February, 14 2022, 01:05pm EDT
Poor People's Campaign Steps Toward Mass Poor People's and Low-Wage Workers' Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls With 5-State Southern Virtual Mobilization Stop
AL, FL, GA, MS & TN hold 1st gathering of march toward DC; next virtual stop includes TX, OK, LA & AR; in-person planned for WI, OH, NC, NY, PA, CA & TN
The Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival launches its march toward Washington with a Mobilization Tour that starts Monday with a virtual gathering covering five Southern states.
The first stop of The Mass Poor People's & Low-Wage Workers' Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls Mobilization Tour begins online at 7 p.m CT/8 p.m. ET on Monday, Feb. 14. Speakers from Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Mississippi who are directly impacted by the policy violence of the U.S. Congress will headline the program.
Faith leaders and artists also will join the program, which will be live streamed here.
All these states suffer from high poverty, voter suppression, denial of healthcare and the lack of living minimum wage:
PLI- Raw numbers
PLI - %
59% or 762,000
64% or 141,000
37% or 1.1 million
58% or 26 million
70% or 38 million
35% or 66 million
66% or 2 million
63% or 3.3 million
39% or 4.3 million
58% or 631,000
66% or 263,000
37% or 1.8 million
65% or 708,000
66% or 54,000
39% or 649,000
But poor and low-income people in these states also voted in high percentages in the 2020 presidential election: Alabama, 44%; Florida, 45%; Georgia, 37% and Tennessee, 39%. Figures were not available for Mississippi at the time of the study in May 2021.
These numbers show that a fusion coalition of Black, white, Latino, Asian and Native poor people and their allies can shift the outcome of elections and public policy. We will use the tour to declare that we must change the moral narrative and that we must resist the lie of scarcity.
The Mobilization Tour will make at least 10 stops nationwide to Mobilize, Organize, Register and Educate people for a movement that votes.
Speakers will demand that this nation do MORE to live up to its possibilities:
MORE to fully address the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the denial of health care, militarism and the war economy and the false moral narrative of religious nationalism.
MORE to change the narrative and build the power of those most impacted by these injustices.
MORE to realize a Third Reconstruction agenda that can build this country from the bottom up and realize the nation we have yet to be.
The reality of 140 million people who are poor or low-wealth and just one $400 emergency away from being poor - and who represent every race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, ability and political party and account for 43.5% of the people living in the richest nation in the world - is a moral crisis.
Because of COVID, this stop and the next one, scheduled Feb. 28 for Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas are virtual. Other in-person stops on the tour are: Madison, Wisconsin, and Cleveland in March; Raleigh, North Carolina, New York City and Philadelphia in April and Los Angeles, Memphis and the Delta of Mississippi in May.
The June 18th assembly in DC will be a generationally transformative declaration of the power of poor and low-wealth people and our moral allies to say that this system is killing ALL of us and we can't...we won't...we refuse to be silent anymore!
"It is NOT just a day of action. It is a declaration of an ongoing, committed moral movement to 1) shift the moral narrative; 2) build power; and 3) make real policies to fully address poverty and low wealth from the bottom up."
--Bishop William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis. co-chairs of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
The Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, is building a generationally transformative digital gathering called the Mass Poor People's Assembly and Moral March on Washington, on June 20, 2020. At that assembly, we will demand that both major political parties address the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism by implementing our Moral Agenda.
"End Fossil Fuels is pretty clear," said one advocate. "Not 'hold slightly fewer lease sales,' not 'talk about climate action'—End. Fossil. Fuels."
Sep 29, 2023
Gulf communities, added Beard, "refuse to be sacrificed" for fossil fuel profits.
Rejecting the corporate media's narrative that U.S. President Joe Biden's newly-released offshore drilling plan includes the "fewest-ever" drilling leases, dozens of climate action and marine conservation groups on Friday said the president had "missed an easy opportunity to do the right thing" and follow through on his campaign promise to end all lease sales for oil and gas extraction in the nation's waters.
The U.S. Interior Department announced Friday its five-year plan for the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, including three new areas in the Gulf of Mexico where fossil fuel companies will be permitted to drill.
Biden promised "no new drilling, period" as a presidential candidate, and the plan was announced six months after climate advocates were incensed by the administration's approval of the Willow oil drilling project in Alaska.
The new leases will be added to more than 9,000 drilling leases that have already been sold, and is "incompatible with reaching President Biden’s goal of cutting emissions by 50-52% by 2030," said the Protect All Our Coasts Coalition, citing the findings of Biden's own Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its Office of Atmospheric Protection earlier this year.
