Potential Oil Spill Concerns Arise As Shell Begins Arctic Drilling

Shell No Campaign

There is increasing concern that Shell’s presence in the Arctic will lead to an oil spill, as the company begins to drill in the Chukcki Sea off the shore of Alaska.

Shell is no stranger to the Chukchi Sea. In 1988, the firm spent $300 million to drill for oil only to find dry holes.

Today Shell’s technology is more advanced, but that does not mean it can protect against potentially disastrous spills. A report by the Department of Interior—specifically the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management—found a 75 percent chance of a large oil spill in the Arctic should drilling occur.

The search for oil in the Arctic is viewed as a necessity by the oil industry. According to the U.S. Geological Service, there are potentially 90 billion barrels of oil under the Arctic ice. The National Petroleum Council, comprised mostly of oil and gas companies, released a report earlier this year highlighted the usefulness of depending on Arctic oil:

Arctic exploration today may provide a material impact to U.S. oil production in the future, potentially averting decline, improving U.S. energy security, and benefiting the local and overall U.S. economy.

Erik Milito, director of upstream at the oil industry-funded American Petroleum Institute, argued on behalf of Arctic drilling as essential for U.S. energy security:

The safe and responsible development of oil and natural gas in the Arctic is critical to our economy and national security…Failure to develop these resources would put America’s global energy leadership at risk at a time when Russia and other Arctic nations are forging ahead.

Although, a 2012 report co-written by API’s Arctic Oil Spill task force found, in spite of some advantages, “logistical challenges” in responding to an oil spill.

John Deans, a Greenpeace Arctic campaigner specialist, told Firedoglake an oil spill in the Arctic would be a “catastrophe.” Moreover, he said risky extractions, such as tar sands, are slightly similar to drilling in the Arctic, yet the latter carries more risks.

“With the Arctic, it is another extreme extraction. The environmental risks are so much higher and difficult to deal with,” Deans said. (more…)

The Roundup for July 31st, 2015

A caricature of Barack Obama at a switchboard, listening to people's phone calls on various mobile phone networks. (Flickr / Donkey Hotey)

Enjoy your day folks.

International Politics

Overall

– Journalist Patrick Cockburn joins The Real News to talk about Turkey’s role in the West’s fight against the Islamic State and the potential of it to jeopardize the situation

– The Pentagon denied allegations that U.S.-trained rebels were captured in Syria

– Private military contractors are the ones in charge of the U.S. military’s drones

Middle East

– At a gay pride rally in Tel Aviv, Israel, an ultra-Orthodox man stabbed six people before being arrested

– Israel passed a law allowing the force-feeding of Palestinians prisoners

– The PKK is prepared to fight against Turkey as the writing on the wall is clear (more…)

The Roundup for July 30th, 2015

Some smooth Latin sounds for the morning.

International Politics

Overall

– Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, joins The Real News to question U.S. intentions when partnering with Turkey against the Islamic State

– President Barack Obama’s tour throughout Africa was just a shaming tour 

– Lee Fang: “Turkey’s Political Influence Felt as Washington Turns Its Back on Kurds Fighting ISIS

Middle East

– Dave Zirin: “An Open Letter to the NBA Players Traveling to Israel

– Even the United Nations believes it is too soon to have peace talks in Syria

Asia and Oceania

– Afghanistan said Mullah Oman, the head of the Taliban, died two years ago in a Pakistani hospital

– A Japanese official warned China’s use of artificial islands for military purposes will make the South China Sea under Chinese control (more…)

The Roundup for July 29th, 2015

Been a while since punk was on the Roundup.

International Politics

Overall

– Secretary of State John Kerry said, if Congress stopped the agreement with Iran, Iran would seek nuclear weapons; FOR THE LAST TIME THEY DO NOT HAVE ANY INTENTIONS

– Of course, Kerry said it would be “the easiest decision in the world” to bomb Iran if they violate the agreement

– Peter Van Buren: “It’s Not a Nuclear-Armed Iran That Israel and Saudi Arabia Really Fear

Middle East

– Because of the Syrian Civil War, it is difficult to come across clean water to consume

– Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he looked forward for the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in November

– It was thanks to Israel, not Iran, that an arms race began in the Middle East decades ago

– An Iraqi Shi’ite militia leader criticized the U.S. as not being serious in the fight against the Islamic State

– Meanwhile, militias in the country are training teenagers to fight against ISIS (more…)

The Roundup for July 28th, 2015

Almost the end of the month. Keep those suggestions coming, folks.

