Saturday, October 31, 2015

Green Party Prez Hopeful Dr. Jill Stein On Voting For The Lesser Of Two Evils: "Are You Making Excuses For Your Abuser?"

Dr. Jill Stein speaking in Portland, Maine on October 30, 2016:
"Supporting people, planet and peace over profits is not a fringe belief."
Campaigning under the Green Party slogan Forget the lesser evil -- it's time to fight for the common good Dr. Jill Stein held a fundraising event in Portland, Maine on October 30. Dr. Stein is running for president because, as she explained in a detailed critique of the Obama administration, "voting for the lesser of two evils has a track record that's not good."



Dr. Stein was joined by local Green Party candidates Paul Okot (left) for school board and Dave Foster (right) for city council.

Dr. Stein described herself as a sort of "political therapist" who helps people break up abusive political relationships. She noted that many of us may need to gently ask our friends, "Are you making excuses for your abuser?"

Control of debates , public opinion polls, and the press were topics she touched on before describing her commitment to end endless wars in favor of spending on things people really want: sustainable energy, universal access to health care, free higher education, and the elimination of student debt. Thanks to Brian Leonard for this video of Dr. Stein's full remarks, well worth a listen:

  


Also on hand: Sherri Mitchell, a hard-hitting attorney for environmental
protection in our state, and Bob Klotz of 350 Maine.

Sherri Mitchell, a Penboscot attorney,  opened a space for Jill's remarks by offering a blessing for the land and ancestors of Wabanaki people. She also noted later in the evening that theft of the land from indigenous people is an original violation of law underpinning our current system of government. She urged the candidate to acknowledge this fundamental concern of indigenous people as a basis for examining the proper role of government.



Future generations deserve a government that protects the planet for all forms of life.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Peace Delegation Will Attempt To Enter BIW Warship "Christening' Ceremony" Oct 31 #mepolitics


Protest sign in South Korea where a world heritage soft coral reef on Jeju Island was entombed in concrete to make a port for Aegis destroyers built by war profiteer General Dynamics at their Bath Iron Works shipyard.
Representatives from state and national peace groups will attempt to enter the scheduled BIW "Christening" ceremony of a new Aegis destroyer on Saturday, October 31. The group intends to deliver a letter addressed to Maine’s elected officials who will be present at the event to give their ‘blessings’ to another expensive and destabilizing warship launch.
 

Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein will be among speakers at the protest rally outside BIW on the corner of Washington and Hinckley Streets from 9am to noon.  

At the end of the event, organizers will send a delegation from the rally to attempt to enter the shipyard in order to deliver an “Open Letter to Maine Elected Officials” who will be speaking at the launch. The letter reads:
 
On this day another Navy Aegis destroyer is being "Christened" at Bath Iron Works and many of Maine’s elected officials will be present to give their official blessings.  These very expensive warships are outfitted with offensive cruise missiles and so-called "missile defense" interceptors that in fact are key elements in Pentagon first-strike attack planning.  The Aegis warship program is not about defending our nation but in fact these ships are being used to provocatively encircle the coasts of China and Russia.
Under the former Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with Russia these "missile defense" interceptors were outlawed because they were highly destabilizing to world peace – they gave one side a clear advantage and an incentive to attack first.  In 2002 Washington unilaterally pulled out of the ABM Treaty which has only resulted in a new arms race.
Today many of our elected officials will talk about the jobs that come from building warships at BIW.  What they won’t say is that the Navy ship building budget is unsustainable and that very soon the nation will hit the economic wall as aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and destroyers are all over budget.  In fact studies done by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Economics Department have long shown that military spending is the worst way to create jobs – military production is capital intensive.  That means we get fewer jobs building weapons for endless war than any other job creation program.  The studies also reveal that if commuter rail systems were built at BIW we’d nearly double the jobs – something every politicians should be demanding.
We do have a serious problem today and that is to immediately deal with climate change and the growing acidification of the Gulf of Maine.  Increasing, due to warming oceans, the lobsters and other fish are moving further north to colder temperatures.  That means Maine’s fishing industry will be hit hard.  If Maine is to survive economically we need a crash program to reduce our carbon footprint on the planet.  Building rail systems, solar, wind turbines and tidal power systems would create more jobs and help us deal with the coming reality of climate change.
It is morally wrong for the US to think it can control the world.  The idea that the US is an ‘exceptional’ nation, better than the rest of the world, must give way to a humility where we see our place in the world as one nation among many.  We don’t have a right to control and dominate the world on behalf of corporate interests.
We call on all of Maine’s elected officials to find the courage to stand up and represent the future generation’s desire for life on our Mother Earth.  Our children and grandchildren cannot survive by us building more destroyers for endless war.  We need a future that is sustainable, practical and peaceful.  We don’t believe that Christ, the Prince of Peace, would come here and give his blessing to more war and violence.
The October 31 peace rally at BIW comes a week after the conclusion of the 16-day Maine Walk for Peace: Pentagon’s Impact on the Oceans that began in Ellsworth and followed U.S. Hwy 1 South to Portsmouth.  

