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, July 31, 2020

Message from German Left party leader

Sahra Wagenknecht is a German left-wing politician, economist, author and publicist. Along with Dietmar Bartsch, she was the parliamentary chairperson of Die Linke from 2010 to 2019. Since 2009, she has been a member of the Bundestag (Parliament).

She speaks about US proposals to pull troops out of Germany, US pressure on NATO members to pay more toward the alliance, and the real purpose of the so-called NATO 'alliance'.

She underscores the role US military forces in Germany play in its wars in the Middle East and Africa.

Wagenknecht also discusses Washington's efforts to sabotage the Russia to Germany natural gas pipeline.  Instead of watching this cooperation between those two nations, the US wants Germany (and the rest of Europe) to purchase more expensive 'fracked gas' from American shores that would be transported on ships to Europe.

In the end she calls for an independent and sovereign German foreign policy rather than one chained to the imperial insanity of the USA.


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Why does the U.S. keep demonizing Russia?

David Swanson, Alice Slater, and Bruce Gagnon discuss obstacles to nuclear abolition and the U.S.-Russia relationship.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive director of and campaign coordinator for

Alice Slater is board member of WorldBeyondWar and the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Dems deep dive into Wall Street's arms.....

It's platform crunching time for the national 'Democratic Party'.  Early indications are that you should not expect too much from them.

One big disappointment, reported by Truthout is:

The DNC Platform Committee rejected the Medicare for All amendment introduced by longtime single-payer advocate Michael Lighty by a vote of 36-125 during a virtual meeting Monday. The committee also voted down separate attempts to include support for expanding Medicare to children, dropping the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 55, and legalizing marijuana.

The Huffpost reported on the marijuana vote:

  • Democratic National Committee delegates voted 105-60 against including marijuana legalization in the party platform on Monday. The draft version of the platform supports decriminalizing marijuana use and legalizing medical marijuana, adding that it should be left up to the states “to make their own decisions about recreational use.” 

In the case of Medicare4All it is obvious that the insurance industry said an emphatic NO to that one.  When it came to medical marijuana and legalization it was Big Pharma and the alcohol industries that likely blocked that proposal.

I expect that when it comes to foreign policy we'll see platform planks that further demonize the Chinese and the Russians, demand more sanctions, oppose any military base closings or troop withdrawals from Afghanistan or Germany and calls for more expensive high-tech weapons.  We know that the military industrial complex funds and controls both Republicans and Democrats.

In Maine's US Senate race the corporate $$$ is flowing into our state.  The leader in the funding game is Democrat Sara Gideon (former Speaker of the House in the state legislature) who has raised more than $24 million.  Incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins has raised about $17 million.  Much of their money comes from corporate sources (PACs or executives).

While claiming that she would not take corporate PAC (Political Action Committee) money, Gideon has a long track record of receiving corporate money for her leadership PAC while Maine House Speaker.

Required reporting to the state for the 'GIDEON LEADERSHIP PAC' reveals she took donations from many corporations, including Merck, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Eli Lilly, AT&T and American Express, among others. Energy companies, such as natural gas suppliers (fracking), pharmaceutical corporations and telecom companies also gave to Gideon's PAC. Gideon’s leadership PAC took in nearly $300,000.

Like most political leadership in the current two-party system, Gideon used her corporate PAC to reward Maine House Democrats under her control who voted as she instructed.  That means she frequently enforced the will of the corporations that donated to her PAC.

During our 2018 statewide grassroots campaign to oppose the tax break for General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works I did a 34-day hunger strike.  I went to the BIW shipyard most days to speak with workers and also spent lots of time in the hallway between the Maine House and Senate chambers holding signs and handing out flyers along with others in our campaign.

We repeatedly asked for a meeting with Speaker Gideon but she refused to talk with us.  One of our supporters is also from Freeport, where Gideon lives, and knows her but was unable to get her to agree to meet.

Gideon was not interested in talking with us because she was essentially under the control of General Dynamics and other corporate forces in Maine and nationally.  She knew she planned to run for the Senate in 2020 and clearly wanted to show that she would be a faithful water carrier for their interests.  Her $24 million raised so far, for November's Ranked Choice Voting US Senate election in Maine, indicates that her sponsors are pleased.

In the end our campaign was successful in cutting $15 million off the original $60 million that GD/BIW requested.

So while much of Gideon's current campaign is about accusing Sen. Susan Collins of taking corporate PAC money - it is a disingenuous claim.  In this race both of the two major party candidates have long ago dirtied their hands by taking corporate dollars - either directly or indirectly.

This is how it works in America.  We see the evidence once again as the Democrats vote overwhelmingly to reject common sense platform proposals like Medicare4All.

In fact, Sara Gideon does not support Medicare4All, instead she supports 'access to affordable and quality health care' which translates to: 'Everyone should be allowed to have health coverage from insurance companies, no matter their age, medical condition, or pre-existing conditions.'  The corporate line.

But it is especially sickening when any politician, like Sara Gideon, claims the moral high ground but has a long history of playing in the mud.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

On my b-day - love and nature

Yesterday was my birthday - #68.

It was a good day - spent time with Maine VFP's Peter Morgan and Senate candidate Lisa Savage at BIW for two hours standing with the Local S6 Machinists Union as they strike against General Dynamics.  The greedy corporation is bringing in subcontractors from Alabama, Mississippi, and other states in order to kill the union. 

A private corporation that has done 'security work' for Obama and Trump was hired by BIW even before the strike began - putting retired military personnel and former cops into local hotels for two weeks before timing it all just right to have them on hand once the strike began.

While I was gone MB and housemate Leann pulled weeds in the garden as a birthday present for me.  It was deeply appreciated - especially in the heat we are having.  At the strike picket line today we kidded about planting peaches, pineapples and bananas.

While supporting the union workers at the shipyard, I still told one striker that I also would like to see the 'product' converted from destroyers to something that would help deal with climate crisis - like commuter rail, tidal power systems or offshore wind turbines.  He brought a chair and was sitting under a beautiful shade tree so I figured he was understanding my point about the record breaking heat and drought we are experiencing here in Maine.

