Planet on Fire

When Even This Conservative Energy Agency Is Scared...

By Daniel Ross, Truthout

The International Energy Agency is not known for climate alarmism. So when even they get scared, it’s worth paying attention: “The IEA is a highly respected, very mainstream and rather conservative analytic organization,” Parson says, explaining that for many years, this rather gun-shy organization hedged short of pushing for a rapid and aggressive transformation away from fossil fuel-driven energy production. “So then comes this report which is astonishing.”

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Cori Bush & Nina Turner

Nina Turner and Cori Bush Reveal Democrats' Compromised Dynamic

By Sam Rosenthal & Ryan Black, Progressive Hub

It was a night of contrasts. While in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, Nina Turner was conceding to Shontel Brown — whose campaign was propped up by millions of dollars from Republican donors and pro-Israel PACs, first term representative Cori Bush succeeded in saving millions of families from being thrown out onto the streets.

On August 3rd, the Centers for Disease Control announced an extension to the eviction moratorium that had protected vulnerable families from homelessness since the COVID-19 pandemic began. This marked an about face for the Biden administration, which has previously insisted that it did not have constitutional authority to intervene in the sunsetting eviction moratorium. The change in course was almost certainly spurred by progressive activists and electeds, led by Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01), who spent five days sleeping on the steps of the Capitol. Rep. Bush, who had herself experienced homelessness earlier in life, brought attention not just to the impending eviction crisis, but also to the administration and moderate Congressional Democrats’ disinclination to take action.

For now, her plan has worked: the Biden administration bowed to progressive pressure (and probably fear of further embarrassment at the hands of their own party members), and millions of families have been saved from eviction. For a night, at least, it seemed progressive politics had worked; and that they had won.

But the feeling of victory was short-lived.

On the same night, in northeast Ohio’s 11th District, corporate-backed Democrats won their war against Nina Turner. Turner, who, like Cori Bush, would have become another militant progressive voice in Congress, saw a 35 point lead evaporate over the last two months of the campaign, finishing six points behind Brown. Millions of dollars poured into the district in the final two months, much of it from the Democratic Majority for Israel, a pro-Israel PAC that had previously spent huge sums to tarnish the candidacies of Bernie Sanders and Jamaal Bowman. The PAC and its allies unleashed a vicious ad campaign against Turner, spreading lies about her, and framing her as an enemy of the Democratic Party.

The overlapping events neatly framed an uncomfortable dynamic that has taken hold in the Democratic Party in the wake of progressive insurgencies since 2016. While Democratic donors and their allies spent millions of dollars to defeat a people-powered progressive, just 400 miles away, another icon of the progressive movement nearly single handedly saved millions of families from eviction. The dissonance in approaches highlights a Democratic Party leadership that, while it may pay lip service, often isn’t serious about doing work for working people.

The behavior of the Democratic establishment shows that even though Nina Turner’s progressive politics are effective and can succeed in bringing material benefits to working people across the country, Democratic Party leaders are not on board. More accurately, their goals aren’t aligned. The Democratic establishment, funded by corporate and militarist lobbies, will continue to aggressively fight off progressive momentum wherever it takes root.

But there’s reason to be hopeful. Like Nina Turner, Cori Bush lost her first run for Congress in 2018 — and by a whole lot more than Turner. In 2018, when Bush first took on Lacy Clay, the scion of a well-connected political family, she was trounced by nearly 20 points. The race seemed unwinnable even with two more years of campaigning. And yet, in 2020, she unseated Clay. And, fewer than two years after winning, she led the efforts that saved millions of people from homelessness.

Like with Cori Bush in 2018, I think it’s safe to say that we haven’t seen the last of Nina Turner.

It’s way too early to know if Nina Turner will take the route that Cori Bush took and face up against Brown again in 2022. What is already clear, however, is that the progressive surge in the US is here to stay — and it has learned resilience. Since 2016, every postmortem declaring the end of progressive momentum has been proven wrong; another movement has blossomed or another candidacy has been declared nearly as soon as the words have left the establishment’s lips. Whatever the next electoral cycle brings, corporate Democrats everywhere can be sure to find themselves fighting for their political lives.

