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

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Let's just see if we can come up with a few reasons to give the Democrats for locking Bush-Cheney up behind bars.

  1. They have repeatedly lied to the public, to Congress and the media.
  2. Torture.
  3. Destroying the planet with an energy policy (if you could call it that) which benefits big oil, automobile, nuclear and coal corporations.
  4. Doing nothing about health care while 48 million Americans go without coverage.
  5. Gave corporate polluters control of the EPA.
  6. Plans an attack on Iran and endless war in the region.
  7. Is planning to move the arms race into space.
  8. Trying to militarily surround Russia and China. This will ensure a new arms race and another 40 years of heavy weapons production.
  9. Illegal wiretapping of American citizens.
  10. Detaining Americans without charges or counsel.
  11. CIA detentions of foreign nationals without charges or access to counsel.
  12. Lying some more about all of the above and more.
  13. Their role in 9-11 (either an inside job or by standing back and letting it happen.)
  14. Picking bad judges on the Supreme Court.
  15. Pushing nuclear weapons to India while condemning Iran for developing nuclear technology.
  16. Ignoring and enabling Israel as they treat the Palestinian people like animals.
  17. Subverting elected governments around the world that refuse to play with the corporate globalization pirate crew.
  18. Lying some more about things not even on this list.
  19. Planning to declare martial law and suspend the 2008 elections.
  20. Being all around jerks.
  21. New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina.
  22. Tax cuts for the rich and the richest.
  23. Appointing very bad people to the cabinet.
  24. Making very stupid comments while holding high office.
  25. Working for the international bankers, weapons industry, drug industry, agribusiness, big pharma and insurance industry rather than the people.
  26. Lots and lots of lies..........
  27. Using his Crawford, Texas ranch and pick-up truck as props to show he is one of the "boys".
  28. Cheney shooting a man in the face.
  29. Letting Scooter Libby off the hook.
  30. Cheating on elections.
  31. Many more things I've not thought of at this time.

Please let the Democrats know that these items should help give them enough grounds to impeach Bush-Cheney.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Debbie Atwood and I have letters to the editor in the Portland Press Herald today challenging the "anti-war" credentials of our "liberal" Democrat Congressman Tom Allen. He's been enabling Bush's war by voting for all but one of the funding bills since the occupation began. He's now running for the Senate seat in Maine against Republican Susan Collins who also supports Bush.

Many Democrats in Maine will be angry with the two letters in the paper today. They will say, "Hey, you need to support Tom Allen so that the Democrats can take stronger control of the Senate. Then things will change. You should not criticize a Democrat."

I've heard that tune many times before. Sadly the changes never come. Just remember when Bill Clinton was president and for a time had a Democrat controlled Congress. The cutbacks in social spending did not stop. The bombing of Iraq did not end. The support for NAFTA did not end. The on-going military build-up did not appreciably slow down.

Tom Allen recently told some Maine leaders of the impeachment movement in our state that George W. Bush had committed impeachable offenses. But Allen now refuses to sign onto the impeachment bill in the House because it would be "divisive". He is taking his marching orders from the corporate Democrats who now control that party. Nancy Pelosi, once known as a strong progressive, has been brought into line and today helps put the muzzle on other progressives in Congress.

The Dems have sent into Maine this summer a group of college kids to beat up on Sen. Susan Collins and claim that Tom Allen is an "anti-war hero." These well-meaning students, working for a Democratic Party front group called Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, have been going around the state trying to bring Maine's long time peace groups into their one-sided Allen campaign effort. Few have joined them. Some, who don't know any better, have fallen into the trap.

Peace groups in Maine for the last several years have been critical of both Republican and Democrat politicians on the Iraq issue. And now the same is happening on the impeachment issue. We are holding both parties feet to the fire.

The public has long assumed that the peace movement works for the Democrats. That is why many people, particularly independents, don't pay much attention to the peace movement because they think we are partisan hacks.

By standing up and showing how both parties are complicit in funding the Iraq occupation, allow torture to continue, and allow our rights to free speech and assembly to be weakened, the peace movement can gain support from the larger community. Then it might be possible to see our numbers grow in our local groups and at our protest events.

But as long as the peace movement allows itself to be marginalized as a one-party front group then we will never grow. And if the peace movement does not grow the occupation of Iraq will continue and the impeachment of Bush will never happen.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


NASA spokespeople have acknowledged in the last few days that astronauts have been drunk while flying on space shuttle missions. That should be reassuring to everyone.

It was also reported this past week that a NASA employee had intentionally sabotaged equipment for an up-coming shuttle mission.

All this comes at a time when NASA and the Department of Energy are talking about expanding plans to launch nuclear powered payloads into space for their Moon and Mars missions that will ultimately be used to establish permanent mining colonies on these planetary bodies.

