Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Monday, January 31, 2011


Pearl Harbor has become the X-Band radar’s informal home

By Kyle Kajihiro (AFSC Honolulu, Hawai'i)

The Sea-Based X-band Radar (SBX) pulled into Pearl Harbor again on December 22, 2010. When the military originally proposed the expansion of its missile defense test range to include most of the north Pacific, many opposed the project, especially the homeporting of the $1 billion Sea-Based X-band Radar monstrosity in Hawai’i.

We were relieved when Hawai’i was not selected as the site, but soon we saw the terrible eye looming on the horizon as it pulled into Ke Awalau O Pu’uloa for repairs and maintenance, or so we were told. However, as this Honolulu Star Advertiser article explains, the SBX radar never spent a day in its Adak, Alaska homeport.

When it does head in, Hawaii has become the SBX’s home port by default. Ironically, in 2003, military officials considered but rejected permanently basing the SBX here. A spot three miles south of Kalaeloa was examined along with five other locations before Adak was selected.

Adak got the nod because it is between the “threat ballistic missiles” — presumably in North Korea — and the interceptor missiles in California and Alaska, Lt. Gen. Henry Obering III, then-head of the missile agency, said in a 2006 memo.

Instead it has been a kolea, wintering annually in the islands. The newspaper reports “The 280-foot-tall SBX, as it is called, has “loitered” in the vicinity of Adak several times, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said, but it has returned to Pearl Harbor 11 times and spent a combined total of more than a year and a half in port in Hawaii.”


» 2006: 170 days

» 2007: 63 days

» 2008: 63 days

» 2009: 177 days

» 2010: 51 days

» Dec. 22 to present

Source: Missile Defense Agency

The Honolulu Star Advertiser writes:

Like a loyal tourist, the massive $1 billion Sea-Based X-Band Radar platform keeps returning to Hawaii, becoming an instant focus of public interest every time it moors at Pearl Harbor.

» Size: 240 feet wide and 390 feet long

» Height: 280 feet from keel to top of radar dome

» Displacement: Nearly 50,000 tons

The Missile Defense Agency is tight-lipped about the reasons for never mooring the SBX in Adak as planned in 2006, but the Coast Guard raised concern over operating a 280-foot-tall oil rig ship in the unforgiving Bering Sea, where waves routinely exceed 30 feet and winds top 130 mph.

The SBX radar is part of the massive expansion of the U.S. missile defense system in the Pacific. On the one hand, the system is anything but defensive. Russia and China both feel threatened by the ring of missile defense sites encircling them, as these missiles could neutralize retaliatory capabilities in the event of a first strike by the U.S. So they view the missile defenses as an escalation to be met by expanded offensive capabilities. The expansion of missile defense systems is causing great political and social unrest in the places where the U.S. wants to station the facilities including Poland, the Czech Republic, Guam and Jeju-do, Korea. Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands has already been taken over by the U.S. missile defense system, its native islanders crammed into one small squalid slum on Ebeye island.

On the other hand, the missile defense is a massive boondoggle for missile defense aerospace contractors. As one former engineer from the Pacific Missile Range Facility told me in disgust, the system is not designed to work. It is only supposed to be improved incrementally, thereby keeping the federal dollars flowing. So perhaps the decision to homeport the SBX radar in Adak was only to ensure that Alaska got its fair share of the military pork through construction projects. The program was initiated during the double reign of Senators Stevens and Inouye on the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

Meanwhile, the terrible eye is watching…


  • I'm not really complaining. But another big storm is heading our way, due to arrive Tuesday-Wednesday. It apparently means another 12-18 inches of shoveling. The last photo is our shed. Each time the snow plow driver comes to clear our driveway he pushes it up near the shed and we have to reopen the tunnel to get to it. It takes a long time to break through that mound. Last night we had our 4th anniversary Addams-Melman House potluck supper and played political bingo. It was a nice time, had a good laugh with everyone.

  • For the second year in a row, the U.S. military has lost more troops to suicide than it has to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Overall, the services reported 434 suicides by personnel on active duty in 2010, significantly more than the 381 suicides by active-duty personnel reported in 2009. A sad commentary on these endless wars indeed.

  • The brochure for the GN's June 17-19 international space organizing conference is now available on-line. This event will celebrate 19 years of our work on the space issue. The conference (Raytheon, Missile Offense & Endless War) will be held in North Andover, Massachusetts where the Raytheon Co. has a production plant that is building missile offense systems. So far we've heard from GN leaders coming from Germany, India, England, Sweden, Japan, Canada, and from all over the U.S. It should be a great event. One very exciting part of the conference will be a concert featuring Tetsu Kitagawa, one of Japan's leading peace and justice singer/songwriters who has been described as Japan's Bob Dylan -- early Dylan, the one engaged with people's movements. On tour in the U.S. as part of his 100 consecutive concerts for peace, nuclear abolition, and defense of Japan’s peace constitution, Kitagawa will be joined by Pat Scanlon and other musical friends for a concert on June 18 at 8:15 pm.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Images from Egypt as protesters defy curfew in Cairo and other cities taken throughout the day.


Saturday, January 29, 2011



Egypt brings in the military to now try to do what the police could not - suppress the population.

I read one news story that reported a young man picked up a tear gas canister and saw it was made in the USA. That pretty much sums it all up for me.

The government of Egypt owes its power to the U.S. military industrial complex.

Something is sweeping the world....real hope and change. It's time for it to hit the USA.

Friday, January 28, 2011



This law to destroy ethnic studies in Arizona is a push back from the increasingly insecure white population as they face demographic changes in the US. In just a few years from now blacks and Hispanics in North America will be the majority population and many white people fear they will lose political power.

So all around the country these kinds of racist tactics are being deployed. In some states anyone convicted of a felony crime loses their voting rights for the rest of their life. Thus you see the explosion in recent years of young blacks and Hispanics being arrested and charged with felony offenses for possession of small amounts of drugs. In the white community you find much less police enforcement of the same crimes.

Attempts like these to hold onto white control of the political system appear to be working in the short term. But over time the nation will be transformed as the racist white political system will be washed over by the rising tide of people of color.

If the whites had any good sense they'd embrace their neighbors and learn to share and live in peace. But white America has been raised with the false notion of exceptionalism and many of them are incapable of overcoming their racist indoctrination.

Instead the white power structure will employ similar tactics used in the past by the white minority government in South Africa. In the end they too will fail.



