Saturday, April 28, 2018

White On White Crime, And The Diseases Of Despair

My school has been on partial lockdown this week because a drug addict on our vicinity killed a sheriff's deputy, stole his car, and robbed a convenience store. The photo above is from the FBI's wanted poster and it is emblematic of the poor white addicts who abound in this neck of the woods. 

Covered with scabs and tattoos -- one a common gun rights motto -- with a rap sheet dating back over a decade, John Williams was reportedly distraught over an upcoming court date and/or his girlfriend's recent arrest by sheriff's deputies for opioid possession.

A friend who worked with him in a town in my school district gave him a ride from the town where many of my family members live to Norridgewock, where deputy Eugene Cole was shot and killed shortly thereafter. (The friend contacted police and you can read his account here.)

Old friends of Williams said similar things: nice guy, could have done a lot of things but got into drugs and went off the rails.

When he and his girlfriend were arrested a few weeks back in Massachusetts they allegedly had a car full of baggies with white powder residue, one Percocet, and two guns.

Earlier this year, the father of one of my students was arrested in sight of the school for heroin and fentanyl trafficking. Some of the drugs were found in the bureau of the child's bedroom.

These are the diseases of despair: depression, addiction, often suicide.

They abound here in Maine, the whitest state in the nation.

White people are not doing well. I believe this is the reason so many of them lash out at black people, calling the police on them for playing golf too slowly or waiting in Starbucks for a friend. 

White people's fear is palpable. 

Many of us have family members who are in the same rough shape as John Williams. 

Many older white people are raising grandchildren after the parents go to prison or die of overdoses or take their own lives. Grandparents worry over the little ones while working long past retirement at low paying jobs that can be made to fit around the school schedule. They wonder where they went wrong with their own kids and pray that they will be able to successfully raise children who have PTSD from living with drug addicted parents during their formative years.

Racism has long elevated white people's levels of home ownership and other measures of net worth. Poor white people are humiliated by their poverty, their poor health, their unemployment and lack of prospects to better themselves despite a playing field tilted in their favor. 

Calling the police on black people is one of the hallmarks of white privilege.

But is that really where the (increasingly militarized police) need to respond? Can even more men with guns really save us from the road we're on?

John Williams was arrested after three days, hiding out in the woods. Here's the trophy photo being unofficially circulated by police who were present for the arrest.

Arrest photo from the Kennebec Journal, published with this caption: "This photo taken by Maine State Police on Saturday, April 28, 2018, shows the moment when law enforcement apprehended John Williams, sought in the slaying of Somerset County Sheriff’s Cpl. Eugene Cole. This photo appeared on Reddit, and Maine State Police confirmed Saturday that they took the photo."

Online comments suggest that many found this documented inhumane treatment of the prisoner to be ill-advised. My comment: lucky for Williams that he is white, because a black man can't stand in a parking lot holding a bb gun without being shot and killed by police in Maine. #JusticeforChance

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Corporate Grip On Media Tightens As I Break My WaPo Boycott For A Moment

I heard from a journalist friend today that her work to bring light to the darkness of corporate government has been noticed, with the result that her local NPR station called and said: turn in your recording equipment -- due to views you have expressed, you are no longer welcome to report for NPR (which my other friends call National Pentagon Radio.) The views this reporter has expressed tend to be critical of the increasing role of corporations in directing the actions of local and state government officials.

That was sad, but what happened next was downright creepy.

The head of a major news organization in her state immediately approached and offered her a job paying $50k to be a full time reporter if she would "tone it down." This was after saying that nobody is doing better reporting than she is.

She turned him down.

