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Groups Urge White House To Revisit Support Of Current Permitting Reform

More than 70 environmental justice groups and 60 allied organizations demonstrate their commitment to ensuring that equity and justice are central to national policy decisions by sending a letter to President Joe Biden expressing concern about his support of dangerous and undemocratic permitting ideas, including the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022. The advocates called for the President to support reform measures that uphold democracy and center community interests in decision-making for projects designed to advance our national transition to a clean energy economy. The letter was sent to President Biden in anticipation of the “permitting reform” conversations beginning again as Congress reconvenes.

The Failures Of Biden’s Nuclear Posture Review

Released today, the Biden administration’s unclassified Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is, at heart, a terrifying document. It not only keeps the world on a path of increasing nuclear risk, in many ways it increases that risk. Citing rising threats from Russia and China, it argues that the only viable U.S. response is to rebuild the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal, maintain an array of dangerous Cold War-era nuclear policies, and threaten the first use of nuclear weapons in a variety of scenarios. This NPR does not reflect the sensible steps President Biden proposed as a candidate to reduce the nuclear threat. Instead, the document says the United States has no choice but to build all-new nuclear weapons, despite science-based findings that the current warheads in the arsenal will be reliable for decades to come with only modest maintenance efforts.

The Non-West Coalesces

Something of epochal importance happened in Vienna, where the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, now known as OPEC–Plus with the inclusion of the Russian Federation, convened recently for its first in-person session since 2020. You would not know of this development if you rely solely on the reports carried in our corporate-owned media. The world just took a significant turn into the 21st century. Let us stay abreast of it, leaving those who refuse to see this to their own devices. President Biden, apparently not intelligent enough to understand the emergent new era and indifferent to the interests and aspirations of others, quickly made as big a mess of things as could be made. Last week he threatened Saudi Arabia, which co-chairs OPEC–Plus with the Russian Federation, with “consequences” for what transpired in Vienna.

BAP Opposes Biden Administration’s Security Council Resolution On Haiti

The Black Alliance for Peace emphatically opposes the Biden administration’s draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council to call for the immediate deployment of a “multinational rapid action force” to Haiti. We have specifically asked two permanent members of the Security Council - the representatives of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation - to veto this resolution. Western nations, led by the United States, and supported by Canada, the Dominican Republic, and the Caribbean Community, among others, are at the forefront of the push for another foreign military intervention in Haiti. Through a global public relations campaign, they are justifying invasion by pointing to a “humanitarian crisis” (including a new cholera outbreak) that has come about as a result of “gang violence.”

Students Across The US Urge Biden To Lift Barriers To Global COVID Test

Washington, D.C. - Students on over a dozen campuses across the U.S. are participating in a “Week of Action” calling on the Biden administration to support lifting World Trade Organization (WTO) barriers to global COVID test and treatment access. The tabling, letter writing, educational events and rallies taking place coast-to-coast come as the WTO General Council meets from October 6–7 to discuss proposals that would allow low- and middle-income countries more easily produce low-cost COVID medications. “Billions of people in low- and middle-income countries worldwide still don’t have access to the COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments that many Americans take for granted,” said Kaleigh Flanagan at SUNY New Paltz in New Paltz, N.Y. 

US To Release Stolen Afghan Reserves, With A Catch

The US government announced on 13 September that it would release a significant portion of the $7 billion stolen Afghan central bank funds to a bank of international settlements in Basel, Switzerland. The trusteeship will help the US to oversee the disbursements of the funds in order to bypass the Taliban government in Kabul. Washington withdrew its financial support for Afghanistan, following the Taliban victory against the US-trained army in 2021. Besides harsh economic sanctions, the US government also froze the funds of Afghanistan’s Central Bank, causing a widespread humanitarian crisis in the country. However, the Taliban rejects the plan of the US to transfer the funds to a Bank of international settlements, arguing that “the [Da Afghanistan Bank] funds belong to DAB and should be returned to Afghanistan,” according to Suhail Shaheen, a spokesperson for the Taliban.

Biden Administration Reinstates Nearly $190 Million In Drilling Leases

The Biden administration on Wednesday reinstated nearly $190 million in bids from fossil fuel companies for an oil-and-gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico that had previously been invalidated by a federal judge. The move was one of the compromises struck between Democratic party leaders and pro-fossil-fuel Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia in exchange for his support of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the most significant climate legislation in U.S. history to date. “Leases resulting from this sale include stipulations to protect biologically sensitive resources, mitigate potential adverse effects on protected species, and avoid potential ocean user conflicts,” the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) said in a statement Wednesday.

The Community Solution to the Climate Crisis

Climate chaos is here right now. It’s not something off in the future like fast food restaurants selling bug patties, emotionally fulfilling sex with robots, or a lab-created dinosaur accidentally getting loose in a shopping mall. New floods, wildfires, and droughts hit communities around the world everyday but the most obvious solutions to this crisis are rarely even discussed. So what can be done? To begin with, the Biden administration could actually fund action on climate change. Congress recently passed $840 BILLION for the war machine. They sent $52 Billion to semiconductor chip manufacturers and President Biden is proposing $37 Billion to fund our impressively brutal police nationwide.

The Pending Railroad Worker Strike Is A Fight For All Workers

Railroad workers voted overwhelmingly this year to go on strike after more than two years of contract negotiations. The Biden administration prevented a strike by appointing a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) to hold hearings. That board released its recommendations recently. Clearing the FOG speaks with Michael "Paul" Lindsey, a railroad engineer and member of Railroad Workers United, about the deterioration of working conditions, workers' response to the PEB and the high likelihood of a national strike this Fall. Lindsey explains why the railroad worker's plight is similar to that of many workers in the United States and around the world and the importance of solidarity if a strike occurs. 

Iran Receives US Response To EU Proposal To Revive Nuclear Deal

Iran said on Wednesday that it had received the US response to an EU proposal aimed at reviving the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said Tehran has begun a “careful review” of the US response. “This evening Iran received the US response through the European Union. The careful review of the response has started in Tehran,” Kanaani said. “Iran will share its view with the EU, as the coordinator of the nuclear talks, upon completion of Tehran’s review.” The State Department confirmed that the US has responded to the proposal, which came after Iran gave its response. “As you know, we received Iran’s comments on the EU’s proposed final text through the EU. Our review of those comments has now concluded. We have responded to the EU today,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

Community Prepares To Fight Old Growth Logging Project

This morning, community members organizing with Cascadia Forest Defenders hung a 30 foot-wide banner across Highway 126 in the Willamette National forest in opposition to the proposed Flat Country old growth timber sale. The organizers are calling on the Willamette National Forest and the Biden Administration to drop the proposed timber sale in light of the significant impacts that it would have on the climate, drinking water, and community safety. The action comes less than six months after President Biden signed Executive Order 14072 on Strengthening the Nation’s Forests, Communities, and Local Economies, which directs his administration to create stronger protections for public forests in an effort to mitigate the climate crisis, and only weeks after environmental groups sent the Forest Service an ultimatum to reconsider the sale.

A Panicking Biden Administration Seeks Talks With Russia

I do not understand why the administration had started such negotiations even before the Griner court case has been closed. In general such prisoners will only be pardoned and released to the other side after they have been sentenced. Anything else would raise accusations of executive interference in the judicial process. The Brittney Griner case, over admitted smuggling of cannabis oil, is still in court. The Russian government will obviously refrain from doing anything about her before the judicial process has ended. One suspects that the prisoner exchange is much more about Paul Whelan, who likely is a CIA asset.

100 Groups Call For Transparent Negotiations On Trade Deal

Ahead of next week's key meeting between the United States and 13 Asian and Australiasian nations, more than 100 civil society groups told the Biden administration on Friday that transparent negotiations and increased public input are necessary to prevent an embryonic trade deal from being perceived as the latest iteration of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. "We share your goal of creating a new model for U.S. trade policy that prioritizes the interests of working people, communities of color, the environment, consumers, and family farmers instead of just big corporations," the coalition wrote in a letter to President Joe Biden. "The launch of your administration's Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) may be a test case for what this model looks like and what it can achieve."

Biden’s Staff Sounds Climate Alarm

President Joe Biden’s surrender on climate policy amid the intensifying crisis has prompted his own agency experts to sound a rare public alarm about their boss’s retreat, according to a letter being circulated throughout the administration and Capitol Hill. The letter to Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) — provided to The Lever by a House Democratic staffer — is initialed by 165 staffers at federal health and environmental agencies and at 75 congressional offices. They are demanding the president use more aggressive tactics to pass his long-promised climate agenda through the Senate. “President Biden, you have an exigent responsibility to reduce suffering all over the world, and the power and skills to do so, but time is running out,” says the letter, which is now being circulated throughout the administration for more signatures.

Senate Urged To Block Biden’s Pro-Privatization Nominee For Social Security Board

Defenders of Social Security on Tuesday urged the U.S. Senate to block President Joe Biden's little-noticed nomination of Andrew Biggs—an American Enterprise Institute senior fellow with a history of supporting Social Security privatization—to serve on the independent and bipartisan Social Security Advisory Board. Social Security Works, a progressive advocacy group, is leading the charge against Biggs, highlighting his role in the George W. Bush administration's failed attempt to privatize the New Deal program in 2005.
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