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Bobbleheads 'R Us: Not A Rapist, Thief, Grifter, Liar, Bully and Complete Ignoramus

Common Dreams - Tue, 06/11/2024 - 10:23

In discomfiting news for those still inhabiting Planet Earth, we are now through the looking-glass into a place where reality is so weird fantasy seems more plausible and it's tough to distinguish one from t'other. In Las Vegas, the "felonious stupidity magnet" blathered gibberish - sharks, boats, MIT, "Hispanicans" - more unhinged than a fake GOP leader's "soliloquy of sycophancy" who lists all "Your Majesty's" transgressions to insist he doesn't believe any of them and he'd "let my wife have your children."

Exhibiting what Eugene Robinson delicately terms "a mind that is, evidently, unwell," Trump offered up "a grim smorgasbord" of lies, threats, dark fantasies and other "verbal incontinence" to a MAGA crowd in swing-state Nevada baking in 110-degreet heat likely too dumb to notice him crowing, "I don't want anybody going on me...I don't care about you. I just want your vote." Empathy thy name is: He also whined nobody worries about him though he's up there "sweating like a dog." Nice. After Klan Mom shrieked, "The man I worship was also a convicted felon, and he was murdered on a Roman cross," Trump took on the vital issues of the day, mostly sharks and sinking boats, in a deluge of "insane stupid shit" like any other guy you'd cross the street to avoid. Jack Smith is "a dumb son of a bitch," when he's elected "we're gonna do a lot of things - we're gonna look very strongly at J6 hostages," migrants are "totally destroying our black population, destroying our Hispanicans (and) you say to yourself, 'Who are these people destroying our country?'...We’re not going to have men playing in women's sports. We’re not doing it."

He also disputed his well-documented claim veterans are "suckers and losers" - "Someone would have to be psycho or a very stupid person...Who would say that anyway?" - before launching into a compulsive, familiar, deeply baffling spiel from his "Divinity of the Sacred Juniper, which is 100% based in reality," about sharks. There's been "a lot of sharks" lately, he declared, and they "bit off the young lady's leg and these guys were trying to justify it because of the fact that they were they were not hungry, but they misunderstood what, who she was," and he had a good if "monumentally fucking stupid" question "nobody ever asked (which) must be because of MIT, my relationship to MIT, very smart," about "what would happen if the boat sank from its weight, and the battery is underwater "and there's a shark 10 yards away...Do I stay on the boat and get electrocuted, or do I jump over by the shark?" It turns out he'd "take electrocution every single time" for 34 felony counts, Alex - and damn we'd definitely be here for it - because, "Really, he's just a raving lunatic at this point."

— (@)

Still, his faithful peeps would follow his delirious lead. Having passed through the looking glass - the "DRINK ME" bottle, "EAT ME" cake, Jabberwocky poetry and chessmen come to life - they've entered a murky dystopia where logic is suspended and dark lies are truths: the election was "stolen," the government is "corrupt," villainous migrants are "invading" the country, Democrats or others outside the toxic MAGA bubble are "fascists," everything - courts, votes, media, the very government a grifting felon seeks to run again even more incompetently and vindictively than he did before - is "rigged," with their weak, sick, tinpot madman the only hope to "save" America. Cue the hilarious parody that arguably belongs in the Twitter Hall of Fame. The craziest thing about watching the supposed GOP chair in Grand Rapids, MI. who just ingested too much helium, with a witless Trump nodding along, effusively chronicle the countless crimes, lies, sins, scandals and legal or moral offenses his hero committed - of which, he avows each time, "I just don't believe it for one sec" - is how long it takes to realize it's not real.

— (@)

"Thank you, Mr. President Trump, Your Majesty," he gushes before citing all the "truths" he believes: the election was stolen, you didn't commit tax fraud, you didn't embezzle or scam millions or cheat on your wife with a porn star or pay her hush money or assault a woman in a dressing room or sexually harass over 25 women or create false slates of electors to steal the election or steal classified documents or extort Ukraine for help from Russia or let a pandemic spiral out of control or orchestrate a violent coup to install yourself as an unelected dictator or spew conspiracies about windmills or take millions from foreign governments. "I believe President Trump when he says he's not a rapist, he's not a thief, he's not a grifter, a liar, a philanderer, a narcissist, a glutton, a bully, and a complete ignoramus," he asserts. Also, "I don't believe he cheats at golf." He thanks Trump "for being a good Christian leader dedicated to truth and justice for all," and don't forget he'll happily "let my wife have your children" to, you know, make America great again. John Kelly: "God help us."

Categories: F. Left News

CAIR Commends Rep. Clyburn for Boycotting Netanyahu Speech, Urges Other Members of Congress to Boycott

Common Dreams - Mon, 06/10/2024 - 12:46

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today commended Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) after he announced that he would not attend Netanyahu’s speech.

CAIR also urged all Americans to use its click-and-send action alert to call on members of Congress to follow suit and boycott or protest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress on July 24th due to his openly racist views, genocidal war crimes, disrespect for the United States, and opposition to a Palestinian state.


In a statement, CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw said:

We encourage all Americans to urge your members of Congress to boycott or protest Benjamin Netanyahu’s July 24th speech to Congress. The only speech the war criminal Netanyahu should ever give outside of Israel is testimony at The Hague.

“Any member of Congress who stands to applaud an openly racist, anti-American, genocidal butcher like Netanyahu would become a cheerleader for his crimes.

“This war criminal should have never been invited to address Congress, and if he does show up, the only moral response is to either boycott or protest his speech.

McCaw thanked former House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for her words opposing Netanyahu’s speech and urged her to clarify if she would boycott the speech as well.

Remind your U.S. House representatives and your senators that Netanyahu is a racist, a corrupt politician and a genocidal war criminal whose government has spent eight months massacring thousands of innocent people and spent years beforehand oppressing millions of Palestinians and undermining American presidents, including President Obama.

CAIR previously called on members of Congress to reject any attempt by House Speaker Mike Johnson to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress.

Last month, CAIR condemnedthe ongoing Israel-U.S. massacre of Palestinian civilians in a so-called “safe zone” in Gaza, declaring the Biden administration’s complicity because of President Biden’s insistence on sending more bombs to enable Netanyahu’s war crimes in Rafah. CAIR believes that this is now as much an American genocide as it is an Israeli genocide.

Categories: F. Left News

Supreme Court Asks Solicitor General for Views on Honolulu Climate Deception Lawsuit

Common Dreams - Mon, 06/10/2024 - 11:02

The U.S. Supreme Court today asked the U.S. Solicitor General to file a brief “expressing the views of the United States” in response to Big Oil companies’ requests to review a Hawai`i Supreme Court decision that allowed Honolulu’s historic climate deception lawsuit against the companies to proceed to trial.

