Over and over again, myRepublican colleagues and some of my Democratic colleagues have come down to the Senate floor to complain about the $21 trillion national debt.
Over and over again, our Republican friends tell us that we cannot possibly afford to join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care as a right to every man, woman and child through a Medicare for All program.
We have been told that we cannot afford to make public colleges and universities tuition free, or to make sure that everyone in America has access to affordable housing, childcare, or a good job that pays a living wage with good benefits.
Even though over half of older Americans have no retirement savings we have been told we need to cut Social Security.
But, when it comes to spending $716 billion on the military - more than the next ten countries combined - all of a sudden there is a deafening silence from my Republican colleagues about the deficit.
Mountain Valley Pipeline protesters lock themselves to drilling equipment Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline tried a new tactic Monday: chaining themselves to construction equipment. West Virginia state police arrested three people who were trying to slow down workers in Lindside, a community in Monroe County, West Virginia. They delayed construction for a few hours on Route 219. Police cut them out around 10 a.m., about two hours after they received a call. Police said Maxwell Shaw, 24, Evin Ugur, 21, and Sydney White, 18, are all from Massachusetts and are out on bond. Court documents showed they’re each facing …Continue reading →
Federal appeals court orders halt to work on Atlantic Coast Pipeline A federal appeals court has ordered a halt to construction of Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline, finding that restrictions against harming wildlife are inadequate for the controversial 600-mile natural gas project. Three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit said in a ruling issued late Tuesday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had failed to set clear limits for impact on threatened or endangered species. The judges said that “the limits set by the agency are so indeterminate that they undermine . . . the enforcement …Continue reading →
Last night, Republicans blocked my amendment to the #FY19NDAA that would stop the U.S. from refueling Saudi-led coalition jets bombing civilians in Yemen. They argued that our alliance with the Saudi monarchy meant we needed to overlook their war crimes in Yemen. I disagree. pic.twitter.com/jfTNfct1PF
Go here to see the vote. Unfortunately, it looks like nine Democrats also “blocked” Ro’s amendment, but I’m glad that my Rep. Joe Courtney voted with Ro. Tulsi Gabbard and Beto O’Rourke also voted with Ro.
Louisiana State Court Declares Bayou Bridge Pipeline Permit Illegal A Louisiana judge recently ruled that the state regulators violated guidelines when it issued Energy Transfer Partners’ controversial Bayou Bridge pipeline a coastal use permit. The permit was issued for the last 18-mile stretch of the fracked oil pipeline that would have run through the riverside town of St. James Parish, where dozens of refineries and industrial facilities are already fueling a public health crisis in the mostly African-American community. The proposed 162-mile Bayou Bridge pipeline would connect the contentious Dakota Access Pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico. As noted by …Continue reading →
Enbridge Fined for Failing to Fully Inspect Pipelines After Kalamazoo Oil Spill The Canadian oil pipeline company responsible for one of the largest inland oil spills on record has agreed to pay a $1.8 million fine for failing to thoroughly inspect its pipelines for weaknesses as required under a 2016 agreement. Federal officials say Enbridge, Inc., did not carry out timely and thorough inspections on one of its pipeline systems, as it had agreed to do as part of a consent decree reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice. The 2016 settlement stemmed from a …Continue reading →
So Netanyahu made a big show yesterday out of what was billed as a big reveal of supposed evidence of Iran lying about their nuclear weapons capacity. And when I say “big show”, I mean Netanyahu was up there on stage acting like a carnival barker. He was whipping black (natch) cloth off of bookcases full of ‘very serious’ looking binders and off of a large display of shiny CDs all neatly lined up for dramatic effect. All to demonstrate that: Convinced yet? Neither is the rest of the world..for the most part at least. From PBS: Netanyahu’s nuclear presentation gets cool reception in …Continue reading →
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking in Jordan at the end of a four-day, four-nation tour through the Middle East, expressed support on Monday for Israel and its response to weekly protests in Gaza that have left dozens of people dead. “We do believe the Israelis have the right to defend themselves, and we’re fully supportive of that,” he said at a news conference with Ayman Safadi, the Jordanian foreign minister, when asked about the protests. — www.nytimes.com/… Let us be clear, what Pompeo called “defense” was a nuclear-armed state sending young men and women to shoot at protesters in Gaza, …Continue reading →