International Politics

Overall

– Israel hopes to use the Syrian Civil War to bolster its energy independence

– Russian President Vladimir Putin: I think Sepp Blatter should get the Nobel Peace Prize; *Spits out drink*

– The United Nations suspended its health programs in Iraq because of lack of funding

– Both the U.S. and Turkey pledged to kick out the Islamic State from northern Syria; Easier said than done

Middle East

– Even the Jewish community in Iran find Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as ridiculous when it comes to the agreement with Iran

– Chris Hedges: “Why I Support the BDS Movement Against Israel

– A Saudi official criticized Iran’s “aggressive statements” on Bahrain, an ally of Saudi Arabia (more…)

The Roundup for July 26-27th, 2015

Folks, any criticisms of the Roundup or suggestions to improve it? It’s been a while since I asked that so I’m open to hearing your input.

International Politics

Overall

– President Barack Obama told leaders of African countries to treat gay people and women as equals

– Turkey called for a special meeting with NATO over both the Islamic State and PKK Kurdish forces

Middle East

A new study found Jews around the world are more uncomfortable with Israel because of the latter’s policies toward Palestinians

– Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: I will admit we are suffering setbacks, but there are positive changes too

– Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said he would not cut pensions of Israeli soldiers despite overspending issues

– The cancellation of a documentary about Palestinians in the Gaza Strip suffering by right-wing Israelis shows how Israeli society truly does not care about them

– Rania Khalek: “Israel threw stun grenade at 11-year-old — Human Rights Watch

Africa

– Workers in South Africa are fighting to ensure their rights are respected in their country

– The Egyptian military government is fiercely repressing journalists working in the country

Europe 

– It is alleged Greek officials considered taking its central bank reserves to return to the drachma

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– In Colombia, politics is about security and fear, when it really should be about issues of life

– The government, meanwhile, suspended raids against FARC because of a new truce

– Paraguayans are suffering from decadence caused by the country’s elite and U.S. interest

– Folks in Honduras are still demonstrating against their corrupt government

– Cuban officials are toning down anti-American rhetoric because of the new chapter of relations with the U.S.

Financial Matters

– Economist James Henry joins The Real News to explain the loopholes the shipping industry in Greece took advantage of to profit

– In spite of a major debt, Puerto Rico still opts to give tax breaks to the wealthy

– Robert Reich: “Let’s Celebrate Medicare’s Birthday by Recognizing the Truth About the Program

Labor’s a-Brewing

– A former Google engineer said speaking up about discrimination did nothing

Politics US

Washington USA

– Donald Trump: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ruined his state’s economy

– Trump, meanwhile, is leading the GOP pack with growing Republican support. He is the perfect symbol, though, of the clownish democracy we have with a cartoon media

– Hillary Clinton said she was “confident” no classified information was sent through her emails

– Meanwhile, two aides tied to Wall Street joined Clinton’s campaign; “B-but she’s a Democrat! That means she is not the bad Republicans!”

– A U.S. district judge ruled the government cannot detain undocumented children

– Glen Ford: “Obama’s Takes His Prison Reform Con Game on the Road

– Mike Huckabee, lover of Holocaust exploitation, said President Obama is sending Israelis to “the door of the oven” because of the Iran deal

– Two billionaires tied to hydrofracking provided $15 million to a Super PAC tied to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

– The right-wing want to discreetly fund campaigns without us knowing

Anytown USA

– Henry Giroux: “America’s New Brutalism: the Death of Sandra Bland

– Meanwhile, folks still do not believe Bland committed suicide as it is too suspicious

– The death of Bland is not an isolated incident and shows how far the state will go in using repression

– What happened at Netroots Nation last week shows Black Lives Matter wanting to be a part of the Democratic machine

– Bree Newsome: “Now is the time for true courage

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Homelessness is criminalized in Los Angeles, a city where more people are becoming homeless

The Second Sex

– Christa Big Canoe, of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Toronto, joins The Real News to talk about a United Nations report criticizing Canada for failing to protect Aboriginal women

– Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): I will force a vote to defund Planned Parenthood

– The head of Planned Parenthood said the group did nothing illegal with fetal organs

Planet Earth

– Irish President Michael Higgins called for a new economic framework to challenge climate change

– Some Senators in Congress are pleading to end all drilling in the Arctic

Mixed Bag

– Glenn Greenwald: “A Crucial Realization About Journalism is Learned by Being its Subject

Break Time

New Sensation [INXS]

Oil And Gas Lobbyists Are Supporting Hillary Clinton’s Campaign

Hillary Clinton by Donkey Hotey for Flickr.com (Creative Commons)

Lobbyists connected to fossil fuel firms are acting as bundlers for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign based on documents uploaded by journalist Lee Fang.