City and County of Honolulu v. Sunoco et al. seeks to make major oil and gas companies — including ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and BP — pay for the costs of local climate damages caused by the companies’ decades-long campaign of deception and disinformation about the dangers of their fossil fuel products. In its ruling, the Hawai`i Supreme Court found that the federal Clean Air Act does not preempt state law claims to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their deceptive conduct.

In recent months, the fossil fuel industry and its backers ran a widespread media campaign in an attempt to influence the court to take the case.

Richard Wiles, president of the Center for Climate Integrity, released the following statement:

“Big Oil companies are fighting desperately to avoid trial in lawsuits like Honolulu’s, which would expose the evidence of the fossil fuel industry’s climate lies for the entire world to see. Communities everywhere are paying dearly for the massive damages caused by Big Oil’s decades-long climate deception. The people of Honolulu and other communities across the country deserve their day in court to hold these companies accountable.”

Alyssa Johl, vice president of legal and general counsel for the Center for Climate Integrity, released the following statement:

“Lawsuits like Honolulu’s are not seeking to solve climate change or regulate emissions — these plaintiffs simply want Big Oil to stop lying and pay their fair share of the damages they knowingly caused. The Solicitor General should make clear that federal laws do not preempt the ability of communities to hold companies accountable for their deceptive claims under state law.”

Background on State and Local Climate Accountability Lawsuits Against Big Oil

The attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia, as well as dozens of municipal governments in California, Colorado, Hawai`i, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Puerto Rico, and two tribal governments, have filed lawsuits to hold major oil and gas companies accountable for deceiving the public about their products’ role in climate change.

Categories: F. Left News

Scientists Urge Citi to Stop Financing Fossil Fuel Expansion

Common Dreams - Mon, 06/10/2024 - 07:32

A group of scientists affiliated with universities, research organizations and nonprofits, sent an open letter to Citi CEO Jane Fraser and Board Chair John Dugan today, urging the company to stop financing new fossil fuel projects.

“The financial industry must recognize the physical harms and economic risks it is exacerbating by enabling fossil fuel expansion, and rapidly adopt new policies that align with a safer climate future,” according to the letter, which was signed by more than 750 scientists and experts and organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Citing the 2024 Banking on Climate Chaos report, the scientists pointed out that Citi is the second-largest financier of fossil fuels since the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement, having poured $396 billion into the industry since 2016.

The letter also will be hand delivered to Citi headquarters on June 12 during a “Scientists Speakout” as part of the “Summer of Heat on Wall Street” campaign taking place in New York City throughout the summer to draw attention to the banks, insurance companies and investors fueling the climate crisis. The campaign is led by Stop the Money Pipeline, New York Communities for Change, Climate Defenders, Planet Over Profit, and Climate Organizing Hub.

The letter called on Citi specifically to:

Additional UCS Resources and Analyses:

  • Stop financing and supporting coal, oil, and gas companies that are engaged in upstream oil and gas development, and all other companies investing in fossil fuel expansion.
  • Strengthen sectoral finance exclusion policies, including ending funding and financing services for new and expanding LNG projects and their parent companies.
  • Increase financing for renewable energy in line with what is required for the world to make a clean energy transition and limit global warming to as close to 1.5°C as possible.
  • Ensure that human rights, Indigenous sovereignty, and the rights of workers are respected by every company financed, including renewable energy and battery mineral mining companies.
  • Take steps to acknowledge and make restitution for the bank’s role in fueling climate chaos and environmental racism around the world and pay into a fund to support those bearing the brunt of extreme climate impacts, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Loss and Damage Fund.
  • A peer-reviewed study by UCS titled “The Fossil Fuels Behind Forest Fires: Quantifying the Contribution of Major Carbon Producers to Increasing Wildfire Risk.”
  • A UCS report, “The Climate Deception Dossiers: Internal Fossil Fuel Industry Memos Reveal Decades of Corporate Disinformation.”
  • A UCS blog documenting disinformation claims by oil and gas company executives.
  • A UCS Blog on why banks should stop financing fossil fuel projects.
  • Categories: F. Left News

    Western influence and online resistance in the global battle against Ghana’s Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill

    Red Pepper - Mon, 06/10/2024 - 07:06

    As states across Africa threaten LGBTQ+ communities, Chiamaka Muoneke reports on the colonial roots of homophobic laws and the digital activism fuelling resistance

    The post Western influence and online resistance in the global battle against Ghana’s Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill appeared first on Red Pepper.

    Categories: F. Left News

    A Child in Palestine – review

    Red Pepper - Sat, 06/08/2024 - 00:00

    A Child in Palestine is a powerful tribute to the enduring legacy of Naji al-Ali, writes Jeanine Hourani

    The post A Child in Palestine – review appeared first on Red Pepper.

    Categories: F. Left News

    To See Our Humanity

    Common Dreams - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 22:00

    It goes sickeningly on: Israeli forces just dropped U.S.-made bombs on displaced Gazans, mostly women and children, sleeping in a UN school in Nuseirat refugee camp, killing at least 40 and injuring hundreds in yet another massacre of innocents that "contradicts all human values." The victims will be added to a steadfast documenting of losses that, despite the horrors - "blood and screaming, blood and screaming" - seeks to share their stories "in loving memory," and insist, "They were never numbers."

    Israel has now killed almost 37,000 Palestinians in Gaza - most civilians, too many children - and wounded, often devastatingly, over 83,000; tens of thousands remain under rubble. Last Sunday, in a merciless new low, Israel dropped seven massive, U.S. bombs, which ghoulish Nikki Haley autographed with "Finish Them!", on a crowded tent city of sleeping, displaced people in Rafah. The resulting fires burned alive at least 45, mostly women and children, and injured hundreds; the most horrifying image from the hellscape showed Abdel Hafez holding up the beheaded body of his 18-month-old son Ahmad, killed with his mother and two siblings and later buried without his head. Despite international outrage, Doctors Without Borders describes an "insane escalation of violence" across Gaza, with Israeli attacks and a Rafah border closed to humanitarian aid creating "apocalyptic" conditions for Palestinians trapped there.

    Meanwhile, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society says Israeli forces are firing on them in the West Bank even as they try to remove the dead and injured; UN officials worry warm weather and dirty water mean "cholera may become prevalent"; experts say that nine of 10 children suffer severe lack of food, over a million people could "face death and starvation" by mid-July without more aid, and thousands have been effectively killed by months of extreme hunger, with malnutrition causing permanent damage to many children. Within a decimated health system, exhausted doctors and nurses work alongside an "unbearable...odor of blood," patients are strewn everywhere, dead bodies "brought in plastic bags" pile up, the body of a dead woman lies on the floor, cut open, next to the body of her dead fetus. A young doctor describes being evacuated from hospital to hospital; each time, she says, "It was a different place, but the same horror."

