Why Will Fracked-Shale Oil and Gas Worsen the Climate Crisis?

The Biggest Problem Behind The U.S. Shale Boom

Nick CunninghamOilprice.com

U.S. shale production is expected to continue to soar well into the 2020s. And that is a major problem.

Over the past decade, U.S. oil production has more than doubled, surging from 5 million barrels per day (mb/d) to close to 12 mb/d today. Natural gas also rose significantly, rising from 21 trillion cubic feet per year (Tcf/y) in 2008 to 29 Tcf/y in 2017.

Natural gas has been likened to a “bridge fuel,” allowing the U.S. to lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) while it transitions to cleaner energy. Cheap shale gas has killed off a lot of coal plants, and with a GHG-profile half that of coal, the switch has been a boon for the fight against climate change.

That narrative, to be sure, remains up for debate. Shale gas operations emit methane, and at some point high volumes of fugitive methane emissions completely offset the benefit that gas has over coal. Various studies, for and against, argue over exactly how much methane is and has been emitted.

The major oil and gas fracked-shale zones in the USA now:

FrackingShaleZones

But there are other reasons why the coal-to-gas narrative has been oversold. Billions of dollars of investment in gas drilling and gas-fired power plants sucks capital away from renewable energy. Cheap shale gas has also killed off nuclear power, the largest source of carbon-free electricity.

More to the point, new power plants are long-lived investments, and their owners expect to be using them for decades to come. In other words, the U.S. has been locking itself into gas, even though the science dictates a relatively short timetable for the energy transition.

Still, knocking off coal does have its benefits, and the case against gas isn’t exactly clear cut.

However, what about crude oil? The surge in oil production in the U.S. and the resulting impact on greenhouse gas emissions has not been studied all that much. A new report from Daniel Raimi of Resources For the Future (RFF) studies the impact on GHG emissions from a variety of future oil production situations. Raimi is the author of the very even-handed book, “The Fracking Debate.”

Raimi laid out several scenarios looking at the GHG impact of U.S. oil and gas production (higher or lower production; more or less stringent climate policies; assumptions about methane) and found that GHG emissions are the highest in all scenarios in which the U.S produces more oil relative to the EIA’s baseline reference case.

Notably, even climate policy was outweighed by the precise level of oil and gas production. The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which required a significant overhaul of the electricity sector and would have shut down a number of coal-fired power plants, was a landmark policy and one of the most significant efforts by the government to accelerate the energy transition. The CPP was stayed by the Supreme Court and is being replaced by the Trump administration.

However, according to Raimi’s study, even if we assume the full implementation of the CPP, emissions are still higher in the “high oil production” scenario, even when compared to the no CPP but lower oil and gas production.

“In other words, low levels of oil and natural gas production do more to reduce emissions than implementation of the CPP,” Raimi concluded, noting that the only caveat that undercuts this conclusion is if methane estimates have been vastly overstated.

The conclusion is worth repeating. The Obama-era CPP – President Obama’s signature climate policy, and the one at the core of the U.S.’ participation in the Paris Climate Agreement – is of less consequence to GHG emissions than the precise level of oil and gas production.

Put another way, the climate penalty in an aggressive scenario in which U.S. shale production continues to rise over the next decade more than offsets the benefit of shutting down a bunch of coal plants.

The main reason for this is not CO2, but methane. It’s not people burning more gasoline in their cars because of higher oil production. Demand is relatively inelastic in the U.S.

Instead, the major climate penalty comes from higher methane emissions associated with upstream production. CO2 emissions remain enormous and a massive problem to tackle, but these emissions don’t change all that much. Methane emissions inordinately jump relative to the reference case if oil and gas production exceeds the baseline.

“Under a scenario with high levels of oil and natural gas production, increased methane emissions are likely to swamp the GHG effects of policies such as the CPP unless methane emissions are dramatically reduced below current levels,” Raimi warned.

Meanwhile, higher U.S. oil production has global effects, lowering prices and boosting demand. The effects are more difficult to tease out, but by 2030, the world could consume 1.6 mb/d more than it otherwise would under the high U.S. production scenario. U.S. oil is exported abroad, lowering prices and boosting demand.

The world then ends up emitting 200 to 50 MMT of CO2 more than it otherwise would, according to RFF. For context, Brazil emitted 417 MMT in 2016. In other words, higher U.S. oil and gas production could add another Brazil’s-worth of greenhouse gases by 2030.

