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

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Might be Gaza deal soon



A good update as hopeful news leaks out about a possible deal in the making on Gaza.
The combined pressure of global protest, the ICJ preliminary ruling, US-EU worried about being charged with complicity in genocide, and the behind the scenes work of many nations appears to be bearing fruit.
Israel must be getting some serious ultimatums from many corners of the world.
Let's hope it all works out - don't start cheering yet but we can be cautiously optimistic.

I've found Mahmood (above) to be good on his analysis.

Prayers for real peace and justice,


PS Don't stop protesting because this will be very fragile and could fall apart in a flash.

U.S.-Israel-NATO madness discussed


Bruce Gagnon joins Regis Tremblay in a wide-ranging conversation from Tel-Aviv, Houthis, Global Outrage, Ukraine chain of command broken, trouble in the USA, collapse coming.  


"The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters."
Antonio Gramsci

More evidence of Israeli 'crimes against humanity'



Israeli forces disguised as medical staff and civilians have shot dead three Palestinians inside a hospital in the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank. 

The killings were carried out by undercover operatives while the men were sleeping at the Ibn Sina Hospital, according to statements issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the Israeli army on Tuesday. 

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reports from Ramallah. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Gazans stuffed into a shrinking cage



NATO prepares provocative nuclear war game against Russia



Italy on the front line under US command in the largest war exercise against Russia

By Manlio Dinucci (Grandangolo on Byoblu TV, Italy)

US Army General Christopher Cavoli, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, announced that the largest NATO exercise in decades, Steadfast Defender 2024, will occur in Europe from the end of January to the end of May. 

90,000 soldiers from the 31 NATO countries will participate and are about to join NATO Sweden. Over 80 combat aircraft along with helicopters and drones, 50 warships including aircraft carriers, 1,100 tanks, and other combat vehicles will be used in the exercise. The exercise - the largest since the end of the Cold War - will test and refine the war strategy against Russia. 

European countries of the Alliance in NATO declared that, with the Steadfast Defender 2024 “the Alliance will demonstrate its ability to strengthen the Euro-Atlantic area through the transatlantic movement of forces from North America. This reinforcement will occur during a simulated emergent conflict scenario against a near-peer adversary.”

The reference to Russia is clear.

The Supreme Allied Commander in Europe also announced that Italy had been chosen as the headquarters of the Allied Reaction Force. The US general underlined that it is "a fundamental component of our new force model and that it is capable of carrying out the entire spectrum of missions and serves as a rapidly deployable strategic reserve”.

During the exercise, the Italian headquarters of the Allied Reaction Force will carry out a deployment of the Rapid Reaction Force in Poland on the eastern flank of the Alliance, clearly directed against Russia. 

The Supreme Allied Commander in Europe did not say that the war exercise, taking place for four months in Europe, would also be nuclear. The aircraft, ships, and missile systems deployed in the Steadfast Defender 2024 have dual conventional and nuclear capabilities. 

The USA will thus be able to test in a realistic simulation the new nuclear weapons that they are deploying in Europe increasingly close to Russia.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Col. Macgregor on U.S.-Israel escalation against Iran



Always articulate retired US Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor on the dangers of US-Israel escalation in the Middle East.

He reviews the history of US failures in the region and the current Israeli losing war in Gaza.

He urges the US to pull its troops out of Syria (where they are stealing oil) and Iraq (where the US has been asked twice by Iraq to leave but Washington refuses). The US 'coalition' attacks on Yemen are only making things worse.

Macgregor says the world won't tolerate the genocidal 'cleansing' of Gaza.

He says the US cannot act with impunity anymore. He states that the US has no strategy but is just blindly following Israel.

Who is listening to him here at home?

Are the Dems and Repubs so controlled by AIPAC and the MIC that they are incapable of refusing to start WW3?   

Macgregor concludes 'This is the end of the US empire. The only thing the US-Israel knows to do is to escalate'. 


Media review: Talk about nailing it!


"How dare we have a conversation about trade when there are children right now being treated without anaesthetic.”

In an interview with Sky News presenter Yalda Hakim, Dr Myriam Francois, a journalist and filmmaker, discusses the ongoing conflict in Yemen and Gaza, emphasising the need for a ceasefire. 

She criticises the US, questions global perspectives, and highlights the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. 

Francois states that there is a consequence for every action and says, “You cannot just go around bombing people's countries, ignoring international law and expect no repercussions.”

Israeli plan for Gaza

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Solidaridad para siempre



In Mexico, the war has inspired an artist to show solidarity through embroidery.  

Here's the story of Rosa Borres who's using intricate needlework to thread together victims' memories.

Stop the war$ protest in Farmington, Maine


The view on the road to Farmington




Yesterday we had just over 50 people come from all over Maine to the town of Farmington to stand together in opposition to continuing US (and its allies) war$ in Ukraine and Palestine.

We held this monthly statewide protest (regularly organized around Maine since February 2022) there thanks to an invitation from University of Maine-Farmington students. About half the turnout were these students. 

We got lucky as the weather was cold but no rain or snow arrived during yesterday's event.

Farmington is in a rural area in the west-central part of the state.

For the last half hour of the event we moved a couple blocks to the town Gazebo where we shared words from several speakers. 

US-NATO War$ on Steroids

There is growing concern as the US and NATO members widen the war into Yemen. There is also deep worry that Israel and the US will attack Iran and Lebanon. In recent days Israel is even threatening Egypt saying that it will soon take over the 'Philadelphia line' - the border between Gaza and Egypt now controlled by Cairo.

