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: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Scrap Trident Rally Planned in London


As you all know, this year, the UK Parliament is set to vote on whether or not to replace the British Trident nuclear weapons system at an estimated cost of over £180 billion ($260 billion) and at a time when the government is slashing public spending on vital areas such as education, health and welfare services.

The majority of people of the world want to see positive steps taken towards global nuclear disarmament – but talks and negotiations have been stalled for years. The majority of people in the UK, including the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and other parliamentary party leaders, oppose nuclear weapons – now is an excellent time for a call to scrap them - not replace them. 

The UK Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is therefore organising a national demonstration to protest against Britain's Trident on Saturday, February  27th in London. This message to ‘Stop Trident’ could prove to be a vital intervention ahead of the Parliamentary discussion.

Please help us to get the message out loud and clear: we don't want a new Trident, we don’t want the current Trident - and the world doesn’t want nuclear weapons. We invite the international community to join us in saying “No” to UK government plans and “Yes” to global nuclear disarmament – the longer these weapons exist, the greater the possibility that they will be used.

Please :
a)    Join us in London on 27th February – for more information see: http://www.cnduk.org/
b)    Come along to our special international planning meeting in London on the 28th February (see attached details) – please let us know if you are coming to this – contact: dave.webb@cnduk.org
c)     Please send messages and/or short videos of support to: dave.webb@cnduk.org
d)    Hand in letters of protest to British Embassies and other representatives.

Thank you - together we can abolish nuclear weapons once and for all.

Dave Webb
Chair, CND

New Advice Column: 'Dear Commie'



A new feature here on Organizing Notes will be this periodic 'Advice Column' called 'Dear Commie' as suggested by a reader.  So feel free to send in your questions and they will be entered into the hopper and responded to as time and space permits.


  • Dear Commie: I’m depressed about the world and wonder what should I do?  

Dear Depressed: Take two aspirin and stick your head in the sand or try watching Fox News for awhile – that should help.  If not keep pushing the rock up the hill – at the very least it is good exercise.

  • Dear Commie: I’ve been arguing with my neighbor again about Obama – is he right when he says that our president is a socialist?  

Dear Obama Fan: No Obama is not a socialist - he is a corporatist. It's time we all learned the difference.

  • Dear Commie: Don’t you ever worry about what people think of you?  I mean you being a commie and all that…. aren’t you concerned that you will lose friends and not be invited to holiday parties?  

Dear Worried: My neighbor works for the military industrial complex but seems to watch my public access TV show and is always friendly.  Actually I’m glad I never get invited to any of the holiday parties - so boring, they rarely talk about anything interesting.

  • Dear Commie: I see you must like Putin because you are the only blogger I know who does not trash him all the time.  

Dear Putinized: The Indians said put your ear to the railroad tracks and hear the train coming.  In my reading of history when I see certain leaders get demonized the next step is a US sponsored invasion or a coup d'état .  Do the names Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Mohammad Mosaddegh, Patrice Lumumba, Jacobo Árbenz, Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and Bashar al-Assad mean anything to you?
 
  • Dear Commie: Look, if everything you say is true, then why should we bother fighting against a stacked deck?  I agree that the corporations run the show in Washington and around the world.  How can we compete with that?  My thinking is we go along and get along and enjoy the ride as long as we can.  Why do you keep messing with all this – its futile?  

Dear Give Up: One simple expression should explain it – I am stubborn as hell.

  • Dear Commie: I’m not much of a football fan, even though I did grow up thinking of my hometown Baltimore Colts as superheroes. It didn’t occur to me at the time how violent and warlike football was, not to mention how big a business it is on the backs of working slobs like me. But once I got hip to all that, I decided it wasn’t worth the assault on my peacenik sensibilities to take part in our mass cultural homage to the gridiron gladiators. But I recently moved to North Carolina and the Carolina Panthers are unavoidable now that they are going to the Super Bowl extravaganza. I wondered recently why they are named the Panthers, when there don’t seem to be any of those amazing creatures in the state. Here’s what I could find out online:

Panthers team president Mark Richardson, the son of team owner Jerry Richardson, chose the Panthers nickname because "it's a name our family thought signifies what we thought a team should be—powerful, sleek and strong." Richardson also chose the 1995 expansion team’s color scheme of black, blue, and silver, a choice that initially came under scrutiny from NFL Properties representatives. According to one newspaper report, the concern was raised at the 1993 NFL meetings that a team nicknamed the Panthers that featured black in its color scheme would appeal to street gangs and reflect poorly on the league.