Boycott Samsung products. They are the lead contractor for the base construction.
The soft coral just offshore of the Gangjeong village
In her latest report from the Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea Global Network board member Sung-Hee Choi reports:

Nowadays I am going to one-hour, one-man protest every afternoon in front of gate of the Navy field office, beside daily morning watch in the Joongduk coast. Yesterday, there were lots of workers who were working on the paving the road outside the gate.

They looked very weary and sad. I remembered my senior friend who advised me to have positive and reversing thought on the current construction being processed. So I shouted them, “I understand you. I am not angry with you. I know you are working on this because of your livelihood. So I don’t hate you. Let’s convert those builds inside the gate into our children’s school in the future. “

Then surprising things happened. I could see a worker working on the top of roller lightly nodded me. And another worker came to me and said, “There are little of us who really enjoy this work. I have been in the Joongduk coast for Christmas peace mass led by Fr. Kang Woo-Il on Christmas day. But what can we do as we are so powerless?”

I can never forget such sad face of his. I took hold of his hands and said, “We can win, let’s together save the Jeju as the Island of Peace.”

Something was happening inside me. Most of the construction workers inside the Navy field office came from the Jeju. They love their home. They don’t want base. But they work on it because they have to feed themselves. Yesterday, I read an article that a construction worker in Seoul died being frozen because of coldness in his small and unheated room. The situation of workers in the Jeju could be worse.

I was upset by such sad situation. I saw many of the workers inside the Navy field office work in such sad and haggard faces yesterday. I would remember the scene for a long time.

Days ago, another worker inside the base came to me and said similar thing that he was not really enjoying his works. He is a Gangjeong villager and seemed to be hated by some villagers who are opposing the naval base. His face looked very sad, too. He said how powerless he was.

I have never seen such sad faces... and I wanted to cry.

The villagers are crying deep inside.. even though they look worn out and appear passive in the struggle… they cry inside.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


  • This is a photo of my town, Bath, just last week. We've had a couple days like that lately and it made for lots of shoveling. Last night we had another inch of snow or so and I spent an hour outside today cleaning up after that. I had to rake the roof and then shovel off the various paths in the back yard. It's begun to look like an Olympic luge course back there as the walls of snow keep getting taller.

  • I taped my latest public access TV show today and had two wonderful Sudanese men on the program. Both were heavily involved in organizing the recent referendum for the Sundanese people who live in the northeast of this country. Over 800 people who originally came from South Sudan made their way to Boston so they could vote on the issue of splitting Sunday into two nations. Most of them I am told voted in favor of the split. They organized about eight buses from Portland to go to Boston. More than 2,000 Sudanese live in Maine which has become a major refugee relocation state since it is so predominately white. Portland now has immigrants from many nations living there.

  • Our new Republican (Tea Party) Governor Paul LePage is in the news again today as a leaked memo from the Governor's "Communications Director" has gone public. In the memo the staffer says, "Once we take office, Paul will put 11,000 [state agency] bureaucrats to work getting Republicans re-elected." This, using state workers to promote a particular party, would of course be entirely illegal. It seems as though our new governor and his crew will be putting their inflated egos ahead of the people's business and will be inserting their snow boots into their hyper-active mouths quite frequently. I am predicting that they will be giving us something like this to write about at least every month - maybe even weekly.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


President Obama began his second State of the Union address by paying tribute to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona but did not address the issue of gun control. He spoke about the need for clean energy but did not mention the word "climate" once in his address. He talked about the economy but never mentioned foreclosures.

Democray Now gets response on Obama’s the State of the Union speech with longtime consumer advocate Joan Claybrook and the former mayor of Salt Lake City, Rocky Anderson, who is now director of High Road for Human Rights.


Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer who was brought down in a sex scandal.

Video now available for rent in local shops.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Two Egyptian civilians and a police officer have died after a wave of unusually large anti-government demonstrations swept across the country.

The two civilians died in the eastern city of Suez, according an interior ministry offical. One, who had respiratory problems, died after inhaling tear gas; the other died after being hit with a rock thrown during a protest, the official said.

Meanwhile, in Cairo, a police officer died after being hit in the head with a rock during the capital's biggest protest in Tahrir Square in the city centre, the official said.

Thousands of Egyptians took to the streets on Tuesday in what were reportedly the largest demonstrations in years, and which they explicitly tied to the successful uprising in nearby Tunisia.


Leading Activists Oppose Obama for Democratic Nomination

January 25, 2011

Over 150 prominent activists, authors, and academics have launched a petition with a statement that begins:

"We the undersigned share with nearly two-thirds of our fellow Americans the conviction that our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should be ended and that overall military spending should be dramatically reduced. This has been our position for years and will continue to be, and we take it seriously. We vow not to support President Barack Obama for renomination for another term in office, and to actively seek to impede his war policies unless and until he reverses them."

Some of those who have signed:

