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      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.


      Bring Home The Troops: Letter to the Editor

      Published October 15, 2015 by the Washington Post

      One option was unmentioned in the Oct. 13 front-page article “Afghan decision tests Obama,” about President Obama’s fading chance to bring the troops home. The president could use his available powers to demand a multipronged effort at ending ethnic and geographic partitions in the region. In Afghanistan, it’s still the Pashtun south and east vs. the Northern Alliance. In Iraq, it’s still the Shiites of the south against the Sunnis in the north and west. In Syria, it is the northeastern Alawites (Shiite) against the Sunni majority across the south.

      Mr. Obama may be adopting the Nixon-Kissinger strategy of a “decent interval” between the withdrawal of U.S. forces and the final collapse of the Saigon regime. The Taliban is expanding its power base. The Islamic State has captured Sunni rage. The government in Kabul is a hapless Humpty Dumpty.

      The article warned that Mr. Obama has “provoked nearly universal alarm” in the foreign policy establishment. But those are the people David Halberstam made infamous as “the best and the brightest.” They lost the Vietnam and Iraq wars.

      Tom Hayden, Los Angeles, CA


      Sullivan Canyon and Namvar Money

      The LA Times has sadly ignored an important developer scandal over mansions in Sullivan Canyon during the past year. The story has been written by former Times reporter John Schwada at CityWatchLA and is the subject of several letters I have written to city and state officials as well as a lawsuit being prepared by Sullivan Canyon homeowners. 

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      Next Steps for the Divestment Movement?

      350.Org and its offshoot, Fossil Free California, did an amazing organizing job pushing for California State Senator Kevin de Leon's historic coal divestment law, which passed both houses of the Legislature and was signed last week by Governor Jerry Brown. They did 42 district meetings in assembly and senate districts thought necessary to win the battle against King Coal. 

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      Hillary and Democrats Won The Debate

      Presidential debates are based on the first impressions made in the opening 15 minutes. Then, unless a fight breaks out, the impression settles in as a consensus. Issues and character are very important, but the overall impression remains as the foremost criteria. 

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      Sullivan Canyon Scandal: Officials Tiptoe Around

      Written by John Schwada

      DEVELOPERS’ DUPLICITY-For almost exactly a year state and local officials have been dancing around the issue of what to do about startling whistleblower allegations that developers seeking permits to build two mega-mansions in LA’s pristine Sullivan Canyon had tried to bribe and intimidate state officials to get their way.

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      Brown to Sign Historic Divestment Law This Week

      Governor Jerry Brown has agreed to sign historic legislation divesting California from coal this week, ending King Coal’s long dominance as a power source for California.

      Two close observers say that Brown has agreed with environmental leaders to do so. A third source says that Brown is likely to sign the bill but nothing is final until he wields his pen. Environmentalists ignored the legislation which one described as “a left flank on the 350 passage.” Based on a student campaign to “divest and invest in clean power”, I drafted and took the bill to Sen. Kevin De Leon at the beginning of session. He fortunately agreed and the bill drew the strong support of Tom Steyer. It passed both houses before any of the 350 bills were passed and amended. This victory for the divestment movement with have great significance in itself, and also b a precedent for identical initiatives across the land. This is exactly how the divestment campaigns began on South Africa and Big Tobacco. Stay tuned.

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      Days of Miracles and Wonder

      We are living in a time of miracles and wonder

      Don't cry baby, don't cry

      It was a dry wind and it swept across the desert and it curled into the circle of birth

      and the dead sand falling on the children and the mothers and the fathers - Paul Simon

      Our world is being shaken by protest, resistance and repression that we have not experienced since 1968 or 1936, or the late 19th century. It is too much for any of us to assimilate at once, so I recommend that everyone set aside their pre-existing assumptions, and for starters, read every story in the NY Times everyday, or I might say read between the lines. Facebook and Twitter are not enough. I have read the daily Times for fifty years, from the days it promoted the Vietnam War to its disclosure of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, from its catering to climate-deniers to its virtual war against them in recent years. If you have time, read Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein, but start your day by carefully reading through the Times.