Earlier this week the ICJ preliminary ruling made clear that Israel must stop the war and open the flood gates of humanitarian aid now being daily blocked by Tel Aviv. The leadership in Israel has arrogantly responded to the ICJ by denouncing the successful intervention against genocide by South Africa. The daily slaughter in Gaza and the West Bank goes on.

At this moment the Biden administration is working hard to make another $60 billion grant to Ukraine for the US-NATO proxy war on Russia. (Some Republicans in Congress oppose more money for the corrupt Ukrainian regime.) Even though most independent experts agree that Ukraine has badly lost the war, the US-NATO continue to throw more money down the drain while the collective member nations of NATO face severe domestic economic and environmental problems.

Next Up

Our next statewide event will be held in Waterville, Maine on Saturday, February 17 at 1:30 pm. We will meet at the busy intersection of Route 104/Main St. and College Ave/Elm Street (For GPS use fire department).

We hope to see you there. We have much serious work ahead of us.

When I lived in Florida we learned alot from Bobbie Cypress Billie spiritual leader of the Independent Traditional Seminole Nation (still at war with Washington). We organized a 700-mile 'Walk for the Earth: A journey for Future Generations'  from the Florida Everglades to the capital in Tallahassee.   

Bobbie C. led the walk - the only person who walked every inch of the way. Bobbie always told us to go out and gather the 'Special people'. He meant those of good spirit who wanted to work for a better world. Bobbie said when we gather them good things will happen.

That is what occurs at each of our monthly protests. Sparks of truth get into the air. And many in their cars zooming by do feel supported as they agree with us but for different reasons are frozen when it comes to anti-war activity. Others for the first time might feel challenged to learn more.

In the meantime we urge everyone to keep rattling your chains and bang on the doors of our Maine congressional delegation which continues to fund these blood baths without much reflection or hesitation.


~ Photos by MB Sullivan (Click on the photos for a better view)

Sunday song



Saturday, January 27, 2024

History lesson: Why China does not trust Japan


During WWII, Japan invaded and occupied many parts of Asia. 

During their aggression, it launched multiple biological warfare across Asia, especially in China, and conducted cruel human experiments on civilians. Not to mention the abduction of women and forcing them to be sex slaves, mass killing of innocent civilians. 

This history is not known among people outside of Asia, and those war criminals got away with their crimes. 

Three books to learn more about this history: 

  • The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust in WWII. By Iris Chang 
  • Hidden Atrocities: Japanese Germ Warfare and American Obstruction of Justice at Tokyo Trial. By Jeanne Guillemin
  • A Plague Upon Humanity: The Hidden History of Japan's Biological Warfare Program. By Daniel Barenblatt. (This book reveals how the US brought Japan's leading bio-warfare expert to Fort Detrick, Maryland to help create the Pentagon's bio-war program which was first used against North Korea during the Korean War.)

Stop U.S. sanctions on Nicaragua


  We must stop new sanctions on Nicaragua from advancing in Congress!

By Jill Clark-Gollub

Cutting off loans to Nicaragua from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), as the new sanctions bill seeks to do, would cut funding for new hospitals such as in Chinandega. 

The deceptively named Restoring Sovereignty and Human Rights Act is advancing through Congress. Designed to do the exact opposite of promoting sovereignty or human rights, it must be stopped.

We must urge legislators not to impose such collective punishment on the Nicaraguan people, which will hurt the most vulnerable and exacerbate migration.

Senate Bill 1881 was filed by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) in June 2023. It will likely be discussed in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before mid-February. Its companion, House Bill, H.R.6954, was filed on January 11th and has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The legislation would:

  • Work with bank member countries to curtail lending to Nicaragua from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) – the only bank still lending to Nicaragua in amounts that help development.
  • Ban some imports into the United States of Nicaraguan beef, coffee, and gold.
  • Initiate measures to remove Nicaragua from the regional free trade agreement, DR-CAFTA (Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement).
  • Prohibit new US investment in Nicaragua.

Impacts of sanctions

The US government has illegally imposed unilateral coercive measures (a.k.a. sanctions) on some 40 countries around the world, in which one-third of humanity lives. Whole populations are ultimately denied access to the necessities of life, such as adequate food, clean water, medicines, and fuel. The most vulnerable citizens – children, the elderly, the sick and the poor – are most heavily impacted.

Ever increasing sanctions on Nicaragua could lead to situations such as that of Venezuela, with 40,000 excess deaths in just one year due to the US blockade of its oil sector. In Cuba, the people are suffering the worst humanitarian crisis in their history from the ever tightening 60-year blockade.

The NICA Act, imposed in 2018, already caused Nicaragua to lose over $1.4 billion between 2018 and 2021, amounting to 90% of its funding from the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the International Monitory Fund (IMF). This has impacted development of the Caribbean coast, school lunch programs for vulnerable children, child development programs, access to safe drinking water in rural areas and much more.

From 2018-2022 Nicaragua saw its IDB loans fall by $131 million annually, money which would have enabled the country to build 265 kilometers of roads and four hospitals, and to improve drinking water systems in two main cities. CABEI has been picking up the slack, so the US Congress is now pressuring this bank to withhold loans to Nicaragua. And the US does not even hold membership in CABEI while Nicaragua holds 10.6% of shares.

What we must do

Now is the time for US-based friends of the Nicaraguan people who care about peace and justice to tell their members of Congress to vote NO on S.1881 and H.R.6954! 

