Monday, December 24, 2007

Senate Misses the Mark on Omnibus Spending Bill

US Senate Misses the Mark with Omnibus Spending Bill

Last week the Senate passed the Omnibus Spending Bill which included an appropriation of $70 billion for Iraq, showing that the Senate is once again out of touch with the basic values of the American people. According to a December 13th Gallup survey, Americans say that the war in Iraq is their number one concern, yet this past week the US Senate voted to "stay the course" and handed the President everything he wanted with respect to the war in Iraq.

American's are highly skeptical about the notion of progress in Iraq, with only 11% polling responding that they are "pleased" with the results of the war. Yet Americans seem to be resigned to the fact that US Troops are going to remain in Iraq. The simple fact is that the United States cannot afford to continue this war. In addition to the complete lack of international support for Bush's folly, the middle class can no longer afford to pay for the war. The national debt is at an all time high of $9.1 trillion dollars and Congress has appropriated another $580 billion dollars in military spending, far in excess of the actual amount of appropriations needed to defend the national security .

The United States Senate has sent a message to the American people, that they do not care about them or about their future. By voting in line with the President the Senate has showed that what it cares about most are defense appropriations and handing out thousands of spending contracts. This makes sense in light of the fact that the US Senate is composed mostly of millionaires, as almost 50% of the US Senate is in this category, while in the US population as whole only about 1% are millionaires. The investment interest of the current class of Senators is heavily weighted towards money and much less toward people or the American interest.

Then there is the military . . .

According to a recent poll from the Center for American Progress, the Bush administration is doing a remarkably poor job of helping out veterans and their families. Military families have turned sharply against the Bush administration, with only 35% responding favorably when asked if their needs were being met. The US Senate does not have a clear direction for the war in Iraq and it is relying on the Bush administration for leadership on this war that the President has unilaterally led us into. What the Senate should be doing is exercising leadership of its own, by rejecting the Omnibus Spending Bill, reducing federal spending for the war in Iraq, and bringing our troops home.

By spending another $70billion dollars on a failed war, we are only prolonging the inevitable withdrawal. Although Americans feel ambiguous about their responsibilities to the Iraqi people, the Iraqi people do not feel nearly so ambiguous. They want the troops out and they want their country returned. We have bombed their country, killed their people, created 2 million refugees and polluted their country with depleted uranium, and still the US Senate thinks we should stay the course and that we are making progress.

It is time to end the war and bring the troops home. Tennessee deserves progressive leadership and deserves a candidate who will stand up for common sense and not for private contractors and military appropriations. We have lost to many good men and women, created too much devastation and human misery because of our narrow sighted actions in the middle east. It is time for us to face up to our mistakes and begin to reconcile ourselves with the international community. It is time to begin reducing our national debt, reducing our military spending and stepping out of the post cold-war mentality of the neo-cons. It is time to bring the troops home now!

Chris Lugo for US Senate
9 Music Sq So #164
Nashville, TN 37203

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ladkota Sioux Withdraw from US Treaties

Washington D.C. – Lakota Sioux Indian representatives declared sovereign nation status Wednesday in Washington D.C. following Monday’s withdrawal from all previously signed treaties with the United States Government. The withdrawal, hand delivered to Daniel Turner, Deputy Director of Public Liaison at the State Department, immediately and irrevocably ends all agreements between the Lakota Sioux Nation of Indians and the United States Government outlined in the 1851 and 1868 Treaties at Fort Laramie Wyoming.

“This is an historic day for our Lakota people,” declared Russell Means, Itacan of Lakota. “United States colonial rule is at its end!”

“Today is a historic day and our forefathers speak through us. Our Forefathers made the treaties in good faith with the sacred Canupa and with the knowledge of the Great Spirit,” shared Garry Rowland from Wounded Knee. “They never honored the treaties, that’s the reason we are here today.”

The four member Lakota delegation traveled to Washington D.C. culminating years of internal discussion among treaty representatives of the various Lakota communities. Delegation members included well known activist and actor Russell Means, Women of All Red Nations (WARN) founder Phyllis Young, Oglala Lakota Strong Heart Society leader Duane Martin Sr., and Garry Rowland, Leader Chief Big Foot Riders. Means, Rowland, Martin Sr. were all members of the 1973 Wounded Knee takeover.

“In order to stop the continuous taking of our resources – people, land, water and children- we have no choice but to claim our own destiny,” said Phyllis Young, a former Indigenous representative to the United Nations and representative from Standing Rock.

Property ownership in the five state area of Lakota now takes center stage. Parts of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana have been illegally homesteaded for years despite knowledge of Lakota as predecessor sovereign [historic owner]. Lakota representatives say if the United States does not enter into immediate diplomatic negotiations, liens will be filed on real estate transactions in the five state region, clouding title over literally thousands of square miles of land and property.

Young added, “The actions of Lakota are not intended to embarrass the United States but to simply save the lives of our people”.

Following Monday’s withdrawal at the State Department, the four Lakota Itacan representatives have been meeting with foreign embassy officials in order to hasten their official return to the Family of Nations.