While the final plan scales back from the eleven sales that were originally proposed, said the coalition, "the plan is a step backwards from the climate goals the administration has set and for environmental justice communities across the Gulf South, who are already experiencing the disproportionate impact of fossil fuel extraction across the region."
The coalition includes the Port Arthur Community Action Network, which has called attention to the risks posed to public health in the Gulf region by continued fossil fuel extraction.
"Folks in Port Arthur, Texas die daily from cancer, respiratory, heart, and kidney disease from the very pollution that would come from more leases and drilling," said John Beard, the founder, president, and executive director of the group. "If Biden is to truly be the environmental president, he should stop any further leasing and all forms of the petrochemical build-out, call for a climate emergency, and jumpstart the transition to clean green, renewable energy, and lift the toxic pollution from overburdened communities."
Kendall Dix, national policy director of Taproot Earth, dismissed political think tanks that applauded the "historically few lease sales" on Friday.
"The earth does not recognize political 'victories,'" said Dix, pointing to an intrusion of saltwater in South Louisiana's drinking water in recent weeks, which has been exacerbated by the fossil fuel-driven climate crisis.
"As the head of the United Nations and has said, continued fossils fuel development is incompatible with human survival," he added. "We need to transition to justly sourced renewable energy that's democratically managed and accountable to frontline communities as quickly as possible."
Along with groups in the Gulf region, national organizations on Friday condemned a plan that they said blatantly ignores the repeated warnings of international energy experts and the world's top climate scientists who say no new fossil fuel expansion is compatible with a pathway to limiting planetary heating to 1.5°C.
"Sacrificing millions of acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas extraction when scientists are clear that we must end fossil fuel expansion immediately is a gross denial of reality by Joe Biden in the face of climate catastrophe," said Collin Rees, United States program manager at Oil Change International. "Doubling down on drilling is a direct violation of President Biden's prior commitments and continues a concerning trend."
Rees noted that 75,000 people marched in New York City last week to demand that Biden declare a climate emergency and end support for any new fossil fuel extraction projects.
"End Fossil Fuels is pretty clear," said Rees, referring to campaigners' rallying cry. "Not 'hold slightly fewer lease sales,' not 'talk about climate action'—End. Fossil. Fuels."
Despite Biden's campaign promises, Rees noted, the U.S. is currently "on track to expand fossil fuel production more than any other country by 2050."
"I feel disgusted and incredibly let down by Biden's offshore drilling plan. It piles more harm on already-struggling ecosystems, endangered species and the global climate," said Brady Bradshaw, senior oceans campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity, another member of the Protect All Our Coasts Coalition. "We need Biden to commit to a fossil fuel phaseout, but actions like this condemn us to oil spills, climate disasters, and decades of toxic harm to communities and wildlife."
The lease sales, said Sarah Winter Whelan of the Healthy Ocean Coalition, also represent a missed opportunity by the administration to treat the world's oceans "as a climate solution, not a source for further climate disaster."
Under the Inflation Reduction Act, negotiated by the White House last year, the government is required to offer at least 60 million acres of offshore gas and oil leases before developing new wind power projects of similar scope.
"A single new lease sale for offshore oil and gas exploration is one too many," said Whelan. "Communities around the country are already dealing with exacerbating impacts from climate disruption caused by our reliance on fossil fuels. Any increase in our dependence on fossil fuels just bakes in greater impacts to humanity."
Gulf communities, added Beard, "refuse to be sacrificed" for fossil fuel profits.
"We say enough is enough," he said.
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CP2, which the Biden administration is expected to either approve or reject in the coming months, would emit 20 times the climate pollution expected from the controversial Willow oil drilling project in Alaska.
Sep 29, 2023
Democratic Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley has joined the growing movement to stop the Calcasieu Pass 2, or CP2, a liquefied natural gas export terminal planned for Louisiana's Gulf Coast.
Experts warn that CP2, which the Biden administration is expected to either approve or reject in the coming months, would emit 20 times the climate pollution expected from the controversial Willow oil drilling project in Alaska.
"The Calcasieu Pass 2 LNG export terminal in Louisiana is the next climate litmus test," Merkley tweeted Thursday. "CP2 would poison communities and fly in the face of our climate goals."
Directly addressing President Biden, Merkley added: "Say no to CP2!"