~  Jill Clark-Gollub organizes study delegations to Nicaragua and has published in outlets including COHA, Popular Resistance, and Alliance for Global Justice

Friday, January 26, 2024

Israel losing international support


The International Court of Justice rules 15-2 in favour of South Africa. 

This is the World's Most Documented Genocide & the world is watching. 

David Hearst is editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye.  


These are the provisional measures that Israel must take immediately:

  • By 15 votes to 2, the State of Israel shall, in accordance with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in relation to the Palestinians in Gaza, take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of the Article 2 of the Convention, in particular, A) killing members of the group, B) causing serious bodily or mental harm to the members of the group, C) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, and D) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.
  • By 15 votes to 2, the State of Israel shall ensure, with immediate effect, that its military does not commit any acts described in point 1 above.
  • By 16 votes to 1, the State of Israel shall take all measures within its power to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip.
  • By 16 votes to 1, the State of Israel shall take immediate and effective measures to ensure the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
  • By 15 votes to 2, the State of Israel shall take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related to allegations of acts within the scope of Article 2 and Article 3 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide against members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip.
  • By 15 votes to 2, the State of Israel shall submit a report to the court on all measures taken to give effect to this order within one month as from the date of the order. 

The two judges who voted against: Judge Julia Sebutinde from Uganda and Aharon Barak, an ad hoc judge from Israel appointed for this case. He is a former Israel Supreme Court President.

Early statements by the Israel apartheid government is that they intend to ignore the ICJ determinations. 

The big question is how the US and its EU allies will respond to the ruling?

The entire western colonial system of the 'rule of law' is now on trial before the world. 

Conversation with a leading Palestinian historian



On January 19, we hosted an online discussion entitled “Rashid Khalidi on This Moment in Palestinian History.” 

We were joined by special guest and Columbia Professor Rashid Khalidi, America’s most eminent historian of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian struggle. 

Khalidi talked about this latest iteration of what Rashid’s called “The Hundred Years' War on Palestine”— what’s new and what’s old since October 7. 

Khalidi also talked about where the Palestinian national movement goes from here, why Palestinian freedom has become a defining issue for progressive activists, and what the crackdown on that activism means for America’s universities.

Check out Khalidi's book entitled The Hundred Years' War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017.  

IOF blowing up Gazan structures with ferocity



Scenes showing Israel Occupation Forces (IOF) booby-trapping Palestinian structures east of al-Maghazi refugee camp. The footage that was acquired by the Qassam elements from of Israeli soldiers after being targeted. 

Thursday, January 25, 2024

South Korean 'Democracy' in action


About one week ago Kang Sung Hee, a member of South Korea's small progressive Jinbo Party shook President Yoon Suk Yeol's hand in a reception line at an opening ceremony, and said to him "If government policy does not change, the people will become unhappy". 

The president's office says they considered the MP a security threat. They claimed he refused to let go of the president's hand -- not true, as you can tell by the video.  He continues saying "Government Policy has to change" after the president ignores him and continues past him, but he is polite and uses honorifics. At this point, security muzzles him and drags him out. 

This is the kind of thing former US supported South Korean military dictator Park Chung Hee (1961-1979) used to do when he was in power.

This is America's democratic ally in action.

President Yoon Suk Yeol belongs to the right-wing People Power Party. He has been president of South Korea since 2022.  

Yoon has been accused of having a pro-Japanese stance on historical issues and Japanese colonialism. 

Yoon has expressed active support for the possibility of South Korea having their own nuclear weapons. On 22 September 2021, Yoon stated that he will ask that the United States redeploy tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea if there is a threat from North Korea.

Nuclear weapons have not been deployed by the US in South Korea since the early 1990s, after an agreement with Russia and in an effort to ease tensions between North and South Korea. 

On 12 November 2021, Yoon indicated that he would also be open to more US THAAD missile deployments in South Korea.   

In April 2023, Yoon's public approval ratings were at 30%, largely due to widespread disapproval of Yoon's Japanese policy.  

~ Thanks to K. J. Noh for much of this info.

Be prepared to shed some tears



Samah Khalid Naji is 18, and along with six other members of her family, is living in the bombed-out remains of their house in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza. It was destroyed in October by an Israeli missile strike. 

The destruction of more than a third of Gaza’s homes as Israel bombards the territory in pursuit of Hamas is leading international legal experts to raise the concept of 'domicide': the mass destruction of dwellings to make the territory uninhabitable. 

The Guardian spent two days with Samah and her family in December to see the remains of their house and how they are surviving the war. She told the film-maker Majdi Fathi about why they decided this was the safest place for them to be.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Kiev deliberately shot down plane carrying its own POWs



Deadly IL-76 crash: What we know so far

A military aircraft carrying 65 Ukrainian POWs came down in Russia’s Belgorod Region, killing all passengers on board

The Russian IL-76 heavy transport plane was carrying 65 captured Ukrainian military personnel when it crashed in Belgorod Region some 90km (55 miles) from the Ukrainian border. The Russian Defense Ministry has claimed that the aircraft was brought down by Kiev’s forces.

Here is what we know so far about what happened.

The plane crash 

On Wednesday at 11:15 Moscow time, reports came in that an IL-76 military transport plane carrying Ukrainian POWs had crashed and exploded in a field near the village of Yablonovo in the Korochansky district of Belgorod Region, which neighbors Ukraine.

