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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Dec 1, 2011, 11:59 AM
Number of posts: 7,830

About Me

FDR Populist Progressive who believes the environment trumps all. We\'re sinking the only ship we\'ve got, and govt leaders are ignoring it.

Journal Archives

A Holiday Note to Congress: Half of Your Country is In or Near Poverty

A Holiday Note to Congress: Half of Your Country is In or Near Poverty
Published by Common Dreams, 12/14/2015
by Paul Buchheit

Recent reports have documented the growing rates of impoverishment in the U.S., and new information surfacing in the past 12 months shows that the trend is continuing, and probably worsening.

Congress should be filled with guilt -- and shame -- for failing to deal with the enormous wealth disparities that are turning our country into the equivalent of a 3rd-world nation.

Half of Americans Make Less than a Living Wage

According to the Social Security Administration, over half of Americans make less than $30,000 per year.

That's less than an appropriate average living wage of $16.87 per hour, as calculated by Alliance for a Just Society (AJS), and it's not enough -- even with two full-time workers -- to attain an "adequate but modest living standard" for a family of four, which at the median is over $60,000, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

AJS also found that there are 7 job seekers for every job opening that pays enough ($15/hr) for a single adult to make ends meet.

Half of Americans Have No Savings

A study by Go Banking Rates reveals that nearly 50 percent of Americans have no savings. Over 70 percent of us have less than $1,000. Pew Research supports this finding with survey results that show nearly half of American households spending more than they earn. The lack of savings is particularly evident with young adults, who went from a five-percent savings rate before the recession to a negative savings rate today.

Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman summarize: "Since the bottom half of the distribution always owns close to zero wealth on net, the bottom 90% wealth share is the same as the share of wealth owned by top 50-90% families."

Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Can't Afford to Fix Their Cars

The Wall Street Journal reported on a Bankrate study, which found 62 percent of Americans without the available funds for a $500 brake job. A Federal Reserve survey found that nearly half of respondents could not cover a $400 emergency expense.

It's continually getting worse, even at upper-middle-class levels. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a JP Morgan study's conclusion that "the bottom 80% of households by income lack sufficient savings to cover the type of volatility observed in income and spending." ....

But wait, there's more....Read the rest~

(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License)

....However, we ALL know the MOST important thing to concern ourselves with is that we are sure to say "Merry Christmas" and NOT "Happy Holidays."

Bernie's common sense comments on ISIS - August 2015

Very interesting info on Saudi Arabia....the whole conversation is interesting.

He would be, will be, SUCH a good president for US.

Editing to Add, for contrast...

....But now, in late 2011, Hillary Clinton’s State Department was formally clearing the sale, asserting that it was in the national interest. At a press conference in Washington to announce the department’s approval, an assistant secretary of state, Andrew Shapiro, declared that the deal had been “a top priority” for Clinton personally. Shapiro, a longtime aide to Clinton since her Senate days, added that the “U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army have excellent relationships in Saudi Arabia.”

These were not the only relationships bridging leaders of the two nations. In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic enterprise she has overseen with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Just two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing -- the defense contractor that manufactures one of the fighter jets the Saudis were especially keen to acquire, the F-15 -- contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to a company press release.

The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire, an International Business Times investigation has found.....


I wonder if we'll hear Hillary say that American taxpayers shouldn't be paying for the majority of costs in the fight against ISIS, on behalf of Saudi Arabia? That maybe Saudi Arabia should be helping US out in our fight which primarily benefits Saudis? Maybe use some of those fighter jets we sent them?

After all, it was Saudi Arabians who attacked US on 9/11.


Bernie's DFA endorsement letter was much better, and it was honest.

(Riverlover) --

As I travel across the country, I am constantly struck by the level of enthusiasm to do something about the rising levels of income inequality in this country, providing health care for all Americans, criminal justice reform, and reclaiming our democracy from a billionaire class buying candidates and elections.

This is not a time to think small. What is required in this moment is a political revolution that takes back our democracy from establishment politicians and the billionaire class. But that can only happen if we stand together. If we do, we will win. If we are divided, the big money interests win.

That’s why I want to thank you for your vote and your support in winning DFA’s endorsement. If we’re going to win, your participation will be critical, especially in getting your friends to vote. Please share DFA’s important poll on Facebook now with others who support our campaign.

Elections should be determined by the power of good ideas, not who can hustle the most money from the rich and powerful. They should be about the issues that impact the lives of ordinary Americans -- not the day-to-day soap operas of campaign staffers, personal emails or fluctuations in the polls. I know that you agree.

In the meantime, let me be very blunt and tell you why I am running.

This country faces more serious problems today than at any time in modern history, and establishment politics will not successfully resolve them.

Corporate greed is rampant, and the very rich keep growing richer while everyone else grows poorer. Despite an explosion in technology and a huge increase in productivity, the middle class continues to disappear, most Americans work longer hours for lower wages, and 45 million live in poverty.

The skyrocketing level of income and wealth inequality is not only grotesque and immoral, it is economically unsustainable. It is unconscionable that a majority of all new income goes to the top 1%. It is absurd that the top one-tenth of 1% own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%, and that one family (the Waltons of Walmart) has more wealth than the bottom 130 million Americans.

As a result of the disastrous Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, the billionaire class is spending huge amounts of money to buy candidates and elections. We are now witnessing the undermining of American democracy and the rapid movement toward oligarchy where a handful of very wealthy families and their Super PACs will control our government.

The scientific community is virtually unanimous in telling us that climate change is real, is caused by human activity, and is already bringing catastrophic damage to our planet. Yet, the Republican Party is prepared to reject science in order to gain campaign contributions from the Koch brothers, Big Energy companies and others who make billions on fossil fuels. If we do not act boldly on climate change, the planet we leave to our grandchildren may be uninhabitable.

The United States once led the world in terms of the percentage of our young people who had college degrees. Today, in a highly competitive global economy, we are now in 12th place. Hundreds of thousands of bright young people have given up on the dream of higher education, while millions of others leave school with oppressive debt.

Our infrastructure -- roads, bridges, rail, airports, water systems, wastewater plants, levees, dams -- is crumbling, and Congress refuses to appropriate anywhere near the necessary funds to rebuild it. If we do not invest substantially in infrastructure, a bad situation will only become much worse.

Despite substantial gains, we still have a long way to go to achieve equality for minorities. Instead of investing in opportunities, we are locking people up at an incredible rate. We now have the highest incarceration rate in the entire world with over 2 million in prison and millions more on probation or parole. We have a broken immigration system that divides families and keeps millions of hard-working people in the shadows.

Most of the major Wall Street financial institutions that we bailed out because they were "too big to fail," are now bigger than they used to be. The six largest financial institutions now have assets equivalent to nearly 60% of our GDP, issue 35% of the mortgages, and oversee 65% of credit cards.

Our tax system is wildly unfair -- rigged to benefit the very rich. Major corporations that earn billions in profits stash their money in tax havens and pay nothing in federal income taxes, while billionaire hedge fund managers pay a lower effective tax rate than nurses or teachers.

Despite growing poverty among seniors, almost all Republicans, and some Democrats, want to cut Social Security and benefits for disabled veterans. They want more austerity for the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor, and more tax breaks for the rich.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. The United States spends more on the military than the next nine biggest-spending countries combined. Today, there are massive cost over-runs with defense contractors and the Pentagon cannot even pass an independent audit.

We are at a moment of truth. We need to face up to the reality of where we are as a nation, and we need a mass movement of people to change that reality.

Let's be clear. This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It's about a grassroots movement of Americans standing up and saying: "Enough is enough. This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires."

If you want Democracy for America to endorse me and the movement we're building, share DFA’s official 2016 Presidential Endorsement Poll with your like-minded friends and family members on Facebook today.

I have discussed some of the major crises that we face. Let me give you the outline of an agenda that addresses these problems.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: The truth is that real unemployment in our country is not the "official" and widely-reported 5.4 percent. Counting those who are underemployed and those who have given up looking for work, real unemployment is almost 11 percent. Even more disturbingly, real unemployment for white and Hispanic youth is over 30 percent, while African-American youth unemployment is over 50 percent.

We need a major federal jobs program. The most effective way to do that is to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. To do that, I have introduced legislation that would invest $1 trillion over 5 years to modernize our country's physical infrastructure. This would create and maintain at least 13 million good-paying jobs. It would also make our country more productive, efficient and safe.

