June 30, 2005

Maine VFP Chapter 001

Meeting: People Plus Center, Brunswick, 7:00pm

President Doug Rawlings called the meeting to order at 7:00 with 18 members present. President Rawlings reported that Jack Bussell was having tests at the Portland Hospital to review a heart condition.  He encouraged members to contact Jack to wish him well.

John and Debbie Howe of Waterville were introduced as guests; John, author, engineer and farmer, spoke for the first hour of the meeting on the coming Energy Crisis.  The up-dated edition of his book, The End of Fossil Energy and A Plan for Sustainability is at the printers.

With oil over $60 a barrel and gasoline averaging $2.20 at the pump, the speaker predicted that during 2005 when the price reaches $80 per barrel, gasoline will very likely be selling at $3.00.  The US reached peak production in 1972; he did not see significant alternatives on the horizon sufficient to meet demand.  The alternative then, is massive conservation and possibly rationing.

John made reference to the plethora of books on the subject and urged VFP to be informed and take a leadership role in the energy issue because of the direct effect it has on issues of War and Peace. References included:

Twilight in the Desert by Matthew Simmons

The Party is Over

Power Down

High Noon for Natural Gas

Storm in the Wilderness

Crossing the Rubicon by Michael Rupert

The Long Emergency

The Oil Age is Over

Boiling Point

At 8:15 the regular agenda was resumed.  Minutes of the June 2nd were accepted as circulated.

Treasurer’s Report:  We have $4,418.66 in the bank. As noted in the previous meeting,  we expect expenditures of approximately $3000 for a new printing of book covers. Income in July of the second half of the MaineShare grant (approximately $2200) is anticipated.  Members are reminded that dues of $15 for the local chapter and $25 for National for 2005-6 may be paid after September 1st.  The President will make a dues request in his annual letter to the membership.  In addition donations are always much appreciated.

PTSD Workshops:  We agreed to start planning for a PTSD workshop day centered on the work of Glenn Schiraldi, whose book (THE POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER SOURCEBOOK) has just been published   Doug asked Tim Blanchette to see if he can arrange a time and date for Dr. Schiraldi to present in Maine sometime this fall.  Tim has contacted Schiraldi and is waiting for a reply. VFP agreed to purchase three of Dr. Schiraldi’s books for use prior to the workshop.  Perhaps we could feature his books at the Common Ground Fair

Bath Iron Works Launch, July 23: Please be at the BIW gates at 9:00am; signs have been prepared by Bruce Gagnon.  The theme is “Economic Conversion.”  This action is one of many we have been involved in to protest the continued building and launching of Aegis destroyers.

Hiroshima Day in Brunswick, August 6th: The 60th Anniversary of the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Japanese cities will be celebrated with a Peace Fair on the Mall.  Peace flags will be designed.  Members are encouraged to contact Stan Lofchie for more details.

National VFP Convention, Dallas, August, 3-7:  The draft of a Resolution to form VFP Youth Chapters: There is still time to send in comments. Final copy is due at least 10 days before the Convention.  President Rawlings is planning to represent Chapter 001 and to submit this resolution for discussion.  He’ll be there to accept the presentation of a 20th anniversary acknowledgement (Maine Chapter 001 was the first of 123 VFP chapters formed).

Air Show – September 10 & 11:  An all night vigil and speakers are planned.  Voted: $750 – $500 honorarium for speaker Cindy Sheehan, President of Gold Star Mothers Against War plus $250 for brochures.  Bruce Gagnon asked that a VFP member be named to coordinate the demonstration. The next planning meeting for the action will beheld after the BIW vigil on July 23rd at the Cabin Restaurant in Bath.  For more information on this action, go to the vfpmaine.org website.

The New Pearl Harbor by Rev. Griffin as seen on CNN was recommended for a Video Room at the National VFP Meeting in Dallas or for a similar video series in Maine.

Kim Hawkins was recommended as a speaker on Depleted Uranium – DU.  Rawlings will try to arrange for her to speak to the group in the fall.

Following his walk from Jay to Augusta with a Peace sign, Russell Christianson was joined at the Capitol by President Rawlings and eleven other VFP members.  They were officially recognized by Maine State representatives as they sat in the House Gallery.  Representatives stood and applauded the group.

Other Business

Bruce Gagnon announced his new book:  Organizing Stories from Fading Empire.  Single copies are available for $13, ten or more for $10 each.  They will be available at the Common Ground Fair at the discount price.

Herschel Sternlieb distributed pictures off the internet depicting the human toll of war. Discussion focused on their use in a VFP booklet on the Cost of War or in VFP displays. Members are asked to send photos to Rawlings, who will begin work on compiling a booklet.

Victor Skorapa spoke on the CAFTA Fair Trade issue, noting that Senator Olympia Snowe may vote for it, and asking VFP members to call 202/2245344 or email olympia@snowe.senate.gov to register their opposition to CAFTA.

Bruce Gagnon and Bob Lezer agreed to share secretary duties at future meetings until someone steps forward to become our secretary.  Dan Hamilton made a valiant effort to replace Art Whitman as secretary pro tem, but Dan’s schedule will not allow him to attend meetings on a regular basis.  We appreciate his efforts.

Next meeting:  Portland Peace and Justice Center, August 18th at 7:00pm.

There will be no meeting in July.

Respectfully submitted by Arthur Whitman, Secretary pro tem