Several people captured footage of the crash and shared videos of the incident on social media.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the plane was flying from the Chkalovsky airfield to Belgorod and was transporting the Ukrainian personnel for a prisoner swap with Kiev. Aside from the POWs, there were also six crew members and three accompanying personnel.

All those on board the aircraft were killed in the crash, according to the governor of Belgorod Region, Vyacheslav Gladkov. However, the crash did not cause any damage to structures or people on the ground, landing five to six kilometers from the nearest village.

According to Russian officials, another plane carrying an additional 80 Ukrainian POWs was also in the air at the time of the incident. After the first plane crashed, the second aircraft was diverted, according to MP Andrey Kartapolov.

What was the cause? 

Following the incident, the Russian Defense Ministry released a statement accusing Kiev’s forces of shooting down the plane using an anti-aircraft missile system. The ministry claimed that Russia’s Aerospace Forces radars recorded the launch of two Ukrainian missiles from the village of Liptsy in Kharkov Region.

The ministry has also stated that the Ukrainian side was informed of the flight ahead of time and was aware that it was carrying POWs, noting that the prisoner exchange was supposed to take place later in the afternoon at the Kolotilovka checkpoint.

Ukrainian media reports 

Shortly after the crash, the Ukrainian media outlet Ukrainskaya Pravda released a report claiming that it had received confirmation from Kiev's military that the its forces had shot the plane down and that it had been told that the aircraft was believed to be carrying S-300 missiles.

Shortly after, however, the outlet redacted that statement, stating only that Kiev had confirmed that it was aware of the plane crash but could not confirm it was carrying Ukrainian POWs.

Meanwhile, other Western media outlets such as US-state funded Radio Liberty have confirmed from sources within the Kiev government that a prisoner exchange with Russia was indeed scheduled for Wednesday, but no further comments have been provided.

Kiev’s intelligence 

A representative of the Ukrainian Intelligence Service, Andrey Yusov, has also confirmed the scheduled prisoner exchange.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Coordination Headquarters for matters regarding prisoners of war has refused to confirm the planned swap, only stating that it was “collecting and analyzing all the necessary information” while urging the media and its citizens to refrain from speculating on the incident. The body also noted that Russia is “actively carrying out special information operations” aimed at destabilizing Ukrainian society.

Russia’s reaction  


The head of Russia’s State Duma Defense Committee, Andrey Kartapolov, has suggested that the IL-76 was shot down using Western Patriot or Iris-T air defense missiles. He has also proposed calling off any further prisoner swap negotiations with Kiev and insisted that Ukraine should officially be branded a terrorist state and its government a terrorist cell.

State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin has called on Russian lawmakers to make a formal address to the US and Germany, urging them to stop actively supporting the “Nazi regime” in Kiev, which has stooped to killing its own POWs.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that Kiev had once again “shown its true colors” by committing this “terrorist act” against its own citizens in an attempt to slander Moscow's forces.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that this act of “mindless barbarism” puts into question the possibility of reaching future agreements with Kiev, noting that “there is no doubt” that the Ukrainian authorities will eventually violate any guarantees that they give.

The ministry also stressed that the regime of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, which was propped up by the US and its NATO allies, has once again proven to be a threat not only to Russia, but to “Ukraine itself, its citizens and the whole world.”

Former Russian President and current deputy chairman of the National Security Council Dmitry Medvedev has suggested that the downing of the IL-76 may have been the result of internal political turmoil between “neo-Nazi elites in Kiev.” He suggested that “it’ll be even worse in the future” as the Ukrainian government will continue slaughtering its own troops and POWs and bombing its own cities to protect its power and money.

West: 'We want an end to the occupation - we want equality'



During the March on Washington D.C. for Gaza, Presidential candidate Cornel West gave a blazing speech on the need for humanity. 

He called for an eternally Free Palestine, an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and more.

Washington creates colonial puppet in Kiev, blackmailing Zelensky


Washington forces Ukraine to keep sending their troops into hopeless slaughter against Russian forces 



Head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service claimed that the United States began to work on a colonial administration in Ukraine. According to Sergei Naryshkin, Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Washington demanded that Zelensky removes officials who have lost the trust of the United States from government posts. Otherwise, the United States intends to publish a corruption dossier on the Ukrainian leader’s entourage.

Washington demanded that the new Ukrainian leadership should be made up of Ukrainians who studied in the West and sworn allegiance to American interests.

    “There are dozens of high-ranking Ukrainian officials from Zelensky’s team on the blacklist. He was informed that otherwise Washington would make public a “top” corruption dossier against representatives of his entourage,” Naryshkin’s statement quoted the SVR press bureau as saying.

During Vladimir Zelensky’s visit to the United States last December, Washington provided him with persistent recommendations on the reshuffle of the Ukrainian government.

According to these ‘recommendations’, the United States nominated Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Makarova for the post of Prime Minister of Ukraine; Deputy Minister Alexander Kava who studied at Harvard was ‘recommended’ for the post of Minister of Finance. The current Deputy Minister Taras Kachka, who graduated from the Polish National Institute of Public Administration, should become the head of the Ministry of Economy.

Washington is “confidently strengthening Kiev’s vassalage.” US advisers are already represented in all the main government departments of Ukraine. The Russian SVR drew an analogy with the times of the British Empire, which sent “political agents” to its colonies.