    Thus did Thursday's bombing of the UNRWA al-Sardi school at Nuseirat refugee camp eerily echo the Rafah massacre. Again, hellfire from the sky targeted hungry, desperate, displaced Palestinians asleep at 1:30 in the morning for the crime of seeking shelter. Missiles hit the second and third floors where people slept on mattresses on classroom floors; of perhaps 40 killed, at least 25 were women and children, legs blown off, skulls shattered, bodies charred by the same US-made GBU 39 missiles that hit Rafah's tent city. Many dead were taken to already-overwhelmed Al Aqsa Hospital, their bodies lined up in the courtyard as relatives wept over them. A father came by cart from Rafah "in disbelief" to see his dead children: "Is this reality or a dream?" Two children were laid out beside their mother: "What did she do to deserve this? She was sleeping safely with her children. What did these children do to deserve this? It is shameful of them." And, "They are killing us."

    Up to 6,000 people were reportedly sheltering at the school. After the assault, many still milled in the courtyard near balconies hung with washing; with nowhere else to go, most plan to remain. Over 450 Palestinians have been killed, and nearly 1,500 injured, in Israeli attacks on about 170 UNRWA buildings, the "vast majority" former schools become shelters; almost every time, Israeli military officials say they're targeting Hamas and using "precision" weaponry. In this case, they claimed "20 or 30" Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters were using the site as an operations center; they offered no evidence, and both Hamas and UNRWA disputed the claim, noting the IDF is given the coordinates of all U.N. facilities and "knew it was a school." Still, Israel argues Hamas tries to use UN facilities as "their Iron Dome, and they will not have a safe place." Despite guerilla warfare" with still-active Hamas units in north and central Gaza, Israel insists, "Any negotiations would be conducted only under fire."

    Despite or because of their growing isolation, criticism of Israel's "man-made catastrophe" remains politically fraught, with reports of an "unprecedented crackdown" on pro-Palestinian speech in this country. Last month, an acclaimed Palestinian-American nurse at NYU's Langone Health was fired for briefly citing the Gaza "genocide" - RIP irony - after receiving an award for her "stellar patient care." For ten years, OB-GYN nurse Hesen Jabr has worked with grieving mothers who lost babies during pregnancy or childbirth. "It pains me," Jabr said in a speech, not to be able to comfort the bereaved women of her country "going through unimaginable losses (during) the current genocide in Gaza." Her first day back at work, she was fired for "bringing politics into the workplace," told to return a merit bonus, and escorted out by police. She's suing for the chance to "emphasize the humanity of those in Gaza being killed, to have somebody see my humanity, see our humanity as a people."

    That righteous, fundamental goal is what gave birth in 2015 to We Are Not Numbers, a Gaza non-profit that in collaboration with Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor seeks to tell the stories behind the bloody numbers. Arundhati Roy: "There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless.’ There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.” Now, amidst Gaza's genocide, others have taken up the task of reminding us, "They were never numbers - they were people who had homes, families and dreams." The heartbreaking names and photos of Palestinian martyrs goes on and on. Sabreen, 3, happy at the beach in a black and white striped dress that, two days later, she was buried in. Tiny Fatima, her newborn photo used for her memorial. 51-day-old Rayyan, born during a ceasefire, killed by a strike. Five-month old Jamal, died of hunger. Malak, 8, who loved going to school, killed in her sleep. Shahad, 11, killed while eating dinner, an "exceptional child, calm and innocent."

    The Joudeh family in Rafah, dad, pregnant mom, 3-year-old daughter all dead, fetus saved. Mother Samah and newborn Lara. The toddler dead of starvation, first fat-cheeked, then skeletal. The journalist, electrician, artist, doctor, football player, new groom, teacher killed on his way to school, principal killed with his wife and grandchildren, PhD student dead from poisoned water, doctor who wouldn't leave his patients at al-Shifa, shot in front of them. The dentist, engineer, farmer killed while trying to find food for their families. The 4-year-old girl shot in the neck, the 5, 2, 4 year-old, six-month-old twins, boy with his pet bird killed along with 23 relatives. The boy on dialysis, the boy on his bike, the boy terrified of the sound of rockets finally killed by one, the first grandchild, "sweetheart of my heart," killed visiting his grandfather, the 10 year-old who wanted to be an engineer who in her last moments her father begged to forgive him for not being able to save her.

    The hard-working father of five, one of 25 al-Baghdadis killed. The al-Husayna family massacre. The 17 Khayats killed, with photos alive and dead of engineer Basel and his two daughters, killed with their mother and two brothers, one only 45 days old, "hence the tiny body bag." Mahmoud newly engaged: "He wrote days before his death, 'All the pain and oppression in the world is present in us.' May he become a groom in paradise." Son Ahmad to Father Haj, killed fasting: "My first hero, the light of my eyes." Killed praying, in prison, returned to inspect home, when he wouldn't leave home. "I am Nour al-Deen Hajaj...I am not a number. I refuse to have the news of my death be spread without letting it be known I loved life, happiness, freedom, children's laughter, the sea, coffee, writing and everything delightful." "Ibrahim was a brilliant 3-year-old, advanced for his age, his family's first grandchild. He was looking forward to starting preschool...His body remains under the rubble."

    Categories: F. Left News

    They shall not pass: Remembering the Battle of Stockton

    Red Pepper - Thu, 06/06/2024 - 00:00

    Shabana Marshall and Sharon Bailey examine what the 1933 ‘Battle of Stockton’ can teach us about fighting the far right today

    The post They shall not pass: Remembering the Battle of Stockton appeared first on Red Pepper.

    Categories: F. Left News

    Peace Activists Assaulted and Forcibly Removed From Jimmy Kimmel Live Taping With Vice President Kamala Harris

    Common Dreams - Wed, 06/05/2024 - 18:43

    CODEPINK Inland Empire and CODEPINK Southeast LA joined a coalition of peace activists at last night's live taping of Vice President Kamala Harris' appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. The activists, representing groups such as Chino Valley for Palestinian Liberation, Palestinian Christians for Justice, Pasadena for Palestine, Claremont Graduate Students for a Free Palestine, and autonomous residents of Los Angeles, were there to remind people that there is no business as usual during a genocide.

    Security approached a few of the audience's peace activists, pulled them aside before Vice President Harris arrived onstage, and forced them to leave. After Harris was introduced and seated, the activists set off a chain of disruptions that led to the illegal detainment and physical assault of some of the activists by security. The activists were told they were under arrest, despite no one having Miranda rights read or anyone showing badges or authority to make an arrest. Activists were being illegally detained and were told to turn over their IDs. When activists asserted their First Amendment rights and attempted to leave the premises, some were physically restrained with excessive force, and the gates of the building were locked by security, illegally imprisoning the peaceful demonstrators.


