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

Sunday, May 31, 2009


* I got an email yesterday from several folks who I worked with 30 years ago on staff with the United Farm Workers Union (UFW) in Florida. They had gotten together for a weekend reunion and tracked me down. I called them and it was quite a lovely chance to catch up with old friends. We worked together from 1978-80 throughout Florida supporting the 1,200 farm workers in the state who had a union contract with Minute Maid orange juice owned by the Coca Cola company. Today the contract is gone as Coke sold off their citrus groves and moved alot of their operations to Latin America.

Working for the UFW was great organizing training for me. I'd say I learned much of what I know about being an organizer from that experience.

* The rally yesterday in Augusta in support of single-payer health care drew several hundred people and seemed to get decent media coverage. I helped set up the Maine Veterans for Peace sound system that gets loaned out for many of these kind of events in the state. I was also the last speaker at the rally and made the point that we have a "corporate arterial blockage of our democracy today" and that we won't see any real fundamental change on any key issue until that reality is resolved. Of course I mentioned that the Democrat's leadership in Congress and the White House is under virtual corporate control.

* We've got a pot luck supper at our house today - our last Sunday of the month shindig. We had sun for most of the day but now it looks like the rain is on the way. We've had alot of rain this week, the gardens like it but some sustained sunshine would be nice to dry things out a bit. My woodpile is a bit soggy.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Last night the Orioles won their fifth straight game and had almost 43,000 fans in the stands. A rainbow even was seen above the stadium. Maybe it is a sign from the baseball gods. Prior to last night they were lucky to get 13,000 to a game.

Due to a series of injuries, and a near fan insurrection, the management of the O's has brought up four young rookies in the past week who have all out performed their veteran counterparts. They are pitching like crazy, hitting home runs, and playing good defense. Suddenly, the old-timers on the team, used to losing, are feeling the youthful energy course thru their veins and the team is beating the pants off those they are playing. They just took two games from the Detroit Tigers who are in first place in the Central Division.

Mary Beth told me she actually saw me smile last night while watching the game. During our 11-year relationship, the same amount of time that the O's have had losing seasons, I've never once smiled during a game.......OK that is a bit of an exaggeration but you get the drift.

Let's hope it continues. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 29, 2009


André Shepherd has refused orders from the US Army to go to Iraq.

Shepherd, 32, grew up in Ohio, where he attended college. In 2003, when unemployed, he joined the U.S. Army. He was trained as an Apache helicopter mechanic and was stationed in Germany at the U.S. Army's Ansbach-Katterbach base. From there he was deployed in 2004 to Iraq for six months. In 2007, back in Germany, he received orders to return to Iraq. In April 2007, he went absent without leave (AWOL) and lived underground in Germany. He formally applied for asylum in Germany on November 26, 2008. His application references a directive of the European Union under which soldiers must be granted asylum in the E.U. if they have reason to fear persecution in their home countries for refusing to participate in crimes or actions that violate international law.

Shepherd is currently living in an asylum facility in western Germany together with other asylum applicants, primarily from Iraq and Afghanistan; the facility and a small living stipend are provided by the German government pending the outcome of his case.

This interview was previously published in the national German daily newspaper junge Welt on May 23, 2009, the 60th anniversary of the German Constitution.

Since the "war on terror" began, there have been many U.S. soldiers who have spoken out and many who have refused to serve. But you are the first so far to apply for asylum in Germany. What are the grounds on which your application is based?

Well, it's very simple: In the war of aggression against the Iraqi people, the United States violated not only domestic law, but international law as well. The U.S. government has deceived not only the American public, but also the international community, the Iraqi community, as well as the military community. And the atrocities that have been committed there these past six years are great breaches of the Geneva Conventions. My applying for asylum is based on the grounds that international law has been broken and that I do not want to be forced to fight in an illegal war.

In your asylum application, you mention the Principles of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which were incorporated in the UN Charter. In Nuremberg, the chief U.S. prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, stated: "To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." In opening the trial on behalf of the United States, he stated that "while this law is first applied against German aggressors, this law includes and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment." What does Nuremberg mean to you?

The Nuremberg statutes are the foundation of many U.S. soldiers' refusal of the Iraq war, and to some extent of the Afghanistan war. The United States with its Allies after World War II crafted these laws stating that even though you've gotten orders to commit crimes against humanity, you don't have to follow them, because every person has their own conscience. That was more than 60 years ago. Today the U.S. government seems to be under the impression that those rules do not apply to it. In invading Iraq, they did not wait for a UN mandate, they didn't let the inspectors do their job, and they made up stories about who's a real threat. This totally violated everything stated in the Nuremberg statutes. The U.S. Constitution states that the U.S. is bound to our international treaties, for example with the UN. When we ignore the UN, we are violating the U.S. Constitution, which every U.S. soldier is sworn to uphold. And the U.S. must also respect our own very strict laws against war crimes and torture. Since the Obama administration refuses to investigate and prosecute the previous administration, it's clear to me that the Obama administration is an accomplice to the previous administration's crimes. They're setting a very dangerous precedent for the future of the world, something I don't want to see. The German people are well aware of the history; it is here that the Nuremberg tenets were first set down. Now we have to find a way to restore those tenets, to actually respect the Nuremberg tenets as well as the Geneva Conventions. Germany needs to tell the U.S., "Look, you guys helped create these laws, and now you guys should abide by your own rules. "

When you were stationed in Ansbach-Katterbach, were you aware of the German citizens' campaign to prevent the U.S. from enlarging the base there?

Yes, there were protests outside of the Katterbach base. Being inside, we understood that the German people weren't against us as soldiers. They were just protesting against Germany's further involvement in U.S. imperialism. So the relationship between us Americans and the Germans working on the base was actually still good. We were of course not allowed to join the protests. I am sure the U.S. military assumed that 50% of the GIs would have been out there protesting. A lot of the soldiers understand what is going on - to the point that we realize that we are just a mercenary army for a few rich people. But a significant number of GIs, about 60%, have families, so it's very difficult for them to go AWOL or make massive resistance.

As part of their protest, the citizens of Ansbach and Katterbach circulated a petition citing Article 26 of the German Constitution, pronounced 60 years ago on May 23rd, 1949, in the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. Article 26 states that the preparation of aggressive war from German soil is unconstitutional and a criminal offense. In Kaiserslautern and in Ramstein, where there are also U.S. bases, there were also petitions circulated citing this Article. These German believe that the U.S. is violating the German Constitution by preparing aggressive war from German soil. Were the GIs aware of this provision of the German Constitution?

