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

Friday, March 31, 2006


I'm heading to Colorado Springs on Sunday to participate in protests outside the 22nd National Space Symposium. As you can see by clicking the link in the title above, the event is a who's who of the Pentagon and aerospace industry. Last year over 6,000 military and weapons industry personnel were there.

Our Global Network affiliate group, called Citizens for Peace in Space, is once again organizing the protest outside the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. They are calling it the "Only You Can Prevent Truth Decay" protest. The protests will also be taken out into the larger community through a public forum at Colorado College and a visit to the Buckley Air Force Spy & Space War Base in nearby Aurora, Colorado. We will also take folks out to see the several local space command sites in an action that will be called "2006 Space Expose 'Um."

Citizens for Peace in Space (CPIS), particularly its coordinator Bill Sulzman, is a founding member of the Global Network. In a leaflet CPIS says, "We expose this propaganda offering for what it is, an arms bazaar for fat cats and war lords who run the U.S. space program. The official story is full of half truths, coverups, and outright lies. Exposing that is a tall order but someone has to do it."

It should be fun as CPIS is one of the more creative groups around. They always use street theater to get their message out to a wider audience. I am looking forward to the trip and will try to put some short reports from the action on the blog while in Colorado.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I sometimes hear people say that people in Iraq do not value life the way we do in the U.S. I find that an arrogant statement. Do the people of Iraq love their families any less than Americans do? People in the U.S. have learned to use statements like this to justify our unending empire building that results in legions of dead people that resist U.S. control and domination.

Did the U.S. show how much we valued life when we virtually exterminated the Native Americans? Did the U.S. show its reverence for life when it created the institution of slavery - selling human beings on the auction block in cities throughout the country? Do we value human life today when 46 million of our citizens have no access to health care - the only industrialized nation in the world without a national health care system?

Politicians like to talk about values a lot these days. So do many right-wing conservative groups who consider themselves "right with the Lord." But how do they feel about the war in Iraq, or national health care, or the death penalty? All values issues for sure.

This kind of arrogance, that we in the U.S. are the "exceptional" nation, is a major reason why America is so hated and mistrusted around the world. Until the American people begin to deal with our arrogance, we will remain the laughing stock of the world.

Monday, March 27, 2006


The Washington Post ran a story yesterday called "U.S. Planning Base on Moon to Prepare for Trip to Mars." The story said that NASA is now planning for a permanent moon base by 2020. The problem - money. Over 40% of NASA's budget is now being spent on the troubled and expensive Int'l Space Station. We were told the space station was originally going to cost tax payers $10 billion but it ended up costing us $100 billion and it is still not completed...probably never will be.

Imagine the cost of a permanent moon base. Do you understand why the Congress keeps talking about the need for "entitlement programs reform"? What are the entitlement programs they want to reform to free up money for the aerospace industry? Try Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what is left of the welfare program.

Why the big rush to get to the moon? "The new thing is China, and they've announced they're going to the moon. The Europeans want to go; the Russians want to go; and if we don't go, maybe they'll go with the Chinese," Mars Institute Chairman Pascal Lee says. "Could we bypass the moon and go to Mars while India and China are going to the moon? I don't think so."

So what is the big deal on the moon that everyone wants to get a hold of? It's called helium-3. Scientists say helium-3 could be used to provide power for fusion reactors here on Earth, making the profits of the oil corporations look like nothing. So the race is on. Who pays for the technological race to the moon? Right, you the taxpayer. Who would profit? Right again, the big aerospace industry corporations. You the taxpayers get left in the dark - without your "entitlement programs."

"Power is the big challenge," says Larry Toups at NASA. NASA and the Department of Energy want nuclear reactors on the moon so they are now laying the groundwork to convince the nation that multiple launches of nuclear reactors heading to the moon will be acceptable. Hold onto your hats folks.

Then add to all that the expensive military space weapons technology that would be needed to ensure that the U.S. "controlled and dominated" the pathway between the Earth and the moon and you've got a whole new arms race. Mucho gravy for the weapons industry.

Someone sent me the words to a Gil Scott-Heron song about the moon. Here it is.