So my question is, what the hell? Seems like there should have been some sort of rational or even democratic process in place (like there was for the Baltimore Ravens). And is the worry about the use of the color black just a little bit racist? I thought the Black Panthers were pretty cool really, though a little scary for a white boy like me. Am I some kind of commie for questioning all this?

Sincerely,
Concerned in Carolina


Dear Carolina: It's a very long question...... surely you don't think that the NFL would worry that the public would respond poorly to a team being called the Black Panthers - especially with their current out spoken black quarterback taking them to the Super Bowl.... well on the other hand, maybe you are on to something..... watch the game anyway as much as you can. Just close your eyes when it gets too rough.
PS Enjoy the commercials, I'm sure there will be many of them.

  • Dear Commie: I want the system to fall, I really do. But I fear the violent reign of terror that is likely to ensue when the capitalist system collapses. History tends to suggest that phase is inevitable and causes even more suffering than the toppled regime did. Do you think it is inevitable? What is a realistic alternative?

Dear System Fail:  You are right - the capitalist system will fail, and is in fact now failing.  Think of the people in Flint, Michigan who have been drinking lead tainted water just so the corporate controlled government could shave a few bucks from the budget.  Think of the endless war$ now underway that benefit the bankers and weapons industry.  In the end what could be worse than drinking tainted water and being the recipients of US-NATO bombs?  Our job is to offer a positive transformative vision for the future - let's convert the military industrial complex and build solar, wind, rail, do more energy conservation and clean up the environment.  Imagine the jobs created and the peace that could come from such a new direction.  Now doesn't that already feel much better?  Sometimes collapse of the rotten is necessary and even positive.  So hold onto your hat and hang in there....change is on the way sooner than you might think.

We Have to Fight for Something Beautiful


Having gone far beyond an internal political struggle, the Syrian war is marked by a complex array of forces that the U.S. Empire hopes to command. Abby Martin interviews Vijay Prashad, professor of International Studies at Trinity College and author of Arab Spring, Libyan Winter.  

This is the second interview with Vijay Prashad I've recently posted - he has alot to say.

Friday, January 29, 2016

No South Korea-US-Japan War Alliance


A great statement on the 'comfort women' issue from Sung-Hee Choi of the Jeju Island naval base resistance and Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.

"A solidarity message from Gangjeong village, Jeju Island. We the people of Gangjeong are so thankful for our friends' solidarity protest in London.

Since the unjust collusion on the issue of 'comfort women' between the two governments of South Korea and Japan on December 28th 2015, some of us in Gangjeong have had a small Wednesday performance of becoming the girl statue in solidarity with the 'comfort women', and with all women, in resistance to the arms companies and governments’ conspiracy to erase a critical part of our history for the sake of the South Korea-US-Japan war alliance.

Today is Wednesday and we will carry out another Wednesday performance here, too. Words and songs will be recited to remember the pain of the 'comfort women' and to remind us of our task to realize justice for them, and all the women victimized by war, including the Vietnamese women killed by South Korean soldiers during the Vietnam war.

Today coincides with the 11th anniversary of the designation of Jeju as 'The Island of World Peace' by the South Korean government; it is also the 4th anniversary of our declaration that the 'Peace Island' must be demilitarized. Why does this co-incidence make today’s event for the remembrance of the comfort women more meaningful? We understand that militarism and war grow at the sacrifice of democracy and women and children. To resume such horrible war preparations, the three governments led by the United States should first kill the memory of the victims.

On January 18, US Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken remarked that the Korean civic groups in the US should support the December 28th agreement; effectively telling citizens to stop protests to Japanese and South Korean governments. And the Japanese ruling party recently made a resolution to ask the Japanese government to demand that South Korea swiftly removes the 'comfort woman' girl statue situated nearby the Japanese embassy in Seoul. The Park Geun-Hye government in South Korea has no shame about oppressing young students are now protecting the statue day and night, disallowed to put up tents despite coldest weather in over thirty years.