During the walk community suppers were held each night and people were invited to come to BIW to protest the "Christening" of the Navy destroyer on October 31.  
Thousands directly witnessed the walking protest that called for an end to the militarization of the oceans.  The public was overwhelmingly supportive of the walk, which also demanded the conversion of the weapons industry to sustainable production so that we can deal with our real problem – climate change.
The October 31 rally is sponsored by: Midcoast PeaceWorks; Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm; CODEPINK Maine; and the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Maine Peace Walkers Call For Portsmouth Naval Shipyard To Convert From Building Weapons Of Mass Destruction


I was delighted to have a day to join the Maine Peace Walk: Militarization of the Seas on Saturday October 24, 2015. A high energy opening circle kicked off the final day of the walk which began two weeks prior in Ellsworth, Maine. Jun-san's joyful dancing and her leadership along with other members of the Nipponzan order of Buddhists was much appreciated. And everyone enjoyed the tunes offered by the Leftist Marching Band.
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The band followed the walk all the way to the front gate of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine where we stood across the street during the shift change. Hundreds of workers saw our message:

Concern for our fellow species was a major theme of the peace walk drawing attention to the Pentagon's abuse of the world's oceans. 


Crossing Memorial Bridge from Portsmouth, NH to Kittery, Maine. Veterans for Peace flags flying make me remember those brave enough to stand up to war machine.


Once the peace walk was standing on the sidewalk across the street from the gate of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, local police showed up and photographed us. They hung around for about an hour until the walkers departed. 



Mary Beth Sullivan of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space opened the remarks by saying "compassionate commitment -- that's why we walk."

Doug Bogen spoke about his 20 years of advocating for the shipyard to stop building weapons of mass destruction and start building renewable energy systems, such as offshore wind turbines.



Bob Klotz of 350 Maine spoke about the deep connection between climate change and militarization of the planet.

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Veteran for Peace Eric Wasileski spoke movingly of the moral injury of participating in war, and how this is a factor in the 22 veterans suicides per day in the U.S.

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I spoke on the folly of depending on building weapons of mass destruction as a jobs program. When I find a video of my remarks, I will add it in. 

With much gratitude to Bruce Gagnon and Jason Rawn, lead organizers of this year's walk, I dedicate this blog post.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Portland, Maine International Wave Of Solidarity With Palestine #SolidarityWaveBDS



On October 23 during my lunch hour I found an old friend newly arrived in windy Portland, Maine. The nicest things can happen when you stand for justice in Palestine, where not nice things are happening every day. One of the posters not visible in these photos: 
Palestinian Children Killed by Israel Since 2000: 
Age 0-8, 549; Age 9-12, 512; Age 13-15, 350



In a week when PM Netanyahu drew international scorn for his claim that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem gave Hitler the idea for the Holocaust, it was good to be with some sane people for a while.



What can you do to object to taxpayers in your area sending big bucks to fund violence and other human rights abuses in Palestine? Find out here on the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation website. (I was going to link directly to the aidtoisrael.org informational site but, alas, it has been hacked. It's a sign of doing something right when you draw the attention of Israel's cyberbullies.)






There was a small counter protest by four young men with a sign, visible on the right. Their message "Peace and L ♥ Support Israel" with drawings of six stars of David and the Israeli flag. 



