President George W. Bush gave the world the Iraq War, environmental disasters, a stacked Supreme Court, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper for a decade. With the cutting of that umbilical cord, Canadians and progressive Americans should feel great relief, at least for the short term.
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.
In a big step for the growing environmental justice movement, nearly a thousand residents of Boyle Heights, the heart of LA’s Mexican-American community, and Hunters Point, the African-American center of San Francisco, hundreds of residents flocked to displays of affordable zero-emission cars last week to an event sponsored by Environment California’s "Charge Ahead" campaign. There were only three white organizers among multitudes of people of color listening to State Senator Pro Tem Kevin de Leon extolling affordable clean energy vehicles, including models with directional voices in Spanish, It is de Leon who has taken up the cause of environmental justice more than anyone in Sacramento. His legislation mandates the expansion of the “Charge Ahead" program to communities of color. The events in the LA barrio and SF ghetto were unprecedented.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?