There are plenty of uncertainties and assumptions built into any model, and that needs to be kept in mind. But the RFF study offers a stark warning. In short, the ongoing U.S. shale bonanza is calamitous for the fight against climate change.

A report last month from Oil Change International was more direct. The U.S. oil and gas industry “is gearing up to unleash the largest burst of new carbon emissions in the world between now and 2050.”

By Nick Cunningham of Oilprice.com

The Job Guarantee with Pavlina Tcherneva at Left Forum 2018

#JobGuarantee, not “Job Creation.”

America’s state governments, county governments, and municipal governments are at the mercy of gigantic corporations acting as hostage takers.

Hostage-takers of jobs, that is. The corporations say, give us our demand for $X____ Million in special concessions–tax breaks, a building site, an addition to your technical college to train our workforce, etc.–and we’ll “create” Y____ number of jobs to reduce the level of unemployment misery in your communities.

More often than not, it seems the Y_______ number of jobs never materialize. Sometimes the hostage-taker corporation merely takes the money on the basis of their vague job creation promise, and actually moves out of the area, rather than expanding there.

See the intriguing history of the looting that went on in Walker’s Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) in Wisconsin, by former State Senator Kathleen Vinehout.  In her piece, Ms. Vinehout reports,

“Earlier this year, the Wisconsin State Journal reported that WEDC’s claims of jobs created were based on “faulty calculations”. They went on to report, “The agency gave out almost $90 million more in awards, but the total number of related jobs fell by nearly 6,000.”

“Job creation” has really nothing to do with providing livelihood for our people, and everything to do with plutocrats looting the public treasuries of the nation.

With all the interest being generated in the Green New Deal proposals (there are several afloat on the cyberseas), we think it’s time to abandon the dead paradigm of “job creation” — which serves no one except corporations in their “rent-seeking behavior.”  It’s time instead to take a look at the Job Guarantee proposal of Pavlina Tcherneva.

TchernevaLeftForum

Here’s Dr. Tcherneva speaking at Left Forum 2018 on her Job Guarantee proposal, a working paper from Levy Institute:

 

 

 

 

Stephanie Kelton: Modern Monetary Theory at Left Forum 2018

Stephanie Kelton gives a brief introduction to the field of Modern Monetary Theory (searchable in Twitter as #MMT).  It’s also a demolition of some old brittle paradigms left over from conservative think-tanks and politicians. Paradigms such as “pay-as-you go” or “pay-fors,” and the every popular (but incorrect, she says) “find the money” paradigm (e.g., “Where is Bernie going to find the money to give away all those free ponies”).  If you want to explore this field in more detail, search through Dr. Kelton’s Twitter feed, or do a search engine for Modern Monetary Theory.

This video is a segment from the longer video hosted at the Next System Project
at this web address (with transcript).  (Click to go there)

 

 

 

 

Stephanie Kelton’s Twitter profile:  @StephanieKelton – Prof. of Economics & Public Policy . Was Chief Economist for the Dems on U.S. Senate Budget Committee. Contributor

KeltonProfile

 

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Do Not Forget That Ideas are Also Weapons

Ideas Are Also Weapons

by Subcomandante Marcos

Toward Freedom magazine, November 2000

The world is not square, or so we learn at school, yet, on the brink of the third millennium, it is not round, either. I do not know which geometrical figure best represents the world in its present state but, in an era of digital communication, we could see it as a gigantic screen-one of those screens you can program to display several pictures at the same time, one inside the other. In our global world, the pictures come from all over the planet. But some are missing-not because there is not enough room on the screen but because someone up there selected these pictures rather than others.

What do the pictures show? On the American continent, we see a paramilitary group occupying the Autonomous National University of Mexico (Unam); but the men in gray uniforms aren’t there to study. Another frame shows an armored column thundering through a native community in Chiapas. Beside this, we see US police using violence to arrest a youth in a city that could be Seattle or Washington. The pictures in Europe are just as gray.

BattleOfSeattle1

A MEMORABLE OMISSION

Intellectuals have been part of society since the dawn of humanity. Their work is analytical and critical. They look at social facts and analyze the evidence, for and against, looking for anything ambiguous, revealing anything that is not obvious-sometimes even the opposite of what seems obvious.

