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. @BruceKGagnon

Saturday, November 22, 2014

U.S. Encourages Nazism in Ukraine

Poroshenko and Biden pushing war with Russia

The US, Canada and the Ukraine voted against a UN Resolution condemning the heroization of Nazism. The EU was not much better: it abstained.

This from the Vineyard of the Saker:

The US, Canada and the Ukraine refuse to condemn the heroization of Nazism 


It is often argued whether the Ukrainian junta is Nazi or not.  I would strongly argue that even though Poroshenko did not come out, make a Nazi salute and declare "I am a Nazi" all the signs point to the conclusion that the regime in Kiev has its ideological roots in the Nazi past.  The latest example of that "filiation" can be found in this absolutely amazing event last week:  only three countries - the US, Canada and the Ukraine voted against a UN Resolution condemning the heroization of Nazism.  The EU was not much better: it abstained.  This development is so crazy, so insane, that it is important to have access to the original document which was voted on.

Here is the official voting record:

To me, this is disgusting beyond belief.  Here we have two countries who try to positions themselves as the most pro-Israeli on the planet (the US and Canada) and the EU which has even passed laws making not only Nazi propaganda illegal, but jailing those who would dare investigate the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis (the so-called 'Holocaust').  And yet these putatively anti-Nazi and "democratic" countries are now refusing to condemn the heroization of Nazism not so much because they particularly like Nazis, but because they want to "protect" the Ukrainian junta.  As for the Ukrainians themselves, they have suffered more from Nazis then any other country or ethnic group, and yet they also refused to condemn the heroization of Nazism.  This makes a mockery not only of all their so-called principles and values, it also is an act of obscene disrespect for the millions of Ukrainian murdered by the Nazis.  There is one good thing about all this: it shows clearly and unequivocally how much the western elites truly hate Russia and that this hate clearly trumps any other considerations or values.

Russian disgust

For the past few days, or weeks, really, I have seen more and more signs of total Russian disgust with the West.  If, in the past, Russian diplomats and politicians were mostly trying to sound polite, now they are openly expressing their disgust.  For example, they are now openly saying the Europe does not have a foreign policy or an opinion, that Europe is just a subservient colony of the US.  As for the US, the Russians are now openly saying that this entire Ukrainian crisis was just a pretext and that the US are really out there to submit Russia.  Putin said that openly last week, adding that nobody had every succeeded in subduing Russia and neither would the USA.  This goes further than words, Russia has already announced that she was going to boycott the 2016 Summit on Nuclear Security.  This became known when the Russian informed the other members of this Summit that Russia would not participate in its preparatory work.

Sergei Lavrov also made a remarkable speech today, but since the pathetic website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not even bother providing a translation on the same day,  we will have to wait before I can post it here.

The Saker

We Shall Overcome (reflection from Jeju)

Breakwaters for the Navy base on Jeju

Dear Friends,

I am home and feeling overwhelmed emotionally. Gratitude, outrage, solidarity, humanity, pain, sadness, celebration, beauty, resilience, change, military and corporate power, faith, truth......

I woke last night with Gangjeong [village] overflowing my head and heart. Physically one circle away-- connected by spirit. What resonates loudly is the powerful ritual, of art, music, dance, faith, the struggle of indigenous people to protect heritage, life and place.

A large chunk of sacred shoreline has been taken -- a tall white fence with barbed wire separates the naval base from the village and its people. On the west sea side there is a river estuary and a rock jetty. It is a beautiful spot- heron, egrets feeding in the river, gentle fresh water flowing into the sea, Tiger island arising from the sea close by..... a group of stored kayaks-- a peace fleet. The west side of the naval base dissects the scene. There are protest flags and paintings all along the river path from the sea...and an encampment supporting the struggle.

Walking north along the riverside fence line arrive at the bridge, the main road into town. It is another site of significance, heavily decorated with anti-base flags and flowers. A few hundred feet up the road from the bridge is a shrine and large permanent peace tent, one side set up for Mass, all decorated with logs carved with prayers.. The other side of the road the base fence line is adorned with illustrations, peace poetry , flags, murals up to the new main gate.

