Organizing Notes

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

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

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

Friday, November 30, 2012


Sarah Jaffe, Independent Journalist/The Atlantic, joins Thom Hartmann. Fast food jobs were once thought to be transition jobs for teenagers and college kids - but now - Americans of all ages are relying on them for income. Isn't it time fast food workers were paid a living wage - rather than the next to nothing wages they can barely survive off of now?

Read a New York Times article on the strikes here


Excellent video about Occupy Sandy (Exxon)....makes links to climate change, war on the poor, and more.

The film was created by Josh Fox, maker of Gasland.

Don't waste your money giving it to the Red Cross.....donate to Occupy Sandy. 


  • Senate Republicans including Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), on Thursday threw their support behind a controversial proposal to develop an East Coast "missile defense" site in the U.S. to defend against Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles that do not yet exist. Maine and New York state have been suggested as potential locations for the base.  The House of Representatives passed a bill last spring calling for the east coast MD base.  The Senate had yet to officially act on the issue.  Negotiations are now underway in the Senate on the Defense Authorization Bill.  While I don't think it is likely that a base construction funding amendment will make it into the final bill it is very possible that language calling for a "study" of the base could pass.  Some Democrats have in the past expressed support for such a study.  This is how things happen in Washington - bad seeds get planted and they eventually sprout into expensive and destabilizing new weapons programs.  We need to bring this crazy plan into the light and help drive a stake through it while we can.  Maine Veterans For Peace voted last night to oppose any such base in our state or any place else.
  • But in the end we find most politicians these days supporting anything that will bring "jobs" into their state.  Since the Pentagon is practically the only game in town anymore, they get more than 54% of every federal discretionary tax dollar, the political beasts are on their bended knees begging for any of that largess to be brought home.  If America's role under corporate globalization is going to be "security export" then why not get a piece of the action?  That is the prevailing sentiment these days.  
  •  The latest edition of our Global Network newsletter, Space Alert,  is available online here. The newsletter is now at the printer and should be in the mail early next week.We are happy to ship bulk orders to anyone in the U.S.  -  all we ask is for reimbursement of postage. Let us know if you are interested.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state on Thursday, a stinging diplomatic defeat for Israel and the United States, both of whom strongly opposed the Palestine’s statehood bid.

The Associated Press reports that the UN voted 138-9, with 41 abstentions, in favor of a resolution upgrading Palestine’s status to non-member observer state.

Seven other UN member states joined Israel and the US in voting against recognition of Palestinian statehood. These were: Canada, the Czech Republic, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Panama.

Notable nations among the 41 abstentions included: Australia, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea and the United Kingdom.


During the Cold War, the U.S. hatched a plan to detonate a nuclear weapon on the moon. CNN's Brian Todd reports.


Twenty people shaved their heads in Seoul and Gangjeong village.  Sit-in overnight protest and fasting started in front of National Assembly building in Seoul on November 29 against the government budget bill for Jeju naval base railroaded in the defense committee only with the presence of the ruling party members. 
The night in Seoul and Gangjeong is very, very cold. . ..Video by Dunguree


Some more truth from former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.

She speaks at the Kuala Lumpur Perdana Global Peace Foundation and the KL War Crimes Commission launch an inquiry into the facts and evidence of the events on that tragic day - 9/11.

McKinney got run out of office once and then got reelected. But Mr. Big and his gang got her the second time around and forced her out of office again.

She ran for president as Green Party candidate in 2008. At that time people would ask me who I was voting for....I would say the black woman.

McKinney, while in the House of Representatives, would have her staff call us and ask what they could do to help the Global Network in our fight to stop the launching of nuclear power into space.  She was the one and only politician to ever extend such a hand. 


It would be nice though if these activists also paid some buck naked visits to the offices of some leading Congressional Democrats and urged them to stop wasting $8 billion a month on the occupation of Afghanistan.

Taxing the rich is right on but that alone isn't going to fund social programs and pull the nation out of our fiscal death spiral.  We've also got to hit the trillion dollar a year Pentagon budget hard. 

The days of funding guns and butter are over.  It's either going to be guns or butter. 

Obama talks about getting out of Afghanistan by 2014 but has signed a deal with President Karzai to keep more than 10,000 U.S. Special Forces troops (and some unknown number of paid private "security" forces) there at least until 2024.  How much is that going to cost?

Those trying to save social progress are going to have to get alot more sophisticated with our demands real quick.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


It's snowing just a wee bit outside
barely noticeable except for a few tiny flakes
that fall in the cold of the day
walking the dog
with my nose dripping
like a leaky faucet.

First draft of newsletter back
from layout designer
few things don't fit right
few words here or there
out of place
a good edition all in all
but I still feel grumpy reading it
must be my aching body.

Housemate arrives with load
of assorted squash from local organic farm
no one from soup kitchen
willing to pick it up.

I've rearranged my office
a surge of energy
the dusty clutter got to me
I needed a comfortable chair
to watch Wizards lose their games
on NBA Internet channel
my one diversion
sports now completely under control
of corporations
like everything else these days.

Homer wants his long walk
thru the woods
a sniffers wonderland
I only had energy for around the block
he's disappointed
and letting me know it.

Regis came by to talk Jeju shop
his film is coming along
he's working hard
excited about historical connections
photos, film, stories from past massacres
the 7th Cavalry deja vu
from Wounded Knee to Korea.

Julian was great on the radio the other night
a damn good spokesman for a different way
'each according to his ability, to each according to his need'
sharing rather than the greedy earth gobbling
capitalism we now have
a christian concept maybe
but might hurt collection plate on Sunday.

A friend wonders if I have any good news
a few things I reply
have to search hard in the brain housing
to find them
but I know they are there
the smells of good food, laughter, song,
a smiling face
a determined protester braving the winds
of fascism
standing in front of a cold stone government building.