These professional critics act as a sort of impertinent consciousness for society. They are non-conformists, disagreeing with everything-social and political forces, the state, government, media, arts, religion, and so on.

Activists will just say, “We’ve had enough,” but skeptical intellectuals will cautiously murmur “too much” or “not enough.” Intellectuals criticize immobility, demand change and progress. They are, nevertheless, part of a society which is the scene of endless confrontation and is split between those who use power to maintain the status quo and those who fight for change.

Intellectuals must choose between their function as intellectuals and the role that activists offer them. It is also here that we see the split between progressive and reactionary intellectuals. They all continue their work of critical analysis. But whereas the more progressive persist in criticizing immobility, permanence, hegemony, and homogeneity, the reactionaries focus their attacks on change, movement, rebellion, and diversity. So, in fact, reactionary intellectuals “forget” their true function and give up critical thought. Their memory shrinks, excluding past and future to focus only on the immediate and present. No further discussion is possible.

INTELLECTUAL PRAGMATISM

Many leading right-wing intellectuals start life as progressives. But they soon attract the attention of the powerful, who deploy innumerable stratagems to buy or destroy them. Progressive intellectuals are “born” in the midst of a process of seduction and persecution. Some resist; others, convinced that the global economy is inevitable, look in their box of tricks and find reasons to legitimize the existing power structure. They are awarded with a comfortable armchair, on the right hand of the prince they once denounced.

They can find any number of excuses for this supposedly “inevitable” outcome: It is the end of history; money is everywhere and all-powerful; the police have taken the place of politics; the present is the only possible future; there is a rational explanation for social inequality. There are even “good reasons” for the unbridled exploitation of human beings and natural resources, racism, intolerance, and war.

In an era marked by two new paradigms- communication and the market-right-wing intellectuals have realized that being “modern” means obeying one rule: “Adapt or go under.” They aren’t required to be original, just to think like everyone else, taking their cue from international bodies like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, or World Trade Organization.

Far from indulging in original, critical thought, right-wing intellectuals become remarkably pragmatic, echoing the advertising slogans that flood the world’s markets. In exchange for a place in the sun and the support of certain media and governments, they cast off their critical imaginations and any form of self-criticism, and espouse the new, free market creed.

BLIND SEERS

The problem isn’t why the global economy is inevitable, but why almost everyone agrees that it is. Just as the economy is becoming increasingly global, so is culture and information. How are we to prevent vast media and communications companies like CNN or News Corporation, Microsoft or AT&T, from spinning their worldwide web?

In today’s world economy, the major corporations are essentially media enterprises, holding up a huge mirror to show us what society should be, not what it is. To paraphrase Regis Debray, what is visible is real and consequently true. That, by the way, is one of the tenets of right-wing dogma. Debray also explains that the center of gravity of news has shifted from the written word to visual effects, from recorded to live broadcasts, from signs to pictures.

To retain their legitimacy, today’s right-wing intellectuals must fulfill their role in a visual era, opting for what is immediate and direct, switching from signs to images, from thought to TV commentary.

FUTURE PAST

In Mexico, left-wing intellectuals are very influential. Their crime is that they get in the way. Well, at least one of their crimes, since they also support the Zapatistas in their struggle. “The Zapatista uprising heralds the start of a new era in which native movements will emerge as players in the fight against the neoliberal global economy,” they say. But we are neither unique nor perfect. Just look at the natives of Ecuador and Chile, and the demonstrations in Seattle, Washington, Prague- and those that will follow. We are just one of the pictures that deform the giant screen of the world economy.

ZapatistaUprising

The prince has consequently issued orders: “Attack them! I shall supply the army and media. You come up with the ideas.” So, right-wing intellectuals spend their time insulting their left-wing counterparts, and because of the Zapatista movement’s international impact, they are now busy rewriting our story to suit the demands of the prince.

NEOLIBERAL FASCISTS

In one of his books, Umberto Eco provides some pointers as to why fascism is still latent. He starts by warning us that fascism is a diffuse form of totalitarianism, then defines its characteristics: refusal of the advance of knowledge, disregard of rational principles, distrust of culture, fear of difference, racism, individual or social frustration, xenophobia, aristocratic elitism, machismo, individual sacrifice for the benefit of the cause, televised populism, and use of Newspeak with its limited words and rudimentary syntax.

