Sensible Joe, or Joe McNaughty?


Sensible Joe, or Joe McNaughty?


Sensible Joe, or Joe McNaughty?

Is it about the interests of West Virginians, fossil fuel, or himself ? 

By William Jones

Hackles are Up

West Virginia lawmaker Joe Manchin has been raising a lot of hackles amongst the Democratic caucus. Joe recently  announced that he wasn’t on board with the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. In fact, he said he was considering voting no when the package comes up for a vote. He wants everybody to slow it down and delay voting on it until 2022.

Last Best Chance

The Biden spending measure is vital. The opportunity is here to raise millions out of poverty and pass a substantive climate policy. The clock is ticking. The 2022 mid-terms are just around the corner.  Historically, the party out of power will re-take the House of Representatives, in the first two years of a new president’s term. So Manchin’s latest hairpin turn has attracted a lot of negative attention from his Democratic colleagues. As for Manchin, he can’t walk down the halls of congress without a flotilla of reporters following in hot pursuit, desperate to find out if he will continue to thwart his political party’s platform and his party’s president’s personal agenda.

Praise From the Press

Since his declaration, a piece in National Review has praised what it saw as Manchin’s fiscal instincts and willingness to stand up to fellow Democrats. A Brookings blog post argued that “his main concern that additional deficit financed spending adds to inflation risks is not unfounded.” A former adviser suggested to The Washington Post that Manchin is fundamentally mysterious and his vote is, as usual, unpredictable.

Counting the Money

Joe Manchin, though, made half a million dollars last year off his son’s coal company, meaning that coal paid him roughly three times the $174,000 salary he made last year as a public servant. Pundits don’t need to look much beyond that to understand what’s driving him.

And There’s More Money

Manchin has earned more than $4.5 million from Enersystems Inc. and Farmington Resources Inc., two coal industry companies he founded in the 1980s. He probably likes all the attention he’s getting, too. Maybe he fancies himself a champion of the forgotten man. But if on a given day you are trying to understand what Joe Manchin’s priorities are, it’s probably best to look to the priorities of the companies he’s gotten money from.

Lobbyists and Donations

In June, Exxon lobbyist Keith McCoy told the Unearthed, a Greenpeace investigative outlet, that Manchin was among their key targets and that he’s participated in weekly meetings with company operatives. Overall, though, he’s received more donations from coal, oil, and gas companies this campaign cycle than every other senator.  Manchin got $10,000 from Exxon Mobil for his 2018 reelection campaign. His top donor so far for the 2022 cycle is Tellurian Inc., a gas company.

In Compliance 

Manchin’s spokesperson recently said the senator is in full compliance with all Senate ethics and financial disclosure rules. He also stated that Manchin continues to work to find a path forward on important climate legislation that maintains American leadership in energy innovation and critical energy reliability.

Denials All Around

Manchin has also denied the weekly meeting allegations in the Unearthed report. Manchin is working to ensure that the bill’s $150 billion clean electricity measure—the Clean Electricity Performance Program—will “protect and extend the use of coal and natural gas.” The senator has made it clear that he does not support legislation that would eliminate the burning of those fossil fuels — particularly coal and natural gas.


Politics can be ego-driven as well as cash-driven: Many politicians after all, just want to guard their piece of the congressional sandbox and yelp whenever that territory may appear threatened. But money certainly talks in Washington, and the kind coming to Joe Manchin from the fossil fuel industry appears to be screaming out against a progressive and meaningful climate policy.



EV: The Obvious Future

EV: Electric Vehicles The Obvious Future

By D. S. Mitchell

*”Adoption of a new technology like EV’s (electric vehicles) may seem slow or look like it’s never going to happen, until it passes a threshold… and then it just takes off.” Reda Cherif for the International Monetary Fund

Slashing EPA Annual Budget by Over 30%

When Trump won the 2016 presidential election I knew the attack on the environment would move forward like a bulldozer in a butterfly garden. In Trump’s first year in office he pulled the United States out of the landmark Paris climate deal, paving the way for the continued reckless burning of fossil fuels. The Paris Climate Accord is non-binding on signers, but focuses on a global effort to hold the Earth’s temperature rise to fewer than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. The consequences of failing to limit greenhouses gases and thereby their destructive effects is a future most of us do not want to imagine.