Merkley's statement came less than a week after longtime climate activist Bill McKibben wrote an article in The New Yorker detailing how CP2—and the broader expansion of LNG exports it represents—threatens to undermine U.S. climate goals and force the 1.5°C temperature-rise target out of reach.
The U.S. is already the world's leading exporter of LNG, and CP2 is only the largest of at least 20 Gulf export terminals in the pipeline.
"If this buildout continues, and if you counted the emissions from this gas against America's totals, it would mean that American greenhouse gas emissions would not have budged since 2005," McKibben wrote on his Substack.
"Thank you Sen. Jeff Merkley for calling on POTUS to stop CP2 and protect Louisiana's coast, and our fishermen and shrimpers."
However, the Biden administration has a chance to stop the project. First, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) could reject CP2 at its October commission meeting, though McKibben noted in The New Yorker that this appears unlikely. In July, FERC opined that the project would not have a major impact on local resources, making no mention of its global climate impacts.
Then, the Department of Energy needs to grant CP2 a license to export gas through the terminal. Such a license can only be approved if an export is in "the public interest."
"After a northern hemisphere summer like the one we've just experienced, that should be an easy call," McKibben wrote on his Substack.
Merkley's statement indicates he agrees.
"Many many thanks for standing up here, Senator!' McKibben posted in response.
Climate advocacy group Oil Change International boosted Merkely's call.
"The proposed CP2 LNG export terminal is a climate and environmental justice disaster, many times over," the group wrote. "It's also a clear test for President Joe Biden."
CP2 also faces local opposition. Louisiana's Gulf Coast is on the frontlines of the climate crisis in myriad ways as it suffers sea level rise, more intense storms, and increased pollution that results from fossil fuel expansion.
The LNG buildout in particular destroys habitat for fish and shrimp, threatening the ecosystem and the livelihoods of fishers and shrimpers, according to a press release from local environmental justice group the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. The increase in shipping traffic brought by the terminals also makes fishing and shrimping more difficult.
"Thank you Sen. Jeff Merkley for calling on POTUS to stop CP2 and protect Louisiana's coast, and our fishermen and shrimpers," the group wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "This is the federal leadership we need. We'd love to have you come down and see firsthand how gas exports are decimating our beloved seafood industry."
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade also called on their own Senator, Republican Bill Cassidy, to step up.
"Are you going to protect your own constituents, the fishermen and shrimpers whose livelihoods will be decimated by CP2," the group asked, "or are you going to rely on Sen. Jeff Merkley from Oregon to do it for you?"
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"Trump violated his oath of office and incited a violent insurrection that attacked the U.S. Capitol, threatened the assassination of the vice president and congressional leaders, and disrupted the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our nation's history."
Sep 29, 2023
A progressive advocacy group on Friday filed a lawsuit on behalf of Michigan voters seeking to bar former U.S. President Donald Trump from the state's 2024 presidential ballot, arguing his role in inciting the deadly January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection constitutionally bars him from holding public office.
Free Speech for People filed the suit, which contends that Trump—currently the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP nomination—is disqualified from holding public office under a constitutional provision known as the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause.
As the group explains:
Enacted in the wake of the Civil War, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment disqualifies from public office any individual who has taken an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution but then engages in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or gives aid or comfort to its enemies. No prior criminal conviction is required. Trump's involvement in the violent attack on Congress to prevent the certification of election results, which resulted in the disruption of the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our nation's history, disqualifies him from holding any future public office. State election officials do not need permission from Congress to enforce the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause, just as they do not need congressional approval to enforce the U.S. Constitution in general.
"Donald Trump violated his oath of office and incited a violent insurrection that attacked the U.S. Capitol, threatened the assassination of the vice president and congressional leaders, and disrupted the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our nation's history," Free Speech for People legal director Ron Fein said in a statement.
"Our predecessors understood that oath-breaking insurrectionists will do it again, and worse, if allowed back into power, so they enacted the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause to protect the republic from people like Trump," Fein continued. "Trump is legally barred from the ballot and election officials must follow this constitutional mandate."
Mark Brewer, an attorney for Free Speech for People, said that "the United States Constitution makes Donald Trump ineligible to run for or serve in any public office in the country, let alone president."
"All Michigan voters, including the plaintiffs, have a well-established right to have only eligible candidates on the ballot" he added. "Since Secretary of State [Jocelyn] Benson has announced that Trump will be on the primary ballot unless a court orders otherwise, we are seeking a court order preventing Trump from being on the ballot."
Trump is also under federal indictment for his efforts to overturn his 2020 loss.
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