MAGA-rally

 

These are the values that right-wing intellectuals defend. Take another look at the giant screen. All that gray is a response to disorder, reflected in demands for law and order from all around us. But, is Europe once more the prey of fascism? We may well see skinheads, with their swastikas, on the screen, but the commentator is quick to reassure us that they are only minority groups, already under control. But it may also take other, more sinister forms.

After the fall of the Berlin wall, both sides of the political spectrum in Europe rushed to occupy the center. This was all too obvious with the traditional left, but it was also the case with the far right. It went out of its way to acquire a new image, well removed from its violent, authoritarian past, enthusiastically espousing neoliberal dogma.

SKEPTICAL HOPEFUL

The task of progressive thinkers-to remain skeptically hopeful-isn’t an easy one. They have understood how things work and, noblesse oblige, they must reveal what they know, dissect it, denounce it, and pass it on to others. But to do this, they must also confront neoliberal dogma, backed by the media, banks, major corporations, army, and police.

What is more, we live in a visual age. And so, to their considerable disadvantage, progressive thinkers must fight the power of the image with nothing but words. But their skepticism will get them out of that trap, and if they are equally skeptical in their critical analysis, they will be able to see through the virtual beauty to the real misery it conceals. So, perhaps there is reason to hope.

There is a story that when Michelangelo sculpted his statue of David, he had to work on a “second-hand” piece of marble that already had holes in it. It is a mark of his talent that he was able to create a figure that took account of these limitations. The world we want to transform has already been worked on by history and is largely hollow. We must nevertheless be inventive enough to change it and build a new world. Take care, and do not forget that ideas are also weapons.

YellowVestsAtArc.PNG

 

Subcommandante Marcos led the Zapatista National Liberation Army in Chiapas, Mexico until he exited the stage. The above is excerpted from “La droite intellectuelle et lefascisme liberal,” first published in Le Monde diplomatique, August 2000.

How did toxic, anti-working-class ideology become dominant in Wisconsin?

“Wisconsin is the model”: Grover Norquist’s Tea Party scheme to crush his union enemies

At CPAC panel, RNC Chair Priebus touts “total and complete unity” between GOP, Tea Party, and Glenn Beck acolytes
Josh Eidelson, Salon, March 8, 2014

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“How did we do it in Wisconsin?” RNC Chair Reince Priebus asked Saturday morning. “The simplest way I can tell you is we had total and complete unity between the state party, quite frankly, Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party groups, the Grandsons of Liberty. The [Glenn Beck-instigated] 9/12ers were involved. It was a total and complete agreement that nobody cared who got the credit, that everyone was going to run down the tracks together.”Priebus made his comments on a Saturday morning CPAC panel addressing how conservatives could fight and defeat organized labor state by state. Moderator Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, opened the panel by suggesting that conservatives had been neglecting the union issue in recent years out of a mistaken sense that private sector union demise was inevitable, and that public sector union decline was impossible.

 

Grover Norquist’s ideology in one cartoon:
groverdrowns1

Rather, argued Norquist, a raft of National Labor Relations Board appointments by Obama – who he said had made a strategic error by prioritizing Obamacare over a pro-union “card check” bill – would make this “the time for the other team to cheat” and hike private sector unionization. (Pro-labor scholars have questioned how much impact proposed rules from the NLRB, a body which lacked a quorum for some stretches of Obama’s presidency, will have on union efforts.) Meanwhile, said Norquist, Republican victories in the states offered a chance to “fix a lot of the abuses that we thought we’d have to live with” in the public sector. “Wisconsin,” Norquist later told the crowd, “is the model.”

Scott Walker’s 2011 “budget repair” law, passed amid a high-profile multi-week protest occupation of the state capitol, severely reduced the right of public employees to collectively bargain, effectively imposed public sector “Right to Work,” and required regular “re-certification” elections among employees on whether to retain their now-narrowed form of union recognition.

Panelist Luke Hilgemann, the current Americans for Prosperity COO who formerly led the Koch-backed group’s Wisconsin efforts, told the crowd that the 2011 victory “started back in 2007 on the shores of Lake Michigan,” at a meeting of fifteen intrepid activists who’d “had enough of government overreach,” including then-Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. Priebus, a former Wisconsin GOP head, credited the ability to pass Walker’s reforms in part to the party and Tea Party activists unifying well before the 2010 primary behind candidates that made voters “proud to wake up” and vote, like Ron Johnson, Paul Ryan, and Walker. Norquist shared that Walker, after deciding to do a hasty signing of the “budget repair” bill prior to the official event, in order to stave off attempts to sign union contracts before it became law, gave Norquist the pen he used to sign the bill.