Lakota’s efforts are gaining traction as Bolivia, home to Indigenous President Evo Morales, shared they are “very, very interested in the Lakota case” while Venezuela received the Lakota delegation with “respect and solidarity.”

“Our meetings have been fruitful and we hope to work with these countries for better relations,” explained Garry Rowland. “As a nation, we have equal status within the national community.”

Education, energy and justice now take top priority in emerging Lakota. “Cultural immersion education is crucial as a next step to protect our language, culture and sovereignty,” said Means. “Energy independence using solar, wind, geothermal, and sugar beets enables Lakota to protect our freedom and provide electricity and heating to our people.”

The Lakota reservations are among the most impoverished areas in North America, a shameful legacy of broken treaties and apartheid policies. Lakota has the highest death rate in the United States and Lakota men have the lowest life expectancy of any nation on earth, excluding AIDS, at approximately 44 years. Lakota infant mortality rate is five times the United States average and teen suicide rates 150% more than national average . 97% of Lakota people live below the poverty line and unemployment hovers near 85%.

“After 150 years of colonial enforcement, when you back people into a corner there is only one alternative,” emphasized Duane Martin Sr. “The only alternative is to bring freedom into its existence by taking it back to the love of freedom, to our lifeway.”

We are the freedom loving Lakota from the Sioux Indian reservations of Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana who have suffered from cultural and physical genocide in the colonial apartheid system we have been forced to live under. We are in Washington DC to withdraw from the constitutionally mandated treaties to become a free and independent country. We are alerting the Family of Nations we have now reassumed our freedom and independence with the backing of Natural, International, and United States law. For more information, please visit our new website at

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Iraqi War Deaths: Week of December9th-15th

Those who died in Iraq from Dec 9 to 15:

Spc Randy Pickering 31 Bovey MN
Spc Johnathan Lahmann 21 Richmond IN
CPO Mark Carter 27 Fallbrook CA
Pvt Stephen Ferguson 31 Lanarkshire UK
Spc Brynn Naylor 21 Roswell NM
Sgt Samuel Kelsey 24 Troup TX
Pvt Daren Smith 19 Helena MT
Sgt Jonathan Lowery 38 Houlton ME
Sgt Austin Pratt 22 Cadet MO

12 were seriously wounded and maimed.
20 were returned to kill fields.

272 Iraqi sisters and brothers were killed.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Global Day of Action to End War

The Peoples Movement Assembly of the US Social Forum invites you to join the people of the world for a GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION. From your community to the world! From the world to your community! JANUARY 26, 2008 - We invite ALL movement based organizations, networks, alliances, etc. to join and organize an action on January 26, 2008.

The last Global Day of Action, February 15, 2003, protested the War in
Iraq and Afghanistan, with 38 million people participating from every
corner of the globe. 2008 will mark the second action of this scale and
instead of meeting at a World Social Forum; we will meet on the streets
to be part of an international day of action.

Can we show the people of the world that there is a growing movement in
the US in solidarity with their demands for justice and self-determination?

The Peoples Movement Assembly proposes that actions are focused on, but
not exclusive to, the six themes of the USSF:
. War, Militarism and the Prison Industrial Complex
. Immigrants & Migration
. Workers in a Globalized Economy
. Women and LGBTQI Liberation
. Indigenous Sovereignty, Environmental, Energy & Climate Justice
. Gulf Coast Survivors of Katrina & Rita and the Right of Return.

Let us build on the momentum of the US Social Forum, because Another
World is Possible and Another US is Necessary!

What will your organization/alliance/network/group contribute to this
historic day?

Register your action at:, and check out the inspiring
actions that others have posted there!
La Asamblea de los Movimiento Populares del Foro Social de los EE.UU. le
invita a unírse a la gente del mundo para un Día Mundial de Acción

¡De su comunidad al mundo! ¡Del mundo a su comunidad! 26 de enero, 2008

Invitamos a TODAS las organizaciones, redes, alianzas, y colectivos de
base en el movimiento social que se unan y organizen acciones para el 26
de enero, 2008.

El ultimo Día de Acción, el 15 de febrero, 2003, se protestó la Guerra
en Irak y Afganistán, con participación de 38 millones de personas de
toda esquina del mundo. El 2008 marcará la segunda acción de tal escala
y en vez de reunirnos en un Foro Social Mundial; nos reuniremos en las
calles para ser parte de un día internacional de acción.

¿Podemos demostrar a los pueblos del mundo que hay un movimiento cada vez
mas grande aquí en los EE.UU. que se solidariza con sus demandas por la
justicia y la auto-determinación?

La Asamblea de los Movimientos Populares sugiere que las acciones se
enfoquen en las seis áreas temáticas identificadas por el Foro Social de
EE.UU. pero no tiene que limitarse a ellas:

. Guerra, militarismo y prisiones
. Derechos de los migrantes
. Derechos de los trabajadores en una economía globalizada
. Liberación de la Mujer y Liberación de lesbianas, gays, trans-géneros
y bisexuales
. Soberanía Indígena, Justicia Medioambiental, en el Clima, y en la Energía
. Reconstrucción de la costa del golfo y el derecho al retorno de los
refugiados por Katrina y Rita.

