The Journey


Friday, January 26, 2018

Why I Ride

I am reposting this now because I am running for office, State Assembly District 10 to represent Marin and much of Sonoma. My understanding of the forces that are driving our Climate Crisis and are perpetuating war are now more clear. I have since learned the term neoliberal, to describe global financial power that is dominating democracy worldwide.  

My bicycle journey in 2015 coincided with the seventieth year after the end of WWII, and ended just before Pope Francis too arrived in Washington DC to preach Peace and Environmental Justice to our Congress.

On my pilgrimage to learn from and about Americans I posted daily to let folks back home know that  I, a 67 year old man and recently reacquainted to a bicycle, was still alive and to talk about what came to mind during my hours of peddling.  

Dan, 1-26-2018

Im Bicycling for Peace and Environmental Justice.
I will be leaving Marin CA for Washington DC on Memorial Day. I view this as a necessary pilgrimage for me. I want to raise awareness that climate change, which threatens our civilization, is only intensified by war, and that there is no solution to climate change that does not include peace.

Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fifth Assessment Report 2013

This is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a demarcation notifying us that industrial warfare can end civilization. Clearly we the people of this earth are at a critical juncture, whether to work in peaceful cooperation to solve the consequences of climate change or whether out of fear we wreak havoc through war. Polls show we have collectively lost trust that our good intentions are the leading motives of our leaders’ actions. My hope lies in the faith that we can change this and that in other countries there are people such as us.

But we are accustomed to viewing issues as independent of each other. War and the environment as not connected. And yet our Department of Defense has been telling us for many years now that climate change is a serious national security threat. Indeed it is a global security threat that is destabilizing our world. We must understand that military force forgoes the international cooperation needed for solving our climate problem. War reverses all of our progress on improving environmental standards. It is extremely carbon intensive. Our task is to stand firm against the evangelists of war and to reject their fear mongering. The rejection of militarism is necessary - it is the only course towards climate solutions.

The effects of climate change are not limited to melting Arctic ice sheets.
Climate change drought is causing civil strife and provoking war. A multi-year drought in Syria caused the migration of the rural population into the cities and threatened the stability of their imperfect government that has turned into ‘a major civil war with international involvement.’ Scientific studies report that in Sub-Saharan Africa there is a 30-year correlation of climate changes ‘with an increase in the likelihood of civil war.’ Additionally food shortages caused by climate change have been found to be a contributing factor in the Arab Spring uprisings. Scientific American, March 2, 2015

The world population is on course to increase 30% in the next few decades. Many countries are now incapable of producing enough food for their current population. Overdrawn aquifers and drought have depleted once abundant land. Additionally sea level rise will diminish many productive river deltas from food production.

Americans have a special role to play in world affairs.
The US accounts for nearly half of all military spending worldwide. Our leaders are correct in telling us that we are the strongest military power on earth. What they leave out is that this great force is limited to destruction and chaos as evidenced by its recent use in conflicts from Afghanistan to Iraq from Libya to Syria. We have given the whole of the 20th century to perpetual war. How much time can we give to peaceful solutions, to negotiated solutions?

It takes significant fear-mongering to turn people towards war. The images of the World Trade Towers falling and the beheadings of innocents are such propaganda. These are real events, horrifying, and they terrorize us. What we fail to see is that our interventionist policies and militaristic actions are part of the cause and are not the solution. It is our responsibility, if we are serious about reversing climate change, that we face our fears and question closely what alternatives there are for this violence. 

What outcomes are forgone by following the path of war? 
What are possible unintended consequences? 
What can be gained by peaceful initiatives? 

International cooperation, the hallmark of peace, is necessarily part of the solution. We cannot wage war or threaten to do so and at the same time expect to receive the assistance we need to reverse the level of atmospheric greenhouse gases.

We can chose leaders that have a track record for constructive action.
We have to demand of our leaders that they abandon acting like 19th-century imperialists, militarily dominating others for their resources. It doesn’t add to our security and in fact it puts us in greater jeopardy. And it is completely unnecessary in a global economy. We need to end war as it is the antithesis of the peaceful cooperation we need. Climate change is the real threat to our security. Environmentalists need to assert that there exists no military path to climate security.