We received almost no information about the German Constitution at all. This seems strange to me, because if we're supposedly in Germany to defend German democracy, shouldn't we know something about it? The fact is that wherever U.S. soldiers are sent, they are taught almost nothing about the people, the culture, the beliefs and laws in the countries we are occupying. When I was in Iraq, they didn't teach us any Arabic. In Ansbach, they do offer an optional German course, but we work long hours speaking English all day, so most GIs don't learn much German. Now that I have been living among Germans for the past eighteen months, I have learned that very many of them are very much against using war to solve international problems or to aggress against people. This comes from what they've learned from their own history. Article 26 of the German Constitution was written in the spirit of the Nuremberg statutes, which state that launching an aggressive war is the most serious crime. The U.S. and the Western Allies approved and authorized the German Constitution. How can the U.S. say we are here in Germany to defend democracy when we are ignoring and violating not only the Nuremberg statutes and the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Constitution, but also the German Constitution?

What is your understanding of why Germany is allowing the U.S. to conduct these wars from German soil?

Honestly, I cannot answer that: you could look at it from the political side; you could look at it from the economic side. Or maybe Germany just has a hands-off approach: "You guys are paying the gas, you guys are paying us for the rental space, so you guys just do your thing, and we're not going to do anything about it."

So in filing this application for asylum, it's not just about finding a place to live or something like that: you're trying to raise a larger historical and political principle?

Yes, that's correct, because it is my sincere belief that the United States has gone too far. In Iraq alone 1.3 million people have died so far, and that includes American soldiers as well. We've attacked several countries over the past eight or nine years: Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, and some places in the Sudan. All over the world, we're just destroying property and killing people, all based on lies. And I feel like that I have to do everything I can to help put an end to this. I feel guilty enough for having taken a part in this war for almost five years. I want to be able to atone for that.

Why didn't you go through the U.S. legal system and apply to the Army for conscientious objector status?

When I asked my NCO (officer) about applying as a CO (conscientious objector), he told me that you have to be against fighting in all wars of every form. And that doesn't work for me, because of course if you're being overrun by a foreign invader, you would have to fight back. According to U.S. Army regulations, this means you are not a conscientious objector. I also learned of the case of Agustín Aguayo and saw how the military treated him. He was based Schweinfurt, Germany, not far from where I was in Ansbach. He tried to go through the military procedures to be recognized as a conscientious objector, and he refused to load his weapon. Twice he turned himself in to the U.S. authorities and said, "Look, I'm a CO, and I can't do this." But the military wanted to force him to go back and fight anyway. Ultimately they put him in jail in Mannheim. This showed me that I could not expect any help from within the military, and I decided to fight for my rights from the outside.

Can you think of any moment when you suddenly realized, "What I'm doing here is wrong?"

I can't pick only one moment, because this was a process that went on for years. Falludja was one. Looking at the aftermath of that battle, especially what the Marines, and the Air Force, and the Apache helicopters did to that city -- the devastation caused by these machines and the air war, also in Basra and in many other Iraqi cities -- I realized that if it weren't for my work and the work of the other mechanics, those Apaches wouldn't have gotten very far. We were constantly working, 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, to make sure this sophisticated equipment continued to fly, especially in the hard conditions in Iraq with all the sand storms and the temperature changes from 140 degrees in the day to 60 at night. Had we, the mechanics of these aircraft, not done our jobs and refused from the beginning to take part in this war, a lot of those people would still be alive, and a lot of the infrastructure in Iraq would still be functioning.

And then there was when one of the Iraqi guys working for the U.S. Army on our sandbags told me how he didn't understand why we were destroying their city, destroying their infrastructure, arresting people. And I'm just standing there like "what?!" I can't believe this stuff is happening, because I thought the military is supposed to be fighting for the rights of people. They're not supposed to torture. They're the ones who are supposed to get rid of the torturers and to stop the rapists and to help people to have a better life. And when I heard what we're really doing - it just turns your whole world upside down!

And then there are the 937 lies of George W. Bush to the American people: you just feel like a fool, because we signed up to do X, but we wound up doing Y and Z and who knows what else. We killed people; some of our people got killed. An entire country, two countries, are completely destroyed. I keep wondering: what was this all for?

Ask anybody, why are we in Iraq? And you hear several theories: Israel, oil, strategic purposes for Iran, whatever, but no one really has the answer. Same thing in Afghanistan: the NATO mission only went to Afghanistan because of U.S. insistence. We have to force the U.S. to clarify what the actual objective in Afghanistan is. Are they there to help out the drug dealers cultivating heroin, or for the Unical pipeline, or are they there just to have a forward base to go into China or Russia? Why are we there?

Do you think President Obama is going to change any of this?

No. Obama has the backing of the international corporations. And the people who gave him the most money are the ones whose interests are going to be served first. And it's quite obvious. He won't go after the prior administration for the war crimes; he won't pull out of Iraq. He's leaving 50,000 soldiers to conduct combat missions in Iraq. That means the war is continuing. He wants to escalate the war in Afghanistan. He wants to keep pushing for AFRICOM, the U.S. command for Africa based in Stuttgart, and he's pushing for the missile shield to try to encircle Russia and Iran. These things show me that Barack Obama is not going to change anything. And Obama is only one guy. He still has to deal with the entire Congress, the court system, the Pentagon. The military has been around for over 220 some years, and they're not going to change overnight just because there's a new Commander-in-Chief. They're still arresting people who refuse to fight. They're still putting them in jail, giving them dishonorable discharges, and some are facing possible felony convictions. But Obama has yet to speak of the growing number of soldiers refusing to fight for him - well, first Bush, and now him. So I don't see President Obama granting anyone clemency until the entire "war on terror" is finished, and Afghanistan and Iraq are part of the same war.

How is your asylum application progressing?

We had a hearing on the 4th of February with my attorney, Dr. Reinhard Marx, and myself at the Federal Office of Migration and Immigration. Dr. Marx was recommended to me by Amnesty International. I believe that we presented our case very well, and we're waiting to see what the decision is. If the Office of Migration and Immigration were to deny my request for asylum, then I would bring my case to court in Germany. Because of the political sensitivity of this case, and because this is a precedent-setting case, it could take a lot of time.

Many U.S. soldiers who have fled the military are living underground in the U.S. and dozens more are likely in Europe. In Canada, many of them have applied for asylum, but since last summer they are being deported and then imprisoned in the U.S. What if Germany rejects your asylum application?

Then I'm facing a U.S. military court martial and jail time. I'm not saying I would go back to the U.S. willingly; I would still try to find another way to build a life somewhere.

What if you are granted asylum in Germany?

The day I am legally allowed to go to the German Employment Office, I will probably camp outside so I can be the first one in there, because being 32 years old and healthy, I feel I should be able to make my own way. I'm taking classes to learn German, and I'm trying to get into the University of Karlsruhe so that I can study computer science. I want to get the Bachelor's or even the Master's so that I can eventually start my own business. My ultimate dream job would be to work with German and Japanese companies, which are the foremost leaders in information technology, to develop artificial intelligence.