As a member of Congress who voted against NAFTA, CAFTA, Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China (PNTR) and is helping to lead the opposition against the TPP, I will continue my opposition to trade policies which have cost us millions of decent paying jobs as corporate America shuts down plants here and moves them to low-wage countries.

Raising Wages: Today, millions of Americans are working for starvation wages and median family income has declined by almost $5,000 since 1999. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is totally inadequate. We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage -- $15 an hour over the next few years. Our goal must be that no full-time worker in this country lives in poverty. We must also bring about pay equity for women. There is no rational reason why women should be earning 78 cents on the dollar compared to men who perform the same work.

Further, we need to implement "family values" for American working families. It is unacceptable that the United States is the only major country on earth that does not guarantee family and medical leave, sick time and paid vacations.

Wealth and Income Inequality: Today, the richest 400 Americans own over $2.2 trillion in wealth, more than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. Meanwhile, nearly half of all Americans have less than $10,000 in savings and have no idea how they will be able to retire with dignity.

In order to reverse the massive transfer of wealth and income from the middle class to the very rich that we have seen in recent years, we need real tax reform which makes the wealthy and profitable corporations begin to pay their fair share of taxes. It is fiscally irresponsible that the U.S. Treasury loses about $100 billion a year because corporations and the rich stash their profits in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and other tax havens.

We need a tax system that is fair and progressive. Children should not go hungry in this country while profitable corporations and the wealthy avoid their tax responsibilities.

Reforming Wall Street: I have introduced legislation that would break up the largest financial institutions in the country. In my view, if a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. Wall Street cannot continue to be an island unto itself investing trillions in risky financial instruments. We need banks that invest in the job-creating productive economy. We do not need more speculation and gambling in casino-type activities.

Campaign Finance Reform: We need to return to a one-person, one-vote democracy. It is not acceptable that the Koch brothers and other billionaires are spending endless sums of money to buy elections. I have introduced legislation that would overturn the horrendous Citizens United decision and will only appoint Supreme Court justices who are prepared to do that. We must also demand disclosure of all large campaign contributions. Long term, we need to move to public funding of elections.

Fighting Climate Change
: The United States must lead the world in reversing climate change and make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren. We must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energies. Millions of homes and buildings need to be weatherized, our transportation system needs to be energy efficient and we need to greatly accelerate the progress we are already seeing in wind, solar, geothermal and other forms of sustainable energy. Transforming our energy system will not only protect the environment, it will create good-paying jobs.

Health Care for All: The United States remains the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care for all as a right. Despite the modest gains of the Affordable Care Act, 35 million Americans continue to lack health insurance and many more are under-insured. Yet, we continue paying far more per capita for health care than any other nation. The United States must move toward a Medicare-for-All single-payer system.

Gun Violence Prevention: Here is the very sad truth: it is very difficult for the American people to keep up with the mass shootings we seem to see every day in the news. It is long past time for Congress to pass expanded background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. We should ban the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines and close loopholes in our laws that allow stalkers and domestic abusers to buy guns. We should close the “terror gap” so that people on the FBI watch list can’t buy guns and we should vastly improve mental health care in this country so that people who need care can get care when they need it, regardless of their level of income. Those are just a few steps, of many, that we should take -- all of which enjoy the support of an overwhelming number of Americans.

Protecting Our Most Vulnerable: Today, the United States has more people living in poverty than at almost any time in the modern history of our country. We have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major nation, and millions of seniors and people with disabilities struggle to put food on the table because of insufficient Social Security benefits.

In my view, we have a moral responsibility to make certain that no American goes hungry or sleeps on the street. We must also make certain that seniors and people with disabilities can live in dignity. Not only must we vigorously oppose Republican attacks on the social safety net, we must expand benefits for those most in need. That is why I have recently introduced legislation that would extend the solvency of Social Security until 2065, while increasing benefits for those most in need.

Expanding Opportunity and Equality: We need to stop using prisons as a response to poverty. Our criminal justice system needs to be reformed so that we do not continue to house non-violent offenders at huge expense when that money could be used to rebuild communities and create opportunity. We need federal leadership to reform policing in America, to end racial profiling, and to fight the illegal activities of hate groups. We need comprehensive immigration reform that protects families and leads to a responsible and realistic path to citizenship.

