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....

My Photo
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, August 31, 2010


Private gains and public's a Wall Street government.


And more from Ethan McCord, the GI who extracted the children from the van, below:


I love this tire photo. To me it represents the collapsing U.S. economy. The solution to the problem is close at hand - so close it cannot be seen.

That's the way it is today when people talk about jobs for example. I watched a long video yesterday produced by some union activists about folks who have lost their jobs. They talk about "fighting" to get their jobs back but never did the words "war" or "military spending" cross their lips. Somehow these good people think that the government is going to create new jobs for them if they just push hard enough.

But let's face the facts. The right-wing is pushing just as hard to cut government spending and a growing number of people in the country have been made to think that slashing spending and lowering taxes on the rich will bring the economy back - the business model. But that is not going to work. In truth, this will only increase joblessness as the government lays off teachers, janitors, and the like.

These good union folks don't want to talk about military spending because many unions (particularly the Machinists Union and the United Autoworkers Union) represent workers inside the military production process. (By the way I am a member of the National Writers Union which is part of the UAW.) So they block this important connection from being offered as a real solution to our national economic flat tire.

Jobs have left this country by the millions in recent years. The corporations are maximizing their profits internationally and I don't see these jobs coming back to the U.S. at all. So where will the economic recovery come from? Where will the investment in job creation come from? For me the answer is clear as a bell. Massively cut military spending....stop funding the Afghanistan war at the tune of $7 billion a month. Then use those funds to build public transit, wind turbines, a solar society, weatherize homes, fix roads and bridges, and more.

There will be a big rally in Washington DC on October 2 being organized by unions and the NAACP. It is being billed as One Nation Working Together and I believe the principal purpose of the event is to have a big turnout rally before the November elections to help swell support for the desperate Democrats. In the call to action they state: "We are One Nation, born from many, determined to build a more united America – with jobs, justice and education for all." The only mention of the military issue is one weak phrase: "We are families who pray every day – for peace and prosperity".

Peace groups supporting the October 2 event have had to create their own web site in order to flesh out the anti-war message but you won't find a link to it at the primary One Nation web site. So the message is, sure we want the peace movement to turn their folks out for this event but the primary drivers - the unions and NAACP - don't want to get too close to those calling for an end to wars. It's the basic half-stepping Democratic party position. Thus it is evident to me that the October 2 event is largely a Democratic party event.

I had long ago been invited to speak in Washington on October 1 at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House so I will stay and attend the October 2 event. I will take along the Bring Our War $$ Home banner and join the march.

But I will have no illusions that this event is the coming of a grand coalition that will finally lift the veil on war spending. As long as large blocs in the progressive movement refuse to deal with Pentagon spending there will be little hope for true economic recovery and job creation.

Sadly the peace movement is once again treated like the black sheep in the family.


Click on flyer to enlarge...Tom is one of my favorite musicians. Try to make this concert if you can.

Monday, August 30, 2010


30% of South Korean citizens still don't believe their right-wing government's story about the sinking of the Cheonan naval ship.

Some critics have made the case the South Korean vessel ran aground and was not sunk by the North Koreans.


Plus God delivers a "fly over" of geese for Beck's promised miracle.....


This morning's Portland Press Herald carries another story from the VFP confab. This one is about our march and rally yesterday. You can see it here

For all my criticism of that newspaper I must give them kudos because we got four big stories out of them in six days. Can't beat that.

One leader of national VFP told Maine VFP member Doug Rawlings yesterday that, "This march/rally was the best-organized, most impressive closing event that he had been to in all of his years of VFP work."

Nice compliment for us. Nothing like satisfied customers I like to say.

Thanks to all our friends outside of VFP who supported this conference and concluding march.

Our next steps here in Maine will be to organize a peace walk through the state on November 3-11 that will culminate in our VFP chapter marching in the November 11 Veterans Day parade in Portland. Please put those dates on your calendar and come walk with us.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Another news spot from the first day of the convention.


TV news coverage of the VFP march in Portland this morning as the convention ended. We had 300 people in the march, although the TV announcer said we had 1,000. Not very often the media so dramatically over estimates our numbers.

It was a great event though and people left the convention in good spirits. Last night Chris Hedges was the keynote speaker at the banquet that drew more than 350 folks. His hard and dark analysis of our future got some people taking exception to his very direct comments. He doesn't leave much squirm room and people want to feel good after such a speech. But Hedges doesn't do that.

It reminds me of when Native American chiefs were taken to Washington to meet the "great white father." They would come back to their tribes and say we are screwed. They would tell stories about the huge cities they passed through along the railroad trip east and the heavy weapons technologies they saw even during those days. They knew they could not ultimately stand against that power.

Hedges says that the collapse of capitalism is going to be harsh and that the crackdown on folks like us will be hard. He calls on us to find hope and courage in the moral acts of resistance to what he sees as a fascist dictatorship.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


The above photo was taken yesterday following the Korea issues workshop at the VFP convention in Portland. The banner we are holding was given to me last year by the Korean VFP organization and it finally made its way to a national VFP event here in the U.S.

Korean war veteran, and Maine VFP member, Tom Sturtevant has been the keeper of the banner since I brought it back from Korea.

Most of the VFP members in the workshop yesterday had served in Korea during the war or since then. They all feel a strong sense of duty to help bring true peace and reunification to Korea. But as one of the guys said yesterday, "It's hard to convince people today that Korea is still an important issue after 60 years."

I tried to address this problem in my words during the workshop as I put Korea into the larger context of U.S. military strategy in the Asian-Pacific region. I talked about NATO expansion into the region and U.S. military moves to surround China.

The U.S. pretense about concern over North Korea is only a justification for the Pentagon to dramatically escalate its operations throughout the Asian-Pacific. U.S. bases are being expanded in Guam, Okinawa, Japan, and South Korea - including major deployments of "missile offense" systems.

The banquet is tonight and a packed house is expected for it. In the morning, at 9:00 am, we hold the concluding march and rally in downtown Portland.

People are saying they feel it is a great convention. The ferry boat trip to nearby Peaks Island last night for the lobster fest was a big hit.