Whitey on the Moon
by Gil Scott-Heron

A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face and arms began to swell.
(and Whitey's on the moon)
I can't pay no doctor bill.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Ten years from now I'll be payin' still.
(while Whitey's on the moon)
The man jus' upped my rent las' night.
('cause Whitey's on the moon)
No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
I wonder why he's uppin' me?
('cause Whitey's on the moon?)
I wuz already payin' 'im fifty a week.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Taxes takin' my whole damn check,
Junkies makin' me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is goin' up,
An' as if all that shit wuzn't enough:
A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face an' arm began to swell.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Was all that money I made las' year
(for Whitey on the moon?)
How come there ain't no money here?
(Hmm! Whitey's on the moon)
Y'know I jus' 'bout had my fill
(of Whitey on the moon)
I think I'll sen' these doctor bills,
Airmail special
(to Whitey on the moon)

Friday, March 24, 2006


Yesterday I went north to the University of Maine - Orono to be part of a peace witness during a speech by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). The senator was invited to talk about “The Ethics of Conscience: Continuing the Legacy of Margaret Chase Smith” by the school and 60 peace activists, dressed in black, sat in the auditorium wearing the number 2,319 on their backs - the numbers of dead GI's killed in Iraq so far. The auditorium seats 515 and was nearly full.

The senator made a mundane speech talking about her support for lobbyist reform, her dissatisfaction with former FEMA director Michael Brown and his poor handling of the Katrina hurricane and her great respect for Margaret Chase Smith, the much acclaimed former senator from Maine during the 1950's who publicly challenged the red-baiting tactics of then right-wing Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Sen. Collins is considered a moderate but keeps voting with the Bush administration on all the big issues. The question and answer period was highly regulated with the university staff taking written questions before the event began. A graduate student then read about 4-5 of them to Sen. Collins. The first one was "When can we leave Iraq?" Sen. Collins responded that we don't want to stay any longer than necessary, it will all depend on how quickly the U.S. can train a new Iraqi police force. The basic Bush line if you will.

When it was announced that there would only be one more question the 60 peace people in the audience, spread out throughout the hall, stood up and Robert Shetterly began to raise a question to the senator. Someone yelled out "Sit down" then someone else quickly yelled out, "No...let him speak". There was a pregnant pause and Robert kept going by asking Sen. Collins how she could support this Bush war policy. I could not hear it all from where I was sitting but the scene was more important than the question anyway. As he concluded his question, an applause broke out in the hall, not just coming from the people dressed in black. People whistled as well and the applause was a long one... the senator stood there glaring at Robert but she said nothing.

Finally, after what seemed like a longer applause than she got when she was introduced, Sen. Collins said to the university student handling the questions, "Next question." And before we knew it the whole thing was finished. Our 60 folks in black quickly made their way out into the lobby and opened banners that said things like "What are the ethics of Guantanamo?" and "What are the ethics of tax cuts for the rich?" and so on. The media came out and interviewed some of the protest leaders and one alternative radio station, WERU, did live interviews with several folks over the phone.

Sen. Collins has been refusing to hold a town hall meeting on Iraq for the past year. A town hall meeting on the war has now been set for Friday, April 21 at USM in Portland and we are inviting the entire Maine Congressional delegation to come and listen to the people about the war.

The senator was not going to talk about Iraq yesterday. The war, now shown in the polls as the number one concern of the American people, was going to be ignored by the senator. But as much as they would like to ignore the topic the peace movement in Maine is forcing the political elite to have to respond to it.

After the event the senator told the Bangor Daily News that she meets with peace groups all the time. That is a lie and especially troubling from one who claims the mantle of ethics and the legacy of Margaret Chase Smith.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


On Sunday, March 19 I attended an anti-war protest in downtown Portland that drew a good crowd. From there I went to the airport and flew to Washington DC. I was invited to speak at Monday's march on the Pentagon called From Mourning to Resistance: 3 Years Too Many - Stop the War! The event was organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance which is led by Gordon Clark and Max Obuszewski.