NASA tells us not to worry - all of their missions carrying nuclear power into space are safe. Forget sabotaged equipment and drunken astronauts.

All is well at NASA.

Should we continue to pour our precious tax dollars down the dysfunctional NASA rat hole?

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Last night the Maine Campaign to Impeach decided to organize two very important events on September 25 (Portland) and 26 (Bangor).

Because the House of Representatives has responsibility for investigating impeachment it was decided to ask impeachment supporters around Maine to join us in a citizen Serving Charges of Impeachment to our Maine Congressmen.

Because both of our two Democratic Congressmen in Maine are now refusing to support impeachment of Bush and Cheney the Maine Campaign to Impeach intends to expand our efforts, working with the growing national movement, to increase pressure on our members of Congress.

Our plan to Serve Charges of Impeachment against Bush-Cheney will include these points:

- Lying to Congress to start a war without legitimate reasons
- Illegal torture throughout the world
- Detaining Americans without charges or counsel
- Illegal wiretapping of Americans

Our action plan is as follows:

Tuesday, September 25 (Portland)

- We will gather at noon in Tommy's Park in downtown Portland right next to Rep. Tom Allen's office
- From noon to 1:00 pm we will spread out throughout downtown Portland and hand out leaflets explaining to the public why we are Serving Charges of Impeachment of Bush-Cheney to Rep. Allen
- At 1:00 pm we will hold a rally at Tommy's Park with speakers outlining the charges against Bush-Cheney and our outrage at Rep. Allen for refusing to consider impeachment even though he has acknowledged to leaders of the Maine campaign that Bush has committed "impeachable offenses."
- At 1:30 pm we will enter Rep. Allen's office as a group and present the Charges of Impeachment
- We will remain in the office until we hear from the Congressman that he will support impeachment of Bush-Cheney
- If Rep. Allen calls the police and we are told to leave the office we are inviting people to remain in the office and risk arrest. (Civil disobedience is a matter of personal conscience and it would be quite acceptable for anyone not wishing to risk arrest to leave at that point.)
- Contact Bruce Gagnon at 443-9502 or for more information.

Wednesday, September 26 (Bangor)

- We will repeat the same basic plan outlined above at the Bangor office (23 Water St) of Rep. Mike Michaud. Location of leafleting and rally are yet to be determined. Times will be similar to those outlined above.
- Contact Jimmy Freeman at 469-2552 or

It is important for us to remember that the impeachment of Richard Nixon helped considerably to end the Vietnam war. At first the Congress refused to consider Nixon's impeachment but due to enormous public pressure it became inevitable.

Today we hear Bush-Cheney say that they will not end the occupation of Iraq as long as they are in office. Congress refuses to cut funding to end the war. Demanding that Bush-Cheney be held accountable for their crimes protects the Constitution and helps to end the illegal and immoral Iraq debacle.

We ask you to share this information with others in your community. We ask you to join the Maine Campaign to Impeach at both of these events on September 25 & 26 by participating in any part of the actions that you are comfortable with.

Help Maine join the growing calls around the nation to bring Bush-Cheney to justice. Help us restore democracy and the rule of law in America.

(Check out the video linked in the headline above)

Monday, July 23, 2007


Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) was fully encouraging and supporting impeachment efforts prior to the 2006 election. Then after the Dems took control of the House of Representatives the new speaker, Nancy Pelosi, sent him a public warning. If you want to remain chair of the House Judiciary Committee then you have to back off the impeachment talk. "Impeachment is off the table," Pelosi said. Conyers dutifully complied.

Here is a report by Bob Fertik on the march to the House office of Rep. Conyers today in DC:

Cindy Sheehan led 200-300 impeachment activists on a march from Arlington Cemetery to the Congressional office of Rep. John Conyers, whose job as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee puts him in charge of impeachment.

"Impeachment is not a fringe movement, it is mandated in our Constitution; Nancy Pelosi had no authority to take it off the table," Sheehan told her group of orange-clad activists Monday. "If Nancy Pelosi doesn't do her constitutionally mandated job by midnight ... I will announce that I'm going to run against her."

I just got a live report from David Swanson, who says Conyers is nowhere to be found - but Sheehan, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, and former CIA presidential briefer Ray McGovern are inside his office holding a press conference!

In fact, there are so many reporters with Cindy that they are taking turns going into the packed office to ask questions. At least 300 activists are lining the halls outside the office, both the marchers and those who went directly to the Capitol.

Update 1:30 EST: Conyers staff is negotiating with activists to move the protest to a larger room. In Detroit, 50 people went to Conyers' district office, but they only let 5 people in and wouldn't let them keep their cellphones so we're not getting any reports.

Update 1:35 EST: Conyers just arrived!! As he walked down the hall, activists shouted IMPEACH so loud the whole floor echoed. Conyers and his staff took Cindy, Rev., and Ray into a private office without the media. Stay tuned!