Ben Cohen, from Ben & Jerry's ice cream fame, is here and I heard that he is going to personally serve ice cream to us after the business meeting today. He is also providing dessert to the banquet this evening.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We Are Cornered: There's No Way Out Without A Fight

by Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford

There is no cavalry coming over the ridge to save the people from massed capital. Certainly not the Democrats, whose self-caged left wing now finds its marginalized encampments under lockdown by their own president’s hostile patrols, while the GOP and its Tea Party irregulars howl from the circling darkness. That’s what happens when progressives maneuver themselves onto the same side of the battlefield as Goldman Sachs, as they did with abandon in 2007-08, deliriously fighting their way into a cul-de-sac in which they are now surrounded.

The leftish brigades rallied to a commander who styled himself an incarnation of Abraham Lincoln, but turned out to be a General George McClellan, the Union’s first commander of the Army of the Potomac. McClellan was great at rousing the troops and putting his army on parade, but constantly overestimated his Confederate adversaries and, in Lincoln’s final estimation, refused to fight. The political roots of his reluctance to crush the Confederacy became clear after his dismissal when, in 1864, he challenged Lincoln on the Democratic “peace” party’s ticket. McClellan never really wanted to win the war, or, at the very least, saw victory in a very different way than Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.

It has long been clear that Barack Obama’s idea of victory required decisively defeating the Left of his own party. Everyone to his left is to be neutralized, while those to his right rate an open hand and endless concessions, the scenario from the very start of his health care “negotiations” with the drug and insurance industries. Victory in the racial arena means an end to race agitation, a Black stand-down, which remains largely in place. Success in war, not pursuit of peace, is his goal, one that will surely elude him, but not for lack of trying.

Obama and finance capital began an early, thoroughly vetted, and white hot love affair that was anchored in mutual contempt for those who would challenge the rule of money. He has delivered the highest return on corporate campaign investment in the history of bourgeois democracy, allowing Wall Street to pocket at least $12 trillion in return for contributions of less than $1 million per investment house. (Goldman Sachs was top giver, at $994,795.) Obama was BP’s biggest political campaign recipient: $71,000, an investment that boosted the corporation’s value by billions – albeit temporarily – when the president opened up offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Obviously, Goldman Sachs and BP considered Obama a “greater good,” in terms of their interests, than John McCain. And they made out like bandits, confirming their assessment of Obama’s immense value to their side in the class war. The question is, how in the hell did lefties conclude that Big Capital’s and Big Oil’s “greater good” candidate was also the progressive side’s fountain of Hope – or even a “lesser evil” – in 2008? Both camps placed their bets on Obama, but only one side could possibly win.

It is the Left that wound up trapped in the cul-de-sac, with every major item on its 2008 political wish list betrayed, sidetracked, mangled or spat upon by Obama and his friends – although, to be fair to the Devil, the Left had often simply imagined they had Obama’s ear or support when such was not even remotely true. On war, for example.

Most devastatingly, Obama and his Democratic legislative allies have successfully shielded their Wall Street masters from anything worthy of the name financial reform. This means finance capital and its “shadow,” derivatives-based economy (nominally, ten times bigger than the “real” global economy) remain beyond the reach of meaningful public intervention by conventional methods. With the air knocked out of mainstream reformers’ bony chests, Wall Street is poised for a Great Offensive against the political and social infrastructure of the United States.

Producing nothing of real value, fatally hooked on ever-mounting rates of return, simultaneously divorced from and a parasite on the “real” economy, and with the executive and legislative branches in their pockets, the Lords of Capital are set to devour the entirety of the public sector – while forcing the public to finance the feast. The rallying cry is “austerity,” but the motivation is not, as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman maintains, ideological. Rather, it is hunger.

Finance capital is, at this stage of the system’s decline, incapable of reproducing itself through productive investment, and so must feed on existing producers or on the State. Since Wall Street over the decades has already broken up, consumed and exported much of the U.S. productive economy, that leaves the State and all of its parts. Far from acting as a brake on his vampire friends, Obama leads the charge on corporate hijacking of public education, and signaled in January 2009 that all elements of the safety net, including Social Security, should be “on the table” – which can only mean some form of privatization.

The pace of finance capital deterioration quickens, accelerating the timetable of the Right’s offensive. As the hunger grows, Wall Street’s servants become more aggressive and demanding, and there is nothing in the Democratic Party, as presently constituted, to stop them.

One truth remains: only a massed people can defeat massed capital. If the American Left is capable of bearing that in mind in the critical times ahead, it might just escape the cul-de-sac and make some modest contribution to the world.


Fox News right-winger Glenn Beck is organizing a rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on August 28. That date is the anniversay of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream Speech" where he promoted a just, equal, diverse and compassionate society.

Beck is inviting Sarah Palin to join him in some mysterious and self serving diatribe where he intends to redefine MLK in order to serve the interests of the corporate oligarchy.

Sadly he will likely get lots of media coverage as he further attempts to divide the American people against one another. The best thing we can do is not allow ourselves to fall for his bloviation.

Beck said in a recent broadcast that he did not intentionally choose the "I Have a Dream" anniversary for his rally - but that he believes the coincidence is "divine providence."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Parent Company Trap
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

The story unfolds.....


Buck Showalter (New O's manager)
Earl Weaver (Long ago greatest O's manager)

As I pack for my next five days in Portland for the Veterans for Peace confab, I thought I'd give you all an update on my wayward Baltimore Orioles baseball team.

Right after mid-season the Orioles (O's) fired their second manger this season and hired Buck Showalter who was referred to by sports writers as "the best available manager" in major league baseball. At that time the O's had the worst record in all of the major leagues.

Since Buck took over the O's are 12-8 and playing like we've not seen them for years. Pitchers are pitching, fielders are fielding, and batters are actually hitting the ball. It's like a miracle.

But there is something even bigger that has happened. The O's greatest manager ever was the feisty Earl Weaver who led the team from 1968-1986. During this time the O's won six Eastern Division titles, four American League pennants, and a World Series championship. He was loved in Baltimore.

