Thursday, March 28, 2019

What Could The $32 Million Per Hour The U.S. Has Spent On War Since 2001 Fund Instead?

The U.S. spends $32 million per HOUR on war. That's the best calculation of the financial impact of our policy of projecting force since 2001, conducted by the brainy folks at Brown University's Costs of War project.

What else could $32 million per hour buy that politicians are fond of telling hand-to-mouth Americans we can't afford?
Instead, U.S. taxpayers fund the stock buybacks of already mega wealthy weapons manufacturers like General Dynamics. Why? Because their lobbyists own your representatives in Congress.

We here in Maine have said "ENOUGH!" to this polluting, undemocratic scheme for years now. Specifically, we have called for the conversion of GD's Bath Iron Works shipyard to building sustainable energy solutions to address the biggest threat to everyone's security on the planet.

Our bought and paid for reps and senators will cry, "But what about the jobs!"

They know full well that building sophisticated weapon systems like Zumwalt destroyers is an inefficient jobs program, and that investing the same amount in anything from my list above would actually produce far more jobs. Even just giving ordinary taxpayers a rebate would generate more jobs.

But defense contractors are big contributors to their campaign funds.

Below are excerpt's from peaceworker Bruce Gagnon's report back on planning to oppose the "christening" of yet another war ship in Maine on April 27. This one is named after Lyndon B. Johnson, the president who presided over the escalation of the Vietnam war after JFK was assassinated. I'm old enough to remember college students at the time chanting, "LBJ, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" in reference to large scale bombing of civilians. Naming a war ship after LBJ is an attempt to revise history and U.S. attitudes toward the Vietnam war.

Those interested in reading about past civil disobedience at General Dynamics/BIW in Bath can check out my archived blog posts here (Aegis 9) and here (Zumwalt 12).

Report from BIW 'LBJ christening' meeting
by Bruce Gagnon

Eleven people from around Maine met today in Brunswick to do more planning for the upcoming Bath Iron Works ‘LBJ christening’ of the 3rd Zumwalt destroyer at the shipyard on Saturday, April 27.

We discussed several scenarios for our legal non-violent protest on April 27 and decided to line up along the Washington St sidewalk just across from the post office on the north end of the shipyard at 8:30 am with signs, banners and literature. Gates for those ‘invited’ to the christening will open at 9:00 am. 


Our new leaflet entitled ‘Why Bath Iron Works Must Convert: Climate Crisis Demands Conversion!’ has been printed and was handed out in bulk today for statewide distribution.  If you’d like some to hand out before and/or after the April 27 BIW event please let Bruce Gagnon know how many you want and he will mail them to you. 

We also want to encourage everyone to write a Letter to the Editor in your local newspaper (daily and/or weekly) about your concerns regarding the LBJ.

We urge those bringing signs or banners on April 27th to please consider making the theme around the conversion of the shipyard to build commuter rail, wind turbines, tidal power systems and other sustainable technologies to help us deal with our real problem – climate change.

Thank you all.  The meeting ended with a strong sense of community and commitment.  The people must act non-violently and boldly in order to create the kind of ‘social tension’ needed to open the way for real change as MLK often said.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Downeast Brother: I Would Feel Embarrassed Running In A Tank-top With A Picture Of A Native American's Head On It

UC Santa Cruz where one of my nieces went to school has a great mascot: the banana slug.

Some of the strongest testimony to the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee about banning Native mascots was given by two boys who were skipping school. 😂

I found out yesterday that theirs was not the only family that sat down together to write statements they would submit for the public record. As a teacher, I consider this a highly educational activity even before the public speaking component is added!

Because their mom witnessed the harassment of another speaker while he was at the podium (a Skowhegan I#$%^* Pride supporter passed directly behind and hissed an obscenity at him in a stage whisper), she has shared these with me but asked that I not identify her sons by name or school.

Senator Millett, Representative Kornfield, and honorable members of the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs,

I am here to support LD 944, An Act to Ban Native American Mascots in All Public Schools. First, I want everybody to remember that Native Americans are people with feelings, not an animal or an object that should be used for a mascot, like a hornet or a dog.

