Organizing Notes

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

My Photo
Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Our "Special Relationship"

Uncle Sam and his "special relationship" with Chancellor Angela Merkel on display during a carnival parade in Germany.

Many nations have a similar relationship with the US.  The people around the world understand though just what this relationship really means....colonization.

But here in the US the American people still largely live under the illusion that we are somehow 'exceptional' and are offering the world something of great value - which of course we are not.  War and corporate domination is not what people want and need from us.  Mostly they'd like to be left alone to get on with their own lives.

What the US actually offers the world can best be described as a load of bullshit.

They are Not Farming, They are Doing Research

AINA (pronounced "eye-nah") means, “that which feeds us” in the Hawaiian language. The film highlights a simple yet effective path for addressing some of the most pressing environmental and health crises facing the island of Kauai - and of island Earth. That may sound like an outstanding claim, but as AINA vividly illustrates, such is the power of agriculture and consumer choices for people and the planet.

"To malama `āina is to take care of the earth that feeds us. The minute we lose site of that, we have signed our own palapala make, our death warrant."
--Sabra Kauka, Storyteller, from AINA

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sign Our Petition: No Nukes in Space

Petitioning NASA HQ and Congress sign here

Stop all plans to use nuclear power in space - use solar power

Next Stage of War on Russia?

If you are having trouble viewing this video, go to the Youtube version at

Impeach Gov. Rampage

Tuesday, June 30
Augusta State Capital Building


Maine citizens are outraged by the dangerous abuses of power and outrageous behavior of Gov. LePage. We will rally to demonstrate our deep distress as LePage's descended into McCarthyism. This will not be tolerated! We will ask the Legislature to investigate and consider the options, including impeachment of LePage.

Enough is enough!

Who is invited to the Rally? Maine citizens regardless of political affiliation or non-affiliation. You are invited!

What to bring? Bring your children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors. Posters/signs are welcome to show your thoughts.

Who is sponsoring? A grassroots group who will rally as "A Declaration of Conscience." We are nonpartisan and welcome all citizens, Independents, Democrats and Republicans, and Greens to this rally.

United We Stand against LePage's outrageous behavior

Rebecca Halbrook, 914-671-1826

No Nukes in Space

Since the late 1980's journalism professor Karl Grossman has been writing about nuclear power in space.  He was one of the founding members of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space when it was created in 1992.  Today he remains on the organization's Advisory Board.

Karl's latest article, released today, comes just a day after another rocket launch failure at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Featured on CounterPunch Karl's article is entitled A Planetary Risk: The Perils of Nuclear-Powered Space Flights.  Below are a few excerpts from the piece and the full article can be read here.

You can also sign our petition calling on NASA & Congress to stop plans for nuclear power in space here.

NASA has released a study claiming there is a need for continued use of plutonium-energized power systems for future space flights. It also says the use of actual nuclear reactors in space “has promise” but “currently” there is no need for them.

The space plutonium systems—called radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGS)—use the heat from the decay of plutonium to generate electricity in contrast to nuclear reactors, usually using uranium, in which fission or atom-splitting takes place.

Examples of the use of benign power in space include the successful flight in May of a solar-powered spacecraft named LightSail in a mission funded by members of the Planetary Society. Astronomer Carl Sagan, a founder of the society, was among those who have postulating having a spacecraft with a sail propelled through the vacuum of space by the pressure of photons emitted by the sun. LightSail demonstrates his vision.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, a former astronaut and Marine Corps major general, remains a big booster of using nuclear-propelled rockets to get to Mars. Work on such a rocket has been going on at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. NASA on its website says that a nuclear-powered rocket “could propel human explorers to Mars more efficiently than conventional spacecraft.”

Through the years, NASA has worked closely with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and after the commission was disbanded its successor, the Department of Energy, on space nuclear programs. And there’s a program at DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop a “robust fission reactor prototype that could be used as a power system for space travel,” according to Technews World.
This is occurring despite Russia now abandoning its development of nuclear-propelled rockets for missions to Mars, a project it had earlier much-heralded. Reported TASS in April:

“Russia’s space agency Roscosmos is planning to shut down works on developing a megawatt-class nuclear propulsion system for long-range manned spacecraft.”
“We’ve known for years that the nuclear industry has taken control of the seats at the NASA and DOE planning committees that decide whether solar or nuclear power should be used on space missions,” said Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. “The nuclear industry views space as a new market for their deadly product. Nuclear generators on space missions, nuclear powered mining colonies on Mars and other planetary bodies and even nuclear reactors on rockets to Mars are being sought. Thus there are many opportunities for things to go wrong.”
“Over the years, inside the DOE labs, hundreds of workers have been contaminated while fabricating space nuclear devices. It is not just some theoretical chance of a space launch accident that we are concerned about. We oppose the entire space nuclear power production process,” he said. “It’s all dangerous!”

