Donald Trump's campaign depends on whether there are more terrorist attacks and police shootings in America. Such dire scenarios still may not be enough to win over a nervous electorate in November, but could push some swing voters toward his program of law and order at home and abroad. The reaction to Trump's speech from most commentators was that it was too "dark and gloomy" but if the next two months are like the previous two, the Trump policy might drive more people in the same direction evoked by Richard Nixon or the "dark side" conjured up by Vice President Cheney during the run-up to Iraq.
The Peace Exchange Bulletin
Published by Tom Hayden, The Peace Exchange Bulletin is a reader-supported journal, critically following the Pentagon's Long War in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as well as the failed U.S. wars on drugs and gangs, and U.S. military responses to nationalism and poverty around the world.
First, some credit is due to Wikileaks. Few in the mainstream dare to thank them, but Wikileaks has obviously played a critical role in triggering the official resignation of DNC chair Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. These maverick conspirators, who have brought down many at the upper levels of power, and are disavowed by both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, were able to make public the vilest secrets of power. In a more democratic society there would be less justification for Wikileaks, but there's no sign the surveillance state is diminishing. There may be questions in the days ahead about the role of Edward Snowden, the whistleblower being harbored by Russia, as implicated in the disclosures, but that could upset further by revelations against Paul Manafort about his relationships with the former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was backed by the Kremlin. This in turn carries toxic implications about Trump's "friends" in Moscow and if they are responsible for the not only the hacks, but also the leaks.
With the Diablo Canyon's permits expiring by 2024, the threat of nuclear power in California is lifting. Few recall the tens of thousands of protesters rallying against the plant at the height of the fervent "No Nukes" movement of the times. Tragically, the nuclear lobby is gaining ground by apologists who claim that it's clean if radioactive energy needed as a "renewable" resource.
Americans from the Vietnam Era should join the many Vietnamese today in questioning the appointment of former Senator Bob Kerrey to chair the board of the Fulbright University of Vietnam, which was announced during President Obama's recent visit.
Sen. Kerrey's appointment is more a gesture of forgetting rather than of reconciliation, as some believe. Consider his record as an American Navy SEAL, based on New York Times coverage April 25, 2001, and June 2, 2016:
On the night of Feb. 25, 1969, Kerrey's Navy Seals unit killed 20 Vietnamese villagers, mainly women and children, in the village of Thanh Phong, populated by only 150 people. The weapons used included guns, knives and bare hands.
Vincent Intondi is a Associate Professor of History at Montgomery College and Director of Research for American University’s Nuclear Studies Institute, which organizes annual delegations to Hiroshima. He also is author of the very important book from Stanford University Press, African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement.
His research reveals the deep, decades-long opposition by African American leaders against the development and final use of the U.S. bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where the first targets were people of color. It's no accident that Barack Obama was studying ways to end the threat and writing articles for his campus newspaper on this subject while he studied at Columbia University. Now as the first African-American President faces bitter, racist, and hysterical opposition to his planned visit to the Hiroshima shrine and peace park from those Americans who think he will offer an apology to the Japanese. An apology of any kind would be politically awkward to say the least, and is opposed by the Japanese government itself. But the simple presence of Obama in Hiroshima will reverberate around the world as a silent vigil. I urge you to read Vincent Intondi's moving statement below. - Tom Hayden
This year’s Democratic primary debate has been dominated by criticism of Hillary Clinton for her 2002 vote to authorize the Iraq war, and her general support of regime change. It’s forgotten that Bernie Sanders was for regime change as well. This week Jeremy Scahill, author of Dirty Wars and his new The Assassination Complex, sets the record straight on Democracy Now on Bernie’s earlier involvement in promoting sanctions and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
Dolores Huerta, Labor Movement & Civil Rights Leader
Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for District 1, Secretary of Labor for President Barack Obama
Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor for President Bill Clinton
State Controller Betty Yee
State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones
Eric Bauman, Chair of the LA County Democratic Party & Vice Chair of the California Democratic Party
Assemblyman Jose Medina (AD61)
Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg (ret.), East Area Progressive Democrats
Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (ret.)
State Senator Loni Hancock (SD9)
State Senator Fran Pavley (SD27)
State Senator Ricardo Lara (SD33)
State Senator Holly Mitchell (SD30)
State Senator Martha Escutia (Ret.)