When I arrived in Washington I went directly to the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House where my old friend Art Laffin lives. Art is a long time war resister and I've stayed at the Catholic Worker house many times over the years when in DC. Art has been a loyal supporter of our resistance efforts to keep the arms race from moving into space. He, and others from the Catholic Worker community, each year organize protests at the White House and/or NASA headquarters when the Global Network puts out a call for actions during Keep Space for Peace Week or at other times.

Art woke me up before 6:00 am on Monday, March 20 and we made our way to an entrance that has been designated a "protest zone" at the Pentagon. We were joined by 20 others for an hour long vigil as Pentagon employees arrived. Holding my simple sign, "Stop the war," I was amazed at the sheer numbers of people entering the Pentagon. Art told me 20,000 work there and each Monday he and others hold their vigil at the same spot. Art has been arrested more times than he can count at the various entrances of the Pentagon over the last 20 years.

Few of the military or civilian Pentagon employees made eye contact as they passed us. I counted positive responses from about 1 out of every 50. One woman, an Air Force officer, gave me a courageous "thumps-up" as she passed by. Another woman in civilian dress said, "You people are making progress" as she hurried by. I was struck by the large numbers of black and Hispanic civilian employees entering but most of them too would not make contact. I thought it sad that so many people must work inside this "shrine of domination" to feed their families. It made the conversion message resonant even more for me.

Next we moved to the assembly point for the 9:00 am rally and march to the Pentagon. Located near the Vietnam war memorial, over 200 people and tons of media from all over the world gathered. It was here that I stood on a plastic milk crate and made my speech. I talked about how in Maine, the day before, anti-war protests were held on bridges all over our state. I shared how we have for the past year been organizing occupations of Congressional offices in our state and how we must cut funding for the war if we hope to ever end it. I also said that we must prevent the next round of the arms race from moving into space if we hoped to have social progress in America. We can't afford guns and butter. We must, I concluded, develop and promote a transformative vision that calls for production of sustainable technologies with our tax dollars or we will never end our nation's addiction to war.

Following all the speakers, including Cindy Sheehan and Michael Berg (whose son was also killed in Iraq), we marched the final steps to the Pentagon where we were met by a large continent of police. Most of the cops were African-American and they stood on the other side of a closed gate blocking our entrance onto Pentagon grounds. Art Laffin led us in singing protest songs like We Shall Overcome as 51 people slowly climbed their way over the fence into the waiting arms of the police. The large contingent of media filmed the entire exciting scene. I knew that sadly few of these images would broadcast on the TV news in the U.S. though.

It was a very long walk back to the center of DC. I made my way to the White House where I wanted to stop and say hello to a woman who has held here vigil there since 1981. Day and night for 20 years, Concepcion Picciotto has occupied a small slab of pavement across from the White House, braving the wind, rain, and police harassment. Connie has been keeping an around-the-clock vigil for world peace and nuclear disarmament since Ronald Reagan first entered the White House as president. She says that many people stop and talk but she wonders when the American people will rise up to resist our current move toward fascism.

Every time I go to a big city I always wonder how our seemly small efforts for peace can reach the millions of people who rush around their city leading their busy lives. On the flight home I sat next to a man returning from a winter vacation in Florida. I asked him how he feels about the war. I discovered he works at Bath Iron Works in Maine where the Navy's Aegis destroyer is built. The Aegis is now being used by the U.S. to surround China with Theater Missile Defense (TMD) systems on-board. I talked to him a long time about the need for conversion of the military industrial complex. He listened intently and when he discovered that I am an organizer of protests in our local community he laughed and shook my hand. At one point he said, "People like me need to get more involved or nothing will change." I took that as a good sign.

Maybe people are listening more than we know. Maybe as the woman said at the Pentagon, "You people are making progress." We just need to keep believing in ourselves and our message for peace....and conversion of the military industrial complex.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


I went north yesterday to Farmington, Maine to attend an event called "Sustainable Maine Conference: Turning Toward Peace Through Jobs and a Clean Environment." It was organized by Peace Action Maine and the Global Network was a co-sponsor. I facilitated a workshop called "Corporate Takeover & Military Transformation."

