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2017.10.1 BF Berkowitz(Photo: Gage Skidmore)BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

If Trump pulls the appointment to head the National Endowment for the Arts from the same barrel of deplorables he has used for many of his administration’s other nominees, we may see Phil Robertson, the patriarch of Duck Dynasty, Scott Baio, or one of the other "celebrities" that supported Trump, heading up the agency. Regardless of who Trump picks, there’s a good chance that there will be another battle over funding the agency.

During Republican administrations, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) tends to be on the chopping block. With Trump in the White House, and Congress in the firm control of the GOP, it may once again be facing significant opposition to its mission and its funding. Even before the highly-respected Meryl Streep delivered a blistering, heartfelt and thoughtful take down of Donald Trump, while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony last weekend, it was a pretty safe bet that she would not be on Team Trump’s short list to head up the NEA, although she would make a great candidate for the job.

"There was one performance this year that stunned me -- it sank its hooks in my heart," Streep said. "Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth.

2017.10.1 BF Suh(Photo: Gage Skidmore)RHEA SUH OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Before Inauguration Day, the Trump era has opened with an extremist agenda that poses an alarming threat to our people, our environment and the core values we share about justice, fair play and our commitment to leave future generations a livable world. Already, we've seen a set of cabinet nominees dominated by fossil fuel advocates, billionaires and bankers; a president-elect who says "nobody really knows" what's happening to our climate; and a full-on witch hunt for the experts who know the truth.

This is not normal. It's the most radical approach to American governance we've seen in our lifetime. Whatever we voted on in November, nobody voted for dirty water and air. Nobody voted to walk away from climate leadership and millions of clean energy jobs. And nobody voted to hand over our country to a pollute-ocracy that puts polluter profits first -- and puts the rest of us at risk.

DAN ZUKOWSKI OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

LarsenRift 0109wrp opt(Photo: The Larson Rift by John Sonntag, NASA)A 70-mile long crack in the Larsen C ice shelf grew another shocking 11 miles in December alone. That leaves just 12 miles before an iceberg the size of Delaware snaps off into the Southern Ocean.

"The Larsen C Ice shelf in Antarctica is primed to shed an area of more than 5000 square kilometers [approx. 3,100 square miles] following further substantial rift growth," wrote the Project MIDAS team, which has been studying the ice shelf.

"After a few months of steady, incremental advance since the last event, the rift grew suddenly by a further 18 kilometers [about 11 miles] during the second half of December 2016."

During the last Antarctic winter, the rift averaged about three miles per month of growth. In December, NASA released a set of images that found the crack measured 70 miles in length, 300 feet wide and one-third of a mile deep.

The sudden acceleration of the split in the ice has scientists convinced that a massive calving event is imminent.

Monday, 09 January 2017 06:23

Why Monsanto Wants Me In Jail

REV. BILLY TALEN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

iowa arrest stare 2 optPhoto: Rev. Talen under arrest in IowaI am facing some jail time for standing up to the evils of Monsanto and other Big Ag usurpers of the Earth.

This week, a prosecutor in Iowa appears corrupted by Monsanto and has proposed to a judge that protesters of its toxins be deprived of their constitutional rights at trial. Let's repeat that. A Des Moines assistant District Attorney has filed a motion that would preclude any "referencing" of the 1st Amendment or free speech protections of the Bill of Rights in my trial. This would retroactively strip a protester, me, of the right to protest simply. Here's a link to the motion ­­ that will be litigated against me this week.

Stripping a protester of his or her rights as a citizen in a misdemeanor trial? We cannot find a precedent. There are two of us on trial, me and another person were popped on the charge of trespassing. We face 30 days imprisonment or $500. I'm in New York and Father Frank Cordaro is a Catholic Worker priest in Des Moines Iowa, so this preacher-priest duet doesn't get to talk that much. I'll see him at the rally before the trial on Tuesday night the 10th. Frank is finding me a good church organist because Nehemiah Luckett, the music director of The Church of Stop Shopping, can't come this time.

We don't have videotapes of Monsanto handing brown paper bags of cash to the government lawyers. But that's where politics comes in. We can't prove that Monsanto knew that Agent Orange would be causing birth defects fifty years after the Viet Nam War, but they brag on their website about Agent Orange. We can't prove that Monsanto poisoned the African-American town of Addison, Alabama for years because the statute of limitations has run out on the emails we found between their scheming execs.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

LouFloods 0106wrp opt(Photo: Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service)Louisiana—which faces faster levels of sea-level rise than any other land on Earth—could lose as many as 2,800 square miles of its coast over the next 40 years and about 27,000 buildings will need to be flood-proofed, elevated or bought out, the New Orleans Advocate reported.

These dire predictions were pulled from a new rewrite of the state's Coastal Master Plan for 2017 released Tuesday by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

The plan, first introduced in 2007 post- Hurricane Katrina, acts as a 50-year blueprint for restoring the Pelican State's rapidly disappearing coastal wetlands and protecting the state's natural resources and communities. Louisiana's Legislature unanimously approved the 2007 and 2012 versions.

The new plan, which is now out for public review and must be voted up or down by the Legislature, calls for 120 new projects, including a $6 billion proposal to protect or vacate properties in areas that are at risk of experiencing a 100-year storm. The plan also aims to restore 800 to 1,200 square miles of wetlands and build new levees and flood walls to protect against hurricane storm surges.