State Senator Mark Leno
U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (CA13)
U.S. Representative Janice Hahn (CA44)
U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (CA43)
U.S. Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA33)
Councilmember Gilbert Cedillo, 1st CD of Los Angeles
LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti
CDP Progressive Caucus
Jamie Beutler, Chair of the CDP Rural Caucus
Barry Broad, Lead Chair of CDP Legislation Committee
John Hanna, Lead Chair CDP Resolutions Committee
Rachel Binah, Chair Emeritus Environmental Caucus, CDP Resolutions Committee, DNC member
Carlos Alcala, CDP Chicano Latino Caucus Chair
Michael Thaller, CDP Progressive Caucus Chair
Karen Bernal, Former Chair of the CDP Progressive Caucus
Darren Parker, CDP African American Caucus Chair
Tim Paulson, CDP Labor Caucus Chair, Executive Director, San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Karen Weinstein, Chair Emeritus of the CDP Women's Caucus, Co-Chair of CDP Affirmative Action Committee
Thomas Patrick O'Shaughnessy, Chair of CDP Irish American Caucus
Bob Mulholland, DNC Member
Alice Huffman, President of the California NAACP, DNC Member
Susie Shannon, CDP Regional Director
Eric Sunderland, CDP Regional Director
Martha Gamez, CDP Regional Director
Tom Camarella, Representing AD54 on the CDP Executive Board
Russell Greene, Representing AD45 on the CDP Executive Board
Richard Blackston, CDP Executive Board Member
Jim Wisely, CDP Executive Board Member
Jeff Daar, CDP Executive Board Member, Board of Airport Commissioners for the Los Angeles World Airports
Daniel Tamm, Representing AD46 on the CDP Executive Board
Paul Ahrens, Representing AD51 on the CDP Executive Board
Patti Skinner Sulpizio, Representing AD38 on the CDP Executive Board
Sheila Mickelson, Representing AD62 on the CDP Executive Board
Lowell Young, CDP Executive Board Member
Bernice A. Bonillas, CDP Executive Board Member
Ashleigh Evans, California DNC Delegate
Cara Robin, CDP Executive Board, President of the WLA Democratic Club
Laurie Gallian, Mayor of Sonoma
Ray Gallian, Sonoma County Central Committee member
Robbie Hunter, President, State Building & Construction Trades of California
Mimi Kennedy, Activist and Actor
Andy Spahn, Co-founder & President of Gonring, Spahn & Associates, Inc.
Ed Begley Jr., Activist & Actor
Steve Soboroff, Vice President of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners
Alfre Woodard, Activist and Actor
Junius Williams, Activist and Author
Ken Seaton-Msemaji, Founder & former President, United Domestic Workers of America AFL-CIO, Political Director, Sheet Metal Workers Local 206 San Diego
Kent Wong, Director of the UCLA Labor Center
Pacific Palisades Democratic Club
Robert Garcia, The City Project, Environmental Justice Attorney
V. John White, Executive Director of Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies
Lisa Hoyos, Director and the Co-Founder of Climate Parents
Vanessa Tyson, Ph.D., Professor of Black Politics, UCLA
Dan Jacobson, State Director for Environment California
Joel Reynolds, Western Director, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council
Margaret Prescod, Host of Sojourner Truth on KPFK
James Fugate, Esowan Books
Dr. Gerald Horne, John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston
Jim B. Clarke, Council Member Culver City and Former Party Secretary of CDP
Hart Bochner, Actor & Environmental activist
Herbert Siguenza, Richard Montoya & Ric Salinas of Culture Clash
Peniel E Joseph, Barbara Jordan Chair Designate in Ethics & Political Values and Founding Director Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, LBJ School of Public Affairs
Linda Escalante, Policy Advocate, NRDC
Angela Sanbrano, Co-Founder & President Emeritis of NALACC
Robert Turcotte, Chair of the Plumas County California Democratic Central Committee (former)
Margie Bernard, Emeritus Vice-Chair of Democrats Abroad, Ireland
Devra Weber, Associate Professor of History, Ph.D., UCLA
Alfredo Hernandez, Friends of the Hollywood Central Park
Larry D. Halstead, Delegate to the CDP
*All Titles Used for Identification Purposes Only
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As a California Democrat, I’ve fretted all year about the ominous threat of domestic fascism in our country revealed in the rhetoric and extremism of Donald Trump and his hard-core followers.
The dangerous undercurrents of the election suggest that the country needs a united front against Trump, combining the best, or at least salvageable, elements from the feuding campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, who, along with independents, can build a majority to win the presidency and possibly take back the U.S. Senate.
