Facebook Slider
Optional Member Code
Get News Alerts!
Guest Commentary

Guest Commentary (4799)

2016.10.11 BF Koehler(Photo: DonkeyHotey)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

And so we are a nation up for grabs.

Racist populism trounces . . . uh, trumps . . . platitudes about America's greatness. Hillary Clinton, though slightly ahead in the popular vote, is defeated in the Electoral College.

Like it or not, change is not deferred. It's here, in our faces. Donald Trump is the president. A year ago, his candidacy was relegated to the entertainment section. Now he's the big winner, the ostensible leader of the nuclear-armed "free world," the strutter-in-chief of the United States of America. Has being an American ever felt so embarrassing or so weird?

And what will the Washington Consensus -- the deep state, the unelected ruling establishment, the corporatocracy, the military-industrial complex -- do, now that the guy who offended and mocked them, who ran a campaign slightly outside the lines they drew, has beaten the candidate of the status quo?

Almost certainly it will form an alliance. Almost certainly it will put the brakes on any real change Trump may be mulling, just as it did with Barack Obama, the one-time candidate of hope and change. But most likely, Trump's not mulling actual populist changes in the system anyway, because the alliance is already in place.

Tuesday, 08 November 2016 08:03

Air Pollution Ignites Protests in Delhi

A view of west Delhi through air pollution.A view of west Delhi through air pollution. (Photo: Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

The air pollution in several Indian cities is getting so bad that government officials have initiated drastic measures to protect its citizens from the eye-stinging levels of smog. In fact, the nation's capital of New Delhi currently holds the ominous title of world's most polluted city, CNN reported.

On Sunday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal declared the intense smog levels an "emergency situation," and ordered the shut down of 5,000 schools for the next three days and the halting of construction operations for the next five days. A coal-fired power plant will also be closed for 10 days and roads will be doused with water to suppress dust. If the situation does not improve, Kejriwal might impose odd-even vehicle restrictions that would only permit driving every other day.

"Pollution has increased to an extent that (the) outdoors in Delhi are resembling a gas chamber," Kejriwal said, adding that the smog blanketing the capital is due to crop burning in the neighboring agricultural states of Punjab and Haryana.

A frightening sign showing support for Donald Trump at a rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona on June 18, 2016.A frightening sign showing support for Donald Trump at a rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona on June 18, 2016. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

"Make America Great Again" is the slogan that Donald Trump has been campaigning on since he announced his candidacy for the presidency. As the election quickly approaches, "Make America White Again," might be a more apt tagline. Should Hillary Clinton win the election, Trump's congressional colleagues are pledging to launch investigations, threatening impeachment, and, vowing to not approve any Clinton Supreme Court nominees. Even more troubling is that while Trump has been trumpeting a "rigged election," rightwing paramilitary groups are preparing for civil war.

Reuters' Justin Mitchell and Andy Sullivan recently reported, "members of the Three Percent Security Force" are mobilizing "for the possibility of a stolen election on Nov. 8 and civil unrest in the days following a victory by Democrat Hillary Clinton." While militia members say, "they won't fire the first shot, but they're not planning to leave their guns at home, either."

The Trump campaign has captured the imaginations of militia groups, Three Percenters, Oath Keepers, Sovereign Citizens, neo-Nazis, and an assortment of anti-immigration activists, white supremacists, and white nationalists.

As David Neiwert and Sarah Posner pointed out in their extraordinarily thorough investigative report titled "How Trump Took Hate Groups Mainstream," "Trump fever quickly spread [as] extremists new to presidential politics openly endorsed Trump, including Don Black, a former grand dragon of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and founder of the neo-Nazi site Stormfront; Rocky Suhayda, chair of the American Nazi Party; and Rachel Pendergraft, a national organizer for the Knights Party, the successor to David Duke's Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Richard Spencer, an emerging leader among a new generation of white nationalists known as the 'alt right,' declared that Trump 'loves white people.'"


Brooklyn 1107wrp opt(Photo: Brooklyn by Kgwo1972)Hunger and food insecurity affect more than 1 in 7 Americans. Those facing hunger are three times more likely to have diet-related health problems like diabetes or hypertension. Yet, far too often the solutions to help these individuals typically offered, funded and advocated for by our society address the issues of hunger and health as separate afflictions.

WhyHunger is a global grassroots support organization working with community leaders and grassroots organizations across the U.S. who are working at the intersections of health and hunger to address the complex and interconnected social determinants that leave far too many Americans hungry and sick.

We're excited to share this video from WhyHunger highlighting the innovative programs at Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger in Far Rockaway, New York, where VeggieRX programs, community farm stands, mobile pantries serving farm fresh produce and youth leadership programs intersect.

Sam Josephs, a youth leader in the Green Teens Program, serves as a mentor to her peers on the urban farm. She said, "Here in Rockaway, you don't have access to the things that you need … When you have a farm, you're producing your own food, you're watching out for your own health." Sam's testimony speaks to the value of programs like this and the importance of local, community-controlled food systems in fighting diet related illnesses.


Fracture 1107wrp opt(Photo: Rock fracture by Gregory David Harington)Disturbing truths about the wealth gap in America have surfaced in recent months. Our nation is breaking in two. Yet downtrodden Americans are hoping for a fairy-tale ending to their misery, instead of demanding the progressive measures that would empower them.

Collapse of the Middle Class

For every $100 owned by a middle-class household in 2001, that household had just $72 in 2013.

Half of us are barely surviving, and it may be more than half. A J.P. Morgan study concluded that "the bottom 80% of households by income lack sufficient savings to cover the type of volatility observed in income and spending."