Bowdoin College in Brunswick where I went to school has a polar bear mascot.

The mascots are not honoring, they are taking what is not ours and using it to represent us. Wabanaki people have kept saying that they do not feel honored, but the exact opposite. We invaded them for their land, and used them as symbols for sports teams, but they are people. Not mascots that somebody thought up.

I am on my school’s cross-country team. Our school mascot is a ripped bulldog. I would feel terrible and embarrassed running across a finish line with dozens of people watching me in a tank-top with a picture of a Native American’s head on it. 

The American Psychological Association has stated that racist mascots teach non-Native kids to discriminate against Native kids. While affecting non-Native kids in one way, it also harms Native kids’ self-esteem.

In conclusion, please make the right choice and pass the LD944 bill. Thank you.

(9-year-old Downeast brother)

Senator Millett, Representative Kornfield, and honorable members of the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs,

I am here to support the bill LD944, An Act to Ban Native American Mascots in All Public Schools.

Albert and Alberta are the Gator mascots of the University of Florida at Gainesville

When you think about a mascot, what do you picture? Most mascots are either animals or professions. That means that when you put a group of people on a mascot, it is putting them on the same level as dogs. That just isn't alright.

You wouldn't have the mascot be the Chinese or the African Americans or even the Caucasians, so why do it to any other ethnic group?  

Imagine this scenario. The thumbs up is obviously a good thing for people in the USA, but not for some other countries. You don’t know this, and you go into another country where thumbs up is offensive and you congratulate a friend there with a thumbs up. The friend gets upset, and they ask you why you made an insulting gesture. You say you didn’t know that was an insult, apologize, and you don’t proceed to flaunt the thumbs up sign. You don’t say that it is respecting them, because it isn’t. It’s the same way for mascots.

When a group of people depicted by a mascot says they don’t want it, you don’t say you are respecting them, you just drop the mascot.

Whenever a group of people is depicted on a mascot, someone is going to get upset, and schools are supposed to be protecting people and helping them when they are upset. That means that in the moral code of schools, no group of people should be put on a mascot. Just keep it to the animals.

As a study by the American Psychological Association says, Native American mascots are hurting all students. They teach non-native children to be racist, and they make a hostile environment for Native students, as well as damaging their self-esteem. Please make the right choice, and pass the bill.

Thank you.

(12-year-old Downeast brother)

Incidentally, these boys also conducted research by listening to the testimony of Skowhegan students in a video of  the school board's public forum on January 8.

It consoles me to know that the whole mascot debacle has been an occasion for educating youth around the state in the English Language Arts I love: research, writing, listening and speaking.

I'll bet there was some reading in there, too. Woot!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Andrew Bourassa: Scalp Towel Gets To The Heart Of Why We Need State Leadership On Mascots

Overflow turnout at yesterday's public hearing for Maine's bill to ban Native mascots in public schools produced seven speakers in opposition to the bill and at least twice that many in favor. LD 944 now proceeds to a work session (not yet scheduled) before the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs votes on whether or not to recommend passage of the bill by the full legislature.

Andrew Bourassa, Early Childhood Education Coach at KVCAP Child & Family Services which operates MSAD 54's preK programs, had the quote of the day when he told the Education committee:

"The scalp towel gets to the heart of why we need state leadership on mascots."

Bourassa also noted that "local control is surpassed by civil rights" and that Skowhegan "needs the government to be the adult in the room."

Some context for his remarks was muted when the committee chair asked the previous speaker, Mark Roman of Solon, to refrain from repeating examples of hate talk aimed at Maulian and Barry Dana, Penobscot Indians who have led the successful effort to retire Skowhegan's Native mascot. "We will read them," Rep. Victoria Kornfield told Roman after interrupting him to ask if it was desirable to amplify hate speech. 

This gave Roman a chance to model the very thing that mascot changers in Skowhegan have been teaching all along: if someone says your actions harm them, listen -- and be willing to change.