If Germany granted you asylum, would large numbers of GIs who are stationed here start walking off the bases?

I would see maybe like 100 or 200, but I don't see 30,000 soldiers applying for asylum in Germany. It's no easy thing, because you're basically saying goodbye to your country, perhaps for the rest of your life. That's a really big step. You have to say goodbye to your family. You've got to learn a new language and try to fit into the culture. You've got to deal with homesickness. It is a very important personal step that a lot of soldiers would find difficult.

But you are taking all these difficulties upon yourself. Why do you feel called to do this?

Because I was sick of watching the United States degenerate into something I can't even recognize anymore. The America that I grew up in isn't there anymore. Between Clinton, Bush, and now Obama, the U.S. is sliding from the constitutional republic that it was to where now the corporations are just taking all the fruits of the American people's labor; the country's really poor, we've got endless war everywhere. 60 years from now people will be saying that we were the country that destroyed half the Middle East for nothing. They're building up a civilian corps that'll spy and turn in everybody, you know, like a modern day Stasi. These things are very disturbing. This is a country that I don't want to live in or raise my future children in. America's going down the exact same path as the Roman Empire, and it's really sad, having grown up there, to watch the destruction slowly happen before your eyes. Sometimes you feel, no matter what you do, it's going to happen anyway. There have been many people before who have been sounding the alarm bells, many peace organizations. And I want to help, put my hand in and try to stop it as well. And this is something that's been building up over time, because I'm totally hurt. I feel cheated. I feel lied to. You know, I helped murder people in Iraq for nothing. These are things I'm not proud of whatsoever, and I want to be able to turn this around and bring the people ultimately responsible for this to justice. Because had I known back then what I know now, I never would have signed up in the first place.

What can people do to help you?

Help raise awareness internationally, because this is not just about me. It's about the other soldiers as well. We're all in this together. And especially it's about the Iraqi people, the Afghan people, the dead soldiers, just everyone. Organizations people can contact are Military Counseling Network (MCN) or Connection e.V., Tübingen Progressive Americans, Munich American Peace Committee, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and it's good to contact with DFG-VK in Germany - they're a national organization. Right now we're collecting letters to give to the German government to show the support of the German people. The German government also needs to know that Americans and people from other countries support my request for asylum. This is an international problem, and I believe in an international solution.

To support André Shepherd, contact: or see

Thursday, May 28, 2009


More at The Real News

May 30 will be a national day of actions calling for a single-payer health care program. We have the next 60-days to push hard to break the insurance corporations lock on our health care system.

In this video Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) says that single-payer is not on the table because it can't pass. And why can't it pass? It can't pass because the for-profit insurance corporations have the US Congress in the bag. You see the snide, self-assured, arrogant Max Baucus sit in control of the Senate committee that is putting together the plan and he is the "hired gun" of the corporations.

Baucus is also the front-man for Obama. He is carrying the water for Obama on health care.

The corporate plan the Congress will eventually pass will not work. It will mandate that you have to buy health care insurance just like you have to buy auto insurance. If you can't afford it then the federal government will subsidize your policy. In other words the federal taxpayer will feed these greedy corporations.

And I predict that the health insurance policy that the person gets with government subsidy will be an inferior product that will have large gaps in coverage. So in the end the insurance companies keep getting rich, we will still have a two-tiered system (one for the rich and one for everyone else), and health care costs will keep going sky high.

The only solution is single-payer - everyone in and no one left out. We must take the profits out of health care now.

I will be attending the rally in Augusta on Saturday, May 30 at the state capitol. It begins at noon.

Now is the time for everyone to speak out. Please find a way to help this movement out.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I've been asked by quite a number of people in the last couple days about my reaction to North Korea's underground nuclear test.

My response has been low-key, more like a shrug than anything else. What I am thinking is basically, what do you expect under the circumstances?

For my Global Network friends in South Korea and Japan it is quite different. They are feeling much more emotion about the situation. They are living right smack-dab in the middle of a region where the US is working overtime to create a new arms race - that will ultimately be pointed at China and Russia. North Korea is just the ploy to establish fear - but not the real "prize".

Sung-Hee Choi from South Korea wrote, "It has been a long time that the western propaganda has manipulated the people to abhor the North Korea and its leaders. They did everything to push the North Korea to the edge. I am not saying the North Korea leaders are immaculate. ..... Regarding Western propaganda, it was so persistent that even many peace activists in the world have been affected by it. It was one of the most difficult things that I had to encounter in the America. [Where she lived for 10 years.] It is not only me. The difficulty to make understand the North Korea's activities to the people outside of Korea has been the most difficult task for many Korean peace activists."

Then from Makio Sato in Japan we heard, "The US has ignited some right-wingers in Japan's Diet [Parliament] in order to rearm Japan and dispatch Japanese soldiers along with their own, and seduced some grudge-bearing economic leaders to drop off the self-restraint of not producing weapons, in order to jointly produce weapons and robot soldiers and planes..... Japan is edging towards rearming. If Japan rearms itself, what percentage of hope will be left in Korean reunification? We have to stop this."

The US goal is to return Japan to its aggressive fascist warlike state which would this time around become a US partner in controlling China. Japan would become the Asian-Pacific regional equivalent of Israel which serves as the US guard-dog in the Middle East. The US is now preparing India for that job on China's other front. Georgia is also being set-up for that role with Russia, as NATO has already been.

It's not at all difficult to see the US "grand strategy" taking shape if you just fit the pieces of the puzzle together.

Obama is on-board with the program. Just days ago V-P Joe Biden sent word to Georgia that we were with them all the way and will be bringing them into NATO real soon. Then once they are in NATO, and the US can use them to stimulate more fighting with Russia, the NATO treaty will "require" that the US rush to "protect" Georgia from an "aggressive" Russia.

Obama's job is to make it all look like the US is the force for good, always reaching out the friendly hand, trying to be Mr. Nice Guy, while in fact we've been setting up the whole deadly scheme.

It is classic empire building and sad to say the US has the disease big-time.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


President Obama will nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court.

She is widely considered to be a centrist. What that means in actual rulings remains to be seen. An analysis of her appeals court rulings can be found here. Early indications are that she won't be much of a change from retiring Judge Souter, but will be a bit to his left.

She grew up in a housing project in the South Bronx in New York. Her father, a tool-and-die worker with a third-grade education, died when she was nine. Her mother, a nurse, raised Sotomayor and her younger brother, who is now a doctor, on a modest salary.

She went to Yale Law School and was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

See Black Agenda Report's story on her here.

Monday, May 25, 2009


More at The Real News

According to an organization I am associated with, called National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates, "the American Clean Energy Security Act (ACESA) is moving through the House in Washington this week. Though ACESA would establish emission reduction goals for the transportation sector, no funding is made available from the proposed cap-and-trade system to finance public mass transportation investments to reduce emissions.

