California is moving towards a historic integration of greenhouse gas reduction strategies with a foundation based on environmental justice. That means we need a broader program and a broader coalition, more like a Green New Deal model than the market model favoring deregulation and unleashing the coal, oil, gas and nuclear industries.
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.
These are outstanding films for anyone engaged in confronting the global surveillance state. They may well contain lessons for the future.
Laura Poitras' "Citizenfour" is a beautifully filmed documentary about the odyssey of Edward Snowden, the independent whistleblower on the National Security Agency. Snowden on the run is filmed surreptitiously in a Hong Kong hotel room and briefly seen in Moscow, and comes across as an immensely likeable, human and compelling human being under conditions that would drive many people beyond paranoia. Poitras is an utterly non-intrusive presence, invisible in the room, and whose email messages with Snowden (known as "ES") convey a sense of curiosity and urgency that makes her altogether human.
Only once in a while does an original book come along that truly sheds new light on the Sixties as a whole. Karen Paget's forthcoming Patriotic Betrayal (Yale) is such a work, telling the inside story of how the CIA corrupted the natural and democratic growth of student rights by infiltrating and directing the National Student Association to its Cold War ends.
The story begins in the 50's, leaving many to wonder if it's not a stale and useless tale bynow. It's relevant today, however, because of the cancerous growth of Big Brother surveillance and the proliferation of clandestine operations branded in the name of "democracy promotion", from Cuba to the Ukraine. The pervasive rise of Secret Money in campaigns, moreover, makes it impossible to know whether operatives of our intelligence agencies have any role in harrassing radicals or steering social movements, or whether such roles have passed toprivate foundations. Democracy is increasingly in the dark. Any light from history can be high-beams to help illuminate the future. (Aee a full review at this site next week)
Over one hundred key environmental and social justice organizers met Oct. 16 in San Rafael to launch a strategy for boosting California's leading role in fighting greenhouse gas emissions and bolstering jobs and environmental justice at the same time. While climate-deniers and their oil and gas industry supporters dominate Congress, states and regions already are building a clean energy economy in the so-called "blue" states where 160 million Americans live. The conference debated ways to build up this "Green Power Bloc" as the pressure builds to achieve global limits on greenhouse gas emissions. The Democracy Journal will report on the progress of this new movement, which will meet again in January. The Huffington Post article below by climate expert John Berger describes the October 16 conference proceedings.
No American president, from Nixon to Obama, has accepted the legal legitimacy of the 1973 War Powers Resolution, one of the major achievements of the movement against the Indochina War. The core claim of the White House has been that executive war-making power cannot be abridged, even though the US Constitution seems to expressly grant the Congress a power-sharing role.
In a few weeks, Congress once again will face a fateful choice to either cede its war-approval powers to the White House or take an authorizing vote on Iraq and Syria. Peace activists have a choice as well, whether or not to push for a Congressional authorization while knowing that it likely will be favorable.
The next turning point in the new Iraq War will be when President Barack Obama and Congress decide whether to maintain their promise to send no American ground troops.
If they hold firm, an early diplomatic settlement may be forced on them since the Iraqi armed forces cannot stop the "clear, build and hold" strategy of the Islamic State. Iraq's Shiite forces cannot, or will not, defend Sunni areas, and Iraq's Kurds are fighting to defend their territory.
California clean energy advocates and Brown administration officials should be cheered by the European Union's announcement that they will cut greenhouse gas emissions by "at least" 40 percent by 2030, a doubling of their current trajectory of 20 percent by 2020. Cuts are measured from 1990 levels.
Demystifying these numbers, this means that the 28-nation European bloc will take major enforceable steps to cut carbon use in the next fifteen years consistent with the United Nations goal of staving off worse-case climate chaos by mid-century. The European announcement will be followed early next year by declarations from other countries as talks continue towards a possible global climate agreement by 2015.
In what a New York Times editorial called "Cuba's Impressive Role on Ebola" (October 19, 2014), hundreds of Cuban doctors and nurses are being dispatched to West Africa to battle Ebola, train medical personnel, and create isolation and treatment centers. The Cubans are playing "the most robust role" of any country in battling the Ebola plague, which has erupted virulently because of a broad failure, according to the Times, "to produce medicines and vaccines for diseases that afflict poor countries."
The horror and sorrow of war is falling on the Kurds resisting ISIL in Kobani while the Turkish government ignores their plight and the US bombs ineffectively. Here's the core of the story: the PKK in Syria, "adhere to a left-wing philosophy that many Western policymakers and other critics see as a throwback to the 1960s-era revolutionaries." As an example, the Times cites the presence of many local women who pushed out ISIL militarily.
Congress gave President Obama a half-hearted half-measure of support for arming the Syrian rebels last week, just before Obama took the next step up the ladder of escalation by bombing Syria without United Nations authorization. The congressional war authorization was designed to put off further debate until after the mid-term elections, when Congress will return to the issues. There were 108 House "no" votes on the authorization and 22 in the Senate, including possible future presidential contenders Rand Paul, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand.