Thursday, August 31, 2017

Charges Dropped Against Capitol Activists After Police Chief Tweets Asking To Join Their Action

Stop the War Machine: Export Peace banner used by those arrested on the Capitol steps July 12, 2017. Photo: Art Laffin from The Nuclear Resister
Reposting news of this great action and the report back from Max Obuszewski in Baltimore (emphasis added via bold sections of text is mine):
The government decides not to prosecute the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance Six, arrested on the U.S. Capitol steps for pleading for an end to war funding
It was a long and winding road for six citizen activists arrested on July 12, 2017 by the Capitol Police, but the case was finally concluded on August 24 when our “Stop the War Machine: Export Peace” banner and a red sash were finally released from police custody.  On that oppressively hot July 12, the anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s 200th birthday, Joy First, from Wisconsin, Malachy Kilbride, a Quaker from Maryland, Max Obuszewski from Baltimore, Phil Runkel, an archivist of Dorothy Day’s papers at Marquette University, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, also from Baltimore, and Alice Sutter, a retired nurse from New York City, visited the offices of the Senate and House leadership from both parties.
A petition pleading for an end to war funding was taken to the office of Sen. Mitch McConnell and later to Sen. Chuck Schumer’s office.  One of Schumer’s aides, who was of Pakistani heritage, engaged the group in a lengthy discussion, especially over the question of the legality of drone strikes.   From there, the petitioners went to Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s office, where a staff person accepted the petition.  Our final stop was to the door of Rep. Paul Ryan’s office.  On Ryan’s door, which was locked, there was a sign “Only people with a scheduled meeting were allowed to enter.”  We knocked, but there was no answer.  So a petition was then slipped under the door with a flyer condemning U.S. military operations.  
We then proceeded to the steps of the U.S. Capitol, just across the street from the U.S. Supreme Court , and unfurled the banner and red sash, which represented the blood pouring out of the Capitol as our legislators consistently vote to fund the war machine.  We were wearing bloody tee shirts to signify what happens to the victims of war funding. Surrounded by Capitol Police officers, we took turns reading the petition.  We were given four warnings to cease or be arrested.  The reading kept getting interrupted as one-by-one, we were taken into custody.  Janice, a Roman Catholic woman priest, insisted to the police that she was going to finish reading the petition, and the police did not interfere. 
Alice, Janice and Joy at Paul Ryan's office in Washington DC
We were not handcuffed, were given cold water and were allowed to keep all possessions without  being frisked.  There was no fingerprinting, but a photograph of each activist was taken. Then tables and chairs were brought out of a police van, and the officers gathered our personal information before giving the defendants a citation release document. We were charged with Crowding, Obstructing and Incommoding and ordered to report on July 13 to U.S. Capitol Police Headquarters to request a court date.  Actually, we had fifteen days to report.   
Based on many arrests by the U.S. Capitol Police, I had never experienced one without being handcuffed.  I have no idea why someone in the Capitol Police hierarchy decided to follow this procedure.  I was arrested on those same Capitol steps during President Obama’s last State of the Union address in January 2016.  We spent 6 ½ hours in jail before being released.    
On July 13, four defendants did appear at the Capitol Police Headquarters, and were given an arraignment date of July 26 to appear in D.C. Superior Court. Janice and I went to the headquarters on July 16, and were given August 2 as our arraignment date.   On July 25, Mark Goldstone, a renowned First Amendment attorney, was informed by the U.S. Attorney’s office that Alice, Joy, Malachy and Phil had their cases no-papered.   On our arraignment date, Janice and Max went online and discovered that we were not listed on the Superior Court docket.  So we presumed our cases were also not papered.  Now we began the saga to get the banner and sash released by the Capitol Police.  It took four visits to police headquarters, and the assistance of an Assistant Attorney General, before Janice could pick up the property. 
Members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR] petitioned the Congressional leadership on behalf of the voiceless, the poor, the middle class, the immigrants and people whose pleas are ignored.  And this was done on the 50th anniversary year of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech at the Riverside Church in Manhattan, entitled “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” 
It was important, as well, to read the petition on the Capitol steps as part of the Rivers of Blood II action. On September 20, 2007, the original Rivers of Blood action included a die-in by 31 peace activists in the crypt of the U.S. Capitol. So what has changed in ten years? Congress still consistently  allocates tax dollars which go toward death and destruction in many parts of the world, most especially the Middle East.   
On July 11, Joy received an email from “Andrew:” “I am wishing for more information on the call for action at the Capitol tomorrow.
I have been arrested previously for non violent [sic] demonstrations and want to seek more justice.  What time are we expected to demonstrate and what specific location.  Thank you.” 
I had an opportunity to chat with the Capitol Police commander after the arrest and noticed his nameplate.  He was the mysterious Andrew who sent the email.  
Of course, it is unethical for a police officer to lie, but not illegal.  We intended to subpoena “Andrew” to appear in court to testify during the trial. Was this the reason the charges were no-papered?  Did the other arrests taking place in July inside the Senate and House of Representatives buildings over Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act overwhelm the court dockets? 
Regardless of the reason our cases were dismissed, the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance is gearing up for another action in the fall called Healthcare Not Warfare.  We will make a demand for improved Medicare for All. 
Let me know if you would like to join us.  Again the action is planned to be commemorative of the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s Riverside Church speech.Another anniversary to commemorate in 2017 is that of the ending of the Great War in 1917.  Randolph Bourne, a writer who died in 1918 of the flu epidemic brought on by World War I, understood a predicament which we are still protesting today: “War is the health of the State. It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate co-operation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense.” 
Have common sense, not larger herd sense, and join us in direct action calling for funding healthcare for all instead of the profiting from warfare by the few. 
Max Obuszewski is with the Baltimore Nonviolence Center 
“One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better" - Daniel Berrigan 
Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Dirty Blue Angels To Pollute The Air As Recruiting Stunt Today #PentagonClimateCrime