Dismantling Structural Racism
: Throughout much of our history, the elite in America has divided people along racial lines in an effort to consolidate wealth and power. We need to simultaneously address the structural and institutional racism which exists in this country while at the same time vigorously attacking the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality which is making the very rich much richer, and everyone else -- especially the African-American community -- much poorer. Meanwhile, too many people of color in this country find themselves subjected to a system that treats citizens who have not committed crimes like criminals. We have more people locked up in jail than any other country on earth. We need to invest in jobs and education, not jails and incarceration. Finally, no person should have to worry that a routine interaction with law enforcement will end in violence and death. Black lives matter: we must reform our criminal justice system, move away from the militarization of police forces, and invest in community policing.

College for All: The United States must join Germany and many other countries in understanding that investing in our young people's education is investing in the future of our nation. I have introduced legislation to make tuition in public colleges and universities free, as well as substantially lowering interest rates on student loans.

War and Peace: I voted against the war in Iraq, and that was the right vote. We must be vigorous in combatting terrorism, but we can't do it alone. We must be part of an international coalition that includes Muslim nations which not only defeats ISIS but which works hard to create conditions for lasting peace. I will vigorously oppose an endless war in the Middle East.

My approach to campaigning is pretty simple and straight-forward. We hold a lot of public meetings in towns that are big and small. People ask questions and make comments. We discuss the important issues facing our country. And that's it. Nothing very fancy. It's called democracy and I like that approach very much. It's something I've done my whole political life.

Thank you for being a part of our campaign team. Please help Get Out The Vote for our campaign by sharing Democracy for America’s endorsement poll on Facebook.

Let us never forget: This country belongs to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.


Senator Bernie Sanders

"President Sanders" does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

Another Salon article posted this am absolutely nails our internal struggle with this


Absolutely nails it.

Wouldn't we all love to tell Monsanto's CEO exactly what we think of him? Mark Ruffalo did.

EcoWatch, 12/4/2015

Monsanto chief is horrible … And I got to tell him that to his face after his interview on CBS This Morning.

Approaching someone like this isn’t really my thing. But being so well behaved all the time doesn’t seem to be helping people. It made me really uncomfortable to do it. But that’s how we change. We must become uncomfortable. We must act out of our comfort zones for things to change. We must call out the people who are doing horrible things when they do them.

Hugh Grant (Monsanto CEO not the actor) must be made to feel uncomfortable for what he allows his company to do in the world. That is why I told him what I did and why I am sharing it with you.

...snip...He came through the Green Room door ready to do high fives with his press agent and I simply told him this:

“You are wrong. You are engaged in monopolizing food. You are poisoning people. You are killing small farms. You are killing bees. What you are doing is dead wrong.”

A bead of sweat broke out on his head. “Well, what I think we are doing is good,” Grant replied.

“I am sure you do,” I told him.

When people get paid the kind of money he gets paid their thinking becomes incredibly clouded and the first thing to go is their morality.

He says Monsanto needs to do a better job with their messaging.

Hugh, it’s not your messaging that makes you and your company horrible. It’s the horrible stuff you guys do that makes you and your company horrible.

People don’t walk around making horrible stories up about good companies because they got nothing else better to do with their time....

Read more, incl'g many links to Monsanto horrible-ness~

Lucky guy! And thank you Mark Ruffalo!!

Black Friday is the Donald Trump of holidays: Inside the absurdity of a holiday tradition

Black Friday is the Donald Trump of holidays: Inside the absurdity of a holiday tradition
by Bob Cesca

Black Friday is not unlike Donald Trump. It’s obnoxious and humiliating, yet it remains invariably popular...It’s difficult to think of another annual occasion that combines American excess with American indignity more than the day after Thanksgiving. No other episode in the calendar year illustrates our unique penchant for trading our self-respect for discounted merchandise....


While right-wing media figures have for years bemoaned a “War On Christmas,” in reality, there’s a war for Christmas, insofar as we’re still obligated by our consumer culture to purchase big-ticket items as a measure of social worth. And since we can’t afford much of it, too many of us are left with no choice but to blitz Wal-Mart at the crack of dawn, a way to overcome the dissonance between having less money, more credit and relentless corporate/socioeconomic pressure to buy cars, TVs and gadgets....