Sigamos ampliando el impulso del Foro Social de los EEUU, porque ¡Otro
Mundo es Posible, y Otro EE.UU. es Necesario!

¿Qué contribuirá a este día histórico su organizacion/red/alianza/grupo?

¡Coloque su acción en:, y vea las inspiradoras acciones
que los demás han fijado allí!

Josue Guillen
Technology Manager
The Praxis Project
1750 Columbia Road, NW
Second Floor
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 234-5921
Fax: (202) 234-2689

Praxis prak' sis 1. exercise or practice of an art, science or
skill. 2. The practical application of theory; action informed by
theory. 3. The synergy between theory and action; the highest form
of practice. The Praxis Project 1. An innovative not for profit
institution dedicated to capacity building, technical assistance,
research, and training for community-based policy change.

SEIU Screening UNCOUNTED December 19-20

Please join us on Wednesday, December 19 and Thursday, December 20 for a free showing of an important documentary film, "UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections" and a community discussion about how we can work together to protect our elections here in Tennessee and across the country.

In early December, this new documentary -- by Nashville filmmaker David Earnhardt -- premiered to a sold-out house at the Belcourt Theater, with perhaps another hundred potential film-goers turned away at the door. This history-making film "... examines in factual, logical and yet startling terms how easy it is to change election outcomes and undermine election integrity across the U.S. Noted computer programmers, statisticians, journailsts and experienced election officials provide the irrefutable truth...." As you might expect, this film exposes in considerable detail many of our concerns about unverifiable voting systems. It also highlights the myriad other ways -- from voter caging to voting machine software and hardware vulnerabilities to mis-apportioned voting equipment (can you say Cora Howe, anyone?) -- through which the "consent of the governed" has been tampered with in recent years.

UNCOUNTED will inform you, and motivate you and your friends to action. That's why we'll follow the food and the film with a community discussion about what you can do NOW to help save our democracy, with a review of concrete steps you can take NOW at the local, county and state-wide levels to effect change.


521 GALLATIN AVENUE (227-5070).

6:30-8:00 PM -- UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections", by David Earnhardt
8:00-9:00 PM -- Discussion with the film-maker and others about necessary actions to make our votes safe.

WHO: The pizza, film and discussion are sponsored by Gathering To Save Our Democracy, Common Cause and a small group of concerned east Nashvillians. Anyone is welcome. We encourage folks who are really commited to this issue to come Wednesday evening and use Thursday as an "overflow" night, if possible.

We hope to see you at one of these free, fact-filled and action-oriented evenings. It will be well worth your time and energy.
Please help us spread the word across Nashville to get a good turn-out for these important community discussions.

If you want to know more NOW and/or you can begin helping us communicate with legislators and others on this issue NOW, please email me ( ) for an action packet and/or visit our web-site: . You can also email us at . Thanks for your interest and support, and we hope to see you on December 19 or 20.

Bernie Ellis, Founder
Gathering To Save Our Democracy

Lugo Condemns Media Consolidation

US Senate Candidate Chris Lugo Condemns Media Consolidation Proposal

Nashville, TN: US Senate Candidate Chris Lugo issued a release today condemning the Media Consolidation Proposal currently under review by the Federal Communications Commission. The proposal, which would broaden ownership rules for major media corporations, would allow the same corporation to own major television and newspaper outlets in the same market. "What we need is greater diversity in the media market," Lugo said, "not more uniformity. This proposal would further consolidate the power of major media corporations and would lead to less information and fewer resources for media consumers. We all stand to lose if this proposal is supported by the FCC."

Currently, media corporations are prohibited from owning both major television and newspaper outlets in the same market, but under the proposed new rule changes under consideration by the FCC this rule could change so that, for instance, the same corporation could own the Tennessean and a major corporate television outlet such as NewsChannel Five (CBS). "These proposals would lead to diminished diversity of information," Lugo said, "What we have here is a consolidation of information as entertainment designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator and to increase corporate profits at the expense of our communities."

Chris Lugo supports the efforts of Free Press and local advocates opposed to media consolidation such as Radio Free Nashville. "While community media languishes, with the FCC exercising broad control over low power fm licensing, at the same time FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is bending over backwards to give more money and more power to corporate media outlets, and in the process ignoring hundreds of thousands of emails, phone calls and letters of protest in opposition to this proposal," Lugo said, "It is clear to me that there needs to be a changing of the guard at the FCC."

Chris Lugo is a candidate for the US Senate in Tennessee. In 2006 Lugo ran as the Green Party of Tennessee candidate against Harold Ford Jr. and Bob Corker. Lugo has not decided yet whether he will be seeking the Green Party or Democratic Party nomination, but he has actively launched his campaign for US Senate with the publication of his online campaign website and numerous public appearances since October of 2007. For more information please visit

Chris Lugo for US Senate
9 Music Sq So #164
Nashville, TN 37203

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Brother Martin's Deep Green Perspective


There is a new organization in middle Tennessee that aims to provide overview and co-ordination, although it has not fully stepped into those shoes yet. Founded in August of 2006 by a broad coaliton that starts with the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies and the Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods and runs through the spectrum to Eaton's Creek Organics and Earth Matters Tennessee, Food Security Partners of Middle Tennessee, according to its website, aims to ''bring people together to create and sustain a secure and healthy food system for their region, from production to consumption. We envision a Middle Tennessee in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self reliance and social justice.