    At one point, a security guard put one of the activists in chokehold until others were able to get him to release him. As clearly shown in the video, this act of violence was unprovoked and completely unnecessary.

    The coalition of organizations demand The Jimmy Kimmel Show address and apologize for the unnecessary use of brutal force that left the man bruised and swollen.

    CODEPINK Inland Empire member Rachael O'Neill explained, "We reject business as usual as the Israeli government carries out a genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, all with the unconditional support of the Biden/Harris administration. We took this action today to put pressure on the administration to back up their words with actions: stop arming Israel and support a permanent ceasefire resolution at the UN."

    After being detained in the building's atrium, security finally unlocked the gates and released the activists without further incident. They joined the other previously removed activists outside for a Free Palestine rally.

    The protest comes as the genocide in Gaza enters its ninth month, with reports of nearly 40,000 Palestinian lives lost. Activists criticize the Biden administration for its continued support of Israeli military actions. Organizers note that Harris has taken to the campaign trail to talk about the need to protect women's rights while signing off on sending bombs that have killed and maimed over 20,000 women and children in Gaza.

    The demands for immediate action - an arms embargo and cessation of aid to Israel, alongside a call for a permanent ceasefire to end the ongoing violence and humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the West Bank - are echoed across the country as the movement for a Free Palestine grows and Israel's apparent intent to cleanse Palestinians ethnically becomes more evident.

    Images, videos and interviews with the activists are available upon request.

    Categories: F. Left News

    Amazon Watch and Amnesty International Join Group of 50 NGOs Urging President Biden to Pardon Human Rights Lawyer Steven Donziger

    Common Dreams - Wed, 06/05/2024 - 06:51

    Fifty environmental and human rights organizations, including Amazon Watch and Amnesty International, have sent a letter to President Biden urging him to pardon U.S. human rights lawyer Steven Donziger after Chevron targeted him with the nation’s first private corporate prosecution.

    Mr. Donziger’s case has attracted international outrage due to his prolonged and unjust detention after helping Amazon communities in Ecuador hold Chevron accountable for massive pollution that decimated their ancestral lands. The Supreme Courts of two countries – Ecuador and Canada – have confirmed the validity of the landmark $10 billion verdict against the oil giant.

    Donziger was subjected to nearly three years of arbitrary detention in New York on a Class B misdemeanor contempt charge, the lowest possible federal offense, after he appealed an unprecedented order he turn over his computer and confidential case file to Chevron. The contempt charges, filed by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, were rejected by the regular federal prosecutor.

    Donziger’s prosecution and detention has been condemned by respected jurists, including the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD). The WGAD found Mr. Donziger’s detention to be illegal and “arbitrary” under international law. Three U.S. federal judges, including two Supreme Court justices, have condemned the prosecution as unconstitutional.

    Despite previous appeals and significant concern expressed by the WGAD over two years ago, the U.S. government has not responded, and Mr. Donziger’s situation has only worsened. Chevron continues its aggressive legal and public relations attacks, highlighting the urgent need for intervention to correct this injustice.

    “Our renewed calls for a pardon for Mr. Donziger and compliance with the WGAD include a request for a comprehensive investigation into Chevron’s illegal and abusive retaliation campaign,” the letter states. “As a result of Chevron’s failure to clean up its pollution, Amazon Indigenous and farmer communities continue to face imminent risk.”

    U.S. Representative Jim McGovern emphasized the broader implications: “This is about more than a court case – it’s about sending a message that corporate polluters need to be held accountable for breaking the law, and that they shouldn’t be allowed to harass and intimidate those who seek justice.”

    The letter urges President Biden to issue a pardon and to launch an investigation into Chevron’s retaliation campaign. A pardon would assert the executive branch’s intolerance for judicial overreach influenced by corporate interests and reinforce the U.S. commitment to international human rights standards, according to the letter.

    “A pardon for Mr. Donziger will send a clear message that corporations in the U.S. cannot misuse the judicial system to criminalize human rights defenders,” said Paul Paz y Miño, Amazon Watch Deputy Director. “The Biden administration must protect the rights of human rights defenders like Mr. Donziger and ensure accountability for corporate polluters.”

    Among the other organizations signing are Greenpeace, Food & Water Watch, Rainforest Action Network, Mighty Earth, Public Citizen, and Sunrise Movement.

    Categories: F. Left News

    Stonewalling public disclosure, a PUCO tradition, continues

    The Checks and Balances Project - Wed, 06/05/2024 - 05:26

    The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio continues to stonewall requests for the names of staff members who recommended a protective order that hid key details of its audit into the state’s corrupt HB 6 law.

    PUCO lawyers continue to claim they have no records about the staff’s recommendation to grant the order issued last July. That’s despite multiple documents from other cases before the commission in which staff members urged auditors to tone down their conclusions and revealed that the utilities themselves were given the power to remove information from their audits.

    Checks & Balances Project has hired attorney Scott Jones of Cincinnati to pursue documents related to the protective order. PUCO continues to insist no documents exist and that any internal PUCO communications related to C&BP’s request are protected by attorney-client privilege.

    The result so far is that PUCO has refused to provide information about the decisions that prevented readers of the audit conducted by London Economics International (LEI) from learning the identity of the company overcharging ratepayers for coal, the cost of the coal and the finances of the Ohio Valley Electric Corp., the company bailed out by HB 6.

    The information removed from the audit is available publicly from a variety of sources that are familiar to experts on utility policy, but removing it from the LEI audit meant that members of the public unfamiliar with the nuances of OVEC operations were not able to connect the dots from reading the audit.

    C&BP has reported that the owner of Resource Fuels, the company overpaid for the coal it supplied OVEC, was an early donor to the political fund used to bribe former Ohio House speaker Larry Householder to pass HB 6. Resource Fuels also donated $250,000 to the fund.

    Householder was convicted on federal corruption charges last year and is serving a 20-year sentence. Another conspirator is serving a five-year sentence, and two others indicted in the scheme, lobbyist Neil Clark and former PUCO chairman Sam Randazzo, have committed suicide before they went to trial.

    PUCO eventually relented on some of the most egregious omissions from the LEI audit and allowed them into the record, but they are still not included in the version of the audit that’s most easily accessible on the PUCO website. Instead, the removed redactions are mentioned only in other submissions to the docket.

    More lax PUCO enforcement

    PUCO has been slow to react in another case involving FirstEnergy Corp., whose former executives started the scheme to bribe Householder and pass HB 6. After the indictments in July 2020 in the HB 6 case, FirstEnergy commissioned two law firms to determine the extent of the company’s legal exposure in the case.

    Consumer advocates and attorneys representing investors in a class-action suit against FirstEnergy are seeking those reports, which the company claims are protected by attorney-client privilege. U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley has rejected those claims, ruling that the reports are not privileged.

