breaking by the Bush Administration. They wait for Godot to arrive. This only serves to embolden Bush, as he sees the majority of the Congress just sitting quietly aside on their hands while he shreds the Constitution and imperils the nation with an illegal and immoral war and drains the federal budget. He lines the pockets of his big corporate bosses and social progress in American is set back generations.

Rep. John Conyers is an American hero. So far 27 members of Congress have signed onto his impeachment resolution. Ask your Congressperson to join Rep. Conyers. The time is now to fight for the Constitution.

Friday, February 24, 2006


I just finished listening to the new solo album by my favorite singer/songwriter, Ray Davies, formerly of The Kinks. His new album is called "Other People's Lives" and it is his first solo venture after many years with the great 60's-90's band that had such hits like "You really got me", "Dedicated Follower of Fashion", "A Well Respected Man", "Lola", "Come Dancing" and many more. I've been a fan since the early 60's and included two of Ray's magical songs at the end of my recent book.

I want to put a couple of verses from one of his new songs here, dedicated to a dear friend in Maine who is having a tough time right now. I hope she will feel much better soon and that things turn out alright. She should always remember that she has lots of friends who love her. The song is called "After the Fall."

I just had a really bad fall
And this time it was harder to get up than before
I cried to the heavens and the vision appeared
I said "Can you help" It replied "Not at all"
After the fall is over
You will be on your own
After the fall is over
They'll be wrecks to clear in this war zone
They'll be much to clean and time to atone
But while it's dark you can shelter here
In the bleak mid winter When you're feeling the fear
But when the mist clears The sun will shine again
I will greet you when the sun shines again
After The Fall is over There'll be a better day

One song on the CD, called "Lonesome Train", is Ray's "American" song as he calls it. This dyed-in-the-wool British rocker, who was influenced by American jazz and blues music, has been struggling his whole career to find his own voice. For years he wrote incredible songs about the grind of being a rock musician having to ride the merry-go-round of the record companies and the pressure to write hits that made the corporations big money. Instead Ray wanted to write about what he saw and felt about life around him. He was always in conflict. At the end of "Lonesome Train" Ray says a voice says to get on the train before it is too late. He wonders, is he running away from something again, or just maybe, finally running toward something. Maybe, after all these years he is finding out who he is. He is finding his voice and is becoming comfortable with it.

Thank you Ray.....

Thursday, February 23, 2006


This picture above is very special to me. When I look at it I see the sacred.

The monkey looks to be at peace in its environment. The water is part of its home. The cold and snow, on its body, are all part of its world. The monkey needs little more. It knows its place in the world.

But in the news these days is much about global warming and toxification of the Earth. The water is becoming contaminated in most places by human excess. The polar bears in the Artic are threatened as the icecaps, their home, begin to melt.

I read today that Europe is now going to force manufacturing industries to begin a process called "take back". Starting next year European auto manufacturers will be required to "take back" their old vehicles and recover 85% of the content, reformulating the materials for use in new cars and other products. Consumer electronics, computers and cell phones are next in line. Big American corporations like Ford and GM will have to comply with European rules, since they make cars in Europe. But they will resist agreeing to do the same here with cars they make in the U.S.

Even in Maine's winter, mild as it has been, I have been forcing myself to get out on my bike to do errands whenever possible. I am constantly turning off lights in the house, often having the place near dark with just one light on. I am trying to take even shorter showers than I was before. I just went one month before I had to refill my car's gas tank - a first for sure. I am totally dissatisfied with how much energy I personally use and am struggling for ways to cut my consumption even more.

I don't want to appear to be holier than thou because I know I have no room for being critical of others on this question. I am just trying to remove the log from my own eye. I keep asking myself, do I really need this? Do I really need to make this trip?

The monkeys and the polar bears are deep inside my consciousness now. I've got to do more.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Last night while reading the paper I found much to make me moan and groan. Thought I'd share some of the tidbits with you today.....

* The oil corporations are collecting at least $7 billion this year in federal relief. Can you believe that? With record profits they surely don't need more taxpayer help.

* With that said, a local politician is organizing a fundraising event in a nearby town this weekend for the "Keep ME Warm Fund" here in Maine. Why must we bake cookies to raise funds so folks can heat their homes while we are giving subsidies to the already rich? Am I going crazy or what?

