Climate campaigners and people on the frontlines of the planetary emergency celebrated Tuesday after Sen. Joe Manchin requested that his fossil fuel-friendly permitting reforms be stripped out of a stopgap funding bill. "People power has won the day," said Protect Our Water Heritage Rights Coalition (POWHR) organizer Grace Tuttle. "Thank you to everyone who rallied together to stop this bill. We will keep fighting alongside you. Our letters, calls, rallies, and grassroots activism secured this victory." "We recognize that the fight is not over, and we stand with all frontline communities from the Gulf Coast to Alaska facing fossil-fueled injustices," Tuttle vowed. "Our movement to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline is bigger and stronger than ever. We will keep fighting to end the era of fossil fuels and for the future we deserve."
Washington, DC - More than 200 political scientists, legal scholars, and historians from academic institutions across the United States released an open letter calling on Congress to reject the United States’ winner-take-all system of elections in the wake of a failed 2020 redistricting process and adopt multi-member districts with proportional representation for the U.S. House of Representatives. The letter’s 200+ signatories include experts in fields ranging from comparative electoral politics to constitutional law. They include nine Johan Skytte Prize winners, often considered the ‘Nobel Prize of political science’: Robert Axelrod, Francis Fukuyama, Peter Katzenstein, Robert Keohane, David Laitin, Margaret Levi, Arend Lijphart, Philippe Schmitter, and Rein Taagepera.
It seems the mainstream narrative is that the IRA (Inflation Reduction Act) is a big step toward addressing the climate crisis while the side deal is a step backwards, but we may not be able to stop it. I disagree; from my perspective, the giveaways to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries in the IRA make it most likely a net negative for the environment. Renewable energy has been outcompeting fossil fuels in most places; they are much cheaper than nuclear power everywhere. Won’t giving subsidies to all three help the previously losing industries most? In any case, subsidies for buying outsize electric vehicles, and for expanding renewable energy will not reduce emissions. These projects will require mining, usually connected to environmental injustice, and much burning of fossil fuel to power the construction, transportation and installation, so in the short run they will increase emissions.
Congress has spoken when it comes to next year’s Pentagon budget and the results, if they weren’t so in line with past practices, should astonish us all. The House of Representatives voted to add $37 billion and the Senate $45 billion to the administration’s already humongous request for “national defense,” a staggering figure that includes both the Pentagon budget and work on nuclear weapons at the Department of Energy. If enacted, the Senate’s sum would push spending on the military to at least $850 billion annually, far more — adjusted for inflation — than at the height of the Korean or Vietnam wars or the peak years of the Cold War. U.S. military spending is, of course, astronomically high — more than that of the next nine countries combined. Here’s the kicker, though: the Pentagon (an institution that has never passed a comprehensive financial audit) doesn’t even ask for all those yearly spending increases in its budget requests to Congress.
The United States launched at least 251 military interventions between 1991 and 2022. This is according to a report by the Congressional Research Service, a US government institution that compiles information on behalf of Congress. The report documented another 218 US military interventions between 1798 and 1990. That makes for a total of 469 US military interventions since 1798 that have been acknowledged by the Congress. This data was published on March 8, 2022 by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), in a document titled “Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2022.” The list of countries targeted by the US military includes the vast majority of the nations on Earth, including almost every single county in Latin America and the Caribbean and most of the African continent.
Washington, DC — More than 80 conservation groups sent a letter today urging congressional leadership to reject Sen. Joe Manchin’s proposal to fast-track the approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline as part of any “permitting reform” deal struck between Manchin and Democratic leaders. “The Mountain Valley Pipeline is an ecological and climate disaster that threatens one of the largest remaining wild landscapes in the eastern United States,” the groups’ letter said. “This destructive pipeline was rejected by the federal courts in part because of the devastation it would cause to endangered species and sensitive ecosystems along its path.”
A recent gathering of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has expressed its displeasure with recent legislation making its way through the United States Congress which is aimed at punishing the continent for its diplomatic and trade relations with the Russian Federation. This event was convened under the theme of “Promoting Industrialization through, Agro-Processing, Mineral Beneficiation, and Regional Value Chains for Inclusive and Resilient Economic Growth.’’ The title took into serious consideration the contemporary operating context in the Southern Africa region and the urgent need to enhance the implementation of the SADC industrialization and market integration programs as contained in its development framework covering the years of 2020-2030.