It is my fervent that Israel and its peaceful supporters can turn back from the path of violent occupation that may be leading to a third intifada

But overnight came this news reported by Alison Deger on Mondoweiss:
Peace activist Rabbi Arik Ascherman attacked by knife-wielding settler in West Bank A masked Israeli settler attacked an Israeli-American rabbi and co-founder of the group Rabbis for Human Rights, taking a knife to the religious leader and peace activist’s neck, this afternoon following an annual olive harvest in the West Bank village of Awarta outside of Nablus.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

#Drones And Warships Seen As Jobs Programs In The U.S. Economy Of Death

Image: Anthony Freda, used by permission
Launching a warship at Bath Iron Works is always an occasion for Maine's congressional delegates to pledge allegiance to military contracting and the jobs thus created. (Photo: AP, 2014.) The next launch and christening of a warship in Bath is set for October 31. Details of how to join a planned protest may be found here.
Two related news items caught my attention this morning. One is a puff piece on the efforts of my state's freshman representative on behalf of "the HUBZone [which] provides an advantage in acquiring federal government contracts to any qualifying business." Specifically, for businesses at the re-purposed Brunswick Naval Air Station. Maine's two senators are on board, too, all working to amend the National Defense Authorization Act to expand the scope of a favorable climate in which to do the business of weapons development, including drone testing.
A U.S. military drone visiting Brunswick Landing
This is seen as wonderful and desirable because of the holy grail of creating more jobs in my struggling state. Ever since NAFTA and CAFTA passed, jobs are wicked scarce in Maine. Who dares question a scheme to create employment?

The larger news item has been rolling out over the last few days, thanks to a whistleblower who provided U.S. taxpayers and their victims with the cold details of how bureaucrats order assassinations.
Source: "The Kill Chain" by Cora Currier in The Intercept
GCC = Geographic Combatant Command;  SECDEF = Secretary of Defense; PDC/PC = Principals’ Deputies Committee/Principals Committee; CoM = Chief of Mission; CoS = Chief of Station 
Ordering strikes in Somalia and Yemen goes through a series of steps, such as compiling a  so-called baseball card with the stats of a desired human target, according to "multiple interviews conducted" with Department of Defense officials.


Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill described for Democracy Now! how a target was selected and evaluated in Afghanistan. Also why kids were bombed for providing context that made an adult male target appear to be especially tall and therefore presumably Arab: "it turned out that he was of average size, and that the people around him were children. They killed them all."

The disconnect between creating jobs on the one hand and killing children to do so on the other runs deep in the U.S. taxpayer psyche. "Kill them over there before we have to kill them over here" is the rationale I've heard blandly repeated for years, despite extensive testimony that drone strikes create far more terrorists than they eliminate according to those in the know. 

But as Upton Sinclair wrote in 1935, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it." And in 1944, "Fascism is capitalism plus murder." 

Job creation sounds so much more appealing, doesn't it?

Friday, October 16, 2015

#RaiseYourVoice About The Ethnic Cleansing Of #Palestine

Occupying the narrative about Palestine and its people has been the chief triumph of Zionists since establishing the state of Israel. As a baby boomer growing up in the U.S. I was told -- and for years I believed -- that Israel had taken uninhabited, barren land and "made the desert bloom." Also that it was the only democracy in the region, besieged by hostile Arab neighbors simply for the fact of being a Jewish state.

I was also told that the Zionists represented all Jewish people -- probably the biggest falsehood of all. Nowadays, my Jewish friends who raise their voices against Israel's violent occupation are attacked verbally, called "self-hating" and sometimes attacked physically for speaking up. Those of us who aren't Jewish are accused of being"anti-Semitic" if we criticize Israel.

Today I join Blog Action Day 2016 with its theme of #RaiseYourVoice in support of everyone with the courage to speak the truth about Israel. As soon as I press Publish, my computer will likely alert me to an attempted cyberattack. So be it.

A student at my alma mater told me that, while she has taken some heat for pressuring Bowdoin College to divest from fossil fuels, the campus group that works to promote BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) has drawn "vicious" attacks including threats of violent reprisal. She said that her friends in the BDS group are frightened. This is consistent with Israel's ongoing campaign to silence campus debate about Israel's occupation of Palestine. Exercising academic freedom can be dangerous if you challenge the accepted narrative. Open discussion in pursuit of the truth is unwelcome.

