Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Emily Dai
Thursday, October 28, 2021, 3:49 PM

Top executives from Exxon Mobil, BP, Chevron and Shell testified today at a congressional hearing examining whether the fossil fuel industry spreads misinformation about the role fossil fuels play in global warming and impedes action on climate change, according to the New York Times. Democrats said Big Oil has played a central role in the climate crisis and needs to commit to immediate action, while Republicans argued the hearings distract from the real problems facing the nation. While industry executives touted company efforts to reduce fossil fuel demand, future mining and drilling plans will produce more than twice as many fossil fuels through 2030 as would be needed to limit global warming.

Sudan’s deposed prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and his wife have returned home after being detained by Sudan’s military leadership, reports the Washington Post. Western governments have pressured Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who led the military takeover and dissolved the government and its transition to civilian rule, to release dozens more Sudanese officials.

President Biden released a new framework on the $1.85 trillion package Thursday to overhaul the country’s social-spending and climate laws, hoping to win the support of all congressional Democrats despite deep divisions among moderates and progressives, says the Wall Street Journal. The framework includes funding for child care and sets aside $555 billion for climate-related provisions. Paid leave, free community college, a program aimed to generate more clean energy and a series of top marginal-tax-rate increases have been removed from the bill to appease centrists.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that he has ordered internal reviews of the U.S. evacuation of Afghanistan, reports Bloomberg. The Biden administration was widely criticized for leaving behind hundreds of Americans and thousands of Afghan allies during the evacuation, breaking a previous commitment to keep U.S. troops in the country until every U.S. citizen was able to escape.

Blinken also unveiled a modernization plan for the State Department Wednesday, according to the Hill. The plan includes the creation of a new cybersecurity bureau to tackle issues such as cyber threats and setting international standards on emerging technologies. 

Biden on Wednesday told the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit that the United States had a “rock-solid commitment to Taiwan” and was concerned about China’s actions towards the island nation, reports Reuters. Tensions between Taiwan and China have escalated in recent weeks as the Chinese government ramps up military activity near the island.


ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which David Priess, Julian Barnes and Emilia Columbo discuss U.S. policy toward Somalia and the al-Shabab terrorists there.

Hannah Bloch-Wehba explored how emerging technologies have led policing to become increasingly opaque, and explored alternative channels for police transparency.

Bennett Clifford and Seamus Hughes discussed why some national security officials believe that the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan may embolden American jihadist sympathizers.

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security, in which the hosts sat down with Natalie Orpett to talk about Gov. Greg Abbott’s appointment of one of President Trump’s former election lawyers as secretary of state, the Biden administration’s strategy to counter a Russian spy agency and the continuing disruptions to the global supply chain.

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