“Just like here on Earth there is a tug-of-war going on between those who wish to promote life-giving solar power and those who want nukes,” said Gagnon. “That same battle for nuclear domination is being taken into the heavens by an industry that wants more profit—no matter the consequences. The Global Network will continue to organize around the space nuclear power issue by building a global constituency opposed to the risky and unnecessary nukes in space program.” The Global Network is based in Maine.

Grab a Chair

Berlin, Germany –This past Friday life-size bronze statues of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning were unveiled in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz Square in front of German politicians and activists.

In Germany and much of the world, the three are considered heroes in the fight for freedom of information and speech, for their respective leaking of classified U.S. documents.

“They have lost their freedom for the truth, so they remind us how important it is to know the truth,” said the artworks creator, Italian sculptor Davide Dormino, during the unveiling.

The artwork is not only an ode to the courage of these three whistleblowers, but also serves as a call to citizens to take a stand, as the three are standing on chairs with a fourth empty chair next to them.

See more here

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Western Culture is Insane

US Iraq war veteran Vince Emanuele speaks out against the US war machine, blowing the whistle on the United States culture of warfare.

Vince Emanuele is a former US Marine of two tours to Iraq who refused to go again by laying down his weapon. He is now organizer for the Michigan chapter of Veterans for Peace and serves on the national board of directors of Iraq Veterans Against War. He host the Veterans Unplugged program on Radio WMS, Michigan.

Be Kind, Be Connected, Be Unafraid....

Rivera Sun author of The Dandelion Insurrection is originally from Maine

I'm almost finished reading the book The Dandelion Insurrection by fellow Mainer Rivera Sun who now lives in New Mexico.  I thought I'd share a few of her golden words from the book.

"We've been taught greed," Zadie told people.  "We were sold consumption as a measure of our worth, but look around you!  When you have nothing, you are still worth more than the millions of dollars locked up in a bank!  Money is a pale substitute for the riches of our hearts.  Hidden within our greed is our longing for something greater; something money cannot buy and products cannot deliver.  We want to love and be loved. We want to share a meal together.  We want shelter from the storm.  We want peace.  We want joy."

"Spit out your enslavement to a culture of greed," Zadie said.  "Feel that addiction leaving your body.  Then raise your head high and walk onwards.  You are one step closer to freedom!"

Look within.  Leaders reflect the courage or the fear that already lies inside us.  Cast out fear, grasp courage, and move forward.
We must show them that the greatest force on earth is not the government, not the corporations, and not the military ... the greatest force on earth is the love of the people for each other!

Her latest book is called Billionaire Buddha.

Sunday Song

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Highly Recommend this Article

US Secretary of War Ashton Carter

We restarted the Cold War: The real story about the NATO buildup that the New York Times won’t tell you

Our leaders and media push time-worn nonsense about American innocence, while taking aggressive moves. Look out

By Patrick L. Smith


Have you picked up on the new trope du jour? We are all encouraged to bask in our innocence as we lament the advent of a new Cold War. The thought has been in the wind for more than a year, of course, at least among some of us. But we witness a significant turn, and I hope this same some of us are paying attention.

As of this week, leaders who know nothing about leading, thinkers who do not think and opinion-shaping poseurs such as Tom Friedman are confident enough in their case to sally forth with it: The Cold War returns, the Russians have restarted it and we must do the right thing—the right thing being to bring NATO troops and materiel up to Russia’s borders, pandering to the paranoia of the former Soviet satellites as if they alone have access to some truth not available to the rest of us.

James Stavridis, the former admiral and NATO commander, quoted in Wednesday’s New York Times: “I don’t think we’re in the Cold War again—yet. I can kind of see it from here.”

I can kind of see it, too, Admiral, and cannot be surprised: NATO has missed the Cold War since the Wall came down and the Pentagon’s creature in Europe commenced a quarter-century of wandering in search of useful enemies. At last, the very best of them is back.