MB and Leann made me a Boston Creme pie at my request and a cold pasta salad was put together by MB for supper.  Peppers and basil from the garden were included.  Since I got a late start (July 1) on planting my garden, things are just now beginning to show us some love.  Tomatoes are now popping out babies and pole beans continue to climb their trellis and have reached the top.

The garden is my church - the place I can go to slow down and just be quiet and feel the beautiful colorful life around us.  Most of the neighbors have some sort of gardens and the birds in this neighborhood are varied and plenty.  Some of them are always talking - starting around 5:00 am.

So it was a good day.  I thank all those who gave me birthday wishes on Fazebook.  (Including two of my former sports mates from my last year of high school in Wheatland, California.)  Means alot to me.

Love and peace to all,


Monday, July 27, 2020

Bring Our War $$$ Home

In 'The Cost of War', U.S. Senate candidate Lisa Savage; Pulitzer-winning author, journalist, and minister Chris Hedges; and Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons &  Nuclear Power in Space, examine U.S. policies that inflict pain and suffering around the world under the guise of protecting U.S. interests. 

This July 16 event was hosted by USM grad student, and Lisa campaign intern, Tamara Hunt. 

Lisa Savage is convening a series of policy-focused webinars this summer, “The Way Forward,” that will bring together policy and subject-matter experts from Maine and around the country to have substantive discussions about solving some of our country’s most difficult policy issues, with opportunity for questions and discussion.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

My friend Mike Hastie

Mike Hastie, fierce and honest to the bone, in Portland, Oregon.

Mike was a medic in Vietnam during that war against the people of that nation. He experienced much horror by US troops perpetrated upon the Vietnamese people.

Mike was on the first Veterans For Peace delegation years ago that tried to go to Jeju island, South Korea but got sent back to the US after they landed there.  They wanted to stand with the people of Gangjeong village in opposition to the construction of the Navy base that now serves as a port-of-call for US warships.

Watch how he takes a big hit of tear gas right in his face - and eyes.

Bless you Mike!


Sunday song

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Elon Musk: Oligarch, egotist, jerk!

Covid Saturday fun time.....

“Cohesive” Italian Parliament on neo-colonial missions

The Art of War

By Manlio Dinucci

Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini (Democratic Party) expressed great satisfaction with the "cohesive" vote of the Parliament on international missions. The majority and the opposition approved 40 Italian military missions in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia in compact form, there were no votes against and few abstentions except some dissent in support of the Tripoli Coast Guard.

The main "peacekeeping missions,” that have been underway for decades in the wake of the US / NATO wars (in which Italy participated) in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Libya, and the Israeli war in Lebanon that are part of the same strategy, have been extended.

New ones were added to these missions: the European Union military operation in the Mediterranean, formally to "prevent arms trafficking in Libya;” the European Union Mission to "support the security apparatus in Iraq;" the NATO Mission to strengthen support for countries located on the Alliance South Front.

The Italian military commitment in sub-Saharan Africa is greatly increased. Italian special forces participate in the Takuba Task Force, deployed in Mali under French command. They also operate in Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso, as part of the Barkhane operation involving 4,500 French soldiers, with armored vehicles and bombers, officially only against jihadist militias.

Italy is also participating in the European Union Mission, EUTM, which provides military training and "advice" to the armed forces of Mali, and other neighboring countries.

In Niger, Italy has its own bilateral mission to support the armed forces and, at the same time participates in the mission of the European Union, Eucap Sahel Niger, in a geographical area that also includes Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania, Chad, Burkina Faso and Benin.

The Italian Parliament also approved the use of "a national air and naval task force for presence, surveillance and security activities in the Guinea Gulf." The stated aim is "to protect national strategic interests in this area (read Eni's interests), by supporting the national merchant ship in transit."
It is no coincidence that the African areas, in which the "peacekeeping missions” are concentrated, are the richest in strategic raw materials - oil, natural gas, uranium, coltan, gold, diamonds, manganese, phosphates and others - exploited by American and European multinationals. However, their oligopoly is now endangered by China's growing economic presence.

The United States and the European powers, failing to counter it only through economic means, and at the same time seeing their influence diminish within African countries, resorted to the old but still effective colonial strategy: to guarantee their economic interests by military means, including support for local elites who base their power on the military.

The contrast to jihadist militias, the official motivation for operations such as that of the Task Force Takuba, is the smoke screen behind which the real strategic purposes are hidden.

The Italian government declared that international missions serve to "guarantee peace and security of these areas, for the protection and safeguarding of populations.” In reality, military interventions expose populations to further risks and, by strengthening the mechanisms of exploitation, they aggravate their impoverishment, with a consequent increase in migratory flows to Europe.

Italy directly spends over a billion euros a year, provided (with public money) not only by the Ministry of Defense, but also by the Ministries of Interior, Economy and Finance, and the Prime Minister to keep thousands of men and vehicles engaged in military missions. However, this sum is only the tip of the iceberg of the growing military expenditure (over 25 billion a year), due to the adjustment of entire Armed Forces to this strategy. Approved by the Parliament with unanimous bipartisan consent.

 ~ Reprinted from The manifesto, 21 July 2020 

Friday, July 24, 2020

Homeland a 'democracy'?

A Trumpist federal 'policeman' in Portland, Oregon protecting who?  So Orwellian - war is peace.  Up is down.

The feds in Portland are dressed in more military gear than what Pentagon troops wear in combat overseas. They are dressed for war against US civilians. We are now the enemy.....

They are armed to the teeth and the protesters on the street might have on a mask, hold a sign or banner, and carry some medical equipment to help treat those being brutalized.

I've long asked the question - what makes the American people think Washington won't someday do to us here at home what they have been doing around the world since the US invaded the Philippines from 1899-1902?  The chickens have come home to roost.