Panelist Vincent Vernuccio, of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said that Walker’s success, and Indiana’s 2012 “Right to Work” law, helped make possible the subsequent passage of “Right to Work” in Michigan– a state Norquist said national “Right to Work” activists hadn’t had “on their hit list.” Vernuccio also credited that victory in the United Auto Workers’ stronghold to activists “working on Right to Work in Michigan for over twenty years”; the passage of prior “small reforms” that laid the groundwork; and overreach by unions whose failed 2012 collective bargaining constitutional amendment he said helped spur “Right to Work” despite GOP Governor Rick Synder’s previous claim the issue was “divisive.” (In contrast, unions point to pressure on Snyder, who had already signed other anti-union legislation, from top donors who’d helped fuel his victory.)

Read on Salon, click this link

The Bradley Brothers: Key players long before Grover showed up

Sourcewatch: Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (LHBF), formerly known as the Allen-Bradley Foundation, was established in 1942, describing itself as “a private, independent grantmaking organization based in Milwaukee.”[1] According to the foundation’s 1998 Annual Report and a 2011 report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation gives away more than $30 million per year.[2][3] In November 2013, One Wisconsin Now and the Center for Media and Democracy reported that the Bradley Foundation had given over $500 million to conservative “public-policy experiments” since 2000.[4]

For a full list of groups the foundation has funded, please see Contributions of the Bradley Foundation.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “from 2001 to 2009, it [Bradley] doled out nearly as much money as the seven Koch and Scaife foundations combined.”[5]

Harry Bradley was one of the original charter members of the far right-wing John Birch Society, along with another Birch Society board member, Fred Koch, the father of Koch Industries‘ billionaire brothers and owners, Charles and David Koch.[6] “Bradley was also a keen supporter of the Manion Forum, whose followers believed that social spending in America was part of a secret Russian plot to bankrupt the United States,” Jane Mayer writes in Dark Money.[7]

In the same book, Mayer details that, “The event that multiplied the Bradley Foundation’s assets by a factor of twenty almost overnight, transforming it into a major political force, was the 1985 business takeover in which Rockwell International, then America’s largest defense contractor, bought the Allen-Bradley company, a Milwaukee electronics manufacturer, for $1.65 billion in cash. The deal created an instant windfall for the Bradley family’s private foundation, which held a stake in the company. Its assets leaped from $14 million to some $290 million.[7]

Bradley Foundation Brought Scott Walker to Power

Who’s Behind Scott Walker’s Rise to Power?

by | March 31, 2015 AT 2:50 PM

By John McCormick

When Wisconsin Democrats failed recently to block anti-union legislation supported by Gov. Scott Walker, one name kept coming up: the Bradley Foundation.

The Republican governor’s opponents wanted to know whether the Milwaukee group helped draft the bill or coached those who testified for it. Their suspicions were rooted in the fact that Michael Grebe, one of Walker’s closest advisers, leads the powerful yet mostly inconspicuous voice for American conservatism. Diane Hendricks, a billionaire roofing-supply executive who is Walker’s top individual donor, is on its board.

Bradley and Grebe were central to Walker’s rise to national prominence four years ago, when he rolled back the power of government unions. They’ll probably be equally key to his almost-certain presidential bid.

“Without the Bradley Foundation, there is no Scott Walker,” said Democratic state Sen. Chris Larson, whose district includes its headquarters.

With almost $1 billion in assets, the group has financed research and policy experiments concerning public vouchers for private schools, voter-identification requirements and collective-bargaining restrictions _ all issues Walker has championed. Bradley had ties to many who testified for the “Freedom to Work” law, which lets employees in union workplaces opt out of membership.

While the group has a lower profile than those of David and Charles Koch, the billionaires who’ve raised hundreds of millions for Republicans, including Walker, its aims are similar.

“They are kindred spirits,” Aaron Dorfman, executive director of the Washington-based National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, said of the Bradley Foundation and the Koch brothers.

One key distinction: The nonprofit foundation can’t directly engage in politics, while the Kochs can spend their wealth on campaigns however they like and enlist other donors. Bradley spends roughly double the national average of 12 percent of foundation dollars on policy and public affairs, Dorfman said.