Bruce Gagnon bringing this truth to a march in Portland, Maine. Environmental activists ignore the Pentagon's carbon footprint at their peril because the military is a HUGE contributor to greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

Today Brunswick, Maine will have yet another Blue Angels air show, a petroleum burning exercise billed as entertainment but admittedly intended as an aid to recruitment among poor Maine kids so they'll consider joining the military.

Local peaceworkers will be on hand to protest the show from 9am to noon.
Image: ARRT!
What's the CO2 output of this "entertaining" spectacle? Some people have done the math.
Those Dirty Blue Angels
Dear San Francisco Chronicle Editors:
At a time when climate change is front and center as a global concern, in a state that is the front runner in addressing the US's global warming mitigation strategies, in a city which has created a Climate Action Plan with the goals of reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2012, what are the Blue Angels doing performing in San Francisco, CA? 
According to the Blue Angels and US Navy's own webeites, one F/A-18 uses approximately 8,000 pounds or 1,300 gallons of JP-5 jet fuel during a show and over the course of a year, including transportation, training, etc., the squadron, including Fat Albert, burns approximately 3.1 million gallons of fuel. 
Image: Anthony Freda
Using jet fuel carbon emissions estimates provided by Earthlab to be 23.88 pounds of CO2 per gallon*, each Blue Angel flight produces 31,044 lbs of CO2, with a total yearly emissions of 740 million lbs of CO2 over the United States. With four scheduled shows with six planes each per show during Fleet week, that would be 745,056 lbs of CO2 emitted over San Francisco in a two-day period, not including practice flights. 
I hope that when San Francisco became the first city in the US to certify its greenhouse gas emissions, it didn?t forget to include its yearly guests, the Blue Angels. 
In a state of shock and awe, 
Elizabeth Dougherty    October 5, 2007 
*Source Information:

As seen in the photo above, the Blue Angels burned napalm on the runway as a grand finale during their last show in Brunswick.

I've heard from several people objecting to air shows like the Blue Angels. I object to the carbon footprint while many who live around air show venues cite the high levels of noise that everyone in the area experiences. 

