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Josh Hawley runs away from rioters during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol

Show Don't Tell: Josh Hawley's Manly, Rancid, Ludicrous Log of Suet

Improbably - is there enough irony left in the world to contain it? - "spineless chicken man," "sniveling li'l bitch," liar, coward and "coifed, soft, seditionist" Josh Hawley, famed for his "wee scamper of fear" from Jan. 6 rioters he abetted, has written a book about...manhood. Predictably, it's been shredded by the former Marine and Democrat seeking his Senate seat and most of the known world for banalities like, "Every man is called to be a warrior." Most cogent review: "As if."

Manliness, it seems, is the original endangered species. Despite their spot at the top of dubious human achievement, one scholar notes, "As long as men have existed, they have been in crisis," with almost everything threatening them with obsolescence. In 1486, the medieval witchcraft manual Malleus Maleficarum claimed witches could “truly and actually remove men’s members.” In the 1660s, King Charles ll warned the new "coffee" would destroy men's virility; early 1900s opponents of coeducation worried reading could emasculate little boys; at the turn of the century, the founder of the Boy Scouts cited the need for "training for our lads if we are to keep up manliness (instead of) lapsing into a nation of soft, sloppy, cigarette suckers.” The Vietnam War's chimerical "peace with honor" was deemed a manly endeavor by Nixon, who called the Vietnamese "little cocksuckers." Tucker Carlson was so obsessed with "The End of Men" he hawked testicle tanning. And little Donnie Trump Jr. just launched a typo-filled "non-woke" magazine "for the unapologetic man" - "Hunting. Style. Fitness. Dad please look at me" - so insecure he shoots endangered animals from a car. He also just trashed DeSantis for his "effeminate voice" before yugely garbling the charge that "Trump has the charisma of a mortician." Maybe cut back on the coke, bro.

Following in this fine, fragile tradition comes Missouri Sen.Josh Hawley's Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs, from conservative, alternative-fact-filled Regnery Publishing. The Intercept's Jon Schwarz calls the book "a "shallow mess," both "short because it's an op-ed stretched out to barely 200 pages and long because it's preternaturally boring," with no jokes: "Consuming it is like eating a small but dense log of suet." Channeling Succession's fervid Kendall Roy, Hawley breaks his "adventure in impressionistic and impassioned disorganization" into six chunks - husband, father, warrior, builder, priest, king - who do lofty, abstract things like “endure” and "act boldly." But no, Schwarz stresses: In a book that decries liberals who "flee from trial and pain,” the skinny, homely twit last seen doing his best Wile Ethelbert Coyote dash out of the Capitol as the thugs he'd just saluted began trashing it never mentions his unforgettable "Sprint of Self-Preservation" that the Internet then helpfully memorialized set to multiple tunes - Britney, Bee Gees, Benny Hill et al. Mostly, Hawley's "flaccid excuse of a man" goes into "nonsensical depths" about Greek philosopher Epicurus and the "dark forces" of his modern liberal descendants vs. the Bible and the "mighty work" of God's "yoke of manhood." His deep conclusion: “The Bible is right. The Epicurean liberals are wrong."

Others note that, approaching a complex role that's weirdly, consistently hailed as both unassailable and endangered, it's deeply juvenile - though unsurprising given the right's mania for guardrails - to "want a script for adulthood to obviate existential uncertainty," to seek "an eternal parent to tell you exactly when and how to clean your room." Hawley likewise craftsa distorted, carefully curated narrative about himself as a manly man of the people: Skirting his banker father, elite prep school and Stanford/Yale Law School degrees, he hones in on his farmer grandfather (who he occasionally visited), his Vietnam vet uncle ("You confront evil and do something about it," like rape, murder, napalm villages), and cheesy memories of “Christmases with a tree in the parlor and a fire on the hearth and summers of chasing fireflies in the front yard,” never mind voting against abortion rights and health care for veterans suffering from toxic burn pits. The gross hypocrisy hasn't gone over well with the vast segment of the populace who "will henceforth chuckle when the words “Josh Hawley” and “man” are mentioned in the same sentence." Hawley's man-baby is "the last person qualified to preach (about) what it means to have a pair," argues one skeptic; others dismiss Hawley as a “dour moralist,” “a neo-Confederate at war with modernity” and “our leading national pipsqueak.”