"ACESA in its present form fails to invest in the transportation sector in an effective and sustainable manner that recognizes the role of public transportation and other strategies that provide Americans with more choices in our transportation system."

In addition, as the video well documents, the bill is a sellout to the banks, big coal and other energy giants. Once again we see Obama and the Democrats cave to their corporate masters and take the path of least resistance.

They talk big about climate change but do little to deliver real substance.

When does the mainstream environmental community get out of bed with the politicians and really fight for the Mother Earth and the future generations?

Sunday, May 24, 2009


The last two days I've spent many hours in the back yard stacking wood. It's a wonderful meditation and it's one of the few times in my life where I can actually begin something and soon see the results - not like in the political world where "change" is fleeting.

I spent quite a while on-line looking at pictures of different wood piles around the world but this photo I liked the best. It's a small wood pile, compared to the two cords worth I am stacking, but still a lovely shot.

We put our tomato plants in today so our garden is now pretty much totally in the ground. Housemates Maureen and Karen have done most of the planting. I've been doing the wood pile and Mary Beth has been working on the inside of the house. It's a real team effort and tonight we sat out in our garden for dinner enjoying the cool temperatures and all feeling pride about how much we have accomplished. Karen gave thanks for how well we all fit together at the Addams-Mellman House (AMH).

For those not up to snuff on the AMH it is named after Jane Addams who was regarded as one of the founders of the field of social work and was a strong opponent of World War I. She took a lot of heat for being against that war but won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

The AMH is also named after economist Seymour Mellman who taught at Columbia University and is regarded as the father of the call for economic conversion of the military industrial complex. Mellman is also credited with originating the term "permanent war economy" and while alive gave energy and voice to the movement to reorient America toward an understanding that escalating military production creates fewer jobs and a weaker economy than alternative peaceful production.

So considering we have two social workers at the AMH, and that we are all peace activists, the Addams-Mellman name was perfect for us.

We are doing our best to bring the works and ideas of Jane Addams and Seymour Mellman into our home and into our community.

Stop by for a visit if you are ever in Bath, Maine.


Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura (an Independent) debates torture on the popular TV show "The View".

Not long ago I saw Ventura on C-SPAN promoting his new book. He told a remarkable story about getting a call from the CIA soon after getting elected as governor. They told them they wanted to talk with him. He said, "Sure where are you?" They told him, "In the basement." So Ventura went down into the basement of the state capitol and the CIA asked him, "What do you plan to do as governor?"

Quite telling I'd say........

Ventura said that politics is like his old business, professional wrestling. After a no-holds-barred match the opposing wrestling "enemies" would go out drinking together. He said he thought there was no real difference between the Democrats and Republicans these days.

I think Ventura is right about that one.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Rachel Maddow at MSNBC does a solid critique of Obama's "rule of law" speech inside the National Archives where he stood directly in front of the US Constitution and finished the job of ripping it to pieces.

This man has a pattern. He gives with one hand and takes with the other. It's called magic or illusion. Or deception.

The Washington Post reported: Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said employing preventive detention simply because some cases at Guantanamo are too difficult to prosecute would involve the kind of legal expediency that Obama said was a hallmark of his predecessor's policies.

"My question is not only what happens to those people who may be perpetually in prison but what kind of precedent does that set for the future?" Ratner said. "It's not one I find constitutional or acceptable. Opening that door even for a few Guantanamo detainees is anathema. He is closing Guantanamo physically, but he's repackaging it with a little more legal gloss."

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Peace activists will hold a protest vigil in Bath, Maine on Friday, May 22 beginning at noon in front of Bath Iron Works (BIW) on Washington Street.

Secretary Gates is expected to meet with BIW workers and tour the weapons production facility at that time.

According to Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Bath-based Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, "The Democrat and Republican politicians will line up to kiss the ring of Secretary Gates. This is what we do in America today - we build weapons of destruction. It's our #1 industrial export product. And when weapons are the number one industrial export product of a nation, what is your global marketing strategy for that product line? War, the more the better. We don't build rail systems, wind turbines, solar systems or other such useful technologies that we need to deal with climate change. But the politicians from both parties understand that the Pentagon has the big money these days so they are on their knees. We think that the time has come for our elected officials to get off their knees and say that we've had enough endless war. The people want health care, full education funding, our infrastructure fixed, and they want to see an end to spending more than $12 billion a month in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan killing innocent civilians."

In a recent article called "The Disease of Permanent War," former New York Times foreign correspondent Chris Hedges writes, "Citizens in a state of permanent war are bombarded with the insidious militarized language of power, fear and strength that mask an increasingly brittle reality. The corporations behind the doctrine of permanent war... must keep us afraid. Fear stops us from objecting to government spending on a bloated military. Fear means we will not ask unpleasant questions of those in power. Fear means that we will be willing to give up our rights and liberties for security. Fear keeps us penned in like domesticated animals."

Activists from all over Maine are expected to attend the protest. The protest will call for the conversion of Bath Iron Works to useful civilian production.


I included some words on the blog the other day from activists in Vicenza, Italy who were sending their solidarity wishes to the folks in South Korea. The US has two military facilities in Vicenza and wants to build a new base in that community which has created a firestorm of protest by the citizens. They have tried every "legal and legitimate" form of protest and have been repeatedly denied. Finally, after trying to hold a local referendum on the question, they were again denied by their national government. So they went ahead and organized the city-wide vote on their own and found that 95% of the people in the community are opposed to the base.

But why another base in Italy? What is the mission? Below please see an interview with Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-California) who was recently in Vicenza and was interviewed by the local newspaper. She serves on the Military Strategies Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

Sanchez: "The military policy of the United States is passed by Congress. That is why the position of the U.S. has not changed in the transition between George W. Bush and Barack Obama. But all the decisions have already been made."

Newspaper: Why does even President Barack Obama believe in the Dal Molin project? Why hasn't there been, as expected by opponents of the project, any changes in the plans?

Sanchez: "We're working on a plan to consolidate the presence of our troops in the world, to be ready to intervene in sensitive areas such as Africa, the Middle East, the former Soviet republics in Asia. We believe that to give an effective response to these issues, to be closer to the places of possible tensions and conflicts, it is essential to reinforce our troops in Italy. For this reason we have chosen to unite the 173rd Brigade in Vicenza. There will be no second thoughts. All decisions have been made by the two governments. The plan and the allocation of the budget were voted by the Congress. It is no coincidence that Obama has confirmed the Secretary of Defense appointed by the Bush administration, that is Robert Gates."

Newspaper: Why is the role of Italy so important in the eyes of Americans, in the international arena?

