California is poised to spend $120 billion by 2020 toward constructing a sustainable green economy. That’s a lot of money, about 10 times greater annually than the United Kingdom, with twice California’s population, invests on wind farms and other solar applications. These renewable investments solidify California’s role as a showcase the Obama administration can point to at the United Nations climate change talks scheduled for Peru in December and for France in December 2015.
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.
The backstory on how Mayor Eric Garcetti succeeded in winning $1 billion for the LA River Restoration is a fascinating lesson in politics. Simply put, President Barack Obama owed the mayor, and the president came through.
Back in 2007, Garcetti took a chance on Obama against the overwhelming liberal consensus on Hillary Clinton. Garcetti, while L.A. City Council President, rode buses into the heat of Nevada to knock on doors for the long shot candidate, bringing LA volunteers with him. All that year, all over the country, Garcetti was one of Obama's durable supporters. He repeated in 2012.
The Isla Vista murder rampage is agonizing enough, but more deeply painful when we consider how long it has taken for universities to grapple with the daily threats to women's basic security from sexual harassment and violence. As one example, see the legislation I introduced in 1987, twenty-seven years ago, requiring public universities to actively investigate and bring penalties against individuals and fraternities engaged in "an epidemic" of campus rapes. Even at that time, campuses were accused of being slow to respond.
Hon. John Kerry
U.S. Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
May 19, 2014
Dear Mr. Secretary,
As old friends and colleagues from the Vietnam War era, we are writing to support your condemnation of China's "provocative" behavior by installing an oil platform and sending some eighty ships to implement its unilateral claims to the South China Sea near Vietnam.
We are not proponents of what many call a "new Cold War" by our country against China. Too great a projection of US naval and diplomatic power, into what China understandably sees as its sphere of interest, is sure to escalate a conflict where we are disadvantaged as the historic Western outsider. The waters in question are called the South China Sea, or the East Sea, by the Vietnamese; and not the West American Sea, for obvious reasons.
That does not mean our government should be passive or remain neutral to a policy of Chinese expansionism when it threatens the sovereignty of smaller Pacific nations like Vietnam and the Philippines. Like you, we are deeply aware from experience that nothing is more precious for Vietnam than its independence. The Vietnamese have fought their "brother enemy" or China, twice since the US-Vietnam war, and 14 times over the centuries. As this month's extraordinary street protests have shown, Vietnamese public opinion is willing to confront China over the deployment of an oil rig 140 miles off the Vietnamese coast. The tensions even could escalate militarily with a Vietnam-China border battle on the one hand, and Vietnamese attacks on China's over-extended supply lines, on the other.
China, despite being a rising power, has shown great concern for its regional and global reputation through the exercise of soft power diplomacy. The United States government therefore should add its voice to those criticizing China's unilateral expansionism and indicate that Beijing will pay a diplomatic price for its behavior. In no way, however, should the US respond with any military threats, since those would be ineffective and play into the narrative of a new Cold War.
According to the international press, China says it will remove its rig by August 18 for the coming typhoon season. That allows time for the current dangerous brinksmanship to be transformed into a diplomatic process, which will ensure Vietnam's sovereignty, lessen regional hostilities, and restore China's standing as a good neighbor in the area. The idea of joint exploitation of resources benefiting powers with historically established contending claims should be explored.
We all know the perils of hubris, blind ambition, and over-reach. We also know the proven potential of meaningful steps towards conflict resolution. It is our hope that our government can summon the lessons of the bitter past to play a constructive role in protecting sovereignty while promoting coexistence in this case.
Over the long term we should deepen our relationships with Vietnam to make clear we are a committed partner to regional stability, and not a power seeking to use them as a counter to China. Of course it would bolster our reputation if we reconciled with Cuba, Vietnam's closest friend in our hemisphere.
We are encouraging many friends to sign or support this letter.
TOM HAYDEN JOHN McAULIFF
Peace and Justice Resource Center Fund for Reconciliation and Development
RICHARD FLACKS ANN FROINES
University of California Santa Barbara University of Massachusetts Boston (Retired)
MARILYN B. YOUNG CHARLES M. PAYNE
New York University University of Chicago
JERRY LEMBCKE VAN GOSSE
Holy Cross College Franklin & Marshall College
GWENDOLYN ZOHARAH SIMMONS, PHD
University of Florida
My dream is that California under Governor Jerry Brown's leadership will become a multi-cultural world-class economy powered entirely by renewable resources and energy conservation, and a model to which President Barack Obama can point during the critical global talks on climate change in December 2015. This vision is one in which the whole is more than the sum of its parts. The overarching goal of projecting California as a renewable model for the world should unite the many tangled strands of California environmentalism. The challenge of climate change can be "The Great Unifier", in the vision of a February 2014 state report.[i]
If President Obama wants to "pivot" to Asia, labor, human rights and anti-sweatshop activists should insist that he condemn the virtual slavery in which workers survive in China, India and smaller nations in that region. Apple, Nike, Wal-Mart, Gap and other multinationals profit from sweatshop labor to manufacture everything from cell phones to pom-poms to students and consumers here.
The national security pundits are all over President Obama for apparently failing to preserve American military pre-eminence in the world. Maureen Dowd complains that he's "whining", "disconnected", "adrift", and that he should be like the NBA commissioner who, “in his first big encounter with a crazed tyrant, managed to make the job of NBA commissioner seem more powerful than that of the president of the United States.”
As promised, the City Council budget committee held a several-hour hearing Monday on the issues raised by the Fix LA Coalition's research paper on Wall Street profits from LA city funds. Chaired by Council member Paul Krekorian, the hearing saw five Council members engaging intently with the report's authors, labor leaders and community-based representatives. The hearing was uniquely significant in that the labor-community advocates for the first time were invited to have a seat at the table as part of the official city agenda. The hearing, which lasted several hours, was televised live on the LA city channel.
In a few weeks, the Fix LA Coalition will also hold another lengthy and detailed dialogue with City Controller Ron Galperin and experts from his office. Galperin, who is one of only three LA citywide elected officials, has independent audit powers. Recent Controllers' reports have questioned whether the city has gotten the best return on its investments, and whether passively managed investments are sometimes perform better than actively-managed ones, which obtain the higher management fees.
Normally, Wall Street fees and management practice are evaluated by methods comparing other cities and pension funds. Therefore if all comparable fees are within the same range, they are considered acceptable. In the growing debate in LA, officials are being asked to compare Wall Street fees with budget cuts for essential services like street repair and with the long-term costs of downsizing urban services.
The next battle against Wall Street may be brewing and this one is in Los Angeles City Hall. If it erupts, the soldiers will be a scrappy, wonky, and sophisticated phalanx of labor, neighborhood, and religious activists. Their research has exposed the fact that Wall Street banks were paid $200 million in fees alone last year by the City of Los Angeles; many millions more than the city spent on fixing its streets.
Tim Carpenter is being buried today, May Day, in western Massachusetts; one of a long line of American revolutionary patriots fallen there. Left behind are his wife Barbara, two daughters, Julia and Sheila, and many thousands of activists, radicals, and progressive Democrats to fill his place.