Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is seen speaking to press in Downing Street after meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Republicans Are Fully Embracing Viktor Orbán's Authoritarianism

To fully comprehend Orban’s influence on the Trump Republican Party, you need to understand the Orban has stripped Hungary of its democratic institutions and demonized immigrants.

By Robert Reich, LA Progressive

This week, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban addressed a crowd of thousands of American admirers in Dallas, Texas, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Orban described Hungary and America as “twin fronts” in a struggle against globalists, progressives, communists, and “fake news.”

To fully comprehend Orban’s influence on the Trump Republican Party, you need to understand the Orban has stripped Hungary of its democratic institutions and demonized immigrants. But that’s not all. He has also embraced a form of eugenics, in which he claims that the future of the West is threatened by the “racial mixing” of white Christian Europeans with others.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is seen speaking to press in Downing Street after meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

On July 23, Orban put it bluntly in a speech at the 31st Bálványos Summer Free University and Student Camp:

The internationalist left employs a feint, an ideological ruse: the claim – their claim – that Europe by its very nature is populated by peoples of mixed race. …

[We] do not want to become peoples of mixed-race. This is why we fought at Nándorfehérvár/Belgrade, this is why we stopped the Turks at Vienna, and – if I am not mistaken – this is why, in still older times – the French stopped the Arabs at Poitiers.

Today the situation is that Islamic civilization, which is constantly moving towards Europe, has realized – precisely because of the traditions of Belgrade/Nándorfehérvár – that the route through Hungary is an unsuitable one along which to send its people up into Europe. This is why Poitiers has been replayed; now the incursion’s origins are not in the East, but in the South, from where they are occupying and flooding the West.

Read More

Wrecked framework of the Museum of Science and Industry in Hiroshima, Japan. This is how it appeared shortly after the dropping of the first atomic bomb, on August 6, 1945.

Hiroshima And Nagasaki Remind Us Of The Horror Of Nuclear War

We must wake up to the real danger of a nuclear war.

By Morning Star Editorial Board

Hiroshima Day commemorates the US atom bombing of the Japanese city 77 years ago, which killed almost 150,000 people.

A further 80,000 were killed three days later when the US dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki. But this year’s events must be more than a commemoration — they should sound the alarm.

Wrecked framework of the Museum of Science and Industry in Hiroshima, Japan. This is how it appeared shortly after the dropping of the first atomic bomb, on August 6, 1945.

To date, the two US bombings are the only times nuclear weapons have ever been used. But the risk of a repeat has seldom been closer than it is today.

Confrontation between the world’s greatest military powers is at boiling point. In Ukraine, invading Russian troops are in direct combat with armed forces equipped and trained by Nato; US and British-supplied rockets are fired on Russian forces.

This weekend, Chinese military drills involving hypersonic missile strikes, simulated naval blockades and stealth bombers are being held in response to a crass stunt by US Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose Taiwan visit was apparently designed to provoke such a response.

Read More

https://fair.org/uncategorized/why-is-there-more-media-talk-about-using-nuclear-weapons-than-about-banning-them/

The Media Doesn't Want To Talk About Banning Nuclear Weapons

Why is there more media talk about using nuclear weapons than about banning them?

By Karl Grossman, FAIR

It’s of critical importance—indeed, existential importance—to the world: the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. And a coalition of peace organizations in the United States is charging that media are acting like the treaty “does not exist.”

https://fair.org/uncategorized/why-is-there-more-media-talk-about-using-nuclear-weapons-than-about-banning-them/

The Nuclear Ban Treaty Collaborative is waging a campaign to encourage press coverage of the treaty, which, it argues, “provides the only pathway to a safe, secure future free of the nuclear threat” (Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance Newsletter6/22).

In the words of the UN, the treaty is “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.” It was adopted by the UN General Assembly—with 122 nations in favor—and opened for signature in 2017. It was entered into force in January 2021.

But its provisions only apply to nations which are party to it. Countries with nuclear weapons—including the United States, Russia and China—have not. Instead, “so far, they have refused, boycotted meetings, and even pressured countries not to sign on,” the Federation of American Scientists has noted (FAS1/22/09).