It's not a poem
its musing
not amusing
but still is what it is.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


"The Womb this crawled from is still going strong.“ (Bertolt Brecht)

This Brechtian line from the epilogue of his play 'Arturo Ui' refers neither to a single man nor to a woman. The metaphor rather epitomizes an economical and political system that has performed at its "best“ during the NAZI period between 1933 to 1945.

The English translation below does not adequately reflect the meaning of Brecht's precise and dialectic wording in German.

Therefore learn how to see and not to gape

To act instead of talking all day long

The world was almost won by such an ape!

The nations put him where his kind belong.

But don’t rejoice too soon at your escape

The womb he crawled from is still going strong.
Taken from Eirenae's blog

Monday, November 26, 2012


 Why So Secretive? 
The Trans-Pacific Partnership as Global Coup 

 By Andrew Gavin Marshall,

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the most secretive and “least transparent” trade negotiations in history.

Luckily for the populations and societies that will be affected by the agreement, there are public research organizations and alternative media outlets campaigning against it – and they’ve even released several leaks of draft agreement chapters. From these leaks, which are not covered by mainstream corporate-controlled news outlets, we are able to get a better understanding of what the Trans-Pacific Partnership actually encompasses.

For example, public interest groups have been warning that the TPP could result in millions of lost jobs. As a letter from Congress to United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk stated, the TPP “will create binding policies on future Congresses in numerous areas,” including “those related to labor, patent and copyright, land use, food, agriculture and product standards, natural resources, the environment, professional licensing, state-owned enterprises and government procurement policies, as well as financial, healthcare, energy, telecommunications and other service sector regulations.”

In other words, as promised, the TPP goes far beyond “trade.”

Dubbed by many as “NAFTA on steroids” and a “corporate coup,” only two of the TPP’s 26 chapters actually have anything to do with trade. Most of it grants far-reaching new rights and privileges to corporations, specifically related to intellectual property rights (copyright and patent laws), as well as constraints on government regulations.

The leaked documents revealed that the Obama administration “intends to bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations,” as Obama and Kirk have emerged as strong advocates “for policies that environmental activists, financial reform advocates and labor unions have long rejected for eroding key protections currently in domestic laws.”

In other words, the already ineffective and mostly toothless environmental, financial, and labor regulations that exist are unacceptable to the Obama administration and the 600 corporations aligned with the TPP who are giving him his orders.

The agreement stipulates that foreign corporations operating in the United States would no longer be subject to domestic U.S. laws regarding protections for the environment, finance or labor rights, and could appeal to an “international tribunal” which would be given the power to overrule American law and impose sanctions on the U.S. for violating the new “rights” of corporations.

The “international tribunal” that would dictate the laws of the countries would be staffed by corporate lawyers acting as “judges,” thus ensuring that cases taken before them have a “fair and balanced” hearing – fairly balanced in favor of corporate rights above anything else.

A public interest coalition known as Citizens Trade Campaign published a draft of the TPP chapter on “investment” revealing information about the “international tribunal” which would allow corporations to directly sue governments that have barriers to “potential profits.”

Arthur Stamoulis, the executive director of Citizens Trade Campaign, explained that the draft texts “clearly contain proposals designed to give transnational corporations special rights that go far beyond those possessed by domestic businesses and American citizens... A proposal that could have such broad effects on environmental, consumer safety and other public interest regulations deserves public scrutiny and debate. It shouldn’t be crafted behind closed doors.”

Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, a public interest organization, undertook an analysis of the leaked document on investment and explained that the international corporate tribunal would allow corporations to overturn national laws and regulations or demand enormous sums in compensation, with the tribunal “empowered to order payment of unlimited government Treasury funds to foreign investors over TPP claims.”

Even under NAFTA, over $350 million has been paid by NAFTA-aligned governments to corporations for “barriers” to investment “rights,” including toxic waste dumps, logging rules, as well as bans on various toxic chemicals.

Because let’s be clear: for corporations, such regulations and concerns over health, safety and environmental issues are perceived solely as “barriers” to investment and profit. Thus their “government” would sue the foreign government on behalf of the corporation, on the premise that such regulations led to potential lost profits, for which the corporation should be compensated.

The TPP allows the corporations to directly sue the government in question. All of the TPP member countries, except for Australia, have agreed to adhere to the jurisdiction of this international tribunal, an unelected, anti-democratic and corporate-staffed kangaroo-court with legal authority over at least ten nations and their populations.

Further, TPP countries have not agreed on a set of obligations for corporations to meet in relation to health, labor or environmental standards, and thus a door is opened for corporations to obtain even more rights and privileges to plunder and exploit. Where corporate rights are extended, human and democratic rights are dismantled.

One of the most important areas in which the TPP has a profound effect is in relation to intellectual property rights, or copyright and patent laws. Corporations have been strong advocates of expanding intellectual property rights, namely, their intellectual property rights.

Pharmaceutical corporations are major proponents of these rights and are likely to be among the major beneficiaries of the intellectual property chapter of the TPP. The pharmaceutical industry ensured that strong patent rules were included in the 1995 World Trade Organization agreement, but ultimately felt that those rules did not go far enough.

Dean Baker, writing in the Guardian, explained that stronger patent rules establish “a government-granted monopoly, often as long as 14 years, that prohibits generic competitors from entering a market based on another company’s test results that show a drug to be safe and effective.” Baker noted that such laws are actually “the opposite of free trade” since they “involve increased government intervention in the market” and “restrict competition and lead to higher prices for consumers.”

Essentially, what this means is that in poor countries where more people need access to life-saving drugs, and at cheaper cost, it would be impossible for companies or governments to manufacture and sell cheaper generic brands of successful drugs held by multinational corporate patents. Such an agreement would hand over a monopoly of price-controls to these corporations, allowing them to set the prices as they deem fit, thus making the drugs incredibly expensive and often inaccessible to the people who need them most.

As U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman correctly noted, “In many parts of the world, access to generic drugs means the difference between life and death.”

