Saturday, January 25, 2014

VIDEO Banner Drop Uses ARRT! Work To Tell @SenatorCollins NO #TPP

I have been called many things in my activist life, but last night was a first. We were called "unprofessional" repeatedly by the security guy at the Civic Center in Augusta, Maine. He also told me we had "no class." The extent to which US citizens are cowed by fear of hurting their standing in the community would be surprising -- if I weren't a student of history, that is.

Thanks to videographer Martha Spiess for her swift work getting out this great video of our unprofessional antics last night. Martha is the kind of professional I want to be! And huge gratitude to the Artists Rapid Response Team of the Union of Maine Visual Artists for their amazing banner. Nothing says classy like fine art!
OUTSPOKEN: Two women from the protest group Code Pink stand on chairs Friday at The Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce awards ceremony in Augusta, interrupting it briefly by chanting and hoisting a sign as U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is introduced. Ridgely Fuller, of Belfast, and Lisa Savage, of Solon, said they were opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal. Both women were escorted out of the auditorium when they finished chanting.
Staff photo by Scott Monroe
And here is some great coverage by the Kennebec Journal (see full article here), a corporate sponsor of the event and the paper of record in Maine's capital city Augusta.

The paper is owned by the husband of Rep. Chellie Pingree, who has come out publicly against the TPP. So has Maine's other representative, Mike Michaud, who is currently running for governor.

Sen. Angus King and Sen. Susan Collins have yet to say where they stand on the TPP.

Maine is estimated to have lost 30,000 jobs, mostly in manufacturing, since Bill Clinton pushed through NAFTA.

If signed, the TPP will make NAFTA look like small potatoes. Because under TPP, local entities will not be able to preference local potatoes and other foodstuffs without risking a lawsuit by a giant multi-national corporation. Or control their own water supply. These cases will be decidd by a special international court with judges who are recycled corporate CEOs.

Contact your own reps and senators today to oppose fast tracking TPP approval through Congress: 202-224-3121.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Banner Drop Tell @SenatorCollins NO on #TPP


On Friday, January 24 activists from CODEPINK interrupted an appearance by Senator Susan Collins at an event with the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce in Augusta. Holding a banner about the threat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which is intended to be fast-tracked through Congress this year, the two women chanted “Vote no on the TPP! It's bad for Maine, and you and me!”
The TPP has been described as “NAFTA on steroids,” a reference to the North American Free Trade Agreement that cost Maine 30,000 jobs over the last 20 years.
Calling TPP a trade agreement is a bit of a misnomer,” said Ridgely Fuller of Belfast. “The TPP will allow corporations to sue us for policies including Buy Local, organic food promotion, and environmental regulation of, say, fracking. Anything which interferes with their ability to earn maximum profits. And, all disputes would be decided by 'judges' on leave from corporations.”
Both of Maine's representatives in Congress have indicated they will not support fast-tracking the TPP, nor are they likely to support it even following a full and open debate of its pros and cons. Rep. Mike Michaud, currently a candidate for governor of Maine, issued a statement that read in part: “We know what happens when Congress passes this type of legislation granting fast track. Factories close, plants move overseas, and our workers are left behind. We simply can't afford to repeat the mistakes of the past." Rep. Chellie Pingree's statement on TPP claimed that “Congress should be figuring out how to create jobs here at home, not ship them overseas.”
Both of Maine's senators have remained mum on whether or not they will support the White House attempt to push the TPP through a fast-tracked approval process without divulging its contents or allowing debate in Congress. A highly secret draft of proposed TPP provisions was released by Wikileaks in November.
Activists on Friday evening held a banner created by the Artists' Rapid Response Team (ARRT!) which is part of the Union of Maine Visual Artists. The banner depicts the TPP as a giant octopus grabbing resources around the globe.

The TPP would govern one-third of global trade and usurp the sovereignty of citizens in its signatory nations: U.S., Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Corporations doing business in these countries could sue individuals or groups perceived as limiting their profits, for instance, by means of environmental regulations.

Go here for more educational Occucards on many TPP related topics, including:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Can We Stop A War With Iran? Keeping An Eye On #S1881 & @SenatorCollins

AIPAC is at it again, swarming Capitol Hill to pressure Congress into ramping up sanctions against Iran.

AIPAC is the visible hand of Israel -- which actually does have an unacknowledged and unaccountable nuclear weapons program -- and gives lots and lots of money to your elected officials.

One of them is my own Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). Codepinker Ridgely Fuller called her out this week in a post to the blog PinkTANK noting that Collins can be counted on to vote for military spending at every turn and takes massive amounts of campaign "donations" from the biggest weapons manufacturers on the planet: 
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) is cosponsoring legislation (S 1881) that effectively scuttles the November 2013  international agreement among the US, Britain, Russia, France, China, Germany and Iran concerning Iran’s nuclear policy. 
Currently, the only nation opposing the international agreement is Israel. 
In response to S 1881, a White House spokesperson states “Members of Congress pressing for this bill are effectively choosing to close the door on diplomacy, making it far more likely that we’ll be left only with a military option.”
Wait, wasn't the U.S. just in the process of a military "pivot to the Pacific?"