* The Bush team wants military retirees to pay more for their health care. This of course violates the promise the government made to veterans. You give us your service and after you retire we give you free health care for the rest of your life. This won't go over very well at the local VFW bar. I can promise you that.

* You've heard about the furor about having an Arab company take over port security operations in the U.S. To me the issue is broader. It is about foreign corporations buying up virtually every business in the U.S. In the last ten years over $1.3 trillion of American businesses have been bought out by foreign corporations. We are now going to find out what it feels like to be a third-world country.

* Condosleezza Rice is once again lecturing the rest of the world about democracy and non-violence. This really drives me crazy. She is telling Hamas that they must renounce violence and disarm and must recognize the state of Israel. Then she goes to Egypt and lectures them on democracy. How about the USA renouncing violence and disarming? How about the USA having free and fair elections in 2006 and 2008? How about the U.S. recognizing the legitimacy of a series of elections in Venezuela instead of assisting in another coup d’etat ?

* And Bush's favorite lap dog, Tony Blair, is lecturing the Iraqi people saying that they must have a "unity" government and must have a multi-party state where "no party, no ethnic, or religious grouping can dominate." I wish Tony would tell that to Bush who now presides over a one-party state linked to a fundamentalist religious sect here in the good ole US of A.

* Iraq - withdraw or redeploy, withdraw or redeploy? I've just figured out how the Repubs and Dems are going to trick us on the troop levels and the so-called withdrawal from Iraq. They are going to say we are pulling out all "combat troops" from Iraq. Then they are going to leave thousands at new permanent bases but these U.S. troops will not officially be combat troops. They will be called something like "Iraqi administration assistance forces" and that will be the end of that.

* In a recent poll in Iraq, 86% of Sunni's say that if the U.S. leaves Iraq the violence will decrease. When the entire Iraqi population is polled 64% say the same thing.

* On the bright side, baseball spring training has just begun. Unfortunately, my favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles are projected for another losing season and a 4th place finish. But still, baseball is soon to begin.

Monday, February 20, 2006


The reports are coming in from all over the nation. The Democrats are getting pilloried as they shuck and jive on the war. They have an election coming up in fall of 2006 and they want to take back Congress. They are scrambling to find their footing. The Dems think we can have guns and butter - war and health care. I've got news for them - that tune ain't playing no more.

The Boston Globe (click link above for the full article) reported today that the Dems have put Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), a former Army officer, in charge of coming up with a consensus Democratic plan for the war. His answer? It's called "strategic redeployment." What does that mean? "It's important to note that it's not withdrawal -- it's redeployment," Reed said. "We need to pursue a strategy that is going to accomplish the reasonable objectives, and allow us to have strategic flexibility. Not only is it a message, but it's a method to improve the security there and around the globe."

The Dems new plan is to pull some number of U.S. troops out of Iraq into Kuwait and other new bases in Afghanistan, Southeast Asia and the Horn of Africa. From the new large bases in Kuwait the U.S. would increase Air Force bombing missions over Iraq, increase the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's) like the Predator pictured above that fly via satellite direction and can drop bombs and fire missiles. For the Iraqi people this means more indiscriminate bombing and more innocent people killed.

When things get really out of hand in Iraq, the "strategic redeployment" plan (it's just the Murtha plan with a new name by the way) will call for an expansion of U.S. Special Forces teams going back into Iraq for quick hits and killings of anyone who dares resist the corrupt puppet government the U.S. has put into place.

The Democrats will sell this to the American public by saying they are pulling the troops out of the war. A few units will be brought home and big ceremonies held so that the public thinks the war is slowing down. The Dems hope that "strategic redeployment" will mean less troops will be killed day to day in Iraq. They hope it will be their ticket to victory in November. But in truth the war will go on.

In fact, the endless war will be expanded with new basing arrangements in Southeast Asia, Africa and Afghanistan. More territory will be occupied and the field of operations against that faceless "terrorism" will be expanded. All this will be done with the Dems full encouragement and support. And guess what? The Pentagon will need lots more money to build these new bases and outposts and Congress - both Repubs and Dems - will give them the money.

The peace movement had better not fall for this bait and switch. The Dems are running an election game on us. They are feeling our pressure and this is their disingenuous response. Peace activists nationwide must see through this latest shell game and call it for what it is. Strategic deception.