Update 2:55 EST: After an 80-minute meeting, Cindy emerged and told the activists that Conyers said "our only recourse is elections," and the activists groaned. Cindy announced she will run against Pelosi because she and Conyers haven't "stepped up," and the activists cheered. Rev. Yearwood is giving a fired-up speech and activists are crowding in to Conyers' office for the sit-in.

Update 3:43 EST: Capitol Police arrested Cindy Sheehan, Ray McGovern, Rev. Yearwood, David Swanson, and 20 other activists and put them on a police bus.

But all is not grim - Cindy is calling it her "campaign bus."

Sunday, July 22, 2007


A debate is happening on Common Dreams about this peace festival in Portland, Maine on July 14 that made a huge peace sign with the bodies of those present.

Some are questioning the effectiveness of the action. As one person remarked, "It’s like pissing your pants in a dark suit; feels so good for a few seconds and no one notices certainly not the politicians. As [Alexander] Haig used to say, 'Let them march all they want to so long as they pay their taxes.' Getting together and holding hands ain’t a threat to anyone in DC."

The debate is a healthy one and for me the answer lies in the comment that everything we do is important. We should be making calls to Congress, writing letters to the editor, calling for impeachment, holding public rallies, and sitting in the offices of the politicians and going to jail if that is what it takes to get folks to wake up. We can't afford to half-step these days. Each of us must step forward and do more than we have in the past.

Ultimately for me it is about standing in resistance to the insanity now being perpetrated in our name.

Just this morning I sent around an article by Paul Craig Roberts to my email list called Impeach Now Or Face the End of Constitutional Democracy. In the article Roberts says, "Too much is going wrong for the Bush administration: the failure of its Middle East wars, Republican senators jumping ship, Turkish troops massed on northern Iraq's border poised for an invasion to deal with Kurds, and a majority of Americans favoring the impeachment of Cheney and a near-majority favoring Bush's impeachment. The Bush administration desperately needs dramatic events to scare the American people and the Congress back in line with the militarist-police state that Bush and Cheney have fostered."

Roberts fears that the Bush-Cheney pirate team will pull another 9-11 on us and declare martial law, suspend the constitution and even the 2008 elections. Full bore fascism right on our door step.

Roberts says, "Ask yourself: Would a government that has lied us into two wars and is working to lie us into an attack on Iran shrink from staging 'terrorist' attacks in order to remove opposition to its agenda?"

I think if we are honest with ourselves the answer to his question is a definite yes.

We've never quite been in such a moment in American history before. We are today right at the tipping point. It could go either way. What each of us does, or does not do, will be crucial in determining our future.

Let's not get stuck in a debate about which tactics are the "most" important. The most important thing we can do now is escalate our non-violent resistance to fascism in the USA.

Take a minute and think about the future. Think about what it would be like to live under martial law in the U.S. Then go out and do what you will have wished you had done while we still had time to prevent it from happening.

Our future depends on it.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Cindy Sheehan is back and I've got to say she is making a big impact. She is doing a 17 city tour through the hard-ribbed south on her way to Washington DC and ending in New York City. She couldn't have picked a more neglected or needed part of the country to tour through. Brilliant move!

The tour is called the Journey for Humanity and is calling for the impeachment of Bush-Cheney. She is giving Nancy Pelosi until next Monday to take the lid of impeachment in the House of Representatives. If by Monday Pelosi doesn't turn around, and she won't, then Cindy says she will run against her in San Francisco in the 2008 election. Cindy is now naming the Democrats as being totally complicit in the perpetuation of the occupation and is saying she will run an an Independent against Pelosi.

This is very important as I think it will encourage and inspire others all over the nation to jump into House and Senate races in '08. We need a slew of folks running against these weak-kneed Dems who claim to be against the occupation but have been enabling Bush all along. And now we've got to include the impeachment issue into the mix as well.

Watch the interview with Cindy on Hardball just a couple of days ago. She does quite well.

You gotta admit, she is taking it right to the Democrats. Three cheers for that!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


The Pentagon is expanding its air war in Iraq.

The military has been conducting an average of 75 to 100 air strikes in the Iraq and Afghanistan every day for several years.

As Nick Turse tells us in Bombs Over Baghdad, the Lancet report "estimated 655,000 'excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war.' The study found that from March 2003 to June 2006, 13% of violent deaths in Iraq were caused by coalition air strikes. If the 655,000 figure, including over 601,000 violent deaths, is anywhere close to accurate - and the study offered a possible range of civilian deaths that ran from 392,979 to 942,636 - this would equal approximately 78,133 Iraqis killed by bombs, missiles, rockets, or cannon rounds from coalition aircraft between March 2003, when the invasion of Iraq began, and last June when the study concluded." Turse adds that, "According to statistics provided to TomDispatch by the Lancet study's authors, 50% of all violent deaths of Iraqi children under 15 years of age, between March 2003 and June 2006, were due to coalition air strikes."