Nic Abramson, U.S. Boat to Gaza
Meredith Aby, MN Anti-War Committee
Elliott Adams, president, Veterans For Peace
Will Allen, author, The War on Bugs
Maria Allwine, Pledge of Resistance Baltimore
Vicki Andrews, Peace Circle - Grand Rapids MN
Jean Athey, coordinator of Peace Action Montgomery (MD)* and national board member, Peace Action*
Nellie Hester Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council & Black Agenda Report
Anna Baltzer, activist
Missy Beattie, activist and writer
Mark Bebawi, producer/host, The Monitor, KPFT
Medea Benjamin, cofounder, Code Pink*
Frida Berrigan, War Resisters League*
Toby Blome, activist, Bay Area Code Pink
William Blum, author of books on U.S. foreign policy
Leah Bolger, CDR, USN (Ret), Vice-President, Veterans For Peace
Roy Bourgeois, founder, School of the Americas Watch
Linda Boyd, activist
Lenni Brenner, author, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators
Jean Hay Bright, Maine's 2006 Democratic US Senate candidate
Elaine Brower, military mom, World Can't Wait
Mike Byerly, Alachua County Commissioner, Gainesville, Fla.
Scott Camil, President, Gainesville Florida Chapter, Veterans For Peace
Patty Casazza, 9/11 widow, former 9/11 Commission Family Steering Committee Member
Oskar Castro, board member, War Resisters League
Zach Choate, operation recovery field organizer, Iraq Veterans Against the War
David Cobb, Move To Amend coalition*
Jeff Cohen, author/media critic
William John Cox, Voters Evolt!
Catarina Correia, video editor, coordinating committee member, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Bud Courtney, New York Catholic Worker
David Culver, publisher, Evergreene Digest
Ronnie Cummins, national director, Organic Consumers Association
Matthew W. Daloisio, Witness Against Torture*
Nicolas J S Davies, author, Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq
Elena Day, People's Alliance for Clean Energy
Frank Dorrel, publisher, Addicted To War
Sibel Edmonds, founder & director, National Security Whistleblowers Coalition
Cherie Eichholz, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Roy Eidelson, past president, Psychologists for Social Responsibility
Pat Elder, Coordinating Committee, National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth*
Daniel Ellsberg, former State and Defense Dept. official, whistleblower of Pentagon Papers
Samuel S. Epstein, professor
Desiree Fairooz, Northern Virginians for Peace and Justice
Mike Ferner, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Joy First, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Robert Fitrakis, professor, editor
Lisa Fithian, convenor, United for Peace and Justice
Margaret Flowers, M.D., Physicians for a National Health Program*
Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report*
George Friday, Independent Progressive Politics Network
Sarah Fuhro, board member, Military Families Speak Out*
James Clay Fuller, retired newspaper editor
Monica Gabrielle, 9/11 widow, former 9/11 Commission Family Steering Committee Member
Bruce K. Gagnon, coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space*
Lila Garrett, radio host
Nate Goldshlag, national board member and treasurer, Veterans For Peace
Michelle Gross, president, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Thomas John Gumbleton, retired Roman Catholic Bishop
DeeDee Halleck, founder, Paper Tiger Tv, Deep Dish Network, emerita professor, UCSD
Connie Hammond, Progressive Peace Coalition, Columbus, Ohio
Kathy Hass, activist, Central Florida Code Pink
Bill Habedank, Veterans for Peace
Jim Haber, coordinator, Nevada Desert Experience
Susan Harman, Progressive Democrats of America*, Code Pink*
David Harris, Veterans for Peace
David Harris, draft resister, author
Leslie Harris, activist, Code Pink Greater Dallas*
Bob Heberle, former national board member, Veterans for Peace
Chris Hedges, author, Death of the Liberal Class
Dud Hendrick, Maine chapter president, Veterans for Peace
Steve Hendricks, author, A Kidnapping in Milan: The CIA on Trial
Martha Hennessy, Catholic Worker
John Heuer, chair and national board member, NC Peace Action
Herbert J. Hoffman, vice president, Maine Veterans for Peace
Connie Hogarth, Cofounder WESPAC (Westchester Peoples Action Coalition)*
Lydia Howell, writer and host, "Catalyst", KFAI Radio
Sam Husseini, activist
Hugh Iglarsh, writer/editor
Rick Jahnkow, Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft*
Dahr Jamail, journalist/author
Mark C. Johnson, executive director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Larry Kalb, former Democratic congressional candidate
Tarak Kauff, Veterans For Peace
Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence*
Nada Khader, WESPAC Foundation
Joey King, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Howie Klein, publisher,
Michael Knox, professor and clinical psychologist
Georg Koszulinski, filmmaker
Joel Kovel, author, The Enemy of Nature, Overcoming Zionism
Andrew Kolin, author, State Power and Democracy: Before and During the Presidency of George W Bush
Steve Lane, activist
Jesse Lemisch, Historian, Emeritus Prof, John Jay Coll of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun/Network of Spiritual Progressives
Linda LeTendre, LMSW Christian Peace Witness
Dave Lindorff, editor,
Erik Lobo, Veteran For Peace
Ralph Lopez,
David MacMichael, Ph.D., former CIA analyst
Sarah Martin, subpoenaed antiwar and international solidarity activist
Gene Marx, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Ethan McCord, IVAW, VFP, former army specialist from "collateral murder" video
Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst
Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman and 2008 Green Party Nominee for U.S. President
David McReynolds, Socialist Party USA*
Bob Meola, War Resisters League National Committee* and Courage to Resist Organizing Collective*
Michael T. McPhearson, co-convenor United For Peace and Justice, former executive director of Veterans For Peace
Camilo E. Mejia, activist, resister
Linda Milazzo, activist, writer
Dede Miller, activist
Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor
Nick Mottern, Consumers for Peace
Gael Murphy, co-chair, Legislative Working Group, United for Peace and Justice*, co-founder, Code Pink*
Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy*
Bruce Nestor, past president, National Lawyers Guild
Brad Newsham, activist
Georgianne Nienaber, activist and author
Stirling Newberry, former military contractor
Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center
Jeanne Olson, veteran, activist
Paul Ortiz, Veterans for Peace, author
Michael Parenti, author and activist
Cynthia Papermaster, director, National Accountability Action Network*
Judith Mahoney Pasternak, War Resisters League*
Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist
Lewis Pitts, Legal Aid of NC
Gareth Porter, author and journalist
Bill Quigley, Center for Constitutional Rights and professor of law, Loyola University New Orleans*
Jesselyn Radack, former Department of Justice legal adviser
Garett Reppenhagen, chair of the board of directors, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Ward Reilly, advisory committee member, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, VVAW
Jill Richardson, author
Katie Robbins, national organizer, Healthcare-NOW!
David Rovics, singer/song writer
Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent, one of TIME's 2002 Persons of the Year
Richard E. Rubenstein, author, Reasons to Kill: Why Americans Choose War
Stephanie Rugoff, project coordinator, War Criminals Watch
A.F. Saidy, M.D., Coalition for Peace in M.E. in L.A.
Nicole Sandler, radio host
Lisa Savage, Code Pink Maine*
Linda Schade,
Bill Scheurer, PeaceMajority Report
Sue Serpa, coordinator,
Jamilla El-Shafei, Peace Action Maine, Code Pink
Joanne Sheehan, coordinator, War Resisters League New England
Robert Shetterly, artist, Americans Who Tell the Truth
Gar Smith, Environmentalists Against War
Michael Steven Smith, Law and Disorder Radio; board member, Center for Constitutional Rights*
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Democracy Unlimited
Jeffrey St Clair, CounterPunch
John Stauber, author, Weapons of Mass Deception
Josh Stieber, conscientious objector
John Stockwell, former intelligence officer, author
David Swanson,
Rev. James L. Swarts, professor, Veterans For Peace, Progressives In Action Peace Committee Chair
Dennis Trainor, Jr.,
Diane Turco, Cape Codders for Peace and Justice
Sue Udry, Defending Dissent Foundation*
Elizabeth De La Vega, former assistant U.S. attorney, author
Robert C. Walter, Peace Action Maine, associate member of Veterans for Peace
Harvey Wasserman, author
Janet Weil, military family member
Alison Weir, president, Council for the National Interest
Beverley Whipple, Fla. chapter leader, Military Families Speak Out
Paki Wieland, activist
S. Brian Willson, Viet Nam Veteran, activist
Diane Wilson, shrimper, activist, author, Veterans for Peace
Marcy Winograd, former Democratic congressional candidate
Ann Wright, US Army Reserve Colonel and former US diplomat
Bill Wylie-Kellermann, pastor, St Peter's Episcopal Church - Detroit
Dan Yaseen, Peace Fresno
Charles M. Young, contributing editor,
Kevin Zeese, Voters For Peace
Maggie Zhou, Climate SOS