The time has come for the peace movement to unembed itself from the Democratic Party. As long as peace activists see themselves as "party" people they will not have the ability to be critical of these kind of cynical moves to co-opt our energies.

I was in Germany right after the U.S. began the invasion of Afghanistan soon after 9-11. The Green Party in Germany supported that invasion and angered the German peace movement. I saw German peace activists publicly condemn national Green Party leaders for supporting the U.S. war. The peace activists understood where their primary allegiance belonged. To the anti-war movement first, and then to a party. If the party goes astray, the peace movement does not follow. We must do the same here in the U.S.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Well I made it to the moon! Bang! Zoom!

I'm pulling out my protest signs and banners and setting up our Global Network anti-nuclear presence here....

NASA was not very happy when they realized I had arrived but since they can't claim they own the moon they can't kick me out. Look for me the next time there is a full moon. I'll be the guy waving the Earth flag.

I can report that NASA has nuclear materials scattered all over this place. I think the cheese is getting contaminated already. They have nuclear rocket landing zones, nuclear powered generating stations and more. I'm worried that my spacesuit might be contaminated already. I read one story in the daily on-line publication, The Moon News, that they were going to do strip mining here with nuclear blasts. Look out below! Or above! Just lookout!

The word is out that the U.S. wants to keep other countries from putting bases here. I think I will try to grab a moon buggy and see what is beyond the horizon. I heard there might be new U.S. military bases going up there that would be used to "deny" other countries access to the moon. If you don't hear from me soon send someone to look for me.

Our new slogan is "No Blood for Helium-3". Keep me in your prayers.


Friday, February 17, 2006


This trip report covers the period of February 8-14, 2006 as I traveled to New Mexico on a speaking tour and to organize a protest outside the 23rd Symposium on Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion in Albuquerque.

I began the trip by getting off the plane in Albuquerque and seeing three people with colorful protest signs standing in the middle of the airport waiting to pick me up. Bob Anderson, Jeanne Pahls, and Sally Alice Thompson held NO STAR WARS and NO NUKES IN SPACE signs. I loved the unusual welcome, although I was surprised that Homeland Security wasn't all over them. As I approached them, I heard a few other passengers saying "right on!"

On February 9, Bob drove me south to Silver City for a talk. It was my second time to visit this town and a good gathering of folks from the Grant County Peace Coalition turned out. The talk was videotaped for broadcast on the local cable TV. Marta Green and Rod Rees were the very impressive local organizers of the event.

The next day Bob drove me back to Albuquerque the long way, showing me the beautiful countryside. He said one county we passed through, very much loaded with cowboys, had once tried unsuccessfully to secede from the state.

Later that evening, Bob and I were invited to appear on an hour-long local cable TV show called "Connecting the Dots" hosted by Al Cooper. Al is a Vietnam veteran, and was at Wounded Knee in South Dakota with Bob in the early 1970's when they went to show support for the American Indian Movement (AIM). Al has always focused more on social justice issues. He kept remarking after the show that he finally understood how space technology will be used to become the military arm of corporate globalization.

On February 11, Al drove his wife Allison, Bob, Jeanne and me three hours north to Las Vegas, New Mexico. We had to leave early in the morning in order to arrive in time for an hour-long live interview on a popular local radio station. We were met by Las Vegas Peace & Justice Center coordinator Patricia Leahan who joined us on the show and helped the host of the show interview us. The mayor, running for reelection of Las Vegas, was on just before us; I made a point of listening to him a bit before we went on. He was talking about budget problems and the difficulties of providing all the services the community needed. When it was our turn, I began talking about how expensive the Pentagon's plan for Star Wars is, and how social spending cuts will be necessary to pay for it. This continuity of message was important to help the listeners see the connection between weapons in space and the struggle for local community needs.

Following a great lunch at a wonderful Mexican restaurant, we went to the home of a local supporter where 20 people came to watch our video, Arsenal of Hypocrisy. Then in the evening, 80 people turned out to hear my talk at the local college. I was impressed that all day long, as Patricia took us from place to place she was on the phone calling people, or stopping them on the street, insisting they come to my talk that evening.

I spoke at the Albuquerque Peace & Justice Center on February 12 and invited people to join us the next morning for our space nukes vigil.