They reflect a strong consensus that few of America's 165 million males want "instruction (on) 'masculine virtues' from a 43-year-old child of privilege setting speed records in the face of danger." His blistering reviews on Goodreads (1.3 stars) torch everything from the cover - "They had to use REAL BIG letters (because) gotta compensate" - to the hypocrisy - "It's like a taxi driver writing about repairing goldfish bowls - his next book will be on quantum mechanics." Others on a "feckless, cowardly excuse of a human being" "raising a fist while protected by barricades and Capitol police (and) then fleeing like Chicken Little": "This is not a man, but a lap dog. Place a collar on him, watch him bark, he can even raise a paw!" "Full of laughs! What, they're unintentional?" His most potent critic is Lucas Kunce, a working-class high-school valedictorian, long-distance runner, graduate (and first male cheerleader) of Pell-grant-funded Yale, then Missou Law School, 13-year-veteran Marine and toxic-burn-pit survivor, and anti-trust advocate who wants to break up corporate PACS seeking Hawley's seat, and unshy about unmasking his bullshit: "This is the Show-Me State, and the only thing Josh Hawley has shown us (is) how to be a fraud and a coward." He's backed by actor and lifetime Missourian Jon Hamm. "If you want to be told about 'Manhood,' some guy wrote a book about it," he declares.“But if you want someone to show you courage, send Lucas Kunce to the Senate." Easy call.

United Arab Emirates' minister of industry and CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, attends an event alongside U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry on January 14, 2023.

130+ US and EU Lawmakers Demand Removal of Oil Executive From COP28 Presidency

The ongoing campaign to oust Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber from his role as president-designate of COP28 picked up steam Tuesday when more than 130 lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic published a letter calling for the oil boss to be replaced as chair of the annual United Nations climate summit, set to take place this fall in the United Arab Emirates.

The host nation's move "to name as president of COP28 the chief executive of one of the world's largest oil and gas companies—a company that has recently announced plans to add 7.6 billion barrels of oil to its production in the coming years, representing the fifth largest increase in the world—risks undermining the negotiations," says the letter signed by 133 members of the United States Congress and the European Parliament.

"For billions of people, the outcome of COP28 and ensuing international climate negotiations will make the difference between life and death, chaos and solidarity."

"Different leadership is necessary to help ensure that COP28 is a serious and productive climate summit," the transatlantic group of policymakers told U.S. President Joe Biden, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, and Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Notably, Biden's top climate diplomat, John Kerry, has faced criticism for celebrating al-Jaber's selection. More than two dozen progressive members of Congress have pushed Kerry to advocate for the designation of a new COP28 president who doesn't have ties to the industry most responsible for fueling the climate emergency.

In addition to urging the four addressees of the new letter to "engage in diplomatic efforts" to pressure the UAE to withdraw its appointment of al-Jaber—head of the country's Abu Dhabi National Oil Company—as president-designate of COP28, signatories implored the executive leaders of the U.S. and the European Union as well as UNFCCC leadership to "take immediate steps to limit the influence of polluting industries, particularly major fossil fuel industry players whose business strategies lie at clear odds with the central goals of the Paris agreement," at all U.N. climate talks.

"Current rules," the lawmakers wrote, "permit private sector polluters to exert undue influence on UNFCCC processes." They continued:

We request that you institute new policies for corporate participation at COPs and UNFCCC processes more broadly, including requiring participating companies to submit an audited corporate political influencing statement that discloses climate-related lobbying, campaign contributions, and funding of trade associations and organizations active on energy and climate issues. These statements should be reviewed, publicly disclosed, and scrutinized prior to any engagement in UNFCCC climate policymaking processes.