Sanchez: "First, because Italy is geographically located close to areas most at risk, between Africa and the Middle East. And because Italy has been our longtime ally. The U.S. shares the same value system and lifestyle. We can count upon the Italian government, which from Prodi to Berlusconi has done everything that was needed to promote the alliance and the plan of consolidation of our troops at Dal Molin."

Newspaper: What type of military installation will be?

Sanchez: "I can guarantee that the project follows the most stringent environmental regulations. There will be no artillery, no aircraft. This will simply be a place where paratroopers will stay with lighter equipment and their families."

Newspaper: Does the transformation of American command stationed at Camp Ederle to Africom [Pentagon's Africa Command] signify a change to the military targets of the Pentagon?

Sanchez: "No, it is the demonstration of an emphasis on the African continent. I spoke with Obama about it. Africa needs help, even if operations are guided by a military command, the objectives are not primarily military. My hope is that the military strategies can be enhanced while investing fewer dollars. I believe a lot in diplomacy and dialogue as President Obama."

So there you see how it works in Washington. The Democrats agree with the expansion of the US military into Africa, ostensibly for "humanitarian" purposes, but we know that the strategy is really about controlling the continent's vast resource base.

Sanchez is considered a "liberal" Democrat - that is until the question of US empire comes up. Then the two war parties link arms and maintain solid support for the corporate-military domination of the world.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I posted these flowers today to cheer myself up. I woke up in the middle of the night with a severe sore throat and had a hard time falling back to sleep. Then this morning I had to drag myself out of bed because I was scheduled to interview Jerry Call on my cable TV show at 11am. He was in jail last week (arrested in Washington for speaking out during the Baucus Senate health care hearings) when we were supposed to do the interview so I had to get it done today. We wanted to promote his organization's May 30 statewide rally in support of single-payer health care that will be held at the capitol in Augusta. So we did the show, me with my deep voice, and by the time I got home I was really worn out.

I've spent the day sitting in a comfy chair in the corner of my room just doing emails. I was also supposed to do our weekly radio show at Bowdoin College tonight with Peter Woodruff but when I called to tell him I wasn't up to it he said the radio station's transmitter had a bad buzz so we were going to cancel the show anyway.........

Last night I did a half hour radio interview with a talk show host out of London, England who had seen our Arsenal of Hypocrisy video. Once again we find that video inspiring another person to dig into the space issue. I suggested that he next might want to have our GN chairperson Dave Webb, who is also national vice-chair of Britain's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), as a guest on the show to talk about US Star Wars bases in Yorkshire.

Spring comes late to Maine and we are having to wait til the end of the month to plant the rest of our vegetable garden. Things like tomatoes and some other items really can't go into the ground because our nights are still cold. Two nights ago we had a freeze across Maine. We've doubled the number of raised beds in our garden this year so it should be a busy summer of weeding, watering, and picking produce. But with five of us living here at the Addams-Melman House these days we have a heavy demand for veggies so the garden should bear many welcome gifts. We also planted a second apple tree and a pear tree this spring as well as three blueberry bushes. Even put two kiwi vines in the ground as well.

This torture story on the national level just keeps getting worse, and more interesting, with each day. Do you think Nancy Pelosi is telling the truth about never knowing about the extent of the Bush torture program? Or, is the CIA fibbing on this one?

Pelosi had another recent controversial statement on health care. I read that she had said, "Single-payer, single-payer, single-payer, that's all I hear about. Well, it isn't going to happen."

Oh boy, this woman is a trip!

I'm just going to lay in bed tonight and watch my Baltimore Orioles get beat by the New York Jankees again......the O's are in last place just in case you were wondering. Their pitching is getting worse by the day.......but I am eternally the optimist. Just wait til next season!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Bill Sulzman loves the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and in the photo above (on the right) found his way onto their Arizona spring training bench this year, right next to manager Joe Torre, for a quick snapshot.

Bill lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado and coordinates the peace group there called Citizens for Peace in Space which has to be the longest standing peace group in the US that is dedicated to space issues.

In 1992 Bill was a co-founding member of the Global Network, along with the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice where I was working at the time. For some years before that the folks in Colorado, and those in Florida, had worked to support each other since at that time we were the only two grassroots groups in the country consistently working on space.

Bill was once a Catholic priest and during the Vietnam War was arrested for taking a protest into the Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado Springs. He eventually left the church but today still remains a faithful worker for the poor and for peace.

Bill belongs to a faith and resistance community in Colorado Springs that feeds the hungry, houses the homeless, grows food for their soup kitchen, and holds frequent protests at key Star Wars installations that are located in their city.

Colorado Springs has become a key center for space weaponization. Bases such as Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, and a host of Star Wars contractors are enough to keep the members of Citizens for Peace in Space busy year round. Each April the Space Foundation holds their annual space symposium which draws thousands to the city to promote war in the heavens. Bill and his fellow activists always hold a creative protest at this event and I've had the pleasure to be a part of it several times over the years.

Bill grew up on a farm in Kansas so it was not a big cultural step for him to begin working with ranchers in Colorado a few years ago who are resisting the expansion of the Army's Ft. Carson military training area into a huge portion of the state's ranch lands. Bill's been able to work with the Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition as a peace movement representative showing the normally conservative ranchers that the "peaceniks" are not so bad after all.

Bill's one of the great organizers I've met over the years - steady as a rock, not ego centered, always ready to help others. We are all lucky to have him on our side.

Monday, May 18, 2009



Written by: Ray Davies


Now that you've found your paradise
This is your Kingdom to command
You can go outside and polish your car
Or sit by the fire in your Shangri-la
Here is your reward for working so hard
Gone are the lavatories in the back yard
Gone are the days when you dreamed of that car
You just want to sit in your Shangri-la

Put on your slippers and sit by the fire
You've reached your top and you just can't get any higher
You're in your place and you know where you are
In your Shangri-la
Sit back in your old rocking chair
You need not worry, you need not care
You can't go anywhere
Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la

The little man who gets the train
Got a mortgage hanging over his head
But he's too scared to complain
'Cos he's conditioned that way
Time goes by and he pays off his debts
Got a TV set and a radio
For seven shillings a week
Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la

And all the houses in the street have got a name
'Cos all the houses in the street they look the same
Same chimney pots, same little cars, same window panes
The neighbors call to tell you things that you should know
They say their lines, they drink their tea, and then they go
They tell your business in another Shangri-la
The gas bills and the water rates, and payments on the car
Too scared to think about how insecure you are
Life ain't so happy in your little Shangri-la
Shangri-la, Shangri-la la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

Put on your slippers and sit by the fire
You've reached your top and you just can't get any higher
You're in your place and you know where you are
In your Shangri-la
Sit back in your old rocking chair
You need not worry, you need not care
You can't go anywhere
Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la, Shangri-la

Sunday, May 17, 2009

McChrystal Wrong Man for the Job

Guest Editorial
By Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive)

Obama has just made a terrible choice in his new commander for Afghanistan.