On February 13, we began our two-day protest at the Hilton Hotel in Albuquerque outside the space nuclear power symposium. The Nuclear Engineering Department at the University of New Mexico (UMN) is host each year for the symposium. Bob and I have organized these protests for the past dozen years as NASA, Department of Energy, aerospace industry, and nuclear academia come together to plan to move nuclear "everything" into space. The only media coverage we got was a good article in the "Daily Lobo" student newspaper and an interview on the public radio station at UNM.

Later that evening I was invited to address the Albuquerque Chapter of Veterans for Peace. They were very responsive and we had quite an interesting discussion afterward. I talked about how Albuquerque was a key location for the nuclearization and weaponization of space. Besides UNM being a key research and development center for the space nuclear reactor, Kirtland AFB in their city is the directorate for the military space laser program. It is vital, I told them, to expand education and protest action on the space issue in their community. Bob Anderson and Jeanne Pahls, leading a group called Stop the War Machine, have been key leaders in bringing the space issue to Albuquerque for years and need the on-going support of all peace activists in town.

While In Albuquerque I met a woman whose father had been one of the Nazi rocket scientists brought to the U.S. in "Operation Paperclip" right after the end of World War II. Her father, Ernst Steinhoff, had been the guidance department chief at Hitler's V-1 and V-2 test facility at Peenemunde in northern Germany. Once brought to the U.S., the Nazi rocketeers test range moved to New Mexico and the White Sands Proving Ground. One hundred copies of Hitler's V-2 and over 100 former Nazi rocket scientists created the U.S. space program.

Sternhoff went on to work in the aerospace industry on the west coast and eventually returned to New Mexico when he was appointed to a high position at Holloman AFB. Sternhoff's daughter told me that she did not learn about the Nazi holocaust until she was 18 years old. When she approached her mother asking if it was true, her mother said it was necessary and retrieved an old Readers Digest article to explain her side of the story.

The Nazi rocket program in Germany killed tens of thousands of Jews, French resistance fighters, Communists, homosexuals, and prisoners of war, who were all used as slave labor to build Hitler's V-1 and V-2 rocket program. (For more information about this story read Secret Agenda by Linda Hunt.)

On my last day in New Mexico, Bob and I arrived early at the Hilton Hotel and went inside to get a look at the symposium display room. Inside we saw fancy and expensive nuclear power in space displays by NASA, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Department of Energy, among others. We noticed that NASA was taking participants' pictures and putting them onto postcards with a nuclear-powered moon mining base in the background. We both had them take our photos there, on the moon, inside a space suit.

Since returning home I've told friends that NASA has offered me a job as coordinator of nuclear operations on the moon. The only problem, I tell them, is that NASA is only offering me a one-way ticket!

So thanks to Bob Anderson and Jeanne Pahls for hosting another great visit to New Mexico.

The state of New Mexico has been asked by private space "entrepreneurs" for a $250 million gift from the taxpayers of the state to build a "Spaceport" that they say would be used to launch millionaire tourists into space from the sands of New Mexico.....

And so the struggle goes.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Maine artist Robert Shetterly recently painted me as part of a series of portraits he has done called "Americans Who Tell The Truth - A Collection of Portraits and Quotes." (Click on link above in the headline to go directly to Rob's web site so you can view all his portraits.)

I've come to know Rob through Veterans for Peace which made him an honorary member last year. Rob is very active in the Maine peace movement and we got arrested together last December 15 in Bangor at the office of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Rob is an artist who has learned to use his talents to help build the peace and social justice movements. It is truly an honor to have been painted by him.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I got home at midnight last night after flying in from Albuquerque, New Mexico. We held two days of protests outside the 23rd Symposium on Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion held at the Hilton Hotel and sponsored by the University of New Mexico's Nuclear Engineering Department.

Bob Anderson and I went into the symposium display room yesterday before the protest began to see what the latest "stuff" was available. We both got our picture taken at the NASA booth and they inserted the photo inside a spacesuit on a postcard with a moon base in the background. Unlike the photo above, all the moon bases we saw in the conference display room had no solar panels. Everything was nuclear. Nuclear rockets took you to the moon and when you get there all power supplies were nuclear. Same with the Mars displays...nuclear rockets to Mars, nuclear powered rovers now driving around Mars, and eventually, nuclear powered mining colonies there too.