Remarks by Tom Hayden to the Vietnam War Summit, LBJ Presidential Library, Austin, Texas, April 26, 2016
THE POWER OF PROTEST, RESTORING THE MEMORY OF THE PEACE MOVEMENT
Thank you Mark Updegrove, Director of the LBJ Library
Thank you Colonel Mark Franklin, Chief of History and Legacy at the Pentagon's Vietnam Commemoration Office
Thank you Jim Knotts & Reema Ghazi, from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
Thank you Jim Popkin for reaching out at the beginning of this process
Thank you for your gracious invitation to this significant opportunity for introspection into the Vietnam War and its peace movement opposition. The reconstructions of our legacies live on. I myself have just finished my third book on Vietnam, to be published next year by Yale University Press, tentatively titled "Vietnam and the Power of Protest." My earlier books appeared decades ago: "The Other Side", with Staughton Lynd [1966, New American Library, 1966], and "The Love of Possession Is a Disease with Them" [Holt Rinehart Winston, 1972.] I also have taught Vietnam classes at Immaculate Heart College, Pitzer and Scripps colleges in Claremont, and a seminar with Democratic staff in the US House of Representatives. Currently, I am excited by the works of Viet Thanh Nguyen, on memory and forgetting, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize this month for his novel, The Sympathizer.
The debate over the War and anti-war movement is still alive. Last year 1000 peace activists gathered at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington D.C. to challenge and engage with the Pentagon's narrative of the war, which we considered to be unbalanced. Those discussions, held at Fort Myer, have been fruitful, unresolved, and ongoing. I note the presence here today of Joe Galloway, who took part in that first Fort Myer's dialogue.
Today I am distributing a new House of Representatives Resolution by Rep. Barbara Lee, a peace and justice leader over many years, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and the movement to end it. The resolution reads in part that, "The movement to end the Vietnam War was one of the largest and most prolonged efforts to achieve peace and justice in many generations and war critical to bringing and end to the war."
There is no question of our impact. We helped turn two presidents out of office. We ended military conscription. Year after year, our numbers in the streets grew until it reached millions and became the largest peace movement in our country's history. The peace movement was not unlike the "general strike" described by W.E.B. Dubois in his history of Reconstruction. It included resistance and walkouts among our troops from military bases to battleships. It spread through communities of color, African-American, Puerto Rican, Latino, Native American, and Asian-American, and from there to campus communities in unprecedented student strikes and moratoriums. While hippies were being demonized, they too were withdrawing from what they considered a repressive and militarized culture. The movement led as well to the opposition of many Democrats and not a few Republicans. The military, the universitie,s and the political order were shaken by the withdrawal of millions from their first attachment to the status quo. American women withdrew from militarism and helped lead the anti-war movement too, as did so many then-closeted LGBT people. The whole phenomenon deserves greater respect and serious research at future conferences like this.
Though many Americans will agree with this assessment, many others hold firm to the belief expressed by President George H.W. Bush after the first Gulf War in 1991 that "By God, we've kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all." Thousands of Americans and millions of Iraqis later died in this war to stamp out a syndrome, which President Bush likened to a mental disorder.
The fundamental reason for these persistent efforts to reclaim victory in Vietnam is a fear in many politicians and their national security advisers of accepting our defeat in 1975. Many of us would argue that the Vietnam war was doomed to failure as early as 1946 when our government armed the French for their march to folly at Dienbienphu, then blocked the nationwide elections promised by the Geneva Accords of 1954.
An official acceptance of defeat in battle, a kind of Custer Syndrome, would lead to a reputational loss as well a painful acknowledgement to military families that their sons fought honorably but under misguided policies imposed by a bipartisan caste of politicians. The political corollary at home was a frightening threat to our own democracy, from McCarthyism to Watergate to COINTELPRO.
This backlash continues today. I felt it was astonishing that our Secretary of State, John Kerry, who was a founding member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War [VVAW] was viciously ‘swift-boated’ out of the presidential race in 2004. He suffered wounds in actually fighting communist forces while so many others in office sat home and enjoyed their immunity. An exception that fought and suffered was Senatir John McCain, who went on with Kerry to a historic diplomatic breakthrough when the US-Vietnam relationship was normalized.
The irony is that our two countries are in a de facto partnership to promote trade and limit China's expansionism in the Pacific. I myself pray that the partnership fulfills our obligation to do everything possible to treat Agent Orange victims and remove the unexploded ordinance that continues to wound or kill this generation of Vietnamese civilians.
Here is another painful contradiction we must confront. Hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese troops were paid for, trained and sent to their deaths under our command, but their honor has never been recognized. One reason that our own government does not recognize their fate is that such a change in policy would entitle their families to benefits. The Boat People are honored, but not the Saigon troops who sacrificed for us. Reconciliation requires respect for their side, from Hanoi to Washington DC.
The people of Laos and Cambodia are receding from our memory as well.