Mainer Joe Ciarocca had an op-ed in the Bath-Brunswick Times Record with links to the health risks of exposure to excessive levels of noise and vibration. Joe wrote:
Some people will attend this air show with the attitude, “it’s only for an afternoon and everything will be okay and we will survive.”  Are we so easily entertained that we would buy into something that’s not safe...? 
On a daily basis we are exposed to much noise and air pollution.  We have become acclimated to and have normalized this condition.

If you object to the Blue Angels air show in Brunswick, you can contact the Maine Regional Redevelopment Authority which manages the venue in Brunswick:


15 Terminal Road, Suite 200
Brunswick, ME 04011
Phone: 207-798-6512
Fax: 207-798-6510
Office hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 4:30pm. Closed on major holidays.
Or use their online contact form here. Or contact them via twitter (@mrramaine) or on their facebook page
Contact the Town of Brunswick:
Brunswick Town Hall, 85 Union Street, Brunswick, Maine 04011  Phone: (207) 725-6659
Contact your Maine state representatives and senators:
Website with contact info:
Contact Maine’s representatives and senators in Washington DC:
(202) 224-3121  Capitol switchboard to reach Rep. Pingree, Rep. Poliquin, Sen. King & Sen. Collins
Write a letter to the editor:

Friday, August 25, 2017

War Profiteers Winning In Afghanistan, School Kids Losing In USA

The announcement that more resources would pour into the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan confirms that, no matter who is in the White House, war profiteers are in the driver's seat of U.S. government. Photo:
It's no surprise that the swamp got the demagogue with bad hair to embrace imperial overreach and come out as a supporter of ramping up the 16 year war in Afghanistan.

War profiteers like Erik Prince of Blackwater -- which made a bundle on the U.S. war in Iraq -- are insiders in a regime that has incorporated ever more military personnel into supposedly civilian posts like Chief of Staff. War profiteers like Lockheed meanwhile pour millions of dollars a month into lobbying members of Congress who are alleged to represent the people.

How to fund these long, expensive, designed not to be winnable wars?

A recent action alert from my union, the National Education Association, gives a hint:
The FY 2018 education funding bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee recently is a frightening read in its disregard for the welfare of the millions of students who attend public schools, and the educators who teach in them. 
The House spending bill:
  • Cuts education spending by $2.4 billion.
  • Completely eliminates Title II (within ESSA), which funds class-size reduction, professional development, and more.
  • Slashes 21st Century Community Learning Centers that provide afterschool services to students most in need.
  • Fails to increase funding for Title I, despite record numbers of low-income students in need of the services it provides.

Third grade teacher Teresa Danks made international news this summer by literally begging for the $2,000 or so she spends annually in her classroom. She's been a teacher in for decades and her annual salary in Oklahoma is around $35,000. She says: “I want the proper tools to do my job well. I wouldn’t ask somebody to build my house with a spoon.”

I've objected to U.S. imperial wars on the basis that they're morally wrong, that they're racist, that they churn out tons of carbon pollution, that they harm or kill soldiers and their families, and that we can't afford to pay for them.

"Drug War? American Troops Are Protecting Afghan Opium. U.S. Occupation Leads to All-Time High Heroin Production"

I could also add that the occupation of Afghanistan specifically is fueling the U.S. heroin crisis by making the byproduct of opium poppies cheap and readily available (ka-ching goes the CIA cash register). 

All these pleas have fallen on deaf ears. There is no reason to believe that the militaristic cabal brought the demagogue with bad hair to heel will listen to the voice of the people.

My government no longer represents me. But it hasn't succeeded in silencing me yet, and so as another school year begins -- when hungry children who need sneakers and backpacks and a safe place out of the weather come trundling back to school -- I say:


Friday, August 18, 2017

Report Back From A Medic On The Scene In Charlottesville

Report from the streets of Charlottesville via a friend, Xan Joi, on facebook:

This is a first hand account of Charlottesville from a medic who was on the ground through the weekend. 
I rarely post politics or anything else on Facebook .... But let me be clear. I was acting as a medic in Charlottesville. "Both sides"-ing about it is absolutely unacceptable. Content note: I'm going to get quite graphic here, because while I understand that there's quite a range of political viewpoints among my Facebook friends, I want to *get this point through to everyone whatever your politics*. 
In the run-up to that weekend, some local counterprotest organizers' families were forced to flee their homes because of violent threats. Some of them had "bodyguards" - friends escorting them everywhere they went that week, even to the grocery store, work, all the mundane places that people go in their normal lives. 
On Friday night, a torch-wielding mob chanting Nazi and other racist slogans (e.g. "blood and soil," "Jews will not replace us"), some doing Nazi salutes, surrounded, screamed "White lives matter" and "anti-white" at, a small group of college student counterprotesters who had linked arms around a statue and had a banner. They then threw fuel at them, beat them with lit torches, pepper-sprayed them, and punched them (including pepper-spraying a girl in a wheelchair). 
The police mostly stood by until the nazis were gone. A medic who was wearing a kippah (a Jewish skullcap) was followed in the dark by one of the nazis, and took it off after that so as not to be targeted. A university librarian who joined the students to try to protect them has now had a stroke. At some point that evening, the torch-wielders also surrounded a black church while chanting racist slogans. All of this not only hurt people that night but set expectations for how the white nationalists would behave the next day. 
On Saturday morning, a line of clergy, along with a gradually growing group of other protesters, showed up outside the nazi rally (given the iconography, including swastikas, the Black Sun, and fasces, and the chants, of involved groups, I don't have a problem using that word, don't let anyone fool you into thinking these were mainstream conservative groups that are being described hyperbolically), facing militia movement members who were carrying assault rifles. There was shouting back and forth, and a small early fistfight where a nazi punched a nearby counterprotester who spilled coffee on him. Nazis were screaming antisemitic things at rabbis in the clergy line, and chanting "blood and soil" in response to the clergy singing "This little light of mine." 
At one point, some clergy did a peaceful blockade of one of the park entrances, which was forcibly broken by an incoming white nationalist group with skulls painted on their shields. The heavy bidirectional fighting, though, mostly got going after a group of counterprotesters nonviolently blocked the way of an oncoming group of white nationalists, who broke through the blockade with clubs and heavy shields. 
Some people defended themselves as the white nationalists kept charging and swinging clubs. After that, there were fistfights and club-fights breaking out all around, nazis pepper-spraying and tear-gassing counterprotest crowds, plastic water bottles thrown in both directions. A nazi group that didn't know where the entrance to the park was added to the street fights. Some clergy ran to shield vulnerable people with their bodies, and those clergy were protected by antifa-associated counterprotesters - multiple clergy/theologians have said that they would have been "crushed" and maybe killed if antifa had not protected them.
This went on for a long time. For most of this, the police stood around. Eventually, they cleared both sides out of the area. 
The town's synagogue is a short distance from the park. Throughout the day, nazis paraded by it doing the Nazi salute and shouting antisemitic slurs. The police had refused to provide a guard to the synagogue for some reason, so it had hired its own armed guard. There were threats of burning it down coming in. It had to cancel a havdalah service at a congregant's house that evening out of fear of attack. 
The march that was attacked with a car by James Fields was that afternoon. What street fighting had happened was long-since over by then. It was a happy march, it was not fighting anyone. The car attack came out of nowhere and the aftermath looked like a war zone. It hit the front of the march as the march was going around a corner, and many people weren't sure what had happened at first, people were screaming about a bomb. In addition to the woman who died, many people had serious injuries. A medic who was hit had to have emergency surgery to not lose her leg. A 13 year-old girl and her mom were among the injured. The street was covered in blood. The firefighters and paramedics were great. The police, on the other hand, rolled in an armored vehicle and threatened the crowd of survivors with a tear gas launcher. Police officers ordered the medics who were performing CPR on the woman who died to leave her and clear the area. They refused, and bystanders negotiated with the police to leave them alone. 
There were several other incidents throughout the afternoon where white nationalists/nazis/whatever were menacing small groups of wandering counterprotesters with their cars, swerving toward them on the sidewalk like they were going to hit them, that kind of thing, including after the car attack. At one point my medic buddy and I were about 50 feet ahead of such a group and heard screeching car sounds and screams, and ran back, thinking for a second that there had been another terrorist attack and that this time we were the only medics on site, but fortunately it was just a scare - the driver then "rolled coal" (intentionally emitting a dark cloud of exhaust) at the people on the sidewalk before driving away. There was also an incident at some point where a young black man was badly beaten by white nationalists in a parking garage. 
There is no "both sides" here. I mean, first of all, there is no moral both sides because antifascists and nazis aren't morally the same, period. Disrupting nazis isn't the same as being one, period. But there was also no "both sides" even beyond that. Mutual street fighting primarily kicked off by an attack from the opposing side, doesn't compare to mowing people down with a car, to threatening a synagogue and a black church, to stalking someone for being visibly Jewish, to being part of a Nazi-slogan-screaming mob that surrounds and attacks peaceful college kids and could have easily killed one of them if the fuel thrown on a couple of them had been lit by one of the many thrown or swung torches.
Don't let anyone fool you into thinking the Saturday rally was starting out just a rally like others, but with racist assholes. The people organizing counterprotests, whose families had to flee town, would probably take issue with that. The black church and the synagogue, the synagogue congregant who had to cancel a religious/cultural ceremony out of fear, and the ones who had to leave the building in groups out the back entrance to avoid attack, would probably take issue with that. The people who were physically attacked, on Friday night, by those in town for the Saturday rally, would probably take issue with that. 
Don't elide the difference in the questions of whether hate speech should be criminalized, and how communities and their supporters should protect themselves when people who are already threatening to kill them roll into town to rally and then physically attack community members before their rally while the police don't stop it. Don't invoke the Civil Rights Movement to elide it, or tsk-tsk people who were on the ground in Cville. The Civil Rights Movement had its Deacons for Defense and Justice, and similar groups. Just as importantly, many of the leading lights of the Civil Rights Movement were murdered. If you think the only valid kind of activism in response to racist hate is martyrdom, you need to at least think through the implications of that belief. 
I did not have a good weekend and I have no interest in hearing comments about how, despite everything I saw and everything I said here, you think this is a "both sides" thing. If you find my activism unacceptable you are welcome to unfriend me.
To see some of the events described above, check out this documentary from a Vice reporter in Charlottesville (direct link here

