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Obama Opened Floodgates for Offshore Fracking in Recent Gulf of Mexico Lease

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

In little-noticed news arising out of a recent Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and gas lease held by the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the floodgates have opened for Gulf offshore hydraulic fracturing ("fracking").

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

State Dept. Overseers of Contentious Enbridge Tar Sands Pipeline Workaround Have Industry, Torture Ties

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

The Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and other green groups recently revealed that pipeline giant Enbridge got U.S. State Department permission in response to its request to construct a U.S.-Canada border-crossing tar sands pipeline without earning an obligatory Presidential Permit.

Judge Nixes Cove Point LNG Zoning Permit as Dominion Says Will Soon Receive Federal Permit

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Co-Written with Caroline Selle

An August 6 court decision handed down by Calvert County Circuit Court Judge James Salmon could put Dominion Resources’ timeline for its proposed Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in jeopardy.

Overseeing Koch Profits: The Roots of David Vitter’s Green Billionaires Club Report

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

A DeSmogBlog investigation reveals that Kristina Moore, the Senate staffer listed as the author of U.S. Sen. David Vitter's (R-La.) "green billionaire's club" report published by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) on July 30, has career roots tracing back to the Koch Brothers' right-wing machine.

Documents: Cheniere Fuels ALEC’s New Push for Fracked Gas Exports

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Today, legislative and lobbyist members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) voted on model legislation promoting both exports of gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") and vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG)

Whoops! What crisis?: Time to Go on the Offensive to Improve, not just Save Social Security and Medicare

By Dave Lindorff 


The wind has suddenly been knocked out of sails of those critics of Social Security and Medicare in Washington -- Republican and Democrat -- who have for years been warning direly that the two programs were going bust. Suddenly their favored “rescue” plans for these crucial programs -- turning to a stingier way of calculating the annual inflation adjustment, raising the retirement age, and even reducing benefits for Social Security, and cutting benefits for Medicare -- don’t make sense to anyone.


Greenpeace Report: Obama Exporting Climate Change by Exporting Coal

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Greenpeace USA has released a major new report on an under-discussed part of President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan and his U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carbon rule: it serves as a major endorsement of continued coal production and export to overseas markets.

Not Just the Atlantic: Obama Leasing Millions of Gulf Acres for Offshore Drilling

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Deploying the age-old "Friday news dump," President Barack Obama's Interior Department gave the green light on Friday, July 18 to companies to deploy seismic air guns to examine the scope of Atlantic Coast offshore oil-and-gas reserves.

Dairyland to Petrostate: Wisconsin Oil-By-Rail Routes Published for First Time

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog 

DeSmogBlog is publishing the first documents ever obtained from the Wisconsin government revealing routes for oil-by-rail trains in the state carrying oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the Bakken Shale basin.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Meme with Wings: Are Western Anti-Fracking Activists Funded by Putin's Russia?

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

At a June 19 speaking event at London's Chatham House, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen claimed the Russian government is covertly working to discredit hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in the west from afar.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Exclusive: North Dakota Oil-By-Rail Routes Published for First Time

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

For the first time, DeSmogBlog has published dozens of documents obtained from the North Dakota government revealing routes and chemical composition data for oil-by-rail trains in the state carrying oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in the Bakken Shale.

Heather Zichal, Former Obama Energy Aide, Named to Board of Fracked Gas Exports Giant Cheniere

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Heather Zichal, former Obama White House Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, may soon walk out of the government-industry revolving door to become a member of the board of directors for fracked gas exports giant Cheniere, who nominated her to serve on the board. 

Silent Coup: How Enbridge is Quietly Cloning the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

While the debate over the TransCanada Keystone XL tar sands pipeline has raged on for over half a decade, pipeline giant Enbridge has quietly cloned its own Keystone XL in the U.S and Canada. 

It comes in the form of the combination of Enbridge's Alberta Clipper (Line 67), Flanagan South and Seaway Twin pipelines.

Meeting Logs: Obama Quietly Coddling Big Oil on “Bomb Trains” Regulations

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

When Richard Revesz, Dean Emeritus of New York University Law School, introduced Howard Shelanski at his only public appearance so far during his tenure as Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Revesz described Shelanski as, “from our perspective, close to the most important official in the federal government.”