The TPP is expected to increase such corporate patent rights more than any other agreement in history. Generic drug manufacturers in countries like Vietnam and Malaysia would suffer. So would sales of larger generics manufacturers in the U.S., Canada, and Australia, which supply low-cost drugs to much of the world.

While the United States has given up the right to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical corporations (hence the exorbitant price for drugs purchased in the U.S.), countries like New Zealand and even Canada to a lesser extent negotiate drug prices in order to keep the costs down for consumers. The TPP will grant new negotiating privileges to corporations, allowing them to appeal decisions by governments to challenge the high cost of drugs or to go with cheap alternatives. Referring to these changes, the U.S. manager of Doctors Without Borders’ Access to Medicines Campaign stated, “Bush was better than Obama on this.”

But that’s not all the TPP threatens: Internet freedom is also a major target.

The Council of Canadians and OpenMedia, major campaigners for Internet freedom, have warned that the TPP would “criminalize some everyday uses of the Internet,” including music downloads as well as the combining of different media works. OpenMedia warned that the TPP would “force service providers to collect and hand over your private data without privacy safeguards, and give media conglomerates more power to send you fines in the mail, remove online content – including entire websites – and even terminate your access to the Internet.”

Also advanced under the TPP chapter on intellectual property rights, new laws would have to be put in place by governments to regulate Internet usage. OpenMedia further warned that, from the leaked documents on intellectual property rights, “there can be heavy fines for average citizens online,” adding: “you could be fined for clicking on a link, people could be knocked off the Internet and web sites could be locked off.”

The TPP, warned OpenMedia founder Steve Anderson, “will limit innovation and free expression.” Under the TPP, there is no distinction between commercial and non-commercial copyright infringement. Thus, users who download music for personal use would face the same penalties as those who sell pirated music for profit.

Information that is created or shared on social networking sites could have Internet users fined, have their computers seized, their Internet usage terminated, or even get them a jail sentence. The TPP imposes a “three strikes” system for copyright infringement, where three violations would result in the termination of a household’s Internet access.

So, why all the secrecy? Corporate and political decision-makers study public opinion very closely; they know how to manipulate the public based upon what the majority think and believe. When it comes to “free trade” agreements, public opinion has forced negotiators into the darkness of back-room deals and unaccountable secrecy precisely because populations are so overwhelmingly against such agreements.

An opinion poll from 2011 revealed that the American public has – just over the previous few years – moved from “broad opposition” to “overwhelming opposition” toward NAFTA-style trade deals.

A major NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll from September of 2010 revealed that “the impact of trade and outsourcing is one of the only issues on which Americans of different classes, occupations and political persuasions agree,” with 86% saying that outsourcing jobs by U.S. companies to poor countries was “a top cause of our economic woes,” with 69% thinking that “free trade agreements between the United States and other countries cost the U.S. jobs.” Only 17% of Americans in 2010 felt that “free trade agreements” benefit the U.S., compared to 28% in 2007.

Because public opinion is strongly – and increasingly – against “free trade agreements,” secrecy is required in order to prevent the public from even knowing about, let alone actively opposing, agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And this, as U.S. Trade Representative Kirk explained, is a very “practical” reason for all the secrecy.


  • My son Julian is visiting for Thanksgiving and it has been great to see him again.  Last night we went to his favorite lobster restaurant on Bailey's Island.  The wind was blowing like crazy and it was cold as hell.  Very few people were in the restaurant, tourists being long gone, and we got a table nearest to the wood stove.  During the car ride to the restaurant and all during dinner we had a lively discussion about capitalism vs communism.
  • Tonight Julian will be on the radio show that Peter Woodruff and I do at Bowdoin College's WBOR from 6:00-8:00 pm (EST).  The topic for the show is "Capitalism, Is it ruining the Earth?"  Julian is a debate coach so he will be making the case that indeed capitalism is in fact killing life on the planet.  It's rather difficult to argue with that point.  You can listen live online by clicking here and then looking for the yellow button.
  • In the morning Julian heads overseas where he will be coaching debate for the next while.  Should be an exciting trip for him.  We will miss him.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Today is Sung Sim Jang’s 19th day of hunger strike.

The 42 year old is from a village 40 minutes outside of Gangjeong on Jeju Island. For 13 years she worked as a taxi driver in the region.

Outraged by what is happening in Gangjeong, she decided she has no other choice than to enter a hunger strike.

On the fourth day she got her hair shaved off in protest

She is all day, every day in front of the gate.

Joining mass…

Reading or praying

And joining the blocking of the gate

and she is still going strong and not going to give up

- Words and photos by Carol Reckinger who is now in Gangjeong village and has a photo blog with many great images which can be found here

Also check out the Save Jeju Now web site here


Saturday, November 24, 2012


I have to admit - I don't shop much.  So clearly I have a prejudice and an agenda.  I believe that Americans (and much of the rest of the world) have had their minds colonized by corporate branding and materialism.  It unsettles me for many reasons - one of which is that people have given up their independence as a human being to become a corporate appendage or slave.

Black Friday used to be the day after Thanksgiving.  But now the greedy corporations have moved Black Friday to Thursday, Thanksgiving day, and the media is full of excited reports about the great success of this affront to the sensibilities of those like me who want to enjoy a day without the ever present hounding we get from the "retail industry".

One of the more ridiculous rituals that has been ushered in during recent years is the football huddle of workers before the store opens.  Joining hands in a circle, the highly underpaid staff are gathered by management for a rah-rah-rah moment.  What is the purpose of this gesture?  Team work?  A solemn pledge to serve the valued customer?  No, it is all about sell, sell, sell.  The customers and the workers are slave driven commodities and nothing more.

The stores advertise in advance a few highly discounted items to attract the "smart bargain shoppers" who are led to believe that they are getting over on the mega-giant corporation by being first-in-line to grab the super deal.  The idea is to carry all you can.  In our local newspaper (the story should have been moved to the Sports section) one shopper gave her sage wisdom on techniques required:

Cat Bibeau started her Black Friday shopping at midnight at Walmart and arrived at JC Penney as it opened just before 6 a.m.

