The wake of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 left crude oil leaking from drilling rigs, tanks, and pipelines in Louisiana. Three weeks later, Hurricane Rita exacerbated oil damages. The U.S. Coast Guard received reports of 540 separate oil spills totaling an estimated 10.8 million gallons. Now, ProPublica reports, government damage assessments that would hold responsible up to 140 parties have still not been made. By failing to enforce accountability, Louisiana is likely missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars in environmental restoration damages.

The Law Enforcement Officers Relief Fund claims to support the families of fallen or injured officers. But donations to it primarily pay for telemarketers who solicit donors. LEORF is one of several organizations related to the International Union of Police Associations; from 2011 to March 2018, 77% of the association’s $106.3 million paid for fundraising services. According to The Center for Public Integrity, the two telemarking companies used charge some of the highest rates and have faced repeated legal scrutiny.

On Saturday, the Trump administration launched airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, killing 25 people and injuring dozens more. Iran’s foreign ministry called the airstrikes a “clear example of terrorism,” demanding that the U.S. end its occupation of the region. The Pentagon claimed the airstrikes were a “defensive” response to recent Iraqi rocket attacks by militia groups the U.S. says are Iranian proxies. Common Dreams reports peace advocates are warning about escalation and war.

Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has recently surged in national polls, showed resilience following his heart attack, and maintains an enthusiastic progressive base. Common Dreams observes that many individuals in the Democratic establishment who previously dismissed the Vermont senator have conceded that he could receive the party’s nomination. These individuals include long-time Hillary Clinton ally David Brock—who discussed an “anti-Sanders campaign” earlier this year—and former Obama advisor Dan Pfeiffer.

The first half of 2019 saw a massive increase in the number of families crossing the U.S. southern border. Central American parents and children together could cross and be quickly released, thanks to a 2015 ruling setting a 20-day limit on detaining children. Families would turn themselves in and work in the United States pending their court dates. But in May, legislation changed to allow the Trump administration to send families back across the border to await court dates—60,000 people have been forced back into high-crime border cities. In a series of graphs, Mother Jones illustrates statistics from the border throughout 2019.

Corporate media has been warning readers to avoid discussing politics with family at holiday gatherings, recommending strategies to avoid discord and debate. But Fair comments that this right-leaning outlook stigmatizes political dissent, noting that only privileged classes can safely ignore politics. Corporate media instead reduces politics to liberal against conservative, supporting the comfort of centrism and elite-ruled establishment. Perhaps instead family conversation partners could discuss a shared distrust of elites; a 2014 survey found that 82% of people felt the country’s wealthiest exerted too much political influence.

At the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP), representatives from almost 200 countries gather for a week to discuss how to address climate change and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. But recent COP summits have been bogged down with fundamental disagreements, including allowing developing countries to develop economically and ensuring developed countries maintain high energy use. Fair Observer reports COP25, which took place in Madrid this month, was meant to set rules for meeting Paris accord goals, but it too was filled with circular discussions.

Alex Cole with the tweet of the week:

Climate change became evident in the 2010s like never before, with extreme weather events and climate tipping points racing sooner than thought possible. InsideClimate News compiles data from the decade showing that global warming is pushing many planetary systems toward a breakdown. It will be crucial to cap the global temperature rise below the Paris climate accord’s goal of two degrees Celsius. Dire effects of global warming include the rate of melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the influence of sea ice loss on the atmosphere and ocean currents.

Firemen prepare as a bushfire approaches homes on the outskirts of the town of Bargo on December 21, 2019 in Sydney, Australia.

1. Texas church shooting: ‘Hero’ who killed suspected shooter was firearms instructor who taught parishioners how to use guns (The Independent)

2. The Last Unifying Force in Congress (The Atlantic)

3. Joe Biden Says He’s Open To A Republican Running Mate (HuffPost)

4. Australia fires: A visual guide to the bushfires and extreme heat (BBC)

5. Jewish groups push back against police surge in wake of antisemitic attacks (The Guardian)