    But FirstEnergy still refuses to turn over the reports, and PUCO has done nothing to make them.

    Ray Locker is the executive director for Checks & Balances Project, an investigative watchdog blog holding government officials, lobbyists, and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP is provided by Renew American Prosperity and individual donors.

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    The post Stonewalling public disclosure, a PUCO tradition, continues appeared first on Checks and Balances Project.

    Categories: F. Left News

    Refugees International Appalled by New Biden Border Policies

    Common Dreams - Tue, 06/04/2024 - 16:53

    Statement by Refugees International Director for the Americas and Europe Yael Schacher:

    “Refugees International is appalled by President Biden’s invocation of executive authority to violate U.S. and international refugee law and turn away people seeking safety at the U.S. southern border after a numerical quota has been reached. The number of people crossing the border has no bearing on the claims of legitimate asylum seekers. However, they will now be shut out – ironically in the name of “freeing up the asylum system for those with legitimate claims.”
    Today’s policies will also not yield a better managed border. As the failed experiment with Title 42 showed, it will compound suffering and crime on the Mexican side of the border and waste valuable operational and legal resources to implement and defend. These are resources that would be better used coordinating reception and adjudicating claims to restore trust and fairness in the asylum system. Because of limits on returns and repatriations, the new policies will likely lead to increased detention of unauthorized crossers who both do and do not “manifest fear” of return (itself an ill-defined process), especially if they are from Africa and Asia.
    Like several other asylum policies implemented by the administration in the last year, including bars on eligibility and expedited screenings in border patrol custody, today’s announced policies – which the administration shockingly calls “common sense” – are reminiscent of asylum restrictions proposed by former President Trump and constitute a direct betrayal of values candidate Biden promised to uphold as president.
    At a time of unprecedented displacement in the hemisphere and beyond, they also represent a shirking of responsibility by a country with capacity to receive many more people seeking safety and set a dangerous example to the world of scapegoating asylum seekers in hopes of political gain. The challenges at the border are real and require solutions that balance an orderly border with fair and humane treatment of asylum seekers. This approach will achieve neither.”
    Categories: F. Left News

    Amnesty International USA’s Reaction to Biden Administration’s Executive Order on Asylum

    Common Dreams - Tue, 06/04/2024 - 16:52

    In response to an executive order announced today by President Biden that effectively shuts down the U.S.-Mexico border and creates a first of its kind numerical cap on the number of people who can seek asylum in the United States, Amy Fischer, Director of Refugee and Migrant Rights at Amnesty International USA, made the following statement:

    “This executive action plays into false narratives about invasions at the border and advances a policy grounded in white supremacist ideas at the expense of people in search of safety in the U.S.

    “President Biden’s action sets a dangerous international precedent as a first-of-its-kind numerical cap on asylum, limiting the number of people who can claim asylum in the U.S. and effectively shutting down the U.S.-Mexico border, using the same legal authority that the Trump administration used to implement the dangerous and xenophobic Muslim and African travel bans.

    “To be clear, this executive action will not fix the problems plaguing the border, address the needs of big cities faced with high numbers of new arrivals, stop people from fleeing for their lives, nor will it not keep communities safe. It will only cause more chaos and cruelty, and inevitably, more torture opens in a new tab, violence, and deaths of women, men, and children seeking safety in the U.S.

    “It’s deeply disappointing to see President Biden so hellbent on dismantling human rights for people seeking asylum and implementing policies that are plainly illegal under international and refugee law.

    “This is an utterly shameful move for a country that once helped draft the Refugee Convention. We need real solutions that respect human rights, address root causes of forced migration, allow for safe and orderly pathways to safety, and meet the needs of communities at the border and in the interior of the United States.

    “Amnesty International USA urges President Biden to put himself in the shoes of people forced to leave their homes and embark on a dangerous journey to escape harm, and finally consistently follow the human rights norms that he claims to champion.”

    Categories: F. Left News

    An Unusual Performance: Facts: 472, Vengeful Clowns: 0

    Common Dreams - Tue, 06/04/2024 - 14:28

    House Republicans who never learn followed the reality-defying lead of their Felon-in-Chief Monday by harassing and villifying Dr. Anthony Fauci, who saved thousands of lives with an expedited COVID vaccine, charging him with stealing Americans' "freedoms," making millions from Big Pharma, murdering puppies and committing "crimes against humanity" - the last from Three Names Klan Mom, who furiously spurned his title of "doctor" and "so-called SCIENCE." Clean up at freak show in Aisle 7.

    In his first Congressional testimony in two years, Dr. Fauci voluntarily appeared before a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, which has spent 15 months "investigating" our sorry-ass response to the pandemic and trying to prove that U.S.-funded, probs-Fauci-led research in China helped give rise to it. The esteemed immunologist, 83, headed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for nearly 40 years, advising every U.S president since Reagan and directing research on HIV, AIDS, Ebola, Zika, and COVID-19. As a calm, cultured, knowledgeable man of science with multiple medical degrees, he's been a "bright, blazing' target for MAGA morons outraged that he made children - children! - wear masks and declined to endorse the lunatic injecting of bleach as a DIY COVID cure. Thus did he trudge to D.C. to be grilled by the clueless likes of an assistant, sexual-assault-complicit wrestling coach and a shrieky CrossFit, Space Laser enthusiast who "lacks the brainpower God gave a turnip" and gets her ideas from QAnoners with "not always ideologically consistent" screen names like FauciIsANazi and HeilTrump88.

    The hearing opened on a suitably somber note for a global, once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that killed over a million Americans. "You and your agency made mistakes, Dr. Fauci," intoned Chairman Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio. "What happened? We all need to be held accountable." Claiming "Americans were aggressively bullied, shamed and silenced for merely questioning or debating issues such as social distancing, masks, vaccines or the origins of COVID," an increasingly strident Wenstrup charged Fauci oversaw "one of the most invasive regimes of domestic policy the U.S. has ever seen." (Maybe 'cause it was one of the most invasive epidemics the U.S. has ever seen? Just askin'...). In response, Democrats led by ranking member Raul Ruiz noted that in over a year of frantic scavenging on the taxpayers' dime - including seeking access to Fauci's personal email and phone records - Repubs haven't found "a shred of evidence to substantiate these extreme allegations." At the same time, while using Fauci as a scapegoat for Trump's grotesque failures, they've also missed a vital opportunity to prepare for whatever next deadly, future crisis inevitably hovers.

