Trump’s looming crisis: too much democracy!

Back in 1975, an influential think tank called the Trilateral Commission issued a report titled “The Crisis of Democracy.” The report gloomily described the problems of governance in the major western democracies. According to the report, the problems stemmed “from an excess of democracy” caused primarily by the “new activism” in the United States, especially the robust antiwar movement.

You read that right. Too much democracy was causing headaches for the ruling elite. Poor things.

Today, Trump and the morally bankrupt Republican Party are facing a similar crisis of too much democracy. This time the excess of democracy arises from the growing calls to have universal mail-in balloting for the November presidential elections. Mail-in voting is, in fact, the number one recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control for keeping voters safe in the age of coronavirus.

Continue reading “Trump’s looming crisis: too much democracy!”

Letters from lockdown: Let’s call it “physical” distancing and practice social “solidarity”

One thing that’s been bothering me from the start of this virus outbreak is the use of the term “social distancing.” Obviously, its widespread use has worked pretty well. People are definitely learning to keep their distance from one another, students on Spring Break in Florida being a notable and regrettable exception.

Continue reading “Letters from lockdown: Let’s call it “physical” distancing and practice social “solidarity””

Letters from lockdown: We’re up first. Let’s get this right.

Okay, California. We’ve given the world skateboarding, Napa wine, sourdough bread, valley girls and hippies. How about we make this social distancing thing the next hot trend? To do that, we need to take it really seriously. Without losing our California cool, of course.

I think Rose Aguilar summed it up best on her radio program this morning. Rose said she had been “struck” by something she read, that what we need to focus on is setting a good example for the rest of the country. 

That hit home for us, as well. We’re up first. Let’s get this right.

<<<<< >>>>>

Rose Aguilar’s program, Your Call Radio, is a key part of the daily routine in our house. We highly recommend it. She’s focusing on the coronavirus emergency these days, of course, and is bringing great resources — and inspiration — to the community. https://www.kalw.org/programs/your-call  In the Bay Area, 10:00 AM Mon – Fri, KALW 91.7 FM.

Letters from lockdown: The announcement

We heard it on the radio in the car, on our way to the horse pasture at the top of the hill, a front row seat overlooking  multiple verdant hills. Sandwiches were on board, packed for a quick picnic lunch — al auto — during what would surely be but a brief break in the rain.

Our radio informed us that starting at midnight, we would not be allowed to do what we were about to do. We were going on lockdown. It appears the San Francisco Bay Area will be the first region in the country to take this step. And our home county is the hot zone right now.

Continue reading “Letters from lockdown: The announcement”

Years later, a taste of justice for El Salvador

As we walked from El Mozote, where we had just met with the sole survivor of the massacre, we came across an FMLN patrol. That’s me with the camera.

Late last month, in a crowded courtroom in the eastern part of El Salvador, a small taste of justice was granted to survivors of the worst slaughter of civilians in Latin American history. The courtroom in San Francisco Gotera, in the heart of what had been known as the “conflictive zone” during the years-long civil war in El Salvador (1979 – 1992), heard testimony from a former military commander that, for the first time, tied the Salvadoran government and its armed forces to the El Mozote massacre.

Thirty years ago, as the war still raged, I visited El Mozote in the company of the only survivor, Rufina Amaya. It was one of the most emotionally wrenching experiences I’ve had.

Continue reading “Years later, a taste of justice for El Salvador”

Let ‘er rip! Trump’s speech deserved shredding.

 

Soaring Presidential rhetoric ala Trump … a selection of terms from his State of the Union speech: murder (used five times), brutal (twice), terrible (thrice!), catastrophic, gruesome, deadly (another triple winner), viciously, smashed (twice), hijacked, barbarians, bloodthirsty, horrifying, miserable, ruthless, butcher, evil, decay, scorned, brutalizes, failing (another triple), bankrupt, criminal (eight iterations!), destruction, tyranny (twice), fascism, assault (six times), vile, wicked, menace, poisonous.

Continue reading “Let ‘er rip! Trump’s speech deserved shredding.”

Beyond the dream: MLK’s revolutionary analysis is still needed

A few nights ago my partner and I attended the premiere playing of a newly discovered audio recording of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s controversial (as it turned out) “Beyond Vietnam” speech, given on April 4, 1967 at the Riverside Church in New York. The recording was one of six long lost tapes recently discovered in the archives of WRVR, a public radio station that was owned and operated by the Riverside Church from 1961 to 1976.

The public premiere of this recording was sponsored by Stanford University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute and held at Stanford’s impressive Memorial Church, an attempt to recreate the environment in which the speech was originally delivered.

Continue reading “Beyond the dream: MLK’s revolutionary analysis is still needed”

I’ve been saying “U.S. Out of Iraq” for nearly 30 years. Is it finally happening? Probably not. So let’s keep demanding it.

One of the many protest marches against the Iraq war that I organized over the years. That’s me on the right. Photo by PH Yang, used with permission.

I became the director of Peninsula Peace and Justice Center on August 1, 1990. The next day, Iraq invaded Kuwait. By the end of that first week, President George H. W. Bush had deployed 25,000 troops to Saudi Arabia and I had organized my first anti-war demonstration as director. 

Iraq and I go way back.

Continue reading “I’ve been saying “U.S. Out of Iraq” for nearly 30 years. Is it finally happening? Probably not. So let’s keep demanding it.”

Video: Haiti – Ten Years After the Earthquake

It was a pleasure to be able to sit down with my old friend Pierre Labossiere last night. What has happened politically in Haiti since the catastrophic earthquake is a tragedy. After the great optimism of the Aristide years — an optimism rooted in real advances in alleviating poverty and inequality — the elites have seized absolute control once again. And the repression of dissent hearkens back to the dark time of the dictatorship. And it hardly merits a word in the media. That’s why I put time and energy into alternative media.

Continue reading “Video: Haiti – Ten Years After the Earthquake”

Drone strike won’t lead to war. It is war.

Yesterday’s drone strike in Iraq by the US against a top Iranian military commander won’t lead to war. It is war. More precisely, it is an escalation of the US war on Iran that started within months of Trump’s inauguration. 

In his prepared remarks today, Trump said, “We took action last night to stop a war.  We did not take action to start a war.” That’s a lie. Last night’s action was a ramping-up of an ongoing war.

Continue reading “Drone strike won’t lead to war. It is war.”