Thursday, August 17, 2017

War -- Whether Civil Or The War On Terror -- Fueled By Racism

Charlotte resident Cory Long, an elder care worker, practices self-defense by turning a white supremacist weapon against white supremacists.
All my blogging plans for summer are out the window. Describing the environmental harm caused by giving the Pentagon more than half the federal budget each year was my planned focus. Highlighting specific U.S. military bases abroad for the harm they do to the people and other life forms around them has also now moved to the back burner.

Because. Charlottesville.

"White Supremacists Rally Against Lee Statue Removal" by Emily Leahman, Patch May 15, 2017 

It's not the first time white supremacists marched on Charlottesville recently. May and July both saw them gathering their forces. Then this now infamous NRA video stoked the false narrative of violence on both sides. It essentially called on followers to "cut down the tall trees" a la Rwanda, and the convergence of heavily armed white supremacy forces August 11 and 12 in Virginia took things to a whole new level.

This month is not the first time that our corporate government made false claims about violence originating from anti-racist and Black Lives Matter folks.

But, it might be the first time that police were told to stand down in the face of white supremacist forces armed with torches, assault rifles and body armor terrorizing residents of a U.S. city. (Have police departments nationwide been infiltrated by white supremacists? You be the judge.)

It's certainly the first time that a U.S. president has deliberately stoked and fanned the flames of civil war.

It makes me think about all the racist wars I've opposed over the course of 60 years, and how the millions like me have slowly stood down  so that now the peace movement in the U.S. mostly looks elderly. And dwindling.

The Intercept "Why Do North Koreans Hate Us? One Reason -- They Remember The Korean War" by Mehdi Hassan
Photo: Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images
The Korean war my father volunteered for to begin six decades of occupation? He certainly experienced it as racist. And he came home a "n___ lover" according to his fellow soldiers stationed at Fort Benning in Georgia in 1955, where black people were still being forced to use separate drinking fountains and bathrooms.