    In a forceful, dignified opening statement, Fauci insisted he has "nothing to hide." He called the GOP allegation he'd influenced scientists to fudge their findings or deny a possible link to a Wuhan lab leak by bribing them with millions of dollars in grant money "absolutely false and simply preposterous," and he brought receipts: an email in which he encouraged them to report their data to higher-ups. He also noted he'd helped develop a vaccine in an unprecedentedly short time. Finally, his voice breaking, he decried the "troublesome" death threats against himself and most painfully his wife and three daughters; ranging from harassment by email and text to "credible" reports leading to arrests of at least two people "clearly on their way to kill me," the threats required 24-hour protective services - and they're ongoing, and still do. As proof of the still-looming dangers of MAGA zealots, some observers noted the unexplained presence at the hearing of "a couple of J6 nutters" - some of the good people on all sides, though one was eventually led out - showboating and making faces behind Fauci as he choked up about what his family has endured.

    From there, the tawdry clown car packed with "troglodyte idiots" and ignorant crackpots playing doctor quickly went off the rails. Cue a coke-like-fueled Gym Jordan, known for his performative denseness confronting Fauci on Americans' "liberties assaulted" by diabolical mask-wearing and social-distancing - the last time he screamed at him, "When will Americans get their freedoms back? Give me a date!," Maxine Waters coolly advised, "Shut your mouth." This week, he yelled about Biden and Zuckerberg allegedly trying to downplay a possible Wuhan leak before Fauci asked, "What does this have to do with me?" So it went. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis theatrically swung and missed on the NIH's reported $710 million in royalties from Big Pharma since COVID. How much has he gotten, she asked. Zero, he said, though he added he does get "$122 a year for a monoclonal antibody I created 27 years ago." Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko also dismally failed on the same topic. Fauci pointed out she'd said 4 or 5 things "that were just not true," she sputtered, squawked, feebly shot back, "Well, we have emails to prove it"; a placid Fauci replied, "No, you don't."

    Still, it took braying three-toed sloth, grandstander, and Gazpacho police lady MTG, who wants to defund New York state for finding Trump guilty of 34 felonies, to turn it into a true shitshow by pointedly calling Fauci "Mister" because "his medical license should be revoked and he belongs in jail." His "crimes": "Children - "children! - all over America were forced to wear masks...muzzled in their schools, and then they were forced to work from home because of your so-called science." Rebuked for her "inappropriate" lack of decorum, she shrieked if it was "appropriate" for Americans "to be abused like that" before galloping on - "I don't need your answer" - to wave puppy pictures and spew Fauci murdered beagles while "director of the NIH"- "As a dog lover, I want to tell you this is disgusting and evil" - an evident reference to research in Tunisia where scientists mistakenly listed the NIH, which Fauci never ran, as a funder before correcting it, but not before a manic #FauciLiedDogsDied deluge helped along by Don Jr's "Fauci Kills Puppies" T-shirts. Fauci, mildly: "What do dogs have to do with anything we’re talking about today?" She also blamed him and his "repulsive evil science" for "the poor (men) injected with syphilis" in the notorious 1930s Tuskegee experiments, when Fauci wasn't born, snarling this proves "this government (doesn’t) have decorum to the American people" and, "You belong in prison, Dr. Fauci."

    'The Medical Big Lie': Jamie Raskin Torches Republicans At Hearing With Dr. Fauci

    Whew, said many. One observer compared the vicious tirade to "this legitimate wild animal masquerading as a human being - I fully expect her to just devour a child on camera live one day." One retort: "I think that's jolly unfair to wild animals." Even Wenstrup, after interjecting several times, snapped, "Gentlelady, suspend," aka, likewise, shut your mouth. House Democrats duly spoke up for the good doctor, starting with Rep. Jared Moscowitz, who also asked helpful questions about U.S. preparedness, the supposed topic of the day. "I saw a member of this committee question whether or not you represent science," he respectfully told Fauci. "I did want you to know most Americans don't think she represents Congress." A deadpan Jamie Raskin also often interrupted MTG's ravings. To the "Mister" not "Doctor" nonsense: "Just in terms of the rules of decorum, are we allowed to deny that a doctor is a doctor just because we don’t want him to be a doctor?" To the issue of Fauci hiding evidence from Wuhan despite 38 years in his illustrious position: "I assume you've never been accused of trying to start a disease before, is that right?" Fauci: "Correct."

    Raskin got serious when it came to Republicans who, after years of peddling a dangerous political Big Lie, now insist on still hawking an equally dangerous medical Big Lie whose "runaway political rhetoric" turns the much-respected, life-saving Dr. Fauci into "a comic-book super villain." This, never mind their real-life villain who's long championed revenge - "I love getting even when I get screwed by someone" - who told Americans during COVID to inject bleach - "What do you have to lose? - even as he rejected any responsibility for the outcome, whose malignant hubris and deep stupidity reportedly killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, and who's now a doddering, conniving, vengeful madman seeing imaginary fans. "I want to join my colleague from Florida in apologizing to you that (some) in the House want to drag your name through the mud," he told Dr. Fauci. "They're treating you like a convicted felon....Actually, you probably wish they were...They treat convicted felons with love and admiration."

    — (@)

    Ending the hearing, California Rep. Robert Garcia apologized to Fauci about what "might have been the most insane hearing" he'd attended. "I am so sorry you just had to sit through that," he said. "That was completely irresponsible." Garcia, who said both his parents died in the pandemic, called Fauci "an American hero" whose team "has done more to save lives than all 435 members of this body on both sides of the aisle." Later, he also called Greene "a national embarrassment." But she and her shameless, envious, know nothing, learn less GOP, intent on making the competent Fauci "an avatar of the retribution they are seeking" if the convicted felon returns to power, isn't having it. Especially after Fauci went on CNN post-hearing to assail Greene by name and note the result, "like clockwork," of her disgorging malevolent fictions like "the deaths of X number of people (were) because of policies (I) created." "When you have performances like that unusual performance by Marjorie Taylor Greene...Those are the kinds of things that drive up the death threats, because there's a segment of the population (who) believe that kind of nonsense."

    First up, the people who spew it. Greene still hasn't shut up. "The mainstream media lies about everything," she raved. "(They're) an extension of the Democrat (sic) party and the Intelligence Community. And they’re all working together so they can keep a commie-level grip on power." (We wish.) Later, she bemoaned she too gets death threats "ALL THE TIME" but has to pay for her own security, and besides people hate Fauci not from her words but "the FACT that his ridiculous non-scientific tyrannical policies DESTROYED peoples lives and he's a narcissistic asshole and liar." The hearing was "nonstop bullshit antics" from Democrats who "don't have anything (and) are responsible for the (Trump-era) lockdowns, forced vaccinations, people committing suicide and all the horrors this country lived through during COVID." Plus bioweapons, murdered animals, convicted felon George Floyd, getting RICH off of (sic) patents" - it's almost like she doesn't hear anything said to her - "and Mr. Fauci calls all of that SCIENCE!! Mr. Fauci belongs in prison for crimes against humanity!!!" Also, it seems, "humidity." Stop the hateful stupid, please, we wanna get off.