The inimitable (thank goodness) Tom Friedman on the same day’s opinion page: “This time it seems like the Cold War without the fun—that is, without James Bond, Smersh, ‘Get Smart’ Agent 86’s shoe phone,” and so on.

Leave it to Tom to recall the single most consequentially corrosive period in American history by way of its infantile frivolities. He is paid, after all, to make sure Americans understand events cartoonishly rather than as historical phenomena with chronology, causality and responsibility attaching to them.

You have here a classic one-two. Stavridis’ successors in the military get on with the business of aggressing abroad and trapping Russia in a frame-up J. Edgar Hoover would admire, while Friedman buries us in marshmallow fluff sandwiches.

A couple of columns back I wondered aloud as to what all the talk of renewed Russian aggression, begun in mid-April, was all about. It certainly had nothing to do with Russian aggression for the simple reason there was none. If you saw any, please tell us all about it in the comment box.

A couple of columns earlier I questioned why John Kerry met Vladimir Putin and Sergei Lavrov, his foreign minister, in Sochi. Altogether weirdly, the secretary of state suddenly appeared to make common cause with the Russian president.

My worst predictions are now realities. We have just been subjected to a tried-and-sometimes-true campaign preparing us for a Cold War reprise—begun, like the original, by spooks and Pentagon planners ever eager to escalate unnecessary tensions in the direction of unnecessary conflict.

Think with history, readers. We are now back in the mid-1950s by my reckoning, when the template at work today was perfected in places such as Guatemala. The Dulles brothers double-handedly transformed Jacobo Árbenz, offspring of a Swiss druggist and Guatemala’s second properly elected president, into an agent of “Communist aggression,” as the Times helpfully described him at the time. Árbenz was deposed in 1954, of course, and most Americans were obediently relieved that another “threat” had been countered. (I have always loved the purely American thought of an aggressive Guatemala.)

On through the decades, from Ho to Lumumba to Allende to the Sandinistas—every single case falsely cast as a Moscow-inspired challenge to the “free world,” every case in truth reflecting America’s ambition to global dominance. There is a golden rule at work here, so do not miss it: Americans never act but in response to a threat to human freedom originating among the mal-intended elsewhere.

Any good historian—and stop being so negative, you find good ones here and there—will tell you that the golden rule has applied without exception since the 18th century. It applied to the Mexicans in the 1840s, the Spanish in the 1890s, and countless times during the century we call American.

Even now, the golden rule is inscribed in any American history text you may pick up. It is integral to Americans’ consciousness of themselves. And in consequence it is near to impossible for most of us to grasp our role in events as they unfold before our eyes, never mind our true place in history.

So long as the rule applies, all notions of causality and responsibility are erased from the story. This reality is very close to the root of the American crisis, if you accept the thought that we are amid one.

I view the marked deterioration of the West’s relations with Russia since April in precisely this historically informed light. We have entered upon a new Cold War, all right, and its similarity to the last one lies in one aspect more important than any other: Washington instigated this one just as Truman set the first in motion when he armed the Greek monarchy—fascist by his own ambassador’s description—against a popular revolt in 1947.

You would think it something close to a magician’s trickery to conduct a century and more’s worth of coups, political subterfuge and military interventions and keep Americans convinced that all done in their names is done in the name of good. But we live through a case in point. We now witness an aggressive military advance toward Russia’s borders on a nearly astonishing scale, yet very few Americans are able to see it for what it is.

Such is the power of our golden rule.

Read the rest of the article here

~ Patrick Smith is the author of “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century.” He was the International Herald Tribune’s bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote “Letter from Tokyo” for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter, @thefloutist.

Can We Ask Bernie a Few Questions?

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) will hold a town meeting at Ocean Gateway in Portland, Maine on Monday, July 6 from 7-8 pm .

Members of CODEPINK and Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space plan to be there with a Bring Our War $$ Home banner and other messaging focused on how social & environmental programs can be funded while the Democratic Party continues to support giving 50%+ of the discretionary federal budget to the Pentagon in FY16.

If you or your group wants to endorse and join in our effort to point out the elephant of militarization in the room, please let us know your thoughts. You can rsvp on the Fazebook event here.

Why won't Bernie talk about his support to bring F-35 to Vermont? What is his true position on Palestinians? Should we not ask these questions of a man who wants to be president?