Since he left it has largely been downhill with the O's having losing seasons the last dozen years.

But enter Buck Showalter. Buck twice won the manager of the year award and soon after arriving in Baltimore just weeks ago people felt they were having a vision. It was like seeing the image of Jesus in a grilled cheese sandwich or upon the foggy window of a bakery on a cold morning.

When people saw Buck in the O's uniform on the field they thought they were seeing Earl Weaver again....and they saw the O's playing in ways that reminded them of better days.

Slowly the fans are daring to return to Camden Yards to see the O's play. When the O's get ahead early in the game fans are holding their breath knowing full well that the pattern has been that the other shoe almost always drops and the O's find a way to lose the game.

But something is happening in Baltimore. The magic of Earl seems to be returning. The O's are winning more than they are losing.

Could Buck be the new Earl of Baltimore?


Loring Wirbel from Citizens for Peace in Space, and a Global Network board member, is featured in a great scene from the new documentary Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space.

He takes the film crew on a whirlwind driving tour of Colorado Springs to show the growth of aerospace industry corporations in the city that is a key player in the Star Wars program.


Iraq and Afghanistan war vets attempt to block troops leaving Fort Hood, Texas on their way to war.

Read the news story about the action here


August 24, 2010
Portland Press Herald

They're fighting for peace: Veterans head to Portland for convention

Veterans for Peace, founded in Maine 25 years ago, will attract people from all over the U.S.

By Dennis
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — A national peace organization whose members include veterans from all the major wars is returning to its roots here in Maine.

Starting Wednesday, Portland will host the 25th anniversary convention of Veterans for Peace.

The organization was founded in Maine in 1985.

More than 300 veterans from across the United States have already registered to participate in the convention at the Holiday Inn by the Bay Hotel and Convention Center on Spring Street.

The gathering starts Wednesday and will end Sunday morning with a peace march and rally through downtown Portland.

"It seemed logical to bring the convention home to Maine for its 25th anniversary," said Michael Uhl, a South Bristol resident and Vietnam War veteran who serves on the group's national board.

Uhl said the convention will feature several guests, from musician Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary fame and Iraq war veteran Geoff Millard, to U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., Chairman of the House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Committee, and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

While most of the convention events are closed to the public, there will be an open meeting at First Parish Meeting House on Congress Street Thursday night, at which guest speakers will talk about the costs of waging war.

"It (the convention) is not for everyone. We're not going to get a whole lot of people from the Tea Party," Uhl said.

Mike Ferner, who serves as president of National Veterans for Peace in St. Louis, Mo., said the theme of the Portland convention will be "Lifting the Fog of War."

"Lifting the fog of war is an artistic way of saying, lets expose the real costs of war. It has become a central theme of our work," Ferner said.

Participants will share their war experiences and listen to some of the more compelling stories.

Maja Kazazic will be featured during the opening ceremony Thursday morning. A Bosnian War refugee whose legs were shattered in 1993 by a mortar shell that landed in her courtyard, Kazazic was relocated to Maryland through the Veterans for Peace "Children of War Rescue Project."

Since then, she has taught herself English, gone to college, and established a successful web development company.

The convention will also offer poetry readings by war veterans, films, and workshops.

Bruce Gagnon of Bath is organizing Sunday's peace march and rally at Post Office Square.

A Vietnam War-era veteran, Gagnon said protesters -- the public is invited to participate -- will gather at 9 a.m. at the Holiday Inn, march through the Old Port, and stage an hour-long rally at Post Office Square on Market and Exchange streets.

"It will be very spirited," Gagnon said.

"We are spending more than $7 billion a month on the war in Afghanistan. If we can end the war and bring that money home, there could be a whole new world out there with a real chance for economic recovery," he said.

Monday, August 23, 2010



Veteran investigative journalist John Pilger on the illusion of U.S. departure from Iraq. He takes calls from around the world which is quite interesting.

Here is an example of Pilger interviewing a former CIA operative about U.S. assassinations.

See the contemporary example of CIA killings of Muslims - Mass Assassinations Lie at the Heart of America's Military Strategy in the Muslim World


August 20, 2010

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: Minister tasked with saving US airbase at the cost of the displacement of thousands

The presence of Pakistan army personnel speaks to the fact that the breach of Jamali bypass was intentional and ordered from above.

It has been reported earlier that the US Air Force has denied the relief agencies use of the Shahbaz airbase for the distribution of aid and assistance. Soldiers of the Pakistan army, a federal minister and the administration of Sindh province are blamed for the incident involving Shahbaz Airbase at Jacobabad district in Sindh province in which it has been reported that flood waters were diverted in order to save the airbase. The diversion of the floodwaters is blamed for inundating hundreds of houses and the displacement of 800,000 people. According to the media reports, the Federal Minister of Sports along with soldiers from the army and a contingent of officials from the Sindh provincial government breached the Jamali Bypass in Jafferabad district of Balochistan province during the night between August 13 and 14 to divert the water entering the airbase which has remained in US Air Force hands since the war on terror started in 2001.

Mr. Ejaz Jakhrani, the Minister of Sports, while explaining the situation to the media said that if the water was not diverted the Shahbaz Airbase would have been inundated. Mr. Jakhrani himself was present along with the district coordination officer of the Jacobabad district, district police officer and other officials when the breach was made. It is reported in the media that Mr. Jakhrani was assigned to protect the air base by officials at the Pakistan army’s headquarter as he was elected from Jacobabad district.

A former prime minister, Mr. Mir Zafar Ullah Khan Jamali said that in order to save Shahbaz Air Base, Jamali bypass was demolished and the town of Dera Allahyar was drowned. Mr. Jamali said that if the airbase was so important, then what priority might be given to the citizens. He blamed minister Jakhrani, DPO and DCO Jacobabad for deliberately diverting the course of the floodwaters towards Balochistan.

In the meantime, during the discussion in the standing committee of the Senate the federal secretary of health has revealed that health relief operations are not possible in the flood-affected areas of Jacobabad because the airbase is under the control of the US Air Force. The coordinator of the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Centre, Dr Jahanzeb Aurakzai, told the committee that foreign health teams could not start relief operations in remote areas because there are no airstrips close to several areas, including Jacobabad.