It was held at the University of Maine at Farmington and my good friend Doug Rawlings, president of Maine Veterans for Peace, who teaches there was the host. He turned out a great number of students for the event...and peace and environmental activists came from all over the state.

The whole idea of the conference was to introduce the idea that we need to convert the military industrial complex to peaceful production. Why can't we build mass transit systems or windmills at Bath Iron Works here in Maine instead of Aegis destroyers that will be used to surround and provoke China?

I notice that when you ask that question, some folks who would otherwise agree, just roll their eyes. They say, "Well, the politicians will never agree to that." I tend to respond, "Well, if we don't make a political demand on them they never will." I thought that was our job as activists, to create an alternative vision and then go out and organize support for it. How else can we ever stop this endless war cycle unless we demand an alternative? Of course it is going to be hard - but what meaningful change has ever come easy? How long did it take to end slavery? Imagine when abolitionists started saying, "You know we should end slavery." And the response was, "Yeah sure, the entire country's economy is hostage to the institution to slavery and you want to change that. Can't we work on something easier?" But in the end the moral outrage won out and slavery was ended. It was a long bitter struggle though that ended with civil war.

So today our country’s economy is hostage to the institution called military production and endless war. The more wars we have the more weapons we need. The more weapons we need the more jobs we have in local communities producing them. And please, don't close our bases and military production facilities, our local leaders say!!!!!!

So our job today is to make a political demand. We want our tax dollars used for peaceful production of sustainable technologies that give our children a future on this Earth. We know that building solar, windmills, mass transit systems and the like will provide more jobs than military production does - because the military industrial complex is capital intensive. That means that per million dollars we get less jobs building weapons than we would by spending the same amount of money on any other kind of production.

Our job in the peace movement is to advance an alternative vision that unites the peace movement, the environmental movement and the labor movement. Think of the good jobs that could be created by converting the military industrial complex. Think what happens when weapons are no longer the number one industrial export of our nation. We could be proud of our country again. We can reduce the need for oil. We can slow global warming. Let's make this change, now, before it is too late.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


In a rare moment of honesty, George W. Bush recently admitted the U.S. was "addicted to oil." I don't think he made the statement out of any genuine concern for our future. Instead I think he made the statement in order to convince the American people that we need to expand the use of nuclear power and turn to biofuels like corn and soybeans to provide fuel for our auto addicted culture.

Lots of people these days are talking about ethanol production as a key cure to our oil woes. With fossil fuels running out, and becoming more expensive, the idea of fuel from organic products seems to make sense. Right?

Well not so fast. According to David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agriculture at Cornell University, "There is just no energy benefit to using plant biomass for liquid fuel." For every gallon that an ethanol manufacturing plant produces, it uses the equivalent of almost two-fifths of a gallon of fuel (usually natural gas), and that does not count the fuel needed to make fertilizer for the corn, run the farm machinery or truck the ethanol to market. Although Pimentel advocates the use of burning biomass to produce thermal energy (to heat homes, for example), he deplores the use of biomass for liquid fuel.

In terms of energy output compared with energy input for ethanol production the facts are that:

- Corn requires 29% more fossil energy than the fuel it produced...
- Switch grass (a favorite of George W. Bush) requires 45% more fossil energy than the fuel produced....
- wood biomass requires 57% more fossil energy than the fuel produced...
- soybean plants requires 27% more fossil energy than the fuel produced...
- sunflower plants requires 118% more fossil energy than the fuel produced....

With this said then, why is everyone talking about ethanol as our savior? You've seen the new Ford truck commercials on TV where these young environmental activists are standing in a corn field, next to the huge new model Ford pick-up truck. They have an ear of corn in their hands saying, "This is it folks...we've got it...the solution to our problems...nature's corn...keep driving and don't worry about it."

The agri-business corporations that control corn and soybean production these days in the Midwest are also behind this new scam. Archer Daniels Midland Co. Chairman and CEO G. Allen Andreas told analysts in February that rising demand for American-grown corn will push corn prices through the roof. Microsoft Corp.'s Bill Gates has invested $84 million in ethanol production plant expansion.