“The Bradley Foundation has been one of the leading funders of the conservative movement,” he said. “They’ve supported think tanks and other organizations that have been very effective at moving a conservative policy agenda.”

For all of Bradley’s political involvement, most of its giving is directed toward charities, artistic and cultural institutions, and schools. It’s especially generous to entities in Milwaukee, including the Milwaukee Art Museum, theaters, Boy Scout troops and Little League teams.

To Larson, all that charitable work isn’t enough to mitigate actions he says harm his community. “If they weren’t here, I think our community would be a lot better off,” he said.

Walker, 47, isn’t the only likely Republican presidential candidate with ties to the outfit. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush won a $250,000 Bradley Prize in 2011, recognition that he said at the time left him “incredibly humbled.” Bush was picked because of his creation of a charter school and testing program and for efforts to “cut taxes every year of his tenure in office,” the foundation’s website says.

Still, Walker, who, along with Bush, leads in early polling about possible Republican candidates, has stronger ties to the foundation.

In 2009, Walker picked Grebe as campaign chairman. Less than a week after winning the governor’s office in November 2010, Walker dined at a Milwaukee restaurant with the foundation’s board and senior staff, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Grebe went on to lead Walker’s campaigns against a recall in 2012 and for re-election in 2014.

Before joining the foundation in 2002, Grebe was chairman and chief executive officer of one of the nation’s largest law firms, Foley & Lardner, and is a past president of the University of Wisconsin board of regents. He’s also a former general counsel to the Republican National Committee and RNC member for Wisconsin from 1984 to 2002.

The foundation paid him more than $518,000 in 2013, according to its most recent Internal Revenue Service disclosure.

FULL STORY AT GOVERNING-DOT-COM

 

Editor: This blog post is not intended to attribute all of Wisconsin’s oligarchy of power to one man, Scott Walker.  Nor one particular “bad actor behind the scenes,” Grover Norquist.

It’s to get you thinking about what is the source of the oligarchs’ rise to power? What does plutocracy look like? How does it morph and shape-shift to always be years ahead of Us, The People as we struggle to establish even a slight toehold of democracy in Wisconsin, in the nation. Now that Scott Walker is temporarily out of office in Wisconsin, “progressive” people are celebrating.

Meanwhile, in the think-tanks and social-experiment labs of the Bradley Foundation, or Grover Norquist’s operations, the NEXT Scott Walker or Robin Vos or Scott Fitzgerald are being groomed up in the event those men are dislodged from political office.

Green New Deal, Complete 2010 Version (Hawkins, Manski, et al.)

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I – THE ECONOMIC BILL OF RIGHTS

Our country cannot truly move forward until the roots of inequality are pulled up, and the seeds of a new, healthier economy are planted. Thus, the Green New Deal begins with an Economic Bill of Rights that ensures all citizens: 1. The right to employment through a Full Employment Program that will create 25 million jobs by implementing a nationally funded, but locally controlled direct employment initiative replacing unemployment offices with local employment offices offering public sector jobs which are “stored” in job banks in order to take up any slack in private sector employment.

  • Local communities will use a process of broad stakeholder input and democratic decision making to fairly implement these programs.

  • Pay-to-play prohibitions will ensure that campaign contributions or lobbying favors do not impact decision-making.

  • We will end unemployment in America once and for all by guaranteeing a job at a living wage for every American willing and able to work.

2. Worker’s rights including the right to a living wage, to a safe workplace, to fair trade, and to organize a union at work without fear of firing or reprisal.

3. The right to quality health care which will be achieved through a single-payer Medicare-for-All program.

4. The right to a tuition-free, quality, federally funded, local controlled public education system from preschool through college. We will also forgive student loan debt from the current era of unaffordable college education.

5. The right to decent affordable housing, including an immediate halt to all foreclosures and evictions. We will:

  • create a federal bank with local branches to take over homes with distressed mortgages and either restructure the mortgages to affordable levels, or if the occupants cannot afford a mortgage, rent homes to the occupants;

  • expand rental and home ownership assistance;

  • create ample public housing; and,

  • offer capital grants to non-profit developers of affordable housing until all people can obtain decent housing at no more than 25% of their income.

6. The right to accessible and affordable utilities – heat, electricity, phone, internet, and public transportation – through democratically run, publicly owned utilities that operate at cost, not for profit.

