Guest Commentary (3253)
WILL DURST FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Hey! You! Yes, you. Sorry. Just trying to get your attention to impart an important warning here. For the next couple weeks, it’s imperative all you good folks out there stay alert and keep your wits about you. Remove the earbuds, no texting while walking and you’d be well advised to brandish a stainless steel umbrella on the street because its awards season and golden- plated statuettes are being tossed about like manhole covers during an underground methane explosion. We’ve made it through the Golden Globes and the Screen Actor Guild Awards, with the Grammies and Oscars right around the corner, so this seems the perfect time to weigh in with the barnacle on the belly of the awards ship: the 15th annual Will Durst Political Animal Awards.
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Free market idealists argue that capitalism works for anyone with a little initiative and a willingness to work hard. That might be true if job opportunities were available to everyone. But the facts reveal a lack of opportunity, largely because the very system of capitalism that's supposed to work for everyone is betraying its most productive members.
It's a step-by-step process of hypocrisy disguised as free enterprise.
ANN DAVIDOW FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The most amazing thing about our politics is that the same phony premises keep reappearing and crowding out more relevant people and ideas. Politicians, zombie-like, stare into cameras uttering outlandish opinions that have no rational application, and survive only in the wild gyrations of mental gymnasts and the media outlets that provide them with air time.
We continue to be tormented by the likes of Rand Paul staring zombie-like into the camera, delivering hyperbolic nonsense newly arrived from pals like Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Every once in a while, someone in their camp shares a tidbit that almost makes sense, quickly overtaken by the irrelevant discourse more typical of this genre. When I operated a small shop in Connecticut, I was engaged in pleasant conversation with a seemingly normal customer until he began a scary monologue about sixes and Satan as I tried to determine if I could escape without confronting Satan or his surrogate. I experience that same helpless feeling when the right engages in its endless meaningless harangues - - a sense of dealing with people who are just nuts.
ROBERT CREAMER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
There are two major pillars of Republican economic ideology.
First is "trickle down" economics -- the notion that if we allow the wealthiest two percent to accumulate more and more of the fruits of our economy, the benefits will "trickle down" to everyone else.
The second is fiscal austerity -- the idea that the best response to an economic downturn is to "tighten our belts" and slash critical government spending that we "no longer can afford."
PUBLIC CITIZEN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Regulators should strip HSBC–the banking goliath that admitted extensive criminal wrongdoing –of its federal depository insurance and right to do business, Public Citizen today urged in letters to two government bodies.
Separately, Public Citizen requested that the Maryland attorney general seek the forfeiture of HSBC’s charter–its grant of authority to do business as a U.S. corporation–because of its admitted illegal conduct.
Finally, Public Citizen submitted FOIA requests to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) seeking all records that pertain to the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision not to criminally prosecute HSBC.
JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Some good things are happening in the Aloha state. In addition to House Speaker Joe Souki’s push to legalize recreational use of marijuana for “revenues-equitably” after Washington and Colorado voters passed ballot measures to do the same, House Judiciary Chairman Karl Rhoads introduced a bill to limit free-speech protections to “natural persons”.
At first glance, limiting free-speech sounds suspicious, but the key phrase here is “natural persons.” From the time corporations were ruled by the Supreme Court as “persons” corporate entities have been given all the rights entitled to individuals; and yet, we all know that corporations are not persons.
Thus when the Supreme Court Justices ruled in favor of Citizens United, it paved the way for a flood of advertisements during political campaigns from corporations and other entities—all in the name of “free speech,” as though these corporate entities were individuals, which is the equivalent of calling Wal-Mart or Bank of America individuals with constitutional rights.
JANE STILLWATER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
How come so many right-wingers, neo-cons, corporate RepubliDems, NRA lobbyists, Fox News commentators and radical-extremist talk-show hosts are currently getting all up in our faces about how wonderful the Second Amendment is? "Second Amendment! Second Amendment!" they cry night and day. That's all we ever hear from these guys. You would think that they might occasionally mention the rest of the Constitution occasionally as well -- but no.
Right-wingers, gun lobbyists, Tea Party congressmen and corporatist-owned radio talk-show hosts all scream and yell and hold their breath and throw temper tantrums about the sanctity of the Second Amendment constantly. But have they ever thrown tantrums or held their breath when other parts of our Constitution were violently stepped on -- especially by they themselves? Er, no.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The president negotiates our withdrawal from Afghanistan, proclaims mission accomplished — and the wars of the last decade continue winding down to nothing.
We’ll be leaving behind an unstable country with one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates and hundreds of armed insurgent groups. We haven’t rescued or rebuilt the country or accomplished any objective that begins to justify the human and financial cost of this adventure. We just lost.
But we’re the most powerful nation on the planet. How is that possible? And, as Tom Engelhardt asks, “Who exactly beat us? Where exactly is the triumphant enemy?”
WILL DURST FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
No one denies it was an auspicious ceremony, with Beyonce lip syncing and Michelle Obama resurrecting a 25 year old haircut, but Barack H. Obama’s last Oval Office induction ceremony was totally defined according to which side of the aisle you watched it from. Seen through the blue lens was one thing but through the red lens, something semi- similar only inside out, upside down and backwards. With poopy on it.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
In 2009, a coordinated attack by the conservative echo chamber pummeled the Department of Homeland Security for issuing a report on the growing threat of rightwing extremism in the United States. Enraged conservatives called for the resignation of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, and for the study – titled Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment -- to be deep-sixed.
Although Napolitano did not resign, the report, which found that “Right-wing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning,” was subsequently withdrawn.