And the American people, with their big gas hungry trucks and SUV's, love the idea that a new fuel has been found just in time as oil prices keep rising. And it is environmentally pure!!!!!!!

One more thing to think about. As fossil fuels decline in availability, Peak Oil it's called, the cost of farming goes up thus the price of food dramatically rises. The entire agriculture industry is totally dependent on fossil fuels - tilling the soil, planting and harvesting are all oil dependent....trucking products to market also is oil dependent. We won't be able to afford to fly Kiwi fruit in from New Zealand, tomatoes from Mexico, or even avocados from south Florida. We are going to have to grow our food locally.

But there is a problem. I am told by Maine farmer and engineer John Howe who wrote the book called "The End of Fossil Energy," that it will take virtually all available agriculture land in the U.S. to grow enough corn and soybeans to provide the needed ethanol to replace the oil we now use in our cars. And that assumes you can even do it efficiently, which I think I've shown is not possible.

Howe says that we are going to need this available farming land to produce our food because food production, without the heavy use of fossil fuels will become more labor intensive. That means we will need more land and more humans working in the fields just to feed ourselves. If we have the fields committed to growing fuel for cars then we will starve to death.

So once again our very human desire for the easy answer, the magic bullet, proves to be a pipe dream. We are going to have to turn to public mass transit, bicycles, walking and solar cars if we are going to make it. Instead of putting corn in the tank, we are going to need to eat it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Two important developments concerning space this week. First NASA announced that their Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter had safely reached the red planet and is now one of four functioning spacecraft in orbit there. The $720 million mission will survey the planet to identify minerals on the Martian surface. Looking for the origins of life you ask? Well no, not really. In fact NASA, doing the bidding for the aerospace industry that hopes to one day mine Mars, is setting up the infrastructure to make it possible in the future to have the industry go in and reap major profit from mining operations. The Halliburton Corporation is today creating a drilling mechanism to do Mars mining. Once NASA has successfully created the ability the mine the skies the entire operation will be privatized. And you know who is paying for it. Understand?

The other big story is Star Wars and the Pentagon. The military is asking Congress for hundreds of millions of extra tax $$$$$ to test weapons in space. According to a story in the Boston Globe today, "The DoD's budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 includes money for a variety of tests on offensive and defensive weapons, including a missile launched at a small satellite in orbit, testing a small space vehicle that could disperse weapons while traveling at 20 times the speed of sound, and determining whether high-powered ground-based lasers can effectively destroy enemy satellites."

So here we go. The veil is off the bride. The Bush team has broken down the door. They are now on record that they intend to move forward with offensive weapons in space. Pentagon spokesman Rick Lerner told the Globe, "We just want to do some experiments" on weapons technology in space. Yeah, just experiments...that's all.

If they were just experiments, why did the Bush administration vote last fall to block a United Nations resolution calling for a ban on weapons in space? Every country in the world (except the U.S. and Israel) are ready to sign an international treaty banning weapons in space. But the U.S. knows that if the Pentagon can put weapons in space, thus dominating space, they can militarily control the Earth on behalf of corporate globalization. No one would be able to stand against the U.S. in times of hostility because all warfare today on the Earth is directed by space technology.

The Pentagon budget for this year is $450 billion. They not only want to control the Earth but now they are moving to control Mars and soon Bush intends to put bases on the Moon. And as you set up mining operations on the planetary bodies the aerospace industry will seek funding to create new military technologies to "protect their assets" on those bodies from other space-faring nations. Imagine the costs involved in this inter-planetary warfare system they are now setting in motion?

It is easy to understand why the corporate elite have made the determination that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, welfare programs, public transit, environmental clean-up, and the like all have to be cut. The enormous fiscal appetite of the Pentagon for space control and domination technology development is going to overwhelm everything else in the national budget.

What do you think? Should we go along with this madness? Is this how you want your tax dollars spent?

Sunday, March 12, 2006


We had an emergency Iraq war planning meeting in Portland today. On 48-hours notice we got 40 people out for the meeting. The purpose of it was to get serious about expanding our organizing in the mid-coast and southern Maine region. Our entire Maine congressional delegation keeps voting for all the money for the war and don't seem willing to budge anytime soon.