Both Kornfield and my wonderful husband spoke respectfully to each other and resolved their disagreement.

Barry Dana kicked off yesterday's testimony with a moving description of his own experiences playing sports for the Old Town Indians which changed their mascot years ago. He questioned whether Native mascots honor as they are said to do, and made the historical observation:

"Being fierce warriors didn't work out so well for us...we've been trying to be diplomats for 500 years."

Dana also noted that "it is a challenge for Native students to be successful" and they don't need additional blocks that lower their self-esteem. "Would you want to allow your schools to harm your students?"

Other speakers of note yesterday included Sherri Mitchell (Penobscot) and Dwayne Tomah (Passamoquoddy).  Unfortunately I missed their testimony because I was in a meeting.

Five members of the MSAD 54 school board: Peggy Lovejoy, Derek Ellis, Sarah Bunker, Kathy Wilder -- all in favor -- and of course Jennifer Poirier, who leads the opposition in Skowhegan. According to my husband, Poirier's testimony drew heavily on material from NAGA, the organization associated with the Washington DC football team with the racist name.

One of LD 944's co-sponsors, Rep. Lois Galgay Rickett, described cutting off the offensive logo of that team from fan gear she had purchased "and I've survived nicely."

Bunker noted that there was a school board election going forward that very day in the MSAD 54 town of Canaan serving as a sort of referendum on the local mascot issue where Board Chair Dixie Ring was running for re-election. I woke this morning to find the good news that she won against a write-in candidate vowing to restore the Indian mascot at Skowhegan area schools. Ring previously told a reporter for the local paper that she had listened to Native people and changed her mind on the mascot issue.

My favorite speaker during the time I was able to listen to the audio feed from the hearing was a nine year old who spoke just after his mother. I didn't catch his first name but was riveted by his articulate and well-reasoned testimony. Also envious of the curriculum his older sibling described receiving in downeast Maine at the middle school level. 

Skowhegan students had less flattering things to say about their district's educational efforts around Maine Native history and culture.  Adelle Belanger, a senior who represented SAHS at Girls State last summer, described her four years:
We used to have this one day. Freshman year we had actual Native Americans come and talk but we weren’t allowed to ask them questions about the mascot. Sophomore year we had one website with a bunch of broken links... Junior year fell on a snow day. Nothing yet this year. 
Anyone claiming that we are getting education by having a mascot of Native Americans: that’s not true.

My favorite citizen lobbyist on environmental issues, Hilary Lister, pointed out that "the institutional endorsement" of Native mascots is a form of bullying. She described her own high school years at Nokomis when the Warrior was their mascot, "a stereotypical silhouette with Western headdress" support for which "manifested in ways that were really mocking." She described fake war dances and whooping, "mockery of a culture...while everyone sat silent...When you allow a person to be a mascot, it's easy to turn them into a stereotype."

Speakers in opposition had long since ceased when the final speaker in favor came to the microphone, a woman whose name I unfortunately missed. She sealed the deal by describing Maine's developing reputation as a racist state due to headlines generated by our former governor's many racist remarks to the press, and a white supremacist who gained notoriety before he was fired from his position as town manager in Jackman.

"I have childhood friends who are afraid to visit me here," she told the committee. "We have an opportunity with this bill to turn that around."

Amen to that, sister.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Top 10 Reasons Why Maine Should Ban Native Mascots For School Sports

Photo shared by Jeff McCabe on Facebook.
The public hearing for LD 944, An Act to Ban Native Mascots in All Public Schools, is coming up. On Monday, March 25 at 1pm the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee of the 129th Maine legislature is in for quite a show.

Skowhegan "I#$%*& Pride" (SIP) supporters disrupted this week's school board meeting by chanting football cheers to show their displeasure at the board's vote on March 7 to retire the mascot

I imagine SIP thinks the Education committee can be swayed by their outpouring of support (they claim to have gathered 4,000 signatures calling for a referendum vote to overturn the school board's decision).