We the people should wake up. Such rudeness, arrogance, and totalitarianism are all for a dangerous war alliance of which missile 'defense', including the introduction of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) is a key element. It will destabilize the peace of Northeast Asia and of the world. All such phenomena prove again how achieving peace is now at stake.

To remember the 'comfort women', and all women victimized by imperialism and war, is a critical part of saving peace for the world now."

No Naval Base
https://www.facebook.com/groups/nonavalbase/

UK Gangjeong Solidarity group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/UKJejuGangjeong/

Korean Council For Women Drafted into Sexual Slavery By Japan
https://www.facebook.com/womenandwar/

Justice For 'Comfort Women' UK
https://www.facebook.com/justice4comfortwomenuk/

They Made Us Out of Balance

 
John Trudell 1980 Thanks Giving Day speech

Mr. Big the Banker


The banksters
standing at the gates
of hell
have an immoral appetite

How could it
not be true
that the corporate
pigs
plan to
take it all?

They use the cops
NSA
fear
endless war
competition
media control
governments
to promote
their evil agenda

Dulles
worked hard
to suppress
awareness about
Nazi
extermination
of the Jews

Dulles
a lawyer
for the bankers
an agent
for hell
worked hard
to help
many Nazis
escape
from justice
at Nuremburg
War Crimes
Tribunal

Control
the water
the food
even the air
the banksters
want
all
of
Mother Earth

BIW Lenten Vigil for Disarmament


Starting on Ash Wednesday, February 10th, we will gather to vigil, hold signs and banners and to leaflet the workers at Bath Iron Works from 11:30 am to 12:30 and then continue it every Saturday of Lent at the same time. (February 13, 20, 27, March 5, 12, 19, and Holy Saturday March 26.)

We will gather across from the BIA administration building on Washington Street in Bath standing with signs calling for the end of the building of weapons of mass destruction by General Dynamics here in Maine.

Lent is a time to awaken to what we are doing that keeps us from healing our Mother Earth from all the violence our technological society continues to inflict upon us.  The Aegis guided missile destroyers and the new Zumwalt ‘stealth’ destroyer are crimes against life.

Please join us for an hour on these Saturdays as we witness in hope for a nonviolent world through disarmament.

~ Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm 763-4062

Photo by Roger Leisner

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Highly Recommend Film & Book


Mary Beth and I went to see this excellent film today that is set against the backdrop of a series of historic Cold War events. 

“Bridge of Spies” tells the true story of James Donovan, a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible mission to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot.

It's interesting that at this very moment I've just begun reading a new book called The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government by David Talbot.  The book chronicles the long sordid history of the Dulles reign as head of the CIA where he repeatedly did everything he could to promote war between the US and the former Soviet Union.

Related to this film Talbot writes:

The president [Eisenhower] had given his CIA director [Dulles] a long leash, but he never felt fully confident in his judgement.  The relationship between the two men would sharply fracture in May 1960 when a high-flying U-2 spy plane operated by the CIA was shot down over the Soviet Union - sabotaging an upcoming summit meeting with Khrushchev and ruining Eisenhower's final chance for a Cold War breakthrough.  Eisenhower was agonizingly aware of the political risks he was taking by authorizing the U-2 spy missions over Soviet territory, calling his on-again, off-again approval for the surveillance flights one of the most "soul-searching questions to come before a president."  But Dulles had repeatedly assured Eisenhower that the high-altitude spy planes were safe from Russian antiaircraft missiles.

On May 1, the president found out his CIA director's assurances were hollow, when a Soviet missile slammed into a U-2 plane flying over Russia's Ural Mountains, resulting in the downing of the aircraft and the capture of CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers.  The flight on the eve of the Paris Summit seemed so badly timed and planned that at least one close observer, Air Force Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, suspected that the CIA had intentionally provoked the incident in order to ruin the peace conference and ensure the continued reign of Dulles dogmatism.  Prouty, a liaison officer between the Pentagon and the CIA who was summoned by Dulles whenever CIA spy flights ran into trouble, later wrote that the U-2 shootdown was "a most unusual event" that grew out of a "tremendous underground struggle [between] the peacemakers led by President Eisenhower" and the Dulles "inner elite."
JFK assassination researchers have long shown that Dulles was intimately involved in the operation to kill the popular president.  When Vice-President Lyndon Johnson took over the government he created the Warren Commission to 'investigate' the killing of JFK. Dulles successfully lobbied the new president to appoint him to the commission.  Dulles had the motive to kill JFK since Kennedy had removed him as director of the CIA following the Bay of Pigs fiasco. That event was also orchestrated by Dulles as an attempt to not only topple the Castro government in Cuba but more importantly to ignite a war between the US and the former Soviet Union.

