Starting in California where Kevin de Leon is running for the US Senate (primary is in June -- top two vote getters then advance to the November general election).
Who is Kevin?
In many ways, Senator de León embodies the promise of America. From a childhood of poverty to community activism, to the upper echelon of the California Legislature, his respect and commitment to working families and the betterment of all Californians has never diminished.
Senator de León is the son of a single immigrant mother who supported her family in the San Diego barrio of Logan Heights working as a housekeeper and other pick-up jobs. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college.
He attended U.C. Santa Barbara and graduated from Pitzer College at the Claremont Colleges with honors. He is a Rodel Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a guest lecturer at the University of Southern California. He has one daughter.
Before entering into politics, Kevin served the public as a community organizer, taught English as a Second Language and U.S. Citizenship, and advocated for public schools.
Working for both the National Education Association and the California Teachers Association, Kevin fought for additional funding for schools in low-income neighborhoods, more school construction, and health insurance for children. He fought against schemes to take funds from public schools through taxpayer-funded vouchers and academic censorship in public schools.
Senator de León was elected by his colleagues to lead the Senate in 2014, making him the first Latino to hold that position in over a century. Prior to that, Kevin served four years in the Assembly before his election to the Senate in 2010.
Leader on the Environment and Clean Energy
With his leadership and landmark legislation, Senator de León has established California’s reputation as a recognized global leader in the battle against climate change and a pioneer in creating a clean energy economy.
He played a central role in crafting a bipartisan deal this year to extend California’s cap-and-trade program with $1 billion of the generated revenue to tackle diesel pollution and bolster electrification of our transportation and vehicles.
Continuing steady progress in energy efficiency, Kevin has put California on a path to 50 percent renewable energy by 2030 – the largest state in the nation to do so – with an eye toward becoming 100 percent renewable by 2045.
California is by far the nation’s clean-energy leader and it is paying workforce dividends with the creation of well over 500,000 clean energy jobs in the Golden State – 10 times more than there are coal jobs in the entire nation.
With SB 1275 (2014), he created a rebate initiative to make electric cars more accessible to working families with the goal of placing one million low-emission vehicles on the road.
Recognizing the disproportionate suffering from pollution and climate change in disadvantaged communities, Senator de León successfully passed SB 535 (2012) which requires California to spend at least 25 percent of cap-and-trade revenue to benefit low-income communities. This law is resulting in new transit, energy efficiency, renewable energy and affordable housing projects across the state.
Also in 2012, Senator de León co-chaired the successful Proposition 39 campaign closing a corporate-tax loophole and creating a $2.5 billion revenue fund for energy-efficiency upgrades in schools.
Exemplifying his longtime commitment to increasing access to the environment, Kevin’s first legislative measure when he arrived in Sacramento allocated park funds for communities lacking parks and green space, resulting in 126 park projects across the state - the largest initiative of its kind in the nation.
Tackling pollution in his district, Senator de León was instrumental in bringing attention and accountability to the hazardous pollution caused by the Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon, which for years had operated illegally while contaminating nearby communities with lead, arsenic, and other toxins. Senator de León has since secured millions of dollars for cleanup, while implementing oversight and reform measures at the Department of Toxic Substance Control to prevent similar future occurrences.
Kevin’s record on the environment and energy has been studied by international leaders as they lay out their own steps to confront climate change and build clean-energy economies. He led the California delegation to the U.N. Climate Talks in Peru and Morocco and accompanied Governor Brown to Paris in 2015 to showcase California’s landmark accomplishments.
As we were saying yesterday, the issue of foreign troops on the ground could become a political issue in Iraq's upcoming elections. Mohamed Mostafa (IRAQI NEWS) reports:
Iraq’s parliament has urged the government to set a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, two months after the government declared victory over Islamic State militants.
The parliament voted on Thursday for a decision to oblige the government to set a schedule for the withdrawal of foreign troops, NRT reported.
AFP quotes the statement from the Speaker of Parliament's office, "The Iraqi parliament expresses its gratitude to all countries which have supported Iraq in its fight against [. . .] (the Islamic State group) and calls for the government to draw up a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops."