....snip...Black Friday brawls become more prevalent as incomes decline. Again, if you don’t have a lot of money and you’re relying upon Black Friday sales in order to satisfy the cultural demand to own things associated with higher incomes, you’d better be prepared to throw down in order to get there.

There’s something truly awful about it. Rather than building stronger middle- and working-class incomes to keep up, our politics and our corporate culture have collaborated on a humiliating work-around: cheaper crap that you might have to fight for.

Not too long ago, politicians from both parties* working in conjunction with their corporate bosses began to send American jobs overseas in pursuit of cheap labor.

Back home, we’re forced to take jobs for lower pay and less advancement, and the outsourced manufacturing yields relatively inexpensive products sent back to our stores.

Cutting to the chase, rather than being compensated with more money and better jobs to afford the things we want, we’re forced to earn less while being sold cheaper, more disposable goods.

And nowhere is this dynamic more obvious than on Black Friday....

Read in full~

*Its tough to face this history, but it happened. We need to face it so as not to repeat it.~

.....As Richard McCormack pointed out in the American Prospect, in the beginning of this century American companies stopped making the products Americans continued to buy, from clothing to computers. Manufacturers never emerged from the 2001 recession, which coincided with China's entry into the World Trade Organization. Between 2001 and 2009 the U.S. lost 42,400 factories and manufacturing employment dropped to 11.7 million, a loss of 32 percent of all manufacturing jobs. The last time fewer than 12 million people worked in the manufacturing sector was in 1941.

Clinton had the gall to accuse those who opposed China's entry into the WTO of "aligning themselves with the Chinese army and hard-liners in Beijing who do not want accession for China." Clinton claimed that the agreement that he championed "creates a win-win result for both countries," arguing that exports to China "now support hundreds of thousands of American jobs" and "these figures can grow substantially." (Clinton's press person at the Clinton Global Initiative did not respond to my requests for feedback.)

The facts contradict these assertions. Imports of computers and electronic parts accounted for almost half of the $178 billion increase in the U.S. trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2007 and the loss of 2.3 million jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Clinton then went on to enact NAFTA, or the North America Free Trade Act, which as American Prospect editor Robert Kuttner has observed, "was less about trade and more about making it easier for U.S. based multinationals and banks to take over Mexican companies." ....


The Democratic Party seems to no longer represents me, by pushing the ultimate corporate candidate

She is a DINO, the most powerful I've seen in my life. She's taking our party down & I will have no part of it.

If she is our nom, I will be voting Green Party Jill Stein & will remain with the Green Party until such time The Democrats begin working for the People of the US again & not Moneyed Interests.

All of my efforts will be towards getting $$ out of our govt.

Every problem this country has can be traced to corruption in the govt....no I will not vote for the Queen of Moneyed Corruption.

21 Kids and a Climate Scientist Are Suing to Force Obama to Fight Climate Change

Kelsey Juliana, one plaintiff in the federal suit, at the People’s Climate March in September 2014. Marchers left ribbons with testimonials of what they would miss if no action is taken to combat climate change. (Sikay Tang/Moyers & Company)

Thursday, November 26, 2015 originally published on BillMoyers.com
21 Kids and a Climate Scientist Are Suing to Force Obama to Fight Climate Change
John Light

(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Bold highlighting is my own)

When the young people working with Our Children’s Trust talk about their lawsuits to compel governments to act on climate change, they like to use a quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

This month, it looks like these young activists have made it to step three: On Nov. 12, three fossil fuel lobby groups asked a judge to let them join the federal case as co-defendants against the 21 children (and a climate scientist) who are suing the Obama administration and federal regulatory agencies to take serious, science-based action on climate change.
Kelsey Juliana on Her Lawsuit Against Oregon

The case is the culmination of a series of lawsuits brought by various groups of young people in all 50 states since 2011. Their argument is that the federal government is infringing on the constitutional rights of America’s youth and future generations by continuing to allow fossil fuel extraction and consumption. These activities cause climate change by damaging the atmosphere, and the atmosphere is a public trust, they say, that should be protected for future generations. Ultimately, they argue that this type of pollution discriminates against young people, because young people will suffer the impact of climate change far more than today’s policymakers.