"This is not for the newbie shopper," she said. "Only veterans."

The secret is to have a list and work around the clock, hitting stores as they open, she said.

Other advice: dress comfortably and wear a backpack to leave hands free to carry bags.

Erika Jordan of Parsonsfield shopped at JCPenney as a team with friends and family members. They had a game plan. Some of them hit the shoe department while Jordan and others stocked up on pillows and housewares.

"We've got to go to the car and unload and come back in," Jordan said, laughing.
 Beverly Maierhofer of Yarmouth, who arrived at the mall Thursday afternoon with her twin 16-year-old daughters, spent 15 minutes trying to find a parking space. At Forever 21, where her daughters bought sweaters and scarves, they waited another 15 minutes at the cash register.
Her total Black Friday savings: "Zip," moaned one of her daughters, Maddy.
"We are like the most pathetic shoppers," Beverly Maierhofer said.

Yes, and if you fall short at this gorging ritual then indeed consider yourself a failure.  You are not as accomplished as your neighbor who was able to get a "deal" on a flat screen TV even though they already have two others inside their over stocked home.

In America the overriding word is success.  I remember the cheerleaders at my oldest sister's high school back when I was just a boy.  It went like this:  S - U - C - C - E - S - S  THAT'S THE WAY WE SPELL SUCCESS! 

This cheer was repeated over and over and each time it got faster and louder so before long the theme was pounding in your fertile brain.  This is one more way the corporate mental occupation begins.  It's ever present in our lives.  The seed of the SUCCESS mythology firmly planted.

Those who resist this process are told there is something wrong with us....we are losers, hippies, slackers, not ambitious enough, overly serious, and more.  We are made to feel bad about ourselves for standing outside of the cultural norm.

But while we are outside the shopping mall we discover that there are those like Beverly Maierhofer standing with us as she realizes that she is a "pathetic shopper".  An outcast for sure. 

But don't despair Beverly redemption is possible.....there is always next year.

Friday, November 23, 2012



“Writers Action 1219” held the “Gangjeong Village Peace Library Proposal Ceremony” in front of the Jeju Naval Base project construction gate on November 21. Twenty-three representatives from the group attended and joined the civil disobedience campaign, joined by activists, villagers, and Catholic fathers. Below is their official statement made at the ceremony. Click here For further details and pictures.

We Want to Arm Gangjeong Village with Literature:
Proposal for the Creation of a Gangjeong Village Peace Library

As we stand here today each of us carries a book. We know that fire could turn this book to a handful of ashes. Water could turn it to a lump of batter. It could also be torn to pieces and scattered by the Gangjeong wind. But we know that it is the son of a tree, so it is the breath of the forest and the heart of nature. We know that the salamander and the red-foot crab live together in it, and the Aster Yomena and Cladium chinensis Nees plants grow together, and we know that life and anima are connected like the stonewalls of this village. Above all things, we know that the heart of this book is like the Gureombi Rock.

Therefore, today, we would like to launch this villager and civil group cooperative project, the “Creation of the Gangjeong Village Peace Library”. For the red-foot crab to crawl, the Cladium chinensis Nees to sway, and for the natives’ laughter to be heard by those that pass through Gureombi. For the Sarangbang [a type of traditional Korean guestroom] of beautiful life to protect and live with this sea longer than billy clubs, guns, swords, and cannons. We will arm this village with hearts of hope, peace, and solidarity against their arms of domination, hegemony, and war.

But literature does not occupy peace through destruction and replacement. We will not “build a library in Gangjeong Village” but “build Gangjeong village into a library”. We will clean and repair an old and empty house and connect homes to each other so that the whole village can be a library. We will create a library where adults can read books, children can dream, and together they can share stories, creating a presence of peace. This project will not end in a moment but will be forever with Gangjeong village.

We are going to put our effort into creating the Gangjeong Village Peace Library.

One, we will let everyone know about the meaning and necessity of the Peace Library through paper and action.
One, we will share everything necessary for creating the Peace Library and actively participate in the particulars of preparation.
One, we will steadfastly contribute to the Peace Library, the literature we have published thus far and will publish in the future.
One, we will participate joyfully in various literature events, lectures, and etc., which the Peace Library will hold in the future.

As we stand here today each of us carries a book. Tomorrow, we will become these books and protect this place as that book. Each letter in the book will crawl out like the Japanese mitten crab, wanting to see a recovered Gureombi, recovered lives, and a peaceful, beautiful Gangjeong Sea again. Because we believe literature is the food of Peace and solidarity for hope.

We desire that villagers and civil groups participate together in the preparation of this project and our will is that this project will lead to the total annulment of the Gangjeong Village U.S. Naval Base.

November 21, 2012
Seong-ho Ham & Sun-woo Kim
Gangjeong Village Peace Library Project “Writers Gathering” Preparation Representatives

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Lots of family and friends coming today to the Addams-Melman House.

Going to remember many things - blessings, challenges, those who are suffering, and the Native Americans (the other Palestinians if you will) who had their land taken by force of arms.  Some things don't seem to change.......

In the meantime Homer is ready to eat.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Elites Will Make Gazans of Us All

By Chris Hedges

Gaza is a window on our coming dystopia. The growing divide between the world’s elite and its miserable masses of humanity is maintained through spiraling violence. Many impoverished regions of the world, which have fallen off the economic cliff, are beginning to resemble Gaza, where 1.6 million Palestinians live in the planet’s largest internment camp. These sacrifice zones, filled with seas of pitifully poor people trapped in squalid slums or mud-walled villages, are increasingly hemmed in by electronic fences, monitored by surveillance cameras and drones and surrounded by border guards or military units that shoot to kill. These nightmarish dystopias extend from sub-Saharan Africa to Pakistan to China. They are places where targeted assassinations are carried out, where brutal military assaults are pressed against peoples left defenseless, without an army, navy or air force. All attempts at resistance, however ineffective, are met with the indiscriminate slaughter that characterizes modern industrial warfare.