Read More

Protesters holding signs Abortion Is Healthcare, My Body My Choice, Bans Off Our Bodies, Human rights. People with placards supporting abortion rights at protest rally demonstration.

Republican Trickery Couldn't Stop Abortion Rights In Kansas

Right-wingers thought they had a foolproof game plan in Kansas. It fell apart, and that could change everything

By Lucian K. Truscott IV, Salon

Pundits have been wearing out their thumbs on Twitter ever since the results of the Kansas referendum on abortion came in Tuesday night. The victory on the “No” side, against amending the state constitution to remove its protection of abortion rights, was decisive, 59 to 41 percent. Voting “Yes” in the referendum meant that the constitution could be amended and laws further restricting or banning abortion entirely could be passed in the state.

Protesters holding signs Abortion Is Healthcare, My Body My Choice, Bans Off Our Bodies, Human rights. People with placards supporting abortion rights at protest rally demonstration.

Republicans had made the vote confusing on purpose. To a casual observer, a “no” vote might seem to mean you were against abortion rights, and “yes” vote that you were for abortion rights, when in fact it was the other way around. The state Republican Party also scheduled the vote on primary day in August, when turnout is typically much heavier for the GOP in a state where Republicans outnumber Democrats almost two to one and frequently have competitive primary contests, while Democrats rarely do and their voters often don’t bother to show up.. Furthermore, Republicans were betting that turnout among independents would be low because they are not permitted to vote in either party’s primaries.

That strategy failed across the board. Turnout among Democrats was high, as it was among independents, all of them apparently driven to the polls by the abortion referendum on the ballot. The vote by political party was not monolithic, either, with many Republicans crossing over to vote no. Even in the conservative rural counties of western Kansas, which Donald Trump carried by lopsided margins in 2020, the vote against the referendum measure was in the range of 40 percent, meaning that many Republicans voted to preserve abortion rights

Read More

Bought by Election Transparency Initiative, a highway billboard sign thanks Senator Kyrsten Sinema for

Kyrsten Sinema Works Hard For Her Constituents: Rich Investors

“Kyrsten Sinema has spent her entire Senate term posturing for a multimillion-dollar job in private equity,” said one critic. “Now she’s looking to close the deal.”

By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema announced late Thursday that she has agreed to back Democrats’ new reconciliation bill, but only after securing changes to a proposed levy on major corporations and forcing the removal of a provision targeting a notorious tax loophole exploited by rich investors.

In a statement, Sinema (D-Ariz.) said that she and the Democratic leadership agreed to strip out “the carried interest tax provision, protect advanced manufacturing, and boost our clean energy economy in the Senate’s budget reconciliation legislation.”

Bought by Election Transparency Initiative, a highway billboard sign thanks Senator Kyrsten Sinema for

“Subject to the parliamentarian’s review, I’ll move forward,” said Sinema, a key holdout whose vote is necessary to pass the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, a roughly $740 billion bill that includes renewable energy investments, drug price reforms, health insurance subsidies, and giveaways to the fossil fuel industry, which were added to win the support of right-wing Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)

Senators are expected to begin voting on the final version of the bill as soon as Saturday.

While Sinema vowed to work toward “carried interest tax reforms” at a future date, her decision to tank Democrats’ latest attempt to limit the egregious loophole for private equity moguls and billionaire hedge fund managers likely means changes won’t be coming any time soon, given the close margins in the Senate and GOP opposition.

Democrats are reportedly planning to replace the carried interest provision—which was far weaker than progressives had hoped and would have left much of the loophole intact—with a tax on stock buybacks.

“Kyrsten Sinema has spent her entire Senate term posturing for a multimillion-dollar job in private equity,” said Erica Payne, founder and president of the Patriotic Millionaires, a group that supports progressive tax policies. “Now she’s looking to close the deal.”

“When Sinema loses her primary and her Senate seat (if she even bothers to run at all) her private equity billionaire backers will give her not a golden parachute, but a diamond-studded, ruby-encrusted platinum one,” Payne added. “Because of her—and her alone—billionaire fund managers will keep ‘getting away with murder,’ and Kyrsten Sinema will be their (very well-paid) hitman.”

