Guest Commentary (4706)
ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUTDAN ZUKOWSKI OF
Article reprinted with permission of EcoWatch
Pedals, the upright-walking bear, which once had 22,000 fans on a now-defunct Facebook page, was just one of 549 bears killed by hunters during a controversial expanded hunting season. Reaction was so negative on both sides of the issue that a Facebook page dedicated to the bear was shut down Saturday night. A new Facebook page, RIP Pedals The Walking Bear, posted a plea to "please be respectful of others."
Anger may have been provoked by the defunct site's post, which read, "The hunter who has wanted him dead for nearly three years had the satisfaction of putting an arrow through him, bragging at the station."
JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Eroding US Pipeline Explosions Reported as "Gas Hikes"
There are approximately, hold on to your seat, 185,000 oil spills and pipeline ruptures that happen every single day in the United States, alone. Reports on these daily disasters are deliberately censored. And now, devastating oil spill impacts are being redefined in the media as "gas hike warnings" instead of environmental disasters.
The federal government has not enforced safety regulations; thus when eroding oil pipes rupture, Big Oil's message is: You, Mr. and Mrs. America, will pay the price with gas hikes. Not only is Big Oil responsible for creating the deadly toxic mess by not upgrading their eroding pipelines, they make hard-working Americans pay for the ruptured pipes by raising gas prices. And if that doesn't tick you off, the oil pipeline industry receives billions of your tax dollars in subsidies.
In September 2016, a main oil pipeline ruptured in Alabama that disrupted supply distribution. The corporate news reported it as a "leak." The chosen word "leak" comes directly out of the oil industry's public relations' lexicon. They instruct politicians, the media anchors, and especially the president of the United States, to use the word "pipe leak". For instance, President Obama still characterizes the worst oil catastrophe in history, the 2010 BP Deep Horizon explosion that killed eleven workers and left 3,000 miles of the Gulf of Mexico's ocean floor a permanent dead zone, "a leak".
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
As Donald Trump and his white nationalist/alt-right supporters stir up his base with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric, threats of anti-Muslim violence has been on the rise. Which brings us to Kansas, where some militia members are acting out. I wouldn’t call them good old boys because that can be a term of endearment. Besides, they're not really boys, all being in their late forties.
The guys, Curtis Allen, 49, Gavin Wright, 49, and Patrick Stein, 47, apparently decided it was time to take it big time to some Somali immigrants in the town of Garden City, Kansas. Garden City, located in southwestern Kansas, is the county seat of Finney County, and has a population of something over 25,000 people. In addition to Somali immigrants, Garden City is also home to Mexican-Americans, Vietnamese and other Southeast Asians, many of whom work at the Tyson Foods meat packing plant, located about five miles from the city, and other meat packing factories.
From once having a girlfriend working at a meat packing plant in Emporia, Kansas, I know that it's a really tough job: Tough on the hands, tough on the feet, and if you're working the night shift tough on family life.
Allen and Wright, both of Liberal, Kansas, and Stein, of Wright, Kansas are all members of a small "militia" group called the Crusaders, which may be aligned with the “sovereign citizens” movement. They wanted to “wake people up.” And the best way they thought of doing that was to bomb the guck out of an apartment complex that perhaps as many as 120 Somalis live at. And, since one of the apartments in the complex doubled as a mosque, they figured they'd have a mosque notched onto their resume.
All of the planning took place while stalking the apartment complex. Only they weren't very discreet, as they'd drive by and scream at Somali women in traditional clothing, calling them “fucking raghead bitches.”
They set the date; the day after Election Day. They wanted to be sure that their action would not affect the election.
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
blurted out "that makes me smart" as a reason for non-payment of taxes, he was revealing a truth about the American narcissist. Senator Lindsey Graham was equally arrogant when he stated, "It's really American to avoid paying taxes, legally...It's a game we play.." The game has become very popular, with an incomprehensible three-quarters of Fortune 500 companies stashing profits in offshore tax havens, avoiding over $700 billion in U.S. taxes.
Who Are the Narcissists?
They're people who don't feel any responsibility to the society that made them rich, largely because they believe in the "self-made" myth. Their numbers are growing. For every 100 households with $100 million in assets in 2010, there are now 160.
Some of the super-rich care about average Americans, and some are well-intentioned philanthropists, but in general, as numerous studies have shown, wealthier individuals tend to be imbued with a distinct sense of entitlement. They believe their talents and attributes - genius, even - have earned them a rightful position of status over everyone else.
The narcissists care less about the feelings and needs of others, they become anti-social, they are less generous with their money, they move further to the right, and they become less willing to support the economic needs of all members of society. People in rich countries have been found to express less concern about their environmental impact.
And as the wealth gap widens, people at the two extremes become more and more distrustful of each other.
Most disturbing is that 'upper-class' individuals tend to behave more unethically than average citizens. Especially at the highest levels, where career success has been associated with Machiavellianism -- doing anything necessary to get ahead. A recent study of 261 U.S. senior professionals found that 21 per cent had clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits, compared to about one percent in the general population. That's roughly the same rate as for prisoners.
PROTECT DEMOCRACY FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The 2016 election campaign has left the victims of global capitalism behind.
On one side is Hillary Clinton, the quintessential representative of the financial and political elites, who was temporarily forced into adopting a progressive populist message by her primary opponent, Bernie Sanders. On the other side, there is Donald Trump; a narcissistic con man who was born on third base and insists he hit a home run. By the dictionary definition, I believe Mr. Trump is a sociopath, having no moral judgment, and no ability to empathize or put events into perspective. Mr. Trump’s condition is serious, however, I don't think it is rare.
In fact, Mr. Trump's life of dubious financial dealings is a metaphor for how our unregulated capitalist system has evolved. Success is only measured in terms of accumulated wealth. Executives of large companies are compensated based solely on short-term returns to investors, resulting in cutthroat financial dealings and accounting gamesmanship. Decisions are made in remote boardrooms with no consideration of their social impact.
By most measures, Mr. Trump has been a success in the world of high stakes real estate investing, deal making, and accumulating personal wealth. His path to attaining this wealth has also been a subject of controversy, since Mr. Trump has left a trail of financial dead bodies in his wake; serial bankruptcies, questionable labor practices, legions of unpaid employees and creditors, and some well-publicized scams that were barely, if at all, legal.
JIM HIGHTOWER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Just when you thought that Big Banker greed surely bottomed out with 2008's Wall Street crash and bailout, along comes Wells Fargo, burrowing even deeper into the ethical slime to reach a previously unimaginable level of corporate depravity.
It's one thing for these giants of finance to cook the books or defraud investors, but top executives of Wells Fargo have been profiteering for years by literally forcing their employees to rob the bank's customers. Rather than a culture of service, executives have pushed a high-pressure "sales culture" at least since 2009, demanding that front-line employees meet extreme quotas of selling myriad unnecessary bank products to common depositors who just wanted a simple checking account. Employees were expected to load each customer with at least eight accounts, and employees were monitored constantly on meeting their quotas -- fail and they'd be fired.
That's why the bosses' sales culture turned employees into a syndicate of bank robbers. The thievery was systemic, and it was not subtle: Half a million customers were secretly issued credit cards they didn't request; fake email accounts for online services were set up without customers' knowledge; debit cards were issued and activated without telling customers; depositors' money was moved from one account to another; signatures were forged -- and, of course, Wells Fargo collected fees for all of these bogus transactions, boosting its profits.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Values the size of Planet Earth are at stake, as the American presidential election grows ever smaller, ever pettier, ever more certain that rancor triumphs over relevance.
Can you imagine, let us say, an issue the size of global nuclear disarmament emerging in this race, somewhere between the groper tapes and the hacked DNC emails? What if -- my God -- we lived in a country in which such a matter were seriously and publicly discussed, not shunted off to the margins with a grimace and a smirk? The only thing that has mainstream credibility in this country is business as usual, which comes to us wrapped in platitudes about strength and greatness but in reality is mostly about war and profit and the destruction of the planet.
Meanwhile it's three minutes to midnight.
And the Republic of the Marshall Islands has lost its case in the International Court of Justice. On a technicality, no less! Phon van den Biesen, lead attorney for the tiny island nation, which had sued the world's nine nuclear powers -- the United States, Russia, China, Great Britain, France, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea -- to begin real nuclear disarmament negotiations, said the case was dismissed earlier this month on a "microformality," which in my layman's grasp of the matter might be called, instead, a desperate legal copout.
LORAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
new law encouraging residents to help green the City of Light by planting their own urban gardens.Earlier this summer, Paris quietly passed a
The initiative, "permis de végétaliser" (or "license to vegetate"), is part of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo's 2020 target of adding 100 hectares (247 acres) of vegetation on the city's walls and roofs, with a third dedicated to urban agriculture.
To encourage citizens to become "gardeners of the Parisian public space," any resident can now apply for a renewable three-year permit to start their own urban garden project. Participants can green the capital in various ways, from planting fruit trees to creating living walls to a rooftop garden. Upon request, the city will also provide a planting kit that includes topsoil and seeds.
KRISTIN FALZON OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Woodley was streaming live on her Facebook page Monday during a peaceful protest at Standing Rock. The protest was in response to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on Monday that lifted a temporary injunction on the pipeline, allowing construction to resume.
The actress and environmental activist was trying to head back to her RV to go back to camp, when she noticed it was surrounded by police and a riot vehicle. As she approached her RV, she was stopped by police dressed in riot and military gear. After speaking with them, she was told on camera that she was being arrested for criminal trespassing. A spokesman for the Morton County Sheriff's Department said she was also arrested for engaging in a riot. Her mother was with her at the time.
When she asked why she was being arrested and no one else, and whether it was because people know who she is, the officer who appeared to be in charge said it was because she was identified.
WALTER BRASCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
With a month left before the November general election, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are trash-talking each other in a financial race to the White House.