Besides NASA, Lockheed Martin and Boeing had big display areas. So did the Department of Energy and the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama where the nuclear rocket is under development. The Idaho National Laboratory had a space nuclear battery display called "Reliable Energy for Space Exploration." NIAC (NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts) had a display called "Grand Visions for Colonization of Space." Included in their PowerPoint presentation were things like "Cyclical Visits to Mars via Astronaut Hotels" and "Redesigning Living Organisms to Survive on Mars".

While in Albuquerque a woman attended my talk, and joined us on the picket line outside the Hilton Hotel, whose father had been one of the Nazi space scientists smuggled into the U.S. after World War II under "Operation Paperclip." She told me that when she learned of the Holocaust at the age of 18 she asked her mother about it. Her mother replied that "It was necessary" and gave her a copy of Readers Digest that had an article explaining that position. Her father was a key member of the Nazi team that created the V-1 and V-2 rockets that Hitler used to terrorize cities like London, Paris, and Brussels with near the end of the war. When the U.S. Army brought the Nazi's to the U.S. they brought along 100 copies of the V-2 rocket that were used to create the U.S. Space Program.

The amount of money now being poured into plans to “colonize” space are staggering. The ultimate goal is to mine the planetary bodies for resources like helium-3, gold, magnesium, cobalt and uranium. The aerospace industry will pocket the profits after you, the taxpayer paid for all the research and development costs. Corporate welfare run amok.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Been on the road across New Mexico last couple of days. Bob Anderson drove me south to Silver City the other day where I spoke and then we came back to Albuquerque to film an hour long local cable TV show hosted by veteran activist Al Cooper. Then yesterday Al drove us up north to Las Vegas, New Mexico where we did a live hour long radio program on a local station. Then in the afternoon our video, Arsenal of Hypocrisy, was shown to people in the home of a local supporter and following that I did an evening talk at the local university. So a busy day.

Got the day off today back in Albuquerque and have been catching up with e-mails and watching basketball on TV. Tonight I speak at the Albuquerque Peace & Justice Center and in the morning we begin our two days of protest at the annual space nuclear power symposium here in town. The symposium will be loaded with aerospace industry representatives who have their hands out looking for more taxpayer subsidy as they promote the nuclearization and weaponization of space.

We must end the corporate welfare for the aerospace industry if we ever end the arms race and prevent the war machine from moving its deadly and expensive bad seed into space. Our protests in Albuquerque during the next two days are helping to focus the attention of people in New Mexico on how bases like Kirtland AFB here in Albuquerque are central to the development of weapons in space. The University of New Mexico's Nuclear Engineering Department has for years been a central promoter of nukes in space.

My message here is the same as always. Convert the military industrial complex to peaceful production. Build solar power, windmills, and public mass transit systems instead of weapons of war. Use our tax dollars for production of sustainable technologies that provide a future for our children and their children. We must make this demand over and over again. This demand must resonate all over the country and around the world.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Wasting A Lot of Loot (WALL) in Iraq

No, we are not talking about a wall around China Lake in Maine. The wall is the new
one that Sen. Olympia Snowe has built in her Portland office. One end of the wall is to keep Mainers from entering her office to share their deep concerns about the war in Iraq. The other end of the wall reaches all the way to the war torn nation of Iraq where the U.S. is wasting over $10 billion per month - with the full support of Sen. Snowe. (Bush just requested $120 billion for FY 2006 war funding.)

For over a year Mainers have been writing, calling, and visiting the offices of Sen. Snowe asking her to hold a public town hall meeting on Iraq. So far she refuses. Why is she reluctant to share the courage of her convictions with the citizenry?

Now the senator is going one step further. She has just built a wall in her Portland office making it even harder for the taxpayers to visit her with their grievances about the cost of the war. Is democracy being sealed off in Maine?

In the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, we say, "Olympia, tear down that wall!"

If you agree, call Sen. Snowe's Portland office at (207) 874-0883. While you are
at it, also ask her to hold a town hall meeting on Iraq.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I leave Wednesday for Albuquerque, New Mexico to join protests at the 23rd Annual Symposium on Space Nuclear Power & Propulsion. Each year NASA, Pentagon, and the aerospace industry gather to make plans to move nuclear power into space. The Bush administration has been good to this group, resurrecting the nuclear rocket, now called Project Prometheus. Other space nuclear programs are being expanded and thus the chance of a deadly accident becomes greater as the numbers of dangerous launches will dramatically increase in coming years.