7. The right to fair taxation that’s distributed in proportion to ability to pay. In addition, corporate tax subsidies will be made transparent by detailing them in public budgets where they can be scrutinized, not hidden as tax breaks.

II – A GREEN TRANSITION

The second priority of the Green New Deal is a Green Transition Program that will convert the old, gray economy into a new, sustainable economy that is environmentally sound, economically viable and socially responsible. We will:

NorthwindRenewableAbout
example–a worker-owned cooperative in North-Central Wisconsin

1. Invest in green business by providing grants and low-interest loans to grow green businesses and cooperatives, with an emphasis on small, locally-based companies that keep the wealth created by local labor circulating in the community rather than being drained off to enrich absentee investors.

2. Prioritize green research by redirecting research funds from fossil fuels and other dead-end industries toward research in wind, solar and geothermal. We will invest in research in sustainable, nontoxic materials, closed-loop cycles that eliminate waste and pollution, as well as organic agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable forestry.

MenomineeSustForest
example: Menominee Nation, Wisconsin, the only entire county managed for sustainable forestry in the state.

3. Provide green jobs by enacting the Full Employment Program which will directly provide 16 million jobs in sustainable energy and energy efficiency retrofitting, mass transit and “complete streets” that promote safe bike and pedestrian traffic, regional food systems based on sustainable organic agriculture, and clean manufacturing.

III – REAL FINANCIAL REFORM

The takeover of our economy by big banks and well-connected financiers has destabilized both our democracy and our economy. It’s time to take Wall Street out of the driver’s seat and to free the truly productive segments of working America to make this economy work for all of us. Real Financial Reform will:

1. Relieve the debt overhang holding back the economy by reducing homeowner and student debt burdens.

CancelStudentDebt

2. Democratize monetary policy to bring about public control of the money supply and credit creation. This means we’ll nationalize the private bank-dominated Federal Reserve Banks and place them under a Monetary Authority within the Treasury Department.

3. Break up the oversized banks that are “too big to fail.”

4. End taxpayer-funded bailouts for banks, insurers, and other financial companies. We’ll use the FDIC resolution process for failed banks to reopen them as public banks where possible after failed loans and underlying assets are auctioned off.

OccupyWS-1

5. Regulate all financial derivatives and require them to be traded on open exchanges.

6. Restore the Glass-Steagall separation of depository commercial banks from speculative investment banks.

7. Establish a 90% tax on bonuses for bailed out bankers.

8. Support the formation of federal, state, and municipal public-owned banks that function as non-profit utilities. Under the Green New Deal we will start building a financial system that is open, honest, stable, and serves the real economy rather than the phony economy of high finance.

BankIndia

IV – A FUNCTIONING DEMOCRACY

We won’t get these vital reforms without a fourth and final set of reforms to give us a real, functioning democracy. Just as we are replacing the old economy with a new one, we need a new politics to restore the promise of American democracy. The New Green Deal will:

1. Revoke corporate personhood by amending our Constitution to make clear that corporations are not persons and money is not speech. Those rights belong to living, breathing human beings – not to business entities controlled by the wealthy.

WIUTA3

2. Protect our right to vote by supporting Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s proposed “Right to Vote Amendment,” to clarify to the Supreme Court that yes, we do have a constitutional right to vote.

3. Enact the Voter Bill of Rights that will:

  • guarantee us a voter-marked paper ballot for all voting;

  • require that all votes are counted before election results are released;

  • replace partisan oversight of elections with non-partisan election commissions;

  • celebrate our democratic aspirations by making Election Day a national holiday;

  • bring simplified, safe same-day voter registration to the nation so that no qualified voter is barred from the polls;

  • do away with so-called “winner take all” elections in which the “winner” does not have the support of most of the voters, and replace that system with instant runoff voting and proportional representation, systems most advanced countries now use to good effect;

  • replace big money control of election campaigns with full public financing and free and equal access to the airwaves;

  • guarantee equal access to the ballot and to the debates to all qualified candidates;

  • abolish the Electoral College and implement direct election of the President;

  • restore the vote to ex-offenders who’ve paid their debt to society; and,

  • enact Statehood for the District of Columbia so that those Americans have representation in Congress and full rights to self rule like the rest of us.

4. Protect local democracy and democratic rights by commissioning a thorough review of federal preemption law and its impact on the practice of local democracy in the United States. This review will put at its center the “democracy question” – that is, what level of government is most open to democratic participation and most suited to protecting democratic rights.