UVA Research Park Drains Our Economy

The University of Virginia research park, across Rt. 29 North from the National Ground Intelligence Center, is hosting a conference on weapons technologies that has been promoted as dealing with economically beneficial matters.

And why not?  Both the military facility and the research park provide jobs, and the people who hold those jobs spend their money on things that support other jobs.  What's not to like? 

Well, one problem is what those jobs do.  A Win/Gallup poll of 65 nations earlier this year found the United States by far most widely considered the greatest threat to peace in the world.  Imagine how it must sound to people in other countries when we talk about the U.S. military as a jobs program.

But let's stick to economics.  Where does the money come from for most of what goes on at the base and the research park north of town?  From our taxes and government borrowing.  Between 2000 and 2010, 161 military contractors in Charlottesville pulled in $919,914,918 through 2,737 contracts from the federal government. Over $8 million of that went to Mr. Jefferson's university, and three-quarters of that to the Darden Business School. And the trend is ever upward. 

It is common to think that, because many people have jobs in the war industry, spending on war and preparations for war benefits an economy. In reality, spending those same dollars on peaceful industries, on education, on infrastructure, or even on tax cuts for working people would produce more jobs and in most cases better paying jobs -- with enough savings to help everyone make the transition from war work to peace work.

The superiority of other spending or even tax cuts has been established repeatedly by seminal studies out of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, frequently cited and never refuted over the last several years.  Not only would spending on trains or solar panels or schools produce more and better paying jobs, but so would never taxing the dollars in the first place.  Military spending is worse than nothing, just in economic terms.

Add to this the impact on foreign policy that massive military spending has had since before President Eisenhower warned us on the day he left office: "The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual --" he said, "is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government."  Today even more so, so much so perhaps that we notice it less, so routine has it become.

Connecticut has set up a commission to work on transitioning to peaceful industries, largely for economic reasons.  Virginia or Charlottesville could do the same. 

The U.S. government spends over $600 billion a year just on the Department of Defense, and over $1 trillion total every year on militarism across all departments and debts for past wars.  It's over half of U.S. discretionary spending and about as much as the rest of the world's nations combined, including the many NATO members and allies of the United States.

It would cost about $30 billion per year to end starvation and hunger around the world.  That sounds like a lot of money to you or me.  It would cost about $11 billion per year to provide the world with clean water.  Again, that sounds like a lot.  But consider the amounts being spent on economically detrimental programs that also damage our civil liberties, our environment, our safety, and our morality.  It wouldn't cost much for the U.S. to become seen as the greatest threat to suffering and poverty instead of to peace.

David Swanson is a Charlottesville resident and organizer of WorldBeyondWar.org.

Emails: ND Ethics Law Potentially Broken on Petraeus Fracking Trip

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

DeSmogBlog has obtained emails via North Dakota's Open Records Statute revealing facts that could be interpreted as indicating that North Dakota Treasurer Kelly Schmidt broke State Investment Board ethics laws.

Photo Credit: Office of North Dakota State Treasurer; Obtained via ND Open Records Statute

Talk Nation Radio: Daniel Hyslop on How Militarism and Violence Cost Us Prosperity

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-daniel-hyslop-on-how-militarism-and-violence-cost-us-prosperity

Daniel Hyslop is research manager at the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) where he coordinates research and manages IEP’s research team (see http://economicsandpeace.org ).  IEP produces the Global Peace Index (see http://visionofhumanity.org ). He discusses the economic costs of war and violence.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from Archive or LetsTryDemocracy.

Pacifica stations can also download from AudioPort.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Talking with National Climate Assessment Vice Chair Gary Yohe: Telling It Like It Is, Not Like It Will Be, On Climate Change

By Dave Lindorff

 

Dr. Gary Yohe, Huffington Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University, and vice chair of the just-released third National Climate Estimate, talks about this latest report, which instead of looking out at a grim future of flooded coastlines, epic droughts and floods and soaring temperatures, looked at the evidence already confronting Americans in every state of the union.

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