We can afford universal single-payer healthcare because we're already paying too much for healthcare. If we cut out the corpulent corporate middlemen, there's plenty of money already in the system to take care of everybody. According to Physicians for a National Health Program, ''private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume one-third (31 percent) of every health care dollar. Streamlining payment through a single nonprofit payer would save more than $350 billion per year, enough to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans.'' Health insurance would be covered by prorated taxes instead of flat-rate insurance premiums, and everyone
except the extremely wealthy would end up paying less for health coverage.

HR 1955 recently passed the House of Representatives by a pretty emphatic 404-6 vote. This overwhelmingly approved act, entitled '' the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007,'' was introduced by Jane Harman, a California Democrat who, like her more famous counterpart Nancy Pelosi, is not the kind of radical new-ager that you might think of when you think California Democrat. Jane is a big fan of the Rand Corporation, which calls itself ''a non-profit institution that addresses the challenges facing the public and private sectors around the world.''

Our “Truth in Strange Places” award this month goes to the CIA for joining the reality-based community and going public with its assesment that Iran has not had a nuclear weapons program for several years. Mr. Bush has denied that he knew this until recently, but his denials have the ring of a man attempting to convince his wife that he has no idea how those lipstick stains got on his collar, or a petulant three-year old declaring that there is too a monster under his bed. We may never know all the arm-twisting that went into this turn of events, but apparently we have US CENTCOM commander Admiral William Fallon to thank for preventing this particular apocalypse. Fallon made it clear during his Senate confirmation hearings that there would be no attack on Iran on his watch, and he appears to have kept his promise. Making this “no risk'' risk assesment public has made the neocons' war drum beat sound pretty hollow, although there is still some chance that Cheney and Bush may find other excuses to whomp the Iranian tar baby a good one.

listen to it online at 7 pm sunday 

Friday, December 14, 2007

Report on ACLU Vs Wilson County

I went downtown to the Federal Building yesterday and today where we hold some of our protests to hear the case of ACLU vs Wilson County. On day one of the lawsuit today I was only able to stay for the first few minutes, but I think the turnout was good. There were about six of us and about ten of them in the courtroom. The lawsuit itself was represented by a couple who is suing Wilson county schools and the ACLU with Hedy Weinberg and the ACLU lawyers, so they are getting really good representation.

I spoke with Bruce Barry who is the ACLU president in Nashville and he told me that Wilson County Public Schools had actually made a lot of changes after the concerns of the parents were brought to them, but he said that the defendants in the lawsuit are being represented by a rightwing national group that is pushing for the lawsuit.

So he was basically saying that the Wilson County Public School System had actually made proposed changes but that a national group that works for issues like a national day of prayer and prayer in the schoo ls is really the agency behind this lawsuit, along with a few extremely motivated christians who want to bring the suit to trial.

This is why the lawsuit wasn't settled when the ACLU met with the Wilson County Schools last night. Anyways, the press was there including all the print media and several news cameras and I think they were looking pretty realistically at the situation and doing a good job of reporting the issues.

So then I went to the second and final day of the ACLU vs Wilson County suit and ran into a couple of atheist friends. There weren't as many Americans United people in attendance today and there were a lot more of the "praying parents" there today. The testimony today consisted mostly of interviews with members of the "praying parents" and not a lot of cross examination by the ACLU. Basically the Praying Parents is a group that is a local chapter of the "National Day of Prayer" and they are also a local chapter of "Prayer at the Pole" also known as "See You at the Pole."

What the "Praying Parents" do is they gather once a month at the school and they pray for the school and for the government and for President Bush in the morning before school starts. They meet on the school grounds in the cafeteria and they pray. Then they take flyers and put them in all of the teachers boxes. The flyers talk about the Praying Parents and also encourages the teachers to pass the word to other parents about the "Praying Parents."

They also put up posters around the school about the "Praying Parents" and they put up posters about the "National Day of Prayer" and "Pray Around the Pole" once a year respectively. They also come into the school about ten times a month as "teachers helpers."

In addition they list their organization in the PTO monthly newsletter which is sent out once a month.

They claim that they are being discriminated against and that they are basically the same as the cub scouts and that the ACLU and these activist parents are discriminating against them and preventing them from exercising their rights. The principal agrees with them.

Additionally they believe that the Thanksgiving pageant should mention God and why Thanksgiving is about God and that the Christmas pageant should be about the baby Jesus because it is historical and part of our culture.

The ACLU is seeking an injunction from the "Praying Parents" actively distributing flyers and posters on campus and using the school grounds to host their "Praying Parents" meetings. The judge closed the trial and issued notice that he would release his ruling sometime after January 7th.

