Monday, October 2, 2023

Maybe Branding U.S. Wars D or R Wasn't Such A Good Idea

There is considerable anti-war sentiment among voters worldwide -- which explains why candidates run on peace promises (Obama, Zelensky, Trump). There is also considerable pro-war sentiment among corporations who build weapons of mass destruction, and the think-tanks they fund to support them.

This push-pull has nudged warmakers into branding wars as "D for Democrat" or "R for Republican" in order to whip up support and manage dissent. Thus Democrats support President Biden's proxy war on Russia via Ukraine while Republicans and third parties (Greens, Libertarians, Communists) don't.

But based on the congressional circus this week, maybe that is not such a good strategy?

Those of us opposed to ALL wars our government wages have experienced the partisan split in who will stand with us. When a Republican is in the White House, Democrats come out in droves. Then when an Obama or a Biden is elected, they go home.

Original collage by James Fangboner (left image), modified by me

Then, the parties wage information wars to support their team. These have ramped up considerably to insist that Putin = Hitler (just silly), that there are no Nazis in Ukraine (maybe they all went to Canada?), and that funding Ukraine's government is a higher priority than funding our own. Even though as far back as July a CNN poll found a majority in the U.S. opposed sending any more money to Ukraine.

In order to avert a federal government shutdown over what to fund, we heard from Democrats that it was the bad Republicans' fault. From The Guardian

The US president said on Sunday he was “sick and tired” of the political brinkmanship, and that US support for Ukraine could not be interrupted “under any circumstances”.  

Even though Democrats never move left and always move right -- or maybe because of that? -- the Punch and Judy show where the two corporate parties bash each other constantly is having a long run.

Then we heard that the bad Republicans would only vote for averting a shutdown if it stripped out "aid" to Ukraine (currently at $180 billion and counting). And it worked! Worked, that is, after a fire drill shut Congress down when Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman pulled a fire alarm and delayed the vote a bit.

He swears this was an honest mistake. But I suspect the delay was so that some more back room deals on terms of the funding could be hammered out.

Received wisdom has it that Democrats want WW3 with Russia while Republicans want WW3 with China. But Greens like me see the corporate parties supporting all the wars and I think they're all nuts.

 I can see where the U.S. once believed it could beat Russia as it used the NATO alliance and CIA color revolutions to foment trouble like civil war for Ukraine. Looking at the situation today, it's clear that few aside from delusional thinkers allied with the Biden administration believes this is still the case. Russia has objectively kicked Ukraine/NATO's butt while the response in the West is best epitomized by the Canadian Parliament's standing ovation for a literal Nazi "who fought the Russians in WW2."

"Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recognize Yaroslav Hunka, who fought with the First Ukrainian Division in World War II, in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Sept. 22, 2023." | Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press

(If you're unclear on WW2's major players and alliances, the late Howard Zinn's overview can be found here.)

Next up, preparations are already well underway for using Taiwan to create a situation where China feels it must respond to safeguard its own borders and sovereignty. What would lead to the delusion that AUKUS or NATO or U.S.-Japan-South Korea could defeat China in a hot war? Hot warriors falsely claim China is authoritarian, has lost the support of its people, and committed genocide against the Uyghurs.

Word to the U.S.: your government is increasingly authoritarian, has lost the confidence of its people, and has committed genocide in so many places it's hard to list them all. Maybe just note the ongoing attempted genocide of the indigenous people of North America and leave it at that.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Do You Believe Environmentalists Or The CEO Looking To Make Millions?


On September 24, Bruce Gagnon and I gave a talk at Maine's big Common Ground Fair on the proposal to build a rocket launch site off the coast of Maine at Steuben. Bruce coordinates an international organization paying attention to the militarization of space for the last several decades, the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space,  and understands the context for the proposal to build a rocket launch site near Acadia National Park.

Although our 9am talk was sparsely attended we got none other than Sascha Deri himself, CEO of bluShift Aerospace, who interrupted me to claim that I was sharing false information. Having taught high school for years, I did not allow Deri to derail my presentation; but he and others in the audience participated in a lively Q & A session after my remarks. (Video of the entire presentation including the disruption is being processed and will be available later this week.)

Deri's most amazing revelation in response to Gagnon's question about his funding sources: bluShift Aerospace has taken money from the U.S. Space Force! Remember that the next time you see or hear claims that a rocket launch site in Maine would only be used for research and educational purposes, not for military payloads.

Banner by Cynthia Howard

We hung our banners on the outside of the Social & Political Action tents at the invitation of a fair official, and then did some more outreach work with organizations like Dark Sky, WERU, and Community Water Justice.

Original banner design by Elizabeth Olbert

The following day Donovan Lynch of NewsCenterMaine called me for an interview about opposition to the plan to launch 30+ rockets each summer off the coast of Steuben, rockets that are as tall as a mature White Pine. He also interviewed Deri and Steuben-based seaweed harvester Larch Hanson about environmental concerns: "Downeast rocket launch site promises industry boom, worrying environmentalists."

Screenshot showing Kenny Cole's climate collapse-themed print "Last Run" in the background

Included in his report was the news that bluShift is seeking FAA approval, and a prediction that two years from now rocket launches might commence.

Who are you inclined to believe about probable environmental harms of the launch site project: the CEO looking to make millions, environmentalists who live in Maine, or Gagnon with extensive knowledge of the effects of rocket launch sites all over the planet? 

You can read Bruce Gagnon's blog post about our talk at the fair here.

For more information and to sign up for updates, visit our website

*To order one of the cool "Don't take the peace out of space" hoodies we're wearing in the photo at the top, visit: Global Network's store at Kudos to the British GN team for this awesome design!