In an attempt to destruct the population from the political defeats in the failed state and from the military defeats of the Ukrainian army on the frontlines, Zelensky is signing ridiculous decrees that have nothing to do with reality and are aimed only at creating the appearance of some political activity of the Ukrainian leader, who even has no power over his country.

On January 22, he signed a decree “aimed at preserving the national identity of Ukrainians in the Russian Federation,” since this identity is allegedly in danger.

    As stated in the document, the Cabinet of Ministers “was instructed to develop and submit to the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine an action plan to preserve the national identity of Ukrainians in the Russian Federation, including on the lands historically inhabited by them – in Kuban, Starodub, Northern and Eastern Slobozhanshchyna within the modern Krasnodar Territory, Belgorod, Bryansk, Voronezh, Kursk, Rostov regions of the Russian Federation”.

“Territorial claims” against Russia have long been a favorite topic of the Ukrainian Nazis. Earlier, various Ukrainian Nazi figures and even the current head of military intelligence, Kirill Budanov, told that these lands may join the Ukrainian state, forgetting that Ukraine itself had lost significant territories, and the situation continued to deteriorate.

The new decree seems ridiculous today. Nevertheless, it is obvious that Kiev’s Western patrons, who took control of Kiev, are also trying to initiate a long-term strategy of destabilization and splitting of Russia’s border territories along its ethnic lines. 

Comedian: 'Americans don't care about people'


Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Gaza: Largest group of starving people on the planet



Food supplies are rapidly running out in Gaza - most areas have already run out of flour. Humanitarian workers say rice will also run out soon. 

Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud reports from Rafah.

A new party is reshaping the German political landscape


Sahra Wagenknecht, member of the Bundestag

By Tarik Cyril Amar

Germany is in severe crisis. Between a tanking economy and an increasingly unpopular government, the country has begun to show just how much stress it is under. Half a year ago, the head of German carmaker Volkswagen warned that “the roof is on fire,” while The Economist concluded that “disaster,” meaning not just the decline but collapse of the German car industry, is “no longer inconceivable.”

At this moment, the wintry beginning of 2024, German farmers are staging large-scale and escalating protests and forcing the ruling coalition into concessions, the trains are not running on time due to a strike, the country’s wholesale sector has dropped to pandemic-level pessimism, “dampening hopes of a rapid rebound in Europe’s largest economy,” as reported by Bloomberg, residential property prices are in record decline, and the office real estate market “has collapsed,” according to leading German news magazine Der Spiegel.

The Economist finds Germany to be “down” politically as well – in fact, self-relegated – from its status as leader of Europe (or, at least, the EU) to less than second fiddle (that would be France, perhaps): while “Angela Merkel was the continent’s undoubted leader, Olaf Scholz, has not taken on her mantle.”

That is a very British understatement. In reality, in the toxic yet key relationship with the US, Germany, with its hapless attempt to transfer the management concept of “servant leadership” to geopolitics, has now subordinated itself so thoroughly to American neocon-type interests that it has no leverage left at all. Because once you make your loyalty unconditional, you will be taken for granted: Selling oneself may be inevitable for any but the greatest powers. Selling oneself for free takes a special lack of foresight.

We could go on heaping up examples of malaise. But the gist is simple: Germans may love to lay it on thick when it comes to venting their misery and “angst” (I should know, being German), but, clearly, something has to – and will – give. The question is what.

One political force that stands to gain from the crisis has just been established. (Another fairly new party that is profiting is the AfD.) Long rumored and in the making, 8 January saw the official founding of a new party, the Bündnis Sarah Wagenknecht – Vernunft und Gerechtigkeit (Alliance Sarah Wagenknecht – Reason and Justice), or BSW for short. Its leader Sarah Wagenknecht used to be the most popular top politician of the hard-Left party Die Linke, which she left with a bang.

As the name BSW suggests, the new party is, in part, a vehicle for Wagenknecht’s considerable personal political acumen and charisma. Opponents of “Red Sarah,” as the popular, generally right-leaning newspaper Bild still calls her, like to stereotype her as an “icon.” Yet, wiser from the failure of an earlier attempt to strike out on her own (under the label “Aufstehen,” roughly: “Stand Up”), this time, Wagenknecht has gone out of her way and made sure to do her homework, preparing a well-crafted organization, a set of junior leaders around her, and, last but not least, a solid program. This is politically significant: Unlike “Aufstehen,” the BSW will not fold quickly under the weight of its own problems.

On the contrary, the party’s chances of making a strong impact from the get-go are very good, as polls consistently indicate. The most recent one – commissioned by Bild and carried out just days after the party’s founding by a top pollster – shows that 14% of Germans would vote for the BSW in a federal election.

For comparison: the SPD, traditionally one of the core parties of Germany and the political home of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, reaches 14% as well. For the BSW this is an impressive figure, but for the SPD it is catastrophic. Meanwhile the Greens, the second partner in Berlin’s governing “Ampel” coalition, are at 12%. The FDP, the third “Ampel” component, would fail to get any seats at all (due to not crossing Germany’s electoral threshold of 5%). Sarah Wagenknecht’s own former party, Die Linke, would suffer the same fate. The only two parties that would do better than the BSW are the traditional center-right CDU (27%) and the populist-right/far-right AfD (18%).

In sum, with BSW, we are witnessing not the making of a fringe but a core movement in what seems to be emerging as Germany’s re-shaped party system, consisting of three traditional parties (SPD, CDU, and the Greens) and two new forces. The latter are coming from the right and left periphery but are likely to re-define the center, directly and by their pressure on the traditional players.