It appears that the pilots are wearing out because the Air Force has announced that they will be expanding the U.S. of pilot less planes over Iraq in the near future.

According to the Associated Press, "The airplane [called the Reaper] is the size of a jet fighter, powered by a turbo prop engine, able to fly at 300 mph (480 kph) and reach 50,000 feet (15,240 meters). It is outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting, and with a ton and a half of guided bombs and missiles. The Reaper is loaded, but there is no one on board. Its pilot, as it bombs targets in Iraq, will sit at a video console 7,000 miles (11,265 kilometers) away in Nevada."

"The arrival of these outsized U.S. "hunter-killer"drones, in aviation history's first robot attack squadron, will be a watershed moment even in an Iraq that has seen too many innovative ways to hunt and kill."

Seems like the Associated Press writer is quite excited about the prospects.

The Air Force is building a 400,000-square-foot (37,161-square-meter) expansion of the concrete ramp area now used for Predator drones at Balad, the biggest U.S. air base in Iraq, 50 miles north of Baghdad. That new staging area will be turned over to Reapers.

It is quite clear to me that there will be no shutting down of these major U.S. bases in Iraq. All the talk now about "redeploying" our troops just means they will move from the streets of Baghdad out to these bases. Thus the plans to expand U.S. bombing operations. It's all being set up now. Can you see the true picture forming?

Here in Maine, at the Naval Air Station in Brunswick (NASB) planes from the base routinely are sent to Iraq to fly surveillance and reconnaissance missions. I've organized a couple of protests there since moving to Maine.

I am now coordinating a September 15 Maine Veterans for Peace protest at NASB in opposition to the Navy's Blue Angels air show set for that weekend. More than 100,000 from the region will go to see the "show" which is nothing more than a recruiting gimmick at a time when the military is in desperate need for more of our kids to fight in Iraq on behalf of the oil corporations.

Taxpayers in Maine have already paid $1.2 billion as our share of the cost of the Iraq war. For that same amount of money 322,153 people in our state could have been provided with full health care.

Come join us in Brunswick on September 15. Real angels don't drop bombs! The time is now to call for a cut in all funding for the bloody occupation of Iraq.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Last week the Senate voted 97-0 to pass a resolution created by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to censure Iran. This resolution is just one more step in the buildup to attack Iran. A similar censure resolution against Iraq, passed in 1998, was used by the Congress to justify their force authorization resolution in 2002. The same tune keeps being played over and over again.

Dick Cheney is pressuring the Bush pirate team hard to move into full battle mode against Iran.

The Jerusalem Post reported last week that Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of Military Intelligence's Research Division, told the newspaper "that time to launch an effective military strike against Iran's nuclear installations was running out."

Some in the Bush administration are saying that the U.S. can't let Israel do the Iran attack so we should do it ourselves. Republican Senator Sam Brownback from Kansas said on Fox News that that he was ready for a premptive strike on Iran. Speaking with right-wing host Sean Hannity he said, "Sean, if we're going to be serious about this fight.....We're probably in this fight for a generation."

At the U.N. the U.S., England, and France are trying to secure an agreement from other security council members for a new round of sanctions against Iran. Russia and China are resisting that effort.

The play for Iranian fossil fuels is heating up. Lives are in the balance.

Have you hear any Democrats in Congress warning against an Iran lately?

Endless war means endless military production back home......bring it on the Democrats say.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Russia has announced that they are pulling out of the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty that limits NATO and Russian military deployments in Europe.

This was no surprise as Russia has been suggesting for weeks that U.S. "missile defense" deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic would force them to field more military forces on their borders as NATO and the U.S. expand eastward.

Some are predicting a new arms race will result. This is just what the military industrial complex in the U.S. wants to happen.

As NATO expands, and signs up former Warsaw Pact nations into the U.S. controlled alliance, all new members must purchase weapons technologies that are "inter-operable" with NATO. What that means is that new members must get rid of their Russian military hardware and buy new U.S. made military technologies that can fit into and operate in the NATO military scheme. It's a huge boondoggle for the U.S. weapons industry.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that, "There is a widespread view here [in Russia] that the United States, which has consistently criticized the pace of Russia's democratic development under Putin, wants to undermine the country's new found self-confidence in its status as a booming energy superpower. Putin's decision [to withdraw from the treaty] is likely to be viewed not just as a snub of the West, but as further proof that the Russian president has restored the country's ability to assert its independence."

And clearly the U.S. is not happy when any country, particularly Russia, wants to "assert its independence." Doesn't Russia understand? The New World Order means the U.S. is on top and everyone else has to submit to its authority?