Source: The Root "The New Lynching Memorial and Legacy Museum Force Us to Bear Witness to Our Whole American Truth -- Dirt taken from the sites of lynching. Some of the victims are named, some will forever remain anonymous."
Photo: Human Images (Equal Justice Initiative)

I was reminded of this story this morning when I temporarily broke my vow to boycott the Washington Post, well known stenographer for corporate government (and owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, by the way). I won't link to stories in the corporate press anymore. Why help them drive up their ad revenues? But a friend who I'm writing a book with sent me a link to a post by the Rev. Traci Blackmon who was on her way to view the lynching memorial in Montgomery, Alambama; it is the first such monument commemorating the many, many black people killed by vigilante violence.

And WaPo had a virtual tour of the chilling installation of hundreds of steel columns hanging from the roof, engraved with the names of victims.

Source: The Root "Lynching memorial, corridor 3" Photo: Human Pictures (EJI)

I was was watching as a videographer walked through the monument, unpeopled, and silent except for her footsteps. It was early morning here in Maine, and birdsong outside my windows provided a sound track for my solemn consideration of white people's history of racial violence.

Imagine my surprise when the loud sound of a jet tore through my quiet morning. WaPo was serving up an ad for Lockheed fighter jets in a probably unintentional juxtaposition of state-sanctioned violence that we are meant to admire even while condemning quasi-historical violence (quasi because black people are killed every day in extrajudicial assassinations, often by police or other state actors).

This is the type of content I have come to expect from NPR: sanctimonious condemnations of historical violence side by side with cheerleading for whichever current expenditure of weaponry is making shareholders wealthy.

So maybe it should properly be called National Propaganda Radio? I've written recently on the tightening grip of corporate control over information, and there is one more example I'll end with today.

At the gathering of people who organized to oppose the state of Maine's corporate welfare tax giveaway to General Dynamics,

Professor Orlando Delogu told us that he had just been denied publication in The Forecaster, a weekly newspaper he's been a contributor to for the last five years.

His content is no longer welcome, for unspecified reasons. Maybe because his interview bashing the corporate welfare bill played widely on Maine's community t.v. stations? Maybe his editors also got a call from General Dynamics or one of their lackeys?

The local daily Times-Record had already cancelled its monthly opinion piece by Peaceworks of Greater Brunswick, and rejected a submission from Bruce Gagnon on his hunger strike against the bill.

This after repeated objections by the editor of the opinion page, John Swincoceck, that columns submitted were not local enough in focus i.e. don't write about resistance to military bases despoiling Jeju Island, Korea or Okinawa. Even if Mainers go there to join the local people's efforts to save their coastlines. Only write about things that happen locally.

The fact that five ships built in Bath by General Dynamics were used to launch missiles at Damascus does not make war on Syria a local story. Right?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Plowshares Reflection: We See Nuclear Weapons As A Cocked Gun Needed To Maintain White Supremacy

Official seal covered in blood at Kings Bay Naval Base, the biggest nuclear submarine base in the world.

I sent off postcards earlier this week to the seven Kings Bay Plowshares activists who protested at a nuclear weapons naval base in Georgia on April 5.

Information on how to do that yourself:

Camden County Detention Facility, P.O. Box 699, Woodbine, GA 31569

Clare Grady 65197
Patrick O’Neill 65205
Elizabeth McAlister 65198
Stephen Kelly 65201
Martha Hennessy 65206
Mark Colville 65200
Carmen Trotta 65203

“Inmates may only receive plain white pre-paid postcards. Postcards may not have any pictures nor backgrounds on them. Plain white postcards may be purchased at any Post Office. All postcards are subject to search and /or screening. Postcards should have a return address in situations where the post card must be returned. Inmates cannot receive letters or e-mail.”
Photo credit: Alice Bach

Several of the activists are sleeping on mattresses on the floor of an overcrowded prison as Chief Magistrate Jennifer E. Lewis denied bail for the two felony charges --  possession of tools for the commission of a crime and interference with government property -- and set it at $50,000 for the misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass. These state charges may be replaced by federal charges according to the legal team, but in the meantime they are appealing the bond decision.

How do these charges stack up against the war crimes of the U.S. military? is a question that the judge who made sure the seven would stay in jail should consider.