While Filipino people viewed Washington's war on them as a continuation of the struggle for independence that began in 1896 with the Philippine Revolution, the US government regarded it as an insurrection. The conflict arose when the First Philippine Republic objected to the terms of the Treaty of Paris under which the US took possession of the Philippines from Spain, ending the Spanish–American War.

Humorist/author Mark Twain at the time has this to say about America's 'deep dive' into imperialism:

The funniest thing was when at the close of the Spanish-American War the United States paid poor decrepit old Spain $20,000,000 for the Philippines. It was just a case of this country buying its way into good society. Honestly, when I read in the papers that this deal had been made, I laughed until my sides ached. There were the Filipinos fighting like blazes for their liberty. Spain would not hear to it. The United States stepped in, and after they had licked the enemy to a standstill, instead of freeing the Filipinos they paid that enormous amount for an island which is of no earthly account to us; just wanted to be like the aristocratic countries of Europe which have possessions in foreign waters. The United States wanted to be in the swim, and it, too, had to branch out, like an American heiress buying a Duke or an Earl. Sounds well, but that's all.

~ Interview "Mark Twain in Clover / Joseph in the Land of Cornbread and Chicken." Baltimore Sun, 10 May 1907, p. 14

And Washington has been doing it ever since - double time - invading, occupying, destroying lives and land, polluting and most importantly of all - rejecting the sovereignty of nations.  All these years of warfare to build an empire has cost the American people an arm and a leg.  It's no wonder that our roads and bridges in Maine are falling apart.  As are our schools and local rural hospitals are closing.

But none of this should be a surprise to anyone - look at how the indigenous people were treated in this country by 'God's chosen people' who came to these shores looking for 'liberty' - and how slavery survived in the 'land of the free' where democracy was supposedly to reign.

We've never had real democracy here.  In fact as the two corporate parties control politics they are tightening the screws to make sure that alternative political voices are not heard.  Loyal Republicans and Democrats are just fine with that as long as 'their party' comes out on top.

Don't ask for real elections - real debate - real issue discussions.  The goal is to dumb down the public and keep them chained to the (good cop-bad cop) corporate political machine.

My last vote for a Democrat who ran for president was Walter Mondale in 1984.  I've not taken the bait since.  Might not have alot to show for my stubbornness but at least I can live with myself.

I just can't see spending my entire adult life working for peace and justice and then turn around and vote for one of the agents of the war machine.

Journalist Chris Hedges says:

James Baldwin explained why black people don't have midlife crises. Why? Because they do not buy into the myths of America. Black people know that the system in America is rigged. Black people know this when they are children. By comparison, white people buy into these illusions of meritocracy and individualism and American exceptionalism and similar beliefs. That is why the highest rates of suicide right now are among middle-aged white men, because they are finally starting to realize that the system does not care about them.


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Russian perspective on a new arms race in space

Vladimir Kozin is one of Russia's leading scholars and advisors on nuclear treaties, nuclear disarmament, nuclear capabilities, and US-Russia relations on all things nuclear.

He is a member of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and a special advisor to the Presidential Administration.

His words are of supreme importance to every American, European and citizen of the world. Our very existence hangs in the balance.

Kozin came to Kiruna, Sweden in 2013 to speak at one of the Global Network's annual space conferences.  (The event was co-sponsored by the Swedish Peace Council and Women for Peace.) See the report from that conference here.  He was an impressive and sincere speaker and when the GN held its Russia Study Tour in 2019 Kozin came and spoke to our group while we were in Moscow.

Thanks to Regis Tremblay (originally from Maine and now living in Crimea in the Russian Federation) for this interview.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Life is sooooo complicated.....

Plus this bonus song to go along with Ron Placone's comedy bit....

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Not a way to treat anyone, veteran or otherwise....


By Zane Sparling, Portland Tribune

Christopher David is not a man of steel.

But he has earned that and other nicknames — some call him “Captain Portland” or “Supersoldier” — after David stood as solidly as a rock while federal officers pepper-sprayed him twice and struck him at least five times with a baton during a rally outside the Hatfield Courthouse on Saturday, July 18.

Of the attack, captured on video by the Portland Tribune, David says he “just took it.”

“I knew I was never going to react. I was never going to fight back,” he said. “I’m a little too old to be beaten by a bunch of young guys.”

David, 53, of Portland, is hardly an anti-establishment type. He says he attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, after high school, later serving with the Navy Seabees while becoming a commissioned officer and aeronautical engineer.

The unmatched series of protests here have waxed and waned for more than 50 nights, but Saturday’s rally was David’s first, his attendance spurred by reports of unmarked vans snatching protesters off the streets without due process.

He arrived around 8 p.m. and was just planning on leaving when federal officers burst out of the bricked-up front of the courthouse around 10:45 p.m.

David said he slowly approached the officers, hoping to engage them in dialogue.

 “I felt these gentlemen were violating their oath of office, and I wanted to talk to them,” he explained.

Things didn’t go according to plan.

As some federal officers rushed to push down makeshift barricades propped against the outer doors of the courthouse, one officer pushed David back. He stood stock-still as several more officers swarmed forward, striking him with a baton and pepper-spraying him. David says he lost his vision momentarily, due to the spray and clouds of tear gas engulfing the park.

He sat down on a park bench, before being pulled back from the flashpoint by a street medic, going by the name Tav, who treated David and ensured that he was taken by an ambulance to the hospital.

David says he has two fractures in his hand and, while it’s currently in a splint, he is expecting to need surgery later this week.

After a flurry of attention, David is hoping life will return to normal soon. While he never did speak with the camouflaged feds, he said he hopes they hear his message: “That oath of office is essentially swearing loyalty to the Constitution of the United States, and what they’re doing is not constitutional anymore.”

~  Zane Sparling, reporter email: Follow me on Twitter @PDXzane.

Covid by the numbers, trouble by the score.....

Yes the U.S. is #1 indeed!

The chart speaks for itself.
Don't we really need a single-payer Medicare for All program in this country?

Monday, July 20, 2020

Excellent speech by Lisa Savage for U.S. Senate

Lisa Savage is an Independent Green running for the US Senate seat in Maine now held by Republican Susan Collins.

