politics

The Green New Deal Is What Everyone In Politics Is Talking About. Here’s What It’s All About

@BernieBusNYC / Twitter

First, let’s start with the science. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report in December 2018 that revealed that humanity has just under 12 years to redirect the carbon-emitting ship to avoid irrevocable impacts on literally life as we know it. The planet will get hotter, wildfires will dramatically worsen; storms like Hurricane Maria and Michael will become the new norm; our government will spend billions on natural disaster relief. There will be no turning back.

Climate change may not be an urgent issue for senior citizens, who will likely depart from this planet without experiencing the tragedies passed onto our generation. Foremost freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (or AOC, as she’s lovingly dubbed), is taking over the ship with legislation called “The Green New Deal.” Here’s what you need to know about the policies she is proposing.

While Ocasio-Cortez ran on climate change issues, she stepped up to the job well before she started getting paid for it.

CREDIT: @sunrisemvmt / Twitter

After Democrats reclaimed the House majority, 200 activists from “Sunrise Movement” took the opportunity to make an early bid on the 2020 Democratic agenda. Ocasio-Cortez was here for it and told the activists that she was “proud of every single one of you.”

The protest outside Nancy Pelosi’s office was a risky political move for Ocasio-Cortez.

CREDIT: @MrTravoli / Twitter

Pelosi the Speaker of the House again, and the youth activists wanted to ensure that Democrats had a plan to combat climate change. Climate change action has not been a top priority for establishment Democrats and members like Ocasio-Cortez hope to change that.

Ocasio-Cortez proposed the boldest yet select committee to combat carbon emissions.

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

One of the most obvious components of her proposal is to elect members who receive zero dollars from the fossil fuel industry. It makes sense because oil companies have been fighting policies that would reverse climate change because it would impede their businesses.

Folks thought it would take Ocasio-Cortez a full year to gain support for the committee, but she got it within weeks.

CREDIT: @sunrisemvmnt / Twitter

Backed by youth-led organizations, Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats, constituents were excited at the prospect of a serious committee devoted to the Green New Deal change. Pelosi gave everyone the cold shoulder by essentially reorganizing the 2007-2011 “Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.”

Pelosi’s committee has not committed to rejecting donation dollars from fossil fuel companies and lobbyists.

CREDIT: @aier / Twitter

Ocasio-Cortez’s response to Pelosi’s clear rebuke was this: “Our ultimate end goal isn’t a Select Committee. Our goal is to treat Climate Change like the serious, existential threat it is by drafting an ambitious solution on the scale necessary – aka a Green New Deal – to get it done. A weak committee misses the point & endangers people.”

It’s not enough. El gente want the Green New Deal and they want it now.

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

We’re all talking about it, including every single big name in politics, from Cory Booker to Al Gore.

Let’s deep dive into the history, expectations, and setbacks we’ve seen thus far in the Green New Deal.

The title is reminiscent of President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” of the 1930s.

CREDIT: @nicholas1932 / Twitter

Latent in the mere history of the name, we can reimagine a future of thousands of federal jobs built off the renewable energy industry, much like Americans during the Great Depression benefitted from the jobs that Roosevelt created by this sweeping social and economic reform bill.

This addresses the climate crisis, yes, while also seeking to create jobs and eradicate poverty.

Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the first to coin this term.

CREDIT: @BernieSanders / Twitter

The term “Green New Deal” has been around for decades, with Green Party elites like Jill Stein and Democratic progressives like Bernie Sanders using the term to reference an ideology. Ocasio-Cortez is the one with the power to make it real.

Embedded in the Green New Deal is a reinstitution of 70 percent marginal, progressive tax rates to help pay for the transition to a renewable economy.

CREDIT: @calebmaupin / Twitter

Of course, FOX News and conservative think tanks have called this “radical.” In reality, there is a long history of high marginal tax rates on the super wealthy in the U.S.

Basically, the multi-millionaires and billionaires can keep their first $10 million, and be taxed 70 percent on the rest.

CREDIT: @AIDSPOL / Twitter

If we look further back in history, President Eisenhower taxed individuals who were making $200,000 or more 91 percent. The GOP has been slashing tax cuts for the wealthy ever since and decrying the existence of public services like welfare or food stamps.

We agree that if someone can have a private Uber helipad, that mothers working 80 hours a week should be able to feed her kids. Those two scenarios can exist in the same city.

So how does it work?

CREDIT: @CJAOurPower / Twitter

Ocasio-Cortez has already written a proposed scope for the GND, and she’s actually published the link to her Google Doc. I love millennials.

The Green New Deal must plan to 100 percent decarbonize the federal economy.

CREDIT: @NYSDEC / Twitter

Ocasio-Cortez is calling for 100 percent renewable electricity powering our government within ten years. That’s not a ban on fossil fuels; its divestment of the American federal government from the fossil fuel industry, which is tanking our hopes of a long, sustainable future.

It’s a big ask, and while it seems unlikely given the current political atmosphere of climate change deniers leading the country, it’s a goal worth aspiring to.

There must be federal jobs guaranteed.

CREDIT: @CNN / Twitter

Overhauling government buildings to become zero-carbon edifices (buildings produce 40 percent of US carbon emissions) alone is going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Where will the money go? To jobs for the lower and middle class. Construction; engineering; policy experts will all be bolstered by this undertaking.

Unlike the original New Deal, the Green New Deal must be equitable and just for all.

CREDIT: @CNN / Twitter

There must be protections for those hardest hit by a shift in economy standards. Ocasio-Cortez’s own document references “low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous communities, [and] the front-line communities most affected by climate change, pollution, and other environmental harm.”