In a post for The Intercept, Fang highlighted how private prison lobbyists were helping raise money for Clinton’s campaign. Interestingly, the documents also highlight lobbyists—who also have gone through the revolving door—working on behalf of oil and gas companies.

Bundlers, as noted by Fang, “collect contributions on behalf of a campaign, and are often rewarded with special favors, such as access to the candidate.”

Tony Podesta, who lobbied the White House in 2013 to push for liquefied natural gas exports, is one bundler for the campaign. Moreover, he is the brother of John Podesta, a former White House official who recently worked with President Barack Obama on environmental issues. Currently, Podesta chairs Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Ankit Desai, vice president of government relations at Cheniere Energy, also is a registered bundler. Desai is a former government official who worked for then-Senator Joseph Biden and worked on John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign.

Cheniere Energy, as noted by Fang and journalist Steve Horn in a report last year, received the first permit by the Obama administration in 2012 to export liquefied natural gas after lobbying White House officials.

Hillary Clinton is no stranger to natural gas as, while Secretary of State under the Obama administration, she pushed for shale gas development overseas. Journalist Mariah Blake, for Mother Jones, highlighted such efforts by the State Department in foreign countries:

As part of its expanded energy mandate, the State Department hosted conferences on fracking from Thailand to Botswana. It sent US experts to work alongside foreign officials as they developed shale gas programs. And it arranged for dozens of foreign delegations to visit the United States to attend workshops and meet with industry consultants—as well as with environmental groups, in some cases.

Steve Elmendorf is another supporter of Clinton’s campaign. He worked for former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt and Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign as well.

Currently, Elmendorf works for Bryan Cave Strategies, who have lobbied for Shell Oil many times. In 2007, Barack Obama criticized the Clinton campaign for relying on Elmendorf to push for a gas tax holiday. He called their efforts a “shell game, literally.”

Theresa Maria Fariello, vice president of government relations at ExxonMobil, is another bundler and also no stranger to the Democratic Party. From 1999 to 2001, she worked as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of International Affairs at the Department of Energy under then-President Bill Clinton’s administration.

While working for ExxonMobil, she lobbied Democratic officials to obtain “political intelligence” and is cited as the “chief-in-house Democrat” of the firm. The Hill, in 2011, named her as one of the top lobbyists in Washington D.C. where she is “fully engaged in the battles over regulations, oil subsidies and deepwater drilling.”

In general, some fossil fuel lobbyists are working for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, which will surely bring into question her stance on environmental issues like climate change as the primaries approach.

The Roundup for July 25th, 2015

And that ends our week folks.

International Politics

Overall

– Secretary of State John Kerry: This agreement with Iran is the only alternative to use of military force

– Juan Cole: “Did ISIL Arise Partly Because of Climate Change?

Middle East

– The International Red Cross warned there is “unprecedented” civilian suffering in Yemen. Meanwhile, clashes in Yemen left at least 20 dead

– The Syrian government believes it is too early to launch peace talks

– Refaat Alareer, co-editor of Gaza Unsilenced, joins The Real News to talk about new settlements constructed in the West Bank and reaction to it

– Israel uses one vital resource to control the lives of Palestinians: water

– While the Israeli leadership is furious about the deal with Iran, the security establishment of Israel actually favors it (more…)

The Roundup for July 24th, 2015

Still feeling some jet lag from my trip.

International Politics

Overall

– Pew: Sixty-three percent of Americans support military action against the Islamic State; That’s surprisingly high

– The U.S. said it planned to take back Ramadi from ISIS before the end of the summer

Middle East

– It is not easy to find voices favoring the deal with Iran as a vast majority are against it

– A United Nations envoy said Israel and Palestine were further apart than ever in regards to peace talks

– Even Iranian dissenters support the international deal with Iran

Africa

– Nigeria wants the U.S. to provide more weapons to fight against Boko Haram despite human rights concerns associated with the Nigerian government

– Muluka Miti-Drummond, a director at the Southern Africa Litigation Center, joins The Real News to talk about Angola and repression there

– The Islamic State took responsibility for a bomb killing four Egyptian soldiers

Europe 

– The Real News interviews people in Greece who demonstrated against anymore austerity

