Category: Big Picture

General Motors Is Going All Electric

ALEX DAVIES – After more than a century peddling vehicles that pollute the atmosphere, General Motors is ending its relationship with gasoline and diesel. This morning, the American automotive giant announced that it is working toward an all-electric, zero-emissions future. That starts with two new, fully electric models next year—then at least 18 more by 2023.

Impacts of Trump & Paxton’s Policies: “U.S. Might Not Have Enough Construction Workers to Rebuild”

PRESS RELEASE FROM AMERICA’S VOICE : TEXAS – As Hurricane Harvey’s destruction and devastation continues across Texas and Louisiana, key elected, community, and thought leaders are looking towards the next step: rebuilding. Daniel Gross of Slate reports that Trump’s harsh and un-American immigration policies may have an unintended consequence – hampering construction efforts in the aftermath of Harvey.

‘Fossil Fuels are Dead,’ Says CSX Railroad Chief: No More New Trains for Coal, Ever

JOHN VOELCKER – The industrial revolution that began around 1750 was powered in large part by coal, and the carbon-rich fuel had 200 good years after that. By the middle of the last century, however, serious studies had begun of its deleterious effects on human health—and that was before the climate-change impact of human emissions of carbon dioxide became known. Transportation will slowly electrify over the coming decades, while coal’s share of electric power generation will wane worldwide.

The Ethics and Politics of Nuclear Waste are Being Tested in Southern California

JAMES HEDDLE – In the US, as more and more energy reactors are being shut down and are entering the decommissioning process, the overriding question is becoming unavoidable at reactor communities across the country: What do we do with all these decades of tons of accumulated radwaste now being stored on-site? Each canister contains a Chernobyl’s-worth of cesium; each cooling pool, hundreds more.

Pruitt Will Launch Program to ‘Critique’ Climate Science

EMILY HOLDEN – U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is leading a formal initiative to challenge mainstream climate science using a “back-and-forth critique” by government-recruited experts, according to a senior administration official. The program will use “red team, blue team” exercises to conduct an “at-length evaluation of U.S. climate science,” the official said, referring to a concept developed by the military to identify vulnerabilities in field operations.

Lockheed Martin-Funded Experts Agree: South Korea Needs More Lockheed Martin Missiles

ADAM JOHNSON – As tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to rise, one think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has become a ubiquitous voice on the topic of missile defense, providing Official-Sounding Quotes to dozens of reporters in Western media outlets. All of these quotes speak to the urgent threat of North Korea and how important the United States’s deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system is to South Korea.

Oil Price Collapse is ‘Permanent’; Analyst Says Fossil Fuel has had Its Day

JILLIAN AMBROSE – The latest collapse of the oil market is the harbinger of a global energy revolution which could spell the end-game for fossil fuels. These theories were laughable less than a decade ago when oil prices grazed highs of more than $140 a barrel. But the burn out of the oil industry is approaching quicker than was first thought, and the most senior leaders within the industry are beginning to take note.

Trump’s Climate Demands Roil U.S. Allies

ANDREW RESTUCCIA – President Donald Trump’s abrupt turnaround on U.S. climate policy is fueling tension with several of America’s closest allies, which are resisting the administration’s demands that they support a bigger role for nuclear power and fossil fuels in the world’s energy supply.

The Potential of an “Oregon Climate Test”

ERIC DE PLACE – After a string of successes defending the Northwest from ill-conceived dirty energy projects, the thin green line—the Northwest’s opposition movement to coal, oil, and gas exports—is starting to play offense. Local governments around the region are already updating land use laws to protect their communities from the depredations of fossil fuel infrastructure schemes.

U.S. Prepares for War in Korea

BRUCE GAGNON – South Korea and the US launched their annual Key Resolve military exercise Monday, which involves scenarios for the employment of US anti-missile assets and special warfare forces tasked with removing North Korea’s leadership in a contingency.

NW Ratepayers Will Save Over $250 Million if Columbia Generating Station Nuclear Power Plant Replaced with Renewables

OREGON AND WASHINGTON PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY – Portland utility economist Robert McCullough’s study indicates savings to Northwest ratepayers of between $261.2 million and $530.7 million over ten years if the Columbia Generating Station nuclear plant is closed and replaced with clean renewable energy alternatives.

Dutch Bank Will Not Pursue Future Business With Energy Transfer Equity due to the Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline

WAKINYAN WAANATAN (MATT REMLE – LAKOTA) – ABN AMRO Bank based in Amsterdam released a statement strongly condemning Energy Transfer Equity (ETE), the parent company to Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), over the Dakota Access pipeline. While the Dutch based bank is not involved in financing the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, and is not a direct lender to the project sponsors, it does have a finical relationship with ETE.

Cherokee Nation Wins Restraining Order to Prevent Radwaste Disposal Near Local Rivers

ANADISGOI, OFFICIAL CHREOKEE NATION NEWSROOM – The Cherokee Nation and state of Oklahoma jointly filed and were granted a restraining order today against Sequoyah Fuels Corporation near Gore to stop the company from disposing radioactive waste near the Arkansas and Illinois rivers. The request was granted by Sequoyah County District Judge Jeff Payton.

