Monday, October 28, 2019

Preparing For Conflict Produces Climate Change -- Professor Neta Crawford, Costs Of War Project

Professor Neta Crawford (second from left) spoke on October 26 in Portland to Peace Action Maine, receiving an award for her research into Pentagon greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Mark and I traveled to Portland to attend Peace Action Maine's annual awards ceremony and to hear a talk about research we've been following with interest. As a past recipient of PAM's award (most recently for writing this blog), I was pleased to see Prof. Crawford recognized for her work as well as local climate organizers Anna Siegel and Cassie Cain.

Anna Siegel of Climate Strike, Cassie Cain of 350 Maine and PAM board member Stephen Oliver

The talk was well worth the trip,

Professor Neta Crawford is co-director of the project which began in 2010 at Brown University. The project now includes Boston University where she is a member of the faculty. An update of her landmark paper "Pentagon fuel use, climate change, and the costs of war" will be published on the site next month.

Quantifying the human, financial, and environmental costs of the seemingly endless "global war on terror" led Crawford to focus for the past year on counting the contribution of Pentagon base operations plus overseas contingency operations (the federal government's preferred euphemism for wars) to climate change.

No one had computed the Pentagon’s climate footprint comprehensively before, so she wanted to do it.

Crawford noted that the global war on terror operates in 80-90 countries. She figures that 70% of fuel use is for base military operations, and 30% for overseas contingency operations i.e. wars.

Jet airplanes are heavy GHG emitters, especially military aircraft because they carry special equipment and fly at higher altitudes. Their consumption of fuel is so inefficient that it is measured, not in miles per gallon, but in gallons per mile.

The question most interesting to me that was posed by Prof. Crawford: Why don’t we know these numbers?

Some of her answers: Department of "Defense" personnel are explicitly told not to tell Congress their numbers. The Kyoto Protocol set the standard for how emissions are tallied, explicitly exempting the military, and there is still no legal treaty mechanism to compel states to give their military emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not aggregate the data on this, and EPA web site has no breakout by military. Congressional research service doesn’t provide them either, nor does the Congressional Budget Office.

The highly useful carbon computing website Drawdown also excludes military emissions because those numbers are unavailable. Media outlets likewise cannot report on what they do not know. (Investigative reporters out there: maybe give Prof. Crawford a call?)

Based on what she has been able to count, there was a GHG dividend parallel to the so-called peace dividend at the end of the Cold War period. Similarly, withdrawal from Iraq drove non-standard i.e. war-related emissions down beginning in 2011. And, facilities energy use has seen a steep decline as military bases close to the current level of around 800.

She did not count these significant contributors:

Which way will we go from here? Reform our current practices, transform our energy use and sourcing, or just keep barreling down the road toward Hell in a handbasket (Crawford noted that popular culture is fond of imagining dystopian futures)?

As early as 1990 the Navy began monitoring sea level rise. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is especially vulnerable and the Pentagon is well aware of this. Yet, protecting the Persian Gulf remains a primary Pentagon goal even as dependence on Middle East oil has declined.

The U.S. military prepares for the consequences of climate change, with little focus on the role of their own consumption and emissions as drivers of climate change. According to Crawford:

“Preparing for conflict produces climate change...Everything you do to reduce fuel use increases security”

Conclusion: we should be pushing our representatives and senators to focus on climate emergency as the real threat to our national security, and to act accordingly.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Found Guilty On All Counts, Released Pending Sentencing

The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 were found guilty on all counts last week, and could be sentenced to decades in jail. For now they are free and home with family and friends.

They are the conscience of our nation.