I highly recommend watching this movie and reading Talbot's book.  Both make significant contributions to a better understanding of that volatile period and to further understanding how the 'deep state' controls the US government to this very day.

Killing Civilians in Yemen

 
Britain’s role in exporting arms and providing military advisers for the Saudi Arabian-led bombing campaign in Yemen is under scrutiny following a UN report revealing widespread attacks on civilian targets.
 
The US is a heavy provider of weapons to Saudi Arabia as well.

The Jerry Berrigan Memorial Drone Blockade


We come to the gates of Hancock Drone Base [Syracuse, New York] today to install a memorial of Jerry Berrigan.

Jerry Berrigan, who died on July 26, 2015 at the age of 95, was a husband, a father, a brother, a teacher and someone who – like his brothers Dan and Phil – dedicated his entire life to Jesus’ command to love one another. Jerry came to the base on a bi-weekly basis whenever he was able, in Jerry’s words, “to remind the base commander of our government’s pledge under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, a treaty to safeguard non-combatant’s well-being in any warzone in which U.S. forces are engaged in combat.” And further, “to register horror and indignation at reports of bombing missions by drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan which resulted in the deaths of many innocent civilians; men, women and children.”

As more and more evidence mounts regarding the illegality of U.S. drone policies, from the “Drone Papers” published by The Intercept, to the four drone pilots who have come forward to speak out about what this policy is doing, we bring Jerry’s image here to the gates to remember that this is where he would be, speaking out and putting his body on the line to say a clear “NO” to killing. Because Jerry Berrigan knew that it matters where we put our bodies.

In 2008 Jerry was asked by The Syracuse Post Standard if there was anything he would change in his life. Jerry replied, “I would have resisted more often and been arrested more often.” In our memorial today we use an image of Jerry from The Syracuse Post Standard where he is being arrested for opposing the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

As we are installing this Jerry Berrigan Memorial Drone Blockade, we also remember Mary Anne Grady Flores who is serving a six month sentence here in the Onondaga County jail because the courts in this county believe that the colonel at this highly armed base needs protection from citizens calling attention to the drone killings. We challenge the courts to apply the law as it was meant to be applied; to protect victims not victimizers.

Syracuse has a great history of men named Jerry and resistance to injustice. We call to mind “The Jerry Rescue” memorial that stands across the street from The Federal Court house where Syracusans in 1851 literally got in the way of the illegal and immoral Fugitive Slave law and the officials who tried take a man named Jerry back to enslavement in the South. They opened the prison gates for him to go to freedom. Our intent for this memorial today in honor of Jerry Berrigan, is to get in the way of the illegal and immoral use of killer drones. And to stand in solidarity with all those resisting other injustice – from Black Lives Matter to those putting their bodies to halt climate change.

Thank you Jerry Berrigan for your life and example. Your Spirit lives on!

In peace,

Beth Adams (Leverett, MA), Bev Rice (Manhattan), Bill Ofenloch (NYC), Brian Hynes (Bronx), Charley Bowman (Buffalo), Ed Kinane (Syracuse, NY), James Ricks (Ithaca), Joan Pleune (Brooklyn), Joan Wages (Roanoke, VA), Pete Perry (Syracuse, NY), Ray McGovern (Arlington, VA), Steve Baggarly (VA)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Paying Homage to the King



  • I've said this many times... look how far the US has fallen since its revolution against the British monarchy.  The US is engaged in a love fest with the head-choppin, money wasting, war-making monarchy in Saudi Arabia.  The Saudis make war on Yemen and Obama steps up and says, "Yes sir, what can we do to help!"

  • One commentator recently wrote about Saudi Arabia for Sputnik:
The reality is that the real threats to the monarchy, domestic in nature and beyond Washington's reach, include the kingdom's general repression and particular mistreatment of its Shia minority. This was demonstrated the recent execution of cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who urged nonviolent opposition to the monarchy.
  • In a statement released by the State Department last weekend US Secretary of State John Kerry had this to say about the Saudis:  "We have as solid a relationship, as clear an alliance, and as strong a friendship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as we ever had, and nothing has changed."