High Jacking the Mission of the EPA

In March of 2018, Trump proposed slashing the EPA annual budget by over 30%.  Since 2017 the EPA has lost more than 700 employees, including 200 scientists. Meanwhile the disgraced and the now thank God departed, Scott Pruitt, wasted Agency money on a 24 hour security detail, expensive air travel, and sound proof booths for his office. Rather than protect the environment and work with the world to limit green house gas production this administration wants to subsidize coal, and ramp up oil exploration in previously protected wilderness areas and vulnerable off-shore sites.

EV Promises Reduced Air Pollution

Despite the bad news on so many U.S. environmental fronts there is good news in the automobile industry. Automobile manufacturer’s world-wide are committing to the EV.  They see the handwriting on the wall.  The governments of Europe, China, and India are committed to reducing air pollution. Part of that vision will be enabled by electric vehicles. The mass acceptance of the EV will consequently cut the production of fossil fuels and their consumption. Perhaps that is the reason coal, and gas producers are in such a hurry to mine and pump fuel reserves while they still have an opportunity. Because they, more than any other industry, recognizes the world is changing.

Horse and Buggy Days

There is a growing understanding that gas and diesel-powered vehicles will soon join the horse and buggy, and the dial telephone. New studies support a rapid acceleration process and a gathering  momentum of  the coming EV tsunami. Surprising as it may seem The International Monetary Fund and Georgetown University predicts that more than 90% of all passenger vehicles in the U.S., Canada, Europe and other wealthy industrialized countries will be EV by 2040. Some studies are even more bullish than the IMF projections. In fact, there are predictions that by 2030, ninety percent of all U.S. vehicles will be EV. That is a mere 12 years away.

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Trump Gives Middle Finger Salute To Coastal States

Trump Gives Middle Finger Salute To Coastal States

D. S. Mitchell

Over the last year we have seen a number of environmental rollbacks and out right attacks on protected lands by the Trump administration. Despite these tactical offenses I was not prepared for the shocking move that Ryan Zinke has proposed that would open the West Coast to petroleum exploration. I wrote about it last week, but the potential effect has sent me into a full blown rage.

The Zinke proposal can be best viewed as a middle finger salute to the people of all coast states, many of who voted for Hillary Clinton. I live in Oregon, one of the Pacific coast states that could be effected by the oil-leasing plan. The immediate consequences are likely to be few, at least off the Oregon and Washington coasts. The actions of the administration will most likely have the issue tied up in political wrangling and lawsuits for years.

The prospects of exploration and exploitation of oil in our offshore waters has prompted the governors of Oregon, Washington and California to mount an unified front of opposition to the concept of any offshore drilling or exploration. These state executives need our support and encouragement as do all the governors of all the states on the Atlantic coast that are also attempting to block this irresponsible and dangerous proposal.

Time and again we have seen horrific costs of oil development and oil transportation, just think of  the Exxon Valdez disaster to the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. The giant global companies that run the oil and gas industry and the undermanned agencies that police the industry, have already shown themselves incapable of guaranteeing there will never be another incident for which they are unwilling to accept responsibility. An “accident” along the Pacific coast or the Atlantic coast would have the potential to kill crucial industries including tourism, fishing, and crabbing.

On January 6th, 2018 an Iranian oil tanker carrying nearly 1 million barrels of light crude oil headed to South Korea collided with a freighter carrying grain from the United States. At least 30 crewmen and passengers are missing and presumed dead. The tanker has been burning for more than a week sending cones of black smoke 1000’s of meters into the sky and igniting the surrounding water surface has just sunk. The results of this disaster will take millions of dollars in clean up and will devastate the environment and wildlife in the area for years to come. My point is that these accidents happen on a regular basis and we have no means to protect ourselves, or the environment.