But in these Kafka-esque times, the real crime is challenging the mighty U.S. military and its right to consume resources and life at will.

Clare Grady has written the following reflection that is being shared by Catholic Worker friends and family:

We say, 'the ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide', and yet, the explosive power of this weapon is only part of what we want to make visible. We see that nuclear weapons kill every day by their mere existence. Their production requires mining, refining, testing, and dumping of radioactive material, which poisons sacred Earth and Water, all on Indigenous land. 
We see the billions of dollars it takes to build and maintain the Trident system as stolen resources, which are desperately needed for human needs. 
We see nuclear weapons as a cocked gun, the biggest gun, used 24/7 to ENFORCE the many layers of state-sponsored violence and deadly force required to maintain white supremacy, global capitalism, and global domination. 
We invite others who have been privileged by these systems to join us in withdrawing consent from their deadly function and purpose.
We live with hope for a nuclear-free, decolonized world.

According to Nuclear Resister, "This is the latest of 100 similar actions around the world beginning in 1980 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.".

For more information you can see my previous post of their statement at the time of the action. To follow this case, you can go to the Kings Bay Plowshares Facebook page. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

#SignsYouAreInAHorrorMovie Your Country Is Bombing Damascus

Damascus neighborhood of Barzeh was reportedly hit by U.S. missiles last night Image: Getty/AFP
More bad karma for the evil empire. Syria has been on their list for a long time so it was no surprise but still a shock to wake up this morning to news that the U.S., the UK and France are bombing Damascus.

Two peace friends on opposite sides of our failing nation alerted me to the latest war crime via email in the wee hours of our U.S. bomb-free morning. Twitter trending topics for the United States ignored what's really going on (screenshot from 5:30am EDT):

People live in Damascus: babies, toddlers, little kids, big kids, and adults. But since when has the U.S. Air Force cared about civilian casualties they call "collateral damage"?

The false dichotomy propaganda machine will accuse me and others opposed to air strikes on Damascus as being on the side of Assad.

That's because their narrative to justify air strikes is unimaginative and, at this point, monotonous: "___(insert leader of nation we want to bomb here)__ has gassed his own people! We must bomb his people in order to save them."

Because there's "plenty of good money to be made supplying the Army with the tools of the trade" as Country Joe & the Fish so eloquently put it.

Case in point: investigative journalist Alex Nunes posted on my spybook page this morning:

Tomahawk missiles strikes into Syria last night were reportedly launched from a warship built at Bath Iron Works: the USS Donald Cook.
And that's the real story behind why we're bombing Damascus today.

In case you start buying the corporate news narrative just from hearing it repeated one zillion times, political blogger Caitlin Johnstone helps us sort through the bullshit: "The US Empire Has Been Trying To Regime Change Syria Since Long Before 2011" from this week or "Five Reasons To Be Absolutely Certain That The Establishment Is Lying About Syria" from back in February.

Read it, and weep.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Not A Villa In The Jungle -- You're The Jungle In OUR Villa, Say Young Palestinians

Yaser Murtaja, a 30 year old photojournalist in Gaza. “He was killed doing his job: recording his people’s right to protest for their human rights,” commented Karl Schembri of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which hired Murtaja to record video footage of the protests.
Photo: Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Perhaps you are contemplating the mowing down of unarmed civilians, including journalists, at the Gaza border last week. Or, perhaps the corporate media blackout of information on those war crimes has kept it out of mind.

The "Great Return March" of the Palestinians confined in Gaza angered Israel mightily by calling international attention to their right as refugees to return. 

Here's how Google is helping to manage the flow of information about one of the victims, Yaser Murtaja, who was gunned down in his flak jacket with the word PRESS on it in big white letters. 