The youth have already had some success with their suits, including one case in Washington State. Last week, a Kings County Superior Court judge agreed with some aspects of the youth’s argument while stopping short of ordering the state’s Department of Ecology to draft rules cutting emissions, noting that the agency was already doing so on order of the governor. The judge wrote the eight young plaintiffs’ “very survival depends upon the will of their elders to act now, decisively and unequivocally, to stem the tide of global warming… before doing so becomes first too costly and then too late.” Our Children’s Trust and its allies say the judge’s agreement with the idea that America’s youth has a right to a clean environment is a victory. The case also won five of the plaintiffs, aged 11 through 15, a meeting with Washington’s climate-hawk governor, Jay Inslee, back in July. The meeting was scheduled to last 20 minutes but ran for 90, and came shortly before Inslee announced executive action to cap emissions (the law the Department of Ecology is currently working on).

Similar suits have met with even greater success elsewhere in the world. In June, a high court ordered the Dutch government to cut emissions after plaintiffs successfully argued that business as usual would violate the human rights of future generations. And in Pakistan last month, a farmer went before the high court in Lahore arguing that climate change threatened his future, and the court agreed: “The delay and lethargy of the state in implementing the [climate change] framework offend the fundamental rights of the citizens,” wrote Judge Syed Mansoor Ali Shah.

Dodging the influence of money in politics

The justice system is a wise choice for activists hoping to curb climate change, says Mary Christina Wood, the Philip H. Knight Professor of Law at the University of Oregon. “The fact is we have only three branches of government. So from a lawyer’s perspective, you have to look at the structure we have and ask which part is functional and which part of it has become corrupted through big industry money.

Two of the branches have become essentially corrupted because of the campaign contributions to those two branches of government. And so the third branch — while it’s not perfect, by any means — the federal judiciary is as close to insulated from that big money influence as you can get.”

In August, Our Children’s Trust took its case to the federal level with 21 young Americans and renowned climatologist James Hansen as plaintiffs. (Hansen’s 17-year-old granddaughter Sophie is one of the plaintiffs, and in the case he plays both the role of her guardian and “guardian” to as-yet-unborn generations.) Last Tuesday, the Obama administration filed a motion to dismiss the youths’ suit, arguing that the plaintiffs don’t have the right to bring the lawsuit in the first place, and that even if they did, the court doesn’t have authority to create climate policy. The judge may or may not choose to dismiss; if the case goes to trial, it will be this winter.

But for the plaintiffs, the big development this month was the request by three of Washington’s most powerful trade groups — each representing major players in the fossil fuel industry, including ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, Koch Industries and BP America — asking the judge to let them join the Obama administration in the suit as co-defendants. That means the American Petroleum Institute (API), the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) would make their case side-by-side with the Obama administration, using their own lawyers — including Roger Martella, the former General Counsel of George W. Bush’s EPA — to argue against the youths and Hansen.

“It’s fairly common for trade associations to move to participate in lawsuits that could affect their interest,” says Michael B. Gerrard, a professor at Columbia Law School and the director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. “I think it shows that they’re not utterly certain it will be dismissed.”

2015 has been a good year for the climate movement, which declared victory after President Obama announced he would reject the Keystone XL pipeline earlier this month. Over the summer, Greenpeace and its allies also drew significant attention to their efforts opposing Shell’s ill-fated attempt to drill in the Arctic, and, last month, the Obama administration moved to block future drilling in the Arctic. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s recently launched investigation into whether Exxon misled its investors about the viability of its business in the 1980s and 1990s is just the latest blow to the fossil-fuel industry. All three Democratic presidential candidates have said they support a separate Department of Justice investigation of Exxon.

“I think that they see that they are losing traction in our political system and they’re going to lose traction in the courts as well,” says Julia Olson, executive director and lead attorney for Our Children’s Trust.

The Children's Climate Crusade

Oregon law professor Mary Christina Wood agrees with Olson: “Obviously the fossil fuel companies are scared by this litigation, and that’s why they’re moving to intervene,” she says. Wood is not involved with Our Children’s Trust’s work, but her research arguing that the atmosphere should be considered a public trust is integral to it. She sees the fossil fuel lobby’s interest in the case as a vote of confidence in Our Children’s Trust’s strategy. She also thinks the industry’s decision to challenge the youth may backfire.