According to the latest filing with the Federal Election Commission, Clinton has raised about $516.8 million for her campaign. Total spending by outside groups and SuperPacs supporting her was an additional $31.7 million; the total spent opposing her was about $40.2 million.
Trump has raised about $205.9 million. About 45 percent of his income is from individual contributors; one-third is from Trump himself. Total spending by outside groups and superPACs supporting Trump is about $69 million; opposition spending is about $139.7 million.
Both Clinton and Trump are spending heavy on TV ads. Clinton and pro-Clinton outside groups have spent about $190 million, and Trump and pro-Trump outside groups have spent about $50 million, according to data compiled by Advertising Analytics. However, Trump has mitigated the difference by a barrage of Tweets to 12 million followers, and by constant calls to TV stations. In Pennsylvania, one of nine "swing states," Clinton has outspent Trump, $17 million to $6 million.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
With one salacious video, Donald Trump filled up his deplorable basket to the brim. The latest Trump revelations, regarding his predatory and sexual attacks claims toward, and vulgar thoughts about women, raise numerous questions, one of them being: Will white conservative Christian evangelicals continue to support him? The answer, as of this writing, is that evangelical Christian leaders that have supported him are not backing away.
Kermit Zarley, writing for patheos.com, described the scene: "In this conversation, Trump is very lewd in the characterization of himself as a philanderer. He uses sexual language in his narrative of attempting to have sex with a named married woman. It is not only a tape recording, but a video showing the bus traveling along with Trump and [Billy] Bush [host of "Access Hollywood"] in it while they were having this conversation.
In a short video, Trump issued a classic non-apology saying, "I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize," before quickly pivoting to Bill and Hillary Clinton, claiming Bill's actions were much worse, and that Hillary "bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims."
WILLIAM RIVERS PITT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
A hard rain is falling on the tin roof of Trump Tower this morning, and many across the land call it a joyful noise. Paul Ryan has kicked Donald to the curb, an ever-increasing number of Republicans are calling on him to drop out, and if he actually summons the courage to show his face at the Town Hall on Sunday, he will know the trials of Sisyphus before he reaches the far shore.
I can summon no smiles today, however. While I am pleased this dangerous man's campaign has absorbed what appears to be a mortal blow, it does not change the fact that he happened, he happened to all of us, and nothing will ever be the same again. "Do what you want to them" and "Grab them by the pussy" have entered the political lexicon. Our children will read those lines in their History textbooks someday. My daughter will see that and rightly ask, "Why?"
Why? The phenomenon of the angry Tea Party voter is only a partial, facile explanation. The truth is harder: The media did this, with our help. They knew who this guy really was - everyone in the industry knew - and still they protected and coddled him for a year because he makes for good television. Geraldo Rivera is on Fox News at this moment tsk-tsking about how unsettling this must be for the Trump family. His concern is as ersatz as fake rain on a movie set. This recording did not fall out of the sky; someone has been safeguarding it as their retirement fund for 11 years, and someone else knew, which means everyone knew.
He was who the industry wanted, and they arranged to get him, and get him they did with our active assistance. Their ratings have never been higher, because we are the yeast that makes this rotten bread rise. Admit it: At some point you tuned in with the thought in your head, "I wonder what he said today." Millions and millions have done just that. I sure did, and I accept my portion of responsibility. If a Trump falls in the forest and no one watches, does it tweet? The media gambled on people watching, they won, and here we are.
CARL POPE OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
climate reporting had two strands: climate science got more alarming as we got closer and closer to exceeding various warming thresholds, and climate diplomacy and public policy were a relatively unbroken saga of disappointment and delay.For years
The media flocks to bad news, conflict, grid-lock, failure. Both strands of the pre-2014 climate story nourished this appetite. Since 2014, however, the climate story grew more complex, hopeful—but harder for the media to summarize. Greenhouse gas concentrations continue to grow at an alarming rate; projections of the risks of these concentrations become steadily graver, more bad news. So this week we were told that the planet was hotter than it has been in the last 100,000 years.
Current climate commitments fall far short of what is needed to avoid catastrophe—which causes concerned observers to argue that the world is not taking the problem seriously.
But on the solutions front, progress is accelerating. Climate diplomacy and public policy are not only galloping ahead at an unprecedented speed, their pace is increasing. We are in danger of not realizing that.
The media doesn't know how to cover a story that is headed in two directions, so it's unlikely that this week will be reported as a huge turning point in the fight for climate protection—but it was.
ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUTDAN ZUKOWSKI OF
Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch
About 95 metric tons of oil leaked into the North Sea on Sunday from BP's Clair platform, and it will be left in the ocean. BP says the oil is moving away from land and dispersing naturally, but the spill is a reminder that accidents happen as more oil development is eyed for the Arctic.
In what BP called a "technical issue," oil was released into the North Sea, located about 46 miles, west of the Shetland Islands. BP shut down the oil rig and said it is investigating the accident.
The oil company said it had conducted five aerial surveys with three more planned for Tuesday to monitor the oil slick.
"It is considered that the most appropriate response remains to allow the oil to disperse naturally at sea, but contingencies for other action have been prepared and are available, if required," BP said.