I'll never forget Jimmy Carter saying during his campaign, "The arms race is a disgrace to the human race". Then once elected prez he built the Kings Bay Nuclear submarine base in St. Marys, Georgia. I learned then 'buyer beware'.

Why Do Africans Run?

"Most of the countries on the African continent are rich in resources, from oil and precious metals to fertile land and water, so why then do so many people try to escape to the EU? Because we plunder their resources and leave them nothing. One economist put the theft of African resources by the West at $60,000,000,000 a year, and the same has been happening to Central and South America. They aren't 'illegally immigrating' here because of our 'freedom', they are coming here because we have left them no other choice."

~ Trevor Loveridge

Take Down That Flag

Daily News reports:

A woman was arrested for removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse Saturday -- only to have the banner raised again less than an hour later.

Bree Newsome climbed the 30-foot pole using a harness in Columbia just after dawn as officers yelled for her to come down, organizer Tamika Lewis told the Daily News.

"You cannot get to me with hatred and oppression and violence," Newsome shouted from the top of the pole, according to video. "I come to do this in the name of God. This flag comes down today."

Newsome took her time climbing down, citing prayers as she did so. When she reached the bottom, State Police took the flag out of her hands and arrested her.

Another activist, James Tyson, spotted Newsome at the bottom of the pole to make sure she didn't fall, Lewis said. He was arrested alongside Newsome as a group of onlookers cheered off camera.

Newsome, who is black, and Tyson, who is white, are part of a group of about 10 activists who orchestrated the flag's removal after a white supremacist allegedly slaughtered nine people at "Mother" Emanuel Church in Charleston on June 17.

Historical Perspective on Ending War

David McReynolds, retired staff member of the War Resisters League and former chair of War Resisters International, spoke June 20, 2015, in Eureka, California, about the launching of the restored nuclear protest vessel Golden Rule.

McReynolds makes several important points in this video - one being that early black civil rights struggles opened the door for other movements to step up.  Secondly he points out that the peace movement in the 1960-70's never spit on GI's but in fact embraced their return from Vietnam and their participation in the anti-war struggle.

I can attest to his point about GI's not being spit upon.  I was stationed at Travis AFB, California during the Vietnam war in 1971-72.  I walked through the San Francisco airport in my uniform several times.  I often visited San Francisco during those days and never witnessed the slightest bad treatment of GI's.  Our haircuts alone made us more than obvious.

Friday, June 26, 2015

On the Rampage in Maine

Maine's self-destructive Gov. Paul LePage is making headlines again

Tea Party Republican Gov. Paul LePage (Rampage) is on the front pages again these days and is currently facing calls for impeachment by a few members of the state legislature.

LePage's most recent act of bullying was to threaten the board of directors of a school for wayward kids with severe cuts in state funding after they had decided to hire the current Democrat leader of the House of Representatives as their new president.  After Gov. Rampage's vindictive reaction to the hiring decision the organization decided to withdraw their job offer to the Democrat House leader prompting newspaper headlines, editorials, and calls for impeachment.

We've been dealing with Rampage's abuses of power for five years and he appears to be collapsing into a fit of self-destruction. He has even begun to threaten fellow Republican party members who are finally having to back away from his over-the-top behavior. In a hand-written note to the Republican State Senate leader the out-of-control governor claimed that his own party had thrown him "under the bus" because they refuse to back him up after he began this month to veto every bill passed inside the legislature - no matter its merit.

Only a man bent on political suicide would begin to publicly denounce his own party, especially when his administration was crashing and burning.

Recently LePage suggested state lawmakers from Lewiston, Maine should be “rounded up and executed in the public square.”

The Bangor Daily News has reported that last Wednesday night, before an audience of about 200 high school students gathered at the annual Boys State convention, LePage said he wanted to shoot a political cartoonist who has drawn unflattering caricatures of the governor for his newspaper’s opinion page. The son of the cartoonist was in the audience.

It's clear that Gov. Rampage is a sick man.  Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature should intervene immediately on behalf of the people of Maine.  Gov. Rampage has gone beyond being a joke and is now a danger to himself and to the public safety.

An online poll today at the Bangor Daily News drew more than 3,000 votes with 78% of respondents supporting impeachment of the wanna-be dictator.