Vice: "Vietnam had good food and beautiful women" Photo: Tim Page  

The Vietnam war I demonstrated against in high school? Super racist. (I could illustrate every one of these wars with political cartoons intended to dehumanize the targets of U.S. military aggression. But my goal is not to spread hate speech by repeating it.)

Uncensored History "Rape and abuse of Japanese women by American soldiers WW2"
Ongoing occupation of Japan I experienced as a young mother living in Tokyo? Racist against the Japanese (who I found to be, ironically, quite racist themselves against the Koreans they conscripted into labor and sex, and who remained in Japan as perpetual non-citizens).

Bombing and sometimes occupation of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Phillipines? Racist wars on brown children and their families trying to get to school or grow food or get married.

Threatening to drop atomic bombs on North Korea, which would also result in the devastation of South Korea (two countries created by white people partitioning the ancient kingdom of Korea at the end of WWII)? Racist.

Haaretz "Palestinian workers from Hebron at Tarqumiya Checkpoint"

Military "aid" to Israel to occupy and terrorize the indigenous population in Palestine? Uber racist.

A few of our imperial moves have been against white people, though. You can read here about the U.S. supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine in 2014, and police there standing idle while militias chased trade unionists into a building and then set fire to it.

But why confine the list to my lifetime?

The original sin of the U.S. founders was not enslaving African people. What preceded that stain on our collective karma was the slaughter of Native people of North America. Genocide based on race was the first step to white Europeans occupying and plundering a rich continent.

The U.S. Army still refers to enemy territory in whatever part of the globe they've brought their weapons to as "in country" which is short for "Indian country."

Slavery -- which continues to this day in conscripted prison labor that exploits people of color -- involves a lot of violence, including sexual violence (Thomas Jefferson first raped his slave Sally Hemings when she was 14 years old).

The first U.S. civil war was fought over slavery and other economic power struggles.

Reuters "A Sheriff's deputy stands near the toppled statue of a Confederate soldier in front of the old Durham County Courthouse in Durham, North Carolina"

The second will apparently be fought over whether or not to remove symbolic statues of the generals who fought to keep overt enslavement of Africans and their descendants as the law of the land. And the symbolic Confederate flag that flew over the slave states.

On August 19 we'll probably see the next battle, in Boston, a northern city with a long history of both vicious racism and resistance to it. 

Lots of white supremacists in and around Boston -- I'll include Maine here, once part of Massachusetts -- fly the Confederate flag.

I drive past the flag every day on my way to teach school in impoverished central Maine. I've attempted to get school administration to address students who fly the flag from their pickup trucks and, when I failed, I've addressed the students about this myself. Their response: just following family tradition, my grandpappy had the Confederate flag on his semi. It means we're rebels, not racists. Right.

A local business in the town where I do a weekly peace vigil was seen in the past displaying support for the racist "Indian" mascot of Skowhegan High School, and then recently had a truck parked outside all day flying the Confederate flag.

A sign of the times is that Charlottesville represents a turning point for many people, forcing them to pick a side on the notion of overt, violent white supremacy. (The polite kind that stayed quiet will now be consigned to the dustbin of history). Here's what the owner of Al's Pizza in Skowhegan sent as a response to my objection to flying the Confederate flag:
We did have a female employee who has had a confederate flag on her truck for several weeks, since buying the truck with her hard earned money. As owners and as a business we don’t support everything that the flag stands for and certainly don’t agree with how it’s been used recently throughout the country. That being said, we did support her right to display it. Given the tragic events in Virginia this weekend and the increasing turmoil around the entire country, we did make the decision, last night, to ask this employee to take down her flag while she’s at work.  
Let me further reiterate and clarify a couple of things. She had this flag on her truck for several weeks, it was not in response at anything that happened in Charlottesville this past weekend. She is not a white supremacist, she had chosen to display the flag as a tribute to her families Southern roots.  
As a long standing business and supporter of the Skowhegan community, we are not looking to put ourselves in the middle of a political debate. We prefer to focus on making really good food! We’re looking forward to continuing to do that for many years to come. Finally, our thoughts are with all of those affected in Charlottesville.  
Regards,Chad Partridge - Owner
I am not surprised by people who will continue to insist that they not be put in the middle of a political debate. White people in the U.S. have long hidden behind an amoral, valueless kind of "politeness" that precludes their discussing racism or wars on brown people. 