The electronic media has also reported that since 2001 the government of Pakistan, during the regime of general Musharraf, turned over Shahbaz Airport to US forces fighting against terrorism on a lease so it the responsibility of the government and the Pakistan armed forces to protect the agreement done in favour of US forces. The discussions in the media have also pointed out that the presence of army soldiers during the breach of Jamali bypass is a clear indication that the Pakistan army has been ordered to save the airbase from the floodwaters.

In the end, after the seven days of controversy surrounding the air base, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) said that the Shahbaz Airbase was under the complete operational control of the PAF and brushed aside reports that floodwaters had been diverted to save the base. Air Vice Marshal, Mr. Abdul Quddus, hurriedly arranged a visit of journalists to Shahbaz Airbase and asked them as to whether they could see any Americans? He told journalists that there are no drones and no Americans; seeing, he said, is believing!

However, there was no reasonable answer to the question raised that when almost the whole of Jacobabad district of Sindh and its adjoining district of Jafferabad of Balochistan province were under floodwaters why the airbase was not affected. This could only be due to the intentional breach of the Jamali bypass. The media was also very critical of the arrangement of the visit to Shahbaz airbase at a time when much more attention is needed to focus all efforts for the relief of the affected people. The visit by the journalists has been seen as a scripted stage play as when journalists were present a C130 cargo plane landed with 200 tons of relief goods which the people of that particular affected area badly needed. Such a plane has not been seen landing there in recent times so this was too much of a coincidence.

The federal minister and former prime minister have not retracted their statements that the floodwater was intentionally diverted to Dera Allahyar, Balochistan to save the air base.

There is rough estimation by the media about the displacement of 800,000 people by the divergence of the waters to the poorer areas. Over 150,000 people have been evacuated from Dera Allahyar and other areas. 350,000 people of Jafferabad district have been shifted to Dera Murad Jamali, Sibi and Quetta, parts of Balochistan, and over 300,000 people had earlier moved to Dera Murad Jamali and Sibi from the Sindh province particularly from Jacobabad.

There can be no doubt that the presence of the Pakistan army personnel at the breach of Jamali bypass indicates the fact that this was an intentional breach. This must be investigated along in order to ascertain who gave the orders. Those giving the orders must be prosecuted. The government of Pakistan must also probe the allegations of deliberate breaches; not only in the incident involving Shahbaz airbase but also those reported earlier where the agricultural lands belonging to senior ministers was protected from the floodwaters also by intentional breaches.

It is a gross contradiction that the United States of America is now one of the biggest donors of relief to Pakistan and it is therefore unacceptable that they are allegedly refusing permission to use Shahbaz airbase for the distribution of that relief.

# # #

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Sunday, August 22, 2010



I was up very early this morning to drive to Portland in order to do a live TV interview to promote the national Veterans for Peace convention which starts early next week. The confab runs from Aug 25-29 in Portland, Maine.

I will be there working at the convention all of those days and will post some reports from the event. Looks like a good crowd is expected from all over the country.

The Associated Press reports today that a U.S. solider was killed in Iraq during a rocket attack. This should come as a great surprise to many since the mainstream media had previously announced that "combat operations" were over in Iraq.

Sort of like Bush's famous statement on the aircraft carrier some years ago - "mission accomplished"!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Woke up in the middle of the night with my mind racing for a couple hours.....this song describes the event.

Dave Davies (The Kinks) sings the song written by his brother Ray.


A 48-page reprint of Gen. Smedley Butler's 1935 booklet War Is A Racket. Foreword by Cindy Sheehan. Each copy is autographed by Cindy and includes a free download link of the audio recording in a digital MP3 file format.

Order here:

Friday, August 20, 2010


The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) reports one soldier's account of the incident at Fort Eustis, Virginia in its recent newsletter:

The week prior to the event the [unit name and NCO's name withheld] informed us of a Christian rock event that was about to take place on Thursday the 13th.

On Thursday 13th at 1730 we were informed that instead of being dismissed for the day, the entire company (about 250 soldiers) would march as a whole to the event. Not only that, but to make sure that everyone is present we were prohibited from going back to the barracks (to eliminate the off chance that some might "hide" in their rooms and not come back down).

We were marched as a whole to chow and were instructed to reform outside the dining facility. A number of soldiers were disappointed and restless. Several of us were of different faith or belief. A couple were particularly offended (being of Muslim faith) and started considering to disobey the order.

From the dining facility we were marched back to the company area. There was a rumor circulating that we may be given a choice later on to fall out or attend. Though it was only a rumor it was also a small hope enough to allow us to follow along a little longer before choosing to become disobedient. We were marched back to the company area. To our dismay there was still no sign of us having a choice.

We started marching to the theater. At that point two Muslim soldiers fell out of formation on their own. Student leadership tried to convince them to fall back in and that a choice will be presented to us once we reach the theater.

At the theater we were instructed to split in two groups; those that want to attend versus those that don't. At that point what crossed my mind is the fact that being given an option so late in the game implies that the leadership is attempting to make a point about its intention. The "body language" was suggesting that "we marched you here as a group to give you a clue that we really want you to attend (we tilt the table and expect you to roll in our direction), now we give you the choice to either satisfy us or disappoint us." A number of soldiers seemed to notice these clues and sullenly volunteered for the concert in fear of possible consequences.

Those of us that chose not to attend (about 80, or a little less than half) were marched back to the company area. At that point the NCO issued us a punishment. We were to be on lock-down in the company (not released from duty), could not go anywhere on post (no PX, no library, etc). We were to go to strictly to the barracks and contact maintenance. If we were caught sitting in our rooms, in our beds, or having/handling electronics (cell phones, laptops, games) and doing anything other than maintenance, we would further have our weekend passes revoked and continue barracks maintenance for the entirety of the weekend. At that point the implied message was clear in my mind "we gave you a choice to either satisfy us or disappoint us. Since you chose to disappoint us you will now have your freedoms suspended and contact chores while the rest of your buddies are enjoying a concert."