– Meanwhile, in this separate video, they document the refugee crisis in the country

– Journalist Max Blumenthal joins The Real News to talk about a documentary he recently helped make called Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie, which can be found here

– Beppe Grillo, a politician in Italy, called for the country’s debt to be used as a weapon against Germany and turn to an exit from the euro

– In Turkey, more attacks have been reported against anyone considered Chinese

– The U.K. government will investigate the police after a growth of cases where suspects in custody died

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– Mexican and U.S. authorities do not wish to say who arrested “El Chapo” Guzman

– Ten military officers in Chile were charged with the death of Chilean singer Victor Jara

Surveillance Planet

– Natasha Lennard: “The Ashley Madison hack and the importance of protecting online secrets

Financial Matters

– Pew: Citizens across the world say the current economic conditions is overall bad

– Despite the UK pledging to increase aid for countries overseas, it is benefiting corporations overall

– The American Red Cross does not truly know what happened to the millions donated for Haiti

– There’s an easy solution to Illinois’ financial woes: tax the rich

Labor’s a-Brewing

– The fall of the A&P supermarket chain may lead to massive layoffs of workers

Politics US

Washington USA

– Trevor Timm: “It ain’t over til it’s over: America’s wars drag on no matter what officials say

– Hillary Clinton said the U.S. should confront “hard truths” on race after the death of Sandra Bland; A master politician at work

– Clinton, meanwhile, is getting financial support from private prison lobbyists

– Donald Trump is toying with a third-party run should the GOP not be accommodating

– It is not as if Trump’s views are unique in the GOP as other candidates share his vision on certain issues

– Meanwhile, some GOP presidential candidate will appear at an Islamophobic event

– Glenn Greenwald: “NBC News Releases the Long-Awaited Trailer for its Summer Horror Film About ISIS

– Republicans in Congress still want to end Net Neutrality because that is an issue that is very important to deal with. Yes, it is super important and everything else is meaningless

– The White House prefers to deal with the procedures in lifting the ban on transgender people in the military rather than the mortality

– Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker: If elected president, the deal with Iran will go on day one

– At least 87 percent of undocumented migrants in the U.S. will be protected by President Barack Obama’s executive order

– Jeb Bush criticized the “swarm of lobbyists” in Washington D.C., although Bush was once one

– Martin O’Malley: The Democrats must push for reform against Wall Street

– The Internal Revenue Service said no new rules will be made against political groups for 2016, although a watchdog warned the IRS may still target them with audits

Anytown USA

– Gallup: Forty-four percent of Americans say they have tried marijuana in the past

– Patrisse Cullors, a founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, joins The Real News to talk about the movement itself and its next steps

– There will be a fundraiser for Baltimore cops charged with the death of Freddie Gray. A perfomance featuring a blackface performer

– Body cameras are not the magic bullet to police brutality as seen with the death of Sandra Bland

– Bland, before her death, left a voicemail for a friend expressing shock over her arrest

– Just 10 years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is becoming a city for the rich

– It is impossible to charge Dylann Roof with domestic terrorism as the charge does not exist

We Don’t Need No Education

– ALEC supports school vouchers, just not for the poor though

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Gallup: Twenty-one percent of Americans include gluten-free foods in their diet

The Second Sex

– Despite viewed as a land of opportunity and financial security, working mothers in the U.S. are not treated well

Planet Earth

– The drought is not the only thing California must worry about as industrial pollution affecting water supply is another

– Speaking of the drought, things will get worse with our water supply if no major changes come. Indeed, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch believes that as well

– When it comes to U.S. carbon emissions, the Pentagon is one culprit contributing a lot

Mixed Bag

– Journalist Mary Elizabeth Williams writes an excellent piece about Gawker and its harassment of individuals

– NASA announced it found the “closest twin to Earth” in the solar system so far

Break Time

The New Pollution [Beck]

The Roundup for July 23rd, 2015

I have returned. What did I miss?

International Politics

Overall

– Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: I will “kill myself” to ensure the P5+1-Iran is stopped

– Journalist Nick Fillmore joins The Real News to explain the financial deficits behind the Pan-Am Games in Canada

– The U.N. envoy to Syria blamed the government for air strikes causing destruction in one Syrian town

Middle East

– Remember a few months ago how the U.S. built an extremely expensive facility in Afghanistan that was never used? Well, it was not the first time they did that

– The U.S. government is still covering up alleged sexual abuse of Iraqi children at Abu Ghraib (more…)