    Categories: F. Left News

    Executive Order to Shut Down the Border Would Put Thousands of Lives at Risk

    Common Dreams - Tue, 06/04/2024 - 13:25

    The White House released today a fact sheet announcing details on an impending executive action from the Biden administration that will severely restrict people’s legal right to seek asylum. Among the measures announced, the administration will effectively shut off asylum for the overwhelming majority of people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border once the average number of border encounters reaches 2,500 between ports of entry, reopening only once the daily number declines to 1,500, according to several reports.

    “We need solutions to address the challenges at the border, but the administration’s planned executive actions will put thousands of lives at risk,” said Deirdre Schifeling, chief political and advocacy officer at the ACLU. “They will not meet the needs at the border, nor will they fix our broken immigration system.”

    The executive action will invoke Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, echoing the Trump administration’s previous entry ban. The ACLU and partners successfully challenged an asylum ban by the Trump administration that took the same approach as the Biden administration. It would also rush vulnerable people through already fast-tracked deportation proceedings, sending people in need of protection to their deaths.

    “We intend to challenge this order in court. It was illegal when Trump did it, and it is no less illegal now,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

    Several polls show that voters nationwide and in battleground states largely reject enforcement-only policies that put vulnerable people in danger. Immigration advocates have continuously called on elected officials to push forward balanced and humane solutions, such as improving processing at ports of entry and addressing the immigration case backlog by investing in immigration court judges and legal representation.

    “We urge the administration to uphold its campaign promise to restore asylum and mobilize the necessary resources to address the challenges at the border. It’s not just the morally sound thing to do — it’s good politics,” added Schifeling. “Voters view immigration as a top concern, and they’re looking to our elected leaders to champion solutions that are both effective and consistent with our nation’s values.”

    Categories: F. Left News

    Last opportunity for G7 to deliver on fossil fuel promises before updating climate plans

    Common Dreams - Tue, 06/04/2024 - 05:46

    Data published today by Oil Change International shows G7 countries are continuing to overwhelmingly prop up fossil fuels at home and abroad, despite agreeing to phase them out at COP28. G7 countries are massively expanding fossil fuel production at home and investing billions in more fossil fuel infrastructure abroad.

    G7 nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom – will gather for the upcoming Leaders’ Summit in Italy from 13 – 15 June, at a historic time for climate politics. This will be the last time these governments meet before submitting enhanced climate plans under the Paris Agreement.

    At home, G7 countries have both the capacity and the responsibility to lead in phasing out fossil fuels. However, not only are G7 countries among the world’s biggest extractors of fossil fuels, they also have large expansion plans that sabotage any hope of achieving the climate goals they have repeatedly committed to.

    • Italy, which holds the G7 presidency this year, recently committed to doubling its production of natural gas, when it should be among the nations phasing out fossil fuel production fastest.
    • The U.S. is both the largest oil and gas producer globally and has the biggest oil and gas expansion plans by far, despite President Biden’s climate promises.

    To uphold the COP28 decision, G7 countries must quickly phase out all existing production, and immediately end fossil fuel expansion at home. Continued oil and gas expansion would lock in climate chaos and an unlivable future.

    Abroad, G7 members continue to provide billions of dollars in taxpayer finance for international fossil fuel projects, despite repeatedly promising to end financial support for these projects. Last year, the G7 even misleadingly claimed it had ended such financing. However, as of May 15, 2024, OCI has tracked at least $8.5 billion in public support for fossil fuel projects abroad from the G7 since the end of 2022, with Japan and the United States providing the majority of this financing.

    The G7’s financing of fossil fuels still dwarfs its financial support for renewable energy, using public money to enable high-risk fossil fuel projects worldwide, while delaying the transition to renewables.

    Oil Change International’s recommendations for G7 leaders at the upcoming summit and beyond include:

    • Strengthen fossil fuel phase-out language and targets agreed at the 2023 G7 Hiroshima Summit and at COP28
    • Demonstrate robust implementation of the COP28 UAE consensus to transition away from fossil fuels
    • Acknowledge reductions in future fossil fuel demand and the impact this will have on export-dependent producer countries
    • Prioritize support for the clean energy transition with a clear clean energy finance offer, that dramatically scales up clean energy finance where it is most needed, on fair terms
    • Reiterate and strengthen the G7 2022 commitment to “end new direct public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022.”

    Adam McGibbon, Public Finance Strategist at Oil Change International, said:

    “The G7 are not just delaying taking climate action – they are actively blocking a fair, fast, full, and funded phase out of fossil fuels with massive expansion plans at home, and backing fossil fuel projects abroad with billions in public money.

    “This summit is a critical moment for G7 nations to demonstrate true leadership. We’re calling on G7 leaders to acknowledge that fossil fuel expansion is incompatible with the 1.5C limit, and to commit to submitting enhanced climate plans under the Paris Agreement that will deliver a science-aligned fossil fuel phaseout and support for an equitable transition to clean energy.

    “There is no shortage of public money to make the COP28 decision on fossil fuels a reality – it is just poorly distributed to the most harmful parts of our economies that are driving the climate crisis and extreme inequalities. G7 countries must make good on their promise to stop funding fossil fuels, and pay their fair share for people-centered renewables on fair terms.

    “The G7 are among the world’s most powerful and wealthiest nations. They have a responsibility to lead the way both at home and abroad. Anything less is hypocrisy and gross negligence, and risks endangering the implementation of the COP28 decision to transition away from fossil fuels.”

    Categories: F. Left News

    Friends of the Earth International at Bonn Climate Change Conference

    Common Dreams - Tue, 06/04/2024 - 05:36

    Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental federation, hosts a small delegation of experts and activists at the 60th session of the Subsidiary Bodies pre-sessional meetings (Bonn Climate Change Conference) in Bonn, Germany.

    The group will highlight the urgent need to make progress on delivery by rich countries of new public climate finance for developing countries. They will also warn of the dangers of unproven technofixes and dodgy carbon market schemes, as negotiations under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement restart after stalling at COP28 last year, and the Oceans Dialogue continues.

    Sara Shaw, Friends of the Earth International Program Coordinator said:

    ‘The world is on fire because of decades of inaction by rich countries on reducing emissions, and their failure to pay the climate finance they owe to developing countries to transition to renewable energy systems for all, and to pay for rising costs for loss and damage and adaptation. What is on the table to date is scales of magnitude away from what it needed. This year must be a year of breakthrough on climate finance.’

    As Bonn opens its doors to the 60th sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies of the UNFCCC, we are witnessing the magnitude of climate impacts in Brazil where floods have been devastating communities, cities, and crops. The inaction of global governments to address the climate crisis with urgent and adequate action is leading once more to hundreds of thousands of people losing their lives and livelihoods. This is what loss and damage looks like.