Read more coverage of Nina Turner’s run for Congress here.


Cornel West

Cornel West: Why I Came to Cleveland to Support Nina Turner

By Progressive Hub Team

Professor Cornel West speaks with Progressive Hub after an event about why he traveled to Cleveland and Akron to support Nina Turner’s run for Congress, in the final days before the Primary election.

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India Walton & Nina Turner

India Walton Shows Up for Nina Turner in Cleveland

By Progressive Hub Team

India Walton speaks on the similarities between the reaction to her primary victory in Buffalo and how the establishment is responding to Nina Turner’s campaign in Ohio.

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Nina Turner

Republicans and Corporate Democrats Unite to Defeat Nina Turner

By Matthew Cunningham-Cook, The Intercept

Newly released campaign finance disclosures show that Brown and a major Democratic PAC supporting her campaign have been heavily funded by donors who usually support Republicans.

The revelations come with just one week left in the contest between Brown and Nina Turner, a progressive former state senator who stumped for Sen. Bernie Sanders during his 2016 and 2020 presidential runs and who, to many observers, remains representative of his campaign against Hillary Clinton.

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You are being spied on

Israeli Spyware Attacks — And How To Protect Yourself

By Internet Security Team, The Intercept

An international group of journalists this month detailed extensive new evidence that spyware made by Israeli company NSO Group was used against activists, business executives, journalists, and lawyers around the world.

There may be no such thing as perfect security, as one classic adage in the field states, but that’s no excuse for passivity. Here, then, are practical steps you can take to reduce your “attack surface” and protect yourself against spyware like NSO’s.

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How Long Do We Have? Climate Experts Say: None

By Jennifer Francis, Michael Mann, Holly Jean Buck, and Peter Kalmus, The Guardian

“We have zero years before climate and ecological breakdown, because it’s already here. We have zero years left to procrastinate. The longer we wait to act, the worse the floods, fires, droughts, famines and heatwaves will get.”

“How many years do we have to act? Strictly speaking, zero – which is to say, that we must act, in earnest, now.”

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Joe Biden’s Relapse Into Hallucinations About GOP Leaders

By Norman Solomon

For a while, President Biden seemed to be recovering from chronic fantasies about Republicans in Congress. But last week he had a relapse — harming prospects for key progressive legislation and reducing the already slim hopes that the GOP can be prevented from winning control of the House and Senate in midterm elections 15 months from now.

Biden’s reflex has been to gladhand his way across the aisle. On the campaign trail in May 2019, he proclaimed: “The thing that will fundamentally change things is with Donald Trump out of the White House. Not a joke. You will see an epiphany occur among many of my Republican friends.” A year and a half later, the president-elect threw some bipartisan bromides into his victory speech — lamenting “the refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another,” contending that the American people “want us to cooperate,” and pledging “that’s the choice I’ll make.”

But the notion of cooperating with Republican leaders like Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Kevin McCarthy was always a fool’s errand. That reality might as well have been blinking in big neon letters across the Capitol Dome since January, as Republicans continually doubled down on complete intransigence. By early March, when the landmark American Rescue Plan squeaked through Congress, Biden had new reasons to wise up.

Passage of the $1.9 trillion measure, Biden said, “proves we can do big things, important things in this country.” But passage also proved that every Republican in the House and Senate is dedicated to stopping this country from doing “big, important things.” The American Rescue Plan got through Congress without a single Republican vote.

As the American Prospect’s executive editor, David Dayen, pointed out at the time, many of the major gains in the rescue package were fundamental yet fragile. While purported “free-market solutions” had been set aside, crucial provisions were put on a timer to sunset: “We have the outline of a child allowance but it expires in a year. The [Affordable Care Act] subsidies expire in two years. The massive expansion of unemployment eligibility for a much wider group of workers is now done on Labor Day weekend. There’s a modicum of ongoing public investment, but mostly this returns us to a steady state, with decisions to make from there.”