Gorbachev Urges Trump and Putin to Introduce UN Resolution Banning Nuclear War

DAVID CAPLAN – Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has issued a dire warning: “The world is preparing for war.” And with a phone call scheduled on Saturday between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Gorbachev is urging the leaders to put a halt to a such a deadly path by spearheading a United Nations resolution that essentially bans nuclear war.

Chinese Billionaire Says US Wasted Trillions on Wars and Wall Street

LAUREN MCCAULEY – “In the past 30 years, America had 13 wars spending $2 trillion,” said Alibaba founder Jack Ma. “What if the money was spent on the Midwest of the United States?” Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Wednesday, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma accused the United States of spending too much money on foreign wars and risky financial speculation and not enough money “on your own people.”

We’re There! Renewables Now Cheapest Unsubsidized Electricity in U.S.

STEPHEN EDELSTEIN – Over the past few years, the cost of electricity generation from renewable-energy sources has decreased dramatically. So much so, that renewable energy may have just hit an important milestone, according to one study. In the U.S., wind and solar power are now cheaper sources of electricity than natural gas—even without subsidies.

First Effect of Trump Win: Al-Qaeda Morale in Aleppo Collapses, Western Campaign against Russian Bombing Ends

ALEXANDER MERCOURIS – One place where Donald Trump’s election victory has had an immediate effect is in the battlefield around Aleppo. Reports from the area of the battlefield speak of a total collapse of morale amongst the Al-Qaeda led Jihadi forces which have been attacking the city from the south west, as whatever lingering hopes there were of a Western military intervention following a victory by Hillary Clinton in the US Presidential election have turned to dust.

Top US General: Hillary’s No Fly Zone Strategy Would ‘Require’ War With Russia

SPUTNIK INTERNATIONAL – During testimony before the Senate Committee on Armed Services last week General Joseph Dunford rang the alarm over a policy shift that is gaining more traction within the halls of Washington following the collapse of the ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia in Syria saying that it could result in a major international war which he was not prepared to advocate on behalf of.

U.S. Military Contractors Tell Investors Russian Threat Is Great for Business

LEE FANG – The escalating anti-Russian rhetoric in the U.S. presidential campaign comes in the midst of a major push by military contractors to position Moscow as a potent enemy that must be countered with a drastic increase in military spending by NATO countries. Weapon makers have told investors that they are relying on tensions with Russia to fuel new business in the wake of Russian’s annexation of Crimea and modest increases in its military budget.

Audit: Pentagon Cannot Account For $6.5 Trillion Dollars Is Taxpayer Money

JAY SYRMOPOULOS – A new Department of Defense Inspector General’s report, released last week, has left Americans stunned at the jaw-dropping lack of accountability and oversight. The glaring report revealed the Pentagon couldn’t account for $6.5 trillion dollars worth of Army general fund transactions and data, according to a report by the Fiscal Times. The Pentagon, which has been notoriously lax in its accounting practices, has never completed an audit, [which] would reveal how the agency has specifically spent the trillions of dollars allocated for wars, equipment, personnel, housing, healthcare and procurements allotted to them by Congress.

‘No First Use’ Nuclear Policy Proposal Assailed by U.S. Cabinet Officials, Allies

PAUL SONNE, GORDON LUBOLD, CAROL E. LEE – A proposal under consideration at the White House to reverse decades of U.S. nuclear policy by declaring a “No First Use” protocol for nuclear weapons has run into opposition from top cabinet officials and U.S. allies. The opposition, from Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, as well as allies in Europe and Asia, leaves President Barack Obama with few ambitious options to enhance his nuclear disarmament agenda before leaving office, unless he wants to override the dissent.

Momentum Builds for Nuclear Ban Treaty

KINGSTON REIF – A growing number of non-nuclear-weapon states are expressing support for the immediate commencement of negotiations on a legally binding agreement to prohibit nuclear weapons, despite strong opposition from those states that possess nuclear weapons and many U.S. allies. The contentious debate over how best to advance nuclear disarmament occurred at a meeting last month of an open-ended working group on disarmament taking place in Geneva this year.

NATO’s Dangerous Game: Bear-Baiting Russia

CONN HALLINAN – “Aggressive,” “revanchist,” “swaggering”: These are just some of the adjectives the mainstream press and leading U.S. and European political figures are routinely inserting before the words “Russia,” or “Vladimir Putin.” It is a vocabulary most Americans have not seen or heard since the height of the Cold War. The question is, why?

Iraq Today: Can We Feel the Heat?

CATHY BREEN – Outwardly everything seemed so normal that at first I forgot I was with people now counted among the hundreds of thousands who are internally displaced in Iraq. In the next couple of hours, though, we would hear many tragic stories that would dispel any thought of “normalcy.”

33,480 Americans Dead After 70 Years of Atomic Weaponry

NUKEWATCH QUARTERLY – The U.S. government has compensated over 52,000 nuclear workers for illnesses related to radiation exposure, but the process is complicated. Deaths resulting from exposure while working at the factories and the compensation process for survivors begs the question: How much is a life worth? As the death toll mounts, nuclear weapons workers must decide whether their jobs are worth it.