The U.S. corporate press continues pushing Zionist myths right up to the present day. 

In the past several weeks, Netanyahu's "live fire" policy for the Israeli military has resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries, many of them to children. According to the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
Just this month, more than 1,000 Palestinians have been gravely wounded, more than 500 arrested (many held without charge) and at least 30 killed -- many of them children -- while 8 Israelis have been killed.
Settlers who burn families to death in their homes or attack Palestinian villagers harvesting olives on ancestral land are protected by soldiers as they do so. Settlers driving cars that hit and kill children are not prosecuted for the crime. Shannon Ebrahim reported in The Star:
Hit-and-run attacks against Palestinian children by Israeli settlers are well documented across East Jerusalem and the West Bank. A few examples are: a 5-year- old run over by settlers in the West Bank on January 24, 5-year-old Zakariya Umour run over in the West Bank on April 28, a 10-year-old in Hebron on June 22, a 12-year-old in Jenin on August 7, and 10-year-old Mohammed Najjar on August 16 in Nablus. 
In this disturbing viral video, reportedly filmed by an Israeli soldier, Ahmad Manasra, age 13, bleeds on the ground after being shot; no one goes to assist him for a long time or admonishes the Israeli man screaming curse words at him.

Typical corporate news coverage of Israel and Palestine looks like this:








The greatest power of propaganda lies in its ability to focus our attention on only a fragment of the truth, leading us to believe that the tiny spot we're viewing is the whole picture. If you can see more than you're intended to see, #RaiseYourVoice.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Attorney For State Of #Maine Claims Penobscot People Never Used Boats To Fish In The River

Sherri Mitchell (center) being interviewed following the court hearing of Penobscot Nation v. Mills,
October 14, 2015   photo credit: Lee DeCora Francis
Report from Sherri Mitchell of the Penobscot Nation, an attorney in her own right:
"Overview of today's court proceedings - Penobscot Nation v. Mills - A case to protect the ancestral fishing rights of the Penobscot Nation.
The State's position failed to pass the straight face test. They asserted that the Tribe does not have any retained water rights, despite the fact that they have clearly delineated sustenance fishing rights. The Judge asked the State's Attorney how they reconciled their position with the fact that the Tribe clearly has retained sustenance fishing rights? They had no logical response, since no logical response exists. Instead, they claimed that the Tribe only had the right to fish from shore, in accordance to their "traditional practices, since time immemorial." 
The Judge responded by saying "So, what you're saying is that since time immemorial Indians didn't use boats, and they never fished from the river"? The Attorney for the State said "Yes." to that ridiculous conclusion. They then claimed that tribal members could fish with one foot on the land and one foot in the water. The absurdity of the State's argument was an embarrassment. Had I been the Attorney that had to argue that position, I would have resigned.
It is also noteworthy that neither the Attorney for the State nor the Interveners referred to the Tribe by name throughout the proceedings. They kept saying "the Indians" or "those Indians." Of course, this was strategic. To refer to the tribe by name - The Penobscot Nation - would have drawn too close a tie between the Tribe and the river that bears its name. Afterall, they wouldn't want to confuse the court by using the name of the Tribe, or the name of the river in their oral arguments, due to the fact that the name of the Tribe and the name of the river are interchangeable. The court might get the wrong idea if they realized that the Penobscot River and the Penobscot Nation bear the name of the same Penobscot people claiming these rights.
The Attorney for the State and the Attorney for the Interveners also claimed that their position was a protective (preemptive) one. They were simply trying to avoid a scenario where the Tribe might one day decide to try to take control of the river and prevent others from using it, or they might try to regulate non-native industry from discharging into the river. This came after the Tribe clearly stated that they did not believe that it was their right to prevent usage by others or to regulate non-native industrial landowners. Unsurprisingly, the State and the Interveners could not point to one example where this "fear" had any basis in fact, or reality.
The Judge pointed out that the Tribe had clearly stated that this case was only about retaining their ancestral fishing rights, and had asserted no claims to expand their reach beyond that position. Then, the Attorney for the Tribe wisely reminded the Judge that the court could only decide the issue that was presently before the court, not a speculative scenario that had been manufactured out of whole cloth by the State or the Interveners.
The State also claimed that the Tribe does not possess the riparian rights afforded to all other owners along the same waterway. Overall, the State's case is weak and the Intervener's case is nonexistent. In my opinion, the Tribe's position was clearly supported by the law and the legislative history. Now, we wait for the Judge's order, to see how he interpreted this case."
To learn more about this historic battle to defend indigenous territory and rights, you can see a new documentary by the Sunlight Media Collective. Here's their press release about it:

Sunlight  Media Collective Releases Documentary on the Battle Over Contested Penobscot River Territory
Indian Island, ME: On Friday, Sunlight Media Collective released The Penobscot: Ancestral River, Contested Territory, a documentary film that explores the conflict between the state of Maine and the Penobscot Nation over contested river territory. 
Spanning from the 1700's to the present-day legal battle of Penobscot Nation v. Mills, the film illustrates the Penobscots' centuries-long fight to retain their territory and their inherent, treaty-reserved sustenance fishing rights for future generations. Featuring first-person accounts, thefilm tells the urgent, inspiring story of a struggle for justice and cultural survival in the face of an astonishingly open abuse of state power.
The documentary release closely follows a meeting between Penobscot Chief Kirk Francis and President Obama, where they discussed the Penobscot Nation v. Mills case. The Penobscot Nation is suing the state of Maine in response to a decision by former Attorney General William Schneider that the Penobscot Indian reservation, which includes more than 200 islands in the Penobscot River, does not include any portion of the water— a decision that amounts to territorial theft by the state. Oral arguments for the case are scheduled for October 14th at the US District Court in Portland, ME.
The case is taking place in the context of a larger state battle over river jurisdiction and water quality standards. In February, the federal EPA ruled that Maine must improve its water quality standards to protect Penobscot sustenance fishing rights. Governor Paul LePage has called the ruling “outrageous” and threatened to relinquish state regulatory responsibilities to the federal EPA if they did not reverse the ruling.
The Penobscot: Ancestral River, Contested Territory chronicles the Penobscot’s struggle to maintain their centuries-long stewardship to ensure a healthy ecosystem for all of Maine, a struggle exemplified by these contemporary legal battles. According to Penobscot Chief Kirk Francis, the Penobscot v. Mills case “is really not about controlling the river system, or controlling individuals within the system. It’s really about our ability to manage a subsistence resource that we have a responsibility for, for multiple generations.”
Funded by Broad Reach Fund of the Maine Community Foundation, The Penobscot: Ancestral River, Contested Territory is available for free on the Sunlight Media Collective website (www.sunlightmediacollective.org), and DVDs are available by order. To schedule a screening, please email sunlightmediacollective@gmail.com.
The Sunlight Media Collective is a collaboration between Penobscot and non-native filmmakers. The film is just one example of an up-swell of activism and work on issues affecting the Wabanaki tribes. In October, Upstander Productions will also release a short documentary entitled First Light, on the recently completed Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Screenings of The Penobscot: Ancestral River, Contested Territory currently scheduled:
October 21st, Belfast Free Library, Belfast, 6:00PM
October 24th, Gates Auditorium, College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, 1:30PM
For more information, contact Sunlight Media Collective Co-Founders Maria Girouard & Meredith DeFrancesco: sunlightmediacollective@gmail.com

Monday, October 12, 2015

Maine Peace Walk On Militarization Of The Ocean Underway, Kids Join In Belfast


The Maine Peace Walk: Militarization of the Seas -- Pentagon's Impact on the Oceans is underway, accompanied by a van with artist Russel Wray's banner and rooftop sculpture of Maka the dolphin. 

Marine animals are harmed by sonar used by the U.S. Navy, and all life in the oceans and on the planet is harmed by the Pentagon's immense carbon footprint.


Day two of the walk ended at Community Radio WERU's office in Blue Hill.