Sinema also won unspecified changes to the structure of the reconciliation bill’s proposed 15% corporate minimum tax, which was aimed at preventing large companies from dodging taxes by stashing profits overseas. Republicans falsely portrayed the minimum tax provision as a “dangerous” attack on “American manufacturing,” a line that seems to have swayed Sinema.

In the lead-up to her statement Thursday night, Sinema also faced an ad blitz and aggressive lobbying from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and other business interests opposed to the corporate minimum tax, the biggest proposed revenue raiser in the Inflation Reduction Act.

On Tuesday, Sinema held a private call with Danny Seiden, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. According to Seiden, the Arizona Democrat asked him if the minimum tax was “written in a way that’s bad.”

“The meeting went great,” Seiden told CNN.

Alex Parker, a tax policy expert, tweeted Thursday that “one thing I’m pretty sure about with this refined book minimum tax is that it won’t stop the phenomenon of companies with 0% effective tax rates.”

According to a new analysis that the watchdog group Accountable.US shared with Common Dreams, prominent members of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce such as Amazon, AT&T, Bank of America, and Microsoft “paid some of the lowest federal effective tax rates on tens of billions in 2021 earnings” and “have spent billions of dollars on acquisitions, stock buybacks, and dividends.”

“Across industries, big corporations are making record profits after inflating prices to indefensible degrees on everyday Americans, including many that have paid relatively nothing in federal income taxes,” said Liz Zelnick, spokesperson for Accountable.US. “It’s no wonder corporate special interests are saying, doing, and spending whatever it takes to avoid paying their fair share.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) celebrated the new agreement with Sinema Thursday night and said the Inflation Reduction Act is on track to “receive the support of the entire Senate Democratic conference.”

“I have had many productive discussions with members of our conference over the past three days and we have addressed a number of important issues they have raised,” Schumer said in a statement. “The final version of the reconciliation bill, to be introduced on Saturday, will reflect this work and put us one step closer to enacting this historic legislation into law.”

But it appears that the Democratic leadership has only addressed the concerns of right-wing lawmakers who have repeatedly derailed the party’s legislative agenda over the past year and a half.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, has proposed an amendment that would strip all fossil fuel industry handouts from the legislation—an idea certain to face opposition from Manchin and potentially other Democrats.

“We have got to do everything possible to take on the greed of the fossil fuel industry, not give billions of dollars in corporate welfare to an industry that has been actively destroying our planet,” Sanders said in a floor speech earlier this week.


Portrait engineer under inspection and checking construction process railway switch and checking work on railroad station .Engineer wearing safety uniform and safety helmet in work.

Railroad Workers Are Getting Ready For A National Strike

US labor law is designed to prevent railroad strikes like the kind that shook America in the past. But the constant cuts to staffing levels and erosion of conditions for rail workers could produce a national rail walkoff by September.

By Jeff Schuhrke, Jacobin

After thirty months of stalled contract negotiations amid the pandemic — all while enduring stagnant wages, heavier workloads, unsafe conditions, and draconian attendance policies — 115,000 fed-up US freight railroad workers are mobilizing for a possible national strike.

Portrait engineer under inspection and checking construction process railway switch and checking work on railroad station .Engineer wearing safety uniform and safety helmet in work.

On Saturday, a few hundred rail workers from multiple craft unions gathered with allies in Galesburg, Illinois, to signal to the federal government and major rail carriers that they are ready for a showdown.

“I have never seen in my experience working in this industry the kind of unity that you all are displaying right now,” Greg Regan, president of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department, told the crowd. “This is not just a rail labor fight; this is a labor movement fight.”

Some of the craft unions represented at the Galesburg event included the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART-TD), the Teamsters’ Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED), and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers (Boilermakers).

Read More

An Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone undergoing maintenance in a hangar at Columbus Air Force Base, MS.

Ayman al-Zawahiri's Assassination Does Not Make Us Safer

Whatever people in the U.S. might think about the killing of al Zawahiri in the middle of the Afghan capital 7,000 miles away, safety and security are hardly likely to top the list.

By Phyllis Bennis, LA Progressive

President Joe Biden, to his credit, did not come out swaggering at his press conference announcing that the CIA had just killed al-Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri. But he did make the dubious assertion that the assassination somehow “made us all safer.”