At that evening, nine of us chose to pursue an EO complaint. I was surprised to find out that a couple of the most offended soldiers were actually Christian themselves (Catholic). One of them was grown as a child in Cuba and this incident enraged him particularly as it brought memories of oppression.

AlterNet reports that "MRFF works to protect the rights of U.S. armed forces personnel to be free from unconstitutional religious proselytizing."

The MRFF has recently picked up over 30 new clients, including some in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, who have turned to the foundation in reaction to what they feel is a dangerous climate of religious coercion. MRRF founder Michael Weinstein says all the new soldier clients are Christian Protestants, and he stresses that 96 percent of MRFF clients are Christians persecuted for not having the approved kind of fundamentalist beliefs.

This kind of pressure to adopt a militant Christian faith is increasingly becoming problematic in the U.S. military. Alot of it has to do with the fact that a high percentage of the Pentagon's officer corp comes from the south and are themselves Christian fundamentalists. The MRFF website has reported countless cases of this proselytizing inside the military as they try to develop a consciousness with the soldiers that they are fighting a holy war against Muslims.

Religious freedom - whether to have none or the one of your choosing - is under serious attack.


Thursday, August 19, 2010



I was handed a copy of the Tuesday edition of USA Today newspaper last night. The cover story was "Military towns enjoy big booms". The opening line of the article read, "Rapidly rising pay and benefits in the armed forces have lifted many military towns into the ranks of the nation's most affluent communities."

"Soldier, sailors and Marines received average compensation of $122,263 per person in 2009, up from $58,545 in 2000."

Killeen, Texas, home of the Army's Fort Hood, is today more affluent than Austin, the state capital and university town 60 miles away. Manhattan, Kansas, home of the Army's Fort Riley, is the state's wealthiest metro area. In 2000, it was the poorest of the state's six metros.

Tell me killing is not profitable for some. Any doubt we have become a killing culture in the U.S.?

It's obvious to me that we value endless war more than we do public education or health care.

The article reports that from 2000 to 2009 military pay scales grew 84% while private-sector employees saw a 9% increase. Federal civilian workers during that same period saw a 37% pay increase.

The bottom line is that it pays well to risk your life for big corporate control, domination, and profits overseas.

For me this is one big tsunami of proof that the oligarchy in control of America has indeed made the decision that our role under corporate globalization will be "security export" - which translates to endless war.

If you are on the military industrial complex gravy train then you will do well. If not, then you are screwed. Is this the best use of our tax dollars? Is this the kind of nation we want to be? What does this say about the soul of the America? What does this say about the future for our children?

The only legitimate response to this is Bring Our War $$ Home.

Fight for social progress while you still can. Buy local.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010


"These gentlemen are the moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers.”

— Ronald Reagan while introducing the Mujahideen (Taliban) leaders to media at the White House (1985)

  • Despite Obama's statement that the U.S. troops will be leaving Iraq by the end of 2011 (except of course the 50,000 soldiers we'd leave behind plus the legions of "private security" forces we'd pay for) Secretary of War Gates told reporters last week that if the Iraqi government asked us to stay longer we would.....of course we would. And they are likely to ask.

  • The impending US and NATO military operation in Afghanistan's Kandahar province will strengthen the Taliban, not weaken it, according to a new report. The report, written by the Afghanistan NGO Security Office, criticised NATO's counterinsurgency strategy as unsuccessful. It found that violence has spiked with insurgents staging 1,319 attacks in June, up from 611 in January - a 115 per cent increase. The number of civilians killed also increased by 23 per cent, compared to the same time last year.

  • The World Health Organization says that, of some 15 million people affected by the floods in Pakistan, only about 1.2 million had access to safe water supplies while, in the areas most affected by the flooding, 200 of 1,167 health facilities — including several hospitals — had been damaged.

  • A national space conference was held this week in Huntsville, Alabama with the theme "Enabling Regional Warfighters." In its 13th year, the event drew about 7,000 people who heard presentations on such topics as "A Regional Perspective on Missile Defense," "Operational Perspective of Space and Missile Defense," "Space - Enabling the Warfighter," "Cyber Innovation to Preserve our Decisive Advantage" and "Space, High Altitude and Cyberspace." Huntsville is the home of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the Army's Missile Defense headquarters. It was to Huntsville that many of Hitler's rocket scientists were brought after the end of WW II to build the U.S. space program under the direction of Werner Von Braun.

  • They are currently digging the 5th large hole in front of our house. Seems they like this spot very much. They either are forgetting to put the pipes in the ground the first few times or as one house mate suggests they have discovered gold under the street. Either way it is a dusty and noisy mess out there.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Former Florida Republican conservative congressman Joe Scarborough takes on his party for the Muslim's really getting dirty out there as presidential hopefuls use these issues to ingratiate themselves with the tea party movement.

Obama at first glance made a good comment saying we can't dictate where places of worship can be built but since then he has back-tracked on the statement. Typical magician modus operandi.


Wikipedia describes Mordechai Vanunu as a former Israeli nuclear technician who, citing his opposition to weapons of mass destruction, revealed details of Israel's nuclear weapons program to the British press in 1986. He was subsequently lured to Italy by a Mossad spy, where he was drugged and kidnapped by Israeli intelligence agents. He was transported to Israel and ultimately convicted in a trial that was held behind closed doors. Regarded by peace activists as a hero for taking a stand against weapons proliferation, Vanunu has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize many times.

Vanunu spent 18 years in prison, including more than 11 years in solitary confinement. Released from prison in 2004, he became subject to a broad array of restrictions on his speech and movement. Since then he has been arrested several times for violations of those restrictions, including giving various interviews to foreign journalists and attempting to leave Israel.

In 2007, Vanunu was sentenced to six months in prison for violating terms of his parole. In response, Amnesty International issued a press release on 2 July 2007, stating that "The organisation considers Mordechai Vanunu to be a prisoner of conscience and calls for his immediate and unconditional release." In May 2010, Vanunu was arrested and sentenced to three months in jail on suspicion that he met foreigners in violation of conditions of his 2004 release from jail.