She recorded this eight-minute speech to the recent national Green Party convention from outside of her husband Mark Roman’s woodworking shop in Solon, Maine.

Lisa will be the only candidate for the US Senate seat in Maine that will have a real progressive agenda in November’s Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) election.

If your values align with Lisa's, please help to spread the word about a senator for people, planet, and peace!

Yesterday on the Ellsworth bridge again are from the left Russell Wray (Hancock), Dud Hendrick (Deer Isle), Connie Jenkins (East Blue Hill) and Rob Shetterly (Brooksville).

Photo by Starr Gilmartin (Trenton).

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Sunday song

Saturday, July 18, 2020

All moved into new house in Bath

The front porch of our new house in Bath, Maine

We moved into our new house (which is actually 100 years old) in Bath yesterday.  We closed the purchase on June 30 and have been cleaning, painting and doing minor repairs since then.  We had two young men professional movers come and pick up our stuff up Brunswick early yesterday and move it to Bath.

We lived previously in Bath for 12 years in the Addams-Melman House - an intentional community that we shared with friend Karen Wainberg and others during those years.  It was a big house with lots of room for guests, meetings, and potluck suppers.  It was a great run.  But as we all aged a bit that house and its big grounds became way too much for us to manage.  So we sold the house and moved to a small rental apartment in nearby Brunswick until we could figure out our next steps.

So the next phase in our lives puts us back in Bath where much of our current peace work is centered.  Mary Beth's church community is also here - we asked our dear friend Bill Bliss (the minister who performed our recent wedding ceremony) to come to the house two days ago and he did a sage blessing for us which we deeply appreciated.

I planted pole beans, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and various herbs as soon as we got access to the house.  It's a bit late in the season but I should still get something.  There are two quite large raised garden beds in the yard which was a very welcoming feature of the house.  We've also been grateful that various friends have donated flowering plants to us to enhance the grounds.

We have much work still ahead of us - most of the windows have no blinds or curtains and we have to replace the 1965 oil furnace that is so old the insurance company won't give us a homeowners policy unless we got rid of it.  So we are buying a new high-efficient propane furnace that gets installed next week.  We lament the fact that there are few affordable non-fossil fuel options available to us.  An energy audit is also on the 'To Do' list so we can tighten up the house as much as possible.

We had to get a new phone number for the Global Network (and us) so please make note of it - (207) 389-4606.  Give us a call to welcome us and make sure it works!

We look forward to reconnecting with old friends in Bath and hopefully, if and when this virus ever subsides, we can host a meeting or potluck supper again some day.  You are all invited!


Friday, July 17, 2020

Washington's 'Bio-Terror labs'

U.S. military has set up over 200 'bio-security labs' in 25 countries for research and development of biological weapons such as dangerous bacteria. 

Where are these mysterious laboratories? 

What are the hidden secrets and risks to us all?

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Troops in Germany?

A broken clock is right twice a day.

Trump was right in his call for US troop withdrawal in Afghanistan and Germany.

But the corporate deep state wishes to maintain its military & economic global empire - and its more than 800 bases worldwide - no matter the costs.

Trump is threatening to withdraw thousands of American troops from Germany. He accuses Germany of not contributing enough to NATO.  The truth is that there is no need for US troops anywhere in Europe.  What is the threat?

The overall number of US soldiers based in Germany dropped massively at the end of the Cold War. But the country still hosts more troops than any other European country.

FRANCE 24 TV went to Kaiserslautern where more than half of the American soldiers are based. It’s a region where the American presence is an essential part of the economy.

This addiction to Pentagon spending helps keep the empire in place.  Inside the US many communities are equally addicted to military spending.  Politicians from both major parties in Washington are essentially slaves to the military agenda.  The corporations give big donations to Political Action Committees (PACS) of party leaders who then dole the $$$$ out to junior members (if they vote the way they are told by 'leadership') for their future campaigns so they can stay in power.  One hand washes the other.  It's the worst kind of corruption.

Until we deal with the military industrial complex budget then forget about any of the following:

  • Medicare for all - a single-payer government run health care system
  • Effectively dealing with climate crisis - especially remembering that the Pentagon has the largest carbon bootprint on Mother Earth
  • Forget about creating a sustainable society and future for the next seven generations
  • Having the need funds in the nation to deal with creating real justice for the vast majority of the people (the 99%) who are now being ground into poverty, are most susceptible to the virus, and are increasingly being evicted from their rental properties.  Mr. Big is cracking down hard - the corporate oligarchs are playing their four Aces poker hand.  They control the media, the courts, Capitol Hill and the White House.  No one trumps the corporate master.

All it takes is one switch to turn off social media - and then how can we communicate and organize?

So what is to be done?

Stop voting for their corporate minions and stay on the streets.  It's the one place we can still go (for now) where we can be seen by the public. 

Work together when possible - be kind to others - share as much as possible - seek honesty and true justice - give voice to the voiceless - show courage even when your knees shake.

Give thanks to the great spirit for our lives and the chance to do right.  Keep working for the common good.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Why the race to Mars?

Years ago I attended a military space conference in Cocoa Beach, Florida - home of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.  The conference was sponsored by the aerospace industry, the space nuclear power industry and the Kennedy Space Center tourist facility.

During a workshop exclusively on Mars the head of the KSC tourist center led the discussion.  He gave a surprising figure of the numbers of local school children annually brought to the facility and said with confidence, "We're completely changing the tourist facilities focus to Mars - in 20 years all the kids will be taxpayers and we want them to support everything Mars."


The nuclear industry wants to build nuke-powered mining colonies on Mars.  The Halliburton Corporation has been working for years on a drilling mechanism for mining.  They say there is magnesium, colbalt and uranium on the red planet.  Can you imagine 'strip mining'?

The profits from building and launching rockets to Mars will be huge.

Pyramids to the Heavens.  Who are the Pharaohs and who will be the slaves?