Representatives of the threatened traditional parties and their expert and mainstream media surrogates often denounce the challengers from the wings as extremists or, at least, irresponsible populists (just another way of saying “demagogue”). But they only have themselves to blame: The true cause of this tectonic movement is the failure of the traditionals. The challengers’ rise marks a reaction to it. Wagenknecht is right about this: Germany’s “democracy is imperiled most of all” by government policies that make ever more citizens feel left alone or alienated.


Against that background, the BSW promises more generous social policies, such as on education, wages, and pensions (and higher taxes for the wealthy). As Germany is doing badly economically, this will resonate. And Wagenknecht, a political “natural,” knows how to signal: She has just taken the side of the protesting farmers – as do the majority (68%) of Germans, according to polls.

Mainstream media are making desperate attempts to frame the rebellious farmers as serving extremists and somehow playing into the hands of – guess which country! – Russia. The ever more besieged minister of the economy Robert Habeck has even detected financing by – guess who! – “Putin!” (without, of course, providing any evidence). This time, these tired scare tactics are failing to catch on. Wagenknecht’s public call for chancellor Olaf Scholz to apologize to the farmers will fare better.

Crucially, Wagenknecht and the BSW have combined socially left approaches with a set of traditionally conservative stances, challenging, for instance, the hypertrophic development of new gender categories or, in general, “symbolical struggles” over hyper-sensitive terminology, so fashionable with what Wagenknecht dismisses as the “lifestyle Left.”

While this push-back against political correctness is a largely symbolic, though effective, operation, migration is a more substantial field. There as well, Wagenknecht has adopted positions closer to the right and center than the liberal left, stressing the need for control and limits. The fact that she herself had a Persian father and that prominent BSW heads are also non-ethnic Germans gives her a strong starting position for this kind of debate, shielding her points from dismissal as racist or xenophobic.

Given how many Germans feel, left alone in an economic crisis and also alienated by especially Green attempts at re-education in the spirit of urban upper class multiculturalism and gender obsessions, it will be hard to counter the BSW’s brand of socially left but otherwise centrist and even conservative policies. No wonder then that opponents are trying to portray Wagenknecht as a monster, along with the new party. Their playbook is predictable and boring: namely to smear them as being pro-Russian or even working in the service of Russia.

In reality, Wagenknecht has positioned her new party to resist the push for ever more confrontation with Moscow, especially with regard to Ukraine. At this moment, for instance, she is speaking up against the delivery of German Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine, which is the latest fad among the insatiable “miracle weapon” addicts. More generally, she is demanding to shift from a policy of military confrontation by proxy to one of negotiation and compromise, which makes, of course, perfect sense.

For her enemies, there is an irony waiting to catch them: They may hope that accusing Wagenknecht of being too friendly toward Russia will weaken her appeal. Yet that ship has sailed. The days of making hay with unbridled neo-McCarthyism are ending. It is more likely, fortunately, that the BSW’s reasonable approach to foreign policy will only get it more sympathy and voters. As it should. Because remember: At this point, Germany is so dependent on the US that it is treated not only like a vassal, but like a vassal whose wishes and interests do not count. Even Germans who distrust Russia will come to understand that this is fundamentally unsound. In its own national interest, Germany must re-establish some balance by rebuilding its relationship with Russia.

~  Tarik Cyril Amar, a historian from Germany working at Koç University, Istanbul, on Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe, the history of World War II, the cultural Cold War, and the politics of memory

Monday, January 22, 2024

Running into Angus King


A friend of mine named Mick ran into US Senator Angus King (Independent-Maine) in the nearby city of Bath outside a local shop a couple days ago. 

Mick called me afterward and told me about the conversation. He strongly urged King to stop funding the Ukraine war and the war on Palestine by Israel. They spoke a good while. 

King used an old political trick when Mick brought up the early 2022 Russia-Ukraine peace deal that was killed when Boris Johnson flew to Kiev and told Zelensky the agreement was a 'NO GO'.  

King insincerely responded to Mick saying,  'Oh, I didn't know about that. Send me something on it'.

King likes to come across as an easy-going Mainer who is an independent thinker. He caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate. He is a former governor of the state and has always been easily reelected.

King told Mick that he was paying attention to the current situations in both war zones. (He ought to considering he sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Armed Services Committee).

Mick did a fine job of letting King know that the public is increasingly restive over the possibility of full-blown global war that Washington is pushing along with its UK and EU allies. 

My own run-in with King

On Sunday, while heading into the grocery store in Brunswick, I saw Angus King talking to another man. I politely stood next to them until King turned to enter the door. I followed him and told him that I was fed up with him 'supporting the Ukraine and Israeli war on Palestine'.

He immediately tried to mollify me by saying that he was becoming very concerned himself. I challenged him by saying, 'Then stop sending both countries more money - you are supporting a blood bath'.

I added that I knew the Congress is controlled by AIPAC. He denied the fact and claimed 'J Street' (a liberal Jewish NGO) was powerful in Washington - and implied that they 'balance the impact of AIPAC'. 

BS I told him in return.

King then turned toward the plastic bag recycling bin and while shoving his waste inside bragged, 'I  just recently met with Netanyahu'. 

I quickly brought up Netanyahu's statement that the 'two-state solution' was dead. King acknowledged Israel's supreme leader had made that comment.

We then went different directions in the store but I called out: 'We're watching you'.

'Good' he replied, to which I shouted so all could hear, 'You are getting a bad reputation!'.


