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2017.7.2 BF Berkowitz(Photo: Taber Andrew Bain)BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

To paraphrase a remark attributed to Jesus, "Render unto Trump the things that are Trump, and unto Falwell the things that are Falwell's." And like that, President Donald Trump will be rewarding Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. for his early and earnest endorsement. According to Falwell, the administration has indicated that it will be tapping him to head up at least one and possibly two as yet to be created Department of Education task forces dealing with higher education. It appears that Falwell's goal will be to transform the Department of Education, an agency of which Falwell has been consistently critical. Falwell, told The Chronicle of Higher Education that he had a "notebook full of issues," and he appears to be particularly interested in reigning in Title IX, dealing with student aid, and possibly pushing one of his pet causes; allowing guns on campus.

"I've been in conversations with [presidential adviser] Steve Bannon and others, and the president is forming some education task forces that I've been asked to head," said Falwell, who apparently turned down an invitation by Team Trump to head up the Department of Education.

Len Stevens, Liberty's spokesman, indicated that Falwell "will push to stop regulations coming out of the Education Department, especially those that apply to colleges and universities," CNN reported. CNN's Dan Merica pointed out that "Falwell has been particularly interested in curbing rules that require schools to investigate campus sexual assault under Title IX, a federal law that bans discrimination in education."

2017.7.2 BF Chow(Photo: Gerald Simmons)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Republican lawmakers have proposed a bill to curtail the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ability to address climate change.

The "Stopping EPA Overreach Act of 2017" (HR637) would amend the Clean Air Act so that:

"The term 'air pollutant' does not include carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, or sulfur hexafluoride."

The bill was introduced by Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) and has already racked up 114 Republican co-sponsors. Palmer is a climate denier who once said that temperature data used to measure global climate change have been "falsified" and manipulated.

STEFANIE SPEAR OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

WindFarm 0206wrp opt(Photo: Leaflet)Lawmakers in the Maryland Senate voted 32-13 Thursday to expand the state's renewable energy target restoring the Clean Energy Jobs Act and overriding Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of the measure in May of last year. The bill is now in effect.

The bill increases requirements to use energy sources like wind and solar power to 25 percent by 2020, increased from 20 percent by 2022. The renewable portfolio standard (RPS), according to the Maryland Climate Coalition, will result in an additional 250 megawatts of solar energy in the state and more than 1,000 megawatts of additional renewable energy in the region.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said this bill is a big win for Maryland's economy. Wind power relies on a robust American supply chain that consists of 500 factories across 43 states, the wind energy organization touts, with wind energy already providing $380 million of capital investment in Maryland, and wind turbine lease payments generating up to $1 million a year in the state.

"Making the Clean Energy Jobs Act law is the right decision for Maryland. Renewable energy legislation is pro-growth, pro-business, and means access to more jobs in Maryland," AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan said. "From the Free State's population-hubs to majestic shores, this ensures more low-cost, homegrown American wind power reaches homeowners and businesses."

BOB FITRAKIS AND HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Ballot 0206wrp opt(Photo: Rama)Donald Trump's relentless insistence that three million "aliens" voted for Hillary Clinton and cost him a popular majority in November's presidential election cuts far beyond what the corporate media is willing to report. When it comes to undermining democracy in the US, Trump is once again proving that the best defense is a total attack, even if it relies on "alternative facts."

Trump's Big Lie on voter fraud has been as widely scorned as his fantasies about the size of the turnout at his inauguration. Even the normally restrained New York Times has editorialized that "what once seemed like another harebrained claim by a president with little regard for the truth must now be recognized as a real threat to American democracy."

It seems to be dawning on The Times and others that by claiming so many non-citizens voted more than once, Trump re-loads America's Jim Crow lynch laws against Black people voting. Based on these assertions, we can expect more and more aggressive attacks by the administration against the rights of non-whites and non-millionaires to a fair and honest ballot.  

Indeed, the corporate media has not yet faced the devastation of mass disenfranchisement in 2016. As reported by Greg Palast (www.gregpalast.com) and others, some thirty GOP Secretaries of State across the US used a computer program called Crosscheck to strip thousands of mostly black, Hispanic, Asian-American and Muslim voters from the registration rolls. These mass disenfranchisements could well have made the difference in key swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida that allowed Trump to win in the Electoral College while so thoroughly losing the popular vote.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Pruitt 0203wrp opt(Photo: Gage Skidmore)Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have suspended their panel's rules to force through Scott Pruitt's nomination to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The maneuver was made only one day after all 10 Democratic members of the committee announced a boycott over President Donald Trump's EPA pick. The boycott was sparked over their serious concerns of the Oklahoma attorney general's stances on climate change, pollution regulation and unanswered requests to provide official documents or emails that would shed light on his ties to the energy industry.

After temporarily suspending the committee's rules—which requires at least two minority members to meet quorum—committee Republicans unanimously approved Pruitt by a 11-0 vote at a Thursday hearing. This means Pruitt's nomination will go to the full GOP-controlled Senate, where he is likely to be approved.

Committee Democrats have called the move today by their Republican colleagues "irresponsible."

"I am disappointed that our majority has decided to ignore our concerns and those of the American people, and break the committee's rules in an effort to expedite Mr. Pruitt's nomination, but we have to stand our ground in our pursuit of the truth and in fulfillment of our Constitutional duty with respect to nominations," ranking member Tom Carper (D-DE) said in a statement.