It's a mystery to me why the group waited until after the school board had debated the issue for months and held a vote to start their petition. Maybe they thought the school board vote would go their way, and they were unpleasantly surprised when it did not? The vote was not particularly close on March 7, with 14 voting in favor of change and 9 against; this translates to 558 for change vs. 441 against in the complicated representation scheme and weighted voting system of the Electoral College of school boards.

There was so much harassment and intimidation of board members who voted in 2015 in an unsuccessful attempt at retiring the mascot that several members of the current board kept mum about their views and voting intentions until the night of March 7.

I also received a threat of violence aimed at my weekly peace vigil on the bridge in Skowhegan, posted by Anonymous as a comment on my blog post after the vote:

Read the post and all comments here. A harasser from SIP did show up on the bridge last Sunday during our vigil, but the police chief had sent officers to monitor the situation, and no violence occurred.

Who will testify for change on Monday? Hopefully the ACLU of Maine. Maybe representatives from the governor and her education department, who have already come out in favor of changing the last Native high school mascot in Maine. Definitely Native representatives will be there.

I have to work, but my husband plans to attend and will give a ride to folks that want to get to Augusta but don't have access to a car that day.

I've already sent my written testimony to the Edu committee and received a reply from Rep. Michael Brennan who said he intends to support the bill. Yay! (Email addresses for the committee and text of my letter here). 

For those who have yet to weigh in here are my

Top 10 reasons why Maine should ban Native mascots and team names for school sports:

Screenshot of a sports booster item mocking the fact that Native people's scalps were sought by bounty hunters in colonial times.

1. Educational outcomes are adversely affected by discriminatory practices including stereotyping, mocking cultural customs, and cartoonish depictions of marginalized groups. Studies by psychologists have shown that not only the targeted group suffers; indeed, all students suffer when an educational entity appears to support discrimination.

2. Native parents and other elders have reported for years how painful it is to explain to young children at sporting events why their culture is being mocked. Native people are and historically have been the targets of racism in multiple ways, including having their children kidnapped by state agencies and raised in foster homes where they were punished for speaking their own languages. Native people's practice of their traditional ceremonies was illegal until 1978; encountering mockery of said traditions at a school basketball game is jarring and understandably takes the fun out of showing up and rooting for your team.

Penobscot Ambassador Maulian Dana speaking at school board public forum in Skowhegan on January 8, 2019.

3. The Penobscot Nation, Passamaquoddy Tribe, Houlton Band of Maliseets and the Micmacs, Maine's federally recognized sovereign entities, have all sent representatives to request that MSAD 54 in Skowhegan retire their Native mascot/team name. They have expressed that they find it offensive, and that they do not feel honored as SIP claims the name is intended.

4. Schools are maintained by state funding and local tax revenues for the purpose of educating students, not placating alumni who can't seem to move beyond their high school years. Resources in Skowhegan have been diverted for years into debating the now-retired mascot; the board's budget process has fallen behind the usual timeline this spring, because so many meetings have been dominated by this one issue that concerns middle and high school sports teams.

Skowhegan Area Middle School student athlete Carly McCabe testifying to the school board on January 8 (full video of all testimonies is available here via Somerset Community TV 11).

5. Students in the last school district still using a Native team name reported being embarrassed to be called "I#$%^@*" by reporters and announcers at games. They report being reluctant to wear the team t-shirt or spending their own money to order, for example, a batting helmet without the offensive word printed on it. You can see video of their testimony to the school board at a public forum on January 8 here.

6. Skowhegan Area High School's representative to Girls State last summer reported feeling ostracized and embarrassed by her school district's reputation among other teens from around the state. She felt the need to stand up and explain that she is not racist. You can read her letter to the editor "Mascot puts town in bad light" here. Speech team judge and board member Amy Rouse testified to similar experiences at statewide speech tournaments, even though Skowhegan speech teams have not called themselves by a Native name for years now.