Reposting their supporters' account of the final day of their arguments:

After Powerful Testimony

Kings Bay Plowshares Trial Nears End

October 24, 2019
BRUNSWICK, GA—Both the government and the defense finished their testimony yesterday at 5 p.m. in the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 anti-nuclear weapons case.
Defendants were able to say much more than had been expected after the wide “in limine” restrictions established late last week before trial. They spoke about their strong faith motivations and their knowledge of the horrendous effects of nuclear weapons, and read portions of documents they had carried onto the Kings Bay submarine base in their action on April 4, 2018, the fiftieth anniversary of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's assassination. Thursday will likely see the trial end with closing statements, the charge to the jury, and jury deliberations.
In a recurring pattern, the judge would allow items the seven carried onto the sub base into evidence over frequent government objection. Martha Hennessy was even allowed to read from the indictment that nuclear weapons are always illegal. The judge did always remind the jury the items admitted were only for the fact that they were left on the base, not that they were true.
The prosecution called their final witness in the morning, base Facilities Management Specialist Juan Melgarejo, to verify the expenses of cleaning and repairs after the disarmament action, which he reported totaled $31,833.
Then two defendants, Hennessy and Patrick O'Neill, who had not previously given opening statements did so, and the defense began their case with Attorney Stephanie Amiotte examining Hennessy. After overruling an objection from the prosecution, the indictment of nuclearism the seven carried and which Hennessy had posted at the Strategic Weapons Facility Engineering office (known as SWFLANT) finally was allowed into evidence by Judge Lisa Godbey Wood.
Go Pro video footage was also admitted of Hennessy reading Bible verses from the prayer book “Give Us This Day” which she, Clare Grady, O'Neill and Mark Colville had read as they waited to be apprehended by base security personnel. Hennessy ended her testimony with, “It's imminent (nuclear war) and it haunts me.”
Next, Attorney Fred Kopp, in examining Carmen Trotta, asked why he and his colleagues went to Kings Bay. Trotta said that the base has one quarter of the US deployed nuclear weapons, and that it cannot be legal to destroy nearly all life on Earth. He noted the “outrage of God at putting his creation in jeopardy.” Trotta was one of three who went to the so-called “Limited Area,” where deadly force is authorized and where the activists believe nuclear weapons are stored in bunkers. Kopp elicited from Trotta the extreme caution the three took to be “careful for everyone's sake” as they entered the zone and when they were approached by Marine guards.
Grady, in examination by Attorney Joe Cosgrove, said that the consequences of global nuclear war are so atrocious they necessitate the creation of the word “omnicide.”
“Trident is the crime,” she said, explaining her use of crime scene tape, not caution tape, as the government kept calling it, at the SWFLANT office. Grady also noted that her colleagues used hammers to “deconstruct” or “transform” weapons to plowshares, instead of doing damage as the government claims. In cross examination, chief prosecutor Karl Knoche rapid-fired a series of accusations at Grady, claiming that she and her co-defendants believed themselves to be a law unto themselves. Grady calmly answered that the egregious use of weapons is bullying, not the painted peace messages and blood that Grady and Hennessy poured on the engineering office sidewalk.
Attorney Matt Daloisio examined Colville, who quoted his father saying, “Integrity is what you do when no one is looking, taking responsibility to what you know to be true.” Colville also explained his use of the word “idolatry” that he had written on one of the missile replicas, noting that the Bible urges us to remove, even smash, idols. Colville related that it was a long time before any authorities actually confronted him and Grady, Hennessy, and O’Neill in what the activists call the missile shrine area, even though several vehicles approached, slowed and then drove on. So after about an hour they felt they had done enough. They sat down and prayed, then carefully showed their hands when the vehicles finally approached them. In response to the repeated cross examination accusation of arrogantly choosing to run red lights, Colville said that he ran every red light when his wife Luz was in labor. “It was an emergency!”
Representing himself, O'Neill was examined by advisory attorney Keith Higgins. As a “cradle Catholic” grandchild of four immigrants from Ireland, his faith was always his guide and led him to co-found the Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker in Garner, NC with his wife, Mary Rider. He noted that Catholic workers take nonviolent action and break the law like Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, and Dr. King, to bring social change. In reviewing the items he took onto the base, O’Neill brought international law into the courtroom. He mentioned copies of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the new Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. In government's exhibit 36-1B-6 GoPro video footage O’Neill recorded himself quoting Pope Francis saying the use and possession of nuclear weapons is to be firmly condemned
The seven's statement is one of love and hope, O'Neill said.
Attorney Bill Quigley questions Elizabeth McAlister during day three of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 trial. Illustration by Chrissy Nesbitt
Elizabeth McAlister was questioned by her attorney Bill Quigley. After briefly describing her life growing up and her life as a nun, McAlister explained how she got involved in the peace movement. As a college professor during the Vietnam War, she said, 30 of her students’ boyfriends came home in body bags.
"One could not be a teacher of these young women without sharing their grief. I felt that we were being called to more."
She related the story of marrying well-known activist Philip Berrigan, who later co-founded the Plowshares movement. They established the activist community Jonah House in Baltimore. McAlister described how her continued sense of her vocation led her to this action. Prayer, she said, was integral to the action. There is a "reshaping" of conscience that happens within each of us, which mirrors the transformation we seek of weapons into tools for cultivating life. McAlister also explained her reason for using the symbol of blood.
"War involves radical bloodshed. (Using blood as a symbol) is a way of remembering that war is bloodshed, and we long to see the end of war and the end of shedding the blood of another human being.”
Scott Bassett, the communications officer for the Kings Bay base was called as a witness by the defense. Upon prompting, he testified that he had at earlier pre-trial motions hearings given a statement to the Washington Post. His statement said that there was no threat to any assets or personnel at the base from the protestors. He said the statement meant there had been no damage to military assets such as submarines or weapons systems, not a missile display.
Apart from a few objections and brief comments to indicate his agreement with the testimony of his co-defendants, Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J., remained silent throughout the proceedings.
After exiting the courthouse, the defendants told a gathering of supporters and media they were pleased that they were able to say so much more in court about their beliefs and motivation than they had expected because of the judge’s rulings prohibiting mention of their religious motivations, international law, or necessity.
“We are seeing what the courts protect,” said Grady.