Perhaps you'd like to watch the video banned by YouTube in 28 countries -- mostly in Europe -- due to Israeli pressure on those governments. On this segment of teleSUR's Empire Files, Abby Martin interviews author Max Blumenthal about facts on the ground in the occupied West Bank. His characterization of unrest sometimes called the third intifada (uprising) is that a younger generation coming of age are expressing their rejection of the occupation that began when their grandparents were children. 

Blumenthal makes reference to Israel's steady annexation of lands and destruction of West Bank Palestinian infrastructure to establish what former PM Ehud Barak called "a villa in the jungle." Blumenthal notes that Palestinians coming of age now have grown up in a reality of "separation, exclusion" and "see little opportunity or hope... 

They watched a 51 day assault on the Gaza strip and felt helpless...
Two year old victim of Israeli bomb in Gaza with a fractured skull.

When young Palestinians enter the villa with knives, with rocks, with whatever they have, they are reminding Israelis, You know you're not a villa in the jungle, you're the jungle in our villa...You can't just put up a wall and pretend we're not here."

Corporate media puts up a wall so we can pretend Palestinians aren't there. It's up to us to scale the wall and look over at what they don't want us to see on the other side.

Then, get busy in the struggle for justice. #BDS

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Seeding Sovereignty: The Notion That There Is A Rise In Gun Violence In This Country Is Actually A Misunderstanding Of History

From the indigenous feminist youth leaders of Seeding Sovereignty comes this concise pamphlet lending clarity to the raging debate about the alleged "sacred" right to guns enshrined in the U.S. Constitution's 2nd Amendment.

I share it here because it supports my deeply held conviction that heeding indigenous wisdom about how to live is imperative if human beings are to continue as a form of life on this planet.

Created by Christine Nobiss with art by Jackie Fawn, the pamphlet is based on a new book from scholar Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second AmendmentPublished by City Lights Books in San Francisco, the new book is available hereDunbar-Ortiz' award-winning An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States, published in 2015, is one of the most horrifying books I have ever read -- a careful documentation of attempted genocide.

The Second Amendment 
A Sacred Covenant of Ethnic Cleansing and Slavery Between the Nation State and Settler Militias 
There is a myth that has infiltrated the core of the American imagination. It is the belief that the Second Amendment is a result of the Revolutionary War, thus, a right to self-defense and to protect the country from any enemies that might arise. It is also believed that if the government fails to protect its citizens, the citizens have the right to revolt. However, the historical context that led to the creation of the Second Amendment is actually based on the process of land annexation and the mitigation of local populations through assimilation, genocide or slavery‐‐much of which took place at the point of a gun. The colonists that built this country ousted the British for many reasons, but fundamentally, “what colonists considered oppressive was any restriction that British authorities put on them in regard to obtaining land.” (Dunbar-Ortiz, 24) 
The Second Amendment is actually a sacred religiopolitical covenant between the Nation State and the settlers of this continent that recognizes the fundamental ideology of land expansion through ethnic cleansing and slavery. It is nothing more than recognition that this country was founded on the actions of generations of Europeans with a maniacal lust for Indian killing and the control of Black people. Men were expected to bear arms (at one point it was the law) in order to protect themselves, their families, the State and the process of westward expansion. In essence, extreme violence was a god given right and an obligation of the average “citizen” that took on the singular role of a vigilante and that formed into small groups that cleared the way for the rise of the American government. The average citizen was a raider, a ranger, a frontiersmen, a marauder, a pirate and the average colony was a settler militia, an armed household, and a slave patrol. 
The Nation State did not create the Second Amendment to protect its citizens from invasion but to allow its citizens to invade. It is written permission to continue on with the doctrine of discovery, manifest destiny, westward expansion, i.e., the work of the white supremacist. As Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz writes, “The astronomical number of firearms owned by US civilians, with the Second Amendment considered a sacred mandate, is also intricately related to militaristic culture and white nationalism. The militias referred to in the second amendment were intended as a means for white people to eliminate Indigenous communities in order to take their land, and for slave patrols to control Black people.” (Dunbar-Ortiz, 57) 
This violent approach to Indigenous and Black populations is still practiced in current day American society. For instance, Native Americans have the highest police murder rate per ethnic group in the country and the vast majority of these deaths are through the use of a firearm. According to a CNN review of the Center for Diseases Control, “for every 1 million Native Americans, an average of 2.9 of them died annually from 1999 to 2015 as a result of a legal intervention”. For the Black population the number is 2.6, for the Latinx it is 1.7, for Whites it is 0.9 and for Asians it is 0.6. This is a startling statistic because Native Americans only make up 0.9% of the population. However, these deaths are probably under reported just like the other epidemics that Native Americans face, such as missing and murdered women, abuse, rape, stalking, runaway children and violence committed by non-tribal members. According to Matthew Fletcher, director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center, “The data available likely does not capture all Native American deaths in police encounters due to people of mixed race and a relatively large homeless population that is not on the grid." 
The notion that there is a rise in gun violence in this country is actually a misunderstanding of history. There was just a period in time in the late 19th and early 20th century where guns were not essential for the coercive control of brown people as the government had created reservation internment camps and implemented Jim Crow laws to segregate “problem populations”. However, the rise of the NRA, gun lobbying and the mass production of automatic weapons tied to a long held gun fetish in the American imagination has given white supremacists updated permission to dust off their ancestors weapon of choice and reenact the violence that this country was founded upon. America is a young country and lacks a distinct culture of its own, but one thing is certain--Americans covet their sacred right to free real estate, cheap labor and the gun, thus, the Second Amendment is but permission to steal, kill and dominate in order to fulfill this expectation. 
For more information on Native Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter and to challenge racial and economic injustice go to the Equal Justice Initiative at 
To demand that our lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our society, go to,, or

