Maine, Hunger Strike: Day 37: Back to Augusta & ending hunger strike







We had sixteen of us this morning with signs inside the ‘lobbyist staging area’ on the 3rd floor of the capital between the House and Senate chambers.

Lots of kids were there from various schools across the state so they got a real lesson in ‘democracy’.  One of the teachers made an interested young girl return our flyer to us – not allowed in her school we supposed.

Our group – very ordinary Mainers – seemed to change the vibe in the hallway and many of us remarked that we felt a discernible shift in the attitude of many of the legislators toward us.  Several stopped to tell us they are with us – including a kind Republican man who has told me this three times.

One state senator from the Brunswick area told one of his constituents in our group that he has received more contact on LD 1781 than any other issue since he has been in office.  So you are getting their attention – don’t stop now!

My own state senator – one of the sponsors of the bill – approached and told me that “We need you all here.”  I took it as a compliment of the campaign’s effectiveness.

This afternoon from 4:00-5:00 pm the community radio station WERU in East Orland (almost three hours north of Bath) had several of us from the campaign on the air to discuss the GD corporate welfare bill.  Host Amy Browne did an excellent job of weaving Lawrence Richard, Alex Nunes, Lisa Savage, Bob Klotz, Jessica Stewart and myself into the discussion.

We covered most of the key points but VFP member Peter Morgan wrote me after the show and said he was standing by to call in and wanted to say, “BIW has refused to [prove] a financial justification for their [request] for financial assistance.”  But they took no calls today since there were so many of us on the show.

Last night I woke in the middle of the night feeling dizzy and way out of sorts.  MB got me some juice but I didn’t sleep well after that.  My body was talking to me – quite loudly.

So today I consulted with one of my medical advisers (Bob Klotz) and determined that I would end by hunger strike on this 37th day.  Others will continue the solidarity fast under the ready coordination of Mary Kate Small.  Our friend Tom Ryan continues his fasting now into the 15th day or so and he will go until day 20.

We also got confirmation that our advert began today on WGAN radio in southern Maine.  It will run for a week – four times a day.  One of our friends actually heard it on the air.

We feel like we have done well but need a strong surge as we near the end of this campaign.  Our biggest need is to get more new folks to contact their state legislators about their opposition to LD 1781.  We are asking all of our supporters to find five new folks who have not yet called and have them contact their representatives in Augusta.  We offer this handy tool and thank David Swanson for putting this effective vehicle in our hands.  See it here 

So I will reenter the eating world slowly and mindfully – experts say at least four days are needed to do this.

I will return to the 3rd floor corridor with my sign on Thursday at 9:30 am and then again next week on Tuesday and Thursday.

In the meantime I am giving my heart and soul to defeating this bad bill.


Photos by Peter Woodruff (retired BIW worker)

Original Post:

Black Agenda Report: U.S. Prepares Armed Intervention in Venezuela

Black Agenda Report: U.S. Prepares Armed Intervention in Venezuela

Listen to Ajamu Baraka speak to impending “military intervention” in Venezuela.

Ajamu Baraka, lead organizer for the Black Alliance for Peace, believes the U.S. is actively preparing a military intervention against the elected government of Venezuela. “Secretary of State Tillerson openly called for some type of military intervention,” said Baraka, an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. Washington fears Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro will win a six-year term in April’s elections. If that happens, “the window of opportunity for an anti-democratic intervention” will close, said Baraka.

Allow Parents the Option to Protect Kids from Military Recruiters in High Schools

Parents in our state should be given the means to exercise their right to opt out of sending their kids’ names and contact information to military recruiters.

Please click below to send this email to your state legislators and governor:


“As a constituent, I urge you to follow the example set by Maryland. The federal “Every Student Succeeds Act” contains a provision that compels high schools to provide the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all students to any military recruiter who requests the information. The law also says that parents have the right to remove their kids’ names from the lists being sent to the Pentagon, and that schools have the responsibility to tell parents that.

Only in Maryland are parents given an easy and directly presented means of opting out. The choice remains theirs, and they are empowered to make it. A right you do not learn about – or find any means to act on – is not a right at all!

Maryland is the only state thus far to pass a law that puts the military recruiter “opt-out” language on the school’s mandatory emergency contact form. As a result, large numbers of Marylanders have exercised their right to opt out.

Please make our state the second to take this step.”

Greg Gerrit On The Military

Hello, I am Greg Gerritt, a Green Party member since 1984 and a resident of Rhode Island. The State of the Union is fragile, threatened by three interconnected issues, the expansion of the war machine, growing inequality, and climate change. When the President and the Congress borrow money to give tax breaks to billionaires and prop up the fossil fuel industries and the war machine, while more kids go hungry, we deport dreamers, and the storms get fiercer, you know we are going in the wrong direction.

35 Peace Groups Demand Congress Protect Public From Nuclear ‘Bomb Threat’ Trump

Dozens of peace groups, in an open letter, are calling for Congress to back the   “No First Use” and the “Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act” to reign in Trump’s power to launch nuclear war, according to an article in Common Dreams.

“Time and time again, Trump has proven just how dangerous it is for him to have thousands of nuclear weapons at his fingertips. He doesn’t believe in science and doesn’t consult experts,” the progressive groups,  including Greenpeace USA, Indivisible, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Ultraviolet, and Veterans for Peace, write.

“There’s no better example of the unique danger Trump poses than the unfolding crisis with North Korea, where his cavalier attitude towards nuclear war puts the whole world at risk.”

The open letter calls out the fact the the majority of Americans are against Trump’s unilateral power to handle conflicts, putting the country at great risk.

To us it is clear: Donald Trump should not have the unilateral power to wage nuclear war. And the public is with us: the vast majority of Americans do not trust Trump to handle the crisis with North Korea, nor do they have confidence in his ability to deal with international conflicts writ large.

Read the article here.

Read the open letter here.