Whether progress can be sustained and accelerated during the next several years will largely depend on ending Republican leverage over the Senate via the filibuster and preventing a GOP congressional majority from taking hold in January 2023. The new temporary measures, Dayen notes, could all be made permanent, “with automatic stabilizers that kick in during downturns, and Federal Reserve bank accounts for every American to fill when needed. We could ensure that federal support sustaining critical features of public life remains in place. We could choose to not build a pop-up safety net but an ongoing one.”

The obstacles to enacting long-term structural changes will be heightened to the extent that Biden relapses into a futile quest for “bipartisanship.” This year, the GOP’s methodical assaults on voting rights — well underway in numerous states controlled by Republican legislatures and governors — could be somewhat counteracted by strong, democracy-oriented federal legislation. And that won’t happen if the Senate filibuster remains in place.

Yet Biden, even while denouncing attacks on voting rights, now seems quite willing to help Republicans retain the filibuster as a pivotal tool for protecting and enabling those attacks. During a CNN town hall last week, Biden said he favors tweaking the Senate rules to require that some senator keeps talking on the floor to continue a filibuster — but he’s against getting rid of the filibuster. Eliminating it, Biden said, would “throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done.” On voting rights, the president said, he wants to “bring along Republicans who I know know better.”

Many activists quickly demolished those claims. “This answer from Biden on the filibuster just doesn’t make sense,” tweeted Sawyer Hackett, executive director of People First Future. “Republicans aren’t going to wake up and ‘know better’ than suppressing the vote. The filibuster encourages them to obstruct and our reluctance to end it emboldens them to do worse.”

The response from the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Sherrilyn Ifill, was aptly caustic: “What are their names? Name the Republicans who know better. This is not a strategy. The time for magical thinking is over.”

As Biden slid into illogical ramblings on CNN to support retaining the filibuster, the implications were ominous and far-reaching. In the words of the Our Revolution organization, Biden “refused to support doing what must be done to secure voting rights. Despite all evidence to the contrary, he continues to entertain the possibility of getting 10 Republican votes for voting rights. Back here, in reality, precisely zero Republicans voted in support of the For the People Act, and there is no reason to expect that to change.”

When Biden became president, the Washington Post reported that he had chosen to place a portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the most prominent spot inside the Oval Office, as “a clear nod to a president who helped the country through significant crises, a challenge Biden now also faces.” But Biden’s recurrent yearning not to polarize with Republican leaders is in stark contrast to FDR’s approach.

Near the end of his first term, in a Madison Square Garden speech condemning “the economic royalists,” Roosevelt said: “They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.” But now, in his recurrent search for cooperation, Biden seems eager for his Republican foes to like him. It’s a ridiculous and dangerous quest.

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Norman Solomon is the national director of RootsAction.org and the author of many books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Conventions. Solomon is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.


Rich Countries Are Deluded About the Climate Threat

By Ryan Cooper, The Week

The recent flooding in Germany and Belgium was estimated to be the worst in at least 500 years. At time of writing, some 205 people had been killed, a further 176 were missing and unlikely to be found alive, and billions of euros in property damage had been inflicted.

In the ensuing news coverage, a note of astonishment could be heard. It “is inconceivable that this is happening in Germany,” a Red Cross driver told Reuters. “Did you ever imagine something like this happening here in Germany?” a CBS reporter asked a local resident.

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Do Palestinians Really Want a South African Solution?

By Dana El Kurd, 972 Mag

The “Unity Intifada” which began in May has lent a great sense of urgency to discussions around the future of Palestine. Analysts and activists are increasingly debating the adoption of a rights-based approach to counter the outdated two-state paradigm, spotlighting Israel’s apartheid regime and what it means for Palestinian aspirations. Alternative political solutions are being proposed to end the impasse of the “peace process,” and to reverse or at least halt the settler-colonial policies that oppress the native Palestinian population. These include advocacy for new configurations, such as a confederation and various forms of a one-state solution.

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