We went around in the meeting and asked everyone to say how they are feeling about things right now and give any ideas they have for next organizing steps. Many good ideas were brought forward and several of them emerged as common themes in the meeting. One is that Bush must be impeached, the second was the need to do more youth outreach and organizing, and the last was that we should hold our own town hall meeting and invite our Congressional delegation.

So in the end we decided to organize a public town hall meeting on Iraq on Friday, April 21 in Portland. (We are now working on a suitable location.) We will invite the politicians to come listen to the public and will give them time to respond at the end of the meeting if they would like to do so.

We will pass out a leaflet to everyone who comes to the meeting listing upcoming events and have contact information for local peace groups, study groups, book clubs, and any other grouping doing any anti-war organizing in the area.

We also decided to set another meeting up to do follow-up work after the town hall meeting. That meeting, also to be held in Portland, will be on Saturday, May 6 from 1-3pm. (Location to be announced). For now we are calling this the Iraq War Regional Network.

The meeting had a serious and positive energy. Several people running/or representing candidates for Governor, Senator and House of Representatives were there. At the end of the meeting I asked everyone to stand and hold hands. I said that we needed to work together and pledge to each other that we will do all we can to build our regional movement. I said we are on the edge of fascism in America and the time for cooperative effort is here.

Friday, March 10, 2006


The U.S. and Japan tested a new Theatre Missile Defense (TMD) technology Wednesday off the coast of Hawaii. A missile was launched by an Aegis cruiser and successfully deployed a new Japanese-designed nose cone.

These developments indicate that U.S. and Japan's efforts to expand joint military operations in the Asian-Pacific region are moving ahead. The U.S. is now pressuring Japan to get rid of their constitutional prohibition against having an offensive military. Together, the U.S. and Japan are now preparing a major military escalation in the region that is like a dart pointed at the heart of China.

China today has 20 nuclear missiles capable of hitting the west coast of the U.S. The U.S. has over 7,500 nuclear weapons. The new TMD technologies under development by the U.S. and Japan are intended to make it possible for China's 20 nuclear missiles to be taken out during an attack. The idea is that the Aegis destroyer would be based in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, thus giving the U.S. the ability to virtually surround China's coastal region. Add to that the new permanent military bases the U.S. is now building in Afghanistan, right on China's inland border. These bases would also be outfitted with ground-based TMD systems. Together, along with planned airborne and space-based systems, the U.S. plan is to be able to launch a preemptive first-strike attack on China and then take out China's retaliatory response by using the new TMD interceptors.

At the U.S. Space Command, during the past couple of years, they have been war gaming this first strike attack on China. Set in the year 2016, the U.S. launches the attack and then attempts to pick off China's anemic nuclear response.

These joint U.S. and Japanese TMD operations are helping to increase tensions in the region and are forcing China to make defensive military build-ups along their border regions.

It should be remembered that not long ago, Japan was the fascist imperial power in the region that invaded Manchuria, China and Korea that helped kick-off World War II. The Japanese were known to have killed large numbers of civilians during their brutal occupations of these countries. Japan blew up one of its own
trains in September of 1931, blaming it on China, and using it as a pretext to invade Manchuria. The incident was used to justify the invasion on the grounds that Japanese interests had to be protected from assaults by the Chinese. (Sound familiar?)

So the U.S. and Japan are now playing an old game. They are moving to militarize the region, as China defensively responds, the U.S. accuses China of trying to control the region. China gets surrounded, tensions rise and at some point the fuse gets lit. An explosion happens and China will get blamed. The U.S. and Japan do not intend to let China become a major power without first trying to control her. As the Washington Post said in 2001, the U.S. will now double our military presence in the Asian-Pacific region so that "we" can "manage" China.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Last night I was invited to an Iraq war debate at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. I debated on behalf of the College Democrats, while the College Republicans picked a graduate student as their debater. The Greens were also represented in the event.