What does it mean that space agencies from China, the United Arab Emirates and the US are launching Mars missions within days of each other?

What will be the collective cost of these missions to the people of Mothership Earth?  How could those funds be better spent?

Will there be wars fought to control the mining operations on Mars?  How much would those wars cost taxpayers?

Why is it we hear virtually no critique of these Mars missions on corporate controlled media?

What does the public believe it will get in return for funding these interplanetary space missions?  


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Important webinar coming on Thursday

To get the invite link to this excellent webinar click here

Join U.S. Senate candidate Lisa Savage, Pulitzer-winning author, journalist, and minister Chris Hedges, and Iraq/Afghanistan veteran, author, and USM lecturer Jason White, in the first of a 5-part webinar series.

 “The Cost of War” will examine U.S. policies that inflict pain and suffering around the world under the guise of protecting U.S. interests.

Filmed in American Beach

This John Sayles film (released in 2002) was filmed at American Beach in northeast Florida to tell the story of that long-time small black owned beach community.  Their fight against corporate development is central to the story line.

MaVynee Betsch (the infamous beach lady) makes a fleeting appearance in the film that was actually inspired by her and her fellow residents of American Beach.

Well worth watching on the Internet.

Monday, July 13, 2020

The beach lady from American Beach, Florida

With her searing intellect, deep spirituality and 7 foot dread lock, The Beach Lady was a free spirit who fought for historical and ecological preservation of American Beach. Photo by Eric Breitenbach, Courtesy of American Beach Museum

A great article was recently published (The Spirits of American Beach) about the only black-owned beach in the southeast during the days of segregation called American Beach in northeast Florida.

When I lived in Florida, and frequently organized peace walks up and down the state, we twice camped on this beach and were regaled (in word and song) by the beach lady, MaVynee Betsch, who is credited with saving American Beach as rich hotel/condo/golf courses encroached on all sides of the historic black beach and its endangered dunes.

MaVynee was an opera singer who got cancer while singing in polluted European cities and came home to American Beach to heal herself. Soon she began fighting to save the beach. She never cut her hair or nails again (carrying them in a bundle in her arms) - some folks thought she was crazy but she was brilliant - a true fighter for the environment and peace.

One of my favorite stories she told was one day being on the beach and a white woman gruffly approaching her complaining about the condition of the deteriorating buildings on American Beach. During its segregation heydays American Beach was filled with black people from all over swimming, dancing, eating and being free from the cruel confines of Jim Crow.  

After integration came black folks largely stopped coming to American Beach and it declined.  The white woman said to MaVynee, "Why don't you people clean this place up?"  MavVynee proudly replied to her with force, "These are our ruins.  You white folks travel to Europe and other places to see ruins from civilizations - well baby these are our ruins."

I was honored to know her and call her a friend.

Read the full story here


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Sunday song

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Bruce Gagnon: U.S. Lacks Credibility to Complain about Iran’s Space Program

TEHRAN (FNA) - Bruce Gagnon, American campaigner and peace activist, says Washington is not in a position to repeal international law which allows Iran, like other countries, to launch military and civilian satellites.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency, Gagnon blasted the US Secretary of State for his claim that Iran should be held accountable for the satellite launch, saying the US itself never cared about international law when it invaded Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as well as when it deployed forces to Syria.

Bruce K. Gagnon is a long time peace campaigner and activist. He is currently the Coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. The network brings together peace and environmental activists to contest the increasing weaponization of space.

Below is the full text of the interview:

Q: How is Iran’s military satellite launch viewed by the international law?

A: Many nations around the world launch satellites – for military and civilian purposes. When an ally of the US makes such a launch nothing is said about it (for example, Japan, India or a NATO member country.) When a nation that the US wants to target launches such a satellite Washington freaks out (for example North Korea or Iran.)

I will never forget some years ago when North Korea launched a rocket I read about it in a US aerospace industry publication. They quoted a US Airman who was tracking the trajectory of the launch. He laughed at it saying “we have so much space-directed surveillance capability that we can track the entire rocket path. North Korea does not have hardly any space satellite capability and cannot see the entire flight path. They are no threat to us.” This indicates to me that the US knows that Iran also has limited space surveillance capability and is no threat. But the Pentagon always exaggerates threats from those countries they seek to take down. The US has no credibility to complain about what any other nation does in space.

It is obvious that Iran wants to have a satellite so it can watch the moves by US & NATO as they continually encircle your nation with military bases. The US is a bully that wants to poke others in the nose but shouts out hysterically when someone tries to defend themselves.

Q: The US Secretary of State says Iran’s military satellite launch was in breach of the UN Resolution 2231 concerning Iran’s Nuclear Deal. How do you view Secretary Pompeo’s claim?

A: Since when does Washington really care about international law? How about the 2003 Iraq attack, Libya take-down or illegal US military deployments in Syria today? When will the US be held accountable for these real crimes against international law? The UN resolution 2231 is linked to the Iran nuclear deal that Washington withdrew from - again the US has no credibility to comment on this launch.

The US has nearly filled up the space ‘parking lots’ with its own military and civilian satellites. Washington claims the right to ‘control and dominate’ space on behalf of its own interests. This arrogance is provocative and destabilizing to world peace. The Pentagon understands that whoever controls space also militarily controls the Earth below. This is Washington’s clear agenda. It will not work as Russia, China and even now Iran challenge that arrogant notion.

The US Secretary of State Pompeo, former head of CIA, recently admitted that at the CIA, “we lie, we cheat, we steal”. No one should ever trust anything that comes out of that man’s mouth. Washington understands that its military and economic empire is collapsing. Thus they are getting desperate, like a crazed drug addict on the run trying to find one more shot in the arm. This desperation causes Washington to be very dangerous. The best thing that the world can do to save humanity at this time is to turn its back on Washington and reject Washington’s infantile ramblings.

Q: Following Iran’s satellite launch, we witnessed immediate implied and direct reactions by the US president, state secretary, and army officials. Why is the US concerned?