Notice of Upcoming MDHA Meeting

On Thursday, November 29th, the Madison-Rivergate Area Chamber of Commerce, along with the Metropolitan Development & Housing Agency (MDHA), The Metro Planning Department, and the Nashville Civic Design Center, hosted a community workshop entitled "The Potential for Revitalization of Madison Village". The Madison-Rivergate Area Chamber of Commerce has been working in conjunction with the MDHA since 1998 to devise a plan to revitalize and stimulate positive growth the in Madison-Rivergate area. Many of the facets of the plan have already been completed, and it is time now to work on the second phase.

During the community meeting on the 29th, there were brief presentations made by the MDHA, the Metro Planning Department, and the Nashville Civic Design Center. After the presentations, attendees broke off into 6 small focus groups to discuss and identify Madison's strengths, weaknesses, opportnities, and threats (a SWOT Analysis). Each of the 6 groups identified "crime" as a weakness. Four of the groups listed several positive things as building blocks for growing the Madison community including the Madison Art Center and the National College of Business & Technology.

It was encouraging to see so many Madison area residents come out to the meeting to voice their concerns and show interest in the revitalization of their community. Two of Madison's councilmen, Jim Forkum and Rip Ryman, as well as MK Sullivan, a representative of Council Lady Megan Barry, were in attendance to show their support to the persons of this community. Another meeting has been planned for January 24, 2008 at 5:30 pm, where discussions will continue and additional plans will be set in motion. All Madison area residents are encouraged to attend, to bring their neighbors, and take part in planning for the revitalization of Madison!

Next MDHA Community Meeting
January 24, 2008
5:30 PM
The Madison Station Senior Center

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Atheists Respond to Pope's Bashing

New York, Dec.3—The Catholic church doesn’t burn its dissidents at the stake anymore—though it managed, in its day, to dispense with thousands of scientists, women healers, disabled people, mentally ill and politically inconvenient people that way. Today, the church uses the pointing finger, accusations and blame-mongering to try to discredit those who do not follow, and do not wish to follow, its ancient and ineffective principles.

So says Kenneth Bronstein, president of New York City Atheists, an organization dedicated to living by, and advancing, scientific principles and reason. “The Pope says in his recently released encyclical that being an Atheist is ba-a-ad,” he says. “We say, being a Pope is worse.”

At a time when the Catholicism is losing adherents, when its churches are closing all over the world (most recently, a well-known Greenwich Village church was shut down), when Catholic schools are shutting their doors due to lack of students, when the church has had to pay out millions of dollars to victims of pedophile priests and is finding itself hard put to attract young men to its the priesthood, Pope Benedict XVI says he has found the cause: Atheism! Well, I’ll be darned, says Bronstein. Who knew?

“The Pope is passing the buck, blaming us for the failures of the Catholic church,” says Bronstein.

Atheist organizations, in contrast, are growing, new ones are cropping up every day; Atheist books are best sellers, celebrities are climbing on the Atheist bandwagon and no pedophilic scandal has ever sullied our good name, Bronstein points out.

Atheists are known for their scientific accomplishments (Darwin, Stephen Hawking), their literacy (Mark Twain, Jack London), their public works and philanthropy (Bill Gates, George Soros), their Nobel Prizes (Richard Feynman, Physics), their compassionate aid to the impoverished (Margaret Sanger), their legal acumen (Clarence Darrow), and their dedication to democracy and justice, but the Pope would have you believe that Atheists are responsible for nothing but ‘the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice.’”

“We say the Pope is wrong,” says Bronstein. “He is seeing the world from the perspective of an old man who has lived his life entirely within the hierarchy of the Catholic church in a Vatican City remote from the everyday life of real people.

“We say his church has had more than 2,000 years to heal the ills of the world—and has failed abysmally. Now it is our turn,” says Bronstein. “We do not believe that the world will go to pot if people don’t believe in Pope Benedict’s god. Nor do we believe that his god is the ‘only hope of the world,’ as the Pope claims.”

Religion—and in particular, the Vatican’s hierarchy and its far-reaching diaspora--have failed to solve the world problems of poverty, hunger, war, illness, universal education and cooperation among nations--despite the huge amount of money that is being poured into the Vatican’s coffers by its misled followers. Instead, that money has been squandered on sumptuous vestments, gold overlay on ceilings, statuary, art and the support of a vast Vatican population of sycophantic priests and cardinals whose entire educations have been limited to the interpretation of the wishes of an unseen, unheard spirit, whom they call their god.

“We think we can do better than a religion that relies on an illusory hope of a paradise after death in an imaginary place called ‘heaven,’ and admonishes its people that they must suffer to attain heaven after they are dead,” says the Atheist leader. “We believe the earth should be our heaven, right now, right here.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In Honor of Peg McIntire

While just in Florida we took a one-day side trip to St. Augustine to visit our dear friend Peg McIntire. Peg just turned 97 and remains active in the peace movement. The photo above is her at this year's School of the Americas demonstration at Fort Benning in Georgia. The day we visited Peg she had spent the morning surveying the public in front of the public library on homeless issues. She told us that a few days before she had gone north to Jacksonville to speak at a rally and in October she had travelled to Orlando to address a big anti-war event.