By choosing Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Obama shows how indifferent he is to the serious allegations that have swirled around McChrystal, a darling of the Bush-Cheney regime.

It was McChrystal, after all, who approved a medal for Pat Tillman, the former NFL star, saying he fell under “devastating enemy fire.” But just a day later, McChrystal warned the White House that it might have been friendly fire, not enemy fire.

And, according to Seymour Hersh, McChrystal was the guy who was running Cheney’s assassination squads. From 2003-2008, McChrystal headed the Joint Special Operations Command, which Hersh called “an executive assassination wing” that reported directly to Cheney’s office.

What’s more, Esquire has reported that McChrystal authorized torture at a secret camp, where two detainees died under interrogation, and expressly prohibited the Red Cross from entering the camp, which would be a double violation of the Geneva Conventions.

McChrystal’s promotion mocks Obama’s rhetoric about making a clean break with the torture regime of Bush and Cheney.

The last we thing we need is a gonzo general in charge of Afghanistan.


The Korean people have been through hell and back. During WW II they suffered the occupation of fascist Japan. Then after the war, when the Americans "took control," the US put Korean collaborators with the Japanese occupiers in charge of the country which only served to continue the brutal repression of the people. Then came the dividing of the country into North and South and the Korean War. Since then there has been more right-wing control, firmly backed by the US, with an occasional periods of "liberalization".

The pro-democracy movements in Korea have been strong and determined. In the 1960's student demonstrations led to the fall of one dictatorship only to be replaced by another. In the 1980's another democratization movement rose up, including the Kwangju Uprising, which resulted in more than 2,000 citizens being killed by the government. (May 18 is the 29th anniversary of the Kawangju uprising.)

Many in South Korea are comparing the present crack down on democracy in their country to another period of dictatorship. The people in Korea cry out for international support.

The moving song in the video was written by the famous resistance poet Kim Chi Ha and is sung by Kim Kwang Suk, a popular folk singer who committed suicide.

It has been a long time since my mind has forgotten you,
It has been a long time since my footsteps have forgotten you,
Only a memory of a parched thirst in my burning heart
Makes me write your name secretly,
With a parched thirst, a parched thirst

--Long Live Democracy!

The recollection of vibrant freedom is coming back,
The image of bloody faces of friends is coming back,
Shivering hands, shivering heart,
With shuddering fury, I write on a wooden board with a chalk,
With a parched thirst, a parched thirst

--Long Live Democracy!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Our friend Sung-Hee Choi reports that our petition in support of the arrested six Korean reunification activists has been warmly welcomed by activists in her country. (Those who were arrested are still in detention.)

The petition, with 740 signatures of groups and activists from around the world, was sent by us to the Korean Consulate at the United Nations on Thursday. The cover letter (pictured above) has been reprinted in several Korean newspapers along with the full list of names. See it here.

It was a small gesture on our part but an important one to help in this effort to show support and solidarity with these detained activists in Korea.

An injury to one is an injury to all.

One thing I noticed was that in places like the Czech Republic and in Italy, where they are also organizing to stop US military bases, the people in those places completely identified with the plight of the Koreans.

Here are the words from Vicenza, Italy where a huge campaign has been resisting the expansion of a US Air Force Base. The Pentagon says the bigger base is needed for expected military operations in Africa.

"We are pleased to forward the support of the Presidio Permanente No Dal Molin, Vicenza , Italy. We feel very close to you and to the Korean Friends.

Even in Italy, during the last few months, and even yesterday, the Government has been implementing new restrictions under the cover of 'National Security'.

In several cases it’s easy to feel and see how 'National Security' is an excuse and a strategy to try to close the mouth to citizens and movements that still have the courage to express their opinions.

South and North Korea should be proud to have people dedicating their life to the goal of national reunification without militarization.

Thank you for your resistance. We are with you."

Presidio Permanente No Dal Molin, Vicenza , Italy

Friday, May 15, 2009


Some of the disputed torture photos, that Obama was going to release but changed his mind, have been made public by media in Australia. See them here.

The American Civil Liberties Union has gone to court to try to force Obama to release them.

In a new article investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill writes, "As the Obama administration continues to fight the release of some 2,000 photos that graphically document U.S. military abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, an ongoing Spanish investigation is adding harrowing details to the ever-emerging portrait of the torture inside and outside Guantánamo.... the investigation could for the first time place an intense focus on a notorious, but seldom discussed, thug squad deployed by the U.S. military to retaliate with excessive violence to the slightest resistance by prisoners at Guantánamo.

"The force is officially known as the the Immediate Reaction Force or Emergency Reaction Force, but inside the walls of Guantánamo, it is known to the prisoners as the Extreme Repression Force. Despite President Barack Obama's publicized pledge to close the prison camp and end torture - and analysis from human rights lawyers who call these forces' actions illegal - IRFs remain very much active at Guantánamo."

Obama has also announced that he will revive military tribunals which he once criticized while Bush was in office. "Military commissions have a long tradition in the United States," said Obama in a statement.

Yes, and so does US imperialism, torture, assassinations, and government lying and deception.

It becomes harder every day to distinguish the Obama pirate foreign policy from his predecessor.


The vote in the House of Representatives on the Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan wars supplemental spending bill took place yesterday afternoon. More than $97 billion was approved for the remainder of 2009.

Rep. David Obey (D-WI) led the floor debate for the Democrats side and basically said the money was going to do no good, the whole Afghanistan war was a mess, but we've got to give our new president a chance. All I could think about was the 95 kids who got killed last week in a US bombing many more kids will die during the next year while guys like Obey "give Obama a chance"? It was the weakest excuse for leadership I've ever seen.

The final vote was 368-60 with 200 Democrats supporting the funding. The Republicans congratulated the Democrats for finally coming round to their side and putting together a "bi-partisan" war funding measure. They were gloating of course, loving that the Democrats, now firmly in control of the government, were accepting ownership of the wars. Of course the Democrats had been supporting Bush's war funding requests for years, but always rhetorically bashed Bush for getting us into the wars. Now the Dems own them and have to do the heavy lifting.

Much to our pleasant surprise in Maine our two representatives, Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, voted against the war funding. So, while it is a hollow victory, it is a reward of some sort for our hard work to turn our state against these endless wars. Now we have the tough job of convincing our two Republican "moderate" senators (Snowe and Collins) to do the same. Always another boulder to push up the hill.

Coincidentally we had an anti-war meeting in Portland last night to figure our next steps following our successful town hall meeting early last month. We are planning a statewide meeting on June 13 to develop strategy. Friends in the northern parts of Maine will join with us from the midcoast and southern regions in order to increase our ability to build opposition to this huge waste of resources and human lives.