So look at the map closely and see how the U.S. and it's military agent NATO are now militarily surrounding Russia. The message to Russia is "submit or face the consequences"!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Artist Robert Shetterly was at the Brunswick (Maine) library last night. He was there to talk about his series of paintings called Americans Who Tell the Truth. I was there too sitting in a chair and also hanging on the wall.

It's just a bit intimidating to see folks looking at your painting and then turning around and staring at you. It's indeed a honor to be hanging out with such company but also serves to remind you that you have much yet to do to earn the honor.

Natasha Mayers, a great political artist here in Maine, was also painted by Rob for the series. A while back, at a similar show in Portland, Natasha and I were hanging next to each other on the wall. She told me she wakes up each day and says to herself, "What can I do today to earn the description of being an American who tells the truth?" I can relate.

Rob told fascinating stories last night about various people that he has painted. Our local paper has a great interview with Rob that is worth reading. He tells a story about Sojourner Truth in the interview that is a gem.

Last night someone asked why he painted former President Eisenhower looking away from the viewer. Most of Rob's paintings have the subject looking directly at you. Rob said that he painted Eisenhower because of his profound statement about the military industrial complex. But, Rob concluded, not everything Ike did was great. He mentioned how Ike had the CIA take out Iran's elected leader Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 and return the Shah to power. Imagine how different the Middle East might be today if the U.S. hadn't done that Rob said.

The New York Times was to later report that in, “The [1953 Iranian] operation, code-named TP-Ajax, was the blueprint for a succession of C.I.A. plots to foment coups and destabilize governments during the cold war -- including the agency's successful coup in Guatemala in 1954 and the disastrous Cuban intervention known as the Bay of Pigs in 1961.”

So Rob said he painted Eisenhower looking away and he put a dark shadow under his right eye in order to make the point, at least to himself, that despite the fact that Eisenhower did make such an important statement that he was flawed.

Rob reminded the audience that none of the 100 truth tellers he painted were perfect people. In fact that is sort of the whole point of it. His paintings show us that if we are going to have "real democracy" in our land then regular, everyday people can and have been stepping forward for hundreds of years in our country trying to make true this claim that the USA is a place of liberty, fairness, and democracy.

Sure it is honor to be painted and to be hanging in the library. But it is an even bigger honor to be a part of the great and historic movement in this country to give ones life for a larger purpose. It is an honor to work with so many wonderful people who dedicate themselves to making America and the world real. We are all truthtellers.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Lady Bird Johnson died yesterday at the age of 94. Her husband Lyndon (LBJ) died in 1973.

The whole LBJ story continues to fascinate me. I watched the CBS TV show 60 Minutes in 1972 and I will never forget Mike Wallace's interview with LBJ. The former president had shoulder length hair which by that time had turned white. He was directly asked by Wallace who killed Kennedy and in a very remorseful voice, from one who was soon to "meet his maker," he said the whole story would come out in 20 years. We are still waiting.

Just recently I came across this great interview with LBJ's mistress Madeleine Duncan Brown. In this video, which you can watch by clicking on this link, Brown tells the very detailed and interesting story about their 21 year relationship and all the key players who were linked to LBJ.

More importantly though Brown talks candidly about LBJ's active role in plotting the assassination of JFK. She also talks about the Mafia's role in the killing and speaks quite a bit about Jack Ruby, the mobster who killed Lee Harvey Oswald.

Brown also talks about the Vietnam war and how the Texas-based Brown & Root corporation made big money off the war.

Ms. Brown and LBJ had a son together in 1950 and she reveals how the child was supported by LBJ through his lawyers.

I've always believed that LBJ was involved in the JFK assassination. LBJ was connected to the mob, to the weapons industry, and to those who would benefit from a protracted war in Vietnam.

Some call it conspiracy. I call it a coup d' e'tat. The U.S. has been run by these rogue elements of the oligarchy ever since.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


The newspapers yesterday reported on major problems with the Navy's shipbuilding program.

A San Antonio Express-News story elaborated on the Northrop Grumman situation, saying the Navy's new amphibious ship's $1.85 billion price tag is nearly three times what was projected. The Texas newspaper also reported that the USS San Antonio, part of what the Navy calls its LPD-17 program, received failing or barely passing grades "in everything from its steering, computer and magnetic compass systems to food processing equipment in the chef's mess" during sea trial inspections.

This is the same old news.

The aerospace industry has been having the same problem for years. Virtually every single space technology program - from missiles to satellites - is hugely over budget.

One example is the International Space Station. Originally it was to cost taxpayers $10 billion. Today the price tag has grown to $100 billion and it is still not finished. Imagine the cost by the time of completion, if ever completed. And then if that is not enough, some scientists are predicting that the space station will be destroyed by orbiting space junk - flying through space at 18,000 mph - even before it is completed. Ugh!

The entire military industrial complex is way out of control. What will Congress do to stop this utter nonsense? Virtually nothing. The Republicans and the Democrats both like the campaign donations they get from the weapons corporations. They like the campaign donations they get from the unions representing workers at these military production facilities.