Much of the information in this publication was inspired by the words of Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, in her recent book Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2018. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is the author of many books, including An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States. Her body of work is held in high esteem by the women of Seeding Sovereignty for its integrity, honesty and academic activism.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Freedom Of Information Is The Biggest Threat Of All To Corporate Government

So this is an interesting development.

Back in February, during a trial where protesters (including me) were acquitted of criminal trespass after the State of Maine failed its burden of proof, the judge commented that Bath Iron Works had "outsourced" its security for events to the Bath Police Department. Justice Dan Billings added, "and that's not the way it's supposed to work." 

Bath police preparing to arrest the Aegis 9 on April 1, 2017

BIW, a subsidiary of the federal weapons contractor General Dynamics, had the Bath PD arrest us for being in the same space as the rest of the public invited to a ship christening[sic] event. Since none of us were doing anything more than standing 10 feet from the entrance holding signs, it was difficult for the state to make a cogent argument that we were a threat to security.

Counsel for defense Logan Perkins said at the time of the verdict, "The 1st Amendment is alive and well in the state of Maine, and I appreciate that the court was willing to hold the Bath Police Department to the standards contained in the U.S. Constitution."

Justice Billings concluded that we were arrested on the basis of protected political speech that BIW found odious at their celebration of profitable completion of a warship. A victory for the 1st Amendment, indeed.

A journalist from Rhode Island who follows General Dynamics tax giveaway schemes in New England, Alex Nunes, became interested in our case. He filed a Freedom of Access Act request for communications between the Bath PD and BIW executives that concerned their plans for the outsourced security. Bath Police Chief Michael Field denied the request, citing an exception to Maine's FOAA law when communications address planning to combat terrorism.

Nunes thus pursues the 1st Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press as it applies to freedom of information about the actions of government agencies like police departments.

Former Bath City Councilor David Sinclair attended the Aegis 9 trial and now has stepped forward with an offer to represent Nunes in an appeal of the FOAA denial. He will work pro bono (literally, for the good), donating his time and expertise as an attorney to defend the public's right to know.

Why would the public want to know how a contractor that has grown very wealthy on Pentagon contracts uses the police force of a cash-strapped town in Maine to suppress the speech of disgruntled taxpayers?