A: The US wants Iran to surrender to western control. Washington fears any nation that dares stand up and resist. I think it was no coincidence that virtually at the same time Iran launched its satellite, Trump lashed out and threatened to destroy Iranian speed boats that challenge US Navy warships bumping up against Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf. The US has always used threats and fear-mongering to get its way around the world. But now it is not working anymore. The US military is overstretched and incapable of fighting on so many fronts around the world. After nearly 20 years of war, the US still cannot control things in Afghanistan. The American people cannot afford endless war anymore.  

Friday, July 10, 2020

History lesson: The hard truth....

By Griff O'Malley 

This I did not know - it's obscene.


Who knows about Sally Hemings?

She was Thomas Jefferson's slave. Called his "mistress," but how can you be a mistress when you were a slave, a child, and could not consent? Had absolutely no choice?

She bore him 6, perhaps as many as 8 children. He kept her locked in a basement room. The room was recently unearthed, and DNA evidence has proven the lineage of Sally's children.

She was between 12 and 14 years old when he started raping her, and Jefferson was in his forties. He freed the children that he had with her, but not Sally. Her daughter had to free her mother after Jefferson passed away.

This is not taught in schools. This side of history. We are supposed to consider the founding fathers as great men, fighting for justice and freedom, guided by God... when they are evil men. Selfish men who did nothing, save that it was for their own aggrandisement, personal benefit, and financial gain.

I would also like to add that Sally was Jefferson's dead wife's half sister. Sally's mother was raped by her owner, who was Martha (wife of Thomas) Jefferson's father.

These people left a legacy. A legacy of entitlement under the most criminal of circumstances, and White Supremacist beliefs which pervade U.S. Society and Culture, to this very day.

My take on this sordid story.  When we consider the current sex trafficking scandals involving Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton and legions of other big shots one must begin to wonder if the seeds of today's behavior among ruling elites is indeed linked to the 'founding fathers'.

Did Jefferson and all the other abusive slave masters (and early 'leaders' of  America) lock in a culture of abuse, rape, trafficking that became part of the wall paper of this nation?  Seems rather obvious.

So the questions being raised about taking down the statues (and reassessing the original stories) is an absolutely legitimate discussion to be had across this country (and many others).

If there is ever to be a true healing - and the creation of a nation that believes in real 'justice for all' - then we'd better start looking at what hides behind the facade from 1776 to the present.


Thursday, July 09, 2020

2020 Election - buyer beware

“The shaping of the will of Congress and the choosing of the American president has become a privilege reserved to the country’s equestrian classes, a.k.a. the 20 percent of the population that holds 93 percent of the wealth, the happy few who run the corporations and the banks, own and operate the news and entertainment media, compose the laws and govern the universities, control the philanthropic foundations, the policy institutes, the casinos, and the sports arenas.”

~ Journalist Lewis Lapham

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Very important info and discussion

Saagar Enjeti blasts Biden's potential administration after reports from The American Prospect detail how strategic consultants will define Biden’s cabinet.

In other words the Biden team is loaded with operatives from the military industrial complex - thus the reasons we see the Dems voting in the Senate along with Repubs to block any troop withdrawal from the Afghanistan war that is already 20 years on.

For all the talk about 'real change' coming from Biden if he is elected the truth is that it will just be more of the same - corporate oligarchic control from Wall Street to endless war.

Folks need to see thru this charade and speak out more about it.

Time for following lock step behind this imaginary democracy BS has to be over if we have any hope for survival.

Sadly many Dem party faithful will do as they did with Clinton and Obama - vote for them and lay back and wait for promised change to come - which won't happen due to the corporate domination of Washington - irregardless of which party is running the scripted show.


Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Social landscape needs change

Lisa Savage, candidate for the US Senate seat of Susan Collins under ranked choice voting, hears from Brandon Marx about his pandemic experiences and why he cares enough about climate to volunteer on the campaign.

In times like these: Young and old together?

The Koreans
are the best
I've ever seen.
They bring young
and old

They know how
to put on a rally,
they have fun,
they are fierce,
and know how
to eat & drink

In times like these
we need everyone
rowing together,
in the same direction,
toward survival

I wish
in America
we did so well
the generations

Young folks here
tend to isolate
from the oldsters.
Some think they
have nothing to learn
from each other.

Some old folks
like to hand the
'hot potato'
over to the
next generation.

The elders
do it without
much self-criticism,
it might be
uncomfortable to many
who'd rather not
face their own
complicity with the
life of consumption.

Let the young folks
deal with it,
they seem to say.

From collapsing economy,
to climate crisis,
and endless war$,
many old timers
keep clinging
to the sinking
capitalist project.

Our children
and grans
gonna have a
rough ride
from here on out.

At the same time
young folks
have alot to learn
from some of the
great wise
and seasoned
who've sat
around many circles
and council fires
and heard it all
many times before.

Message to all of us....
Bring unity,
a generous
and thoughtful
to the work
that is about
taking care
of the next
seven generations.


Monday, July 06, 2020

The Return of the Anti-Antiwar Left

Circle in the Darkness recounts veteran journalist Diana Johnstone's lifelong effort to understand what is going on in the world, seeking the truth about our troubled times beyond the veils of government propaganda and media deception. For Johnstone, the political is personal. From her experience of Cold War hostilities as a student in Yugoslavia, in the movement against the U.S. war against Vietnam, in May ’68, in professional and alternative journalism, in the historic peace movement of the 1980s that led to the reunification of Germany, in the transformation of the German Greens from peace to war party and the European Union’s sacrifice of democracy to “globalization”, her critical viewpoint dissects events and identifies trends.

 By James W. Carden

In her recently published memoir, Circle in the Darkness, the author and journalist Diana Johnstone recalls that only “a few decades ago, “the Left” was considered the center of opposition to imperialism, and champion of the right of peoples to self-determination.”