In reality, this killing will not end the war on terror, and is unlikely to make us safer. And meanwhile, the Biden administration and other top U.S. officials are taking actions that do threaten our security.

An Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone undergoing maintenance in a hangar at Columbus Air Force Base, MS.

The U.S. is still spending billions of dollars arming Ukraine against Russia, while numerous experts around the world are discussing openly how the war escalates the danger of a nuclear exchange between the world’s two largest nuclear weapons states.

Another problem is that Biden spoke just as the third most powerful U.S. political leader, and second in line of succession to the presidency, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was about to land in Taiwan, deliberately provoking China in what looks an awful lot like the abandonment of Washington’s longstanding policy of recognizing only one China. An increasingly tense cold war between Washington and Beijing may be on the verge of rapidly heating up.

Read More

Anti war protester with placard at the NO WAR WITH IRAN demonstration

The American People Do Not Want War With Iran

On the eve of a new round of JCPOA talks, a new survey shows that today’s saber rattling is a bit unwelcome.

By Connor Echols, Responsible Statecraft

On the eve of a new round of negotiations between the world’s powers and Iran to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, the vast majority of voters believe that the United States should use diplomacy — and not military force — to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, according to a recent poll from Data For Progress.

Anti war protester with placard at the NO WAR WITH IRAN demonstration

In a survey of 1,330 likely voters, 78 percent of respondents said Washington must use its best diplomatic tools to “put an immediate end to Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” while only 12 percent agreed with the statement that the United States “must go to war with Iran in order to slow down its nuclear weapons development.” (It should be noted that despite the poll’s wording, the U.S. intelligence community and the International Atomic Energy Agency have not at this time made an assessment that Iran is embarking on a nuclear weapons program.)

The poll shows a range of potentially strong messages for those who advocate a return to the Iran nuclear deal. It also indicates that, even after two years of President Joe Biden dragging his feet on a return to the accord, Americans have little appetite for alternative approaches to resolving the issue.

Read More

alaska's brooks mountain range snow-covered in winter with trans-alaska pipeline traversing

The Willow Project Is The Next Frontier In Massive Oil And Gas Exploitation

Documents obtained by Grist show that Congressional Democrats’ requests for more time to review ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project have been met with silence.

By Adam Federman, Grist

This story was originally published by Grist. You can subscribe to its weekly newsletter here.

For more than four years, ConocoPhillips has been working with the federal government to expand oil and gas development in the National Petroleum Reserve, a roughly 23-million-acre stretch of government-managed land on Alaska’s North Slope. If approved, the so-called Willow Project would allow for construction of up to 250 wells, two airstrips, as well as a network of gravel roads, pipelines, and a new central processing facility in a remote, ecologically sensitive corner of the Arctic.

alaska's brooks mountain range snow-covered in winter with trans-alaska pipeline traversing

Willow’s road to approval has been rocky. Last year a federal court ordered the Department of the Interior to redo the project’s legally-required environmental impact statement, or EIS, a new draft of which was released early last month. Now, Congressional Democrats and the Native Village of Nuiqsut, a town of just over 500 people that is closest to the development, are asking the Biden administration for more time to weigh in on the new document.

So far they’ve been met with silence. The Department of the Interior has not responded to formal requests to extend the public comment period on the draft EIS. Two letters obtained by Grist, one from the House Committee on Natural Resources and one from Nuiqsut, described the 45-day comment period — the minimum required by law — as inadequate for a project of this scope. The House committee also requested a response from the Interior Department by July 22 but still has not received an answer.

The Interior Department did not respond to Grist’s formal requests for comment, but an employee who was not authorized to speak on the record told Grist that the requests to extend the comment period are “on everybody’s radar, but no decision has been made.”

Further complicating the administration’s decision is the Democrats’ recent agreement on a reconciliation bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides billions in tax credits for renewable energy but also allows for considerable new oil and gas leasing on public lands and in the Gulf of Mexico. The administration may be reluctant to further delay the Willow project as the legislation moves through the narrowly divided Senate.

The project has been described by the Center for American Progress as a “disaster” for the climate that would lock in approximately 260 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over its 30-year lifetime, undermining the Biden administration’s efforts to combat global warming. Willow would also push development closer to a special conservation area around Teshekpuk Lake, the largest body of water in Arctic Alaska and important calving grounds for the Teshekpuk lake caribou herd.