The UNFCCC should also consider additional measures to establish a robust accountability framework to protect against undue influence of corporate actors with proven vested interests that contradict the goals of the Paris Agreement; such a framework was proposed last year with broad-based international support from over 450 organizations around the world and five UNFCCC constituencies representing thousands of organizations and millions of people. These reforms would bring much-needed transparency to corporate climate-related political influencing activities around the world, and would help restore public faith that the COP process is not being abused by companies as an opportunity to greenwash.

The demand to crack down on corporations' open corruption of international climate meetings comes as government representatives prepare to gather in Germany next month for the U.N.'s Bonn Climate Change Conference—a crucial precursor to COP28, which is scheduled to begin in late November in Dubai.

"It is essential that we seize the opportunity to take actionable steps to address and protect climate policy from polluting interference by adopting concrete rules that limit the influence of the fossil fuel industry and its lobbyists in the UNFCCC decision-making process," says the letter. It was endorsed by Kick Big Polluters Out, a global network of more than 450 organizations led by Corporate Accountability and Corporate Europe Observatory, which made a similar appeal to Guterres in January.

"Big Oil interests have contaminated our climate for decades—they shouldn't be able to control our climate negotiations for a livable future," U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said in a statement. "As leaders from around the world come together to envision a world that promotes clean energy and climate justice, not pollution and profiteering, we must shut the door on the fossil fuel industry and keep COP28 free from their influence." Markey was one of six Senate Democrats to sign the letter. He was joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), 27 House Democrats, and 99 European MPs.

The ongoing failure to confront the fossil fuel industry and other highly polluting sectors has yielded life-threatening results so far, as the lawmakers explained in their letter:

Last year, many of us attended or followed COP27 in Sharm-al-Sheikh, Egypt. While we applaud the United Nations for bringing tens of thousands of delegates together, leading to a historic agreement that will help developing countries deal with losses and damages from the impacts of climate change, the conference ultimately failed to secure consensus from Parties to cut greenhouse gases in line with the agreed global goals.

It did not escape our attention that at least 636 lobbyists from the oil and gas industries registered to attend last year's COP—an increase of more than 25% over the previous year. When the number of attendees representing polluting corporate actors, which have a vested financial interest in maintaining the status quo, is larger than the delegations of nearly every country in attendance, it is easy to see how their presence could obstruct climate action.

There is no time to waste in sharply cutting carbon pollution on a global scale. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report states that, to limit warming to 1.5 °C, global emissions must halve by 2030. The planet has already warmed over 1.2°C, and our ability to reach the 1.5 °C goal is moving fast out of reach, with the IPCC pegging the current probability at just 38%. Maintaining the status quo would lead to a catastrophic 2.8°C temperature rise by the end of the century.

"In this moment of great urgency, we must unblock the barriers that have kept us from advancing strong global collaboration to address climate change," the lawmakers wrote. "One of the largest barriers to strong climate action has been and remains the political influence and obstruction of the fossil fuel industry and other major polluting industries. We have seen their negative influence in our home institutions; oil companies and their industry cheerleaders have spent billions of dollars lobbying both the European Parliament, other European institutions and member states, and the U.S. Congress in order to obstruct or water down climate policy for years."

"Since at least the 1960s, the fossil fuel industry has known about the dangers of climate change posed by its products and, rather than supporting a transition to a clean energy future, has instead chosen to promote climate denial and spend millions of dollars to spread disinformation," they continued. "Over a half-century later, not one of 39 major global oil and gas companies, with collective market capitalization of $3.7 trillion, has adopted a business strategy that would limit warming to safe levels. Several independent analyses agree that the sector is still not taking meaningful action to avoid the worst impacts of the crisis."

"The fossil industry must give way if there is to be any chance of survival for humanity and this planet."