$71,610.03: the back wages, interest, and civil penalties paid to a live-in domestic worker by their negligent employer in Seattle. In July, King5 News reported, the city’s Office of Labor Standards orchestrated the employer’s settlement – redress for their failure to pay minimum wage, provide overtime pay, and track payment. “I would encourage other domestic workers to come forward and not to be afraid if they believe that the contracts and the form of payment are not being fulfilled according to the work that is done,” the anonymous domestic worker shared in the wake of her repayment. In 2018, exactly three years prior, Seattle was the first city in the nation to pass a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.
The much-heralded Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), while offering a vital lifeline to the renewable energy industry, also contains massive subsidies to keep dangerously aging atomic power plants operating for years to come. Meanwhile, six decrepit atomic reactors are now caught in a terrifying military crossfire in southeastern Ukraine, showing exactly why it is so important to shut down nuclear plants instead of subsidizing them. The Ukrainian reactors, located at Zaporizhzhia, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, are now being used as a shield for Russian artillery arrays. A single errant shell could send far more atomic radiation pouring over Europe than did Chernobyl, with an unimaginable toll of downwind death and destruction from which the continent might never recover.
Some advocates of a publicly funded universal health care system have predicted that its creation is inevitable because of the "death spiral" of insurance costs. This term refers to the fact that as costs of insurance rise, fewer people can afford it, leading to a new round of rising premiums and out-of-pocket costs. If this cycle were allowed to continue indefinitely, it would be only a matter of time before the medical insurance industry priced its product out of existence. In a rational world, this simple fact would lead Congress to do what every other industrialized nation has done; create a publicly funded system of universal health care either through a government-run system such as Medicare for All, or through a tightly regulated system of non-profit insurers that offer a defined benefit package specified by the government, as in Germany.
The Congressional Baseball Game is an annual tradition that dates back to 1909. It’s supposed to be a time for both sides of the political system to come together and join in a peaceful nine innings of the national pastime. But this year’s game, held on Thursday, July 28 at the Washington Nationals’ ballpark in Washington, D.C., was less sleepy than the average baseball game. Now or Never, a group of justice, faith, and climate organizations, held a protest in an attempt to disrupt the event and draw attention to the urgent need for large-scale climate action. Approximately 60 protesters rallied in front of the ballpark’s centerfield gates. While they didn’t have the numbers to shut down the event completely as they’d hoped, they did manage to delay the game.
As heatwaves, droughts and wild fires ravage the planet, pressure is building on the White House and Congress to take substantive action to address the climate crisis. More than a thousand organizations in the United States have come together as the People vs Fossil Fuels coalition with the demand that President Biden declare a climate emergency and use his executive powers to stop fossil fuel extraction and new infrastructure. Their actions have succeeded in reopening climate provisions in Congress' Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which is expected to pass this week, but the bill contains poison pills that offset the beneficial sections. Jean Su, an attorney and director of the Energy Justice Program with the Center for Biological Diversity joined Clearing the FOG to explain what the President could do, the problems with IRA and what we can do to protect our chances for a livable future.
In the climate change era, if ExxonMobil is celebrating legislation, it’s a bad sign. So when the company’s CEO, Darren Woods, last week lauded Congress’s new climate spending bill, that was a warning not just about the specific “all-of-the-above” energy provisions in the bill, but also about our continued unwillingness to make binary choices, even when they are necessary. Choice avoidance is the Washington Consensus. Politicians seeking to simultaneously appease voters and their CEO donors routinely tell us we get to have our cake and eat it too. They insist we can have billionaires and shared prosperity, legalized corruption with democracy, lower inflation plus corporate profiteering, and a livable planet alongside a prosperous ExxonMobil.
Washington - A proposed climate and energy package would require massive oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, reinstate an illegal 2021 Gulf lease sale and mandate that millions more acres of public lands be offered for leasing before any new solar or wind energy projects could be built on public lands or waters. The provisions, in sections 50264 and 50265, are buried near the end of the 725-page Inflation Reduction Act. The bill was released Wednesday after Sen. Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced they had agreed to the $370 billion package. “This is a climate suicide pact,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s self-defeating to handcuff renewable energy development to massive new oil and gas extraction.
The oil and gas industry, one of the most powerful corporate forces in American politics, has spent more than $200 million over the past year and a half to stop Congress from slashing carbon emissions as evidence of their catastrophic impact—from deadly heatwaves to massive wildfires—continues to accumulate in stunning fashion. That topline estimate of the fossil fuel industry's lobbying outlays and congressional election spending in the U.S. was calculated by Climate Power, which provided its findings exclusively to Common Dreams. Nearly 80% of the industry's campaign donations during the time period examined went to Republican candidates, according to Climate Power, whose analysis draws on data from OpenSecrets.