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5. Create a Corporation for Economic Democracy, a new federal corporation (like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) to provide publicity, training, education, and direct financing for cooperative development and for democratic reforms to make government agencies, private associations, and business enterprises more participatory.

6. Strengthen media democracy by expanding federal support for locally-owned broadcast media and local print media.

7. Protect our personal liberty and freedoms by:

  • repealing the Patriot Act and those parts of the National Defense Authorization Act that violate our civil liberties;

  • prohibiting the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI from conspiring with local police forces to suppress our freedoms of assembly and of speech; and,

  • DAPLprotestWaterCannon
  • ending the war on immigrants – including the cruel, so-called “secure communities” program.

8. Rein in the military-industrial complex by

  • reducing military spending by 50% and closing U.S. military bases around the world;

  • restoring the National Guard as the centerpiece of our system of national defense; and,

  • creating a new round of nuclear disarmament initiatives.

Let us not rest until we have pulled our nation back from the brink, and until we have secured the peaceful, just, green future we all deserve.

 

COMMENTS, QUESTIONS? EMAIL US!

 

Sample Resolution for Your County: Legislature, Enable Regional Transit Authorities NOW.

Resolution: Demand on the Legislature to Re-enable Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs)

If you agree with the main thrust of this proposed Resolution, contact your County Board Chair and ask them which committee would be appropriate to pass this on to the full County Board for passage, then conveyed on to the state Legislature for swift action.

WHEREAS, In 2009 the Wisconsin Legislature passed legislation included in Act 28, enabling the formation of Regional Transit Authorities, complete with the power of taxation necessary to fund their start-up and operations;

WHEREAS, In 2011, as part of Act 32, the Wisconsin Legislature passed legislation disabling the same Regional Transit Authorities, with no rational explanation or narrative for undoing what had been done two years earlier;

WHEREAS, the Wisconsin Association of Mobility Managers (WAMM) said, introducing their 2016 Legislative Priorities, “Wisconsin is the only Midwest state without enabling legislation to create these authorities. Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) are a quasi-governmental entity that provides a governance structure for a unified transportation system and has taxing authority, therefor offering a funding alternative to property taxes;”

WHEREAS, WAMM added, “Regional Transit Authorities allow for a regional and comprehensive look at transportation. They encourage connectivity and multimodal approaches since the planning takes place with one body for the whole region. A multimodal and coordinated system improves the mobility, connectedness, and quality of life for those who are unable to drive themselves, particularly older adults, individuals with disabilities and those with low incomes;

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WHEREAS, WAMM further noted that “Medical centers, employers, job centers, educational facilities are very often regional in nature; why should transportation be any different? Developing transportation systems requires flexibility to create innovative services that can cross municipal and county borders and account for communities of different sizes. RTAs enable this to be done in a more efficient, effective and sustainable manner;”

WHEREAS, WAMM concluded the 2016 document, “Transportation systems are a part of the infrastructure that helps people get to jobs, medical appointments, and remain active and engaged members of the community and local economy. Where there are strong systems and meaningful mobility choices, there are strong communities. People want to live and work in these communities and are seeking them out; and,

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WHEREAS, Our County places great importance on our system of mobility for the populations most in need of the services that a Regional Transit Authority could provide our residents, and residents of lower-income counties in our immediate region; and

WHEREAS, Our County places high value on the principles of “sustainability,” and

WHEREAS, lack of mobility for low-income workers and retired persons is a factor contributing to their lack of “sustainability,” while Regional Transit would allow easier access to jobs, schools, health care, and basic needs;

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THEREFORE, Our County calls upon the Wisconsin Legislature to quickly craft and pass Legislation once again enabling Regional Transit Authorities in Wisconsin;

FURTHER, that there be no limitations placed on the number of such Authorities, barring duplication of services or geographic overlap;

FURTHER, that Legislative obstacles to proceeding with near-100% renewable energy power for such RTAs be removed, keeping in mind future tightening of petroleum and natural gas supplies; and,

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FURTHER, that agencies and Legislative Committees charged with overseeing transportation needs, make the creation and link-up of these RTAs into one seamless working statewide system a top priority.

If you thing RTAs are needed in Wisconsin, but would craft a different resolution than the above, please use this Contact Form and let us know how you would word yours.