On day three as the walk passed through Belfast, Maine, some young peace walkers joined in for a part of the journey. Anyone can join the walk through Oct. 24 for an hour, a day, or all the way to Portmouth, NH. Full details may be found here on the Maine Veterans For Peace website.


This young peace walker appears to be carrying a koi nobori, a traditional Japanese fish banner flown to honor the energetic spirit of young boys. Japan's oceans have been severely impacted by ongoing U.S. military presence, and we have seen vigorous resistance from its citizens, including residents of the island of Okinawa. Japan's water table, offshore fisheries and the Pacific Ocean entire are being seriously polluted by the ongoing meltdown of the nuclear reactor at Fukushima (built by U.S. corporation General Electric) in the years since a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami damaged it. High levels of radiation are still interfering with any clean up efforts, and 20-50 times higher than "normal" levels of thyroid cancer in children around Fukushima are already manifesting.

For all the children of the planet, consider raising up your voice in defense of the oceans. The seas do not belong to the Pentagon or any other country's military -- they belong to the life forms that thrive there! If we fail to recognize this and act soon, the result may be the demise of all life on Earth.


Here is the pot luck supper schedule for the peace walk for the remainder of the journey:

Day 4 (Camden) Monday, October 12 - Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church (7 Union St) Pot luck supper and program at 6:00 pm. Home stays needed. Host: Maureen Kehoe-Ostensen 763-4062

Day 5 (Rockland) Tuesday, October 13 - Potluck supper and program at Unitarian church (345 Broadway) at 6:00 pm. Homestays needed. Host: Midcoast Citizens for P & J (Steve Burke 691-0322)

Day 6 (Damariscotta) Wednesday, October 14 - Friends Meeting House (77 Belvedere Rd) Potluck Supper and program at 6:00 pm. Sleep at Meeting House. Host: Friends Meeting (Sue Rockwood 570-854-4458)

Day 7 (Bath) Thursday, October 15 - UCC Neighborhood Church (corner of Washington & Centre) Potluck supper and program at 6:00 pm. Homestays needed. Host: Bruce Gagnon 904-501-4494 & Karen Wainberg 371-8190

Day 8 (Day off) in Bath Friday, October 16 - Stay at same homestays again this night. Potluck supper at Addams-Melman House (212 Centre St) at 6:00 pm. Host: Bruce Gagnon 904-501-4494 & Karen Wainberg 371-8190

Day 9 (Brunswick) Saturday, October 17 - Pot luck supper at Sternlieb home (21 McKeen St) at 6:00 pm. Walker music program. Home stays needed in Brunswick. Host: Selma Sternlieb 725-7675

Day 10 (Freeport) Sunday, October 18 - Pot luck supper at First Parish Congregation Church (on US 1) at 6:00 pm and program. Sleep at church. Host: Paula O’Brien 865-6022 & Sukie Rice 318-8531 & Cheryl Avery 865-0916

Day 11 ( Portland) Monday, October 19 - State Street Church-UCC (159 State St.) Pot luck supper & program at 6:00 pm. Homestays needed. Host: Grace Braley 774-1995

Day 12 (Saco) Tuesday, October 20 - First Parish Congregation Church on corner of Beech & Maine. Pot luck supper and program at 6:00 pm. Home stays needed. Host: Tom Kircher 282-7530

Day 13 (Kennebunk) Wednesday, Oct 21 - New School (38 York Street). Pot luck supper and program at 6:00 pm. Sleep at school. Host: Olive Hight 207-590-9505

Day 14 (York Beach) Thursday, October 22 - York Beach (52 Freeman St) Supper, music program & sleeping spot at 6:00 pm. Host: Pat Scanlon 978-474-9195 & Smedley Butler Brigade of Boston-area VFP

Day 15 (Portsmouth) Friday, October 23 - Supper and program at St. John’s Episcopal Church (100 Chapel St) at 6:00 pm. Home stays needed, Host: Doug Bogen 603-617-6243 (Meet at Prospect Park at 5:00 pm for rally)

Day 16 (Finale in Portsmouth) Saturday, October 24 - Meet at Market Square 10:00 am. Walk thru downtown and back over bridge to Kittery. Vigil & speakers at shipyard gate (deliver letter). Walk back to Market Square for final closing circle around noon. Host: Doug Bogen 603-617-6243
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Call to Walk:

The Pentagon has the largest carbon footprint on our Mother Earth

Waging endless war consumes massive amounts of fossil fuels and lays waste to significant environmentally sensitive places on the planet – particularly the oceans.