When my husband had the courage to announce a next day opportunity to stand with Charlottesville at a gathering of liberals celebrating political satire from years gone by, it was received with about the same reaction as a turd in the punchbowl: quickly averted gaze followed by rapid departure.

Waterville Morning Sentinel "Protesters on bridge in Skowhegan decry white nationalism" by Doug Harlow  Aug. 13, 2017

That's ok. My man knows the importance of being brave enough to take a stand at this point in U.S. history.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Farthest North Support For Charlottesville: Skowhegan, Maine

My Uncle Dale from Australia and Greg Williams in Skowhegan on Sunday, August 13. This is two days
after civil violence broke out when white supremacists beat and killed people in Charlottesville, Virginia because that city
voted to remove statues honoring Confederate generals who fought to preserve slavery.

I think our protest of white nationalist attacks in Charlottesville was the farthest north of many actions in Maine and the nation over the weekend.

Sad for the occasion but happy to see Tamar, Paul, Brian R., Greg, Linda, Fang, Grace, Abby, Amanda, Mark, Dale, Jeff, Carly, Finn, Connor, Chris, Marnie, and Brian P. with an out of town friend (sorry, I forgot her name) with me on the Margaret Chase Smith Bridge.

The story in our local newspaper by Doug Harlow and David Leaming of the Waterville Morning Sentinel was headlined: "Protesters on Sunday in Skowhegan decry white nationalism."

L to R: Tamar Etingen, Greg Williams, reporter Doug Harlow and Abby Shahn

Doug accurately quoted me as saying:

“The rise of the hate groups is also an effect of right wing propaganda stirring up discontented, underemployed people whose lives will not be better than those of their parents,” she said. “It’s an old strategy. Familiar.” 
Savage said she doesn’t dehumanize those marching with tiki torches because everyone is confused at times about events in their lives.

All of the photos are ones I took yesterday. The paint was still wet on the signs when we loaded them into the van at home. It was wetter still after the downpour that happened mid-protest where many of us piled into the van to wait out the rain. Lots of weather is par for the course when protesting in Maine.

My favorite unarmed civilian Mark Roman remembering 32 year-old Heather Heyer.
She was killed by white supremacist James A. Fields, Jr. who was arrested after
driving into a crowd of antiracist protesters in Charlottesville on August 13, 2017.

Journalists seem to want these protests to be about the demagogue with bad hair. So do many of the Democratic Party organizers (of which I am not one). Yes, the rhetoric issuing from the White House was better during the Obama years. But Black Lives Matter came about on Obama and Eric Holder's watch.

Allowing police to kill black people without being prosecuted to the full extent of the law has emboldened white supremacists in the USA.

They think their time has come. They are so wrong.

Did you know that in the last U.S. census 32% more people checked more than one box under race? White supremacy is destined for the dumpster of history. 

Many politicians seemed to recognize this, but the demagogue with bad hair stuck to his corporate government talking points: decry the violence on "both sides" [sic]. Corporate media toed the line as well, consistently referring to "conflict" rather than white supremacist militias assembling in a city and attacking its black residents while police stood idly by.

Charlottesville will be seen in retrospect as a turning point. Those who remain silent in the face of white supremacist hate talk and violence are now complicit. 

You can take action today by contacting Al's Pizza in Skowhegan which has an employee's truck parked in their lot displaying a large Confederate flag for hours at a time. Call (207) 474-3100 or facebook message at
While you're at it, ask them why they sometimes display window signs defending the racist mascot of the local high school.

Why focus on the Confederate flag? Here's a quote from the article about James A. Fields, Jr's teachers who knew that he was a neo-Nazi and worried that they did not do more to educate him when they had the chance:
[Derek Weimar] recalled how an African-American cheerleader was very uncomfortable having to ride in a parade being carried by a pickup truck with a large Confederate flag sticker.

Stick up for the cheerleader. Stick up for Native athletes who must play under a racist logo. 

Stick up for the kind of society that you want to live in.