In the new global landscape, as in Israel’s occupied territories and the United States’ own imperial projects in Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan, massacres of thousands of defenseless innocents are labeled wars. Resistance is called a provocation, terrorism or a crime against humanity. The rule of law, as well as respect for the most basic civil liberties and the right of self-determination, is a public relations fiction used to placate the consciences of those who live in the zones of privilege. Prisoners are routinely tortured and “disappeared.” The severance of food and medical supplies is an accepted tactic of control. Lies permeate the airwaves. Religious, racial and ethnic groups are demonized. Missiles rain down on concrete hovels, mechanized units fire on unarmed villagers, gunboats pound refugee camps with heavy shells, and the dead, including children, line the corridors of hospitals that lack electricity and medicine.

The impending collapse of the international economy, the assaults on the climate, the resulting droughts, flooding, precipitous decline in crop yields and rising food prices are creating a universe where power is divided between the narrow elites, who hold in their hands sophisticated instruments of death, and the enraged masses. The crises are fostering a class war that will dwarf anything imagined by Karl Marx. They are establishing a world where most will be hungry and live in fear, while a few will gorge themselves on delicacies in protected compounds. And more and more people will have to be sacrificed to keep this imbalance in place.

Because it has the power to do so, Israel—as does the United States—flouts international law to keep a subject population in misery. The continued presence of Israeli occupation forces defies nearly a hundred U.N. Security Council resolutions calling for them to withdraw. The Israeli blockade of Gaza, established in June 2007, is a brutal form of collective punishment that violates Article 33 of the Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention, which set up rules for the “Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.” The blockade has turned Gaza into a sliver of hell, an Israeli-administered ghetto where thousands have died, including the 1,400 civilians killed in the Israeli incursion of 2008. With 95 percent of factories shut down, Palestinian industry has virtually ceased functioning. The remaining 5 percent operate at 25 to 50 percent capacity. Even the fishing industry is moribund. Israel refuses to let fishermen travel more than three miles from the coastline, and within the fishing zone boats frequently come under Israeli fire. The Israeli border patrols have seized 35 percent of the agricultural land in Gaza for a buffer zone. The collapsing infrastructure and Israeli seizure of aquifers mean that in many refugee camps, such as Khan Yunis, there is no running water. UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) estimates that 80 percent of all Gazans now rely on food aid. And the claim of Israeli self-defense belies the fact that it is Israel that maintains an illegal occupation and violates international law by carrying out collective punishment of Palestinians. It is Israel that chose to escalate the violence when during an incursion into Gaza earlier this month its forces fatally shot a 13-year-old boy. As the world breaks down, this becomes the new paradigm—modern warlords awash in terrifying technologies and weapons murdering whole peoples. We do the same in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Market forces and the military mechanisms that protect these forces are the sole ideology that governs industrial states and humans’ relationship to the natural world. It is an ideology that results in millions of dead and millions more displaced from their homes in the developing world. And the awful algebra of this ideology means that these forces will eventually be unleashed on us, too. Those who cannot be of use to market forces are considered expendable. They have no rights and legitimacy. Their existence, whether in Gaza or blighted postindustrial cities such as Camden, N.J., is considered a drain on efficiency and progress. They are viewed as refuse. And as refuse they not only have no voice and no freedom; they can be and are extinguished or imprisoned at will. This is a world where only corporate power and profit are sacred. It is a world of barbarism.

“In disposing of man’s labor power the system would, incidentally, dispose of the physical, psychological, and moral entity ‘man’ attached to that tag,” Karl Polanyi wrote in “The Great Transformation.” “Robbed of the protective covering of cultural institutions, human beings would perish from the effects of social exposure; they would die as the victims of acute social dislocation through vice, crime, and starvation. Nature would be reduced to its elements, neighborhoods and landscapes defiled, rivers polluted, military safety jeopardized, the power to produce food and raw materials destroyed. Finally, the market administration of purchasing power would periodically liquidate business enterprise, for shortages and surfeits of money would prove as disastrous to business as floods and droughts in primitive society. Undoubtedly, labor, land, and money markets are essential to a market economy. But no society could stand the effects of such a system of crude fictions even for the shortest stretch of time unless its human and natural substance as well as its business organization was protected against the ravages of this satanic mill.”

There are 47.1 million Americans who depend on food stamps to eat. The elites are plotting to take these food stamps away, along with other “entitlement” programs that keep the poor from destitution. The slashing of trillions of dollars from Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs, given the political impasse in Washington and the looming “fiscal cliff,” now seems certain. There are 50 million people considered to be living below the poverty line, but because the poverty line is so low—$22,350 for a family of four—this figure means nothing. Add the tens of millions of Americans who live in a category called “near poverty,” including all those families attempting to live on less than $45,000 a year, and you have at least 30 percent of the country living in poverty. Once these people figure out that there is no economic recovery, that their standard of living is going to continue to drop, that they are trapped, that hope in the future is an illusion, they will become as angry as protesters in Greece and Spain or the militants in Gaza or Afghanistan. Banks and other financial corporations, handed trillions in interest-free money from the Federal Reserve, meanwhile hoard $5 trillion, much of it looted from the U.S. Treasury. The longer this worldwide disparity and inequality is perpetuated, the more the masses will revolt and the faster we will internally replicate the Israeli model of domestic control—drones overhead, all dissent criminalized, SWAT teams busting through doors, deadly force as an acceptable form of subjugation, food used as a weapon, and constant surveillance.

In Gaza and other blighted parts of the globe we see this new configuration of power. What is happening in Gaza, like what is happening to people of color in marginal communities in the United States, is the model. The techniques of control, whether carried out by the Israelis or militarized police units in our inner-city drug wars, whether employed by military special forces or mercenaries in Pakistan, Afghanistan or Iraq, are tested first and perfected on the weak and the powerless. Our callous indifference to the plight of the Palestinians, and the hundreds of millions of poor packed into urban slums in Asia or Africa, as well as our own underclass, means that the injustices visited on them will be visited on us. In failing them we fail ourselves.