That means environmental justice for those in Flint, Puerto Rico, and so many other communities disproportionately impacted by environmental injustices.

Just last week, a letter signed by 626 organizations in support of the Green New Deal was sent to Congress members.

CREDIT: @aier / Twitter

Look, it’s not like we’re pioneers here. Countries like Finland (think: cold, lots of heating) already produce two-thirds of their electricity from renewable sources. Si se puede.

One poll shows that 82 percent of Americans have heard “nothing at all” about the Green New Deal.

CREDIT: @CongressEva / Twitter

The poll was administered online to 966 registered voters who were not given any information about partisan support. The polling came from Data for Progress between Nov. 28 – Dec 11.

The same bipartisan poll found that the Green New Deal has  81 percent of the public’s support.

CREDIT: @Liat_RO / Twitter

It had 92 percent support from Democrats and 64 percent support from Republicans and 88 percent support from Independents. Yale experts are continuing the narrative from a bipartisan perspective to avoid divisive polarity over an issue that most Americans agree on (once explained to them).

“We’re going to need sustained mass protest, extended labor shutdowns, and general strikes to begin as soon as possible after Election Day 2020.”

CREDIT: @detroitdsa / Twitter

Here’s the thing. We’re all for this, but when this legislation is passed to the Senate, it’ll head up against the energy and Natural Resources Committee run by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. He shot down a climate bill that did next to nothing compared to the Green New Deal.

Then it would have to be signed by President Trump.

CREDIT: @Complex / Twitter

Inevitably, we won’t see this bill reach the oval office until at least January 2021. All eyes will be on the 2020 election as we move closer and closer to an irreverible climate catastrophe.

With the Pentagon just declaring climate change as a national crisis, we’re hopping on the Ocasio-Cortez Green New Deal train.

CREDIT: @BernieBusNYC / Twitter

She may be our only saving grace. Call your Reps and let them know what you think about the proposed Green New Deal.


READ: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Unapologetically Bringing Puerto Rico To The Halls Of Congress

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What We Learned From President Trump's State Of The Union Address

Politics

What We Learned From President Trump’s State Of The Union Address

CSPAN / YouTube

President Trump delivered his State of the Union address to a split Congress for the first time Tuesday night. Topics like border security, immigration, abortion and health care dominated his address. There was even calls for unity among both Democrats and Republicans as he outlined bipartisanship policies like criminal reform and infrastructure improvements. Yet during his 1 hour, 22 minute speech, one of the longest on record, President Trump used his address to blast Democrats and rev up his political base. Here are the biggest takeaways from the State of the Union.

The president will not back down on a border wall.

With just 10 days left to avoid yet another government shutdown, President Trump spoke adamantly about his mission to secure a wall along the U.S. southern border. “I will get it built,” Trump said. “Walls work, and walls save lives.” Yet most of his claims about immigration and border wall security were either greatly exaggerated or false all together. Illegal border crossings have only declined in the past two decades while reaching their lowest point back in 2017 since 1971. He also made claims about drugs “pouring” into the country due to ineffective borders yet the huge majority of drugs are seized at ports of entry, not along the open border.

Immigration continues to be a divisive issue in the country.

President Trump attempted to correlate illegal immigration and violent crime during his address but many in the Democratic side say this is just not true.

“The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security and financial well-being of all Americans,” Trump said during his address.

According to NPR, studies show that illegal immigration doesn’t increase the prevalence of violent crimes. Studies show that native-born residents are more likely to be convicted of a crime than were immigrants in the country lawfully or unlawfully.

The President also mentioned, “large, organized caravans” coming to the U.S. but failed to provide any information on the claims. In January, a new caravan of migrants from Central America was expected to come north but many now plan to remain in Mexico. This is large part thanks to policies put in place by the new Mexican government that will supply job opportunities while they wait to seek asylum.

President Trump took aim at New York’s landmark abortion law.

Just last month, lawmakers in New York passed a new law expanding abortion rights in the state on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The law would protect access to the procedure until 24 weeks of pregnancy in an effort to standardize abortion protections if Roe v. Wade were ever overturned. Trump made the call on Congress to pass legislation that would prohibit what he called “late-term abortion”. His remarks further intensify the controversial issue versus “pro-life” and “pro-choice” advocates. Abortion is expected to be an issue that Trump has said he plans to focus on during the 2020 election.

Women are getting all the headlines.

While President Trump spoke about the number of women benefiting in the economy, it was the number of women, particularity in the Democratic side, who grabbed the headlines.

“All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before …and exactly one century after the Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before,” Trump said.

Many Democratic congresswomen were wearing white as a sign of solidarity and in honor of the suffragists. But after Trump made his remarks about the great number of women elected to Congress, they began to cheer and applaud the historic significance.

“You weren’t supposed to do that,” Trump said jokingly. Cameras focused in on new high-profile additions to Congress on Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) who gave high fives all around. It was one of the rare bipartisan moments throughout the entire address.

The address in many ways was a kick-off to the 2020 election.

As President Trump aspires to be a unifying political leader he will need to address more than just concerns of his own base. Issues like global warming and increasing antisemitism among minority groups were either not talked about at length or ignored all together during his address. The president was elected with less than a majority of the popular vote in 2016 and has yet to made a concerted effort to expand his base in the two years since taking office.

The 2018 midterm election showed cracks in his base starting to form as Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives and now must work with a divided congress. President Trump may have used the State of the Union as an opportunity to broaden his base perhaps one last time before the campaign for the 2020 election begins. If he is to gain new supporters, it’s going to take a lot more than just speaking to his base.


READ: Latina Activist, Undocumented Immigrants Will Attend President Trump’s State Of The Union

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