An online petition was created today to support the calls for impeachment and can be signed here

Thursday, June 25, 2015

U.S. Goal is to Aggravate Russian-German Relations

Interview with Sahra Wagenknecht outspoken leftist German Member of Bundestag (Parliament).

She wants Berlin to show more independence from the US and pay more regard to interests of Germans - such as deescalation of Ukraine crisis and ending the sanctions on Russia which are having heavy impact on German business.

A Pew Research Center report has revealed that 45 percent of Germans polled had negative views of the US, compared to 50 percent who had positive views.  Germany is America’s prize vassal pony, and yet public opinion is rapidly turning against Washington. In 2000, 80 percent of Germans viewed the U.S. favorably. 

U.S. Has Sordid History of Biological Warfare in Korea

US may have been testing anthrax at two other bases in South Korea

the hankyoreh reports:

Last month a live anthrax sample arrived in S. Korea, and the US is still declining to answer questions about it

Allegations are surfacing that United States Forces Korea (USFK) anthrax testing has been conducted at bases in Gunsan, North Jeolla, and Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.

USFK is currently facing criticisms after an episode last month in which a live anthrax sample was delivered for testing at Osan Air Base in Gyeonggi Province.

The anthrax tests are part of USFK’s Joint United States Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition (JUPITR) program. New revelations show that USFK laboratories running the program exist not only at Osan and Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, but also in Gunsan and Pyeongtaek.

The group Citizens’ Association for Reclaiming the Kunsan US Military Base as South Korean Land revealed the findings at a press conference on June 17 in front of Kunsan Air Base.

The association also called for the US to “immediately stop its biological and chemical warfare response training and close its biological agent research centers.”

The US has a sordid history of using biological weapons in Korea.  During the Korean War the US military dropped metallic shells on North Korea that snapped open upon hitting the ground, releasing a swarming cargo of insects that unleashed bubonic plague, smallpox, and anthrax.

An international scientific investigating team, headed by a highly noted British biochemist from Cambridge University, did research in Korea and issued a report saying that sudden appearances of insects and spiders, of species not normally known in the region, in winter, and in association with the dropping of strange containers and objects by US military planes were evidence of bio-warfare. Lab tests performed on fleas discovered in such unusual circumstances, positively showed the presence of bubonic plague bacteria.

In some cases, US military jets, usually F-86 fighters, had flown over North Korea dropping masses of fowl feathers tainted with anthrax.

In 1956 American journalist John Powell was charged with 13 counts of sedition for trying to expose the US Biological Warfare campaign in Korea. In 1953 former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover brought Powell before congressional committees charging him with “un-American activities.” Years later, in the 1980’s, Powell’s story was finally aired in an article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Go Green for Life

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Logic Test: Russian Nukes Bad, U.S. Nukes Good?

Double standards from the German Foreign Ministry on issue of nuclear weapons in Europe.

The German government press secretary says that Russian nukes are bad, but new updated American nuclear weapons in Germany will be OK.

Someone might want to let the German government know there is still indeed one major military bloc inside Europe today and it is called NATO which has expanded up to the Russian border!

The spokesman just really wanted the inquiring media to go away......

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

What is the Cost of Economic Sanctions on Russia?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Caroline Kennedy Turns Her Back on Okinawa

I want to be sensitive here but don't know any other way to say this - US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy is just another political player.

Maybe I'm still naive and ignorant but I have to admit that if the CIA had killed my father and my uncle Bobby I'd not then choose to go to work for them by selling out the long suffering people of Okinawa.

Recently Okinawan leaders wrote to Kennedy in part:

Dear US ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy

We sincerely welcome you to visit Okinawa. Japan and the United States have faced many challenges in negotiating on the areas of foreign, security, defense and economic policy. However, we hope that you as the US ambassador to Japan will exert your ability with exceptional insight and in the spirit of humanism to reconstruct the US-Japan relationship.

With the sense of responsibility coming from your father, would you open the door to create new friendship between the U.S. and Ryukyu, and put an end to the military colonial rule in Okinawa? We hope that your visit to Okinawa will help change the policy and allow the government to abandon the relocation plan to Henoko and to move the Futenma base outside Okinawa.

The Asahi Shimbun reports on the response from US Ambassador Kennedy:

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga told U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy of his stringent opposition to the relocation of Futenma air base within the prefecture only to be met with a cold rebuff.

In his first meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Japan in Tokyo on June 19, Onaga told Kennedy that it is the “popular will” of the Okinawan people to oppose the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan to the Henoko district in Nago.