I will start out with talks in Silver City, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque with the protests set for Feb 13-14 outside the Hilton Hotel in Albuquerque where the symposium will be held.

I've been attending these events for more than 10 years and local activist Bob Anderson has always been a wonderful host and speaking tour organizer for me. His friendship is something I really treasure and am always happy to hang out with him for several days of action.

Bob is a Vietnam vet and has been teaching college for many years now. Because of his political activity across New Mexico, he has now lost his teaching position at the University of New Mexico. Bob is a true profile in courage as he never let his career ambitions stand in the way of speaking truth to power.

I spent several hours today listening to the funeral service of Coretta Scott King. George W. Bush was sitting right behind the podium and I was shaken to my bones when Rev. Joseph Lowery (former president of SCLC) got up and moved the crowd to its feet by saying that we know there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, we can't have war and deal with poverty. Bush was just a bit uncomfortable. I said to myself, now that is speaking truth to power. When he was done, Lowery turned and walked right up to Bush and extended his hand. What a moment!

So from Joseph Lowery I go to Bob Anderson. Good men they are.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Mainers Impatiently & Politely Asking Collins (MIPAC)

Mainers Impatiently & Politely Asking Collins (MIPAC)
for a meeting in our state

We know we don't have a lot of money to give her,but after all she is our senator.....

On March 5-7 the powerful Israeli lobby group AIPAC will meet at the Washington DC Convention Center. Sen. Susan Collins will join other speakers like Newt Gingrich and U.N. Ambassador John Bolton at the event.

People in Maine have been trying to get Sen. Collins to hold a public town hall meeting on the Iraq war for the last year. She says she does not like to speak in front of big crowds and will only speak to those concerned about the war one-on-one. (It would appear that the AIPAC meeting in Washington will have a big crowd.) What is it they have that we Mainers don't?

It's confusing to us here in Maine why Sen. Collins will go to speak about the situation in the Middle East with AIPAC but won't talk with her own constituents. Could it be the name? Maybe we need a fancy name like AIPAC.

So we have created a new group to be called MIPAC. It stands for Mainers Impatiently & Politely Asking Collins (MIPAC) for a meeting.

To join MIPAC all you have to do is call the office of Sen. Collins and request she comes home to Maine to meet with those she presumes to serve. While you are at it, call Sen. Olympia Snowe too. She refuses to hold a town hall meeting on Iraq as well.

Call this toll free number to reach both Collins and Snowe: 1-888-355-3588

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Lying about spying is an impeachable offense. When Congress passes a law, like the FISA law that requires the president to get a warrant to spy on the public, and the president flouts the law then he has made an impeachable offense.

Yesterday the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a federal Freedom of Information Act request on behalf of individuals and organizations in six states. Included in that legal action was a request on my behalf and on behalf of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. The legal action requested from the Pentagon all documents that would reveal monitoring of lawful activities.

“President Bush claims that expanded intelligence powers are necessary to combat terrorism, yet we have evidence the Pentagon is using counter terrorism tools to spy on peaceful groups,” said an ACLU spokesman. “Under the guise of national security and the need to protect the country from another terrorist attack, the evidence so far indicates that the federal government is engaged in a widespread surveillance program aimed at anybody who criticizes the policies of the Bush administration.”

Earlier this month, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and attorneys against the National Security Agency (NSA) for illegally intercepting vast quantities of the international telephone and Internet communications of Americans without court approval.

In the mid-1980’s, while working for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice in Orlando, Florida, I got a phone call one day. An unidentified person on the phone told me that our organization had been infiltrated by local police agencies and that it was unconstitutional. I went to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper and a friendly reporter helped find out that the call had come from the lawyer for the Central Florida Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI). This body had been asked by Martin Marietta Corporation (now called Lockheed Martin) to infiltrate and “investigate” our organization. They inserted several operatives we were to later learn and one of them once tried to sell me illegal drugs. Clearly they were doing more than looking out for “illegal” political activity. The newspaper ended up doing a big series of stories on the infiltration and we were able to obtain a portion of the files they were keeping on us. The MBI fired their lawyer and tried unsuccessfully to have him disbarred for violating lawyer-client privilege. The lawyer told the newspaper that he tried to tell the MBI that what they were doing was illegal, and when they would not listen to him, he felt he had no choice but to tip us off to the infiltration.