Maybe in light of the recent $45 million tax giveaway to BIW from the state of Maine which represents triple dipping; BIW receives tax breaks from the city of Bath, too.

Citizen outrage at these tax breaks for the wealthy has been intense. Hundreds of letters against the bill were sent to legislators and newspapers. Radio and television shows highlighted the absurdity of giving a profitable corporation $45 million while 43,000 children live in poverty in our state. Witnesses in the Maine State House saw the arm twisting and lying that BIW and its lobbyists engaged in to get the bill passed.

The biggest union at BIW, Local S/6, had a split vote and failed to endorse the tax giveaway bill (that was what the lie was about). This week their leadership sent this letter detailing why:

Information is power, and our corporate overlords want to make sure we get as little of it as possible. 

Hats off to Alex Nunes for his effort to turn over the rock of Patriot Act-era claims that government secrecy is justified in the endless "war on terror" we're all endlessly paying for. Also for pursuing the notion that public services like police cannot properly take direction from corporations like General Dynamics. I will be following his FOAA appeal with great interest.

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Ultimate Logic Of Racism Is Genocide Say Plowshares Activists Arrested At Nuclear Sub Base

Press Release for Kings Bay Plowshares

Seven Catholic plowshares activists were detained early Thursday morning at the Kings Bay Naval Base St. Mary's Georgia.

They entered the night of April 4. Calling themselves Kings Bay Plowshares, they went to make real the prophet Isaiah's command: "beat swords into plowshares".

The seven chose to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who devoted his life to addressing the triplets of militarism, racism and materialism.

In their statement, which they carried with them, the group quoted King, who said: The greatest purveyor of violence in the world (today) is my own government."

Carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood, the seven attempted to convert weapons of mass destruction.

Kings Bay Naval base opened in 1979 as the Navy's Atlantic Ocean Trident port. It is the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. There are six ballistic missile subs and two guided missile subs based at Kings Bay.

Photo credit: Alice Bach

The activists went to three sites on the base: The administration building, the D5 Missile monument installation and the nuclear weapons storage bunkers.

The activists used crime scene tape, hammers and banners reading: The ultimate logic of racism is genocide, Dr. Martin Luther King; The ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide; Nuclear weapons: illegal - immoral. 

They also brought an indictment charging the U.S. government for crimes against peace.

The activists at the nuclear weapons storage bunkers were Elizabeth McAlister,78. Jonah House, Baltimore; Steve Kelly, S. J.,69 Bay Area CA; Carmen Trotta, 55, NY Catholic Worker.

The activists at the Administration building were Clare Grady, 59, Ithaca Catholic Worker; Martha Hennessy, 62, NY Catholic Worker.

The activists at the Trident D5 monuments were Mark Colville, 55, Amistad Catholic Worker New Haven CT; Patrick O'Neill, 61, Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker Garner NC.

All activists are being detained and as of  Thursday morning were acknowledged by the Camden County, Georgia jail as “on the way.” No one was injured.

This is the latest of 100 similar Plowshares actions around the world beginning in 1980 in King of Prussia, PA.



Today, through our nonviolent action, we, Kings Bay Plowshares—indict the United States government, President Donald Trump, Kings Bay Base Commander Brian Lepine, the nuclear triad, and specifically the Trident nuclear program.
WHEREAS, This program is an ongoing criminal endeavor in violation of international treaty law binding on the United States under the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article VI, Section 2):
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
WHEREAS, The United States is bound by the United Nation’s Charter, ratified and signed in 1945. Its preamble affirms that its purpose is to “save future generations from the scourge of war”. It directs that “all nations shall refrain from the use of force against another nation”. Article II regards the threat to use nuclear weapons as ongoing international criminal activity.
WHEREAS, The Nuremberg Principles, also promulgated in 1945, primarily by the U.S., prohibit crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. They render nuclear weapons systems prohibited, illegal, and criminal under all circumstances and for any reason.
WHEREAS, The U.S. government is obligated as well by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in force since 1970 that requires the signers to pursue negotiations in good faith and to eliminate nuclear weapons at an early date. The U.S. government is also obligated by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits full-scale nuclear explosions.
WHEREAS, the members of the United Nations are currently negotiating a treat to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.
THEREFORE, the work being at done at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base violates all these agreements and is thus criminal.
Specifically, the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base refits and maintains submarines, which carry Trident D5 nuclear missiles. The Trident D5 is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), built by Lockheed Martin. The Navy currently operates 14 Ohio class submarines. Six have their homeport at Kings Bay. Each submarine carries the capacity to cause devastation equivalent to 600 of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima, Japan. Thus, the six Tridents maintained at Kings Bay have the capacity to cause the devastation of 3600 Hiroshima-scale attacks.