Six days a week mats are placed on half of the main gate road at 7am with activists and sisters bowing with peaceful intentions spoken over a loudspeaker "as I hold in my heart....I make my 1st, ..30th..88th.. 100th bow. Later, at 11am a full mass with communion and rosary is celebrated both in the tent with villagers and extended along the road over a loudspeaker to priest and activists in chairs blocking the gate- stopping construction trucks. Police interrupt every 10-15 minutes to remove and contain resisters to the side for 10 minutes of truck flow...  After mass is a human chain, and 3-4 dances in the street.

From the gate walk on a path decorated with murals and flags on the fence side depicting Gureombi rock, the imprisoned activists, and lined with several greenhouses. Arrive at the communal kitchen, the residence for sisters, and several living/storage containers abutting the north side of the fence. Resume walking along the continuously protested fence line to the road where the fence turns south toward the sea along the road to the marina. The unfenced side of the road has a large 24 hour peace encampment and campfire blocking the proposed naval housing construction.. The last of the fields on this eastern side of the naval base were still being bulldozed and fence erected during our visit.

The walk ends just past the marina --a large crucifix where Father Moon was pushed off the rock by police at the end of a high cement dyke facing west toward the base -- an evocative shrine.

Every centimeter of land that was taken is a passionate colorful tragic place of resistance -- a cry for peace...

Mira Leslie

War Crimes in Palestine

In September members of the European Parliament called on the European Union to break diplomatic ties with Israel and implement sanctions against the country because of the war crimes it has committed against the people of Palestine. 

90% of the water in Gaza is now undrinkable after the recent Israeli 'shock and awe' attack on the Palestinian people.  This kind of 'collective punishment' of innocent civilian populations is a war crime worthy of the Third Reich. 

Last night here in Bath we had a wonderful concert and fundraiser for the Palestinian people.  Fifty people turned out and we raised $643 for the Middle East Children's Alliance.

Stepping Up Resistance in Okinawa

Citizens in Okinawa recently threw out politicians on their island who had betrayed the people by supporting US military base expansion.  Now they are increasing the pressure by organizing blockades of these bases.  In the case of Henoko (northern Okinawa) the US wants to build an airfield that goes right out into the ocean where endangered species are found.

People all over the world are saying NO to the string of more than 800 US imperial bases.  We need that same spirit back here in the USA.

If we could ever end the US war machine's global dominance we would have money for jobs, health care, education, infrastructure repair and more in this country.  See the links - make the connections.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Climate Change Alert!

Can you see the Mother Earth, suffering from toxic shock, thrashing about?  She is going to shut down our whole way of life.  We refused to pay attention and to act like good little Earthlings.... so Madre Terra is going to do what we wouldn't do.  Hang on friends!

The Face of Armageddon

The Navy's new Zumwalt 'stealth' destroyer being built at Bath Iron Works in Maine. The ship was designed to sneak up along China's coastline and blast them with 'elctro-magnetic railguns'

We had our Maine Veterans For Peace (VFP) meeting last night in Augusta - about an hour from Bath where I live.  Three of us rode in Peter Woodruff's truck.  On the way there I apologized for having forgotten my wallet and thus couldn't kick in a few bucks for gas.  Peter immediately took the next exit near Gardiner and I thought he was going to drop-kick me right there.  We all had a good laugh.  Also in the truck was Dan Ellis who does the web site and membership for the chapter.

It was a good meeting last night and we had an excellent discussion about the impending public reaction in Ferguson, Missouri when the killer-cop will likely be let off the hook by a Grand Jury after having unnecessarily taken the life of the young black man Michael Brown.  Protests are planned all over the nation at 5:00 pm the day following the Grand Jury announcement.  (I read yesterday that white folks in that area have recently been busy buying handguns fearing a race riot.  Sales are up by 50%. The media and right-wing racist web sites have been hyping that story big-time.)

During the VFP meeting the discussion was centered around the growing militarization of our culture.  Just like many countries around the world that are involved in civil conflict the ruling oligarchy in the US is pitting citizen-against-citizen.... white people against black and brown citizens.  Rather than face the growing income disparity across the land (created by corporate capitalism) the races are being manipulated into a pre-civil war mode.