Photo by Ben Bulkeley "New mascot pumps up Wiscasset's fansWiscasset Newspaper, December 22, 2014.

7. Students in a school with a Native team name are unable to have a fun mascot in costume to perform at games. Schools that have changed found that choosing a new mascot and designing a costume for it to put the fun back into supporting their teams.

8. Horrific bullying -- including threats of violence, gang rape, (unsuccessful) attempts at getting changers in trouble at work, racial slurs and mockery of Native cultural practices -- characterize those who cling to Native team names. For example, on more than one occasion SIP has compared Native people with dogs.

screenshot from the Facebook group Skowhegan "I#$%@* Pride"
screenshot of a Twitter account claiming to represent Republicans in Skowhegan

9. If the bill passes, superintendents will be able to block regressive forces trying to turn back progress by noting that Native mascots are illegal in Maine. School districts can save on legal fees from actions addressing discrimination being brought against them, so superintendents can also argue that following the law is prudent from a financial perspective.

10. MAGA

Screenshot from YouTube video of Native elder Nathan Philips drumming and singing a song of peace while being mocked by students from Covington Catholic High School on a field trip in Washington DC, January 18, 2019.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Court Today For Activist Whose Dramatic Protests Bring Attention To Caged Kids #AbolishICE

Patricia Okoumou is a woman of conscience who could not stand by and watch children being separated from their parents and caged at the U.S.-Mexico border.

First on July 4 she climbed the Statue of Liberty with her banner and was arrested. I wrote about that at the time, and you can read that here.

In an interview with Democracy Now! this month she explained that the slogans on her attire are a response to the current First Lady who wore a jacket that said: I REALLY DON'T CARE DO U. Also Okoumou said she was inspired by our former First Lady, Michelle Obama, who was often targeted by ugly racists and who responded, "When they go low, we go high." 

Okoumou commented, "I went as high as I could."

Subsequently Okoumou, an immigrant herself from the Republic of Congo, targeted Juan Sanchez, a billionaire who profits from child detention in Texas. On Valentine's Day she joined a group shouting out love to the children kept inside, and calling for their release. Then she climbed Southwest Key, a building owned and operated by Sanchez. 

When Okoumou was interviewed by Paper magazine, reporter Michael Love Michael wrote that she said:
...the way conservative politicians talk about the family separation crisis is steeped in misleading and xenophobic rhetoric designed to keep people distracted. "You can't call human beings illegal; you can't call human beings aliens because our children are listening," she said. "Aliens come from outer space, and by calling our children that who want better lives, we are a detriment to them."

Most recently news that child separations and detentions were kept secret, that they generate profit for corporations like Northrup Gruman and Amazon, and that even infants have been separated from nursing mothers makes Okoumou's cause even more pressing for those who care what their government does in their name. 

Today activists will pack the courtroom in NYC for Okoumou's bail hearing. A bad judge sentenced her to house arrest claiming that she engages in activism because it is the only way she has to make a living. Shame on him. 

Those of us who can't be in court with Okoumou today can help by contributing to her defense fund and other expenses here:

Photo of an intact family protesting at City Hall in Los Angeles (source: Reuters)

Patricia Okoumou hears the children crying for their parents. Do you? (Trigger warning: this recording of their voices could make you cry, too).

Saturday, March 16, 2019

A Path Forward For The Students Of Skowhegan

Photo by Ben Bulkeley "New mascot pumps up Wiscasset's fans" Wiscasset Newspaper, December 22, 2014.
These articles about Wiscasset High School's change from "R#%^*(@#" to "Wolverines" -- and the special mascot costume they created to celebrate the change -- are inspiring! 

"Wiscasset High releases poll on proposals to replace controversial "R#%^*(@#" moniker" by Seth Koenig, Bangor Daily News, April 15, 2011.

"New mascot pumps up Wiscasset's fans" by Ben Bulkeley, Wiscasset Newspaper, December 22, 2014.

