Why Biden's Gas Tax Break Is a "Con" - The Thursday AM Quickie 6/23/22
Hey, I'm back! I gotta say, whenever I'm not scouring the news every day like it's my job (which of course it is), I'm genuinely grateful for the work Jack does here to keep me up to speed. - Corey
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THE BIG NEWS
A Gas Tax Holiday Amid Climate Chaos
Nearly half of the population of the United States today and through the weekend will, per the forecasts, cope with temperatures above 90 degrees Farenheit, and for some 17 million, the highs will surpass 100. Record highs are expected in Southern cities including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Memphis, and Nashville. These are dangerous levels of heat for many vulnerable people. The temperatures also mean more hurricanes than usual are likely this summer with "the potential for a rapid intensification" -- causing more coastal flooding as recently seen in Miami. Farther inland, the climate change-powered heat wave could spark "flash droughts" and thus yet more wildfires. And this heat wave is expected to continue into July.
Fire season started early in New Mexico this year, displacing thousands; this week the U.S. Forest Service admitted in an 80-page report that it failed to account for the effects of climate change, which "is leading to conditions on the ground we have never encountered." In Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park reopened, partially, following record flooding that "reshaped the park's rivers and canyons, wiped out numerous roads and left some areas famous for their wildlife viewing inaccessible, possibly for months to come." In less high-profile ways, climate change is doing damage to every single national park -- and not only to parks, of course, but to the places people live and the ecology that keeps us all alive.
What's the government doing about all this? Making it worse, of course!
President Joe Biden is asking Congress to pass a three-month gas tax holiday, an idea Barack Obama once called a "gimmick" and which Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, this week described as "a short-sighted proposal that relies on the cooperation of oil companies to pass on miniscule savings to consumers." Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, no champion of the Green New Deal, called Biden's proposal a "very showbiz"-style "con" because "the oil companies do not necessarily pass that [savings] on to the consumer." Those companies will be meeting with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm today to talk about increasing supply -- which, as this summer's weather shows, is frankly the last thing we need.
But that's not all! Congressional Democrats are ready to scrap a plan to create tax credits for clean energy development to appease coal baron Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia because he calls it "a handout to the private sector" -- which is pretty rich considering how he made his fortune. Meanwhile in Sri Lanka, the entire economy "has completely collapsed," in the words of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and one reason why relates to the massive $700 million debt held by the state oil company. Whether controlled by the state or privately held, these utterly nefarious corporations are fleecing the public and holding governments hostage the world over, and politicians would be wise to confront the problem head-on before the fires and floods get worse. If only Biden, the Amtrak guy, was announcing a national high-speed rail network today instead lower taxes for those poisoning the planet. It's never too late -- until it is.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
The Treason Show Ep. 05 Preview
Today's hearing by the House committee investigating Donald Trump's Jan. 6, 2021 coup attempt begins at 3 p.m. Eastern time. It will focus on Trump's efforts to rope the Justice Department into his scheme. According to committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson, a flood of tips that have come in since prior hearings, as well as newly obtained footage and documents, has expanded the schedule, and future hearings will take place next month following a House recess that ends July 12. It isn't just tips coming in to Congressional investigators, however: as the Washington Post reports, there's been an influx of threats against both Democratic and Republican committee members, who are all likely to get their own security details. There is no word on security for witnesses like Georgia elections worker Wandrea Moss, who said Tuesday that there is "nowhere I feel safe" after being targeted by Trump. Other updates: An Arizona Republican election official who stood up to Trump's bullying said he'd nevertheless vote for Trump again over Biden; the Justice Department doesn't want the Proud Boys charged with seditious conspiracy to face a jury until next year, and issued new subpoenas in the bogus electors investigation; across the country, Ashli Babbitt's mom continues to excite pro-coup crowds by urging them to "be proud white Americans!"
Ukraine Update: EU Set to Welcome Ukraine's Candidacy
European Union leaders are currently meeting in Brussels and Ukrainian officials put the chances they'll accept the country's candidacy for membership at 100 percent -- which could make it a safer bet than Sweden and Finland's hopes for fast-tracked NATO membership. As the Associated Press explains, attaining EU candidate status requires unanimous approval from all members, some of whom remain concerned about corruption and the rule of law -- but the skeptics now seem to think those problems can be addressed after the war. Ukrainian officials say the outcome could be decided in coming days as Russia seizes more territory in the east using overwhelming bombardment, and Ukraine relies on "undertrained units" to hold ground due to heavy casulties. Finally, Russian forces reportedly killed a Ukrainian photojournalist, at least the eighth to die since the invasion; and a second U.S. citizen fighting on the Ukrainian side was killed as reported by his hometown paper in upstate New York.
- Biden Administration Likely to Ban Juul Vapes An announcement from the Food and Drug Administration is expected today as part of a broader crackdown on nicotine products. via the Wall Street Journal.
- Fraud Indictment for Democratic Florida Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Gillum The charges stem from an FBI sting; the former Tallahassee mayor came close to beating Ron DeSantis in 2018. via the Miami Herald.
- House Subpoenas Washington Commanders Owner Dan Snyder Republicans are sticking up for the NFL team owner, accused of workplace bullying and sexual assault, whose yacht is currently off the southern coast of France. via the Washington Post.
- Rupert Murdoch to Divorce Fourth Wife Jerry Hall While things were good with the couple, the media tycoon was reportedly content to let his Lachlan take charge at Fox News and other companies. via the New York Times.
That's how many tax returns the Internal Revenue Service had received but failed to process as of May 27, according to a new report to Congress by the national taxpayer advocate, Erin Collins. It sucks for most people, but the system continues to be very good for shady far-right billionaires!
ON THE SHOW TODAY
6/23: Sam hosts Mike Konczal, director of macroeconomic analysis at the Roosevelt Institute, to discuss his recent paper "Prices, Profits, and Power" that he co-authored with Niko Lusiani. Then, Sam is joined by Amane Badhasso, candidate for Congress in Minnesota's 4th District, to give an update from the campaign trail.
Don't Miss MR Clips
GOP Senator in Hot Water After Being Implicated in Trump's Fake Elector Scheme Watch him squirm!
Police Are Lying About Cops Overdosing from Fentanyl Exposure Maybe one of the least harmful things they lie about, but what's the point?
"I feel just awful about what's happened because there was a time when if a thing like this happened, the cops would take you home."
-- Republican Napa Valley doyenne Diane "Dede" Wilsey, referring to the recent drunk-driving arrest of Paul Pelosi, the Democratic House Speaker's husband, in this revealing look in the New York Times at the couple's almost comically out-of-touch life in California's high society enclave.
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