* for identification only

The full statement (and full list of initial signers) is available with a petition at


  • Obama's State of the Union speech is tonight and I won't be watching. Just like with George W. Bush, I can't stomach watching the magician at work. I get nauseous and it's bad for my blood pressure. I think the CodePink report card above pretty much sums it all up for me, although I'd give him a D-minus in Home Economics. They were far too generous with that C grade. Obama is a bummer - and so are his apologists. The big story with the corporate media will be the "seating arrangements" at his speech to Congress as some of the Repubs and Dems mix it up and sit next to one another. Why not? With few exceptions they are all playing from the same corporate game card and have been bought and sold by the oligarchy. Why not end the illusion that we have two political parties. It's just one happy corporate family!

  • I am working on the Global Network's June 17-19 Int'l Space Organizing Conference brochure. I want to get the preliminary version printed in time for me to take when I go to join the Feb 13-28 Walk for New Spring that will go throughout the state of Massachusetts and is being organized by the New England Peace Pagoda (Nipponzan Myohoji). The way winter has been going so far it is going to be a cold walk. Should be some kind of experience for sure.

  • I tape the next edition of my public access TV show on Thursday and am excited that I will have two leaders from the Sudanese community as guests. One of them managed the recent referendum, on splitting the country into two, for the many Sudanese who live in the Northeast of the US. They rented buses and went to Boston to vote. My other guest is the local representative for the Sudanese liberation movement. Maine is a major resettlement area for Sudanese refugees. Many thanks to Wells Staley-Mays for making these arrangements for me. He works closely with all the immigrant communities living in Portland.

  • It's so cold here in Maine that some of our pipes froze yesterday and I had to go into the basement with a hair dryer to try to unfreeze them. It worked and we left the faucets running just a bit after that. We have tons of snow piled up around the house. It looks like a winter wonderland.

Monday, January 24, 2011



I've written alot about the problem on Jeju Island in South Korea. But there are other islands in the Pacific that are undergoing tremendous expansion by the Pentagon and I think it is important to remind people about the larger strategy underway.

In a 2005 article entitled Pentagon begins military buildup on Guam the author wrote, "With China looming as a potential adversary and thousands of Marines moving out of Japan over the next several years, the Pentagon is turning its eye to Guam, the westernmost U.S. territory and an attractive launching pad for Pacific operations."

Later in the piece this appeared: "Guam and other U.S. land in the Pacific provide one major advantage over stationing troops in friendly countries: It is territory the military does not have to negotiate access to, said Robert Work, a naval analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments."

"All of the islands that we own over time -- if we're going to be operating in the Pacific a lot -- will tend to be very, very important," Work said.

The Pentagon wants to expand operations on Guam so it can host aircraft carriers, drones, and thousands more troops. New environmentally pristine and sacred lands are slated to be taken over for the increased military presence.

It has been difficult for the people of Guam to oppose U.S. militarism because it was America that liberated the island from the brutal Japanese colonization. But a growing movement to resist U.S. base expansion is happening and people are increasingly thinking and talking more about what their "status" should be.

Michael Lujan Bevacqua lives on Guam and teaches at a local university. I met him last year when we both traveled around South Korea together. He helps to organize opposition to the expansion of U.S. militarism on Guam and has an interesting blog called "No rest for the awake."

In one of his recent posts he talked about this issue of colonial status:

Guam is one of the last “official” colonies left in the world and the fact that we are so clueless about our status and so apathetic as an island to changing it is a travesty. We are a colony in denial about being a colony and sometimes it seems that our number one industry is neither military nor tourism, but rather making up excuses as to why it is either alright or necessary that we remain a colony.

This is understandable given that Guam is a pretty “comfortable” colony, but that does not change the fact that Guam’s relationship to the US is fundamentally not one of equality, but of ownership. Although Guam is the recipient of “state-like” treatment, we are not a state, we are a possession, an unincorporated territory, and so while we may want to feel that our relationship to the US is just like any state, any other corner of America, it is not, and we do ourselves little good by pretending it is otherwise.

Despite what most may think, our political status is not a minor issue, but literally affects everything on this island. Where you stand on Guam’s current colonial status and what you think (or don’t think) about what should happen next goes to the core of how you are a person of Guam. How you live here, what you feel about this place, what you think it’s capable of and where you think it should go next.

I like what Michael is doing here. He has decolonized his mind and is now offering others the challenge to do the same. This is a necessary first-step in making it possible for people to begin to think about how they feel about their beautiful and peaceful island being one more "power projection hub" for the U.S. military empire.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Tunisians who defied an overnight curfew to march towards the capital, are demanding the resignation of the interim prime minister. They described their journey as a "Caravan of Liberation". But the interim prime minister and his cabinet are refusing to bow to public pressure. From Tunis, Hashem Ahelbarra reports.


The New York Times reported the other day:

As President Obama and Congress brace to battle over how to reduce chronic annual budget deficits, Americans overwhelmingly say that in general they prefer cutting government spending to paying higher taxes, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Yet their preference for spending cuts, even in programs that benefit them, dissolves when they are presented with specific options related to Medicare and Social Security, the programs that directly touch the most people and also are the biggest drivers of the government’s projected long-term debt.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans choose higher payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security over reduced benefits in either program. And asked to choose among cuts to Medicare, Social Security or the nation’s third-largest spending program — the military — a majority by a large margin [55%] said cut the Pentagon. [55% of those polled also chose reducing troops in Europe and Asia as a way to cut military spending.]