Supporting this profound sacrifice by these seven requires generosity. Your support of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 will help cover the ongoing costs surrounding this trial and social change effort. You can give at our GoFundMe site and checks can be sent to Plowshares, PO Box 3087, Washington, DC 20010. Further details check the website:
Thank you!

EMAIL: Media:

Link to Democracy Now! coverage giving background of their case if the embedded video does not work for you.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Take On Nuclear Weapons Madness In Historic Trial

Reposting this update on the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 from Kathy Kelly, who co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (

Taking Next Steps Toward Nuclear Abolition 
by Kathy Kelly
October 20, 2019
My friend Marianne Goldscheider, who is 87, suffered a broken hip in July, 2018 and then, in June 2019, it happened again. When she broke her hip the first time, she was running, with her son, on a football field. After the second break, when she fell in her kitchen, she recalls her only desire as she was placed on a stretcher. “I just wanted ‘the right pill,’” she says. She wished she could end her life. Marianne says her Catholic friends, who live nearby in the New York Catholic Worker community, persuaded her not to give up. They’ve long admired her tenacity, and over the years many have learned from her history as a survivor of the Nazi regime who was forced to flee Germany. Recalling her entry to the United States, Marianne jokes she may have been one of the only displaced persons who arrived in the United States carrying her skis. Yet she also carried deep anxieties, the “angst,” she says, of her generation. She still wonders about German people in the military and the aristocracy who knew Hitler was mad and, yet, didn’t try to stop him. “When and how,” she wonders, “do human beings get beyond all reasoning?”
Marianne is deeply disturbed by the madness of maintaining nuclear weapons arsenals and believes such weapons threaten planetary survival. 
She worries that, similar to the 1930s, citizens of countries possessing nuclear weapons sleepwalk toward utter disaster.
On April 4, 2018, several of Marianne’s close friends from the New York Catholic Worker community became part of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 by entering the U.S. Navy Nuclear Submarine base in King’s Bay, GA and performing a traditional Plowshares action. Guided by lines from Scripture urging people to “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks,” they prayed, reflected and then symbolically disarmed the Trident nuclear submarine site. The Kings Bay is home port to six nuclear armed Trident ballistic missile submarines with the combined explosive power of over 1825 Hiroshima bombs. One of the banners  they hung read “The Ultimate Logic of Trident is Omnicide.”
Referring to this sign, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, said the banner “is exactly right.” In an October 18 endorsement, he called their actions “necessary to avert a much greater evil.”
In late September, the Catholic Bishops of Canada, alarmed over the increasing danger nuclear weapons pose, urged the Government of Canada to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted at the UN in 2017. The Canadian bishops issued their statement on September 26, the United Nations International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. In it, they note the  Vatican has already signed and ratified the Treaty. “The ashes of World War I and the centenary of its armistice,” wrote Pope Francis, “should teach us that future acts of aggression are not deterred by the law of fear, but rather by the power of calm reason that encourages dialogue and mutual understanding as a means of resolving differences.”