Johnstone is part of a distinguished line of American expatriate writers, who, perhaps because of an objectivity conferred by distance, saw their country more clearly than many of their stateside contemporaries. Members of the club include William Pfaff who for many years wrote from Paris and the longtime Asia correspondent Patrick Lawrence. The Paris based Johnstone brings a moral clarity to matters of war and peace that is, alas, too often absent from most contemporary foreign affairs writing. Its near total absence on the Left during the Trump years should be cause for reflection, and concern.

As Johnstone recounts, after the Cold War liberals became bewitched by the prospect of waging wars for humanitarian ends. A generation of journalists and foreign policy experts including Samantha Power, Christiane Amanpour, Jamie Rubin, and Christopher Hitchens, would make the Balkans a proving ground for their liberal theories of preventative war, in the process throwing the ancient and venerable tradition of St. Augustine’s Just War theory on the trash heap and paving the way for what was to follow in the coming decades, including Iraq II, Libya, Syria and a global drone war and a “targeted” assassination program.

At the time, Johnstone was one of the few who saw through the ruse, but, as she recalled, she couldn’t get her articles published in the liberal press. According to Johnstone, Hitchens and Company saw to that. The wisdom of bombing Serbian civilians for 78 days in order to carve out a Muslim enclave in the middle of Europe (which in short order would be overrun by the Saudis, Albanian organized crime and human organ traffickers) was rarely questioned.

Indeed, among the bien-pensants, it was impermissible.

Today, skepticism of the mainstream narrative regarding both Russia and the war in Syria is likewise deemed out of bounds by the Left. It is fair to say that a 3 year non-scandal, Russiagate, ignited a cold war fever among liberals and self-styled progressives. Indeed, liberals who once took principled stands against the Iraq war, such as Tom Dispatch and Nation regular Bob Dreyfuss, transmogrified, after Trump’s election, into frothing-at-the-mouth conspiracy theorists.

By my count, during the course of the three year Russiagate ordeal, Dreyfuss wrote at least 30 articles promoting the most ludicrous of the Russiagate conspiracies, among them that Russia was “hiding in your Facebook,” and that, variously, Paul Manafort, Felix Slater and/or General Michael Flynn would, somehow, bring down Trump. That Dreyfuss would prove so credulous in the face of what was so clearly an absurd distraction is perhaps not surprising given his past ties to Lyndon Larouche.
Others, even less discerning than Dreyfuss, but far, far hungrier for attention, have claimed that skeptics of the now discredited collusion conspiracy theory were themselves guilty of indulging in, you guessed it, conspiracy theories of their own.

And so, if in the writings of Dreyfuss, The New York Times’ Michelle Goldberg, Mother Jones’ David Corn, The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer, New York magazine’s resident dolt Jonathan Chait, and many more besides, we can see the emergence of the anti-anti-Cold War Left, there has also reemerged alongside it the very vocal and ravenously unscrupulous anti-antiwar Left. And it is on the issue of the Syrian war on which the anti-antiwar Left has coalesced, inexplicably arguing for the wholesale takeover of a secular police state by the very same Islamist radicals who, if given the chance, would turn around and immediately kill them on the grounds of apostasy.

In Syria, the protests that began in 2011 were quickly overtaken by armed jihadists whose motto was “Christians to Beirut, Alawis to the grave.” Before he was murdered by Syrian rebels, the Jesuit missionary Father Frans vans der Lugt observed that “From the start the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.”

But many prominent voices in mainstream liberal media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and VICE turned a blind eye to the atrocities committed by the Islamist opposition in their hunger for a US-led regime change operation against Bashar al-Assad. And the war fever extended from the mainstream to the progressive Left.

On the pages and website of the New York Review of Books one searches for genuine antiwar voices in vain. Instead what you most likely will come across are screeds such as the one issued by Janine di Giovanni. In her rage for another US-led war in the Middle East, di Giovanni channelled the ghost of Joseph McCarthy and baselessly accused the antiwar journalist Max Blumenthal of, you guessed it, being in league with (who else?) the Russian government.

And then there is The Intercept, funded by a shadowy billionaire with ties to the US Agency for International Development, Pierre Omyidar. Under the editorship of former Nation managing editor Betsy Reed, The Intercept has given space to some of the most strident anti-antiwar voices including those of James Risen, Robert McKay and the British-born Mehdi Hasan. Hasan’s enthusiasm for a jihadi victory over the socialist, multi-confessional Syrian state is perhaps not surprising given his past views in which he compared non-believers to “animals.”

In an April 2018 column for The Intercept, Hasan penned a hysterical open letter to those he deemed “al-Assad apologists” for the crime of expressing skepticism regarding the latest round of accusations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime. “To those of you on the anti-war far left who have a soft spot for the dictator in Damascus: Have you lost your minds? Or have you no shame?,” cried Hasan. What followed was a lengthy iteration of Assad’s crimes and then, oddly, reassurances from Hasan that he too stands against no fly zones, arming the rebels and regime change wars.
So what, we might be forgiven to ask, was the point? It was simply a tedious exercise in moral preening. A speciality of the anti-antiwar Left.

Hasan’s, example is instructive because, in his obvious opportunism and sly fanaticism, he exemplifies everything that a writer like Diana Johnstone is not and, by extension, much that is seriously wrong with the anti-antiwar Left.

Worryingly, the anti-antiwar Left is not going away. Indeed, it has some powerful allies-in-waiting should Joseph R. Biden win in November. In a recent interview with CBS, Biden protege and former deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken bemoaned the fact that the Obama administration’s regime change efforts in Syria didn’t go nearly far enough.

Indeed, Biden’s foreign policy team is stacked from one end to the other with regime change and new cold war enthusiasts who, alas, will find plenty of support from the growing ranks of the anti-antiwar Left. Those who find this development more than mildly depressing might do worse than to take refuge in the work of genuine antiwar voices such as Diana Johnstone’s.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

History lesson: Who are the real patriots?

Many African-American witnesses subpoenaed to testify at the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) hearings in the 1950s were asked to denounce Paul Robeson (1888–1976) in order to obtain future employment.