As the U.S. empire implodes, the harsher forms of violence employed on the outer reaches of empire are steadily migrating back to the homeland. At the same time, the internal systems of democratic governance have calcified. Centralized authority has devolved into the hands of an executive branch that slavishly serves global corporate interests. The press and the government’s judiciary and legislative branches have become toothless and decorative. The specter of terrorism, as in Israel, is used by the state to divert gargantuan expenditures to homeland security, the military and internal surveillance. Privacy is abolished. Dissent is treason. The military with its mantra of blind obedience and force characterizes the dark ethic of the wider culture. Beauty and truth are abolished. Culture is degraded into kitsch. The emotional and intellectual life of the citizenry is ravaged by spectacle, the tawdry and salacious, as well as by handfuls of painkillers and narcotics. Blind ambition, a lust for power and a grotesque personal vanity—exemplified by David Petraeus and his former mistress—are the engines of advancement. The concept of the common good is no longer part of the lexicon of power. This, as the novelist J.M. Coetzee writes, is “the black flower of civilization.” It is Rome under Diocletian. It is us. Empires, in the end, decay into despotic, murderous and corrupt regimes that finally consume themselves. And we, like Israel, are now coughing up blood.


The General's Son. Miko Peled is a peace activist who dares to say in public what others still choose to deny. Born in Jerusalem in 1961 into a well known Zionist family, his grandfather, Dr. Avraham Katsnelson was a Zionist leader and signer of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. His Father, Matti Peled, was a young officer in the war of 1948 and a general in the war of 1967 when Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights and Sinai.

Miko's unlikely opinions reflect his father's legacy. General Peled was a war hero turned peacemaker.
Miko grew up in Jerusalem, a multi-ethnic city, but had to leave Israel before he made his first Palestinian friend, the result of his participation in a dialogue group in California. He was 39.

On September 4, 1997 the beloved Smadar, 13, the daughter of Miko's sister Nurit and her husband Rami Elhanan was killed in a suicide attack.

Peled insists that Israel/Palestine is one state—the separation wall notwithstanding, massive investment in infrastructure, towns and highways that bisect and connect settlements on the West Bank, have destroyed the possibility for a viable Palestinian state. The result, Peled says is that Israelis and Palestinians are governed by the same government but live under different sets of laws.

At the heart of Peled's conclusion lies the realization that Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace as equals in their shared homeland.


Here is what you don't see in the mainstream media about Gaza. They don't even have proper fire fighting equipment.  This is such an example of Mr. Big picking on the little folks.  Israel and the US are bullies and nothing more. 

How can anyone defend Israel's high-tech lynching of the Palestinian people?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


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These talking heads in Washington appear quite happy with the idea of a "hot war" between Israel and Iran.  It feels to me like the American people are being prepared, or set up, for this coming attack on Iran.

Rick Rozoff from Stop NATO website reports that on November 12, two days before Israel launched the “Operation Pillar of Defense” attack on the Gaza Strip, the three-week-long Austere Challenge interceptor missile exercises held by the Pentagon and Israel in the latter nation ended. The largest-ever joint war games, with 3,500 American and 1,000 Israeli military personnel involved, tested the Israeli Iron Dome, David's Sling, and Arrow territorial and the longer-range US Patriot and Standard Missile-3 interceptor systems.

This indicates to me that Israel and the US had in fact planned this whole attack in advance to create a "battlefield" test of the new Iron Dome missile defense system in preparation for possible use against Iran.  It also appears that the US intends to "integrate" its missile defense system along with Israel systems in the event Iran responds to an Israeli attack on their nuclear facilities.  These crazy fools are playing at starting a wider war and anyone who thinks Obama is going to turn into a Nobel Peace Prize guy in his second term is in for some bad news.

It's very sick.  We should remember that Chris Matthews also promoted the Afghanistan and Iraq wars but later on, when the public soured on the wars, became a critic.  Now we see him playing the same promotional game again.


This short video, released jointly by Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the Brave New Foundation, reveals the extent of the Pentagon’s revolving door phenomenon, in which retired high-ranking generals and admirals cash in on their years of military experience by taking lucrative jobs with the war industry. 

CREW found 70 percent of the 108 three-and-four star generals and admirals who retired between 2009 and 2011 took jobs with military contractors or consultants.  In at least a few cases, these retirees have continued to advise the Department of Defense — all while on the payroll of the weapons industry.

Key Findings:
  • Retired generals can make more than their yearly military pay by serving on corporate boards
  • Contractors have increased spending on lobbying for 40 percent in the last five years
  • The U.S. government paid the top five weapons contractors $113 billion in 2011
  • As of early 2012, 68 percent of lobbyists for the top five military contractors had prior public sector experience
  • Pentagon rules prohibiting the revolving door are riddled with loopholes


Each year the Global Network holds its annual space organizing conference in a nation that plays a key role in preparation for high-tech space warfare. Our next conference will be held in Kiruna, Sweden on June 27-30, 2013.  This video helps to better understand the growing militarization of the Arctic regions. 

By bringing key peace movement leaders from around the world to northern Sweden next June we intend to shine a bright light on these offensive and destabilizing NATO plans for war to control Arctic resources.  As the Arctic ice melts the oil corporations are eager to control the region.  The US and NATO will play a key role to provide "protection" to the corporations as they attempt to wrest control of these resource from Russia who has major border areas with the Arctic.

All are encouraged to send representatives to this important conference.

Monday, November 19, 2012


CNN's Reza Sayah reports from the Rafah border crossing, where Egyptian demonstrators are beginning to enter Gaza.  They intend to stand alongside of the beleaguered Palestinian people.


Israelis soldiers refuse to serve in Gaza. Israelis protest against the war in Gaza, Tel Aviv January 8, 2009.

You can be sure that some men and women of conscience are refusing right now to participate in the immoral Israeli attack on Gaza.  God bless them all....let their numbers grow.