"Even more outrageous, the global oil and gas industry is expanding amid blockbuster profits to the tune of $4 trillion last year," they added. "The sector has poured $160 billion into exploration for new fossil reserves since 2020, even as the IEA has stated that no new fossil fuel projects are compatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C. In short, in the words of U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, 'We seem trapped in a world where fossil fuel producers and financiers have humanity by the throat.' It is time to alter this dangerous course."

E.U. lawmaker Manon Aubrey, who co-organized the letter alongside her U.S. counterpart, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), said that "for billions of people, the outcome of COP28 and ensuing international climate negotiations will make the difference between life and death, chaos and solidarity."

"Corporate greed and lobbyists' lies have led us into this climate crisis," said Aubrey. "We must prevent private commercial interests from interfering in politics and regain ownership of our future."

Aubrey's colleague, Michael Bloss, likewise stressed that "to make progress on climate protection, we need to limit the power of the fossil lobby."

"Instead of letting the fox guard the henhouse, the fossil lobby must be expelled from the conference," said Bloss. "Oil states and fossil industries have always prevented anything that could mean an end to coal, oil, and gas, and put the brakes on global climate protection for destructive profits. The fossil industry must give way if there is to be any chance of survival for humanity and this planet."

Pascoe Sabido, co-coordinator for Kick Big Polluters Out, said that "these upcoming U.N. climate talks are our best chance at tackling the problem head-on, with hundreds of decision-makers on both sides of the Atlantic and both sides of the aisle backing our call for a conflict-of-interest policy."

"So far, the U.S. and E.U. have proven to be major blockers, siding with the fossil fuel industry," Sabido added. "If they want to walk the talk of being a climate leader, it's time to switch sides and back a policy not just at the U.N. but also at home."

Members and supporters of the American Federation of Government Employees participate in a protest in the Hart Senate Office Building Atrium in Washington, D.C. on February 11, 2020.

Federal Workers Union Urges Biden to Reject GOP Austerity, Invoke 14th Amendment Over Debt Limit

A union leader representing over 750,000 government employees on Tuesday pressured U.S. President Joe Biden to reject congressional Republicans' demands for spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling and to avert an economically devastating default by invoking the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

As Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has continued to warn that the federal government could run out of money to pay its bills as early as June 1, some legal scholars and progressive lawmakers have encouraged Biden to combat the GOP's economic hostage-taking by invoking the section of the amendment which states that "the validity of the public debt... shall not be questioned."

The American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (AFGE) joined those calls on Tuesday, with national president Everett Kelley writing to Biden to call for "unilateral action to ensure that the government continues to pay its bills and fulfill its obligations after the Treasury exhausts all extraordinary debt measures within the next several days."

"Our union members are the doctors, nurses, firefighters, border patrol agents, corrections officers, federal police, food safety inspectors, transportation security officers, and other public servants who keep the government running around the clock," Kelley noted. "They served tirelessly throughout the pandemic, defending the public, often at great personal risk. More than a few gave their lives to their country. It would be unconscionable now to agree to a budget deal that once again sacrifices their well-being on the altar of fiscal austerity."

"We urge you not to agree to spending caps because, inevitably, they undermine the ability of federal agencies to carry out their missions."

"We urge you not to agree to spending caps because, inevitably, they undermine the ability of federal agencies to carry out their missions and result in further unwarranted cuts to federal jobs and compensation," the union leader stressed, taking aim at a key demand of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and fellow Republicans, who passed their so-called Limit, Save, Grow Act late last month.

Noting that "many federal agencies that deliver services directly to the public, like the Social Security Administration, are already at the breaking point from years of inadequate funding," Kelley warned that they "can in no way withstand further budget cuts of the magnitude proposed by House Republicans in the morally bankrupt 'Limit, Save, Grow Act.' This bill, even in the most diluted form, would be an economic and humanitarian calamity."

"Clearly a default must be avoided at all costs," he added. "I urge you not to yield to threats but instead to heed the advice of many legal scholars who have concluded that you have the inherent power, and indeed the duty, to avoid a default under the Constitution's 14th Amendment. You have additional authorities to mint platinum coins under 31 USC § 5112. Please use these authorities now before it is too late."