In the last two years we have learned that NASA, working with the Brevard Sheriff’s Department (space coast) and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) out of MacDill AFB in Tampa, have been infiltrating and “investigating” key leaders of the Global Network. The Florida ACLU was able to again obtain a small portion of their intelligence files.

All of this just goes to show that the idea of an engaged and active citizenry, something that is vital to a real democracy, is now considered a danger to the existing government. My experience reveals that this problem of seeing the citizens as an enemy goes beyond Bush. The military industrial complex, the folks who really run our government, have for many years seen fit to label anyone who speaks out against their plan for global domination as a domestic enemy. Until we deal with the fact that we have lost our democracy to these big corporations, nothing much will change.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


A bit late on this report...been suffering from very bad sore throat last couple of days.

On Sunday we had an activists dream day. Over 180 people turned out in Belfast at a public town hall meeting of Maine's Rep. Mike Michaud. Michaud has now organized two such meetings to hear from his constituency on Iraq. He quietly sat and took notes as about 40 people walked up to the microphone and gave wonderfully moving testimony. Not one person spoke in favor of the war. The same themes flowed in and out of the testimony throughout the meeting. Stop the war, bring the troops home now, cut the war funding now, investigate Bush for impeachment crimes. I had tears in my eyes over and over again. How could anyone with a heart not be deeply touched by such passion and wisdom?

Then, with just a few minutes to go before the meeting was to conclude, the Congressman stood up and commented on a few of the easier points that had come up in the meeting....things like yes he supports full funding for the Veterans Administration so returning GI's can get treatment for PTSD....softball stuff. But, much to my total shock, the "good Democrat" Michaud never said a word about the essence of the meeting. Not a word about bring the troops home, war funding, or his position on Bush lies and impeachment investigations. I couldn't believe it, but then again I could.

After telling one of his staff aides that I thought his response to the town hall was "pitiful", twenty-five of us piled into our cars and drove 30 miles north to another meeting being held by Rep. Tom Allen (D-ME). Maine has two congressmen. Allen represents the more southern part of the state where I live and Michaud the northern part. The interesting thing is that Allen was speaking in the second district, not his own, it was Michaud's district. People have been speculating lately that Rep. Allen has senatorial ambitions and on Sunday was out trying to build a base for an eventual statewide run.

There were already 30 people there when we arrived at the Tom Allen meeting. The momentum from our crew immediately turned it into another Iraq town hall meeting. Allen danced and dodged, as he is known to do on tough issues. He was a Rhodes scholar and my perception of him is that while at Oxford he learned to honor and treasure the empire as such "scholars" are taught to do. On Iraq, Mr. Allen says he is against the war but keeps voting for every $$$ that gets requested. He says we can't come home from Iraq just yet, but he also says he is opposed to permanent bases.

I raised my hand and he would not call on me. He has heard from me a couple of times before and my friends say he remembers my trademark hat. I was sitting in the front row, right next to the woman who appeared to be the organizer of the meeting. Allen kept calling on lots of other people and I kept putting my hand in the air and taking it down. Finally, the woman next to me said, "Tom, he has had his hand up a long time." Reluctantly Allen called on me.

By this time Mr. Allen had said that if we wanted things to change we just had to ensure the Democrats would be back in control of Congress. Then everything would be know how the story goes. So once called on I told the story about Hillary Clinton's trip to Afghanistan and Iraq a year ago February with Sen. John McCain, Russ Feingold, Lindsey Graham, and Susan Collins. I told how they had held a news conference in Afghanistan where they said the U.S. was building six permanent bases in that country. On her return to the U.S. I recalled, Hillary and the right-wing Lindsey Graham were on the Sunday morning news talk shows. I saw Hillary say that "we are going to be in Iraq for a long-time. The American people need to be patient, we've been in Korea for 50 years," Hillary told us.

I told Mr. Allen that leaders of his own political party were telling us we are not leaving Iraq. I asked him why he won't vote against further funding for the war. He danced, he actually has very swift feet. I hear that when in high school he ran track. Actually, very good training for a politician.

Our 25 person crew left the Allen event and went for dinner together. There we processed the remarkable day and did some brainstorming about future actions. We had representation from all over the state in that meeting. We are moving together now…..we will keep the pressure on those that like to dance.