I've known Peg for at least 20 years and she has become like a second mother to me. For many years she served as the Treasurer of the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice which I coordinated for many years. She has been a loyal member and supporter of the Global Network since its creation and has been arrested doing civil disobedience at the space center in Florida numerous times.

Peg, in addition to all her other activities, still ably coordinates her chapter of Grandparents for Peace.

As I write this the Congress is working on a new funding bill for the Iraq occupation and the war in Afghanistan. Once again it is likely that the Democrats will talk big about ending the occupation and then in the end roll over and give Bush the money he wants.

The money that is being wasted on war making is just mind blowing. Just days ago we heard that the Pentagon has lost $1 billion in Iraq. How could that happen except for outright stealing or handing the money over to the "enemy" so they can buy more weapons on the black market thus giving the U.S. a "good excuse" to stay in Iraq because it is such a mess.

Now a new story has come out saying that the Army is undertaking a $200 billion modernization program (called Future Combat Systems) to make all their forces "net-centric". According to an article in the Washington Post, "The project involves creating a family of 14 weapons, drones, robots, sensors and hybrid-electric combat vehicles connected by a wireless network. It has turned into the most ambitious modernization of the Army since World War II and the most expensive Army weapons program ever, military officials say."

In real terms double or triple that cost estimate and you get an idea how much of your money will be thrown down the rat hole on this one. What happened to all the fiscal conservatives? Hell, they are getting rich off this stuff.

Today, the Army program involves more than 550 contractors and subcontractors in 41 states and 220 congressional districts, a wide dispersal of Department of War funds that generates political subservience.

Ok, so what does Peg have to do with the Army's Future Combat Systems program? What is the connection?

First, I'd say that Peg's life indicates that we have to be committed to our resistance work as a lifetime goal. We can't just dabble in it as a sideline. Age is not a ticket out of the struggle. Peg is in this for the revolutionary change that is needed.

Secondly, we have to understand that just writing letters or showing up a demonstrations is not enough. Sometimes we have to step across the line at our non-violent actions and go to jail if need be. You can imagine the attention she gets when she takes such a step and gets arrested. In Florida she is a legend.

Lastly, I'd say we can learn from Peg that a sense of joy, hopeful expectation, and wonder is important to maintain as we do our work. She is never naive but is always ready to embrace the unexpected. She reaches deep into people just by her own unwavering steadiness. Peg, unlike me, does not preach. She just sets an example by her actions and her life.

Zillions of people have told Peg "I want to be just like you when I grow up." I am one of those people.

Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502 (Blog)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Richardson and the Arms Race in Space

ALBUQUERQUE: Chavez, Udall, Richardson and the arms race in space

- By Bob Anderson (Stop the War Machine)

Just a few days ago Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, a three term mayor, surprised everyone with an announcement to withdraw from the race to replace retiring U.S. Senator Pete Domenic. Chavez had been the first major Democratic Party candidate in New Mexico to announce for the seat two months ago. Then a month ago Tom Udall, Democratic Party Congressional representative from northern New Mexico announced for the same seat. The political airwaves have been hot and heavy ever since.

Mayor Chavez said in his message that it is his desire is to preserve and
increase Democratic Party unity in Congress to stop the illegal war in Iraq
and he wished now to work to help Rep. Tom Udall win the senate seat.

A bloody and expensive primary battle between Chavez and Udall would be
unwise he said. I sent him a thank you note to the Mayor for his concern in
the struggle to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home.

I wish the Democrats in Congress had the resolve to stop the war in Iraq as
the image seems to appear to some.

I think the mayor made two major strategic blunders when Rep. Tom Udall
announced his campaign to win the senate seat. These missteps were fatal to
him and they tell us something important about the changing base of the U.S.
electorate and the race to militarize space.

Mayor Chavez first tried to play the race card, almost like Republicans
using immigration to divide the public. He said Udall, an Anglo
was not Hispanic enough for New Mexico. This did not unite his perceived
base of support. The anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic message also worked
to damage Gov. Richardson a Hispanic running in Iowa as a unity candidate
for the nomination for president. Wow, what a blunder.

But more important, when this did not work Chavez then tried to up the ante
with a message that he would boost efforts to keep open the nuclear weapons
factories of Los Alamos (and Sandia NL). Congress has moved to cut the
funds and Rep. Udall spoke diversifying the nuke labs mission. Chavez
lost ground on this too as many in the state knows there must be a new
mission for the labs away from nukes if they are to survive, and Udall has
made statements to that effect. It is obvious too that the labs have not
brought us security nor ended poverty, illness and inequality in the state.
Chavez was proof of that point.

Chavez says he got feed back in his polling and from friends that
his high visibility attacks were way out of touch with the the public and
probably the governor and many others. He said it was time to look for new

If this is true it means the larger trend of the public moving
left, or away from war and militarism is a deep rooted phenomena for New
Mexico is a special place in this whole historical development.

I think we saw some of this in the mandate last November for the Democrats
to work to end the wars in the middle east. They have not yet acted on that
message and what is interesting is that we can see it is having a direct
impact now in a key Senate race in a core state in the military-industrial
complex, New Mexico. Our state has had its fate entwined with nuclear
weapons since the Manhattan project.