Before returning to Washington, D.C. to continue negotiations with McCarthy, Biden told reporters on Sunday that "I think we have the authority" to invoke the 14th Amendment but given the potential for a legal challenge," the question of whether it could be done in time to prevent a default "is unresolved."

Politicoreported Friday that some Biden aides worry that "even the appearance of more seriously considering the 14th Amendment could blow up talks that are already quite delicate," and actually doing so could "trigger a pitched legal battle, undermine global faith in U.S. creditworthiness, and damage the economy."

Kelley's letter came as a federal judge scheduled a debt limit lawsuit hearing for May 31, the day before the so-called X-date. That case—filed by another union, the National Association of Government Employees, against Biden and Yellen—cites the 14th Amendment and aims to have the debt limit statute deemed unconstitutional.

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a press conference on May 18, 2023

Sanders Says Cuts to Aid Programs Should Be 'Off the Table' as White House and GOP Near Deal

Sen. Bernie Sanders said late Thursday that cuts to aid programs for vulnerable people should be "off the table" entirely as Republican negotiators and the Biden White House reportedly closed in on a deal that would raise the debt ceiling in exchange for a two-year cap on non-military discretionary spending.

Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, toldCNN's Anderson Cooper that Republicans have engaged in "an outrageous display of extremist politics" by "holding hostage the entire world economy unless they get what they want."

"Right now in America, you got a middle class which is shrinking, you got 60% of our people living paycheck-to-paycheck, childcare system in disarray, healthcare system collapsing, housing—all over the country people can't afford housing," Sanders said. "You don't cut programs that working people desperately need."

The senator appeared on the network shortly after The New York Timesreported that top White House officials and GOP lawmakers were nearing an agreement that would cut non-military discretionary spending or keep it roughly at this year's levels—a real-term cut when accounting for inflation.

Under the emerging deal, the debt ceiling would be raised for two years, temporarily preventing an economy-wrecking default.

According to the Times, the deal would "roll back $10 billion of the $80 billion Congress approved last year for an IRS crackdown on high earners and corporations that evade taxes, though that provision was still under discussion."

"As the deal stood on Thursday, the IRS money would essentially shift to nondefense discretionary spending, allowing Democrats to avoid further cuts in programs like education and environmental protection, according to people familiar with the pending agreement," the Times reported. "The plan had yet to be finalized, and the bargainers continued to haggle over crucial details that could make or break any deal."

Sanders told Cooper on Thursday that all he knows of the possible deal is what he read in the Times, and that "it may be right, it may be wrong."

The senator stressed that "there are ways that you can cut government spending without doing it on the backs of the most vulnerable people in this country" and slammed Republicans for stonewalling efforts to raise taxes on the wealthy, rein in out-of-control military spending, and slash prescription drug costs.

"It's not good enough for them to say, 'Oh, we get huge campaign contributions from billionaires, we don't want to tax them. Oh, we love the military-industrial complex, we don't want to cut military spending. Off the table,'" Sanders said. "Well, it's not off the table. What should be off the table are children in America, where we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country. That should be off the table. The needs of elderly people who are struggling to pay for their prescription drugs—that should be off the table."

Asked about his call for President Joe Biden to consider invoking the 14th Amendment to avert a catastrophic default, Sanders said such a move would easily be preferable to "the Republican approach" of "massive cuts for the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor."

"If the Republicans are prepared to hold the entire world economy hostage and say, 'Hey Mr. President, you've got no alternative but to make massive cuts to programs for vulnerable people—you have no alternative.' Well, the president does have an alternative."

Sanders added that allowing Republicans to "get away with holding the economy hostage" would set "a precedent for years to come."

"GOP wants to add bureaucratic red tape to make it even harder for people who are hungry to get food assistance."

It's still far from clear that Republicans and the White House will strike a debt ceiling agreement before June 1, the day the Treasury Department says the government could run out of money to pay its obligations. A number of key disputes remain, including the GOP push for work requirements for aid programs—an effort that has drawn strong pushback from progressives.