I watched much of the war funding debate on C-SPAN yesterday and it was quite an amazing thing to see that most of the discussion was not about war. Should we expand into Pakistan? Should we have a plan in Afghanistan? Should there be a timeline? These key questions were largely glossed over.

In fact most of the debate was about Guantanamo. Should Obama close Guantanamo? Should the prisoners there be brought to the US? Should they be released to walk freely on the streets of America and shop in our malls? I kid you was all about fear making.

During the 15-minute vote in the House they took calls from listeners on C-SPAN and the vast majority of the calls had nothing to say about the war funding issue - instead they were fixated on "terrorists roaming the streets of America."

I realised that neither the Dem or Repub leadership really wanted to have a no-holds-barred debate on the funding for multiple wars. So just like professional TV wrestling they played good-cop bad-cop and had a stormy debate about Guantanamo prisoners. Thus the attention of the people was effectively diverted.

The war parties got what they wanted.

The American people got hoodwinked.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Dr. Margaret Flowers speaks at a rally held in Washington of single-payer health care advocates. She was recently arrested, on May 5th, at the Dirksen Office Building, for speaking out at a Senate Finance Committee where single-payer advocates have repeatedly been denied a voice in hearings.

A national day of action for single-payer has been announced for May 30. Events are being planned nationwide.

Want single-payer? Want to take the profit out of health care - do you agree that health care is a human right? Then please rattle your chains and help make this happen.

As the ranks of the unemployed grow daily in the US many more go without any health care coverage.

The Obama "public health care plan"? Have the government subsidize the insurance corporations to cover those without it.....just more of the same that would keep the rich fat cats in control of the system. Doctors and nurses, people that work directly in the system, are telling us that is not the right prescription.

Here in Maine there will be a statewide rally on Saturday, May 30 at the state capitol in Augusta at noon. Mary Beth and I have been invited to speak - to make the connections between endless war and the waste of our resources that could go for a real health care program in this country.

It's exciting to see doctors and nurses leading this movement. We all need to stand with them - solidarity forever.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Global Network board member Sung-Hee Choi spoke at a news conference in Seoul, South Korea yesterday in support of the six reunification activists who have been arrested by their right-wing government. Sung-Hee told about GN efforts to gather signatures of support from around the world for the jailed peace workers.

  • Last call for signatures on the petition in support of Korean reunification activists. It's become a huge issue in South Korea with hundreds of progressive organizations extending their support to the six targeted people. I've already collected petition signatures from all over the world and throughout the US. Send me an email today at if you want your name/organization/city/state/country added to the list. You can see some great photos from the Seoul news conference here.

  • Word came out yesterday from Washington that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was not going to allow a vote on Rep. Jim McGovern's (D-MA) resolution calling on Obama to give a timeline for leaving Afghanistan. Pelosi does not want to "embarrass" the president by having such a resolution considered even though it only had 50 co-sponsors and was not going to pass anyway. The House Progressive Caucus also has decided not to stand against the $94 billion war supplemental for Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan. The go-along-to-get-along crowd has taken control of Congress.

  • I was supposed to tape the next edition of my cable TV show today but my guest, Jerry Call from Rockland, Maine, got himself arrested yesterday in Washington DC. Jerry is a leader in the single-payer health care movement here in our state and felt moved to head to DC for the second hearing by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) who chairs the Senate Finance Committee which is holding a series of public hearings on Obama's health care plan. Sen. Baucus has so far refused to allow anyone representing the single-payer idea (supported by a majority of American citizens) to testify in his hearings. Yesterday 20 nurses stood and turned their backs on Baucus as he began the hearing and then five people stood and made statements and were arrested - including Jerry. This was the second hearing where Baucus had a string of health insurance corporate executives testify but no one was allowed to represent the other side of the tracks. One more hearing is scheduled.

  • In my personal Gen. Jones Watch: Obama's head of the National Security Council, former NATO Commander Gen. James Jones told ABC News the other day that air strikes will continue in Afghanistan, "“We can’t fight with one hand tied behind our back....We’re going to take a look at trying to make sure that we correct those things we can correct, but certainly to tie the hands of our commanders and say we’re not going to conduct air strikes, it would be imprudent,” he said. At least 95 kids were killed by the US in the recent bombing that killed over 140 people in Afghanistan. Their hands are now dead.

Just for your edification: Imprudent is defined as "lacking discretion, marked by contemptuous boldness or disregard for others"..............................

  • The Pentagon's secret "Black budget" has now grown to more than $50 billion a year - the largest ever. That is more than Russia spends on its total military operation each year. Much of the black budget goes for developing new space warfare and spying and surveillance technologies. A few years ago a journalist who writes for Janes Defense Weekly wrote a book on the US's black budget. He wanted to discover its origins. He traced it back to Hitler's Nazi operatives who were doing secret weapons technology work during WW II. Fifteen hundred of these Nazi's were brought to the US after the war under the program called "Operation Paperclip" and brought the architecture for the black budget with them.

  • Security Watch reports that, "Top secret details of America’s missile defence system were found last week on the hard drive of a computer purchased on eBay. Information on the hard drive included a document outlining test launch procedures, blueprints of government facilities, and photographs of employees together with their personal details, including social security numbers. Lockheed Martin, who make the missile defense system in question, declined to comment on leaked hard drive."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Here is the CBS TV's "60 Minutes" story on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle's (UAV). It is not a critical piece of journalism but is simply a piece of war promotional propaganda.

These systems (called Predator and Reaper) are the ones killing so many civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan today. The reason the Pentagon gave "access" to 60 Minutes to do this story is because of the growing numbers of innocent people they are killing. This propaganda piece is to reassure the American people. Designed to show us that the Pentagon is careful to ensure the sanctity of life.

These "stand-off" weapons, controlled from satellites, are flown by soldiers using remote controlled joy-sticks while sitting inside Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada. It's war from space on the cheap.

These space directed systems for modern warfare will be the theme of our Keep Space for Peace Week this coming October 3-10. See our new poster here. You can order the poster for $3 each or five for $12.


Girl in Afghanistan injured by US military attacks

As I write this I am listening to Pandora, an on-line music service that allows you to pick your favorite artists and they find their music and similar tunes....I've got it set on The Kinks, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the O'Jays and have got it doing a mix of all their stuff. Earth, Wind, & Fire are singing "That's the Way of the World" ..........heavy emotion running through my heart.

I've been adding groups and individual names this morning from Japan and around the US to the petition supporting the South Korean reunification activists. Going to fax it tomorrow to the Korean United Nations mission. Then today I got an email from Syria about the arrest of civil society activists there....the repression of the people yearning for justice and peace is global and heart breaking.