And a big push into countries all over the African continent, with plenty of new bases and boots on the ground?

Hubris goeth before a fall. Let's hope the U.S./NATO military machine falls before the corporations they defend have collapsed the life support systems we all depend on.

Maine State House - messaging by Artists' Rapid Response Team (ARRT!)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Guantánamo Torture Exhibited At National Museum of American History #GTMO12

Saturday, January 11, 2014
Jeremy Varon, 732-979-3119jvaron@aol.comFrida Berrigan,

Vowing to “Make Guantánamo History,” human rights advocates from around the country marked the beginning of the thirteenth year of torture and indefinite detention at the prison camp with a dramatic protest at the National Museum of American History. 150 activists occupied the atrium of the crowded museum for more than two hours, speaking out against torture and calling for Guantanamo to close.
Museum Atrium
The activists hung banners, stood in stress positions in hoods and jumpsuits, spoke to the tourists, and with their bodies and voices revised the museum’s “Price of Freedom” exhibit to include twelve years of torture and indefinite detention as the bitter cost of the United States’ misguided pursuit of “national security.”

In a booming chorus, members of Witness Against Torture and other groups read from a statement that closed with the lines: “to honor freedom and justice and the struggles of Americans for these things, we must end torture, close the prison and make Guantánamo history.”

Chantal deAlcuaz, a Witness Against Torture activist from Anchorage, Alaska spent the two hours in an orange jumpsuit and black hood. She reflected that: “We came here today because we want to see Guantánamo relegated to a museum — to be shuttered and condemned, but also understood as an example of where fear, hatred and violence can take us.”

The museum protest followed a robust and spirited rally at the White House that featured speeches from grassroots activists, Guantánamo attorneys and representatives of national human rights organizations.

“It was so great to see the spirit of hope at the White House, in the streets of DC and at the museum,” said Chris Knestrick, a divinity student form Chicago. “We definitely moved closer to our goal of closing Guantanamo today. And the work will continue!!”

Since Monday, January 6, Witness Against Torture activists from throughout the country have gathered in Washington, D.C. to engage in street theater, demonstrations, fasting and direct action to demand that Guantánamo be closed immediately.  There were also anti-Guantánamo protests and vigils throughout the country, including in Los Angeles, CA, Boston MA, Chicago IL, Santa Monica, CA Erie, PA, and Cleveland, OH.
Protest in front of the White House before proceeding to the museum Jan. 11, 2014
Witness Against Torture is a grassroots movement that came into being in December 2005 when 24 activists walked to Guantanamo to visit the prisoners and condemn torture policies. Since then, it has engaged in public education, community outreach, and non-violent direct action. January 2014 is the eighth year the group has gathered annually in Washington, DC to call for justice and accountability. To learn more, visit

From CODEPINK's press release about the White House protests prior to the museum action:
Co-Sponsors of the event: Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International, Witness Against Torture, Codepink: Women for Peace, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Council on American-Islamic Relations,  Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Project Salam: Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims, Reprieve, Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition, World Can't Wait, Defending Dissent Foundation, The Blue Lantern Project, CloseGuantá, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Interfaith Action for Human Rights.

Photos of protest march at the headquarters of the U.S. military's Southern Command in Miami, FL.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Guantánamo Prisoners Cleared For Release, Yet Still Tortured For Years

Abandon hope ye who enter Guantánamo, apparently

Indefinite detention has such a bland sound on the word level. As a lived experience it must be a special kind of hell with no end in sight. Prisoner Shaker Aamer wrote this moving account of his treatment, "The Torture Remains The Same." We are now nearing the 12th anniversary of a bunch of young Muslim men being hustled away to a special prison than an ex-guard called "a concentration camp."

At the heart of indefinite detention lies habeus corpus, a prisoner's right to a day in court. Especially if the prisoner was jailed kind of randomly because someone collected a bounty. Twelve years later, where are those innocent men? Still in Guantánamo, locked in a torture prison with forced feedings. In Cuban territory. At the U.S. taxpayers' expense.

Time for action to say enough is enough! From an anniversary PinkTank post by Cayman Macdonald:
Thousands of protesters will take to the streets this Saturday [Jan 11] to show their courage and give voice to the men whom Guantánamo has tried to silence. They will speak truth in defiance of the countless lies, including the blatant lies about Guantánamo being “safe, humane, legal, and transparent.” It is time to send the message loud and clear: close Guantánamo Bay!
Find an action near you by going here. If you can't get there in person, take time to contact Obama and your members of Congress with the message: #closeGitmo! 

Photo from fb event 12 Years Too Many! No More Excuses! CLOSE GUANTANAMO! 
"We will say no to torture! No indefinite detention! Repeal the NDAA!"

I just changed my profile picture on facebook to help spread the word. You can, too.

You can also write to the prisoners. Here is information on how to do that.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Today Jan 9 Rally Of Unity Greets Legislators In Capitol #mepolitics

One of today's speakers, Nicole Moreau, spoke March 20, 2012 in the Hall of Flags
about the burden of student debt her generation.