2017.5.1 BF Roulac(Photo: Scott Thieman)JOHN ROULAC OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Yes, Houston, we have a problem: Our oceans are dying.

As the brilliant futurist Buckminster Fuller used to point out, our Spaceship Earth is hurtling through space at a great speed.

Imagine if someone told you (a passenger on that ship) that the main oxygen systems were failing because of how food was being grown.

What would you do upon receiving that dire warning? Perhaps work to make a change? Lobby the ship's captain? Maybe you'd simply deny that there was any such connection and keep going about your busy life.

But an imminent loss of oxygen just happens to be a current fact, because the ocean's phytoplankton (which provides two-thirds of the planet's oxygen) is rapidly dying off. Industrial agriculture not only contaminates our oceans with pesticide and nitrogen-fertilizer runoff, leading to massive dead zones; it is stripping our soils of carbon, which ends up in the oceans and creates acidification. At the current trajectory, in just a few decades there won't be much left alive in our oceans as the phytoplankton dies -- all because of how we grow our food.

2016.5.1 BF Koehler(Photo: Julie Tougne)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

It's too easy simply to blame Donald Trump for the void that's suddenly apparent at the center of American government -- or will be on Jan. 20.

In fact, I'm utterly sick of hearing his name, let alone accounts of his latest outrage or trivial impertinence, which is the equivalent of crack cocaine in the news cycle: all Trump, all the time. It's been that way for a year.

Trump is a symptom. But, come on, far less of a symptom -- of a deep, raw social and cultural wrongness -- than, for instance, the global war and terror, environmental exploitation, climate chaos, poverty, racism (old and new), infrastructure collapse, the commonness of mass murder, the limitless expansion of the security state, or the congealing of a one-party status quo that ignores all of the above.

We kind of live with this stuff and the vague pain it causes -- because we know it's wrong and feel the wrongness deep inside us -- and in the process of ignoring this pain we have devolved ever more deeply into techno-escapism. We allow ourselves to be lulled and distracted by the superficial media, continually presented with new enemies to blame. (The Russians! The Russians! They messed with our election!)

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Grapes 0104wrp opt(Photo: Howcheng)Wineries in Texas are worried that federal approval of two highly volatile and drift-prone herbicides used on neighboring genetically modified (GMO) cotton fields will cause widespread damage to their vineyards, The Texas Tribune details.

The herbicides in question are Monsanto's dicamba-based XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology, which was approved in November by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Dow AgroSciences' 2,4-D-based Enlist Duo, which the EPA also proposed to register for use on GMO cotton seeds. Enlist Duo is already used on GMO corn and soybean crops in 15 states.

"The approval of these formulations will wind up affecting every vineyard up there," explained Paul Bonarrigo, a Hale County vintner who believes that his withering grapevines have been damaged by the illegal spraying of dicamba and 2,4-D on nearby cotton farms. Bonarrigo believes that the state's $2 billion wine industry is in jeopardy.

The debacle is yet another chapter in the expanding issue of herbicide-resistant weeds, or superweeds, that have evolved to resist the herbicide glyphosate, or Roundup. In response to weeds such as pigweed that have infested farms across the U.S., agribusinesses such as Monsanto and Dow have developed ever stronger weedkillers to help farmers.

Wednesday, 04 January 2017 07:20

Jim Hightower: A Political Party Worth Joining

JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Bob 0104wrp opt(Photo: Sen. "Fighting" Bob LaFollette, Library of Congress)The best political party in America is not the Dems nor the Repubs. By far, the best political party is a real party named "Fighting Bob Fest."

It's a daylong, outdoor political festival run by a coalition of Wisconsin progressives who believe in "putting the party back in politics." Held in Madison every September, Bob Fest is like a "state fair" of politics, not only featuring give-'em-hell speechifying and hot populist issues — but also terrific edibles from a dozen food trucks, bottomless kegs of great local beers, lively music, dozens of activist booths, games, political humor, a farmers market and... well, fun!

The idea behind Bob Fest is to have a political event that people actually want to come to. Plus, not only is admission free, but Bob Fest is also proud to be corporate-free, rejecting any funding or ads by corporate interests. It's a volunteer-run festival of, by and for regular people, and it pays for itself each year by passing the bucket and getting staff support from The Progressive, the feisty, populist-spirited magazine founded 107 years ago by Sen. Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette.

Yes, Fighting Bob Fest is named for La Follette, a truly great U.S. Senator who was renowned for battling the corruption of American politics by corporate money. In fact, when he was Wisconsin's governor a century ago, La Follette passed a law banning corporations from making donations to political candidates — a law that is still in effect.

2017.3.1 BF Berkowitz(Photo: Brook Ward)BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

San Francisco 49er quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, was recently voted by his teammates the prestigious Len Eshmont Award for inspiration and courage. This contradicts previously held assumptions that his protest against racial injustice in America caused irredeemable discord or rancor among his fellow players. While not every player or coach on the team may have agreed with Kaepernick's kneeling down for the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before every game, they apparently agreed that what he did took courage, conviction, and a commitment to social justice that is rare among the modern-day athlete.

The Eshmont Award, is given to the teammate who "best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, an original member of the 1946 49ers team," according to the team website.

 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith discussed some of the criticism Kaepernick has received, saying: "Colin has handled that situation better than anyone could have imagined. It hasn't been a distraction in our locker room, and it probably helped him open up to a lot of our team and our teammates better. He's been very open in communication about that as well as football."

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