  • Ultimately, Cato Institute Senior Fellow Doug Bandow writes, "whatever the alleged benefits of the Saudi alliance, America pays a high price."

"First is the cost of providing free bodyguards for the royals. For this reason the United States initiated the first Gulf War and left a garrison on Saudi soil. The inconclusive end of that conflict led to continual bombing of Iraq even during 'peacetime' and ultimately the Iraq invasion. At the Saudis’ behest, Washington backs their misbegotten war in Yemen and remains formally committed to the overthrow of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, the strongest force opposing the far more dangerous Islamic State."

  • Marjorie Cohn, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and former president of the National Lawyers Guild, wrote the following for Consortium News:

Saudi Arabia has engaged in war crimes, and the United States is aiding and abetting them by providing the Saudis with military assistance. In September 2015, Saudi aircraft killed 135 wedding celebrants in Yemen. The air strikes have killed 2,800 civilians, including 500 children. Human Rights Watch charges that these bombings “have indiscriminately killed and injured civilians.”

This conflict is part of a regional power struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are bombing Yemen in order to defeat the Houthi rebels, who have been resisting government repression for a long time. Iran has been accused of supporting the Houthis, although Iran denies this. Yemen is strategically located on a narrow waterway that links the Gulf of Aden with the Red Sea. Much of the world’s oil passes through this waterway.

The U.S. government should immediately halt arms transfers and military support to Saudi Arabia and support an independent investigation into U.S. arms transfers and war crimes in Yemen. The United States must stop participating in and call for an end to the de facto blockade so that humanitarian assistance can reach those in need, engage in diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty.

In an interesting twist, the Saudis contributed $10 million to the Clinton Foundation before Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. In 2011, the year after the State Department had documented myriad serious human rights violations by Saudi Arabia, Hillary Clinton oversaw a $29 billion sale of advanced fighter jets to the Saudis, declaring it was in our national interest.

The deal was “a top priority” for Secretary Clinton, according to Andrew Shapiro, an assistant secretary of state. Two months before the deal was clinched, Boeing, manufacturer of one of the fighter jets the Saudis sought to acquire, contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

Hillary Clinton now says the U.S should pursue “closer strategic cooperation” with Saudi Arabia.
  • Democratic party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has repeatedly called on the US to get Saudi Arabia to do more of the killing of ISIS throughout the Middle East.  It is true that Saudi Arabia has not been engaged in the anti-ISIS coalition.  But the reason primarily is that Saudi Arabia is a major funder of ISIS which has been the shock troops for the Gulf monarchies in their dirty effort to take down Syria and destabilize Iran. Does Bernie Sanders not know this?  Seems unlikely to me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Brecht: From A German War Primer


 By Bertolt Brecht

AMONGST THE HIGHLY PLACED
It is considered low to talk about food.
The fact is: they have
Already eaten.

The lowly must leave this earth
Without having tasted
Any good meat.

For wondering where they come from and
Where they are going
The fine evenings find them
Too exhausted.

They have not yet seen
The mountains and the great sea
When their time is already up.

If the lowly do not
Think about what's low
They will never rise.

THE BREAD OF THE HUNGRY HAS
ALL BEEN EATEN
Meat has become unknown. Useless
The pouring out of the people's sweat.
The laurel groves have been
Lopped down.
From the chimneys of the arms factories
Rises smoke.

THE HOUSE-PAINTER SPEAKS OF
GREAT TIMES TO COME
The forests still grow.
The fields still bear
The cities still stand.
The people still breathe.

ON THE CALENDAR THE DAY IS NOT
YET SHOWN
Every month, every day
Lies open still. One of those days
Is going to be marked with a cross.

THE WORKERS CRY OUT FOR BREAD
The merchants cry out for markets.
The unemployed were hungry. The employed
Are hungry now.
The hands that lay folded are busy again.
They are making shells.

THOSE WHO TAKE THE MEAT FROM THE TABLE
Teach contentment.
Those for whom the contribution is destined
Demand sacrifice.
Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry
Of wonderful times to come.
Those who lead the country into the abyss
Call ruling too difficult
For ordinary men.