More Rich, More Poor, Less Empathy

Nearly two-thirds of American families were considered middle class in 1970. Today it's half or less. The rest of us have gone up or down, mostly down.

Stanford researchers have concluded, "It is increasingly unlikely that high-income families interact with middle- and low-income families, eroding some of the social empathy that might lead to support for broader public investment in social programs to help the poor and middle class."


BarbedWire 1104wrp opt(Photo: Barbed wire)A nation's border is nothing in and of itself. It's just an inanimate line on a map, in the dirt, on a riverbank. It has no philosophy, personality, feelings or meaning — beyond what people on either side attribute to it.

Unfortunately, thanks to Donnie Trump's xenophobic demagoguery in this presidential election, America finds itself in a destructive border war — not with Mexico, but with itself. In his rallies, he leads his true believers in angry chants of "Build that wall!" He's demanding that our Southwestern border with Mexico be turned into a hostile barrier of national, cultural and racial separation that will physically scream at Latino people: "KEEP OUT!"

This isn't conjecture — you can see it for yourself, for about a third of that 2,000-mile frontier has already been desecrated with a massive metal wall, thrusting up to 30 feet high. It scowls at Mexico with such military fortifications as pole-mounted cameras, 24-hour radar, vibration sensors, all-seeing drones, surveillance balloons, and Blackhawk helicopters.

It has made the border mean, yet — get this — it doesn't work! Migrants and traffickers continually overcome it. "The wall is a fantasy," says an Arizona border sheriff. A rancher and diehard Trump supporter dismisses Donnie's barrier scheme as a "farce."

The first hydrogen-powered train: Coradia iLint(Photo: Wikipedia)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Germany will soon launch the world first hydrogen-powered, zero-emission passenger train.

The Coradia iLint, developed by French rail transport company Alstom, was presented last month at InnoTrans, the railway industry's largest trade fair.

The hydrogen, aka "hydrail," train is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and emits nothing but steam and condensed water, making it a much quieter and eco-friendly alternative to the 4,000 diesel trains currently in circulation in the country, according to a company press release.

The train claims speeds of up to 87 miles per hour and a hydrogen storage capacity for a 497-mile range. Excess energy is stored with onboard lithium batteries.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump caricatures(Photo: DonkeyHotey)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

It was a moment as tiny as marking a ballot -- those two minutes of the second debate, when the presidential election hung suspended mid-diatribe and the candidates let go of their opponent's flaws long enough to honor a bit of common humanity.

No big deal. Yeah, I know.

But as the thing winds down to the day of reckoning, and a sense of lost values and lost democracy overwhelms me -- the election season is pure spectacle, full of sound and fury (signifying nothing?) -- I find myself going back to those two minutes over and over, trying to understand why they hit me with such force.

The second debate, possibly the ugliest playground fight of the three, was conducted in a "town hall" format, with a preselected audience of independent voters sharing the stage with the candidates, and at intervals an audience member was invited to ask the candidates a question. The debate was virtually over when moderator Martha Raddatz announced that "we've sneaked in one more question" and a man in the audience stood up.

Wednesday, 02 November 2016 08:42

A Death in Wisconsin: "This Is Not Us"


Candle 1102wrp opt(Photo: Andrew Bossi)The 400th block of Main Street Menomonie is adorable. There is a bike shop, a pizza place, and a comic book store. The electric boxes are painted with flowers and clearly, if you want to spend a weekend antiquing, you have found your freakin' happy place. From the spot on the brick sidewalk where Hussain Saeed Al Nahdi was beaten to death, you can see the sparkly lake. It's not Stars Hollow, but it's not too far off.

This is my home. These are my people. There are constellations of creameries, the fields roll out like thick fancy carpeting and the deer will walk right up and order you a beer. Eagles use my rowboat as a birdbath, and the only thing better than the fishing is the stories about the fishing. If you ignore the lack of beard, and musical talent, we're all pretty much the love child of Justin Vernon and Gentle Ben. I did my time bartending on both coasts and came home happily to this little city. This community is what people love about small towns -- it's safe, it's beautiful, it's welcoming, and at the heart of it, a university. When my Long Island girl comes to visit, I take her to this great little bar with pulled pork and twinkly lights and a cement bartop that warms up in the winter so you can literally cozy up to it on a chilly evening.

Outside of that bar, two nights ago, something very bad happened.

The thing is, we don't know exactly what. But the result was a 24- year old boy named Hussain, thousands of miles from his home and his people, bleeding on our sidewalk. Less than 48 hours later, he was dead.


BillRights 1102wrp opt(Photo: National Archives)The San Francisco 49ers were fortunate enough to have a bye this past weekend. That meant they couldn't lose another football game. It also gave the team five or six days to rest, recover from injuries, spend time with their families, and reflect on their thus-far woeful season. Forty-Niner quarterback/activist Colin Kaepernick, who initiated protests over racial inequality and police violence by taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem -- a protest that has been picked up and carried forward by a number of NFL players, high school football teams around the country, and some athletes in other sports -- had something else on his mind.

Kaepernick has been viciously attacked for "disrespecting" the flag, been booed by fans at away games, had his likeness placed inside of a crosshairs on t-shirts sold outside the stadium before a road game against the Buffalo Bills, and recently, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump blamed him for driving down television ratings for NFL games this season.

But that hasn't stopped him from continuing his protest, and perhaps more importantly, launching a project aimed directly for at-risk youth.

Last Saturday, Kaepernick held a "Know Your Rights Camp" for Oakland-area youth. According to its website, "KNOW YOUR RIGHTS CAMP" is a free campaign for youth to raise awareness on higher education, self empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios."

Page 9 of 343