But the ambassador reiterated Washington’s position on the matter, saying the Henoko relocation plan is the “only solution" that addresses operational, political, financial and strategic concerns.

Kennedy responded that the presence of the U.S. military in Okinawa is a cornerstone of peace and stability in East Asia, and reiterated the unwavering commitment of the U.S. and Japanese governments to the construction of a new airfield in Henoko.

So I shouldn't be surprised.  Yes, Kennedy is presumably a "liberal Democrat" but in the end she upholds the American belief that Okinawa is 'our military colony' and Japan is the US's 'unsinkable aircraft carrier' in the Asia-Pacific allowing the US to aim its military might at China.  To me this well illustrates how the US is ruled by various oligarchic families - Boston, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles - but in the end all these corrupt families agree on US 'exceptionalism' and empire.

So what that Kennedy finds herself allied with Japanese right-wing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (the grandson of a WWII Japanese fascist military leader) who wants to get rid of Article 9 in the Japanese constitution that forbids an aggressive military.  In fact its Kennedy's job as ambassador to ensure that Abe carries through on the plan to get rid of Article 9!  So what that Kennedy helps foster policies that increase confrontation with China and Russia in the region.  She is doing what the corporate oligarchy demands and obviously she is willing to do that work.

I once was watching C-SPAN government affairs TV channel and saw former Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) receiving an award from former President George H. W. Bush at a college in Texas.  I found it more than ironic that Kennedy (brother of the assassinated JFK) was taking this award from Bush who clearly was involved in the JFK assassination planning.  How could Kennedy accept such a thing from a man who helped kill his brother?

It just goes to show I don't really understand how the game works.  I guess it must be the supreme compliment for one ruling family to shower another with awards and ambassadorial positions.  Nothing else appears to matter much - staying 'relevant' and close to power is all that these families seem to want.

A Hollowed-Out Economy and a Drowning Democracy

Maine's right-wing Gov. Paul LePage makes the case to cut health care for the poor

Times Record Op-Ed
Brunswick, Maine


Gov. Paul LePage carries water for America’s corporate oligarchy. (Webster’s Dictionary defines oligarchy as “government in which power is in the hands of the few.”)

A quick review of LePage’s time in office makes clear that he serves the interests of the rich and the mega-corporations. America is being hollowed out as jobs move overseas and democracy is drowned by corporate power.

The governor does not care about the rule of law, thus his efforts to ignore Mainers’ votes on bonds. The governor vetoes bills from the opposition party no matter the content. His primary goal is to divide the people of Maine against one another — to make the state ungovernable. This is the basic corporate agenda that is being played out across the nation and literally around the world.

The U.S. corporate-run government spent $5 billion taxpayer dollars to help direct the coup d’état in Kiev, Ukraine just over a year ago. Now a civil war is underway on Russia’s border. U.S. Army troops are currently in western Ukraine training the “National Guard.” Neo-Nazi brigades have been put into military uniforms (likely also provided by U.S. taxpayers), and are being drilled and sent to the front to fight against Ukrainian citizens in the eastern part of their nation. The citizens in the east are called “separatists” because they want to speak their native language, Russian, and continue trading with Russia as they have for thousands of years. (It would be like the people of western Maine wanting to have trade and cultural relations with their relatives just over the New Hampshire border.)

I call the people in eastern Ukraine “self-defense forces” as they defend themselves from constant missile shelling by the U.S.- NATO-supplied puppet regime in Kiev. Kiev’s forces bomb civilian apartment buildings, schools, day care centers, hospitals, airports and railroad stations. Thousands of innocent people have been killed. Why?

The U.S.-NATO strategy in Ukraine has been clearly spelled out by George Friedman, founder and CEO of the private intelligence corporation STRATFOR. Friedman says that the U.S. wants “regime change” in Moscow.

Russia has the world’s largest supply of natural gas and significant supplies of oil. In addition, due to climate change, the Arctic Sea ice is melting. Western oil corporations are itching to drill there. Russia has the largest land border with the Arctic Sea. Don’t we know by now that the #1 job of the Pentagon is to serve as the primary resource extraction service for corporate globalization?

The corporations run the show in Washington. Just as democracy is being drowned in Maine, it has been drowned at the national level, and the U.S. economy has been hollowed out. We’ve been turned into a militarized culture where we do endless war on behalf of corporate globalization.