Macron: Another EU leader on the downhill slide



 Macron Does a Putin, Ends Up Shooting Own Foot

By Finian Cunningham

Macron has involved his country in a reckless covert war with Russia – all in total deception of the French people.

French President Emmanuel Macron sought this week to revamp his tattered authority over a nation that seems to have grown weary of this self-important charlatan.

In a special media conference lasting two and half hours broadcast to the nation, it seemed Macron was taking a leaf out of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s book. Putin gives an annual marathon press conference taking questions from journalists and the public on all and sundry national and international issues.

It didn’t go so well for Macron who ended up appearing as if he was pleading to be given respect.

There is no doubting Putin’s command of issues. Over four hours, he can hold the audience’s interest with cogent rational arguments, making his points with comprehensive facts and figures. Putin’s approval rating among the Russian public is riding high consistently in what can be deduced as genuine respect for his leadership.

It beggars belief that any Western leader could comparably acquit themselves, speaking freely for several hours on diverse topics. Biden, Sunak, Scholz, and Trudeau are joke figures who wilt under any scrutiny.

Macron tried to do a Putin this week with his nationally televised presser and the French people weren’t impressed. Polls showed, cited by NPR Radio, that a big majority (64 percent) of French disapproved of their president’s performance and the content of his views. He was criticized for peddling reactionary ideas.

Macron talked a lot about the need for national unity and restoring France’s international reputation. He called for a “civic rearmament” which was a strange way to promote national renewal. It smacked of fascism. Like much of his pitch, Macron sounded insecure, authoritarian, and chauvinistic. His views were more assertions than reasoned arguments. He was obviously concerned about the popularity of opposition leader Marie Le Pen, and he traduced her as leading a “party of lies”.

Not a good move by Macron especially when many French citizens can see that Monsieur Le President is himself a flagrant liar.

During his appeal to the nation, Macron spun the outrageous calumny that France must support the Ukrainian regime with billions of more euros because, as he lied with a bare face, if Russia wins the war in that country (a war instigated by NATO), then Putin would continue an expansionist invasion of Europe.

Talk about absurd scaremongering. Macron must take his compatriots for complete fools to peddle such hogwash on primetime TV.

Macron said his countrymen and women need to agree to supply more Scalp cruise missiles to the (Nazi-adulating) Kiev regime in order to maintain attacks on Russian territory, such as the strikes on Belgorod at New Year which killed dozens of civilians. These French-supplied missiles have also been used to target the Russian territory of Crimea.

Just as Macron was exalting supposed French values, it turned out that an entire company of French mercenaries was killed in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov by a devastating Russian missile strike. At least 60 French special forces were blown apart. Paris is denying that French forces were killed.

Russia summoned the French ambassador in Moscow the next day to deliver an official rebuke to Paris on the involvement of its troops in the war. This is not a new discovery by any means. American, British, Canadian, Polish, and other NATO mercenaries have been long-tracked by Russia as unofficial participants in the two-year conflict. The French have taken a particularly significant role in sending foreign legionnaires to Ukraine to fight Russia. 

Macron has involved his country in a reckless covert war with Russia – all in total deception of the French people.

This gives the lie to the real nature of the war in Ukraine. It is a U.S.-led NATO proxy war against Russia, which Russia is winning despite the array of foreign weaponry, funding, and troops.

Macron, the pathetic puppet who seems to have delusions of grandeur as if he is a reincarnation of Napoleon or De Gaulle, is immersing his country into a futile but recklessly dangerous war with nuclear-powered Russia.

If Macron spent the billions he has funneled into propping up a corrupt Neo-Nazi regime in Kiev on funding French public services and paying French workers a decent salary then maybe the French public would not have so much contempt for the former Rothschild investment banker sitting in the Elysée Palace.

Macron was elected president in May 2017 with the promise to “restore French greatness”. He was re-elected again narrowly in 2022. But his lies, empty promises, and delusions are finally catching up with him.

Like other Western so-called leaders, the French president has trashed his country’s economy to fuel a U.S.-led covert war against Russia in Ukraine. The warmongering is being done behind the Western public’s back with outrageous mendacity and deceit.

Macron and other Western charlatan leaders lament the loss of their political authority as if that is some kind of mystery or the fault of Russian propaganda and misinformation. The reasons for the growing public contempt of Western politicians are obvious to everyone but the liars in office. 

~ Finian Cunningham is a former editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Israel's plans are not in U.S. interest


By Ariel Ky (Patzcuaro, Mexico)

The Iranians carried out precise missile strikes against Israeli agents. Americans need to pay attention. The Iranians were showing their military strength. They are able to penetrate all of the American protective shields. Recently someone else said, or maybe it was Colonel MacGregor, I don't remember, that if we go to war with Iran at Netanyahu's behest, Americans will lose all of our aircraft carriers in the region. I don't want that to happen. I really don't want that to happen.

However, I've seen for years that the U.S. naval force could easily be destroyed with the development of hypersonic missiles by the Russians. And now we know that American missile defense systems are useless against this new kind of missiles. I've seen all this coming, but I am still appalled that the people in charge haven't seemed to absorb the same information, and are acting as though nothing has changed, and they can bomb at will and get away with it in the Middle East. Those air strikes of Yemenis by American and British forces last week were appalling. Stupid and senseless. There will be a reckoning. We're starting to see it with Iranians attacking now.