Mayor Chavez was a casualty of the old guard political order not having
learned some key lessons. Now the questions emerge about what it mean for
Gov. Richardson who is saying we need to dismantle the U.S. nuclear weapons
arsenal. This was at odds with Marty Chavez obviously and with the workers
here tied to jobs in the nuclear weapons industry. But these is more to
this than meets the eye.

Two years ago this month my wife, Jeanne Pahls and some other anti-nuclear
activists were invited by Gov. Richardson to his office in the Roundhouse.
The governor it appears now wanted to sound out some in the peace community
as he was preparing his move into the presidential race. Jeanne asked
the governor to take a stand against nuclear weapons and the WMD
factories in our state. She presented him with a petition with over 8,000
signatures calling for dismantling the WMD stockpile at Kirtland AFB inside
Albuquerque. The governor ignored her request.

Later as the nation engaged in the 2006 national election campaign for
Congress the Baker Commission issued a report calling on the president to
address the war with a new mind and solution. Implicit, but not noticed in
this report was the notion that we had to get away from WMDs as the key
issue and onto a coalition path to relations with the region.

Then on Jan. 4, 2007 the Wall Street Journal carried a major opinion piece
by notable U.S. political voices William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger,
George F. Schultz and Sam Nunn calling for an end to our hypocritical stance
on WMDs. They pointed out the hypocrisy of us saying that we can keep our
WMDs while everyone else does away with theirs. This reality political show
took roots with Gov. Richardson who has long been associated with Henry
Kissinger and the neo-liberal political school of thought.

Richardson soon came out as a peace candidate, calling for an end to the
war in Iraq and an end to the U.S, nuclear weapons arsenal. It is obvious
Marty Chavez was not following the same text as Richardson has been moving
on, he obviously was not listening to the grassroots in his own state.

A lot of people then began saying that Gov. Richardson had made a major
turnaround but I don't think that is the case at all if one understand the
goal of the neo-liberals and what is going on the the restructuring of the
U.S. military with a new set of technologies and strategies.

For example, a couple weeks ago the U.S. Air Force announced plans to create
a new cyber warfare center for future war fighting. Gov. Richardson who was
in Iowa campaigning for president quickly issued a call to have the new war
center set up in Albuquerque, NM at Kirtland AFB.

Kirtland AFB is a center of the most advanced war planning which includes
Iraq, on the other side of the globe and a key center for military
restructuring plans. The publications of the Space Command and the research
center at Kirtland AFB state they are leading the world in supremacy for
control of the cosmos, to dominate the high ground of space for control of
the earth across a broad spectrum of war fighting capabilities.

The U.S. military is moving rapidly away from a strategy based on messy and
expensive nuclear weapons to a more sophisticated plan for the building of a
global empire. You can't rule a planet wasted by radiation. The U.S.
Army has just revealed they are planning to spend $200 billion to build a
war fighting capacity based on wireless and internet technologies, none of
which are possible without secure access to and control of space which is
where the satellites are that link all the new technologies together.

Not only that but as Jonathan Shell has pointed out there is the urgent
danger of the linear spread of nuclear weapons now, other nations learning
how to build and use nuclear weapons in their fight for self-determination.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union as a counter balance in the Mutually
Assured Destruction doctrine of warfare smaller nations are realizing that
if they are to avoid being colonized they must have nuclear weapons too.
This is a danger the neo-liberals like Kissinger, Nunn and Richardson are
facing head on. Others like Marty Chavez have missed this turn in the road
to the future.

New Mexico's Gov. Richardson has been campaigning with a new image of being
for peace and an antinuclear activist but what he is doing really is
following the Baker, Kissinger, Nunn plan of quickly acquiring the holy
grail of new age weapons - the control of space, or the militarization of
space. The result is a new arms race in space that few in the U.S.
electorate have noticed.

Other nations have noticed this new development. China, Japan, France,
Israel, India and Russia are moving to acquire new capabilities in these
areas of future warfare. None of the global war fighting capabilities the
U.S. empire needs can be accomplished without securing outer space, much
like securing the seas of the old age was key to control and commerce then.
Once ports around the world were key for a global navy, now it is secure
satellites that are key.

China's recent destruction of one of their obsolete satellites with a simple
earth launched missile was a plea to everyone to negotiate a
treaty on weapons and war in space or face a new arms race that will be
staggering in costs. Everyone seems to want to avoid this, everyone except
the U.S.

The response of the U.S. political establishment has been to ignore
the global demand for a solution and to push ahead with new
unilateral and taxing expenditures for more high tech weapons. The U.S.
plan is actually in scale larger than the old Manhattan Project. We see it
in cuts to social and human services, even to veterans coming back from the
ground wars in the middle east. They are spending like crazy to grab as
much of the high ground of space as possible in the shortest period of time
before the public catches on.

Gov. Richardson is in tune with this imperial mission while appearing to be
a new peace leader. During his tenure as governor many new space
weapons systems have been developed and centralized in New Mexico with his
support and encouragement, not criticism and discouragement. The new Air
Force cyber war center for him a complement to the directed energy, laser,
anti-satellite and other exotic weapons developed here. To us they are like
the V2 rockets of the Nazi regime.