Last week the governors of Oregon, Washington, and California issued a joint statement condemning the proposal, “the administration has chosen to forget the utter devastation of past offshore oil spills to wildlife and to the fishing, recreation and tourism industries in our states.  They’ve chosen to ignore the science that tell us our climate is changing and we must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. But we won’t forget history or ignore science. For more that 30 years, our shared coastline has been protected from further federal drilling and we’ll do whatever it takes to stop this reckless, shortsighted action.”

Even restrained exploratory activities associated with identifying oil deposits have the potential of harming rockfish habitat, interfering with whale migrations and feeding, and increasing vessel traffic and noise in areas essential to endangered species from endangered birds, salmon to Orcas.

The opponents of offshore oil and gas exploration in Pacific Northwest and Alaskan waters have been vilified as obstructionists and the overly concerned, painting an image that we place more importance on sea otters and kelp than energy independence and national security.  None of us dispute that for now at least, we continue to need fossil fuels to power our cars and heat our homes. However, currently there is no shortage of oil that could possibly justify placing the coasts of America at risk for another devastating oil spill. Gas prices are stable. Taking in to consideration inflation, gas prices are equal to what they were 100 years ago and prices are less than a mere decade ago.

Opening the American coastlines to fossil fuel exploration is about nothing other than greed and politics, not about need for energy. We need to stop this move by the administration dead in it’s tracks. Let’s give a resounding “no” to this latest environmental assault.

Calamity Politics is a progressive online news magazine bringing the activities of Washington DC into perspective. Join me for comment and opinion. Join the Resistance. We are Indivisible.


Trump Attacks Environment

Trump Attacks Environment

D. S. Mitchell

Turned Upside Down

Huge crowds turned out around the world for the Earth Day/Science March.  The politics of our environment has been turned upside down. The election of Donald Trump, has done what seemed impossible less than six months ago. Trump, supported by the anti-environment extremists in the House and Senate are about to rip the guts out of our environmental safeguards. The unimagined threat is now looming as a chilling possibility.

Chilling Headlines

Recent headlines include:  “U.S. Abandons Paris Climate Agreement”.  “Clean air and Water Protections Repealed”. “Trump Approves Keystone XL Pipeline”. “Congress Moves to Privatize Public Lands”.  David Goldston of the Natural Resources Defense Fund has been vocal in condemnation.”The next four years are likely to bring a more sustained barrage of attacks on our environment than we have ever seen.” His  dire predictions continue. “What we’re facing is an all-out assault on our bedrock environmental laws by a party in the grips of a radical ideology.  Not only do they want to undo the progress made during the eight years of the Obama presidency; they want to turn back the clock of a half-century or more of hard-won environmental protections.”

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Love Your Mother

Love Your Mother

D. S. Mitchell

For Future Generations

Calamity News and Politics is pro clean energy. The a clean protected environment is essential. I’m hoping all my readers are pro-environment. Earth is the only planet I’m ever going to set foot on. Her environment provides a nurturing home for animals, plants and humans. We need to protect that environment. For today and for future generations. Climate change and environmental protection must become a national priority.

A Wall Of Resistance

The EPA was designed to protect our environment. Trump’s goal is to destroy the agency. Charitable organizations offer some support. The Sierra Club’s donations are up. The World Wildlife Fund donations are also reportedly, up. I think we will need every environmental organization on the planet to present a wall of resistance to the fossil fuel barons. Trump’s agenda is all about profit.  Environmental policy cannot be based on money. Capitalism may be our environments greatest enemy.

Into A Technological Era

Clean energy is better for the economy and it is better for Mother Earth. Time to let go of the remnants of the dirty Industrial Revolution and embrace the future.  We are moving into the Technological Era.  Parts of the transition will be painful, acceptance is the first step.  If your job is threatened by clean energy policy; change yourself, change your skills. Join the clean energy army. The clean energy army is fighting a heroic fight.

Dance Party

The corruption of President Trump is center stage.  Whoring with fossil fuel barons, signing away climate change regulations is bad policy. Killing Mother Earth is not a thing to celebrate. Having a dance party with greedy fossil fuel addicts can only last so long, before it destroys the planet. Current policy must be changed. Look to a clean energy future. Now is the time.

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