Secretary of State John Kerry offered support for US sanctions against Venezuela in Congressional testimony yesterday, playing into the hands of right wing Cuban Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who introduced sanctions legislation on the same day. Just last week the House of Representatives gave near unanimous support for a resolution condemning Venezuela offered by the right-wing Cuban representative from Miami, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
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.
Mayoral candidate Dan Siegel has vowed to build a participatory democracy in Oakland, joining progressive populist trend in municipal elections from New York City to Seattle. He announced his campaign on January 9 with a rally reminiscent of the Rainbow Coalition era. The race will be watched closely by those wondering whether Oakland's long tradition of radical movements can be advanced through a Mayor promising to battle and bargain with entrenched interests from outside developers to a police department stained by a brutal reputation. If successful, the Siegel campaign may represent a model for achieving gains for under-represented people in areas with progressive majorities. Siegel's core pledge is to raise the city's minimum wage $12.25/hour.
Like New York, Siegel's insurgent campaign comes in the aftermath of the powerful rise and steady decline of the Occupy movement. In New York, Democrats already are divided between a mayor with a voter mandate to tax the rich for pre-K education and a governor advertising that his state is "open for investment" through tax breaks for the rich. The deepening divide among Democrats is between the Populist-Progressive tradition and that of neo-liberalism introduced in the Clinton era. For Siegel's campaign speech, listen here.
Propelled by passionate grass-roots environmentalists, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed an anti-fracking moratorium on February 28, finally landing the issue in the center of California politics.
Unlike New York or Pennsylvania, where active fracking has triggered a widespread protest, the issue in California is more a potential threat than an in-your-backyard reality. The exception is Kern County, the long center of California's drilling operations. Massive fracking operations are predicted, however, across the vast Monterey Shale region, which encompasses the Central Valley and reaches parts of the Los Angeles basin and Santa Barbara. Some experts project the Monterey Shale formation to contain fifteen billion barrels of oil.
Haven't the Republicans, the neo-conservatives and the mainstream media been telling us all these years that America won the Cold War? They spoke too soon. From the residue of the old Soviet Union, a new nationalist, nuclear-armed, resource-rich Russia has risen to challenge Western claims of triumphalism. The new Cold War is upon us, and the American elites have no suggestions except to fight it again.
Fernando Gonzales became the second member of the Cuban Five to be repatriated to his homeland when he arrived at Havana's Jose Marti airport on Friday. His prison term cut from nineteen to fifteen years, it was a long journey for Gonzales from a desert cell in Arizona to his release in Havana.
This was one deportation to celebrate.
Senator Bernie Sanders is preparing a presidential run. While it can still be called off, volunteers already are eyeing Iowa and New Hampshire, a database is being prepared, and factions being formed, and its only winter 2014.
The US national security elite, mainstream media, and therefore most of the American people, are in strategic denial of the fact that the Taliban are winning the war in Afghanistan. Why is the denial "strategic"? Because our government and military establishment cannot easily admit failure without damaging our super-power status and their multiple careers. However, such a denial also risks never learning the lessons.
Cuban players were the best in major league baseball last year, and their rise will further thaw the frozen relations between our countries.
The impact of the new Cuban players last season was "unprecedented", in the view of Baltimore Orioles owner John Angelos, whose team played a series in Cuba and Baltimore in 1999. "We took the Orioles there not to get defectors but as a vehicle to get Americans to be aware of the common ground," he told me. The common ground is widening.
The peace and justice movement should realize that we've played a role in undermining public support for direct US military interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Egypt and Iran. In several cases we have helped galvanize congressional opposition -Iraq, Afghanistan - and seen AIPAC rebuffed by Obama over the crisis in Iran. US drone attacks have declined in part because of public resistance. While it's impossible for the peace forces to claim "victory" given the massive suffering and squandering of resources, it's important to realize that grass-roots activism has a relevance which is irritating to the self-anointed national security experts and clandestine services.