From the initial mineral mining through testing, storage, and dumping, the production and maintenance of these weapons harms human beings, destroys the environment, and violates international and God’s law. Moreover, each day this program steals from all in our nation and world by its theft of much-needed resources. Nor is the Navy or the nation retreating from this violation of international law. The Navy is currently preparing to spend at least $100.2 billion of the public’s money on a new class of 12 Trident ballistic missile submarines to replace the current Trident submarines.
Against these continuing violations of treaty law, we assert our right and duty to civil resistance against nuclear weapons. Furthermore, we affirm as crucial the human right to be free from these crimes. The Nuremberg Principles not only prohibit such crimes but oblige those of us aware of the crime to act against it. “Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity…is a crime under International Law”. The United Nations Charter further reinforced this principle and made it part of binding international law. Similarly, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, to which the United States is a signatory, makes it clear that private individuals can be held responsible for acts of genocide.
The ongoing building and maintenance of Trident submarines and ballistic missile systems constitute war crimes that can and should be investigated and prosecuted by judicial authorities at all levels. As citizens, we are required by International Law to denounce and resist known crimes.
For the sake of the whole human family threatened by nuclear weapons, and for the sake of our Planet Earth, which is abused and violated, we indict the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base and all government officials, agencies, and contractors as responsible for perpetuating these war crimes.
Link to video of the group reading their statement prior to the action.

Statement from the Kings Bay Plowshares

We come in peace on this sorrowful anniversary of the martyrdom of a great prophet, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Fifty years ago today, April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee as a reaction to his efforts to address “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism.”
We come to Kings Bay to answer the call of the prophet Isaiah (2:4) to “beat swords into plowshares” by disarming the world’s deadliest nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine.
We repent of the sin of white supremacy that oppresses and takes the lives of people of color here in the United States and throughout the world. We resist militarism that has employed deadly violence to enforce global domination. We believe reparations are required for stolen land, labor and lives.
Dr. King said, “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world (today) is my own government.” This remains true in the midst of our endless war on terror. The United States has embraced a permanent war economy.
“Peace through strength” is a dangerous lie in a world that includes weapons of mass destruction on hair-trigger alert. The weapons from one Trident have the capacity to end life as we know it on planet Earth.
Nuclear weapons kill every day through our mining, production, testing, storage, and dumping, primarily on Indigenous Native land. This weapons system is a cocked gun being held to the head of the planet.
As white Catholics, we take responsibility to atone for the horrific crimes stemming from our complicity with “the triplets.” Only then can we begin to restore right relationships. We seek to bring about a world free of nuclear weapons, racism and economic exploitation.
We plead to our Church to withdraw its complicity in violence and war. We cannot simultaneously pray and hope for peace while we bless weapons and condone war making.
Pope Francis says abolition of weapons of mass destruction is the only way to save God’s creation from destruction.
Clarifying the teachings of our Church, Pope Francis said, “The threat of their use as well as their very possession is to be firmly condemned … weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity.”
Nuclear weapons eviscerate the rule of law, enforce white supremacy, perpetuate endless war and environmental destruction and ensure impunity for all manner of crimes against humanity. Dr. King said, “The ultimate logic of racism is genocide.” We say, “The ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide.” A just and peaceful world is possible when we join prayers with action. Swords into Plowshares!
Elizabeth McAlister
Mark Colville
Clare Grady
Martha Hennessy
Stephen Kelly S.J.
Patrick O’Neill
Carmen Trotta

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Which Side Will You Support In The Struggle For Media That Serves The People?