Dan Monte

I have a campaign website,

Monday, January 2, 2017

Does It Make A Difference Who Did the Hacking

Does It Make A Difference Who Did the Hacking

A friend asked an inspirational question on a Fb thread regarding Putin and Russian hacking, ‘does it matter who did the hacking of the website and emails’.  I am pretty sure that national powers as well as the USA do hack into foreign web systems. As do non-state groups and individuals. I also know that the US and other governments try to influence the outcomes of elections in foreign countries. At what point do these activities become hostile to the democratic process and do they ever rise to the level of acts of aggression comparable to acts of war?

As readers of Bicycling for Peace and Environmental Justice know, it is my opinion that recent US interference in foreign affairs have been disastrous to attempts to stem the tide of global warming. Our Climate Crisis cannot be solved at the same time as war is being waged. One effort requires cooperation while the other terrorizes and destroys the peace required for that cooperation. 2016 marked the third year in a row for the hottest year on record. Arctic Winter temperatures 50°F above normal replenished very little new ice.

Our policy seems to be that governments weakened by circumstances are fair game for US interference when we want some strategic advantage they are not providing us. Instead of offering assistance to bolster their ability to serve their populations we further their destabilization or just outright militarily attack them to achieve our ends. Syria, Libya, and Ukraine are all examples where supportive cooperation would have produced better outcomes than the aggression we pursued.

Weak countries are weak because there is a lack of consensus amongst their populations. They are difficult to manage because their diverse populations want different ends. Why the idiots at our Departments of State and War or Spycraft think they can do a better job from Washington than the local people is astonishing. As sea levels rise, and our ability to obtain fresh water and grow food, and as species we rely on diminish, our inattention to civilization’s major threat is unforgivable. 

American itself is a very divided country. Whoever won the election would have been despised by two thirds of our population. We are now a weakened democracy and yet as Americans we have a special responsibility to the rest of the world. Because of our sense of insecurity we have allowed our leaders to amass the most dangerous military on earth. We have a form of government that places in the hands of one individual the power to decide just how that power is used. And we have created a system where that individual is isolated from the majority and is daily indoctrinated by the full-time masters of deception listed above. Our is not a parliamentary democracy our president is isolated even from other elected representatives in Congress. 

Many factors influenced our recent election, none were more influential than the two candidates themselves. The Weak Democratic Party and the Radical Republican Party, and the machinations of what was once our free and independent press. Did the speculation of what Putin’s Russia did have an influence or WikiLeaks? I think they had some effect. Did our FBI Director influence the election? I think he did? But were these hacks of our election and did they rise to the level of acts of war? If they were then our current administration has acted rather sheepishly. I for one am not ready for a new Cold War and further McCarthyism like suppression of our freedoms. I do believe however, that if the American people do not organize to take back our democratic processes it will not matter what we want.

Anti-Trump Protesters, What Difference Does It Make Now?

Anti-Trump Protesters, What Difference Does It Make Now?

Holding counter inauguration events whether on January 15 or on January 20 does not have to be about Trump. It can be about what we hold dear and how will we survive in this coming period. Two thirds of the people didn’t like Trump before the election and the same number and feelings were extended towards Clinton. So there will be a lot of negativity and anger expressed at such events. But lots more folks now know that neither establishments of the 
Republican Party nor the Democratic Party give any priority to our needs and wishes. Their priorities are their power and glory. 

After a decade of Democratic Party activism I left the Party in August when the Party showed that it had no control over its candidate when she appointed Ken - KXL, fracking, monsanto, TPP, antic-single payer, booster of all of these- Salazar to lead her transition team. Until we get rank choice voting or proportional representation and other electoral reforms we are effectively stuck with a two party system. The TEA Party pushed the republicans into a Radical Republican Party with the help of lots of bucks from the likes of the Koch brothers. We will have to do the same to the Democratic Party but with massive inputs of people power. And that requires fighting for stuff not just against what we don’t like. It also requires making accommodations to include folks that we don’t normally engage with. It is not enough to advocate for equality for everyone it requires building structures that include everyone. 