    Lucia Ortiz, Friends of the Earth Brazil said:

    ‘The disaster in Rio Grande do Sul heralds a devastating future for society, with entire cities lost and more than 230,000 climate refugees who will no longer be able to return to their homes. In Brazil we are witnessing the unity of popular urban and rural social movements paving the way for real solutions.

    At the same time we cannot ignore the responsibility and continued inaction of those who got us here – our global governments are failing to address the climate crisis fuelling such disasters, failing to provide the much needed relief and climate finance necessary for adaptation and loss and damage. Worse, they are working hand in hand with big corporations to promote neoliberal false solutions that further systems of exploitation and injustice. In Bonn and across the world, we know it is those governments and corporations who are at the core of what is happening in Rio Grande do Sul.’ – – –

    We will have spokespeople in Bonn and remotely able to comment on the talks and their outcomes.

    Key activities

    Side event: Corporate Climate Litigation: a new frontier against carbon majors

    12 June 10:15 – 11:30 CET // Room Berlin

    Climate litigation can hold big polluters accountable for causing climate change. We present legal efforts in several cases against corporations that seek emissions cuts, and compensation for loss and damage, including the Indonesian Pari Islanders’ case against Swiss cement company Holcim.

    Speakers: FoEI, WALHIi, Grantham Institute, ICCAD, ECCR, HEKS/EPER and plaintiffs from the Pari Island case.Join remotely:

    Categories: F. Left News

    Biden Admin Targets Poultry Monopolies in New Draft USDA Rule

    Common Dreams - Mon, 06/03/2024 - 13:24

    Today, the Biden Administration announced a highly-anticipated draft USDA rule to strengthen contract grower protections against monopolistic and abusive practices through long overdue reforms to the poultry tournament system. The rule is the third of four to strengthen the Packers & Stockyards Act as part of Biden’s commitment to agricultural sector competition.

    In response, Food & Water Watch Attorney Emily Miller issued the following statement:

    “Today’s poultry tournament system stacks the cards against farmers, forcing them to absorb all the risks and uncertainties of poultry growing, and letting Big Chicken corporations reap all the rewards. It’s unacceptable, and we applaud President Biden for standing up to these food monopolies. Beyond merely keeping producers informed about how their contracts are unfair and exploitative, today’s draft rule proposes to actually protect poultry contract growers from corporate abuse.”

    Today, a staggering 99.5 percent of all domestic broiler chickens are grown by contract growers, who sell in markets dominated by a handful of poultry monopolies that call the shots on everything from farming practices to prices. Just four poultry corporations control 54 percent of the poultry processing market.

    The proposed rule would require live poultry dealers to provide growers a guaranteed base pay; adopt controls to ensure that factors outside a grower’s control do not unfairly impact their pay; and disclose more information when demanding growers make additional and costly capital investments.

    Food & Water Watch has cataloged the impacts of food monopolies on consumers, farmers and the environment for years, including in our recent “Economic Cost of Food Monopolies” series: “The Grocery Cartels,”“The Hog Bosses,” and “The Dirty Dairy Racket”.

    Categories: F. Left News

    Campaign Cash from Price-Fixing Big Oil CEO

    Common Dreams - Mon, 06/03/2024 - 12:08

    According to new research from Accountable.US, a top House Republican has taken thousands in campaign contributions tied to the controversial former Big Oil CEO who colluded with OPEC to drive up energy prices. House Majority leader Steve Scalise took $40,000 from the Williams Companies Political Action Committee – a company whose board includes Scott Sheffield, the Big Oll CEO who was recently blocked from joining the board of Exxon Mobil by the Federal Trade Commission. Scalise also appears to take a small monthly contribution from Sheffield. “

    Big Oil CEOs are out for themselves and the politicians who support their quest to drill for profit at the expense of the American people. So if Congressman Scalise wants to protect American consumers he should start by holding accountable Big Oil price gougers.”

    Chris Marshall, a spokesperson for Accountable.US

    Congressman Scalise has repeatedly called on American energy regulators to loosen consumer and environmental protections in order to increase production, but has been silent about price fixing by energy company executives.

    Steve Scalise’s Leadership Fund Took $40,000 From The Williams Companies PAC In January 23, 2023. [Federal Election Commission, 01/023/23]

    • The Williams Companies Is A Natural Gas Corporation Whose Board Includes Scott Sheffield, The Former CEO Of Pioneer Natural Resources. [The Williams Companies, accessed 05/16/24]

    Additionally, Scalise Takes $5 From Sheffield Personally Every Month.

    • Steve Scalise Took $5 From Scott Sheffield On March 10, 2024. [FEC, 03/10/24]
    • Steve Scalise Took $5 From Scott Sheffield On February 10, 2024. [FEC, 02/10/24]
    • Steve Scalise Took $5 From Scott Sheffield On January 10, 2024. [FEC, 01/10/24]
    • Steve Scalise Took $5 From Scott Sheffield On December 10, 2023. [FEC, 12/10/23]
    • Steve Scalise Took $5 From Scott Sheffield On November 10, 2023. [FEC, 11/10/23]
    • Steve Scalise Took $5 From Scott Sheffield On October 10, 2023. [FEC, 11/10/23]

    Representative Scalise Claimed President Biden Refused To “End His War On American Energy” And To Ignore White House Attempts To “Spin” The Energy Crisis Differently. “Let’s be clear: Gas prices don’t have to be this high. But Joe Biden refuses to end his war on American energy production so we can fully utilize our own resources. Don’t let the White House spin it differently.” [Twitter, @SteveScalise, posted 3/16/2022]

    FTC Found In Scott Sheffield’s Text Messages That He Had A “Plan” To “Get OPEC To Cut Production.” “Sheffield, for example, exchanged hundreds of text messages with OPEC representatives and officials discussing crude oil market dynamics, pricing and output. In discussing his efforts to coordinate with Texas producers under a production cut mandated by the Railroad Commission of Texas, Sheffield said, ‘If Texas leads the way, maybe we can get OPEC to cut production. Maybe Saudi and Russia will follow. That was our plan,’ he said, adding: ‘I was using the tactics of OPEC+ to get a bigger OPEC+ done.’” [Federal Trade Commission, 05/02/24]

    Download Accountable.US’s full package of research on this issue at this link.

    Categories: F. Left News

    Puppetry thrives amid war in Ukraine

    Red Pepper - Sat, 06/01/2024 - 15:53

    The Odesa Puppet Theatre plays a vital role for Ukrainians facing the violence and trauma of war, explain Nataliia Borodina and Matt Smith

    The post Puppetry thrives amid war in Ukraine appeared first on Red Pepper.

    Categories: F. Left News


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