Photo by Ben Bulkeley, Wiscasset Newspaper, which reported that the Wolverine costume was specially designed with a fan inside the head using funds raised by the Wiscasset Boosters.
Now that the school board in Skowhegan voted on March 7 to retire the team name and move forward, the Skowhegan "I#$%^@ Pride" (SIP) group is lashing out. They've created a ridiculous logo using a sheriff's badge and the word "Outlaw" to keep their lost cause alive, and are revving up threats and falsehoods against those perceived as instrumental in the change.

Retired Penobscot Chief Barry Dana, father of Tribal Ambassador Maulian Dana, is one such person. Here's his response to a post in the Facebook group SIP claiming that he and his wife, Lori Dana, who served on the school board in her town for many years, turned their backs during the flag salute at the beginning of the March 7 meeting.

Barry Dana's response was removed from Facebook after Chretien's accusatory post was removed. It began by noting that he and his wife entered a very crowded meeting room and stood near the back. The two stood with a couple from Massachusetts and (what follows is a direct quote from Barry's post):

...talked. Then the announcement came for the pledge as it does at all sad 54 meeting of which I have been to several now. So, we stopped talking and faced towards the front of the room. Being behind so many people I never saw the flag.  
I do not pledge the flag, on account of the massacres of my ancestors . I see each of the 50 stars representing the 50 states where native genocide happened, i.e. norigwock massacre, the great swamp massacre, the trail of teas. wounded knee...and thousands more. 
I do however always stand for the flag as it does represent the tens of thousands of native people who have fought in foreign wars..many being my relatives...some never making it home 
So, someone, maybe this Derek decided that not crossing my heart and stating the pledge is somehow to be considered as "turning my back"...nice try Derek...but you lie...Liars lie 
The thread he started goes on with his people falling hook line and sinker for the lie...People believe what they want to 
If I so wanted to disrespect the flag, why didn't I "turn my back" at all the other school board meetings?...because I didn't then nor when he lied about me doing so....
Oh and their people also said I was kicked off the island for stealing money....more lies
They have the right to fight for their fake honoring, but why stoop to such a low level as to lie.... 
Please if anyone seeing this post can share it to this Derek, please do his faithful followers can see the truth ...even though they won't believe it.....with so many smart phones these days, seems so someone seeing me turn my back would have for the sake of the flag taken a pic and shared it far and wide by now

Barry, I don't know if you read my blog but I know that SIP people do, so I'm sharing your message here.

I note that one of the comments on the SIP thread also accuses a board member who voted for change, but doesn't use a name. I guess reciting the pledge of allegiance is mandatory in the minds of some people?

Let me come right out and say that I haven't recited the pledge in years, although I do stand out of respect for the feelings of the people around me. My issue is different from Barry's, though both are related to white supremacy and the violence it perpetrates.

I will start reciting the pledge again when my country stops using my tax dollars to bomb children asleep in their beds or on the bus to school in oil-rich lands.

I'm not ashamed of standing up for what I believe in. Luckily, the 1st Amendment protects my right to political speech, including not reciting a pledge of allegiance to the flag and the republic for which it stands, allegedly "with liberty and justice or all." Millions of Black and brown people are incarcerated for crimes that white people walk free for, or for trying to bring their families to the border to apply for asylum (safe refuge). Thousands of children and even babies are separated from their parents and caged in for-profit detention centers because of being brought to our border in a legal quest for safety.

Students in public schools are free to have their opinions, too. They can like one mascot or dislike another. They can stand for the pledge, or sit it out. These are the freedoms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. This is what our elected officials are sworn to uphold.

Good luck to the MSAD 54 school board on the path forward to a real mascot that dishonors no one.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning Back In Prison For Refusing To Testify In Secret

Chelsea Manning is a martyr to the 1st amendment.

I don't think that is too strong of a statement. After her complaints about illegal activity by the U.S. military in Iraq were ignored by her chain of command, Manning shared a trove of material on those war crimes including the now iconic "Collateral Murder" video.