The Associated Press reports that an August 8 letter, signed by Arab League head Amr Moussa, calls on world powers to endorse a draft resolution noting "concern" over Israeli nuclear activities and pressing the nation to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and allow International Atomic Energy Agency audits. The Arab countries are expected to present the proposed resolution, titled "Israeli nuclear capabilities," at next month's IAEA General Conference meeting.

The letter was submitted to top diplomatic officials in China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, said diplomats affiliated with the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

Barack Obama warned in July that efforts to place unique pressure on Israel over its presumed nuclear arsenal could scuttle plans for a meeting on establishing a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty's 189 member nations agreed in May to schedule a 2012 conference aimed at creating such an area.

Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month indicated they would "work together to oppose efforts to single out Israel" at next month's IAEA meeting. "Any efforts to single out Israel will make the prospects of convening [a regional nuclear weapon-free] zone conference unlikely," the leaders added in a statement.

The Arab League, though, contended it does not seek to single out Jerusalem.

"Singling out a state assumes that there are a number of states in the same position and only one state was singled out," the organization's letter states. "The fact is that all the states in the region have acceded to the NPT except Israel."


I love these musical actions. They make me smile.

I don't shop at Target, or any of the other big box chain stores, so it is easy for me to boycott them. This is a great effort though.

It's fun to watch the of them at the end was clapping along with the music.

I wonder if any of them were thinking, "Hey Target is an exciting place to shop, they even have live music."

Hopefully someone was handing out leaflets to the customers.

Monday, August 16, 2010


We stopped subscribing to Maine's largest newspaper this past weekend when our subscription payment ran out. The Portland Press Herald was bought by a right-winger during the past year and the paper has been increasingly taking a strong turn in that direction. Not only was the cost of the subscription going up but the paper was shrinking in size and was being used to promote the tea party agenda.

We also get our local community paper (Times Record) but it only prints on weekdays. Thus we needed a newspaper on the weekend.

We've decided to take the Boston Globe on Sundays. It's a decent paper with more news in it than the Press Herald has. We got the Globe this past Sunday and I found an article in it entitled "U.S. now tries to use a scalpel to fight terrorism." A couple of paragraphs really jumped out at me. They read:

The Pentagon is becoming more like the CIA. Across the Middle East and elsewhere, Special Operations troops under secret "execute orders" have conducted spying missions that were once the preserve of civilian intelligence agencies.

Such programs typically operate with even less transparency and congressional oversight than traditional covert actions by the CIA.

As American counter terrorism operations spread into territory hostile to the military, private contractors have taken on a prominent role, raising concerns that the U.S. has outsourced some of its most important missions to a sometimes unaccountable private army.

Many Americans have no clue this is going on nor do they likely care. They just want the "bad guys" killed no matter how it is done. They don't worry about the loss of accountability or democracy because they have very little opportunity or occasion to practice "democracy" in their busy lives anyway.

The oligarchy counts on this "distance" between voters and decision makers as a way to keep the public out of the gory details of foreign and military policy.

The one thing that stands the best chance of returning the public to the debate about U.S. war policy is the cost of the wars. The public now rates "economic issues" as their #1 concern. Our job is to help the public make this important connection between economic collapse and funding of endless war that is now costing more than $7 billion each month.

Sadly most of our newspapers don't help us make these important connections. We have to find ways to do it on our own.

Fortunately for us in mid-coast Maine our local Times Record has a forward thinking editorial page editor who recently wrote an editorial about these connections. He will also be moderating a community forum organized by PeaceWorks on September 16 in Brunswick to be called "Where do our tax dollars go: What price does our community pay for the military budget?"

Several other local peace groups in Maine are reaching out to their small community papers and asking them to help co-sponsor such an event. The more we get the local media involved in connecting the dots the better off we will be.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Concentrate on unity
of spirit
rather than division

We come from the light
we are all energy
some call it adams and eves

Others say infinite consciousness
eternal life
eternal light
against the infernal darkness

Humanity is waking up from the long sleep
of wondering
and living under the boot
of the darkness
and those who find their strength from it

We are all real equals
in the light
no matter our color
or size
or sexual orientation
or place of birth

From the consciousness
the awareness
that we are atoms
we become free
from the enslavement
of body
and the cruel indoctrination

we are transformed
to become an immovable force
change becomes possible

No longer living in chains
under the boot
of dictatorship
we are free
to love
and to refuse to kill
or hate

We become light
we reach out to it
and we are free

Saturday, August 14, 2010


30,000 people outside of Atlanta, Georgia trying to grab an "application" to get on a public housing waiting list.

And the politicians (Democrats and Republicans alike) are funding endless war at more than $7 billion a month.

Isn't it time to connect the dots?


The Republicans are going for broke now in hopes of retaking control of Congress in November. They are increasingly hyping the immigrant and terrorist threat - particularly this new angle of claiming that terrorists will come have their babies inside the U.S. and then incubate them for the next 20-30 years outside the country before sending them back to "destroy our way of life".

The Republicans are demonizing Mexicans so badly that any hopes they had of making inroads into the Hispanic community are now shot to hell.

They are making Muslims and immigrants the new "Commie" threat and apparently having enough success with some portion of the electorate that many analysts think they will in fact do well at the polls in November.

Here in Maine the Republican party has been largely captured by the right-wing zealots and their candidate for governor is a doosey. He says climate change is a "hoax", wants to teach creationism in the schools, is in favor of off-shore oil drilling (Maine is a fishing state), and a whole lot more. Just days ago the former Vice-chair of the Maine Republican party wrote an op-ed for the state's largest newspaper endorsing the Democrat candidate for governor, saying the Republican was off his rocker.

This strategy of creating widening disgust and hatred among the electorate is just what the ruling oligarchy wants. The more people that drop out of voting the better for them as it makes winning elections for their corporate candidates that much easier.

And as long as the public is clawing each others eyes out they can't focus their real attention on the ruling class at the very top of the pyramid who are taking us all to the cleaners.