"GOP wants to add bureaucratic red tape to make it even harder for people who are hungry to get food assistance that averages only about $6/day. Really?" Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, tweeted Thursday. "None of this saves any money. It's just cruel. POTUS must reject these demands in any negotiation."

It's also not certain that any eventual deal can gain enough support to get through Congress, with far-right Republicans threatening to tank an agreement that doesn't enact sufficiently steep federal spending cuts.

House Democrats, too, are reportedly unhappy with the emerging outlines of the deal.

According toPunchbowl, the top three House Democrats—Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.)—warned the White House on Thursday that "it can't just assume 80 to 100 Democrats will back any Biden-McCarthy deal."

One unnamed Democratic aide told the outlet that the deal currently in the works is "'shitty enough' that Democrats don't feel compelled to back it and it's not good enough for the GOP to bring 200 Republicans on board."


Citing 'Imminent Danger,' Indigenous Women Demand Biden Shut Down Line 5 Pipeline

Native American women leaders and more than 150 allied advocacy groups from across the United States on Thursday implored the Biden administration to decommission a Canadian-owned oil and gas pipeline that, according to one group, has spilled more than a million gallons of fossil fuels in over 30 incidents during the past 55 years.

In a letter to President Joe Biden, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, and other administration officials, leaders of the Indigenous Women's Treaty Alliance—which is facilitated by the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN)—called on the president to "immediately revoke the presidential permit for Canada's deteriorating Enbridge Line 5 pipeline before environmental calamity strikes with oil spills into the Great Lakes."

"We write to you as Indigenous grandmothers, mothers, aunties, daughters, sisters, and relatives. We are of the Great Lakes, where our sacred food manoomin (wild rice) grows on water," the letter states. "We hold a responsibility to protect our water, our ecosystems, and our cultural lifeways for the next seven generations."

Manoomin "is fundamental to the physical, spiritual, and cultural survival of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa," the letter's signers explained. "Our sovereignty and treaty-protected rights to hunt, fish, and gather food and medicine are all at risk. Diverse fish populations spawn in the Bad River Watershed. These fish are economically and culturally vital to the Bad River Band, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and the entire region."

Treaty rights and manoomin were at the center of Indigenous-led opposition to replacing Line 3, another Enbridge pipeline running from Canada through the Great Lakes region. Despite fierce resistance from Indigenous, climate, and environmental activists, the Biden administration declined to block Line 3's replacement, which went online in October 2021.

"An oil disaster would permanently devastate the exceptional ecology of the watershed, the wild rice, and fish populations," the new letter continued. "At the Bad River Reservation, recent flooding has eroded one riverbank to within 11 feet or less of Line 5's centerline, creating an immediate threat."

Last September, U.S. District Judge William Conley found that Enbridge was trespassing on lands belonging to the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in northwestern Wisconsin, and profiting off Line 5 at the tribe's expense. However, Conley said earlier this month that since the tribe cannot prove that an "emergency" exists along the flooded riverbank, he is unlikely to order Enbridge to shut down the pipeline.

"This is a nearly 70-year-old pipeline running almost two decades past its engineered lifespan," the new letter stresses. "Erosion from receding waters or the next rainfall could cause a 'guillotine rupture'—a vertical break causing oil to gush from both sides, poisoning the Bad River watershed and Lake Superior."

As the Oil & Water Don't Mix coalition explained:

Nearly 23 million gallons of oil daily flow through two aging pipelines in the heart of the Great Lakes, just 1.5 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge. Constructed during the Eisenhower administration in 1953, the two 20-inch-in-diameter [pipelines]... lie exposed at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac—a busy shipping channel...

Line 5 has spilled 33 times and at least 1.1 million gallons along its length since 1968.

The pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac cross one of the most ecologically sensitive areas in the world. The Great Lakes are home to 21% of the world's fresh surface water. The pristine straits area supports bountiful fisheries, provides drinking water to thousands of people, and anchors a thriving tourism industry with historic and beautiful Mackinac Island right in the center.

In November 2020, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer moved to revoke Line 5's easement, with a shutdown order coming the following May. However, Enbridge ignored Whitmer's order and kept running the pipeline.

"Revoking the presidential permit and forcing Enbridge to cease Line 5's operations is consistent with your administration's directives for climate, nation-to-nation relations, and environmental justice. It is also consistent with the knowledge we share that the Great Lakes—one-fifth of the world's surface freshwater at a time of growing water scarcity—are invaluable treasures that must be protected, regardless of political pressures, special interests, and short-term profits," the new letter argues.

"Water is life," the signers added. "We are... calling on you to protect essential water, as well as wild rice, fisheries, and cultural survival."

Jannan J. Cornstalk, a citizen of Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and director of the Water is Life Festival, said in a statement Thursday that "our very lifeways and cultures hang in the balance as Line 5 continues to operate illegally in Indigenous territories and water."

"These are our lifeways—when that water is healthy enough that rice is growing—that not only benefits our communities, but that benefits everybody up and downstream," Cornstalk added. "Allowing Line 5 to continue to operate is cultural genocide, and the Biden administration must listen and shut down Line 5. That water is our relative, and we will do whatever it takes to protect our water, our sacred relative."

Aurora Conley of the Bad River Ojibwe and Anishinaabe Environmental Protection Alliance said: "I am calling on the Biden administration to shut down Line 5 immediately. Our territories and water are in imminent danger, and we do not want to see irreversible damage to our land, water, and wild rice."

"We do not want our lifeways destroyed," Conley added. "The Ojibwe people are here in Bad River because of the wild rice. A rupture from this oil spill will irreversibly harm the Great Lakes and wild rice beds. This is unacceptable. We will not stand for this. Shut down Line 5 now."

Carrie Chesnik of the Oneida Nation Wisconsin and founder of the Treaty Land Trust, asserted that "we have an opportunity here to shut down the Line 5 pipeline, and protect what we all hold dear."

"We all have the responsibility and agency to act in a good way, to care for the land and waters," she continued. "What our communities have known for a long time is that the water is hurting, Mother Earth is hurting, and pretty soon we won't have clean water for our kids, for future generations."

"As a Haudenosunee woman, an auntie, daughter, and sister, I have an inherent responsibility to the water and our children," Chesnik added. "Every single one of us has agency and a responsibility to take action, honor the treaties, and protect Mother Earth. It is the time to be brave and courageous."

Abu Zubaydah torture

Drawings by Guantánamo 'Forever Prisoner' Abu Zubaydah Expose Details of US Torture

A report published this week featuring previously unreleased drawings by Abu Zubaydah—a 52-year-old Saudi who has been imprisoned by the United States for more than 20 years at CIA "black sites" and Guantánamo Bay—offers new insight into torture suffered by a man caught up in a case of mistaken identity.

The report—entitled American Torturers: FBI and CIA Abuses at Dark Sites and Guantánamo—is based on sketches and descriptions by Zubaydah and other War on Terror torture victims and was led by Seton Hall University law professor Mark Denbeaux and University of California, San Francisco psychiatry professor Jess Ghannam, with the help of Seton Hall law students.

"Despite the efforts of the federal government, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency, to conceal evidence of the actual operation of the 'enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) deployed on detainees in dark sites and at Guantánamo, a steady drumbeat of disclosures has provided an unparalleled view into this disgraceful episode in the nation's history," the report states.

"Everybody agrees, they tortured the wrong guy; they went ahead anyway so they could get permission to torture other people."

The report notes that Zubaydah's drawings "viscerally convey the brutal reality the CIA sought to hide with its calculated destruction of video recordings of torture conducted by its agents," and "dovetail with the recent accounts of Dr. James Mitchell, a chief architect of the torture regime, who both wrote a book on EITs and testified in hearings on Guantánamo."