The seven defendants, in everyday life, practice nonviolence while serving people who are often the least cared for in our society. Like Marianne, I have known each defendant for close to four decades. They have risked their lives, safety and health in numerous actions of civil disobedience. When imprisoned, they write and speak of the cruel abuse of human beings and the racist, primitive nature of the United States prison-industrial complex. They’ve also chosen to visit or live in war zones, providing witness on behalf of people trapped under bombardment. They live simply, share resources and strive to help build a better world.
Nevertheless, beginning Monday, they will face serious criminal charges and potentially harsh sentences for their action at Kings Bay.  
Marianne anxiously awaits their trial. “

Why,” she asks, “isn’t there more coverage?”
One of the defendants, Rev. Steve Kelly, SJ, a Jesuit priest, referred to himself in a recent letter as “a tenuous voice in the wilderness.” He further explained that he is among the wilderness of the incarcerated, “two and a quarter million folks comprising the human warehouses in the empire.” Steve has been imprisoned in the Glynn County jail since April 4, 2018.
His letter continues: 
And your presence today clearly demonstrates that while you can jail the resisters you cannot destroy the resistance. In this advent of our trial, we have a blue-ribbon legal team to whom I’m sure you’ll show your own gratitude.
This trial and the preliminary process represents the second phase of our witness. It is the Kings Bay Plowshares’ attempt to continue with what began in nonviolence – and hopefully without arrogance – to convert the judiciary according to Prophet Isaiah 2:4. As these judges historically legitimize the nuclear idols, we anticipate the government’s presentation of and the judge’s likely approval of motions preventing the jury from hearing our defense. The mechanism is an in limine – you’ll hear more about that if you don’t know already, but essentially it is, in the words of the late Phil Berrigan, a gag order.
Late in the afternoon of October 18, Judge Woods issued her long-awaited orders regarding testimony allowed in court. She will not allow testimony about the illegality of nuclear weapons, the necessity of civil disobedience, or individual motivations and  personal faith. Fortunately, the many dozens of people filling the Brunswick, GA courtroom on October 22 will help communicate the essential evidence that won’t be shared within the court. In alternative settings, such as over meals, during a Festival of Hope, and as part of a Citizens Tribunal, they’ll discuss and eventually share reasons that motivated our friends to perform the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 action.
A recent op-ed in the New York Times suggests the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 message is entering public discourse. The defendants have clarified that the U.S. nuclear weapon arsenal robs resources desperately needed for food, shelter, health care and education. The New York Times notes if we could reach a total nuclear weapons ban, we could save roughly $43 billion each year on weapons, delivery systems and upgrades. “That’s roughly the same amount we’ve allocated in federal hurricane aid for Puerto Rico.”
Marianne laments the madness which considers nuclear weapons a modern idol deserving of great sacrifice. She is rightfully wary of social and cultural developments that consider such madness normal.
She and I commiserate about recovering from hip fractures, (I’ve been on the mend for the past month), but we both know that Steve Kelly’s invitation deserves our greatest attention.
Tiny postcards are the only means of correspondence allowed to or from the Glynn County jail. On one of these,  Steve wrote a message to a large gathering in New York celebrating the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 action. “I am encouraged by your presence,” he wrote, “to ask that this small effort of ours not be the last word in nuclear abolition.”
Kathy Kelly ( co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (
Photo caption:  The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 activists at oceanfront in Georgia
Photo credit: Kings Bay Plowshares