This is excellent news. It means that even with all the corporate media blathering about the deficit and the need to cut back on "entitlement programs," once again the majority of American people are seeing through the fog. They are able to ultimately understand that it is not in their interests to cut Social Security and Medicare, etc. The corporate sales pitch is not working with the bulk of the people.


But - as with the numbers of Americans now against the Afghanistan war, about 63%, we've not yet been able to get people to move into action. (Action defined as public protests, more letters to editor on the subject, organizing local meetings to speak out, making demands on both political parties ........)

Maybe with the Republicans in power of the House of Representatives that will change. Possibly people will feel more urgency. (I hear you ask, how much more urgency do they need?)

I think that many of the folks who know better have been relying on Obama and the Dems to save them and they have been frozen from moving into action because in their loyal minds they perceive speaking out as being "against" the Democrats who have been in power. Even though they don't support many of the policies coming from Washington they seem to think that speaking out would make it likely that "Obama's team" would lose. Well, as it turns out, they have lost anyway in the House and are barely holding onto the Senate. Obama is no cinch to get reelected in 2012 either and even if he does he seems most interested in serving the interests of the corporations.

Maybe people will begin to thaw themselves out from this frozen state and begin to move into action before all is lost. Or maybe they will continue in their present state of fearful isolation and wait until all is lost before stepping up. Humankind has often shown the proclivity to do that.

This next year will be the strategic barometer. In the meantime thank goodness there are people out there staying on the case. Sadly though, unless we get some help soon, we are all going down the tubes.


Saturday, January 22, 2011


The Mirror News reports:

Tony Blair finally apologised for the Iraq War yesterday – and was jeered by furious relatives of British soldiers who lost their lives.

After facing an official inquiry for the second time, the strained-looking ex-PM offered his “deep regrets” for the 179 troops killed in the conflict.

But his remarks sparked emotional scenes in the witness room.

One woman broke down in tears, then stood up and spent the rest of the session with her back turned to Mr Blair.

Rose Gentle, the mother of Fusilier Gordon Gentle, who died in Basra aged 19 in 2004, shouted: “Too late!” And as Mr Blair walked to the exit, she called out: “Your lies killed my son. I hope you can live with it.”

Friday, January 21, 2011


The other day I saw a story on the TV news that the city of Camden, New Jersey was laying off a bunch of firemen and police due to their budget crisis. I wonder if any of those being let go thought about war spending? It would have been great if these angry public service workers would have gone on the news and said something like, "If we were not wasting $10 billion a month in Afghanistan I wouldn't be losing my job today."

In yesterday's Washington Post an article called House GOP group proposes deep spending cuts over next decade reported that Republican proposals in the House of Representatives would require cuts of about 15 % at agencies other than the departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security. The Republican Study Committee (a Tea Party group) plan, by contrast, would reduce most agency budgets by about 30 %.

If cuts were made on that magnitude the Post said, "The federal prison system would have to fire 5,700 correctional officers, the Agriculture Department would have to cut about 3,000 food safety inspectors, and the Head Start early-childhood education program would be forced to cut about 389,000 children from its rolls."

Here in Maine, the state has a budget shortfall of $800 million and heavy cuts will be made this spring. Public education and social spending will take another huge hit. That means more school closers, teacher lay-offs, cuts in grants to social service delivery groups, and cuts in health care assistance to the poor, elderly, and mentally ill. Wouldn't it be nice to turn on the news and hear the teachers union or social service leaders talking about the need to end war spending so those funds could be shifted to the states that are in fiscal crisis?

Imagine the massive lay-offs all over the nation as the federal government cuts social spending and the states do the same thing. Where will these folks find new work? Answer: they won't.

I recognize that the nation has a large budget deficit and something must be done to deal with it. But rather than shut down social progress, wouldn't it be much better to end the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and stop the widening war into Pakistan? If those funds were brought home and invested in our society we'd not only see a big change in our debt crisis, we'd also stop the hemorrhaging of jobs.

These are the points that are not being talked about in the mainstream media. It is obvious that the oligarchy is closing the door on any public discussion except for ways to destroy social progress and return us to a feudal society.

What do you think we can do to spur this much needed debate?

Thursday, January 20, 2011


The following list of attendees was released by the White House.

The President and Mrs. Obama

His Excellency Hu Jintao

The Honorable Madeleine Albright, Washington, D.C.
Ms. Alice Albright

Ms. Christiane Amanpour, ABC News, New York, NY
Mr. James Rubin

The Honorable David Axelrod, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor
Mrs. Susan Axelrod

Mr. Jeffrey Bader, National Security Council
Ms. Rohini Talalla

The Honorable Elizabeth Bagley, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Kevin Frawley

Mr. Steven Ballmer, Microsoft, Redmond, WA
Mrs. Connie Ballmer

Ms. Bette Bao Lord, New York, NY
The Honorable Winston Lord

Mrs. Denise Bauer, Belvedere Tiburon, CA

The Honorable Howard Berman, Representative from California
Mrs. Janis Berman

Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Dr. Jill Biden

The Honorable Joseph Beau Biden, III, Attorney General of Delaware, Wilmington, DE
Mrs. Hallie Biden

His Excellency Zheng Bijian, Chairman, CIIDS

His Excellency Dai Bingguo, State Councilor

Mr. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs, New York, NY
Mrs. Laura Blankfein

The Honorable Antony Blinken, Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor, Office of the Vice President

The Honorable Stephen Breyer, United States Supreme Court
Dr. Johanna Breyer

Mr. Greg Brown, Motorola, Schaumburg, IL
Mrs. Anna-Louise Brown

The Honorable Dr. Zbigniew Brezezinski, McLean, VA
Mrs. Emilie A. Brzezinski

The Honorable Kurt M. Campbell, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs

The Honorable Lael Brainard, Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs

The Honorable James E. Carter, former President of the United States
Mrs. Rosalynn Carter

Mr. Jackie Chan, Beverly Hills, CA
Mr. Phillip Button

The Honorable Elaine Chao, Washington, D.C.
Dr. James Chao

His Excellency Wang Chao, Vice Minister for Commerce

His Excellency Tung Chee Hwa, Vice Chairman, CPPCC, former Hong Kong Chief Executive

Mr. John A. Chen, Chairman, Committee of 100, New York, NY
Mrs. Sherrie Chen

The Honorable Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, Trenton, NJ
Mrs. Mary Pat Christie

The Honorable Judy Chu, Representative from California
Ms. Chiling Tong

The Honorable Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy
Mrs. Jean Chu