The Republican debater basically named called and character assassinated the peace movement all night long. He called anyone who disagreed with Bush enemy "collaborators" and named us the "cut and run crowd".

I responded to this nonsense by saying that a recent Zogby Poll showed 72% of GI's in Iraq now say they want to come home. I also noted that USA Today reported 8,000 U.S. military personnel have deserted since the start of the war. The cut and run crowd all......

At another point the Repub debater used the words "We suffer and incur" from the war in Iraq. In a defensive moment, he was pandering and trying to show some kind of solidarity with the GI's in Iraq. This really made me angry and when I had my turn I said that those promoting this war are not "suffering and incurring" anything at all. They are not in Iraq, their children are not going to Iraq, AND the Repubs are making sure that the very rich in the U.S. are getting major league tax cuts. This war I said is being fought by the working class who have to join the military in hopes of a job and the chance for college money. The rich are making the bucks on this war that is being fought for control of diminishing natural resources......The poor get nothing but cutbacks at home and American flags to drape the coffins of returning kids.

Even though I was debating on behalf of the College Dems, I had to be fair and acknowledge that the Democratic party has been a full partner in the war. While admitting there are some noble Dems, like Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA)who have introduced legislation calling for a cut in funding for the war, most Dems keep voting for the war. I challenged the Dems in the audience to sharpen the debate within their own party if we hoped to end this war.

Yesterday I read that former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said Bush's "Long war" would last at least 70 years. At over $8 billion a month, just how will we pay for this war and still have social progress in America?

The time is now to speak out.....

Monday, March 06, 2006


National polls are showing today that 80% of the American people believe there is now civil war in Iraq. The majority now believes we must leave Iraq.

The poll found that 56 percent also say the United States is not making significant progress toward restoring civil order in Iraq -- a 17-point drop in optimism since December and the most pessimistic reading on this question since it was first asked in June, 2004.

Our Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is in Iraq and held a "town hall meeting" with Maine National Guard soldiers stationed there. Sounds like the peace movement will have to dress up in Army uniforms before we are able to get our senator to meet with us.

Our friend Dexter Kamilewicz, who has announced his candidacy to run for Congress as an Independent, has a son in Iraq with the Vermont National Guard. Dexter's son Ben came home last week on leave after seven horrid months in Iraq. He returns this week for another five months. In a letter Dexter sent out to supporters Dexter said, "Ben flew home on an airplane crowded with wounded soldiers with lost limbs, disfigured faces, debilitating concussions, and horrific wounds that won’t heal in a lifetime, but nobody sees them, nobody is allowed to see them. There are tens of thousands of them."

Dexter concluded his letter by saying, "Our Maine Congressional Delegation is responsible for the War in Iraq as they vote to fund it. It is impossible to say that you are against the war when you fund it – such is the problem with politicians speaking out of both sides of their mouths. Those who vote to fund an illegal, immoral, cruel war have blood on their hands. Our politicians’ votes to fund the war results in more death and destruction on an ever widening basis, more American deaths and returning soldiers with baggage that we are unprepared to deal with, no health care plan, no retirement benefits, degradation of the planet, higher taxes – just endless, mindless war, and no future. Why?"

Why? Permanent bases to control oil....profits for the weapons corporations....kick-backs (called campaign donations from the weapons industry) to politicians.....belief in empire.....

Are we in Iraq, like my local Congressman Tom Allen (D-ME) says, to prevent a civil war? What will be the next excuse the politicians use to justify permanent occupation? Who will be fooled into voting again for these policians who deceive us so?

Saturday, March 04, 2006


On March 1-2 I headed north to the University of Maine in Orono (UMO), where I spoke to a group of students brought together by my friend Dud Hendrick who teaches peace studies at the school. Dud and I are members of Maine Veterans for Peace.

The day before, a one-hour interview on the community radio station, WERU, had been set up for me by Dud. Already several new people have contacted our office who had listened to the show.

It was the second time I have spoken to Dud's peace studies class at UMO. In this case several of his students brought in their friends who don't take the class to hear my talk. I was told by the head of the peace studies department that several students were overheard after my talk saying they wanted to have me back to speak to a larger group of students.