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Markos Miller: Maine Families Need A Senator Like Lisa Savage

Sharing an excellent speech by former mayoral candidate Markos Miller of Portland, which drew raves from the crowd at our campaign announcement event on October 10. 

Markos is a dad and former high school Spanish teacher, now an entrepreneur revitalizing his neighborhood with some very cool projects. It was super to hear from him in support of my campaign for the U.S. Senate seat of Susan Collins under ranked choice voting!

Visit website for more information.

My name is Markos Miller. I am former public school teacher, small business owner, and parent of a child in middle school here in Portland.

I have known Lisa Savage for nearly 2 decades. She is smart, she is passionate, she is caring. I need a senator like Lisa Savage

As an active member of her community Lisa understands the realities of Maine families and Maine communities.

As a former small business owner Lisa has wrestled with the challenges of economically challenged downtowns and contributed to enhancing community vitality. Maine communities needs a senator like Lisa Savage.

As a public school teacher Lisa has first hand knowledge of the educational needs of Mane students, and the challenges facing their families. Maine students need a senator like Lisa Savage.

Lisa works day in and day out in our chronically underfunded schools, sees their needs and challenges, and still can celebrate the strengths of Maine educators. Maine schools need a senator like Lisa Savage.

Lisa knows from experience that student needs are growing more complex and educators need training to address these needs. Maine teachers need a senator like Lisa Savage.

Lisa knows the crushing burden families experience with college debt and will fight for free college. Maine families need a senator like Lisa Savage.

Lisa cares about our kids, cares passionately about education, and will be our voice in the Senate. The United States needs a senator like Lisa Savage!
Photo credits: Peter Woodruff

Friday, October 11, 2019

Lisa for Maine 2020 U.S. Senate Campaign Announcement + More!

Lisa Burke, Jason Rawn, me and my husband Mark Roman

John Rensenbrink (seated, right), father of the Green party, looks on as young campaign supporters frolic during my campaign announcement event in Portland 10/10/19. 

Photos and video from the Lisa for Maine 2020 U.S. Senate campaign announcement October 10, 2019 in Portland. 

left to right: Ashley Bahlkow, Jill Stein, Dud Hendrick & Kim Rich
So many great speakers joined me at the podium, speaking to a good sized crowd in the audience including a concerned polar bear and some little kids who know how to have fun while helping make a better world for all of us.

Markos Miller and Heather Nichols were both fantastic speakers on my behalf!

Speakers in order of appearance:
Sam Pfeifle, master of ceremonies par excellence
Lisa Savage, U.S. Senate exploratory candidate
Kim Rich, newly minted Green
Dud Hendrick, Climate Change Demands Action Conversion Campaign
Ashley Bahlkow, activist mom against migrant family separations and child detention
Kelly Merrill, Portland Overdose Prevention Society
Jill Stein, 2016 Green party presidential candidate
Markos Miller, former teacher with a middle school child in Portland
Heather Nichols, Portland business owner (Stones and Stuff)
Jessica Falero, Homeless community activist
John Morris, Veterans for Peace

We were also fortunate to have on hand Adam Rice of Progressive Independent News Maine who posted his video of the whole event to Facebook.

Kelly Merrill speaking to a multi-generational (multi-species?) audience

My remarks in Congress Square Park "the people's park" are here, and I'll be sharing the remarks of other speakers in coming days.

After the announcement event, I mailed off my Federal Election Commission paperwork declaring my candidacy.

FOR PORTLAND  10/10/19  by Lisa Savage

Thank you, everyone, for being here. I want to acknowledge that we are on indigenous land, Wabanaki land, and the importance for us to be mindful of where we stand, and the responsibility we bear.

