Category: Big Picture

Keep Your Eye on HR1 – the Most Consequential Pro-Democracy Legislation in Half a Century

ROBERT WEISSMAN – Our democracy is in a double crisis. We face the immediate threat posed every day by Donald Trump, with his combination of unprecedented corruption, disdain for the rule of law and autocratic governance. We also face the deeper rooted problems of Big Money dominance of our elections, shocking voter suppression, extreme gerrymandering and outrageous corporate influence over the policymaking process. After the 2018 election, we have the chance to do something about this double crisis

Facebook’s New Propaganda Partners

FAIRNESS AND ACCURACY IN REPORTING (FAIR) — That a single corporation — Facebook — has a monopoly over the flow of worldwide news is already problematic, but the increasing meshing of corporate and US government control over the means of communication is particularly worrying. All those who believe in free and open exchange of information should oppose Facebook becoming a tool of US foreign policy.

Jordan Cove LNG Campaign Contributions Raise Questions

TED SICKINGER – Controversy over foreign meddling in the 2016 Election has been swirling around Washington D.C. since the day Donald Trump was elected president. But some southern Oregon residents are convinced they’ve got their own case of foreign interference. And if it’s not OK for the Russians, they say, why would it be OK for Canadians?

In an internal memo, the White House considered whether to simply ‘ignore’ federal climate research

CHRIS MOONEY and JULIET EILPERIN – White House officials last year weighed whether to simply “ignore” climate studies produced by government scientists or to instead develop “a coherent, fact-based message about climate science,” according to a memo obtained by The Washington Post. The document, drafted Sept. 18 by Michael Catanzaro, President Trump’s special assistant for domestic energy and environmental policy at the time, highlights the dilemma the administration has faced over climate change since Trump took office. Even as Trump’s deputies have worked methodically to uproot policies aimed at curbing the nation’s carbon output, the administration’s agencies continue to produce reports showing that climate change is happening, is human-driven and is a threat to the United States.

Putin Takes Ax to Military Spending

FRED WEIR – Amid the current worries in the West over Russia, the idea that Russia would be cutting its military spending seems counterintuitive to us. But that’s just what Vladimir Putin is doing with his new budget, in which plans for a major infrastructure boost are coming at the expense of some of the Kremlin’s more ambitious defense projects.

Federal Judge’s Unprecedented Order on Climate Science ‘Could Open Floodgates’ for Big Oil Lawsuits

JESSICA CORBETT – With a decision that could have far-reaching implications, a federal judge in California has ordered the first ever U.S. court hearing on climate science for a “public nuisance” lawsuit, meaning that major oil and gas companies for the first time may have to go on the record regarding what they knew about the planetary impacts of their products—and when.

Meet the Well-Funded Players Working Hard to Thwart Oregon’s Climate Progress

ERIC DE PLACE and PAELINA DESTEPHANO -Oregon is on the cusp of a climate protection breakthrough in 2018. The state legislature is weighing the Clean Energy Jobs bill, a remarkable opportunity to join its West Coast neighbors in lowering carbon pollution while raising money to invest in clean energy and transportation. The money raised would also provide assistance for low-income state residents. (Sightline’s Kristin Eberhard wrote an excellent summary of the legislation.) Nevertheless, Oregon’s climate proposal has garnered backlash from a range of shadowy conservative groups determined to halt the bill’s progress. Many of these organizations are linked to anti-tax and anti-union politics, and many seem specifically designed to obscure their backers and operations from public view. It’s a rogues’ gallery of climate-protection opponents in Oregon, and Sightline takes a hard look at who’s who in this movement and casts some light into the shadows.

Trump “Nuclear Posture” Approves New Warheads & Factories; Opens the Door to Testing

TRI-VALLEY CARES – On January 10th, the Huffington Post leaked a draft of the Trump Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, a Pentagon document that dictates the overall strategy for United States nuclear forces. The leaked document, which is rumored to be the final draft, demonstrates an aggressive shift from the Obama posture review by mandating “more usable” low-yield nuclear weapons, doubling down on building new bomb plants, and lowering the threshold to resume nuclear weapons testing.

Poll: Public Overwhelmingly Opposed to Military Interventions

JAMES CARDEN – Last week, the Committee for a Responsible Foreign Policy—a bipartisan advocacy group calling for congressional oversight of America’s lengthy list of military interventions abroad—released the results of a survey that show broad public support for Congress to reclaim its constitutional prerogatives in the exercise of foreign policy (see Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution) and for fewer U.S. military interventions generally. Undertaken last November by J. Wallin Opinion Research, the new survey revealed “a national voter population that is largely skeptical of the practicality or benefits of military intervention overseas, including both the physical involvement of the U.S. military and also extending to military aid in the form of funds or equipment as well.

Portland Fossil Fuel Ordinance Ruled Constitutional

PRESS RELEASE – January 4, 2017 (Salem, OR)—Today, the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed, in large part, a Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) decision that invalidated Portland’s landmark Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments, passed unanimously in December 2016. The Court ruled that Portland did not violate the Dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Court’s decision opens the door for local governments to continue to take meaningful action to combat climate change.