Stop the genocide of the Palestinian people.

A newer version of soldier resistance below.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Glenn Greenwald took time to do a walk and talk interview with Luke Rudkowski. The two discussed the next 4 years with Obama, the lack of criticism of Obama from his base, and journalism tips.



RT's Arabic-language sister channel — Rusiya Al-Yaum — was struck by the Israeli forces in Gaza Strip in the early hours of November 18, approximately at 01.30 am local time. RT's reporter Saed Suerki and cameraman Mustafa Al-Bayati were not injured as they had left the building one hour before the attack. The channel's media center was located at the top level of the 11-floor building among other media offices.


Saturday, November 17, 2012


Israel has become the Nazi.

Obama, the U.S. Congress and the media
have become collaborators
in this death orgy.

The American people
silenced by hard hearts
and more
are accomplices
to the crime.

The weapons makers
merchants of death
count their money
covered in blood
the hearts of those who touch
the stained paper
become blinded.

The Palestinian people
are invisible
except when their death is celebrated
by the TV images
beamed from cold satellites
exploding targets
successfully "taken out"
The victory is cheered
by dark souls.

The Palestinian people
are expected to submit
to their brutal treatment
a generational death trap
they are required
to accept their fate
without reaction
or protest
or emotion
or hate
or violence.

As the Palestinian lands
are stolen
their olive trees cut down
their water taken
for Israeli lawns
and swimming pools
and cool drinks
in fancy restaurants
The people are expected
to submit in silence.

We who still have hearts
who can still feel
can still see with our own eyes
can hear the cries with our own ears
we can't go in silence
to turn away once again
to act as if all is well
we are liars if we turn away
and again
as the children die
and their mothers weep
and their fathers sit
in rage inside Israeli jails
for trying to defend their loved ones.

We are damned by these deeds
and our long silence.

Bruce K. Gagnon


Excerpts from a speech by Chris Hedges.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Dear Friends,

We are writing to invite you to an important meeting to discuss the "sequestration" and "fiscal cliff" issues coming up in January.  This is another chapter is the ongoing deterioration of the federal government's commitment to using federal tax dollars to support the basic human needs of our people. It is time to "take back our government" by insuring the safety and security of all who live here, rather than emphasizing the needs of corporations and an overreaching military.

We will meet on Saturday, December 15 from noon until 3:30 pm at the Mediation and Facilitation Resources building, 11 King St., Augusta, Maine (off State St. at corner with Pat's Pizza, a few blocks south of the State Capitol).  Snow date will be same time on December 16. 

Please bring food to share (or for yourself) while we have lunch and get to know each other between noon-1 PM. The planning meeting will follow. If you are unsure of the location or directions, contact Larry Dansinger at (207) 525-7776.

Reports are already surfacing that President Obama will move quickly to sign a deal with the Republicans in Congress to cut Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid in return for some tax increases on the rich.

On Election Day the Budget for All question won overwhelmingly in all 91 cities and towns across Massachusetts in which it was on the ballot, averaging a 75% yes vote, 25% no -- even passing in towns carried by Scott Brown.  This ballot question called for an end to social program cuts, an end to costly wars ($8 billion a month in Afghanistan), and for increased taxes on the rich.  Clearly the public is seeing these important connections.

We are not proposing to start a new group.  We do think though that by bringing together people who have not worked together in the past we can all be stronger than we are now.  Our new senator Angus King will play a key role in these budget negotiations and we should be developing a coordinated campaign to mobilize the public so that Congress and President Obama hear from the people in Maine soon.

The goal of the meeting will be to listen to one another and discuss strategy options to protect social progress from becoming the victim of the debt crisis in Washington.  By building and expanding our networks we can resist budget cuts to social programs and transfer any cuts to the bloated military.

We hope that your organization will be able to send one or more representatives to this strategy and action meeting.  We will be sharing this invitation with labor, religious, peace, social justice, women’s, environmental groups, and more.  Please feel free to pass this letter on to others who you think might be interested.

The time has come for us to connect the dots to survive and bring greater harmony and equality to our country. The only way we will be able to effectively deal with the massive corporate money now being poured into Washington is to get beyond our traditional single issue organizing and move toward a more cooperative and collaborative model.

We look forward to seeing you on December 15. 

For peace and environmental and social justice,

- Peggy Akers (Nurse practitioner)
- Professor Doug Allen, University of Maine (Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine and Maine Peace Action Committee)
- Rev. Bill Bliss (Neighborhood Faith Community, United Church of Christ, Bath)
- Michael Brennan (Mayor of Portland)
- Read Brugger (Team 350 Maine)
- Chris Buchanan (Environmental activist)
- Richard Clement (Maine Veterans for Peace)
- Kenny Cole (Maine visual artist)
- Larry Dansinger (ROSC)
- Jacqui Deveneau (Maine Greens)
- Denise Dreher (Pax Christi Maine)
- Bruce Gagnon (Global Network & Bring Our War $$ Home Campaign)
- Betsy Garrold/Bob St. Peter (Food for Maine's Future)
- Judy Garvey/Jim Bergin (Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition)
- The Rev. Carol L. Huntington (Deacon, Episcopal Diocese of Maine & Social Worker)
- Jennifer Lunden (Social worker)
- Jessica Moore (Peace Action Maine)
- Rosalie Tyler Paul (American Friends Service Committee, Maine)
- Ilze Petersons (Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine)
- Jason Rawn (National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee)
- John Rensenbrink (Green Horizon Magazine & Maine Green Independent Party)
- Mike Reynolds (AbilityMaine)
- Richard Rhames (Biddeford City Councilor)
- Judy Robbins (Peninsula Peace and Justice)
- Lisa Savage (CodePink & Bring Our War $$ Home Campaign)
- Robert Shetterly (Americans Who Tell the Truth)
- Mary Beth Sullivan (Social worker)
- Rev. Mark D. Wilson (Bath, Maine)
- Donna Yellen (Social worker)

* Groups are listed for identification purposes only

Thursday, November 15, 2012


It was wrong when the U.S. stole land from the Native Americans and violated treaties.