America has never recovered from slavery and our own Civil War in the 1860's - which many young people know nothing about. Currently we face the neglected wound of race coming back to haunt the nation once again.  You could call it 'the old stand by' - a tactic rolled out when the heat gets a bit too hot for those in power.  Divide and conquer always works well to distract the masses.

On the way home from the meeting, while talking about endless war, Peter remarked that the Navy's new 'stealth' destroyer (pictured above) is "the face of Armageddon."  This is particularly relevant because Peter only recently retired from Bath Iron Works (BIW) after 33-plus years at the shipyard.  In 2009 he created a petition saying "We want to build wind turbines for off-shore wind in the Gulf of Maine" and circulated it amongst the workers at BIW.  He gathered 800 signatures, just about one out of every five workers there at the time.  The local Times Record newspaper wrote an editorial congratulating him for his vision and courage saying:

We agree with Woodruff and other circulators of this petition that the time is ripe for this initiative - given President Obama's emphasis on "green energy"..... Statistics released by the European Wind Energy Association show that 43% of all new electricity generating capacity built in the European Union last year was wind energy, exceeding all other technologies including gas, coal and nuclear power.

Even before he retired Peter was the first BIW worker ever to attend a destroyer 'Christening' ceremony protest and speak out for conversion of the shipyard.  He's been an active member of the local effort to convert the shipyard to peaceful production for several years.

In Peter's earlier days he fished, was an environmental leader, and has a great love for the sea.  He is deeply troubled about the growing acidification of the oceans due to global warming.  He intimately understands the close link between militarism and climate change as the Pentagon has the largest carbon bootprint on the planet.

Peter said again last night something I've heard him say often:  "Remember, there is not much time left."

We are literally holding the future generations in our hands.  What shall we offer them?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Reaching Out for Common Ground

Hong Kong Occupy: U.S. Hypocrisy

Congressional lawmakers are trying to push through a bill that would give Washington the all-clear to openly support protests in Hong Kong. China has already warned the US to stay out of the matter. RT's Gayane Chichakyan takes a closer look.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

US Prepares to Sell Saudi Arabia Warships to Help Take Down Iran

The American revolution was supposed to have happened because of the revulsion our 'founding fathers' had with the institution of 'divine right of kings' or monarchy.  Supposedly the new American nation went to war with England because a revolutionary 'democracy' was the preferred way of organizing our new nation.  (Of course the truth was that the American 'founding fathers' had their own dreams of empire which is just what has sadly turned out for this country.  But the mythology of America is all about our rejection of monarchy.)

Fast forward and we see the headlines in the Portland Press Herald newspaper: Bath Iron Works may get Saudi ship contract worth billions

The article reads in part:

Saudi Arabian officials say they are preparing to move forward with an upgrade to the country’s navy that could include a multibillion-dollar contract for Bath Iron Works, the Reuters news service reported Wednesday.

BIW’s DDG-51 destroyer is one of at least two ship designs being considered for the long-discussed Saudi Naval Expansion Program II, or SNEP, which has an estimated value of roughly $20 billion, Reuters said.

Dewar told Reuters that the Saudis are considering whether to buy up to a dozen of Lockheed’s steel monohull Littoral Combat Ship or the larger DDG-51 destroyer built by BIW, a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corp.

“We are aware of the ongoing discussions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia concerning modernization of the Saudi fleet,” said BIW spokesman Jim DeMartini.

“We are in the business of building naval surface combatants and should the two governments reach an agreement on a program, we would be highly interested in pursuing that opportunity.”

Looking at the map above we see the close proximity of Iran to Saudi Arabia.  We know that the Saudi monarchy wants to take down Iran (as does Israel and the US).  We know that the DDG-51 destroyer built by BIW is outfitted with so-called 'missile defense' systems that are key elements in US first-strike attack planning.  We know that these warships are heavily reliant on US military satellites to direct the on-board weapons systems to their targets.  Saudi Arabia does not have the military satellites nor the ground-based command and control systems to guide these weapons systems to their targets.  Thus any Saudi high-tech ships and weapons would be run through the Pentagon's warfighting satellite system.  In other words the Saudi monarchy would be paying for the ships that would essentially augment existing US military forces now surrounding Iran in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations in the region.