Last night Mary Beth came running in the door and told me to turn on Maine Public Radio. As she was driving home from work she heard them promo an upcoming story about peace groups in Maine calling on our members of Congress to vote against the Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan war supplemental which is now up to $97 billion for the remainder of 2009. (Obama is requesting $130 billion in 2010 for war funding too.) I had sent around a news release the night before calling on our representatives to vote NO when it comes to the House floor on Thursday. Maine Public Radio called me in response to the release and did a nice story. See and listen to it here.

Maine Public Radio also interviewed our Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and she said she's not yet decided how she will vote on the war supplemental. She was elected in the last election, to a large extent on a peace and social spending platform.....she will most likely vote for the war funding. Since she has been in DC we've seen her work hard to bring billions of dollars more in military spending to Maine. Another liberal Democrat who says one thing and does another I'm sad to say.

What we get in return for this additional war money will be more civilian casualties like the young girl above for Afghanistan. We've become a killer nation without a conscience. As long as it creates "jobs" here at home its just fine with the liberals running the show in Washington. Out of site - out of mind they believe.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Big sky looked down on all the people looking up at the big sky

Everybody pushing one another around.......

One day well be free, we wont care, just you see

til that day can be, dont let it get you down

When I feel that the world is too much for me

I think of the big sky, and nothing matters much to me.

By The Kinks

Hear original version here

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Please let me know if you'd like your name (and/or organization) added to the following statement in support of six South Korean activists who were arrested by their right-wing government on May 7 for their efforts to publicly support the reunification of South and North Korea. One of the activists, Choi, Eun-A was on the Korean organizing committee that did such a wonderful job of hosting our Global Network space organizing conference last month in Seoul.

Send me an email at if you would like to be listed on the statement which we will send to the South Korean United Nations Mission early this week. Be sure to include your city/state and country.


We, the undersigned, are outraged to hear about the May 7, 2009 arrests and detention of six South Korean reunification activists by their government under the “National Security Law”.

Lee, Kyu-Jae; Lee, Kyeong-Won; Jang, Yoon-Kyeong; Yoon, Joo-Hyung; Oh, Soon-Wan, and Choi, Eun-A should be released immediately and a public apology should be given to these peaceful activists, to their families, and to the people of South and North Korea.

It is our understanding that for many years the Pan-Korean Alliance for Reunification (PKAR) has worked openly to create peaceful dialogue between South and North Korea with the hopes of bringing the country together again in a positive way. We applaud their efforts.

The time has come to end the mindless militarism that continues to divide the Korean peninsula. Those people who work to that end should be applauded for their efforts, not arrested and treated with such humiliation.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


More at The Real News

I've always loved George McGovern. He was my first presidential choice when I turned old enough to vote. By that time I had out grown my misbegotten Nixon days. I was in the Air Force, stationed at Travis AFB in California, and volunteered for the McGovern campaign in the evenings going door-to-door. What I found was a real lesson in power politics - the local Democratic party in the Fairfield-Vacaville area of Northern California did not much like McGovern and made little effort on his behalf and he lost resoundingly to Nixon. This was before the Watergate scandal really surfaced in a big way that ultimately forced Nixon out of office.

McGovern became a Senator from South Dakota (another reason I felt such affinity for him was because I love South Dakota) after serving in WW II and returning home to go to college on the GI Bill. He actually built the Democratic Party in that state travelling from one end of the state to the other, meeting people, doing it the hard way. A real organizer if you will.

I've not necessarily agreed with McGovern on every issue over the years, I've become more "radical" than him - but I've always seen him as a decent man, an honest man, who was not a political hack like so many in politics today.

You will see in this video of McGovern talking about Obama and Afghanistan - he is trying to warn our new president that he is stumbling into a huge historical blunder. Obama would be smart to listen to McGovern though it appears he won't.

Friday, May 08, 2009


This painting, of the Earth renewed, was sent to me this morning by a woman in Arkansas who just saw our space video, Arsenal of Hypocrisy, on Free Speech TV. They keep running it from time to time and I always hear from some folks who saw it. The video, made in 2003, still holds up well and has turned out to be the greatest educational tool we ever came up with.

I am in a bit of a surly mood this morning. The signs of corporate domination are all around us. I just read an email by Ted Glick who is on his 19th day of fasting around the climate change issue. He told the story about a Congressman who said we have "41 years" to deal with global warming so not to worry......Ted ran right up to the guys office in Washington and asked to see him...."he's not here" Ted was told so he said he would just sit and wait for him.....eventually the guy showed up and they had a "spirited" discussion.....but in the end the politician wants to make sure we give sufficient "incentives" to the corporations to cover their costs in making changes......once again the rich come out on top of the heap.

And then there was the Senate hearing on Health Care the other day in Washington where Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) chaired the meeting with a panel of more than a dozen insurance company executives testifying and no one giving the single-payer position. For the first 6 1/2 minutes of the hearing eight people (some of whom were doctors) stood up and spoke out loudly from the audience in favor of single-payer and they were hauled off by the cops. Good on them.

One of my sisters called yesterday, I have five of them, and she told me a funny story about how she had just called the White House and asked to speak to President Bush. "I'm sorry madam but Bush is no longer our president, Mr. Obama is now the president" she was told. Well, my sister told the man on the other end of the phone, "You'd never know it by the expanding war and corporate bank giveaways that Obama is now doing. This isn't what he promised during the campaign." My sister told me she just wanted me to know that she is reading my blog. Good on you younger sister. I am proud of you. She told me that folks are angry out there in Central Florida.

I think she is right and they are mad here in Maine and all across the country and all around the world too about the corporate domination of all of our governments. I hear the same kind of stories and rage daily coming from South Korea, Japan, Australia, England, and beyond.

The question is how do we get out from under this corporate drowning of our democracy? How do we get the people to make a historic move to take back our governments before they completely turn us once again into serfs and slaves? These are the questions we need to be talking about in our local communities.

A great Italian organizer, trying to get the people of Sicily to stand up against the domination by the Mafia, realized he had to start from the beginning. The people had lost their sense of their own humanity. So he gathered them and asked them this one simple question: "What is the difference between you and a tick?"

What is the job of a human being today? What is our role on this Mother Earth?

Thursday, May 07, 2009


More at The Real News

This is an excellent overview video about the crisis (and I mean severe crisis) now underway in Georgia.

The US has for some time now been undertaking a strategy to break Russia up into three separate countries so that corporate globalization can better get their hands on Russia's natural gas (the worlds largest supply) and their significant stocks of oil.

Imagine how the US would react if Russia was saying that the US should be broken to pieces. We'd be freaking out!

If there is to be a WW III it very well could begin here as the US prods and pokes its way into the region trying to get Georgia into another war with Russia and to expand US military bases right on Russia's southern border.

Watch this video and learn what is really going on.

See Part One of this Georgia series here

See Part Three of the Georgia series here.