I don't agree with everything that Colonel MacGregor says, but I agree with what he is saying here, that the U.S. has no strategy in the Middle East. The U.S. is carrying out Netanyahu's plans, and not protecting our own interests. We haven't defined our interests.

I'm beginning to credit the rumors that I've heard that the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence, has spied on our members of Congress, and even entrapped them in sexually compromising scenarios (see the back story on Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell) in order to blackmail them. It begins to make sense then that our Congress and our president are so recklessly sabotaging our global standing to support Israel in their genocide against Palestinians.

We're sliding into war, but it is not inevitable. We can't count on our politicians to save us. And I want the world to know the reason. The United States government is corrupt. At this point, the only agency that can save the world from a devastating regional war in the Middle East is the United Nations. We need to see stronger leadership from them.

2024! A year of great turbulence. May kindness, goodness, friendship, compassion and equality prevail, so that peace can grow and flourish. While we face these storms that challenge our character and test our mettle, let us open ourselves to communion, guidance and grace of higher beings, whether in the angelic realms or space family. We can allow our future selves to guide and comfort us through this great paradigm upshift. 

Sunday sermon: How dare you!



Marc Lamont Hill is an American academic, author, activist, and television personality. He is a professor of urban education at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City.

Hill is the host of UpFront on Al Jazeera English, VH1 Live! on VH1, and Basketball Wives reunion shows. He is also a BET News correspondent. Previously he was the first host of the syndicated television show Our World with Black Enterprise, the host of HuffPost Live, and a political commentator for CNN and Fox News. 

In November 2018, Hill was fired from his position at CNN after remarks before the United Nations on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict that were alleged to be antisemitic. 



How many more must die before US-UK-EU stop supporting Israel's genocide?

Sunday song


Saturday, January 20, 2024

Views from American highways


Bob Anderson in Albuquerque pointing out the area near the mountains where US nukes are stored underground. If Albuquerque was a country it would have the 3rd largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. 

Wind turbines alongside oil drilling rigs in Texas

Chemtrails often filled the skies


Old hay barn

The highway from hotel window in Fishkill, NY

Love the chimney

Someone planted that tree years ago

A very old 'tiny house'

The nuclear museum outside Kirtland AFB in New Mexico

We hit snow in Maryland and points north

Loved this old time convenience store

Christmas tree farm

St Joe, Texas in the famous Red River Valley where cattle drives flourished. Two women opened their otherwise closed cowboy museum for us on a Sunday.


Near the famous Civil War battlefield

Penny's Diner in Brunswick, Maryland

Covered bridge in rural New York


Mary Beth and I left Maine on December 20. We returned on January 18. During our long journey we visited family and friends (and did site seeing) in Ohio, Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, Alabama and North Carolina before heading home.

It was a wild ride.

We drove on country back roads whenever possible in order to avoid the interstate highways that are dominated by metastasized trucks and drivers pretending they are in a Daytona 500 rat race.

The double-long heavy trucks now allowed on the highways are helping to punch dangerous pot holes in the roads.  The trucking companies have forced Congress to relax regulations in size and weight of trucks. Most weight inspection stations on interstate highways we passed were closed.

The food at motorway stops is routinely bad as most people know. Many toilets are filthy. Homelessness is rampant - I once saw homeless tents in the middle of a hotel parking lot.

The worst roads we experienced were in Illinois and the best were in Texas. Most states have roads that need serious work but they have no available funds. Texas also surprisingly had tons of solar and wind farms - sometimes mixed with oil drilling rigs.

Many workers in corporate chain gas stations, convenience stores, restaurants, hotels and the like we came across were not particularly friendly and obviously were not loving their get-no-where jobs. America is all about about low-wage workers these days. This is likely why Washington is allowing so many immigrants easy entry into the country. They want to drive wages down even further.

Poverty is by and large advancing across the nation like a bad dream. 

Military bases were evident in most directions we traveled. While we were in Montgomery, Alabama several Air Force fighter-bombers flew just over the Lynching Museum that we were visiting. One of the security guards ducked and said he needed to hide or die. It was clear in that moment that the black security guard did not regard the roaring planes as the 'sound of freedom'. 

How can there ever be any money left for human and environmental needs across the nation when Washington ensures that the war machine always eats first?

In spite of all these challenges it was a great trip. We had wonderful visits with family and friends and were repeatedly moved by the natural beauty.

Lucky for us we had no bad weather when driving. While many parts of the nation had severe storms we escaped them. Just one time in Texarkana, Arkansas there was a big wind and rain storm so we took a much needed day off from being behind the wheel. Otherwise it was pretty smooth sailing - except for the big highways. 

Being on the back country roads in Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and parts of New York was lovely. The scenery was spectacular (most of the photos above came from these places) and we often saw little to no traffic - especially few if any trucks. At times we were literally the only vehicle on the road for miles and miles.

We thank our local hosts who opened their homes to us and took us for walks, suggested sites to see and shared food with us.

It was a real retirement kick-off vacation for Mary Beth. She kept saying, 'When we get home I'm going to have to figure out what to do with my life'.

I enjoyed the break from the intensity of my daily work although we did listen to many video interviews in the car, checked emails, and put up a blog post most days.

It's really a beautiful country but just too bad we have such fucked up leaders. America has always been about hyper-greed, super-profits, mass consumption, rampant individualism, colonial exploitation and endless wars. 

We are now witnessing the resulting blow-back and imperial collapse.

It's good to be home.


PS Be sure to click on the photos for a better view