“I think this is the most important case now on the planet because it would force carbon dioxide reductions,” Wood says. “And now the fossil fuel industry has just drawn a whole lot of public attention to this case and to its own practices.”

Still a long-shot strategy

Judges, because of their relative isolation from the electoral process, have often been responsible for ordering reluctant government agencies to protect vulnerable populations. Both Olson and Wood point to the Civil Rights movement and Brown v. Board of Education. At that time, Wood explains, “judges found there were fundamental constitutional rights to equality and courts supervised the enforcement of those rights.” The same would be the case here — the courts would require the government to make a change, and ensure that it did, but would not specify exactly how that change would occur.

That said, Our Children’s Trust’s effort is still a long shot at the US Supreme Court. “It’s hard to imagine that five members of the current Supreme Court would find a constitutional right to a clean environment,” says Gerrard. Reaching the Supreme Court, however, could take years, though Olson says that may eventually be where they’re headed. At Federal Court, in Oregon, the case will ultimately be decided by one of two judges, the first appointed by Obama and the second by Bill Clinton; the fact that both were appointed by Democrats is a mildly encouraging sign for the young plaintiffs.

Should the youths succeed, the federal government would be ordered by the court to devise a science-based plan to reduce emissions. According to one analysis by Hansen, the world would eventually need to phase out fuels like gas and oil altogether.

This lawsuit is made necessary by the at-best schizophrenic, if not suicidal, nature of US climate and energy policy,” Hansen wrote in an expert declaration along with the case. “Our government’s permitting of additional, new, or renewed fossil fuel projects is entirely antithetical to its fundamental responsibility to our children and their posterity. Their fundamental rights now hang in the balance.”


Student Op-Ed: "Hillary Is Not A Leftist"

Hillary Is Not A Leftist
16 hours ago | By RUSSELL GUILBAULT
The Spectrum, University of Buffalo

As the media and Hillary Clinton supporters continue to sidestep some very glaring issues with her role in this election and the sorts of policies she favors, I think it would be useful to try to outline them here – especially since they paint a radically different picture of her policy and class leanings.

Firstly, Clinton has firmly established herself as a neocon of the highest order over her career as Secretary of State. She supports a barrier in the West Bank, advocated recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and blamed Hamas for the destruction caused by Israel’s disproportionate assault on Gaza last year.

She supports the Iran sanctions, and has asserted that “no option can be taken off the table,” including war – a threat which, as Noam Chomsky noted, violates international law. She voted for the Iraq War Resolution and has refused to retract her support or to apologize. She condemned Snowden, supported the embargo of Cuba and the Patriot Act.

....SNIP.....more facts on the matter....

Clinton’s hawkish foreign policy alignment is already rather well known. Less frequently discussed, however, are her direct ties to Wall Street and the effects of those ties on her policies.

In Ben Whites’ article in POLITICO, he interviewed multiple GOP donors and financial executives, “turn[ing] up a consistent … consolidation candidate” in Clinton.

One executive said that “most people in the industry… have a track record with her.” Another, comparing her to more populist Republican candidates like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, called her “relatively tolerable.” Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein spoke of his enthusiastic support for her in the 2012 election.

....SNIP...more facts....

The picture of American politics that emerges is one in which it isn’t the distinction between Democrats and Republicans that matters, but that between populists and establishment supporters.

“Establishment” refers to the complex of lobbyists, donors, executives and lawmakers that has essentially total control of all policy decisions, a category in which Clinton decidedly falls.

....SNIP....It is clear, then, where Clinton’s class allegiance lies. And it is also clear that a Clinton presidency, while “fine” for the corporate-political establishment, would not be fine for the American people, who would suffer from her elitist policies.

Faced with this blatant betrayal of liberal ideas, Democratic supporters and all of us as citizens, need to start redirecting support to other candidates and organizations that stand for a system defined by genuine democracy.


There may be hope for US after all.

The agenda to continue destroying the Democratic Party

with pro-business hawkish conservative/rethug values, which began with Clinton1, has demonstrably long powerful spiderlike legs. If we don't cut them off now, we're done.

There is a sense of urgency here to protect true Democratic values & to protect against what could be done in the near future in the name of our party.

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