As President Barack Obama prepares an executive order supporting immigrant rights, the attacks on his presidential authority mounts from the Republicans, the Tea Party, right-wing talk show hosts, and some voices among Democrats and the Left. To the extent these attacks succeed, there may be no progressive policies implemented between now and 2017.
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.
Since the February 26, 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin, the repeated pattern of police killings of unarmed young African-American men is generating a tide of angry resistance and unanswered questions. The underlying law enforcement doctrine known as "broken windows policing" has come under its greatest challenge in two decades.
On May 12, President Obama held a confidential conversation in the White House with Uruguay's president, Jose Mujica, the former Tupamaro guerrilla leader. The meeting was a fateful one. Did they discuss Uruguay's becoming the first Marijuana Republic? Perhaps. Did they discuss the US-Cuba diplomatic impasse of 55 years? Most certainly, because three weeks later at an Organization of American States (OAS) meeting in Uruguay the delegates reaffirmed a decision to officially invite Cuba to a summit in Panama next May.
In a 14-0 vote, the Los Angeles City Council has embraced the demand of a grass-roots labor-and-neighbor coalition to re-negotiate costly Wall Street loans or terminate them altogether. The City leaders also are demanding scrutiny of the outsized-fees paid to Wall Street firms as part of a budgetary battle to "Fix LA" from a fate of declining city services and rising unemployment.
Hundreds of thousands will march at the United Nations September 21 when the UN opens its general assembly with a focus on averting catastrophic climate change. The rally may be the largest public outcry at the UN since the February 2003 rally against the Iraq War.
Where the 2003 protests at least succeeded in preventing the UN from authorizing the American invasion of Iraq, this movement demands that the UN achieve an enforceable treaty to save the planet from escalating greenhouse gas emissions. The treaty process will include another huge gathering in Lima this December, and rapidly unfolding talks to culminate in Paris one year later.
When Congress returns from recess on September 8, will they authorize the New Iraq War? That's the question some anti-war groups are asking their representatives now home in their districts. Rep. Jim McGovern is demanding "a full debate and a vote whether to authorize the war," which has been escalating during the Congressional absence.
I don’t pretend to understand the president’s thinking and certainly have no insider knowledge. My general sense is this: the administration finds itself today with no operable strategy with respect to the Arab/Islamic world. The initiative symbolized by the Cairo speech back in 2009 yielded nothing. The same applies to Kerry’s effort to bring closure to the “peace process” — the major diplomatic initiative of the second term. In the meantime, the Arab Spring with all of its unexpected turns and repercussions finds the US and the world at large as spectators.
Hillary Clinton's flapping of her hawkish wings only intensifies the pressure on President Barack Obama to escalate US military involvement in the sectarian wars of Iraq and Syria. Domestic political considerations already are a major factor in forcing Obama to "do something" to save the Yazidis, avert "another Benghazi," and double down in the undeclared Long War against Islamic fundamentalism.
The Times once again is to be congratulated for uncovering a de facto LAPD cover-up of crime statistics in the City. The Times' reporters had to sift through 1,200 serious violent crimes to prove the pattern. Among many others, I have been pressing the City and Department for a decade to recognize the conflict of interest when the LAPD is simultaneously in charge making arrests and defining whether they are serious or minor. That gives power to the Department to an effect, manipulate crime data to promote either the image that violent crime is falling or rising. These barometers of public safety are so important to public safety that they should be calculated in a manner which is beyond public question. We should not be manipulated either by an exaggerated politics of fear or by sunny reassurances that our crime rates are falling due to successful city and police measures.
The Obama administration seems poised to bomb insurgent-controlled areas of Iraq in another escalation of the deepening quagmire. The administration's reason is "humanitarian", a rationale which could have been given countless times before. Air strikes are unlikely to block the offensive by the extremists of ISIS who are bent on forming a sectarian Sunni Caliphata in the territory they have seized in Syria and Iraq.