Robeson, an All-American football player and recipient of a Phi Beta Kappa key at Rutgers, received a law degree at Columbia. He became an internationally acclaimed concert performer and actor as well as a persuasive political speaker.

In 1949, Robeson was the subject of controversy after newspapers reports of public statements that African Americans would not fight in “an imperialist war.” In 1950, his passport was revoked.

Several years later, Robeson refused to sign an affidavit stating that he was not a Communist and initiated an unsuccessful lawsuit.

In the following testimony to a HUAC hearing, ostensibly convened to gain information regarding his passport suit, Robeson refused to answer questions concerning his political activities and lectured bigoted Committee members Rep. Gordon H. Scherer (R-OH)  and Rep. Francis E. Walter (D-PA) about African-American history and civil rights.

In 1958, the Supreme Court ruled that a citizen’s right to travel could not be taken away without due process and Robeson’ passport was returned. 

Sunday song

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Time for some political fireworks.....

I think this video is great - it is so Lisa Savage - creative, direct talker and fiercely independent.

Lisa is always devoted to her students in her rural school district where poverty and neglect are daily occurrences.

Lisa has lived this reality for many years and is a determined true revolutionary who believes in justice for the humans, nature, animals, the water, air and sky.

We are lucky to have her carrying these voices and spirits into the Ranked Choice Voting election here in Maine next November.

Please do what you can to help pass the word.

See her July 4 message here


Friday, July 03, 2020

John Pilger film - a must watch

The Coming War on China, from award winning journalist John Pilger, reveals what the news doesn’t – that the world’s greatest military power, the United States, and the world’s second economic power, China, both nuclear-armed, may well be on the road to war.

Nuclear war is not only imaginable, but planned. The greatest build-up of NATO military forces since the Second World War is under way on the western borders of Russia. On the other side of the world, the rise of China is viewed in Washington as a threat to American dominance.

To counter this, President Obama announced a ‘pivot to Asia’ during his time in office, which meant that almost two-thirds of all US naval forces would be transferred to Asia and the Pacific, their weapons aimed at China. A policy which has been taken up by his successor Donald Trump, who during his election campaign said “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country and that’s what they’re doing”.

Filmed on five possible front-lines across Asia and the Pacific over two years, the story is told in chapters that connect a secret and ‘forgotten’ past to the rapacious actions of great power today and to a resistance, of which little is known in the West.

~  John Pilger is an Australian journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker. He has been mainly based in Britain since 1962.

Pilger is a strong critic of American, Australian, and British foreign policy, which he considers to be driven by an imperialist and colonialist agenda. Pilger has also criticised his native country's treatment of Indigenous Australians. He first drew international attention for his reports on the Cambodian genocide.

His career as a documentary film maker began with The Quiet Mutiny (1970), made during one of his visits to Vietnam, and has continued with over 50 documentaries since. 

Pilger won Britain's Journalist of the Year Award in 1967 and 1979. His documentaries have gained awards in Britain and worldwide, including multiple BAFTA honors. The practices of the mainstream media are a regular subject in Pilger's writing.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Australian Prime Minister opts for a military led recovery from the Covid recession

The decision of the Australian Government to spend $270 billion on military spending is backward thinking and ultimately a disadvantage for all Australians.

“We now know why the Australian Government has been conducting a scare campaign about China and Chinese cyber warfare. Clearly it is intended to build up a fear of China which will allow Australians to acquiesce in the exorbitant spending proposed,” said Denis Doherty of the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign.

“Tensions in the Indo Pacific region are largely those manufactured by the Morrison Government in partnership with US and are being used to rush Australians into accepting the purchase of exorbitant and unnecessary weaponry.

“Scott Morrison has deliberately ignored the positive role of China in the Covid crisis. This socialist country has aided many millions with free medical equipment. It offered assistance to the State of New York, to Italy and to many developing countries including those suffering from US sanctions such as Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran.

“The US has maintained all its sanctions. As a result governments have been less able to assist their citizens suffering from the pandemic. The US also withdrew $400 million from the WHO which affected medical aid to many parts of Africa,” Mr Doherty said.

“The Government continues to spend recklessly on the military amid the pandemic and is planning to send Australian Defense Forces forces to the RIMPAC exercises at the cost of many more millions.  This money would be far better spent on constructing more social housing and more socially useful projects such as Jobkeeper.

“The Government is ideologically committed to assist arms companies rather than the people of Australia or the region.  The Government’s hypocrisy is evident in their approach to the Yemen war.  Australia has donated $40 million to the UN fund for Yemen but just one Australian arms company has been given $36 million to supply weapons to the Saudis who are prosecuting the war in Yemen.

“The Morrison Government is on a path to causing more misery in Australia and the region, once again at the behest of the US Trump Administration.” 

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Danger ahead - Pentagon preparing for war with China & Russia

About 350 soldiers parachuted into Andersen Air Force Base on Tuesday to complete a training mission that began with a marathon flight from Alaska. Five C-17 Globemasters flew the paratroopers from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska to Guam, where they secured the air base as part of an emergency deployment readiness exercise, the Army said in a statement Tuesday.

The soldiers are with the 25th Infantry Division’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team — the Army’s only Pacific airborne brigade. They learned of the mission only several days before the jump, the Army said.

 “This scenario tested our ability to execute real-world missions and demonstrated that we are capable of deploying anywhere in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area at a moment’s notice,” Col. Christopher Landers, commander of the 4th Brigade, said in the statement.

Reported by Stars & Stripes

Excellent interview on 'Russia paying to kill U.S. troops' story....

Multiple US outlets, citing anonymous intelligence officials, are claiming that Russia offered bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan and that President Trump has taken no action. 

The Grayzone's Max Blumenthal breaks down the story's flaws and how it continues a Russiagate-era push of the Democratic Party to the right. 

 "The constant flow of Russiagate disinformation into the bloodstream of the Democratic Party and its base is moving that party constantly to the right, while pushing the US deeper into this Cold War," Blumenthal says. 

Max Blumenthal is editor of The Grayzone and author of several books, including his latest "The Management of Savagery."