I ask you, are we not all Vietnam veterans in our own way? Were we not all lied to and divided by our government? Isn't the shared experience of our generation that we were mutually manipulated into that cauldron? And who was responsible, those of us in our twenties or those who were in power? Judge for yourselves.
Dr. Henry Kissinger, who operated from the very pinnacle of power during those Indochina Wars, and who defended the establishment throughout, must especially reflect on the responsibilities he carries. I personally would welcome a real dialogue with Dr. Kissinger, which requires a frank admission of the part one played. I personally regret my own part in many decisions the peace movement made, and await an acknowledgement and apology from Dr. Kissinger as well. This conference offers a great opportunity for inner reconciliation. In the absence of that opportunity, I must decline your invitation to the dinner with Dr. Kissinger on April 26.
Rep. Barbara Lee has introduced a House Resolution (H.Res.695) recognizing the Vietnam anti-war movement as, “one of the largest and most prolonged efforts to achieve peace and justice in recent generations and was critical to bringing an end to the war.” Rep. John Conyers became a co-sponsor as an effort begins to seek endorsements from other congressional representatives.
The Lee resolution is a direct result of last year’s May 1-2 commemoration of the movement at a conference in Washington DC.
The peace resolution will draw the ire of Republicans and reluctance of some Democrats. The Vietnam peace movement is the only Sixties movement that has been marginalized instead of memorialized. Yet it was a life-changing experience for many during the war, including thousands of soldiers and veterans, and the US government has tried to stamp out what they call “the Vietnam Syndrome.”
The Lee Resolution is an organizing tool for anyone wanting to respond to the Pentagon’s recent false narrative of history on its website. If grass-roots organizers visit, engage and petition their congressional offices, there is a strong chance for reinvigorating the continuing debate over Vietnam.
Next site of the debate: April 26-28th in Austin, Texas, the Vietnam War Summit presented by the LBJ Presidential Library, with a keynotes by Henry Kissinger and John Kerry, and panel with Tom Hayden, Marilyn Young, and David Maraniss titled, "The War At Home".
Also join me May 7 at Skylight Books in LA for my conversation with this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, author Viet Thanh Nguyen while we discuss his new book NOTHING EVER DIES: VIETNAM AND THE MEMORY OF WAR.
2D SESSION H. RES. ll Recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War,
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Ms. LEE submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the
Recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War,
Whereas the Vietnam War began on 1964 and ended in 1975;
Whereas more than 58,000 United States citizens were killed, approximately 10,786 were wounded, and 75,000 veterans left seriously disabled;
Whereas it is estimated that more than 1,500,000 people from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia died as a result of the War, and many more were wounded or displaced;
Whereas thousands of people continue to suffer from the lethal effects of exposure to Agent Orange and unexploded ordnance;
Whereas the movement to end the Vietnam War was one of the largest and most prolonged efforts to achieve peace and justice in recent generations and was critical to bringing an end to the War;
Whereas the movement to end the Vietnam War was broad and included students, professors, workers, draft resisters, United States service members and veterans, musicians and artists, candidates for Congress and the presidency, and mobilized a majority in opposition to the Vietnam war
Whereas the movement generated the largest protests, moratorium actions, and mobilizations in United States history, including a strike of 4,000,000 students from across the Nation following the United States invasion of Cambodia in 1970, multiple acts of protest and resistance on military bases and ships around the world, and the rise of Vietnam Veterans Against the War;
Whereas United States expenditures on the Vietnam War impacted domestic resources, including for President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty;
Whereas the 1970 blue-ribbon Scranton Report on campus unrest in the United States recognized the growing opposition to the Vietnam War by stating that, ‘‘The crisis on American campuses has no parallel in the history of this nation. This crisis has roots in divisions of American society as deep as any since the Civil War. If this trend continues, if this crisis of understanding endures, the very survival of the nation will be threatened’’;
Whereas Vietnam peace memorials have been erected at Kent State University in Ohio, the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California, and the peace memorial adjacent to the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California;
And Whereas peace and reconciliation research programs were widely incorporated in high school and university classrooms after the Vietnam War era: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
(1) Commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War;
(2) Recognizes that the movement to end the Vietnam War was one of the largest and most prolonged efforts to achieve peace and justice in recent generations and was critical to bringing an end to the War;
(3) Acknowledges the role of those who participated in public protests, teach-ins, and opposition to the War, and the many people who supported political candidates of both parties who sought to end the War;
(4) Applauds the establishment of educational programs at colleges and universities across the United States that are focused on conflict transformation and peace building; and
(5) Urges continued efforts during this 50th anniversary period to reflect on the lessons learned from the Vietnam War and to recommit to sustained diplomacy that prevents conflict.