If we were truly a democratic nation we’d be having a raging national debate about whether or not the U.S. should be in the middle of waging a war on Russia’s border. Usually, the U.S. likes to invade small nations that can’t really fight back like Grenada, Panama, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya. But now, the U.S. is surrounding Russia (and China) with an expanding NATO and deploying so-called “missile defense” systems that are key elements in the Pentagon’s first-strike attack program, along their borders. Russia and China could actually fight back and WW III would likely turn into a nuclear exchange real quick.

To pay for all of this Congress wants further cuts in programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and what little is left of the welfare program. So, at the state and national levels we see politicians like Gov. LePage running divisive campaigns to demonize welfare recipients in order to create the political climate to justify these cuts. (When do we ever hear any politicians screaming about the hundreds of billions of dollars of welfare given to corporations each year?)

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the corporate-dominated media to bring this crucial story to our TV sets. Their job is “infotainment” and promoting mass consumerism. The American people have been abandoned by the corporate agenda. We’ve got to figure this one out ourselves if we hope to provide any real future for the coming generations.

~ Bruce K. Gagnon lives in Bath and is a member of PeaceWorks.

Just Can't Resist......

Welcome to America
the land of the free
we have 'democracy'
ruled by the rich
those without conscience
those without heart
those without soul

Welcome to America
land of the exploited
land of those
who wanna be rich
but will never
make it
because they are

Welcome to America
once the land
of immigrants,
after the Native people
were eliminated,
now just
the land of those
who hate everyone
and only love

Welcome to America
the killing culture
we can kill them fast
or we can kill them slow
it's in our blood
we are the land
of guns
endless war
and $$$$$$$$$$  

has been redefined
now means
free to steal
to plunder
to hoard
to grab
to cheat
to pummel
sharing has become
a sin
in America

Monday, June 22, 2015

Stewart on Racist Killing in 'Confederate' State

Big Story from Ukraine......

A Ukrainian major general and former assistant to the country’s defense minister, Aleksandr Kolomiyets, has announced he is now working with the self-defense forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine.

He claims a lot of people in the Ukrainian military want to switch to the self-proclaimed republics’ side, including officers. According to Kolomiyets, hundreds have already abandoned Kiev.

“Look at who is actually fighting. Only the volunteers from nationalist [neo-Nazi] squads,” the defector said at the news conference.

There is growing dissatisfaction with the commanders, Kolomiyets said. “Soon, there is going to be unrest within the military. They do not understand the orders they are given, to kill civilians. We are going to see that by autumn, everything will change.”

He added that morale is very low in the Ukrainian army: “All the officers, the generals that understand the criminal nature of the authorities’ actions, do not want to fight.” 

NATO Pokes Stick at Russia

Sunday, June 21, 2015

DPR Leader Speaks About U.S. Role in Ukraine

The self-defense forces in eastern Ukraine are based in the  Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) - popularly called Donbass.  Former coal miner Oleksandr Zakharchenko (leader of the DPR) comments on the Kiev's preparations for a new offensive against the huddled people near the Russian border who have been repeatedly attacked by the US-NATO war project during the past year.  The Minsk ceasefire agreements are repeatedly violated by the Kiev regime - armed, trained, and directed by NATO.

The crime of those in eastern Ukraine?  They happen to live near the Russian border, speak Russian as their primary language and want to have open economic relations with their neighbors.

The neo-Nazis from western Ukraine, many of whom worship nationalist Stefan Bandera who joined with Hitler during WW II when he swept through Ukraine to invade Russia, are currently being trained by US Army personnel.  The US-NATO have set up bases in western Ukriane where US, Canadian and British troops are training the neo-Nazi "National Guard" units.

See more about how the people in eastern Ukraine are living under this constant US-NATO attack here

Justice for the Penobscot River

Indian Island on the Penobscot River in Maine

I drove two-hours north yesterday and joined well over 100 others on Indian Island to support the Penobscot Nation in their current struggle with the State of Maine over their sacred rights to the river. A beautiful gathering was held that included native song, drumming, and dancing as well as talks by Penobscot Chief Kirk Francis and other tribal leaders.

A brochure entitled 'Justice for the River' states:

The Penobscot people are an ancient riverine culture that has lived in synergy with the river for thousands of years before the disruption of European encroachment.  Like other indigenous peoples of the Americas who have been subjected to genocide and conquest, the heritage and culture of the natives people of Maine need protection and respect, not continued assault.