January 9, 2014; 1pm
Hall of Flags, State House, Augusta

Contact: Meg Gilmartin
Phone: 495.3648


Augusta -- Today over a hundred Maine citizens and representatives from over twenty organizations are joining forces at the State House's Hall of Flags for the second annual Rally of Unity. This year's theme is Young People Speak Out; featuring Maine's youth, voicing their concerns, hopes, and the need for unity. Following the rally attendees will lobby their legislators about specific bills during this emergency session.

The Rally of Unity is a collaborative demonstration of the Alliance for Common Good, an ad-hoc coalition of over 20 environmental and social justice groups assembling as a unified front to give voice to the majority of Maine people and to push back against corporate dominance in government, with hopes to organize into the future. All individuals and groups are unified under the principles of: Maine Money and Resources for People, not Corporations; A Maine Economy that Protects the Environment; and, Money Out of Politics.

The Rally of Unity features a diverse group of organizations and issues from across the political spectrum bringing Maine people's opinions to their legislators. Some issues highlighted include divestment from fossil fuels, South Portland's fight to stop tar sands transport, Nestle's water extraction in Fryeburg, amending the constitution to give people more rights than corporations, stopping the East-West Corridor, health care for all, and more.

“With partisanship rapidly destroying our political system, it is important for Maine people to unify around what we believe in and start taking action together. Big corporations and the government are complicit with each other, so solving problems is not as simple as electing an official to meet our needs. Neither entity is acting in the best interest of Maine's people,” stated Meg Gilmartin, an Alliance for Common Good spokesperson.

“Last year's Rally of Unity brought together people from all over Maine concerned about the future of our state," said Lisa Savage, co-coordinator of the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign. Corporate control of government means budget cuts that close the only homeless shelter for teens in Somerset County, meanwhile giving tax breaks to already wealthy corporations like General Dynamics. We need to speak up to let our legislators know our priorities."

“This year at the Rally of Unity, we are looking to our youth as our leaders in the fight to end the transnational corporate dominance that is eroding the values of our state and causing divisions in our communities," said Chris Buchanan, one of the events organizers and speakers, representing Stop the East-West Corridor and Defending Water for Life in Maine. "It is young people that will have to live with the choices that are being made today, and they have excellent ideas about how to address these issues."

My note: The Alliance for the Common Good currently includes:
350 Maine, Artists Rapid Response Team, Alliance for Democracy, American Friends Service Committee, Americans Who Tell the Truth, Bring Our War $$ Home, citizens of the Penobscot Nation, CodePink, Community Water Justice, Defending Water for Life, Don’t Waste ME, Food for Maine’s Future, Forest Ecology Network, Global Network, anti-industrial wind activists, Maine EarthFirst!, Maine Greens, Maine Peace Action Committee, Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, Occupy groups statewide, Pax Christi Maine, Peace Action Maine, Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, Peninsula Peace and Justice, Pine Tree Youth Organizing, Resources for Organizing and Social Change, Stop the East-West Corridor, We the People Maine 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Back To School: My Report On 2013 A.D. or is it C.E.

Credits Image created by Robert A. Rohde/Global Warming ArtData sets from Hadley Centre HadCM3 climate model. - See more at:
On a day when you wake up to frozen water pipes, a little humor may be in order.


by Lisa

     I am going to tell you about the year in review. The year in review is 2013 A.D. which stands for after death or C.E. which stands for common era. Both of them have something to do with God but I'm not sure what. They are part of the calendar that kept going instead of the one that ended in 2012, everybody was freaking out.
     Well the first event of the year in review was that the weather went unbalanced and there were hurricanes, ice storms, the hottest day of the year, the coldest day of the year; and blizzards. Some people say this is because we don't have global warming. But we do and it makes the weather go deranged just like scientists predicted back in the 80's when they had big hair.
     I think it might be because of Fukushima, the nucular power plant in Japan that got hit by a tsunami a few years ago and is still melting down. Doesn't that make the water in the Pacific Ocean get hotter, since it is right at the edge of the beach in Japan? My mom said bad guys in Japan are making homeless people go and work on cleaning it up. Even though you cannot clean stuff like that up, at least not too much. That's what my science teacher said.
     Another bad thing is the drones. These are flying killer robots which kill people at weddings and funerals. I'm not sure why robots don't like those kind of family things. We never see any over our house. Phew.
     Their are alot of wars in other places that I tried to make a map but there were too many dots and they started running together. My dad stopped getting unemployment but he didn't get a new job yet. Guns or butter is the choice, my dad says which I guess means, we won't be having butter until he finds a job.
     Now I am going to tell you about my conclusion. My conclusion is that some people care and you can read about it in the Encyclopedia Brittanica:
Code Pink, feminist antiwar organization founded in 2002 to protest U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. The name Code Pink was adopted to satirize the colour-coded terrorism alert system put in place by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2002 and discontinued in 2011. The first Code Pink protest, a four-month vigil in front of the White House, began November 17, 2002... 
I checked a second source and Codepink is also on facebook and here is an awesome bunny that one of them has. It is very gargantuan.

I would like to be in Code Pink and make a difference. So that is my report and I hope you liked it.