From UMO I followed Dud as we made the 1 1/2 hour drive to Deer Isle, near Acadia National Park, where I was to speak to Dud's local peace group that evening. The meeting of Island Peace & Justice was well attended, and we had a lively discussion following my talk. In both of these talks, I put heavy emphasis on how space technology is used to fight modern war. Thus, if the U.S. can "control and dominate" space, the Pentagon is able to be the world's preeminent military power.

I also told both audiences that day that they were lucky to have Dud around as a teacher and friend. Dud went to the U.S. Naval Academy and was a pilot in Vietnam during the war. He went on to become a successful lacrosse coach at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

Dud has been one of the key organizers of our Freqent Visitor Program here in Maine, where we have occupied the offices of our Congressional delegation reading the names of American GI's killed in Iraq and an equal number of innocent Iraqi civilians. Eight times during the past year we have held such events across the state. Dud was one of the 19 people with whom I was arrested on December 15, 2005 when we sat in at the Bangor office of our Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME). We have been demanding that our two Republican senators hold a town hall meeting on the Iraq war so that the public may have an opportunity to speak directly to them. So far have they refused to hold such an event.

On February 9, Dud and six others were invited to the Bangor office of Sen. Susan Collins to speak with her via fuzzy teleconferencing technology. She was in Washington DC. The group of peace workers went into that meeting determined only to talk about the need for a town hall meeting on Iraq. Sen. Collins saw it as an opportunity to say she was meeting with small groups of people to discuss the war and thus there was no need for a town hall meeting. When it was Dud's turn, he read from prepared remarks and told the senator that, "I want to speak to you about the notion of responsibility - the responsibility of citizens in a democracy. It is in the best interests of a democracy that it functions at the behest of an informed citizenry....You have a responsibility to listen, to hear your constituents......The longer you refuse to enable us to have this democratic right, the more convinced I become that you are in D.C. to do the bidding of the dinizens of K Street."

Sen. Collins shot back that she found Dud's comments "insulting" thus effectively redirecting the discussion from her refusal to meet with growing numbers of the public who oppose the war. Instead, she could now "justify" her refusal as being necessary because people like Dud had "insulted" her. The games politicians play to hide from the truth are quite astounding.

After spending the night of March 1 at the home of Dud and his wife Jean, he took me to speak to his class at the Liberty School in Blue Hill, an alternative high school that describes itself as a "democratic learning community." Dud also teaches a peace studies class there and this particular morning several parents joined the class to hear my talk. At one point during my talk with the students, while describing the likely consequences of a plutonium release after a space nuclear accident, I asked the class what they thought would happen. "We'd be f_ _ ked," one girl shouted. We all laughed and I said that in older company, I might have given the same answer.

As I left Blue Hill to make the three hour drive home it began to snow. The world always seems to slow down a bit when the snow comes, covering everything with pure beauty. As I drove, the view of the bay was breath taking and I was filled with delight as I thought of how lucky I was to be in Maine. I am thrilled to see such natural wonders and to have such a good friend like Dud Hendrick.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Just back from a two day trip up north to do a couple speaking events. Will write more on that later. On the way home today in the car I heard the news on the radio that a secret government video was given to the Associated Press showing Bush getting a briefing about the severe consequences that were expected as Hurricane Katrina bore down on the Gulf Coast last summer.

Bush is so busted. Now people can see for themselves how this lying SOB (Son of a Bush) just sat back and listened to the briefing and then had the government sit on their hands for a couple of days and let the people of New Orleans suffer. Was it because they are black? Sure it was.

Four days after the storm Bush told the country that, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" that broke apart and led to the flooding of the city. The video proves that Bush was being told before the hurricane hit that the levees would not hold.

Now we have even more evidence that Bush must face impeachment hearings. He has betrayed the American people one more time, lied through his rotten teeth to us and now he is caught.

The question is what will the Congress do with this? What will the weak-willed Democrats do with this new evidence of deception by Bush? Every Democrat in Congress should be signing onto the Conyers impeachment resolution now. Bush has just been found, once again, complicit with murder.