Willow was approved in the final months of the Trump administration, but last summer a federal court found that the department had failed to properly account for the project’s impact on global greenhouse gas emissions, among other issues, and ordered the agency to redo parts of the EIS. The Biden administration, which also defended the original version of project, released its draft supplemental EIS on July 8.

Willow is only about 35 miles from the Native Village of Nuiqsut, which is already surrounded by oil and gas development and has opposed the project. In a June 6 letter to the Bureau of Land Management’s Alaska office, before the draft EIS was released, Nuiqsut Mayor Rosemary Ahtuangaruak noted that a 45-day public comment period would overlap with the busy summer subsistence harvest season, as well as preparation for the fall whale hunt. Ahtuangaruak said that she, along with tribal leadership and the Native village corporation, Kuukpik, requested that the comment period and five public meetings, one of which will be held in Nuiqsut, be extended through the end of September to better accommodate North Slope residents.

Ahtuangaruak told Grist that the Interior Department has been provided with a copy of the community’s subsistence calendar, and that August is one of the busiest times of year. Caribou are beginning to migrate through the region, it is the middle of a short moose hunting season, families are gathering berries and plants, and crews are getting ready to travel to Cross Island to prepare for the whale harvest.

“Either we go out during this time to try to attempt our harvest, or we make a choice to miss out on the harvest and respond to this document,” Ahtuangaruak said. “You can’t be online when you’re out harvesting.”

A July 18 letter from the House Natural Resources Committee echoed Ahtuangaruak’s concerns and described the decision to hold a minimum 45-day comment period during the summer harvest season as “incredibly troubling.” The committee contrasted this with the perception that, under Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna who is the first Indigenous cabinet secretary in U.S. history, the department has “begun to restore the principles of transparency, public engagement, and tribal consultation that the previous administration weakened.”

“We ask that you continue to follow through on your commitments to these values as you oversee our public lands by extending the public comment period for the Willow draft [environmental impact statement] by at least 75 days to 120 total days,” the committee wrote. That would take the comment period through the middle of November, almost certainly pushing any final decision into next year.

Pressure to advance the Willow project, however, has been equally strong. During Haaland’s confirmation hearing, Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican representing Alaska, described Willow as her top priority and sought assurances that the department would do everything in its power to expedite the project. Haaland made no specific commitments but said she would consult with Murkowski on this issue and “follow the law.”

On July 18, Murkowski issued a press release urging the department to stick to the 45-day public comment period and argued that the project has already undergone extensive review. “Timely completion of this process is critical to the project’s ability to undertake any level of development activities during the rapidly-approaching 2022-2023 winter season,” she wrote.

If Interior does not grant an extension, the public comment period will end on August 29. A final record of decision will be issued sometime after that, potentially giving Conoco enough time to break ground on Willow this winter.


Anti Eviction protest at the so-called Hawthorn House in the Avenues district of Salt Lake City.

Rent Is Spiraling Out Of Control, And There's No End In Sight

As the median rent spikes to $2,000 across the country, housing justice activists double down on efforts to counter price-gouging landlords.

By Eleanor J. Bader, The Progressive Magazine

When real estate giant Redfin issued its monthly rental report in June, it noted that, for the first time in history, the median monthly rent in the U.S. had surpassed $2,000, a 15 percent bump from the previous year.

Anti Eviction protest at the so-called Hawthorn House in the Avenues district of Salt Lake City.

Austin saw the largest increase of any metropolitan area, with rents over the past year surging by 48 percent to a median of $2,707 a month. But regardless of whether you’re a tenant in Anaheim (median: $3,400); Boston (median: $3,970); Chicago (median: $2,454); Fort Lauderdale (median: $3,157); Los Angeles (median: $3,400); Miami (median: $3,157); Newark (median: $4,008) or Seattle (median: $3,097), rents are skyrocketing everywhere.

Reverend Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice, calls it “a massive housing emergency.”

Coupled with the ongoing pandemic and ever-increasing food and fuel prices, low and moderate-income people in every corner of the country are suffering—and many are losing their homes.

Read More