I’d like to share a short piece profiling recurring protests in Okinawa simply called, ‘On Hope’. On December 26th, 2017, protesters in Henoko, Okinawa, Japan reached their 5000th day of protest against the ongoing presence of the U.S military. With over 500 protesters, the people of Okinawa continued their fight against U.S. military occupation. I didn’t know that Okinawa used to be independent of Japan. Transferred from one imperial power to another, Okinawa represents a forgotten space of colonial conquest. Once the independent Ryukyu Kingdom, it was annexed by Japan in 1879. A brutal program of cultural and linguistic assimilation …Continue reading →
Judge Won’t Dismiss Complaint Against Pipeline Security Firm A state judge is refusing to throw out a complaint that a North Carolina-based private security firm operated illegally in North Dakota during protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline. Judge John Grinsteiner also is declining for now to restrict evidence during TigerSwan’s upcoming civil trial or to dismiss company founder and President James Reese as a defendant. He ruled there are enough questions about the company’s actions and that Reese “is legally accountable for conduct performed by TigerSwan.” North Dakota’s Private Investigative and Security Board sued TigerSwan and Reese last June, …Continue reading →
This showed up on my twitter feed just now as a ‘Promoted’ tweet. Now, I don’t tend to squander any love on Bloomberg, Steyer, or Soros, but I was curious enough to look up this group, Power The Future, and look at what I found on the group’s timeline: Hmmm, I thought, something seems off. Here is the linked story: Beto O’Rourke to major Democratic super PAC donor: “Thanks, but no thanks” Tom Steyer, one of the biggest Democratic donors in the country, openly mulled spending on O’Rourke’s behalf via his environmental super PAC, NextGen America. Wait, is it..possible that O’Rourke said, “Thanks, but no thanks” for …Continue reading →
Va. governor says tree sitters’ pipeline protest is ‘unlawful,’ cites health concern Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday that it’s unlawful for a mother and daughter to sit in trees and block a natural gas pipeline across their property outside Roanoke, and that he’s particularly worried about the older woman’s health. But Northam (D) stopped short of saying he would order state police to do anything to resolve the standoff. Theresa “Red” Terry, 61 and daughter Theresa Minor Terry, 30 have been on wooden platforms in trees on Bent Mountain since April 2, preventing workers for the Mountain Valley Pipeline from …Continue reading →
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-V.T., joined Rev. William Barber II for a public forum Thursday night at Duke University Chapel.
The conversation, which was originally scheduled for Jan. 19 but was postponed due to a U.S. Congress budget vote, was called “The Enduring Challenge of a Moral Economy: 50 Years After Dr. King Challenged Racism, Poverty and Militarism.” Sanders and Barber discussed and answered audience questions concerning a variety of pressing political issues, such as inequality, military spending, racism and Russia, as well as the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Sanders, a former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, advocates for policy changes like universal health care and free public university tuition. Barber is an alumnus of Duke Divinity School, national co-chairperson of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and president of Repairers of the Breach.
Sanders said the concept of a moral economy stems from the injustice and gross immorality of three people in America owning more wealth than the bottom half of the American people.
“The way we bring about change is having the courage to talk about reality that you may not see on TV and you surely will not hear discussed in the United States Congress,” he said. “When we talk about a moral economy, we start off recognizing that we are the wealthiest country in the history of the world.”
Barber said systemic racism and economic inequality go hand-in-hand and that you cannot have one without the other.
“I was taught that there is no separation between justice and Jesus,” he said. “Any attempt to separate the two is heresy.”
Following in the footsteps of US Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore), today Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) signed on as a co-sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act. That measure, originally introduced last year by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level cannabis arrests, and expunge federal convictions specific to cannabis possession.
“Prohibition didn’t work in the 1920s. It’s not going to work now,” said Sanders, announcing his co-sponsorship in a Facebook Live chat with Cory Booker. “The bottom line is we need to rethink fundamentally our attitude toward marijuana.”
Sanders’ support of the legislation drew praise from cannabis activists. “Leaders in the Democratic Party are increasingly recognizing that leading the charge on legalization is not only good policy, but good politics,” said NORML’s Justin Strekal in a statement. “The constituencies which the party claims to stand for are the ones who have most felt the weight and lifelong consequences of marijuana criminalization.”
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