Environmental and Indigenous activists celebrated Friday after Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took action to shut down the decades-old Enbridge Line 5 oil and natural gas pipelines that run under the Straits of Mackinac, narrow waterways that connect Lake Huron and Lake Michigan—two of the Great Lakes.
Citing the threat to the Great Lakes as well as “persistent and incurable violations” by Enbridge, Whitmer and Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director Dan Eichinger informed the Canadian fossil fuel giant that a 1953 easement allowing it to operate the pipelines is being revoked and terminated.
The move, which Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel asked the Ingham County Circuit Court to validate, gives Enbridge until May 2021 to stop operating the twin pipelines, “allowing for an orderly transition that protects Michigan’s energy needs over the coming months,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.
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Even in a pandemic, the long arm of big corporate interests drives legislation. Turns out the much heralded paid sick leave provision in the house bill doesn’t cover large companies with over 500 employees. That’s more than half the workforce. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday night celebrated the coronavirus legislation that passed early Saturday as providing paid sick leave to American workers affected by the pandemic. She neglected to mention the fine print. In fact, the bill guarantees sick leave only to about 20 percent of workers. Big employers like McDonald’s and Amazon are not required to provide any …Continue reading →
Good Evening Birdies! The top 1% owe 70% of unpaid taxes. Collecting less than a third of those taxes can fund all of this: 🎓 Tuition-free college for all🏡 A Green New Deal for public housing🚰 Clean tap water for all🍝 Universal school meals Don't tell me we can't afford to live with dignity. — Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 19, 2019 Hard to argue with that!
This morning I saw this headline, from CNBC. ‘Our medical bills were 2 feet high’: How families grapple with medical debt What has that got to do with the man mentioned in the headline? Here are the first two paragraphs: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is proposing to wipe out an estimated $81 billion in past-due medical debt. Up to 80 million Americans could be impacted. “People definitely need to have their debt either forgiven or negotiated lower, so they can afford it without a hardship,” said Craig Antico, the co-founder of RIP Medical Debt, which buys and forgives medical …Continue reading →
In the 18 years since 9/11, war has become this country’s permanent condition, with no peaceful end in sight.
This September 11 marks the 18th year since hijackers seized four US airliners, plowing three of them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the fourth into a field in southern Pennsylvania. The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people and deranged our national politics. In the fraught months that followed, US leaders declared one war after another, miring this country in conflicts from Central Asia to the Middle East. There is still no end in sight.
The longest of these conflicts—in fact, the longest war in US history—is the one that George W. Bush launched against the Taliban less than a month after 9/11. He called it “Operation Enduring Freedom” and claimed its mission was “to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime.” He spoke of “freedom.” He trumpeted the “generosity” America would show the Afghan people. But many of us knew what this really was: a war of vengeance, waged against an impoverished country some 7,000 miles away, with no meaningful vision for peace.
But far too many people just went along with it.
Wars without end expand the prerogatives of the president and the budgets of the national security state. Presidents from both parties have repeatedly invoked the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force to dispatch troops across the globe. In today’s dollars, the Pentagon’s budget now exceeds its levels at the height of the Cold War.
Forever war is an affront to our Constitution. The founders, worried that the executive had an inherent propensity for war, gave the power to declare it to Congress, believing that this decision should be made only by the people’s representatives after debate and deliberation. Now, war is our permanent condition, and Congress has essentially abandoned its constitutional responsibilities.
Who will have the guts to change this “condition”? I can think of one person who might fit that bill.
On subjects such as Uighurs and the Saudi war in Yemen, presidential candidate makes an impression at the Islamic Society of North America convention
Senator Bernie Sanders, one of the leading candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, received a rousing welcome at a special event at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention, where he was given a standing ovation and made his presidential pitch to Muslims of America.
Organisers said some 6,000 people attended the event on Saturday evening, which also saw fellow Democrat candidate Julian Castro address the close-to-capacity crowd at the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas.
US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders with Debbie Almontaser, founding principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, at the Islamic Society of North America’s Convention in Houston, Texas, on Saturday (Reuters)
Sanders and Castro were the only two Democratic candidates to accept ISNA’s invitation to attend the event for a community that has felt increasingly marginalised under the presidency of Donald Trump. Attendees made no bones as to who they had come to see.
“I feel strongly that the divisiveness and bigotry that Trump has introduced in the country can only be counteracted by a person like Bernie Sanders,” said Moosa Khan, who stood up to applaud the Vermont senator a number of times during his address.
“He made an effort to come here and talk and listen. He is showing his support for our community and he definitely has my vote.”
In contrast to Castro, Sanders’ address and policy talking points seemed to have been tailored to appeal to some of the pressing concerns of the American Muslim community.
Sanders also said that, as US president, he would hold China to account for its persecution of the Uighurs in Xinjiang province. He also described India’s unilateral decision in August to revoke the semi-autonomous status of Kashmir and impose a communication blockade and military siege on the valley as “unacceptable”. He then chastised “political elites in both the Republican and Democratic parties” for pursuing “endless wars and interventions”.
Sanders said that, unlike Trump, who has “an affection for authoritarian regimes around the world,” he “would make democracy and human rights a priority for the United States of America”.