Most interesting of all is that US shipyard workers would be building warships for a brutal and unforgiving monarchy that is known for making ISIS look like amateurs. Saudi Arabia is one of the last places on earth where capital punishment is a public spectacle - carried out in what is called Chop Chop Square in Riyadh.

Capital and physical punishments imposed by Saudi courts, such as beheading, stoning (to death), amputation and lashing, as well as the sheer number of executions have been strongly criticized. The death penalty can be imposed for a wide range of offences including murder, rape, armed robbery, repeated drug use, apostasy, adultery, witchcraft and sorcery and can be carried out by beheading with a sword, stoning or firing squad, followed by crucifixion. The 345 reported executions between 2007 and 2010 were all carried out by public beheading. The last reported execution for sorcery took place in September 2014.

Interfaith Unity Against Terrorism reports:

Saudi Arabia has been the official sponsor of Wahabbism – the extremist thought from which all jihadist militancy now pours forth. Saudi Arabia and its Wahabbism’s militant Islamic doctrines constitute a clear and present danger to the Middle East and to the entire world. The house of Saud derives its legitimacy from religious credentials underwritten by Wahabbi clerics. Wahabbism is the creed that has fuelled all jihads –many with West’s blessings- in world’s recent memory.

You'd think that official circles in Washington would be up-in-arms about selling high-tech weapons of war to the brutal monarchy of Saudi Arabia.  But this suggested $20 billion weapons sale indicates just how corrupt and immoral the US 'experiment' in democracy has become.  The #1 industrial export product of the US today is weapons.  The US wants to take down Iran and has made a pact with the Saudi's to do just that.

There can be no doubt that the American dream of freedom, justice and real democracy is now no more than a hollow phrase.

Jeju Solidarity Forever

The nine person Washington state peace delegation to Jeju Island, South Korea is nearing the end of their solidarity visit.  Last night they held a meeting with villagers and supporters for extended sharing.  Here is a brief report from Emily Wang:

Yesterday night, we had a really inspiring sharing and dialogue with 9 foreigner visitors including Father Bix. With this chance, they shared their experiences and people here also expressed our thankfulness. We encourage each other in this long struggle and have question to each other. For instance, how to deal with anger, trauma...? What we gonna do if the [Navy] base construction is finally completed etc...?

This is a wonderful community time.

See more photos here

Mira Leslie, one of the delegation who lives in Seattle, writes from Jeju Island:

In less than 24 hours we will depart Gangjeong village. Jean left this morning. The goodbyes started yesterday. There is tremendous gratitude to us for coming here. In some ways I don't understand that - hosting and feeding ten people for 10 days is a tremendous task. We have had 'special meal' almost everyday - and the regular food at the communal kitchen is delicious - but not too varied. Kimchee varieties, rice and soup- yum. We have been taken to tourist spots including the amazing Buddhist temple grounds and there have been several meetings with key leaders of the movement - each imparting intense information.

The community of resistance receives support from visitors - it helps them to have people doing 100 bows and blocking the gate during mass-Eucharistic resistance. The sister nuns are a steady presence - rotating through here from diocese throughout Korea. Foreign visitors are embraced warmly. The community is tired, but still very together (from an outsider perspective). For me, this time will be impossible to forget - and I am sure I'll ruminate on it after leaving.

How can we to bring this back to our communities - and honor all we have learned?

The town is decorated with natural images - of peace. Peace Zone, dream catchers, sea creatures, Gureombi rock. We learned yesterday at the stone museum and grounds "the very deep meaning of stone here' - much of it volcanic. It is building material, fencing, tools, food prep, sinks, toys and games, water vessel, art, music....

Last night we sat at the peace center with the activists, priests, and a few towns people. Father Bix and I described some of our peace work in the US and then they asked questions to all of us. They had 2-3 sentence bios of each of us that had been translated and printed. At one moment an activist said - everyone sees the damage done to the environment here - but no one can see the deep anger and damage in our hearts. She asked Sonya who works with trauma teams internationally for advice. You could see the reactions - it wasn't expected - Korean people don't talk too much about their feelings.