This is a popular position to run on in an election year.
Yet somehow in the United States, many still believe US troops are 'helping' in Iraq and are wanted there. Of course, these people also tend to believe the Iraq War ended.
Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) counts the violent deaths from last month:
During the month of February, at least 1,294 were killed or found dead, and another 266 were wounded. Although major outbreaks of fighting have ceased, there were still a considerable number of Islamic State-related and other attacks. Also, many of the fatalities were people who had been found in mass graves that were scattered mostly around Mosul. This explains why the number of dead was significantly higher than in January, but the number of reported wounded fell. In January, at least 747 people were killed, and 389 were wounded.
The breakdown is as follows: 411 civilians, 66 security personnel, and 761 militants were reported killed. Separately, 49 Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.) and five Turkish personnel were killed in their conflict; another nine Turks were wounded. Also, one U.S. servicemember and one British servicemember died in separate non-combat incidents.
No, that's not the way it adds up if a war is over.
Last month also saw the death of another US service member.
Sgt. Christina Marie Schoenecker, 26, of Arlington, Kan., died in a noncombat incident Monday in Iraq while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. https://www.stripes.com/army-identifies-soldier-killed-in-noncombat-incident-in-baghdad-1.512673 …
Her obituary runs today at THE HUTCHINSON NEWS:
Christina Marie ‘Tina’ Schoenecker, 26, died Monday, February 19, 2018, in Baghdad, Iraq. She was born February 5, 1992, in Kingman, Kansas, the daughter of Scott Wade and Amy Jolene (Martin) Schoenecker. Tina was a 2010 graduate of Fairfield High School. She proudly served, with honor, in the United States Army Reserve from 2009-2018, and was promoted to Sergeant in 2015.
Her hobbies included fishing, drawing, gardening, crocheting, calligraphy, and spending time with family and friends.
She is survived by: father, Scott Schoenecker and Andrea Gordon; mother, Amy and husband Rick Allbright; siblings, Eric, Wayne, and Hannah Schoenecker, all of Arlington; stepbrother, Dylan Allbright; stepsister, Amber Allbright, both of Hutchinson; grandmother, Carolyn Marsh of Arlington; grandparents, Henry Jr. and Charlotte Hall; great-grandparents, Henry Sr. and Naomi Hall, all from Sylvia; aunts, Sammi Nickell, Becky Burns, and Angela Schaefer and their families; uncles, Shannon Schoenecker and David Hall and their families; and numerous loving cousins.
Per THE DAYTONA BEACH NEWS-JOURNAL, she was the 4535 US service member to die in Iraq (another 32,310 have been injured).
The war's over? Strange because while the western press ignores it, Kirkuk is a topic in Iraq. Wael Grace (AL MADA) reports that planning for the battle of Kirkuk is taking place. This battle would be over control of Kirkuk.
Strange that -- in this 'war is over' claim and climate -- that Iraqi Constitution cannot be used to determine what happens to Kirkuk -- it's outlined in the Constitution. But, of course, something like a vote might mean that Kirkuk decides to go with the KRG and not the central government out of Baghdad.
In today's violence, ALSUMARIA reports a second fisherman has been found dead in Diyala Province -- the latest also was dead from gunshot wounds.
On the upcoming May 12 elections, ALL IRAQ NEWS reports that the number of electronic voting machines being used will be at 100%. This will allow the voting to be counted much sooner but it also allows for the vote to be hacked and while the speed of counting has been discussed (many times) little attention has been paid to the discussing the security (or lack of security) the machines may provide. Considering that each election in Iraq has resulted from talk of cheating and stolen votes (then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, for example, made those charges following both the 2010 and 2014 elections), it's surprising that the topic has not been seen as worthy of exploration.
Mohammad Sabah (AL MADA) reports that the Independent High Electoral Commission insists it is planning (scrambling?) to address the issue of the displaced being able to vote and is attempting to devise polling stations. Interesting. How will they vote? Because the new electronic machines? They're already assigned to voting centers.
Free and fair elections?
The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated: