Guest Commentary (4756)
MARC PERKEL FOR BUZZFLASH
Right wing Republicans and Tea Party extremists are talking about seceding from the United States. I say - go for it. Governors like Rick Perry of Texas and Bob McDonald of Virginia want to inflame the hatred of America then they should leave and form their own country.
The southern Republican leaning states are the high welfare states and the progressive north is stuck supporting them. I would love to see them pay their own way and they can take the Bush debt with them. They can deregulate everything and pay for their own bailouts. I for one am tired of putting up with the bad judgment of the politicians they elect. Maybe if they had to take care of themselves they they would understand that taking responsibility and fixing problems is more work that anger, apathy, and ignorance.
But here in "Real America" we had an election. We won, you lost. Get used to it.
MARC PERKEL FOR BUZZFLASH
CARL FINAMORE FOR BUZZFLASH
Approximately 850 hotel workers in San Francisco have hit the bricks again, this time for a three-day strike against the Hilton, San Francisco’s largest hotel. Picketing began early at 4am on April 7. This is nothing new.
It is the fourth short-term strike against a city hotel since November. In fact, it was only a few months ago when over 1000 demonstrators marched around this same hotel supporting over 140 peaceful protestors who were arrested for blocking the main entrance.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH
“I have nowhere to talk about this except here in a prison setting,” Peg said. “You are my community.”
The circle grew close, intimate — sacred — as the three women spoke.
There were about 35 of us in all, sitting on hard plastic chairs. Twenty wore green: the inmates. The building was wrapped in razor wire. It was a maximum security prison called Columbia Correctional Institution, in Portage, Wis. Built for 450 prisoners, it houses, two decades after it opened, about 900. The setting was old justice, but something new was happening.
Not all that new, maybe. Restorative Justice — a multifaceted system of criminal justice and conflict resolution that puts healing and truth-telling at its core, not punishment, revenge or the culling out of humanity’s undesirables — has been around and evolving for about 20 years now. It’s slowly gaining a foothold in court systems and schools around the world: It is part, I’m certain, of an invisible wave of change that is transforming the planet. Nothing about it is simple, but something precious beyond compare can emerge from the process. Suffering can abate, torn lives and broken communities can heal, good can come from bad.
NIKOLAS KOZLOFF FOR BUZZFLASH
Fresh off his huge blockbuster success with Avatar, James Cameron is taking a commendable stand on indigenous issues in the rainforest. Flying down to Brazil’s Amazonian city of Manaus recently, the film director criticized the Belo Monte hydro electric dam project. “For people living along the river, as they have for millennia,” he said, “the dam will end their way of life. I implore the Brazilian government, and President Lula, to reconsider this project.”
To his credit, Cameron did not simply pop up in Manaus impromptu without getting the full inside story behind hydro-power. With the help of hardworking and dedicated organizations such as Amazon Watch, Cameron toured the Xingu River and attended a gathering of over 100 indigenous leaders from dozens of communities. Not to be outdone, he also visited Altamira, a local town which stands to be flooded by the Belo Monte dam.
Having tackled the thorny problem of environmental destruction in Avatar, Cameron is now adding his own high profile voice to the cause of rainforest preservation. No doubt, the film director has already sensed the disturbing parallels between the virtual, 3-D world of Pandora and the Amazon jungle: just like the fictional Na’vi people, who fight against an earth-based, mining consortium, the Kayapo Indians are fighting to preserve about 500 square miles of their lands threatened by flooding.
DANNY SCHECHTER FOR BUZZFLASH
A Tale of Then and Now, FDR vs Obama: A Story of Shame, Co-optaton, Partisan Bickering and Industry Lobbying To Undermine Financial Reform
2009, The Intent: Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "What I want to initiate is the equivalent of what happened in the 30's. They had something that was called the Pecora Commission. This was the commission that was formed when Franklin Roosevelt took office and they investigated what happened with the markets...We need to know. Some people can tell you one piece of it. Others can tell you another piece of it. But really it's very hard – do you understand it? -- for the American people and the rest of us as we try to make policy as we go forward to see the ramifications of any of the changes we're being asked to make."
THEN: Robert Kuttner: "In 1932 through 1934 the Senate Banking Committee, led by its Chief Counsel Ferdinand Pecora, ferreted out the deeper fraud and corruption that led to the Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. The Pecora Committee's findings helped change the political mood, and laid the groundwork for the sweeping financial reforms of Roosevelt's New Deal. Roosevelt himself often conferred with Pecora, encouraged him, and depended on Pecora's work to build the public support for reform. He appointed Pecora to one of the newly created results of his handiwork, the Securities and Exchange Commission, though Pecora was disappointed not to be its chairman."
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH.COM
The appearance, and then disappearance, of crisis pregnancy centers on the list of Lilith-eligible charities sparks online dust-up.
MARC PERKEL FOR BUZZFLASH
Michael Steele, who is head of the Republican National Committee, said that he has less room for error because he's black. He might be correct. Republicans are making a big deal out of the incident where Republican staffers spent almost $2000 at the Voyeur Club, a lesbian bondage strip bar. Although this sounds bad for the chief fundraiser for America's "Party of God", it's not so bad when you compare it to white Republican scandals.
For example, Senator David Vitter was caught paying for sex with prostitutes. Senator Ensign was caught having an affair with a staffer and funneled hush money to her and her husband, possibly breaking the law. Republican Senator Larry Craig of Utah (wide stance) was caught playing foot game in a mens restroom in a police sting to catch men trying to pick up other men for sex. Republican Governor Mark Stanford used state funds to sneak off to Argentina to cheat on his wife and 4 kids and although he is now single again, he's still serving as governor.
FAIR (Federation for Immigration Reform) is un-balanced and unfair on immigration
Although included on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups, FAIR continues to spread its anti-immigration tentacles while building its national profile
By Bill Berkowitz
When the debate in Washington over immigration reform begins to snap, crackle and pop, you can bet that one D.C. anti-immigration powerhouse will be in the thick of the noise. After all, it is the most frequently quoted immigration restriction organization in the United States; its spokespersons are frequent guests on cable television’s news programs discussing such topics as “American ‘Intifada’ in Our Future?” “Driving While Illegal,” and “Should ALL Illegal Aliens Be Deported?”; its president appeared with Lou Dobbs on his CNN program a number of times; over the past few years, its staffers have testified more than 30 times in front of Congressional committees; and, it played a key role in derailing previous efforts at passing immigration reform.
In December 2007, it was listed as a hate group operating in the United States by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights organization monitoring hate group activity in the US.
The it we’re talking about is the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) (http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer), a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization that has been around for more than two decades, and which has, over the past few years – during which time the issue of immigration has become a hot-button issue -- vastly increased its public profile.
JOE OF ARIZONALAND FOR BUZZFLASH
This is the story of those who drink the Conservative Tea ("DRINK ME"), the kind that makes your brain small enough to fit down the rabbit hole.
Beyond the sleeping Dormouse, Michael Steele, you may see a sight to behold: dancers in bondage cheered by Young Republican Eaglets, or Tea Partying Caterpillars on mushrooms smoking hookahs.
If you follow the White Supremacist Rabbit a little further, you may run into the delusional mad Hatter, Glenn Beck, reciting his favorite nonsense.
SKEETER SANDERS FOR BUZZFLASH
The Anti-Obama billboards going up in Atlanta are more than "disgusting" and "pathological."
They're also "racist."
What we're witnessing is nothing less than an explosion of paranoia being expressed by a certain class of people -- namely conservative White Anglo-Saxon Protestant males -- who are freaking out not only because a black man is president, but more importantly, the growing realization that WASPs will lose their majority status by the middle of this century.
Loss of majority status for WASPs means an inevitable loss of power and privilege. This has been made certain by the Census Bureau's disclosure late last month that Latino births will outpace WASP births in the U.S. within two years.
SHERRY YARMOUTH FOR BUZZFLASH
BuzzFlash received this heartfelt letter over the weekend in response to Dr. Cassell, a urologist in Florida, who put up a note on his medical office door that persons who voted for Obama should go elsewher for treatment. This guy shouldn't be practicing medicine; send him to work in a Jiffy Lube, but then maybe he won't give oil jobs to persons who voted for Obama. Dr. Cassell clearly has some brain defect, perhaps inserted by alien pod people.
I work at a hospital where anti-Obama feeling runs high. Amongst ourselves and in the break room, care-givers decry his health care plan, complaining about its cost, its unfairness, and expressing doubts that there'll be anything left for us, when our time comes.
The operative phrase here is, “amongst ourselves,” and “in the break room.” That's because we know that when a patient comes through our doors, we don't ask what their favorite baseball team is, what part of town their daddy grew up in, or how they voted for President. Throughout my medical career, I've known many “Send-em-back-to-Mexico” nurses who cared for Mexican children as if they were their own, professionals who honestly believe that California is being overrun by migrants, who would never dream of withholding care on the basis of race or belief. I've worked with Afghan doctors who looked after ornery Babushkas without once commenting on the millions of their countrymen who died at the hands of Russians. That, too, is called professionalism. The idea is this: Got a problem with Irish, or Liberals, or people who voted for Barry Goldwater? Fine. Leave it at the door. Once you put on that badge, or don those scrubs, everybody's equal. If you can't handle that, then you're not fit to serve. Everybody understands that.
RICHARD A. STITT FOR BUZZFLASH
It is worth repeating what the late George Carlin said in a November 2004 interview on the Charlie Rose show. When asked by Rose why he thought the Democrats lost the 2004 election, Carlin responded (paraphrasing), "When the other side has you talking their language then they've got you." That sums up the plight of Democrats' failure to respond forcefully enough to Republican smear propaganda and attack ads.
The Republican apparatchiks have been enormously successful in sucking the mainstream media into their well-oiled propaganda machine and diverting the nation away from the real issues confronting our country. Catch phrases and sound bites like Soccer Moms, NASCAR Dads, Hockey Moms, and Moral Majority which occupied past election cycles have all been coined by Republicans for easy media and public digestion.
John Kerry's inability to respond to the Swift Boat lies, charges that he flip-flopped on the Iraq War fiasco, the inaccurate charge and caricature of Al Gore that he "invented the Internet," former Georgia U.S. Senator Max Cleland's being blind-sided by the loathsome smear ads that he was "...a traitor to his country and a friend of Osama bin Laden," were all constructs of the Republican Party and testament to their devious but artful skills in tarring anyone whom they vow to defeat at any cost.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH
Hannity on the Loose: A best-selling book, an expansive book tour and a charity gone rogue
While Sean Hannity’s new book, “Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama's Radical Agenda” will no doubt hit the best-seller list, his so-called Freedom Concerts may be landing on another list; a list of organizations not to be trusted with the public’s donations.
The other day I received an email from the Heritage Foundation -- signed by its president Edward Fuelner -- letting me know that Sean Hannity’s new book has been released. The book, according to Fuelner, “spells out exactly what needs to be done to rescue America from the clutches of a destructive leftist policy agenda.” And make no mistake about it, Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama's Radical Agenda, will be on the best-seller lists before you’ve finished your first cup of coffee on Monday morning. (As of Thursday, April 1, the book was ranked #2 in Amazon’s “Best Sellers in Books” category; #33 in sales rank at Barnes & Noble; and there was only “1 left in stock” over at Powell’s Books.)
NIKOLAS KOZLOFF FOR BUZZFLASH
Move over Coca-Cola: here comes Bolivia.
The Andean nation’s indigenous people have long resented the U.S. beverage company for usurping the name of their sacred coca leaf. Now, they are aiming to take back their heritage. Recently, the government of Evo Morales announced that it would support a plan to produce a coca-based soft drink which would rival its fizzy American counterpart.