The Honorable Hillary R. Clinton, Secretary of State

The Honorable William J. Clinton, former President of the United States

The Honorable James E. Clyburn, Representative from South Carolina
Mr. John Clyburn

The Honorable Richard Daley, Mayor of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Mrs. Maggie Daley

The Honorable William Daley, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff
Ms. Bernadette Keller

His Excellency Chen Deming, Minister of Commerce

Mr. Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan Chase & Co., New York, NY
Mrs. Judith Dimon

The Honorable Thomas Donilon, Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor
Ms. Cathy Russell, Chief of Staff to Dr. Jill Biden

The Honorable Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education
Mrs. Karen Duncan

Mr. James Fallows, The Atlantic, Washington, D.C.
Mrs. Deborah Fallows

Mr. Xie Feng, Director General, MFA

Mr. Thomas Friedman, The New York Times, Washington, D.C.
Mrs. Ann Friedman

The Honorable Michael B. Froman, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs
Ms. Nancy Goodman

His Excellency Wan Gang, Minister of Science and Technology

The Honorable Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense
Mrs. Becky Gates

The Honorable Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury
Mrs. Carole Geithner

Mr. Mark Gilbert, Boca Raton, FL
Mrs. Nancy Gilbert

The Honorable Chris Gregoire, Governor of Washington, Olympia, WA
Ms. Courtney Gregoire

His Excellency Zhu Guangyao, Vice Minister for Finance

His Excellency Zhang Guobao, Vice Minister for NDRC

Mr. Herbie Hancock, Los Angeles, CA
Mrs. GiGi Hancock

The Honorable Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Science and Technology

The Honorable Robert Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs

The Honorable Steny Hoyer, Representative from Maryland, Democratic WHIP

His Excellency Wang Huning, Director of the Policy Research Office of CCCPC

The Honorable Jon Huntsman, U.S. Ambassador to China
Mrs. Mary Kaye Huntsman

Mr. Robert Iger, The Walt Disney Company, Burbank, CA
Ms. Willow Bay

Mr. David Ignatius, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.
Dr. Eve Ignatius

Mr. Jeff Immelt, General Electric, Fairfield, CT
Mrs. Andrea Immelt

The Honorable Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement

His Excellency Li Jiaxiang, Vice Minister for Transportation

His Excellency Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs

His Excellency Ling Jihua, Director of the General Office of CCCPC

Mr. Robert Kagan, McLean, VA
Ms. Victoria Nuland

Mr. Michael Kempner, East Rutherford, NJ
Mrs. Jacqueline Kempner

Mr. Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola, Atlanta, GA

The Honorable John F. Kerry, Senator from Massachusetts
Mrs. Teresa Heinz Kerry

Mr. Robert King, UAW, Detroit, MI
Ms. Julie Kushner

The Honorable Ron Kirk, United States Trade Representative
Mrs. Matrice Ellis-Kirk

The Honorable Henry Kissinger, New York, NY
Mrs. Nancy Kissinger

Mr. Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, Scarsdale, NY
Ms. Sheryl WuDunn

Ms. Ellen Kullman, DuPont, Wilmington, DE
Mr. Michael Kullman

Dr. Zhang Kunsheng, Director-General, Protocol Department

Ms. Michelle Kwan, Torrance, CA

Mr. Lang Lang, New York, NY
Mrs. Zhou Xiulan

The Honorable Jacob Lew, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources

Ms. Maya Lin, New York, NY
Mr. Daniel Wolf

Ms. Limin Liu, Reno, NV
Dr. Hugh Shapiro

Mr. Andrew N. Liveris, The Dow Chemical Company, Midland, MI
Mrs. Paula Liveris

The Honorable Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce
Mrs. Mona Locke

The Honorable Christopher Lu, Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary
Ms. Kathryn Thomson

The Honorable Richard Lugar, Senator from Indiana
Mrs. Charlene Lugar

Mr. Yo Yo Ma, Burbank, CA
Ms. Jill Hornor

The Honorable Capricia Marshall, Chief of Protocol, Department of State

Mr. W. James McNerney, The Boeing Company, Chicago, IL
Mrs. Haity McNerney

Mr. Evan Medeiros, Director for Asian Affairs, NSS

His Excellency Jiang Mianheng, Vice Chairman, CAS

Mr. Mel Monzack, Wilmington, DE
Mrs. Ann Monzack

Admiral Michael G. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Mrs. Wendi Deng Murdoch, New York, NY

Mr. James Murren, Las Vegas, NV
Mrs. Heather Murren

The Honorable Thomas Nides, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources
Ms. Virginia Moseley

Mr. Paul Otellini, Intel, Santa Clara, CA
Mrs. Sandy Otellini

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Representative from California, Democratic Leader
Mr. Paul Pelosi

His Excellency Zhang Ping, Minister of NDRC

The Honorable David Plouffe, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor
Ms. Olivia Morgan

Mr. Tom Pritzker, Pritzker Organization, Chicago, IL
Mrs. Margot Pritzker

His Excellency Wang Qishan, Vice Premier of the State Council

Ms. Jean Quan, Mayor of Oakland, CA
The Honorable Edwin M. Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, CA

Ms. Azita Raji, JP Morgan Securities, Inc., Belvedere, CA
Mr. Gary Syman

The Honorable Ben Rhodes, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting
Ms. Ann Norris

The Honorable Susan Rice, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, New York, NY
Mr. Ian Cameron

Mr. Robert Roche, Shanghai, CN

Mr. Kenneth Roth, The Human Rights Watch, Washington, D.C.
Ms. Annie Sparrow

The Honorable Pete Rouse, Counselor to the President
Ms. Courtney Chapin

Mr. David M. Rubenstein, The Carlyle Group, Washington, D.C.
Mrs. Alice Rubenstein

Mr. Kirk Rudy, Austin, TX
Mrs. Amy Rudy

The Honorable Brent Scowcroft, The Forum for International Policy, Washington, D.C.