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      Bernie Sanders Reflection

      Personally and polititically I have been a Bernie supporter for a long time. I come from PDA where Bernie spoke at Tim Carpenter’s funeral; I introduced him at his first LA/PDA even despite my stroke. I think his platform is  excellent and poplular. He is on track to win two primaries and form at least a Progressive Bloc at the Democratic convention. Things might well keep breaking his way. As to the label “socialist”, let’s not forget that we aleady have elected someone named Barack Hussein Obama, though that was a big liability. So who can say what lies ahead for now?

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      Julian Bond, Our First Obama

      Julian Bond speaking on May 2, 2015 at the MLK Memorial in Washington D.C., commemorating the the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam Peace Movement. (Photo: Ted Lieverman, 2015.)Julian Bond was one of the most prominent and personable leaders who rose out of the student civil rights movement of 1960, the year he was first arrested in an Atlanta sit-in.

      I first met him in a living room of his family home, a setting filled with books and intense conversation about the choices awaiting a new generation turning twenty. Above all was the personal question - what to risk in order to stop the brutal, numbing advance of Jim Crow over black lives.

      Julian was at the center of the handful that formed the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, with its two prongs of direct action and voter registration in the black belt. A "blood oath" was taken among the tiny vanguard to win voting rights in five years or die trying. Deaths did occur but the voting rights protections were achieved; a historic breakthrough that lasted 50 years before it’s undermining by the recent revival of "the New Jim Crow" regime.

      Julian was a threat to the segregationist order from the moment he appeared during the sit-ins. He instinctively knew that the vote would require a new generation of leaders for which to vote. He was elected to the Georgia state house in 1965. His seating was refused, not only because he was black but also because he and SNCC opposed the Vietnam War and the draft, the first young civil rights leaders to do so.

      Democracy prevailed when the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ordered Georgia to restore his democratic election. It was a huge victory for the movement, including the anti-Vietnam war movement as well. Dissent from the war by Muhammad Ali and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would follow, and a spreading dissent against Vietnam by people of color in the armed services on many bases and brigs. 

      Not only did Julian open a path from protest to politics, he soon became the magnet for all those seeking new national leadership. During the tumultuous democratic convention of 1968, he became a popular vice presidential candidate. Eventually he passed on the option, partly because he was too young, but the myth was born that a "new generation of leadership" was on the rise.

      Julian served two decades in the Georgia legislature, lost a close congressional race to his old friend from SNCC, John Lewis, but held a leading role in the national NAACP for decades to come. He was on the leading edge of every social movement to the moment of his death.

      Despite heart issues, he responded positively to an invitation to speak in Washington at the 50 anniversary of the first national protest march against the war in Vietnam. On May 2nd nearly 1,000 people held vigil under azure blue skies, rolling clouds, and the imposing Martin Luther King Jr. memorial monument to hear Julian give his final speech. It was unforgettable.

      The message to be communicated was that civil rights, equality and peace are indivisible. Julian Bond wanted his audience to keep the memory that he, like his friend dr. King and many others thought of themselves in the passage of time, not only students, scholars or civil rights leaders, but as peace and justice leaders who gave their lives to a cause worth living and dying for.

      Praise and glory to Horace Julian Bond for the days he spent among us.

      Joan Mulholland, Ron Dellums, Tom Hayden and Julian Bond this May in Washington D.C. to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam Peace Movement. (Photo: Barbara Williams, 2015)


      Climbing A Final Summit

      Something about a mountain draws people toward the heights. It’s daunting, dangerous, requiring one step, or misstep, after another, like any arduous path to a new level, a plateau of reform. When you make it, there’s something majestic in the peaks. The experience is all there in Kerouac’s Dharma Bums.  That’s why I spoke at the Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics on July 9, in mile-high Boulder, Colorado, and again at the Tattered Cover in Denver. Building a social movement through ups and downs is a similar to the process described by Aldo Leopold in “thinking like a mountain."

      Pope Francis suddenly ranks ahead of Governor Jerry Brown among those assembling for this year’s climate summit. The influence of the Pope and his encyclical may greatly sway the California Governor as they share their thoughts together. Their synergy will have an important effect on President Barack Obama - and to a lesser extent Speaker of the House John Boehner and the Republican Congress, in their meetings this September. Pope Francis, President Obama, Gov. Brown and, of course, Speaker Boehner and the Congress are rooted in the realm of the powers and principalities.

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