This is the situation the peace movement and the nation finds itself in.
The public is moving away from war and nuclear weapons but has not grasp yet
the new plans of the empire builders who still run the show in Washington.

At the grassroots we need to take into the elections the message that yes,
we want to end the war in Iraq, to end the scourge of nuclear weapons but we
also want to keep war and weapons out of space, that we want a funding of
human needs, not massive expenditures for war profiteers, as Pres.
Eisenhower warned us about, in 1961.

The recent Chavez-Udall debate over the struggle for Sen. Pete Domenici's
seat in Washington has illuminated new challenges for those working for a
just and democratic society across the planet.

- Bob Anderson (Stop the War Machine) Albuquerque, N.M.


Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502 (Blog)

Homeland Security to Seize Apache Lands

Chertoff Announces Occupation of Land Title Holders Refusing to Sign NSA

Ahi'i'e for all your wonderful outpouring of support to our elders of El
Calaboz. We need your help on our continuing efforts to protect and keep safe
the elders of our struggle against U.S. tyranny.Today we have serious news to share and to update on the situation unfolding in the traditional lands of the Lipan Apache communities of the Mexico-US militarized border region.

Chertoff announced plans to force occupation of South Texas families who
refuse to allow the government access to their lands. See the story in the
Houston Chronical

United States occupation of South Texas people refusing Homeland Security
access to their traditional lands is EMINENT. 'Refusers' such as the Lipan
Apache Land Grant Women Defense, led by my mother, Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez (Lipan
Apache, Basque-Apache), in the rancheria of El Calaboz, have frustrated the
NSA, Border Patrol and Army Corps of Engineers officials for over two years,
and increasingly in the last two months.

Using tactics such as public announcements over the news service, used as
intimidation and as psychological warfare--NSA/Chertoff exploits the press to
prepare the nation to invade South Texas--and indigenous peoples--who are
being 'architected as the perpetual enemies of the United States. This is an old
story of genocidal tactics and militarization.

This scenario played out before, in 19th century, in 20th century. And now
the 21st, my mother, the 'child of lightning ceremony', is fighting for the
vestiges of our traditional lands. My mother, and the ancestors of 'the place
where the Lipan pray', have been critical to our land-based struggle, and they
are leaders in an Apache struggle in the Mexico-US International Boundary
region. Our elder voices direct us in a huge role that Apache people will play
in standing up against tyranny of the settler society. We cannot do this
without the support and the solidarity of our indigenous sisters and brothers who
are also at the forefront of the 21st century battles for our rights as
indigenous peole with ancient footprints on this land.

My mother, at this stage of our community-based struggle, indicates that she
is prepared to receive national and international support for our small
community on the peripheries of U.S. empire. She wrote a comment on the page of
this newsstory out of Houston, Texas.

Today we are submitting our comments to the Environmental Impact Statement
authorities, and parallel to that we are submitting an indepth case study of
our histories under U.S., Mexican, Spanish, Vatican and corporate domination
to the International Indian Treaty Council shadow report to be submitted to
the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Racism and Racial Discrimination in

Please read Chertoff's public announcement to occupy South Texas oppressed
groups, and pass on WIDELY to all networks. I'm going to attache the CENSORED
story, so new folks to our struggle can become educated rapidly. In peace in
the struggle against tyranny.

Margo Tamez
(Lipan Apache, Jumano Apache)
Urgent Call for Help from Lipan Apache Women Defense
American Indian Airwaves interview of Margo Tamez: "The Militarization of
Indigenous Women's Lives at the Mexico-U.S. International Boundary."


Monday, December 3, 2007

Commentary: Death Work

With an Attorney General who considers waterboarding legal, every
criminal confession, including a confession of a draft age young man
accused of shooting a draft age young football star, could be
waterboarded confession. It is appropriate to ask which civilian defense
workers will be laid off if the President does not get his $196 billion
for more war. Are they the makers of the waterboards? Of Tasers? Radio
wave guns? White phosphorus? Landmines? Cluster bombs? New bunker-busting
nuclear bombs?

Donald Rumsfeld has acknowledged that for at least two years the Pentagon
cannot account for $1 trillion in spending.* And we wonder why the
cheapening of the dollar, the rise in prices and mortgage rates, home
foreclosures and job loss!


* Reference: Catherine Austin Fitts,

- Jean G. Braun

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Commentary: War Funding

Peace advocates report that war funding is being enmeshed in (held
hostage to) funding for domestic programs. However, with a federal debt
now over $9 trillion, federal deficit spending, especially the large
amounts for war, will result in more home foreclosures sooner rather than

Economy is complex, but in broad outline, we see that government borrows
money by selling bonds and banks redeem those bonds. The Federal Reserve
- either by numbers in books or by printing of currency - creates money
to cover that redemption. Lowering interest rates facilitates that flush
of money. Because the government produces no goods of value, the excess
of money over goods cheapens the dollar. That inflation brings price
hikes, including hikes in interest rates on variable rate mortgages.

War spending is impoverishing most people. Suggested message: DELETE WAR

- Jean G. Braun