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
The Honorable Gary Sebelius

The Honorable Susan Sher, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady
The Honorable Neil Cohen

Mr. Robert Sherman, Boston, MA
Ms. Kim S. Sawyer

His Excellency Chen Shiju, Chief of the President's Office

The Honorable George Shultz, Stanford, CA
Mrs. Charlotte Shultz

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Culver City, CA
The Honorable Phil Gordon, Mayor of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ

The Honorable Gene Sperling, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy & Director of the National Economic Council
Ms. Allison Abner

The Honorable Jim Steinberg, Deputy Secretary of State
Ms. Sherburne B. Abbott

Ms. Barbra Streisand, Malibu, CA
Mr. James Brolin

The Honorable Tina Tchen, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Engagement

Mr. John Thornton, The Brookings Institution, HSBC North America, Palm Beach, FL
Mrs. Margaret Thornton

His Excellency Cui Tiankai, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs

Dr. Stanley Toy, Jr., Pasadena, CA
Ms. Lana Toy

Mr. Luis Ubinas, The Ford Foundation, New York, NY
Dr. Deborah Tolman

Mr. Jose Villarreal, Commissioner General, Shanghai Expo, San Antonio, TX
Ms. Sara Villarreal

Ms. Vera Wang, New York, NY
Mr. Arthur Becker

Mr. Steve Westly, Menlo Park, CA
Ms. Anita Yu

Ms. Anna Wintour, Vogue Magazine, New York, NY
Mr. Shelby Bryan

Ms. Patricia A. Woertz, Archer Daniels Midland, Decatur, IL
Mr. Kelvin R. Westbrook

Mr. B.D. Wong, New York, NY
Mrs. Roberta Wong

Mr. Charles Woo, Mega Toys, Los Angeles, CA
Mrs. Ying Woo

The Honorable David Wu, Representative from Oregon
Ms. Anna Kopperud

His Excellency Xie Xuren, Minister of Finance

His Excellency Zhang Yesui, Chinese Ambassador to the United States
Madam Chen Naiqing

His Excellency Sun Yibiao, Vice Minister for Customs


Thousands of angry protesters delayed a shipment of nuclear waste arriving at a dumping site in Germany last November.

Authorities are considering using the site for long-term nuclear waste storage, but anti-nuclear campaigners say alarming cancer statistics at a site in the same region should serve as a warning.


Buildings already going up in Gangjeong village coastline
Rock breaking machine fast at work

Latest word from Jeju Island is that several small buildings have already been constructed and yesterday a big rock breaking machine was spotted along the coastline busting up the big boulders into smaller pieces. People confronted the machine operator and got him to stop temporarily. The base is scheduled to be completed by 2014.

The other news from Jeju is that plans have been announced to build a $100 million "Aerospace Museum" on the island by 2013. Local media reported the facility would include, "Pilot training simulators, entertainment facilities, training centers and a three-dimensional cinema and planetarium are to be built to attract the younger generation. A history museum focusing on Korean space studies and the Air Force will appeal to other age groups."

I'd bet my life that this "museum" is not just a coincidence. My guess it is being built to act as a cover, or a way to sell, what will be going on at the Navy base. We know from artist renderings of the Navy base that aircraft carriers and Aegis destroyers, loaded with "missile defense" systems, will be ported at the base. So that means airplanes will likely often be flying overhead. It is also possible that ground-based versions of the "missile defense" systems like the Patriot (PAC-3) might be deployed on the base to "defend" it from attack.

So the museum is being built to sell the coming militarism to the future generations on Jeju Island. This means that they are planning on this base being there for some time and that it will be having a major "aerospace" role in U.S. and South Korean military operations.

The next thing to watch for will be major announcements of aerospace corporations building production facilities on Jeju. They will make the case that they will produce "good jobs" providing services to the Navy base. Jeju Island has been chosen to be militarized for two essential reasons. First because of its strategic location and secondly because it is an island and is difficult for protesting peace activists to get to.

I'm afraid the "Island of Peace" is being turned into the "Aerospace War Island".

Extra: My recent radio interview with Dr. Helen Caldicott is now up on her web site for easy listening. You can find it here

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


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Tuesday, January 18, 2011


This is a great scene from one of my all-time favorite movies - Matewan - which is about the struggle to build the United Mine Workers Union in the coal fields of Appalachia.

The lesson about organizing unity applies to our situation today as the oligarchy tries to pit worker against worker, race against race, religion against religion, and more.

As our state governments force major cutbacks in funding for education and social programs we need to increasingly build solidarity between peace activists, teachers, social service workers, and clients. Public service union workers who are fighting for their jobs and pensions can't do it on their own. We all need each other at this time. There won't be many tax increases to solve our fiscal problems. We are going to have to cut war spending and move those funds to help states that are in crisis.

In the end it is about leadership. Leaders of groups have a responsibility to aggressively protect the "interests" of their organization. Whether unions, peace groups or social service agencies, their first priority must be those that they serve. An accurate political analysis of the current climate across the nation (and around the globe) is that governments and the wealthy class are out to destroy unions and social progress. Thus it is leadership's responsibility to build coalition with any and all non-violent allies to help build a bulwark against the dismantling of the social fabric.

We are either going to paddle together or we are all going to drown. It's that simple.


These posters were made at the third Draw-a-thon last weekend in Maine. They will soon be on sale for local use. More info on that when I get it.

  • I am sitting in a Starbucks in North Andover, Massachusetts after driving through a steadily worsening snow storm this morning. MB took me to Brunswick on her way to work where I picked up a rental car and made the drive south. The first hour wasn't too bad but from then on it got worse and the road conditions were bad. As I neared my destination I saw one car turned upside-down at one highway exit. I have a 3:00 pm meeting today with local peace activists to go over plans for the Global Network's 19th annual space organizing conference that we will hold here on June 17-19. We picked this community because Raytheon Co. has a missile offense production facility in town and local activists were eager to host the event. I just hope they show up for the meeting in this weather! I tried to come last week but had to cancel due to a snow storm. The drive back home tomorrow should be easier.

  • I had the great pleasure to introduce actress/activist Vinie Burrows last night in Brunswick at her Frontier Cafe performance of "Walk Together Children" as part of the MLK birthday observation. Vinie, a famous black performer from New York City, is also a leading activist for peace and social justice. Her solo performance last night was beyond magical as she shared the voices of black and Hispanic teenagers, old black women, and acted out several Langston Hughes poems. Maine activist Tom Whitney has scheduled Vinie around the state during this week. Don't miss her if you get the chance.

  • I've heard from several folks in Europe this morning who already got their GN newsletter, Space Alert, in the mail. That's great postal service as I just mailed it last Friday afternoon. You can also see the newsletter on-line at this link. Be patient as it takes a bit to fully load because it is a big file.