The oceans are inhabited by a multitude of different life forms, from microorganisms to whales, many of whom are able to sense sound and use it to find food, navigate, communicate, and avoid predators. Navy sonar blasts wreak havoc on these creatures, disrupting their lives, leaving animals more susceptible to disease and lowered reproductive success, and sometimes injuring and killing them.

Because Navy sonars are extremely loud, depending on ocean conditions, that noise can travel at harmful levels for tens or even hundreds of miles, impacting huge numbers of animals. By the Navy’s own estimates, sonar noise can still be as high as 140 decibels 300 miles from the source, a level that is a hundred times more intense than the level known to result in behavioral changes in large whales.

Some of these exercises will even take place inside designated critical habitat for the already endangered right whale, frequenter of Maine waters. In fact, the Navy is now constructing a 500 square mile instrumented range off the coast of Georgia where it intends to conduct 470 sonar exercises annually - the Navy chose this site just offshore of the only known calving grounds of the right whale! In March 2015 Navy sonar testing near Guam led to the stranding of three beaked whales.

Shipyard Impacts in Maine

Pier-side testing of sonar occurs at Bath Iron Works (BIW) and at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery which results in significant fish kills. Navy off-shore weapons testing exercises puts toxic chemicals and hazardous materials and waste into Maine’s marine environment.

The Kennebec River that BIW fronts is often dredged in order to allow the deep hulled destroyers built there to get into the ocean. Dredging takes a heavy toll on aquatic life.

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has caused serious pollution of the local environment. The shipyard is on an island that the Pentagon considers as one of their facilities most vulnerable to climate change, particularly their dry-dock facilities. Rising sea levels could affect shipyard toxic waste sites which are now mostly right on the shoreline and would seriously impact water quality and sea life.

Ocean Acidification

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the early 1800s, fossil fuel-powered machines have driven an unprecedented burst of human industry and society. Ocean acidification is the ongoing decrease in ocean pH caused by human fossil fuel emissions. Oceans currently absorb approximately half of the CO2 produced by burning fossil fuel. An estimated 30–40% of the carbon dioxide released by humans into the atmosphere dissolves into oceans, rivers and lakes.

Arctic Militarization Due to Climate Change

In early 2014 Maine’s Sen. Angus King went on a nuclear submarine ride under the Arctic Sea ice which is now melting due to climate change. Admiral Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations was on the sub and said, “In our lifetime, what was [in effect] land and prohibitive to navigate or explore, is becoming an ocean… We need to be sure that our sensors, weapons and people are proficient in this part of the world,” so that we can “own the undersea domain and get anywhere there.”

When Sen. King returned from the trip he told his constituents that there has been "a 40% reduction in ice as a result of global warming." He reported that "previously inaccessible" gas and oil reserves were now going to create "new opportunities". King concluded, "I am convinced we need to increase our capacity in the region, something I intend to press upon my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee as we work on our military priorities for the coming years."

Rather than drill for more fossil fuels in the Arctic, and create a new arms race in that environmentally sensitive region, the US should be working to convert our military industries to build offshore wind turbines, rail, solar and tidal power. According to studies done by theUMASS-Amherst Economics Department shipyards in Bath and Portsmouth could nearly double their number of jobs by building rail or wind turbines. The Gulf of Maine has more wind power generating potential than any other place in the US.

Help Save Our Seas

If the seas die so do humans on Earth and much of the wildlife. Now is the time to speak out for ending the massive military impacts on the world’s oceans and for conversion of our fossil fuel dependent military industrial complex to sustainable technologies. We will walk to bring attention to these crucial issues. Please help us carry this message to the public by joining with us.

Maine Walk for Peace is sponsored by: Maine Veterans for Peace; PeaceWorks; CodePink Maine; Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats (COAST); Peace Action Maine; Veterans for Peace Smedley Butler Brigade (Greater Boston); Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

Contact: 207-443-9502 or 207-422-8273