It is equally as wrong when Israel keeps taking land from the Palestinian people and ignores United Nations resolutions calling their settlements on stolen land illegal.

The U.S. taxpayer funds the Israeli occupation forces.  That makes people in the U.S. complicit with crimes against humanity.

 The Congressional Research Service’s conservative estimate of total cumulative U.S. aid to Israel (not adjusted for inflation) from 1949 through 2013 is $115 billion.



The Israeli military is converging on Gaza, as it continues to pummel the Palestinians from air, sea and land.

The Operation, dubbed "Pillars of Defence" - is on the verge of turning into a new invasion, as Tel Aviv says it's prepared to go all the way - under the pretext of self-defence.

Three Israelis and at least 24 Palestinians - including children and a pregnant woman - have already been killed.

Political scientist, activist and author Norman Finkelstein doubts that the current crisis in Gaza will further escalate.


  • On Wednesday night everyone from our Addams-Melman House went to Portland for an event called Do the Math Tour that featured Bill McKibben and others.  More than 1,300 people turned out for the rally.  The climate change emergency tour made the following case: We can burn 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2°C of warming — anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The only problem? Fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And they’re planning to burn it all — unless we rise up to stop them.
  •  McKibben promoted the strategy of getting public institutions (colleges, universities, towns and cities) to divest from oil corporations.  The president of Unity College in Maine took the stage to announce that his institution has just become the first school in the nation to vote to divest from fossil fuel corporations.
  • McKibben also announced a protest at the White House on November 18 which is intended to increase the pressure on Obama to do something real about climate change.  Plans are also being developed for more civil disobedience in the months ahead.
  • It is good to see this direct action component growing within the climate change movement.  It's very necessary.  My one disappointment with McKibben and the climate change groups is that so far they have refused to say a mumbling word about the world's biggest polluter (with the world's largest carbon footprint) - the Pentagon.  I am not saying that McKibben has to shut down the military industrial complex - but how about working it into the public education and articulation!
  • This past weekend we sold another car at the Addams-Melman House.  When we moved in we had three cars and sold one almost immediately.  We are now down to one car between Karen, MB and me.  We are walking and hitching rides more than ever.  The fatal flaw is that public transit is weak, weak, weak and almost non-existent in Maine.
  • Why doesn't the climate change movement demand the conversion of the military industrial complex so we can build rail, solar, wind, tidal power and more?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Imprisoned Jesuit priest Fr. Lee Young-chan.  Behind bars for trying to stop destruction of Gangjeong village and the environment - all for a Navy base.
Don't we wish more clergy were this dedicated and active.
If you want to help please boycott Samsung (lead Navy base contractor) and visit Save Jeju website here


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Ten part series on Showtime by Oliver Stone and American University historian Peter Kuznick.  Looks like a winner.

Stone says in this video that he turned against his upbringing.  


gagnon by Maine Draw-A-Thon!


"My #1 choice for a better way to spend our war dollars would be a state and national rail system."
On Monday I spoke at the Draw-a-thon in Belfast, Maine put on by the Union of Maine Visual Artists.  They were drawing pictures of veterans and asking how they rather see their war $$ used back here at home.

This one is by Kenny Cole who organized the event.


Suzanne Lasker by Maine Draw-A-Thon!

This one was done by Suzanne Lasker. 

My hat actually says Veterans Peace Team.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Some sobering truth for today... in no state in the United States can a minimum wage worker to rent a two bedroom unit at Fair Market Rent working the standard 40-hour work week.

Let's see if the millionaires club (Congress) will raise the minimum wage?


  • A Catholic mass was held today for the release of Jesuit priest Lee Young-chan S.J. (arrested on Oct 24) and other prisoners of conscience. About 900 people attended the mass in a Jeju Island, South Korea cathedral. Father Lee was arrested for trying to block the Navy base construction gate in Gangjeong village.
  • The Washington Post reported this morning that: "Just days after winning a second term, the Obama administration is intensifying its focus on Asia, with the Pentagon chief, secretary of state and the president himself making visits to the region to underline the White House’s foreign policy priorities for the next four years. Despite the ongoing war in Afghanistan and unresolved flash points in the Middle East and North Africa, President Obama and his senior national security team are pushing ahead with the strategic 'pivot' to the ­Asia-Pacific region that they announced at the start of the year. The second-term effort got underway Monday as Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta traveled to Perth, Australia, for two days of talks with the country’s leaders. Joining those talks will be Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific."
  •  The Navy base on Jeju will be needed as a port for U.S. warships as Obama's pivot will move 60% of all Pentagon forces into the region.  Thus the U.S. twists the arm of the South Korean government to get them to build the Navy base that will benefit American ambitions in the region.  To hell with the needs and desires of the people of Jeju Island, Okinawa, Guam, or any other place where U.S. bases will be built or expanded.
  • Obama isn't wasting any time in pushing his "pivot".....he wants to strike while his supporters still revel in the fantasy that his election will mean a more peaceful administration than the right-winger Mitt Romney would have delivered.  But the truth is that Obama is the wolf in sheep's clothing as he will continue to expand military operations in Central Asia and Africa; continue the surrounding of Russia which is drawing angry responses from the Kremlin; increase the testing of new space technologies for "global strike" missions; and escalate the surrounding of China.  The massive cost of all these military operations will be covered by continued cuts in social spending.  His liberal base isn't really interested in any of these details as they glow in the warm aftermath of their electoral victory which they are convinced means that peace and prosperity will return to the land once again.
  • In his new article entitled "Once Again - The Death of the Liberal Class" award-winning journalist Chris Hedges writes, "Liberals have assured us that after the election they will build a movement to hold the president accountable—although how or when or what this movement will look like they cannot say. They didn’t hold him accountable during his first term. They won’t during his second. They have played their appointed roles in the bankrupt political theater that passes for electoral politics."