Use the inauguration to build a movement, both inside the electoral system and outside as a mass movement. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Why the Democrats Need to Rebuild The Party from the Ground Up

Why the Democrats Need to Rebuild The Party from the Ground Up

I had been a progressive democratic activist inside the Party for the last decade. I fled in disgust after Clinton chose Ken Salazar to to run her transition team. If the Party is to rebuild it will have to do it without my efforts at this time. It will need to demonstrate that those we put in power ten years ago can be defeated so that new leadership emerges.

When Howard Dean became the leader of the Democratic Party he was progressive as evidenced by his 50 state strategy that lead to stunning victories in 2006 & 2008. The party rejected him after a few years along with his effort to organize strong local party structures. This election cycle the party was lead by generals (the DNC) that did not realize that there was no one in the brigades. Keith Ellison has connections to the Party’s base, has had for years and he fully embraces a 50 state strategy. Also, folks are independently organizing themselves outside of the Party, mostly for defensive positions against the onslaught that the Radical Republican Party is about to unleash, but also to win future elections. Marrying these two forces will return our democracy to the People.

The Democratic Party lost and the Radical Republicans won because the Democratic Party was too weak to block the shenanigans used to limit the votes of their base. Cross Check disallowed registered voters from voting. ID laws prevented others from even registering. Republicans eliminated opportunities to vote by reducing times and polling places.  And then faulty election practices kept the vote from being accurately counted. These suppression tactics worked because the Democratic Party was not strong enough to resist.

The Democratic Party lost and the Radical Republicans won because the Democratic Party was unable to counter unpredictable events. James Comey’s letters had a measurable effect on undecided voters the last week of the election. During the convention the DNC fired its leader and much of its top staff, because they cheated and got caught and that weakened an already weak party. The Party lost because the candidate’s campaign made strategic errors that the local parties were not strong enough to correct. 

I wanted the Democratic Party candidate to win this election because of the horrible things that the Radical Republican Party is about to do. I believed Sanders was a stronger candidate as evidenced by most polls. Ours is a two party system for winning elections. Third parties have a positive role to play even though they are in search of the same voters. For example the Libertarians and the TEA Parties revitalized the Republican Party, turning it into the successful if radical party it is today. 

The left is not responsible for 2016  election defeat. The left put the Democratic Party in position to be able to run a close election through our efforts in 2006, 2008, and 2012. And if the Democratic Party elites had enacted the Employee Free Choice Act and Single Payer Healthcare  in 2009 then the Radical Republican Party would not have had electoral victories  in 2010. Ronald Reagan and Bush Senior put a thousand bankers and politicians in jail after the Savings and Loan debacle. If the Obama administration had put bankers in jail, and had protected the 7 million families that lost their homes the 2010 election would have been different. 

This election was about Clinton only because 2/3 of the electorate did not like her. But that did not distinguish her from Trump who had worse ratings. This election was about the failures of the Democratic Party and its failure to standup for democracy. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Russia Did A Lot of Hacking - But Not of the Election

Russia Did A Lot of Hacking - But Not of the Election 

An exhaustive and believable account of how hackers, all evidence pointing to Russian sponsored hackers, broke into and stole information from various locations and how they were found out. I do not possess the capacity to understand this article. Reading this is very much like reading an advanced scientific paper, its all written in English but I lack the knowledge foundation to interpret the complexity of the issue. 

"How Russia Pulled Off the Biggest Election Hack In US History"

I do believe that Russia had lots of motivation to be involved, but I held that opinion long before any news of this hacking scandal came to light. It is interesting to me that Philip Breedlove was also hacked. He was the high military commander of NATO forces during the run up to the Ukrainian coup and was publicly working to harm the EU’s efforts to find a compromise solution. NATO-EU expansion into Eastern Europe including Ukraine was a Clinton policy also promoted by her appointee Victoria Nuland.

You don’t have to be a computer scientist to know that WikiLeaks wanted to harm Clinton’s campaign. Julian Assange publicly said so numerous times. Their publications were an information campaign designed to harm Clinton’s chances to win the election. It was not necessarily designed to harm the Democratic Party as a whole. Many in the American left believe that Assange, Edward Snowden, and Chelsea Manning ought to be feted as heroes, myself included. There are others criminalized by the Espionage Act that have also been unfairly victimized by our government.