The village produces lillies for Japan, a sister told me as we walked to the gate today - but many of the lilly greenhouses were destroyed when they started the base. There is still fishing - but it is diminishing as the sea is being altered with destruction of the fragile soft coral reefs, damage from concrete, blasting, construction toxins/waste and later with ship pollution - oil, fuel, human waste.

We were gifted t-shirts today by the international team. The image is of Jeju island with an open mouthed shark on one end - the shark is in US stars and stripes with the Korean script word 'Imperialism'.

What Do You Stand For?

‘I am a patriot,’ writes Tighe Barry, ‘serving my country the best that I know how.’ 
Barry is the art director for the peace group CODEPINK and a long time peace activist based in Washington DC.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Human Dilemma

George Monbiot writes
this is the age of loneliness

"We are shaped, to a greater extent
than almost any other species,
by contact with others.
The age we are entering,
in which we exist apart,
is unlike any that has gone before.
The war of every man against every man –
competition and individualism,
in other words –
is the religion of our time,
justified by a mythology of lone rangers,
sole traders, self-starters,
self-made men and women,
going it alone.
For the most social of creatures,
who cannot prosper without love,
there is no such thing as society,
only heroic individualism.
What counts is to win.
The rest is collateral damage."

We have forgotten
maybe our present age
never knew
how to be human
to be companions
how to give
and receive love

Our Facebook
and email

We have become
socially awkward
out of tune
out of time
from reality
our hearts
and frozen
lost in the crowd
lost in space
lost without
a way home

must find
the way home
to be human

Monday, November 17, 2014

Great Article If You Want to Understand Ukraine & Russia Situation

Understanding what is really going on in Ukraine is not easy for most Americans and people living in the west due to constant corporate media trashing of Putin and the Russian government.  Below are a few excerpts from one of the best articles yet on this important subject.  It is written by James Petras retired Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York and adjunct professor at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  You can read the entire article entitled Russia’s Vulnerability to EU – US Sanctions and Military Encroachments here

From 1990 to 1999, over 6 million Russian citizens died prematurely as a result of the catastrophic collapse of the economy; life expectancy for males declined from 67 years during the Soviet era to 55 year during the Yeltsin period. Russia’s GNP declined sixty percent – a historic first for a country not at war. Following Yeltsin’s violent seizure of power and his bombing of the Russian parliament, the regime proceeded to ‘prioritize’ the privatization of the economy, selling off the energy, natural resources, banking, transport and communication sectors at one-tenth or less of their real value to well-connected cronies and foreign entities.

Of course, the respectable western media celebrated the pillage of Russia as the transition to “free elections and a free market economy”. They wrote glowing articles describing the political power and dominance of gangster oligarchs as the reflection of a rising “liberal democracy”. The Russian state was thus converted from a global superpower into an abject client regime penetrated by western intelligence agencies and unable to govern and enforce its treaties and agreements with Western powers. The US and EU rapidly displaced Russian influence in Eastern Europe and quickly snapped up former state-owned industries, the mass media and financial institutions. Communist and leftist and even nationalist officials were ousted and replaced by pliant and subservient ‘free market’ pro-NATO politicians. The US and EU violated every single agreement signed by Gorbachev and the West: Eastern European regimes became NATO members; West Germany annexed the East and military bases were expanded right up to Russia’s borders. Pro-NATO “think tanks” were established and supplied intelligence and anti-Russian propaganda. Hundreds of NGOs, funded by the US, operated within Russia as propaganda and organizing instruments for “subservient” neo-liberal politicians. In the former Soviet Caucuses and Far East, the West fomented separatist sectarian movements and armed uprisings, especially in Chechnya; the US sponsored dictators in the Caucuses and corrupt neo-liberal puppets in Georgia. The Russian state was colonized and its putative ruler, Boris Yeltsin, often in a drunken stupor, was propped up and manipulated to scratch out executive fiats . . . further disintegrating the state and society.

In 2014, the Western offensive to isolate, encircle and eventually undermine any possibility of an independent Russian state went into high gear. The US financed a civil-military coup ousting the elected regime of [Ukraine's] President Viktor Yanukovytch, who had opposed EU annexation and NATO affiliation. Washington imposed a puppet regime deeply hostile to Russia and ethnic Russian-Ukrainian citizens in the southeast and Crimea. Russian opposition to the coup and support for pro-democracy federalists in the south-east and Crimea served as a pretext for Western sanctions in an effort to undermine Russia’s oil, banking and manufacturing sectors and to cripple its economy.
Despite the short-term successes of the US-EU war against the Russian economy, the Putin Administration has remained extremely popular among the Russian electorate, with approval ratings exceeding 80%. This has relegated Putin’s pro-Western opposition to the dust bin of history. Nevertheless the Western sanctions policy and the aggressive political – NATO military encirclement of Russia, has exposed the vulnerabilities of Moscow.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

No Justice No Peace

Ferguson Speaks: A Communique From Ferguson from FitzGibbon Media on Vimeo.

As law enforcement officials and national media gear up for a St Louis County Grand Jury’s announcement as to whether it will levy charges against Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for the August 9th shooting of Michael Brown Jr., activists have issued a 9 minute video communiqué providing an intimate look at the climate on the ground.

Sign a petition here

People's Victory on Okinawa Against US Base

Voters elected Takeshi Onaga as the new governor of the southern island chain. Onaga defeated incumbent Governor Hairokazu Nakaima who was backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's party. The premier wants the US military base to be relocated to another site within the prefecture. Onaga says he will veto the landfill work needed for the new base to be built and wants the base closed rather than moved.

News Update

  • Vandenberg AFB in California was the landing place for the Pentagon's new military space plane last month after a 22-month mission orbiting the Earth. It's part of Strategic Command's "prompt global strike" program suggesting to Russia and China that they could be quickly hit from space.  After the shuttle was retired we were told that the X-37 (and other similar programs now under development) would be the successor to the shuttle.  But the X-37 has nothing to do with peaceful space exploration or NASA.  It's being developed for surveillance and to give the US first-strike capability.  Important issue to follow.  Very expensive and destabilizing program. See more here
  • NASA moved the International Space Station (ISS) to another position in orbit last Wednesday in order to reportedly avoid space junk coming dangerously close.  NASA said it was a small piece of an old Chinese satellite.  Seems a bit far fetched to me that NASA can differentiate every bit of the more than 25,000 pieces of debris in space.  Many believe that because of the vast amount of space junk up there some day the $100 billion ISS will be hit.  Could the US being setting the stage to blame China?  God only knows how much of the space junk up there comes from the most dominate space power on Earth - the USA.
  • I did two interviews with PressTV today.  One over the phone about US-Russian relations taking another nose dive and the other via Skype on the election in Okinawa for governor which was won by a candidate who is opposed to US bases on the island and pledges to stop expansion of new bases.  The US is pressuring the right-wing Abe government to force 'compliance' on the people of Okinawa.  The Abe government offered bribes to Okinawa that they would get more money if they agreed to support the pro-base candidate for governor.  Still the people said no.  The interview on Russian relations is here

Koohan Paik at the Techno-Utopianism Confab

Koohan Paik was one of 45 leading scholars, authors and activists who convened at The Great Hall of Cooper Union, New York City, on October 25-26, 2014, for the public presentation: "Techno-Utopianism and the Fate of the Earth." Speakers discussed the profound impacts—environmental, economic and social—of runaway technological expansionism and cyber immersion; the tendency to see technology as the savior for all problems. For more info, see

Raised in Korea and Guam, Koohan Paik is Coordinator of the Asia-Pacific program at the International Forum on Globalization. She is also a journalist, media-literacy educator, and award-winning filmmaker. She has degrees in media studies from the University of Southern California and NYU, and has also written extensively about the social and environmental impacts of militarism. Recent articles concerned with Pacific issues have appeared in The Progressive, and in The Nation. She is based in Hawai’i and is co-author of "The Superferry Chronicles: Hawaii’s Uprising Against Militarism, Commercialism and the Desecration of the Earth" (2008), with Jerry Mander.

Sunday Song