The job of the Republicans at this current moment in history seems to be to act as the clowns. These "know-nothings" make the Democrats look better to the average voter who can't hardly stomach them either.

Either way the corporate oligarchy comes out a winner.

Those of us who are fed up with this whole process need to figure out a new path around the obstacle.

Friday, August 13, 2010


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Indecision 2010 - Primary Proxy Battle Theme
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Politics in the good ole USA turns to entertainment and "professional" wrestling.

We are in big trouble folks.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Members of the Committee for Nonviolent Action return to Connecticut 50 years after the Polaris submarine protests.


I thought they were finished digging up our street directly in front of our house - but I was wrong. They have now torn up the street three times to lay different pipes. This photo above (found on the Internet) gives just half of the true picture.....imagine a hole like this all the way across the street with dust flying everywhere.

I've got so much grit in my teeth that I feel like I'm on the tail end of a cattle drive in West Texas.

I can't help but wonder what level of toxicity we are ingesting from this swirling dirt? Luckily it rained two nights ago and helped for a few hours pat the dust down. But the sun is shining today and the air is filled with it again.

They've dug so close to us that my squash garden in the front yard is now being impacted. Can we eat the squash that is ready for picking or has the road dust creeped into the fiber of the zucchini?

I'm almost getting used to the ever present beep-beep-beep sound of the big bulldozers and their diesal engines. The pounding of the rock blasters almost harmonizes with The Kinks when I am listening to a CD. The sound of tires on the rocky surface of the road though makes me shudder because I know that a few seconds later the dust cloud will drift toward the house and find its way through the one open window and into my mouth.

I spit at this never ending road work.


Journalist Max Blumenthal writes about this destruction of an Arab village by Israeli military:

In the middle of the night on August 10, residents of the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Arakib sent a panicked text message to Israeli activists in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Israeli police helicopters were buzzing overhead, surveying the scene ahead of what was likely to be a new round of demolitions. Three activists staying in the village had been nabbed during a night raid. Having already witnessed the razing of their homes twice in the past two weeks, the residents of Al-Arakib expected the third round of demolitions to arrive tonight, on the eve of Ramadan. During Ramadan, when the villagers fasted all day, the police and Israeli Land Adminstration reasoned they would be too weakened to rebuild — it was prime time for destruction.

The villagers remain devoted to the nomadic Bedouin tradition. (Why else would they resist with such tenacity the Israeli government’s plan to resettle them in one of the Indian reservation-style “development communities” the state has created for them?) However, they have established a permanent presence in the areas around their village that pre-dates the foundation of Israel. Al-Arakib’s cemetery, for example, contains the graves dating back to the end of the 19th century. Yet the Bedouins’ historical claim to the Negev has not convinced the state that they deserve legal recognition. Nor have their attempts to demonstrate their loyalty by serving as front-line combat soldiers in the Israeli Army. In the eyes of the state, the Arabs of the Negev are at best quasi-human.

After the Israeli Police completed their third demolition of Al-Arakib, the villagers collected the remains of their homes and, with the assistance of a few international and Jewish Israeli activists, began rebuilding again. Without any recourse from the state or its courts, they have no other option but to start over from scratch. And they have nowhere else to go.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Renowned journalist John Pilger maintains that Barack Obama has failed to change the trajectory of U.S. foreign policy and is following George W. Bush's line.

"For the first time in U.S. presidential history -- it has not happened before -- a president has taken the entire defense department bureaucracy, and the Secretary of Defense, from a previous discredited administration. We have basically Robert Gates and the same generals running American foreign policy with a lot of help from people of like mind."


I just watched this excellent documentary by Kunstler's two daughters about their father. Very well done. It covers a significant portion of 60-80's movement history.

The film will be streaming online for a limited time. Streaming will end at midnight Pacific Time on September 21, 2010.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Obama's Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says the "left" out to be "drug tested" because of their criticisms of the president. It just goes to show that Obama thinks "the left" should submit to his authority and suspend its critical analysis of his policies.

He doesn't believe in real democracy, he wants people to follow him like sheep.


Actually Michael it is OK....the Constitution gives you the absolute right to think for yourself.

You don't need more presents anyway so don't worry about Christmas. Let your gift be mental liberation......


John Hines meets Professor Kang Jung-Koo in Seoul

My son Julian was a high school debater and now coaches high school debate. He recently told a friend of his (John Hines) to contact me who was on his way to South Korea. John told me that the high school debate topic for the next year will be "Whether or not to decrease U.S. military presence in Asia."

John was being sent on a mission to Asia to do advance research so that American high school students would have a base of knowledge to turn to as they debated the issue in the coming year.

I put John in touch with our Global Network board member Sung-Hee Choi in South Korea and she arranged to take him on a fast-paced tour throughout her country to meet peace and reunification activists. Below is one of John's reports from one meeting. You can see more of his reports at his blog here


August 5th began with Sung-Hee and me meeting and interviewing Professor Kang Jung-Koo of Dong-Guk University. Professor Kang will soon retire from the Department of Sociology where his research interests include Korean reunification and contemporary Korean history. Professor Kang is also the director of the Research Institute for Peace and Reunification of Korea, and is affiliated with an activist organization called SPARK (“Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea”). The interview was conducted at the SPARK offices in Seoul and lasted just under two hours. Professor Kang is a very controversial figure in South Korea whose statements regarding the Korean War and reunification of Korea have landed him in court for violating South Korea’s National Security Law. Our interview begins with him explaining why the South Korean Government has prosecuted him.

Professor Kang: In the year 2005 which marked both the 60th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan and the 60th anniversary of a foreign military presence by the United States and thus our forced division, I began arguing that we should celebrate this 60th anniversary with a withdrawal of foreign military forces from South Korea. Also, during this time I wrote an article on the Internet about the General MacArthur statue in Incheon where I argued it was time to get rid of that statue because he was at the forefront of our country’s division. In fact, he advocated dropping as many as 26 Atomic bombs on North Korea; therefore we should not continue to honor his memory with this statue. I have also been very publicly critical of the US military’s actions during the Korean War. For all of these reasons I am now being prosecuted for violating our National Security Law.