A tariff on newsprint, the consolidation of local t.v., and activists who promote the very corporate "news" platforms designed to silence their voices are salient features of today's information landscape. 

This video making the rounds demonstrates the chorus of t.v. talking heads parroting identical talking points about "fake news" apparently without a trace of irony. It was shared by the Progressive Truthseekers page on spybook with the explanation:

Sinclair Broadcast Group is the largest owner of local TV stations in the country. They inject the plutocrat governments political views into local news throughout the world and spread unified propaganda messaging as showcased here.
Did I mention that Sinclair recently bought up the bandwidth used by Harpswell Community TV in Maine -- a channel that has regularly aired the "This Issue" interviews conducted by peace activist Bruce Gagnon? His show offers a critique of corporate government rarely if ever heard on mainstream media or even the so-called Maine "Public" radio, television and websites affiliated with NPR.

Then there's the "Bad News" shared by Chris Busby in alternative newspaper the bollard this month. Busby details the corporate control steadily creeping over print journalism:

Here in Maine, the fate of the print news media — whose coverage drives much of what we get from radio and TV news — has never been more precarious. One wealthy individual, junk-mail mogul Reade Brower, now owns nearly every daily newspaper in the state and most of the weeklies. And while the industry clings to the edge of a cliff, a group of plutocrats much richer than Reade (including Trump, Bezos, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross) are stomping on its fingers...
The timing is interesting, coming just weeks after the newsprint tariff kicked in, and the same month that Alliance Press hiked its printing rates by 8 percent (3 percent of which is specifically to offset cost increases caused by the tariff, according to a letter sent to the printer’s customers). With newspapers already operating on razor-thin margins, a price hike of nearly 10 percent in their second-largest expense (after employee compensation) is a de facto death blow. 

Here's what I intend to do about the throttling of alternative media by corporate agents.

Let's say I see an essay by one of the Parkland gun violence survivors that interests me. "I tried to befriend Nickolas Cruz. He Still Killed My Friends" by Isabelle Robinson examines the claim that if Nik Cruz were not socially isolated, he would not have turned into a mass murderer. 

I read the essay and decide it is an interesting examination of this aspect of the current crisis in school shootings. Definitely worth sharing with my network as a way of supporting the important perspective of its teen author. Problem is, it was published in the New York Times.

You know, the media organization that helped lie us into the Iraq War, the war on terror, and continues to support Israel's attempted genocide of the Palestinian people -- I could go on, but you get the idea.

I completely understand why a teenager would want to publish in the NYT to reach its enormous audience. I'm not criticizing her for that. But I am predicting that, if Robinson remains active in the struggle for gun control, she'll realize that feeding the beast of corporate media is not in the best interest of her cause.

Then I start searching for an alternative source to share.

It's harder now that Google changed its algorithms to make sure that corporate media tops the list no matter how many times I've visited alternative new sites. (Yes, I could use DuckDuckGo or another alternative search engine. Why I don't is the subject for another day.)

It takes a few minutes of digging but I do find one: "She was nice to the boy who bullied her. He still turned into a mass shooter" by Mark Shrayber on Upworthy. Now I have this information in a form I feel like sharing.

Yes, it does have Robinson's words framed by journalistic commentary. For example,

The first time Isabelle Robinson met Nikolas Cruz, he knocked the wind out of her and smirked as he watched her cry.

I'm ok with that. I helped get Robinson's message out there, and I didn't add to the revenues of the corporate shills at the NYT.