Fb reminded me yesterday (12-21) that I have long known that he DNC was just an arm of the the Clinton clique. The only folks who were in the dark about that were the Clinton army foot soldiers. Many still non-believers. No need for a long expose about hacking to know that. Additionally, the general import of the content of Clinton’s presentations to Wall Street bankers was easily surmised, again by anyone except those in the Clinton army.

At the time that Obama asked Clinton to be his Secretary of State I thought it a stroke of genius to unite the Party to support his program against Republican opposition. (Not yet known as the Radical Republican Party) Now in hind sight I think that might have been a mistake to promote such a powerful clique inside the Party, a clique that brought us President Trump and Radical Republican Party control of all branches of the Federal Government and of most of the state governments. I don’t expect any statements of contrition from the Clinton Clique ever.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

All Those Claiming It’s Tweedledum and Tweedledee Time Again

All Those Claiming It’s Tweedledum and Tweedledee Time Again
So now my Fb page is filled with pleads to protest and sign petitions about the fact that the Republicans control all branches of the Federal Government. Folks even think that having the Electoral College not vote for Trump will some how keep him from the Presidency. As if the House will not elect him, or someone possibly much worse. 

Yes I am totally distraught that the military-billionaire cabinet and the huckster President will destroy much of the social, environmental, racial, voting rights, and on and on rules that bring a modicum of equality to our society. A good friend now in her 60’s was told 50 years ago by her middle school teacher that the Social Security System would not be around long enough for her and her classmates to enjoy its benefits. Well the American people just elected the government that will make that prediction come true. 

Grow up. There are no good cabinet appointments coming. There will be no good laws or rules coming out of Wa DC. Now we can sit on our thumbs or twinkle our keyboards but until we overthrow the Democratic Party establishment and elect progressive-hell raising delegates we will not have change. Until we are in the streets demanding that our local and state governments defend our social, environmental, racial, voting rights we will not have any. I have no special love for the Democratic Party, I left it after Clinton, in her dream of a landslide, told us all to F-Off and appointed Ken Salazar to lead her transition team. But the dynamics of our electoral system really only allow for two parties. 

This Libertarian inspired Dickensian nightmare we are entering does not have enough Scrooges that will find redemption and come and save all of us Bob Cratchits. The fact of the matter is that we absolutely cannot pull this off without every person that voted for both Clinton and Trump, a third party candidate, and those that did not come out to vote at all. Our voting system is hacked by those who have written rules that inhibit people from voting, and by us who vote for candidates that are beholden to moneyed interests. 

Rise up the Sans-Culottes break out the guillotines.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Putin’s Tit for Reagan’s Tat-Our New Cold War

Putin’s Tit for Reagan’s Tat-Our New Cold War
I read recently in a blog/article, that the Cold War was not really a competition between equals. The Soviet Union, Russia, had lost 20 million people, had much of its country occupied, and its industrial base destroyed, while we in the USA were able to build up our industrial capabilities during the Second World War. The real threat of the Soviet Union was its nuclear capabilities. Our presidents from Kennedy through Bill Clinton tried to diminish this mutual threat to civilization through treaties that reduced the number of these weapons. 

The Soviet nuclear capability was the basis for the Cold War. It put an imperfect check on Western imperialism, an unhealthy competition that is gone since their collapse in the 80’s. We are now in a New Cold War, though those living in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and much of Africa might not think it so chilly. 

The collapse of the Soviet Union was hastened by its by competition with Western Imperialism, or in the claim of the Republican Party the person of Ronald Reagan. Some have lauded that interference in Soviet Affairs. 

The real source of their demise was their inefficient economic system, centralized control, that was hindered by their international adventurism. Our new global economy mimics, with its concentration of power into a few hands and its inability to meet the needs of the many, the failings of the old Soviet Union. And the consequent wars of domination, required to maintain this new global economy, also mirrors the Soviet’s international gambits.  

Now we have tit for tat, Putin dethroning the Clintons, the Field Marshals of the Wall Street Commanders in Chief. Norman Solomon ponders a new McCarthyism in this article. Combined with our corporate run media - a propaganda machine whose true function was exposed this passed election from the primaries through the general, we are in for a rough ride unless we organize and make common ground with unlikely allies.