The Congressional solution? Put another band-aid on it and turn them loose.

If this was a "welfare mom" or a social program misspending a few thousand dollars there would be hell to pay. And I promise you there would be action taken. Severe action.

Back in the 1980's, when the government began whittling away at social spending, I lived in Florida. One of my senators, a Democrat named Lawton Chiles, was chair of the Senate Budget Committee. He did well publicized investigations of the CETA job training program to identify "waste, fraud, and abuse" in the system. They did big national stories about some community organization misusing $45,000. They used a few cases like this to basically destroy a good national jobs program for poor people.

Sen. Lawton Chiles never saw a weapons contract that he didn't fall in love with. The story remains the same today.

We in the peace movement have to go after the real welfare queens. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Bechtel Corporation, and Raytheon are just a few of the big boys who need to be investigated, spanked, and shut down.

It's time to call out a welfare queen when we see one.

And by the way, does Al-Qaeda have a Navy or a Space Command?

Monday, July 09, 2007


We are being warned that Congress returned to work today after their July 4 holiday. Watch out. More of your money is soon to be shipped off to Iraq.

Informed speculation is that the Democrats are going to agree to a shell game gambit by Bush. Remember that recently he "surged" the troops in Iraq by sending in about 20,000 extra troops. Bush is now likely going to agree to a "cut" in troops, to come home just before the 2008 elections. (Republicans are putting pressure on him to make it look like he is doing something positive.)

Both parties will declare victory and say they have brought the troops home. Occupation over. But what is likely to happen is the following:

  • Most members of Congress may support a troop reduction but settle for a modified version of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. They may vote to bring "combat" troops home, but allow Bush to keep tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers in Iraq to "fight terrorism," protect U.S. installations and train Iraqi troops. And they are doing nothing to address the growing numbers of U.S. mercenaries involved in the occupation -- mercenaries now outnumber troops in Iraq.

According to the Washington Post "Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) are seeking bipartisan support for an effort to force U.S. troops out of combat roles, restricting them to fighting terrorism, securing Iraq's borders and training Iraqi forces. The amendment would not require troop withdrawals, but because fewer troops would be needed for the new missions, tens of thousands could probably come home, Collins said."

  • United for Peace & Justice is concerned that many members of Congress will be willing to open the door to a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq in exchange for the near-term withdrawal of some troops. According to the Wall Street Journal, "Defense Secretary Robert Gates and some allies in the Bush administration are seeking to build bipartisan political support for a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq by moving toward withdrawing significant numbers of troops from Iraq by the end of President Bush's term".

So people need to start raising sand about this now before it is too late.

Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to the offices of your senators and representative. Find out who your members of Congress are here:

But don't stop there. Congress will be voting in September on another $145 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations. They will only act to stop this madness if people are in the streets and creating enormous pressure on them not to play along with this evil game.

How much longer will American citizens allow this wound to fester? At a cost of $10 billion a month, how much longer can we afford to fork out that kind of money?

Sunday, July 08, 2007


It's amazing to me how this video, produced in 2003, still stands up today. After all this time, the story that we tell about how the Pentagon wants to move the arms race into space, is still relevant.

We still sell copies of the video and people can now watch it on-line at Google video. As I write this blog entry we've had 36,257 views. Not bad.

It's true I had a bit more hair on my head back in 2003 and my hair was not so gray.

If you haven't watched it yet please do. And help us spread the word about it. It's really a very good tool to help folks understand what the plans are for U.S. space "control and domination."

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Mary Beth and I were encouraged to attend the first-ever U.S. Social Forum (USSF) by WILPF and Global Network member Carol Urner from Oregon. Carol invited Mary Beth and I to speak at two workshops she organized - one called War in Space or Life on Earth and the other called A War Economy or an Economy for Peace?

When we arrived in Atlanta on June 27 we were picked up at the airport by old friends who are with the Buddhist order Nipponzan Myohoji and who built a temple in the city nine years ago. Rev. Utsumi and Sr. Denise Laffin took us downtown for the beginning of the march through the city that was to kick off the USSF. The march had at least 5,000 people in it (although the next day the newspaper reported only 1,000 were present) and was an inspiring mix of Native Americans, Black, Hispanic, disabled and a high percentage of young people. The nearly two-hour march went by the Grady Memorial Hospital where we were met by a large delegation of hospital workers chanting "Don't close Grady". Our friends told us the hospital serves the poor and uninsured in Atlanta and is facing closure because of financial problems. This was all the more real for us as we had just seen Michael Moore's new move Sicko which is all about the ailing health care system in the U.S.

More than 10,000 people attended the USSF and each day three workshop sessions were held at various venues around the downtown area. Each workshop slot had about 100 choices so it was difficult to decide from among so many interesting topics. The first workshop I went to was called They left us here to die and was a chilling testimony from four survivors of the hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. One woman told us that more than 140,000 people in the city did not have the resources to be able to leave before the storm hit. She shared how she decided to stay to help take care of family members, several of whom died in the flood that followed. Most of the workshop focused on the aftermath and they reported that today white people are moving into black people's homes. The told the story about one Bush administration representative having said that "We've been wanting to get rid of public housing for years and now God has done it for us." Rents and electric bills have tripled since the storm and people have to "work three jobs and a hustle on the side" just to survive. One presenter said because of the growing crime (largely due to unemployment) the city is "militarizing for permanent martial law." The black residents feel they are disposable people - marginalized, dehumanized, facing genocide. Protests should have been held all across America when Bush let the government ignore the people after the hurricane, they said. An International Tribunal on Hurricanes Katrina & Rita is now being organized for New Orleans on Aug 29-Sept 2.

There was much social justice activity at the forum as Black and Hispanic community groups from Los Angeles to New York City brought community people by the busloads. The growing economic disparity in America, with the widening gap between rich and poor, is reflected in a tremendous surge of organizing on these issues across the nation. Much emphasis is being put on the growth of the prison population as there are now 2.5 million people in jail in the U.S. While Black people in the U.S. are only 12% of the total population, they represent 55% of those now in jail. No justice - no peace was one chant I heard coming out of many of the workshop rooms.

At one of the workshops, where Mary Beth and I spoke, we had the privilege of meeting several students from the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando. They reported on their efforts to organize on campus against the militarization of the university as NASA and the aerospace industry are increasing their control of the school. They recently held a student walk-out and 300 students joined the event. Campus organizing against the militarization of higher education is spreading across the country and in recent times we have heard of student protests at places like University of Oregon, University of Hawaii, University of California-Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and the University of New Mexico. The so-called "Revolution in Military Affairs" is driving this militarization of education as "high-tech" specialization takes over many departments with funding from the weapons industry. Much of this is space weapons related research and development.

Another very interesting workshop that I attended was called The Revolution will not be funded: Beyond the non-profit Industrial Complex. This jam packed workshop had more than 200 mostly young people in it. It was clear that many of them are trying to find a way to make a living doing political work rather than working in the corporate mainstream. The presenters, all young folks from groups like Incite! and Left Turn, talked about the problems with finding foundation support these days. They reported how grants allow little opportunity for political analysis, and how competition between groups over funding takes precedence over cooperation. The result is, at some level, the corporate takeover of the left via non-profit funding as some groups shave the edges of their program to be more "attractive" to funders. One organization told the story of how the Ford Foundation retracted a grant because they refused to change their position in support of the Palestinian people. Much time was spent talking about new models for setting up groups. Several young people reported they were moving away from full-time paid staff, using more volunteers, paying all staff the same amount, sharing job responsibilities evenly, and exploring other ways to collectively share power within their organizations.

At a workshop called No Military Bases I found myself in very good company as Leslie Cagan (UFPJ National Coordinator), Bal Pinguel (AFSC Peacebuilding & Demilitarization Program Coordinator), Alfred Marder (U.S. Peace Council), Medea Benjamin (Code Pink), John Lindsay-Poland, (Fellowship of Reconciliation's Latin America Co-Coordinator), JoAnn Sheehan (War Resisters League), Jackie Cabasso (Western States Legal Foundation), Col. Ann Wright (retired Army and State Dept official) and Dennis Brutus (Poet and former South African political prisoner) were all in the audience. We spent a great deal of time talking about the need to get the U.S. anti-war movement to focus more on the roles and consequences of military bases outside and inside the U.S. An International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases has been established (which the Global Network has joined) and we talked about various strategies of expanded anti-bases work. One woman from Japan reported on organizing in Okinawa to close a U.S. Marine base that is now planning to expand its runway, while an organizer from Hawaii told about resistance to U.S. bases there. I suggested that one thing we could do was to build support for the Global Network's annual space organizing conference and protest planned to be held in Omaha, Nebraska next April 11-13, 2008. These events will focus on the U.S. Strategic Command (StratCom) base that is now in charge of “full-spectrum global strike” (staging offensive, preemptive attacks); combating weapons of mass destruction; space and computer warfare; ballistic missile defense; and surveillance and reconnaissance (the “warrantless wiretaps” conducted by the National Security Agency.) There was much interest in participating in this event and using it to help illuminate the growing role that U.S. bases have in promoting empire.

It was a much better USSF than Mary Beth and I had ever expected. We both agreed that we came away from the forum more aware of the massive amount of organizing being done throughout the country by all kinds of people who are working on issues of importance to us all.

One last key thing emerged at the forum. Nearly everyone recognized the importance of showing the connections between the various issues as a way of expanding all of our efforts and increasing our collective effectiveness. Thus those working on peace issues need to talk more about how social justice issues are suffering due to growing cutbacks in human needs funding as a result of expanding militarism. Virtually everyone was on the same page as they recognized that "reforming" this broken system we live under, that cares more about profits than people and the environment, must be taken apart and rebuilt if we are to have a future on our Mother planet.

None of us can change a broken system by ourselves. No one group, or segment of the movement, can make the needed changes alone. We all need each other, now more than ever. The way we work together must change just as much as the politics in Washington must change. We must move forward together, setting our egos and organizational funding needs aside, as we look to build for needed change.

The conference theme was Another world is possible - another U.S. is necessary. Let's work together to make it happen!


MB and I just returned from two nights visiting some friends who have a cottage overlooking the ocean on Bailey Island here in Maine. We took a neighbor kid with us to play with the daughter of our hosts, Eric and Hoa Herter.

It is a beautiful spot, up on a rocky cliff, overlooking the sea. On Wednesday night we took the two kids out to watch fireworks near the old cribstone bridge.

The photo above is Mackerel Cove which must be one of the most picturesque small harbors in Maine. The cove itself is largely a traditional Maine working harbor. There are a few moored pleasure boats but they are clearly the minority to a larger fleet of working class commercial lobster and fishing boats.

It was easy for us to relax after our busy trip to Atlanta. Could have easily stayed a week.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Just got back home from Atlanta. Was very sorry to have missed the great demonstration held in Kennebunkport yesterday during the Bush-Putin summit. There were over 3,000 people there from Maine and other northeastern states. Media all over the world covered the event since they were hanging around with not much else to do. A perfect time for a protest!

Congrats to all who organized it. It was obvious that the people appreciated a chance to turn out and express themselves on the Iraq occupation, need for impeachment, and other related issues.

See more photos in the link in the headline above.

A bigger demo is planned again for Kennebunkport on August 25. Bush will be back for vacation then. It's going to be a summer of fun in Maine.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


This man is Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL). I've known him for a long time. We coached our sons baseball team together back in the early 1990's in Orlando. I got hit in a car crash once and he was my lawyer. He went on to become Orange County Commissioner and then George W. Bush appointed him to his cabinet. From there Martinez went on to win the U.S. Senate seat in 2004. Many experts have reported that the Republicans did much electoral manipulations to win that year in Florida. Today Mel is the chair of the Republican National Committee. His main job is to recruit Hispanics for the Republican Party.

Martinez has just announced that he will be taking the lead to ensure that NASA's Moon base missions will stay a top priority in Congress.

That means that Martinez and I will get to play hardball once again as the Global Network has long been working to bring the light of truth to NASA's Moon program.

The Moon base the U.S. wants to establish is really about two basic things. One is the establishment of mining colonies on the Moon to extract helium-3, a precious resource that could be used for fusion power here on Earth. Scientists have long been saying that the profits from helium-3 extraction will make the money made from oil exploration on Earth look like nothing in comparison. But in order to make the Moon mining program possible, new launch capabilities must be developed to lift the heavy payloads necessary to build the Moon bases and return the mined resources back to Earth. This is where the nuclear rocket comes in. Nuclear reactors for rocket engines, NASA says, would give rockets greater lift capability and speed up transit time to the Moon and Mars. (NASA is working to create mining colonies on Mars as well. The Halliburton Corporation is today building a drilling mechanism for Mars.)

Nuclear powered mining colonies are also on the drawing board. So a host of nuclear launches would take place from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It is important to remember that space technology can, and does, fail on occasion. We should also remember that the Department of Energy (DoE) nuclear production cycle has a long and dirty track record at the labs across the U.S. When the nuclear powered generators were fabricated at Los Alamos Labs in New Mexico, from 1994-1996 for the Cassini mission, over 244 cases of worker contamination were reported to the DoE.

The Army has had plans since the early 1950's to set up military bases on the Moon. Scientists have long known that there exists an Earth-Moon gravity well. Whoever sits at the top of the well, with bases on the moon, will be able to literally control who can get on and off the planet Earth. So military bases on the Moon play a key role in the space "control and domination" program outlined in the U.S. Space Command's 1997 document called Vision for 2020. It's hardly a coincidence that the NASA goal for establishing manned bases on the Moon is set for 2020.

The aerospace industry is an expensive game. Virtually every space technology project underway today is overwhelmingly over budget. The International Space Station, originally set to cost $10 billion, now costs out at over $100 billion. The aerospace industry publication, Space News, years ago editorialized that they know they must come up with a funding source for their expensive space programs. They have they reported. They said they are sending their lobbyists to Washington to defund the "entitlement programs." Officially the entitlement programs are Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and what is left of the welfare program after Bill Clinton got through with it.

The space industry has declared war on the poor and the working class. Which will it be folks? Social progress or bases on the Moon?

Let's play ball Mel!