My main argument is that if there had been no intervention by the US into the internal affairs of liberated Korea at the end of World War II, Korea would never have been divided and we would not have had to suffer the tragedy of the Korean War. IF the US did not intervene in the Korean War, the war would have ended in a month without the killing of as many as 3 million Koreans and 1 million Chinese. IF there had been no intervention in 1950 during the first period of the Korean War, we would not have suffered such a tragedy. The Korean War was a war of reunification and would have ended quickly and resulted in a unified Korea.

The professor explains to me that his case has gone all the way to the South Korean Supreme Court and he has received a suspended sentence of two years in jail for advancing this argument in his academic writings and public advocacies. He is currently awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court to discover whether or not he will serve prison time for arguing that the US military should never have intervened in the internal affairs of Korea. At this point I ask him to elaborate and explain the historical hypothetical he has advanced.

Professor Kang: The US is 90% responsible for the division of Korea. If there had been no forced division there would never have been a civil war. By 1950 both the US and Russian militaries had left Korea (the US military left in June 1949, and Russia’s military left in December 1948). On July 1st, 1950 the US military returned to Korea in order to intervene in our civil war. Therefore the civil war is a product of interference by foreign powers.

Even though Korea has been divided for over 65 years, I think most Koreans (both North and South) want a re-unified Nation. We have the same identity. Even though there are many differences between South and North in the way of culture, ways of living and thinking we still have a shared identity and desire to be reunited. Prior to our forced division, we had been a united country since the 7th century, that’s over 1400 years as a single country and people.

The story of the “lovely couple” can be used here to understand Korea’s current struggle. When a husband and wife are married, they are “ONE,” but in this story the neighborhood gangster intervened and forced them to be divorced (the US is of course this neighborhood gangster). The majority of Koreans want to be reunited as a “lovely couple” again through peaceful means.

My question: “Can you elaborate on your writings about the US military government in Korea collaborating with pro-Japanese Koreans after World War II? Specifically, how do you think the US military occupation of Korea resembles the Japanese occupation of Korea prior to World War II?”

Professor Kang: If there had been no intervention, the liberated Korea would have cleaned up the pro-Japanese national traitors. In 1946 North Korea acted to root out the pro-Japanese influence in their government and society in order to counteract the legacy of Japanese Imperialism. Therefore, the ruling party of North Korea has no legacy of Japanese imperialism and they are able to maintain self-reliance. This rejection of US imperialism for the last 65 years must be understood as a continuation of the struggle against Japanese imperialism.

On the contrary, in the South there is an opposite history. When the US entered Korea, they had no friends on the Peninsula that would help them administer their military occupation. When the US wanted South Korea to take a Capitalist route rather than a Socialist route, most of South Korea wanted to have a Socialist system rather than a Capitalist system. In July 1946 the US Military Government in Korea conducted a survey of South Koreans and discovered that 71% of respondents wanted a Socialist system, 7% wanted a Communist system, and only 14% wanted a Capitalist system. If the survey had been conducted in 1945, before the US Military Government in Korea made it clear they were opposed to any form of Communist of Socialist system, I would say that almost 90% of Korean people (both North and South) wanted a Socialist system rather than a capitalist system. That is why the US could not find friends in either the North or the South.

The US Military Government needed pro-Japanese national traitors to cooperate with them to help institute a pro-Capitalist regime. For the pro-Japanese, to be friends with the US was the only way to keep their power and status in Korean society. Therefore there emerged a very close alliance between the US military occupation and the pro-Japanese national traitors. This is the reason we had so many small on-going wars (referred to as people’s uprisings) starting in October 1946 and leading up to the Korean War in 1950. In 1946 alone more than 10,000 Koreans were killed by the US occupying forces. These small wars lasted from 1946 to 1950, and because of these wars almost 100,000 Koreans lost their lives.

Also important to understand is that the Korean War was not a “war of aggression.” A “war of aggression” is between two separate sovereign countries, but the North and the South are not separate sovereign countries—we are one country, one nation with two different governments. Therefore, this is a civil war. It is true that North Korea mobilized their military and invaded South Korea. They believed the war would end in one or two months without such tragedy. This was an internal conflict; there was no reason for neighbors to intervene in the internal affairs of the “lovely couple.” As I explained we are like a married couple that was forced by the neighborhood gangster to divorce, so it is natural for us to get reunited after the neighborhood gangster has left.

My question: “So Professor Kang, what can American high school students do in order to facilitate the process of allowing this ‘lovely couple’ to be reunited?”

Professor Kang: Most Americans do not know the real story of our country’s division and the ensuing Korean War. For example, in 2002 I met Thomas Friedman of the New York Times and we talked for about 90 minutes. He later wrote some articles about South Korea and the North Korean nuclear crisis and I was very disappointed to notice that he didn’t appear to know anything about the real story of what is actually going on between North Korea and South Korea. Therefore, we must start by getting to the Real Story of our country’s division, the tragedy of the Korean War, and of the inevitability of North Korea’s development of nuclear powers in order to protect itself against attacks from the United States. In the history of crises on the Korean peninsula since the end of the Korean War, out of 11 crises all but 2 were initiated by United States actions and belligerence towards North Korea. In the face of the US military aggression what can North Korea do? They do not have the money to cope with South Korean and United States military spending; therefore the most economic way to defend themselves is to develop nuclear bombs. Only a nuclear bomb can guarantee North Korea’s security in such a situation. When North Korea first announced the test of their nuclear weapons, the official announcement of North Korea stated that when the hostile policies of the United States towards North Korea cease they would be willing to give up their nuclear weapons.

The first step is to get American citizens to know all these true details of US involvement in Korea. If they know they will realize there is no reason for the US military to be here in the Korean peninsula. The Korean peninsula is not safe because of US military presence; instead it is “the most dangerous place in the world” because of the US military presence. So the conclusion is clear, the first step is to get the US military out of Korea. Then, we (North and South) can refuse the offensive military orientation towards each other and transition towards defensive oriented military systems and we can begin to work towards peaceful reunification and cooperation between North and South.