Hi, I’m Lisa Savage, a teacher, organizer, and grandmother from Solon. With a committee of like-minded people, I am exploring  a run for the U.S. Senate seat of Susan Collins under ranked choice voting.

I want to to give Mainers a Senator who will stand up for the people, the planet and peace.

We deserve a government that works for us, not the big banks, weapons manufacturers, and fossil fuel giants who are calling the shots in Washington. And I can assure you that the wonderful people of Maine will always be my first priority. 

As a Green party candidate, I will continue the proud tradition of neither soliciting nor accepting donations from big business to fund my campaign.

As your voice in the Senate, I will focus on protecting our children’s future and their children’s future. Maine should not be a resource colony or dumping ground! I oppose the CMP Corridor
 through Maine’s wilderness, and I oppose the Nestle Corporation’s theft of our water. And I am firmly against privatization of the VA which many in Maine depend on for primary health care.

I believe, as residents of the richest country in world history, everyone deserves the fundamentals of a secure life -- like affordable housing for all. No one needs to live in poverty!  Children should never experience food insecurity, wondering where their next meal will come from.   

We need a Green New Deal that creates union jobs with benefits, putting 1000’s to work tackling climate crisis.

We need Medicare for All -- a healthcare system that will work for everyone regardless of employment status, and not drive sick people into bankruptcy. In Maine we urgently need harm reduction for the health crisis of opioid addiction, and treatment of addiction as medical rather than criminal.

We deserve quality education for all, including free public higher education, without student debt.

As a teacher in Maine, I work with children whose families are struggling to survive in an economy that’s thrown working people under the bus.

We’re also facing a dire emergency in climate crisis. It’s already harming farms, fisheries, and the Maine coast. Sea level rise will affect a great many of our coastal towns, and the Gulf of ME is warming faster than the oceans themselves. We must act now to protect our families and neighbors. We can invest in a Green New Deal building sustainable energy solutions now and create thousands of good jobs in the process.

Yet with all the urgent needs we face, Congress is making things worse, giving over 55% of our federal discretionary budget to the Pentagon for endless, unwinnable wars that make the world less safe.   

U.S. policies separating migrant families and caging children and babies make us less secure, too, and this needs to stop   immediately. Why isn't Susan Collins, who claims to represent us, doing something to stop this horrific practice? I can assure you I will do everything in my power to stop it if you send me to Washington.

We, the people of Maine, expect humane treatment of immigrants and refugees from our government. A former beacon of refuge for newcomers, now the U.S. is losing that reputation --  for good reason. Welcoming refugees to Portland was such a brilliant response to a humanitarian emergency, with so many cooperating -- this is what Mainers are good at, and I want to help us keep doing it! 

It’s time to say no to politics as usual, and join together to fight for a new system that puts people, planet and peace over profit. 

We have a historic opportunity in this race to use Ranked Choice Voting. 

Our new and improved voting system, which Mainers won through an inspiring grassroots movement, gives everyone the freedom to vote their values, not their fears.

Together we can seize this moment to build a people-powered campaign that will make history.

A recent national poll found a staggering 70% of Americans are fed up with our political system that only works for insiders with money.

I’ve been a small business owner myself, and my husband is a self-employed woodworker. I know how hard it is to operate a small business in Maine when tax laws are written by and for the wealthy. Working people are the backbone of our state and it isn’t fair when people work hard and still can’t make it. Young people saddled with education debt and high rents should not be struggling! They should be starting ventures or families, buying homes, instead of slaving away at 3 Mcjobs to barely make their student loan payments.  

Now, with ranked choice voting, we have a real choice. More voices and more choices make me hopeful!

We’ve never had a better opportunity -- or a more urgent need -- to come together for the greater good. 

I hope you’ll consider supporting my campaign to give Mainers a Senator for  people, planet and peace.

Together, let’s create a Maine and a nation that works for all of us!