Monday, January 17, 2011



Draw-a-Thon III, co-sponsored by CODEPINK Maine, The Union of Maine Visual Artists, and the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign in Maine, an opportuntiy for 'thon artists to mass produce images for parade art and posters with BOW$H messaging.

Many cooperated to teach and learn how to produce art all can use in the coming year to help the public connect the dots between war spending and budget cuts at home.

Held in conjunction with Robert Shetterly's show Portraits from Americans Who Tell the Truth at the Portland Public Library Lewis Gallery.

Words above and video by Lisa Savage


Cement is being poured on the rocky coastline in the Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea. They are building a pier to dock Navy ships, including the U.S. Aegis destroyers (built in Bath, Maine). I can't help but wonder if any of the workers in the photo above feel at all conflicted about burying the sea life that lives amongst the rocks?

Just offshore the soft corals abound (recognized by UNESCO as a vital global treasure) and will be severely impacted when they begin dredging in order to make it possible to bring the big nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and other warships into the port. The fishing and sea-diving by the old women of the village will obviously be harmed.

This Navy base, strategically located in the Yellow Sea, will be used by the U.S. Navy to widen its efforts to develop the capability to choke off China's shipping lanes.

The U.S. is simultaneously pushing South Korea and Japan to enter a military alliance that will also be aimed at China.

The whole plan reeks of killing. Not only the violence of war but also the violence that is done to nature and to the human culture. There is no vision here. There is no justice here. There is only the blind obedience to power and greed. The worst of humanity is crushing the best of humanity and nature.

I remain in awe of those in South Korea who continue to stand in resistance to this madness. It is their courage that gives hope and vision. They speak not only for themselves but for the rocks, the coral, the water, and the fish. They speak for the future generations.

Sunday, January 16, 2011



“I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank. ”

– Barack Obama Campaign Promise October 27, 2007

  • Yesterday I went to the Portland Public Library for the third Draw-a-thon where artists and activists from around the state gathered to make posters with the messages of Bring Our War $$ Home. They were surrounded in the basement art gallery with many portraits created by artist Robert Shetterly of Americans Who Tell the Truth. A good number of local citizens came down the stairs into the gallery and they saw the poster making process happening. On their way back up the stairs they couldn't miss the Bring Our War $$ Home banner hanging over the railing. Good work done by Kenny Cole, Natasha Mayers and Lisa Savage to keep the message alive.
  • When I picked up the Sunday Boston Globe this morning I began pulling out all the advertisements and other junk that fill the newspaper. It struck me that the last section, almost hidden inside the huge mound of paper, was my favorite part - the Ideas section. An interesting commentary on the state of democracy in our country these days.
  • Read this morning that the Lib-Dems in England, who helped the Conservatives stay in power by forming a coalition government with the Tories, are now falling on hard times. Last April the Nicholas Clegg led Lib-Dems had a 34% approval rating but now are supported by only 9% of the population. A series of bitter betrayals, particularly Clegg's decision to triple the cost of tuition for university students, has led to this steep decline in support. One student told the media, "I supported the Lib-Dems. I campaigned for them amongst my friends and handed out leaflets. But now I feel that I was championing a childish cause, a cause for people who were not honest about what they stood for...There are many students who will never vote Lib-Dem again." Many people are now calling the Lib-Dems the "human shields" for the Conservatives.


Saturday, January 15, 2011


Maine's new Tea Party-Republican Governor Paul LePage has just broken a long tradition in our state of attending the annual MLK, Jr. dinner put on by the NAACP. When the Maine NAACP expressed disappointment that he would not attend the event he blasted them via the media saying they could "kiss my butt."

According to Maine's largest newspaper:

LePage, a Republican who was sworn in last week, has an adopted son from Jamaica, Devon Raymond. He was on stage last week at the inaugural, along with LePage’s four other children.

LePage’s remarks angered the head of the state NAACP, the president of the national NAACP and the spokesman for Maine’s League of United Latin American Citizens.

“I don’t care who he’s got in his family,” Rachel Talbot Ross, state director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and president of the group’s Portland branch, told The Portland Press Herald. “And he’s saying we’re playing the race card? The makeup of his family isn’t the issue and it never was the issue. For him to say we’re playing the race card shows a real lack of awareness of the very important issues we’re working to address. Our kids deserve better. Maine deserves better. His son deserves better.”

Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the national NAACP, called LePage’s comments inflammatory.

“Gov. LePage’s decision to inflame racial tension on the eve of the King holiday denigrates his office,” Jealous told The Associated Press. “His words are a reminder of the worst aspects of Maine’s history and out of touch with our nation’s deep yearning for increased civility and racial healing.”

Maine has a tiny minority population and it's political leaders, both Republican and Democrat, have made special effort over the years to attend the MLK dinner (in either Bangor or Portland) or to at least send representatives from their offices if they were not able to attend. In years past Blacks in Maine were treated very badly and political leaders have tried to make amends for that sad history.

LePage, already proving to be a divider, could easily have sent someone in his place to the dinner and the story would have died there. But instead he has chosen to inflame the issue like he did several times with other sensitive issues during his controversial campaign. In the recent campaign for governor in Maine an Independent came in second and the Democrat came in third place in the voting. Maine's previous governor was a Democrat. The Republicans have also taken over the state legislature in Augusta for the first time in many years.

During his campaign for governor LePage aggressively sought the vote of the Tea Party movement in the state and was most popular in the northern, more conservative, part of Maine. While campaigning he was caught lying by the media on several occasions but the more he did that it seemed the more his support grew with angry working class voters. This latest episode with the NAACP indicates that LePage intends to chew up and spit out any constituency in the state that gets in his way.

Already since taking office LePage has begun the process of destroying Maine's environmental watch-dog department in state government. He has pledged to make the state more "open for business."

Note: As you listened to the video did you hear the unprofessional news reporter laughing along with LePage when he said the NAACP should "kiss my butt"? This is an indication of just how serious this issue is for people of color in Maine.

2nd Note: As we are quickly learning with LePage, you have to double check everything he says. In the short video he talks about the NAACP being angry with him for not visiting the prisons and meeting "only with blacks". The truth appears to be that during the campaign the NAACP organized a candidate forum in the prison (Maine prisoners are allowed to vote) and LePage blew it off while all other candidates appeared to speak with inmates of all colors.

I just called Channel 13 (WGME) in Portland 207-228-7600 to complain about their news reporter yucking it up with LePage. They were a bit defensive but it appears they are getting alot of phone calls.