U.S. army personnel shooting from a helicopter over Baghdad murdered, not only Reuters journalists engaged in their work, but a father who tried to evacuate the wounded men in a van containing his children. (He was just driving by and was thus rewarded for acting as a good Samaritan.)

In retaliation for leaking evidence of war crimes, Manning was first imprisoned in a cage in the desert in Iraq. There, she believed she would die of exposure and dehydration.

Then, she was shipped home and imprisoned at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia. I demonstrated with others outside Quantico (you can read my account of that here) after news that she was being tortured in detention reached me.

She spent nine months in solitary confinement.

Manning was subsequently imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. My husband and I demonstrated with others outside Leavenworth (see photo above, and you can read my account of that here), calling for her freedom. President Obama had promised to protect whistleblowers, but he did nothing of the kind. 

She was courtmartialed and held for years after that. As soon as that verdict was announced, she came out as transgender and changed her first name from Bradley to Chelsea. 

Finally, Obama gave her clemency for time served as he was leaving office. Her entire imprisonment and torture happened on his watch.

Very sadly, Manning is back in prison again. As the U.S. government continues to pursue the journalist Julian Assange, alleged to have received Manning's leaked war crime evidence, they have convened a grand jury that meets in secret. A subpoena to appear and testify before the grand jury was rejected by Manning on the grounds of secrecy. She has indicated that she will testify, but not in secret.

Both Manning and Assange continue to be targeted by the U.S. empire and its warmongering presidents. Their crime is not gunning down children or torturing innocent men at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo. Their crime: telling the truth to the American people.

To support Chelsea Manning you can go here for more information, including how to donate to her defense fund and how to send messages of support. She may be in prison for up to 18 months this time, or as long as the grand jury is impaneled. And the government can repeat their harassment of her.  "Chelsea Manning spoke to the press prior to be taken into custody, March 8, 2019, at the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia."

Why won't the federal government let Manning testify in public? What are they afraid she might reveal?

The Washington Post, which functions mostly as a mouthpiece for corporate government, has a new, somewhat ironic slogan. It refers to the demagogue with bad hair's attacks on the press; the Post and other corporate media are rightly worried that if the government can go after Assange for publishing inconvenient truths via Wikileaks, it can similarly go after them.

They should stand up for Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange now, before there are no journalists left unmuzzled to stand up for them.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

What Happens Near Vegas Doesn't Stay Near Vegas, As Drones Fly And Children Die

"Shut down Creech" action in Fall, 2018 shows the many countries where taxpayers in the U.S. fund flying killer robots that kill many innocent civilians.

Organizers for peace in the desert near Las Vegas are sharing this troubling video with a military commander glorifying and justifying the murders conducted from Creech Air Base in Nevada.

White keyboard warriors killing brown children without much risk to the themselves. Very brave.

Despite what this career military man thinks, "Hunters" do not deliver justice. How could burning up children in their beds at night, or celebrants at a wedding, or people grieving at a funeral, be justice?

Justice involves the rule of law, impartial courts, the ability to confront one's accuser and to respond to the charges against you. 

"We've decided you're collateral damage in an area we seek to control with drones flown from a safety zone thousands of miles away," is not anything resembling justice, and it's a big fat lie to suggest that it is.

The fact is that drone operators have been found to suffer from PTSD and moral injury, and their wives and families suffer when they do. 

Lining up the wives and lecturing them about how their warriors need their support so they can go on being killing machines was enough to make me gag. 

Consider joining peace workers for an action outside the gates of Creech AFB. They are a well-organized group who know how to support one another in a desert protest under harsh conditions. Here is the latest message I received from them.

U.S. drone murdering continues to expand.

March 30-April 5.  

10 Years of Drone Resistance at Creech Killer Drone Base

Drones are “almost more frightening than nuclear weapons because nuclear weapons are not being used but this kind of targeting is going to destroy the world as we know it to be in completely new ways.”
-Arundhati Roy

Important Articles to Read:

We hope you will join us in saying no to this cruel & bloody madness!
Bring friends!

Eleanor, Maggie & Toby

Graffiti in Yemen