WHEN THE LEADERS SPEAK OF PEACE
The common folk know
That war is coming.
When the leaders curse war
The mobilization order is already written out.

THOSE AT THE TOP SAY: PEACE
AND WAR
Are of different substance.
But their peace and their war
Are like wind and storm.

War grows from their peace
Like son from his mother
He bears
Her frightful features.

Their war kills
Whatever their peace
Has left over.

ON THE WALL WAS CHALKED:
They want war.
The man who wrote it
Has already fallen.

THOSE AT THE TOP SAY:
This way to glory.
Those down below say:
This way to the grave.

THE WAR WHICH IS COMING
Is not the first one. There were
Other wars before it.
When the last one came to an end
There were conquerors and conquered.
Among the conquered the common people
Starved. Among the conquerors
The common people starved too.

THOSE AT THE TOP SAY COMRADESHIP
Reigns in the army.
The truth of this is seen
In the cookhouse.
In their hearts should be
The selfsame courage. But
On their plates
Are two kinds of rations.

WHEN IT COMES TO MARCHING MANY DO NOT
KNOW
That their enemy is marching at their head.
The voice which gives them their orders
Is their enemy's voice and
The man who speaks of the enemy
Is the enemy himself.

IT IS NIGHT
The married couples
Lie in their beds. The young women
Will bear orphans.

GENERAL, YOUR TANK IS A POWERFUL VEHICLE
It smashes down forests and crushes a hundred men.
But it has one defect:
It needs a driver.

General, your bomber is powerful.
It flies faster than a storm and carries more than an elephant.
But it has one defect:
It needs a mechanic.

General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect:
He can think.

Starting 13th Year of This Issue in Maine


Christine DeTroy (Brunswick, Maine) describes growing up in Hitler's Germany, opposing the Nazis but knowing that silence was essential for survival. She sees parallels between Germany at that time and present trends in the United States.

This edition of This Issue marks the first program as I move into my 13th year of doing this public access TV show in Maine.  This Issue now airs in 14 local communities across our state.

Thanks to our great production crew of volunteers that include Eric Herter, Dan Ellis, and Peter Woodruff.

U.S. Tax $$$ at Work Training Ukrainian Neo-Nazis


US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (part of the now infamous 'Fuck the EU' phone call with  Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland) has made a video about his recent trip to western Ukraine. 

He went to witness the US Army Special Forces train units of Ukraine's neo-Nazis for their war on the people of eastern Ukraine along the Russian border.

The US is working overtime to militarize eastern Europe and to aim the NATO military apparatus against the Russian Federation. The western corporate-dominated military bloc seeks regime change in Moscow.

White House Peace Vigiler Dies




Concepcion Picciotto, the protester who maintained a peace vigil outside the White House for more than three decades, a demonstration widely considered to be the longest-running act of political protest in U.S. history, died Jan. 25 at a housing facility operated by N Street Village, a nonprofit that supports homeless women in Washington. She was believed to be 80.
  • This news is terribly sad, what a great loss.  She reached so many people with her message and fierce determination.  I always stopped in to say hello to her whenever I went to DC.  I am heart broken to read this news.

  • I wrote a blog post about Concepcion in the spring of 2015.  You can find it here. At that time I said:

I went up to Concepción and thanked her for her dedication.  She quickly said to me, "People are such cowards.  Talk, talk, talk.....we need action."  I told her I agreed and thanked her again.  She graciously thanked me in return.

I walked on - stopping to look back from the center of Lafayette Park - I could see many people reading and reacting.  Concepción (and William) long ago achieved the goal of getting their concerns under the skin of people from all over the world.  Mostly importantly the White House, the home of the 'American illusion', has been unable to chase away a courageous old woman who suffers from skin cancer and lack of sleep.

My heart and deep respect go out to Concepción.  We need more like her.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Leave Fossil Fuels in the Ground

 
The oil industry is a powerhouse with control over land, resources, politics and more. In this episode of The Empire Files, Abby Martin uncovers big oil's strong-arm reach--its growth, its crimes, its power and its impunity.

Featuring interviews with two investigative journalists who have covered oil disasters on-the-ground--Antonia Juhasz, author of "Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill", and Greg Palast, author of "Vulture's Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pig, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores." 

Sunday Song