"These sources, together with the report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, provide the most complete—and compelling—account to date of America's torture program" in the years after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, the publication states.

Born in Saudi Arabia, Zubaydah moved to the West Bank in Israeli-occupied Palestine as a teenager. He was captured by CIA, FBI, and Pakistani intelligence agents in Pakistan in late March 2002. Shot in the thigh, testicle, and stomach during the raid that led to his capture, Zubaydah—who was mistaken for a high-ranking al-Qaeda member—was transferred to CIA "black sites" in Pakistan, Thailand, Afghanistan, Poland, Northern Africa, and Diego Garcia. In September 2006, he was sent to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he remains imprisoned.

Zubaydah was the first so-called "high-value" detainee to be tortured by U.S. agents, who treated him as a human guinea pig.

"Everybody agrees, they tortured the wrong guy; they went ahead anyway so they could get permission to torture other people," Denbeaux told The Guardian, which on Thursday posted the report along with an articleby Ed Pilkington on Zubaydah's experience.

Then-Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and CIA Director George Tenet gave the green light for U.S. agents to torture Zubaydah—even after learning that the prisoner was cooperative. During one discussion on the matter, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft reportedly remarked: "Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly."

Zubaydah was subjected to the interrupted drowning technique known as "waterboarding" 83 times; rape under the pretext of "rectal feeding"; shackling in excruciating "stress positions"; sleep, sensory, and food deprivation; confinement in small boxes; exposure to extreme temperatures and loud music; death threats; beatings and being slammed into walls; sexual and religious humiliation; and other abuses.

Most of the torture techniques approved by the George W. Bush administration—which included waterboarding, deprivation, stress positions, the use of loud music and dogs, slamming into walls, solitary confinement, and exposure to extreme temperatures—are illegal under both domestic and international law.

In addition to these approved EITs, U.S. military and intelligence personnel subjected terrorism detainees—many of them innocent men, women, and children—to additional abuses, including homicide, rape, imprisonment of relatives as bargaining chips, exposure to sometimes lethally extreme temperatures, and brutal beatings.

"Sexual assault was never approved, nudity was never approved, humiliation by having women present was never approved, and nor was subjecting someone to prolonged torture to the point of exhaustion or worse," Denbeaux told The Guardian.

"Prisoners died of torture at Asadadad, Bagram, and Gardez in Afghanistan and at Abu Ghraib, Camp Whitehorse, Basra, Mosul, Tikrit, Bucca, and an unidentified facility in Iraq."

According to a 2005 report by the National Library of Medicine—a federal agency—based on reviews of military documents, 26 War on Terror detainees died as a result of "criminal homicide," although the paper did not say how many prisoners died on the battlefield or while in U.S. custody.

"Prisoners died of torture at Asadadad, Bagram, and Gardez in Afghanistan and at Abu Ghraib, Camp Whitehorse, Basra, Mosul, Tikrit, Bucca, and an unidentified facility in Iraq," the report stated. "These cases do not include deaths due to medical neglect, mortar attacks on prisons, or the shootings of rioting prisoners."

Zubaydah has never been charged with any crime or tried. He is what's known as a "forever prisoner," as the U.S. has no plans to release him.

Last month, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called for Zubaydah's immediate release while asserting that his continued imprisonment violates the "fundamental rules of international law" and "may constitute crimes against humanity."

Thirty men remain imprisoned at Guantánamo. Only one has been convicted of a crime. Ten have cases pending before what former military prosecutors have called "rigged" military tribunals, while 16 have been approved or recommended for release.

The administration of President Joe Biden—who has expressed intent to close Guantánamo—has overseen the transfer of a handful of Gitmo prisoners to third countries.

Denbeaux said that "Abu Zubaydah is the poster child for America's torture program."

"He was the first person to be tortured, having been approved by the Department of Justice based on facts that the CIA knew to be false," Denbeaux noted. "His drawings are the ultimate repudiation of the failure and abuses of torture."