The State of Maine needs to stop its ridiculous assertion that the ancient Penobscot Indian Nation does not include its ancestral waterways.

The Penobscots have been guaranteed their right to the lands and sustenance fishing repeatedly in treaties, including the 1775 Treaty of Watertown, which recognized the Penobscots' role in the American Revolution.

An 1831 Supreme Court decision held that native American tribes retain all their sovereign powers except those specifically taken from them by Congress.  The land claims settlement did not specifically take away the River and these rights!

The Penobscot peoples are the best stewards for the River's health, ensuring that it can be enjoyed for generations to come.

A legal action, led by corporate industrial interests in Maine, is asking a judge to determine that the Penobscot reservation does not include any portion of the Penobscot River.

Penobscot historian and activist Maria Girouard reminded the audience yesterday that her people always have believed that "hoarding and greed" were wrong and run counter to our sacred relationship with the natural world.
The attempt by the State of Maine and major corporate interests to claim that the ancient reservation, which is comprised of more than 200 islands in the Penobscot River, does not include the water is outrageous.

You can sign a petition supporting the Penobscot Nation here

Learn more here

Sunday Song

Friday, June 19, 2015

U.S. Plays Good Cop-Bad Cop in Ukraine

US policies in Ukraine have failed to achieve their goals. With violence flaring up again, and relations fraught with tensions, diplomacy seems to be the best option. But is there consensus in the US on the acceptable terms of a political settlement, and how are the dynamics of US internal politics likely to affect its policy toward Russia, especially as the 2016 presidential race heats up? Oksana Boyko is joined by Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies at New York University, to piece together these issues.

As We Consider the Words of Pope Francis on Climate Change.....

Pando is an 80,000 year old aspen grove in Utah that shares the same root system. Pando is the largest and oldest Earth organism.

Stop Arms Race in Space

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Love and the Blues

The insane killings of black church members by a young white man in Charleston, South Carolina yesterday was an act of racist terrorism.  The story was buried in the back of my local newspaper here in Maine today.  When black people get killed by white terrorists it is a low-key story.  When black youth riot as a result of their social conditions and police violence then it makes the front page.

I am astounded that after more than 500 hundred years of harsh and unending racist attacks on black citizens across this nation that the vast majority of black people continue to show a broken-hearted yet loving response to the horrific treatment that white America directs at them.  The example of turning the other cheek by the black community is beyond my own imagination and my own ability. What little we know about love in this country I believe has largely been taught to us by African-American people.

America has no sense of appreciation just how much African-Americans have given to our nation and culture.  Slaves built the wealth of this nation with their labors and blacks have been steadily kicked in the teeth since they were set free after our Civil war.  Black people have had to scratch and claw for what little good they've gained and now they face a largely indifferent white public which has been turned against people of color as competition for work and other scarce social resources is exacerbated by cutbacks and out sourcing of jobs overseas by the corporate oligarchy that runs America.

There are a lot of self-tormented white supremacists across America who blame people of color for their economic and social misfortune.  Whites have been well trained and enabled by the dominant culture to reach out and attack black citizens whenever they felt the need. That is how the institution of slavery was operated - poor whites were often given the job to do the brutal beating of the field slaves.  The races have been pitted against each other from the start and it will take fundamental and extraordinary ‘mind and soul changes’ by the white culture to ever create an American society that is welcoming and loving for all its citizens.  For that to happen white folks must first admit their legacy of white privilege and racism - something I don't see happening anytime soon though I wish I was wrong.

Great American black political activist Cornell West says that white folks need to learn to sing the blues.  The fact is that corporate America is casting most of its citizens onto the dust heap of history - we are nearly all superfluous people as capital moves overseas looking for bigger fish to fry.  Rather than blame people of color for their growing poverty and alienation, white America needs to get a grip and come to realize that we are all in the same sinking boat and it ain't the black community that put the hole in it.

Sadly while we wait for white folks to figure it all out people of color across the nation will continue to suffer - just ask the Native Americans who know this story quite well.

In the meantime my heart goes out to the Emanuel AME Church community in Charleston and to all people of color living in this racist America.  

Our enemies are not black, brown, red or yellow people – they are the rich fat cats sitting in the paneled corporate board rooms on Wall Street and along Capitol Hill in Washington.