Thursday, 02 February 2017 08:06

Is Trump's United States Our United States?

2017.2.2 BF Hightower(Photo: AnubisAbyss)JIM HIGHTOWER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Who are we?

Are we the great US of courage, spunk, openness, inclusion, opportunity and democratic promise -- as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt's Four Freedoms and Emma Lazarus' sonnet engraved on the Statue of Liberty?

Or are we the sad US of fear, cowardice, bigotry, xenophobia, intolerance and autocracy -- negative traits emanating from the darkness of Donald Trump's miserable dystopian view of our society, which has now resulted in him unilaterally imposing a contemptible and chaotic ban on immigrants from seven Muslim nations.

The Donald and his thuggish regime of demagogic nativists from the far-right fringe are hoping we're the timorous US. They shout that the people voted for the fair-haired strongman, and now they expect him to save them from bloodthirsty terrorists sneaking into US from Muslim nations. But wait -- first of all, the majority of us did not vote for him. So spare us the lie that you have a "mandate" to discriminate.

Thursday, 02 February 2017 06:51

​Trump Is Number One at Creating Enemies​

2017.2.2 bf koehler(Photo: Gage Skidmore)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

"Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001."

As Donald Trump sets out to "protect America," I dedicate the words of his explosively controversial proclamation banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, to one of his supporters: Alexandre Bissonnette, the white nationalist Canadian who shot up a mosque in Quebec City a few days ago, murdering six people and injuring eight others.

Bissonnette is the latest native-born lost soul who figured out how to combine a simmering hatred for a preselected "enemy" with guns and ammo and set out to save the world. He won't be the last. He's part of a burgeoning North American tradition of mass murder that is fed by racism, war, fear and guns -- a tradition the American government happily exploits but is clueless on how to address effectively.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

FrackWater 0201wrp opt(Photo: Markus Schweiss)Virginia's House of Delegates voted 59-37 on Monday in favor of a bill that would allow fracking companies to keep their chemical cocktails a secret.

HB 1678 states that "chemical ingredient names, the chemical abstracts number for a chemical ingredient, or the amount or concentration of chemicals or ingredients used to stimulate a well" are exempt from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

As the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported, while fracking is not heavily used in Virginia, some energy companies have shown interest. Texas energy company Shore Exploration and Production Corp. has acquired about 86,000 acres of gas and oil leases for Virginia's Taylorsville basin.

The bill was sponsored by Republican delegate Roxann L. Robinson, who introduced a similar bill last year. During Friday's debate of the bill, she argued that "by protecting that actual recipe, it will foster more efficient and more advancements in the fracking industry."

She claimed that HB1678 has since evolved into a "transparency bill" after it was amended to only cover information about chemical concentrations, not the chemicals themselves, according to the Times-Dispatch.

Shadow2 0201wrp(Photo: Timitzer)

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Stephen Miller is a 31-year-old who appears to have fit seamlessly into the inner circle at President Donald Trump’s White House. If you look closely during Trump’s executive order signing ceremonies, you’ll likely find the pre-maturely balding Miller lurking in the background, sometimes standing next to Steve Bannon or Reince Priebus. He’s one of a cadre of previously unknown ultra-conservative nativist provocateurs whose history includes mentoring by the alt-right’s Richard Spencer, connections to the Breitbart media operation, being communications director for Senator Jeff Sessions, and who, during the presidential campaign was a consistent rev-up-the-crowd guy at Trump rallies. Now, he is the senior adviser to the president for policy, a high-powered position, as evidenced by his significant contribution – along with Steve Bannon -- to the executive order on immigration that resulted in a firestorm of criticism and huge demonstrations at airports across the country.

In what seems like eons ago, in a June 2016 profile of Miller, Politico’s Julia Ioffe maintained that he was “a deeply unsettling figure, even to many in his own party.” “His nine-year career working for some of the most politically fringe figures on the Hill — he also worked for Michele Bachmann and helped David Brat in his primary defeat of Eric Cantor — was preceded by a trail of writings and provocations that go all the way back to high school, one that has raised the eyebrows of even conservative Republicans.”

According to a more recent piece by The Daily Beast’s Tim Mak, Miller “is as versatile as he is polarizing. A consistent theme in his life is knowing how to poke his political opponents in the eye, and he has seemed to revel in the feeling—from his childhood, to his college years, to the presidential-campaign trail.”

2017.31.1 BF Chow2(Photo: Stephen Melkisethian)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Two major pipeline spills were reported the same week that President Donald Trump signed orders to move the Keystone XL (KXL) and Dakota Access (DAPL) pipelines forward. The recent breaches highlight the dangers of unreliable fossil fuel infrastructure in North America.

The president signed executive orders on Tuesday. One a day later, about 138,600 gallons of a diesel mix spilled from a broken pipeline in Iowa.

The pipeline is owned by Oklahoma-based Magellan Midstream Partners, which recently reached an $18 million settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, involving three pipeline spills in Texas, Nebraska and Kansas.

On Monday, reports emerged of a Tundra Energy Marketing Ltd-owned pipeline that spilled 52,830 gallons of crude oil onto aboriginal land in Saskatchewan, Canada. The spill happened on reserve lands of the Ocean Man First Nation.

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