Guest Commentary (4712)
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.
BILL QUIGLEY FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Racism may well be the biggest crime in the criminal legal system. If present trends continue, 1 of every 4 African American males born this decade can expect to go to prison in his lifetime despite the fact that the Census Bureau reports that the US is 13 percent Black, 61 percent white and 17 percent Latino.
When Brown v Board of Education was decided in 1954 about 100,000 African Americans were in prison. Now there are about 800,000 African Americans in jails and prisons: 538,000 in prisons and over 263,000 in local jails. Black men are nearly six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men and Hispanic men are 2.3 times as likely, according to the Sentencing Project.
Why? Because our country has dramatically expanded our jails and prisons and there is deep racism built into every step of the criminal legal system. Some think the criminal legal system has big problems that need to be reformed. Others think the racism in the criminal legal system is helping it operate exactly as it has been designed to incarcerate as many black and brown people as possible.
Here are 18 examples of racism in parts of different stages of the system. Taken together, the racism in each of these steps accelerates the process of incarceration of African American and Latino males.
REV. BILLY TALEN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Last summer, in Prospect Park near our Brooklyn home – two park workers sprayed a fire hydrant near a playground where our daughter Lena climbs monkey-bars for hours on end. I walked up to the truck and saw Monsanto boxes ripped open in the back of their pickup. One of the workers was pouring RoundUp into a white plastic barrel. That was the one who talked to me. His voice had a raw, low sound like he was saying confession. He began to recite a list of the organic herbicides that he wished he was using but wasn't.
The nano-commons around and within our bodies and our children's bodies is a dumping ground for corporate poison. Some of us are vaguely aware of this molecular-level world. We have read a few summary sentences at the top studies that link Monsanto's RoundUp to non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and other cancers, endocrine and immunity disruptions and birth defects.
The pollution that we cannot touch, see or smell does show itself this way: illness in ever-younger victims. We have found from our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed with dozens of cities and towns – that the location of spraying is frequently near ball-fields, schools and park playground. Children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to glyphosates and the "inert" chemicals in the RoundUp mix, which help the toxin bind to target plants. Target plants!
The Glyphosates of Monsanto are banned throughout much of the world, like Bayer's Neonicotinoids. The mass-killing of beloved honeybees and songbirds by that powerful neuropath, a more lethal version of nicotine – has aroused a nightmare in the public mind. And now here comes Neonicotinoid and Glyphosate, the Big Merger. The communities that make these two famous toxins are joining up, the older company buying the newer one, in the biggest cash buy-out in history. Bernie Sanders called the merger, "A marriage made in Hell."
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
There was a time – and it wasn’t all that long ago -- when “compassionate conservatism” was a bellwether term for conservatives. While some conservatives argued that they were always compassionate, Team George W. Bush made a special effort to emphasize the meme in the 2000 presidential election, going so far as to use it as a campaign slogan. In reality, however, “compassionate conservatism” never really translated itself into public policy – save for a deeply flawed faith-based initiative -- as such issues as income inequality, poverty, gay rights, and racial inequities, never rose to preeminence in the eight years of Bush – and fact were the subject of regressive policies. Nevertheless, in the late nineties, and early two thousands, “compassionate conservatism” was on the table as a political slogan. This of course was before the Obama administration, the Tea Party, the alt-right, and Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party. In 2016, “compassionate conservatism” has morphed into “cutthroat conservatism.”
Over the past several decades, especially since the founding of Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, and its subsequent rise as a powerful political force, conservative Christian evangelicals have played a significant role in presidential elections. While many on the Religious Right were less than satisfied with either Senator John McCain in 2008 or Mitt Romney in 2012 and stayed home, those that did turn out to vote, basically closed ranks around both candidates.
The Pew Research Center pegs the number of born-again evangelical Christian American at around the 60 million mark.
This year, however, has witnessed a sort of breaking of the ranks amongst conservative evangelical leaders over whether to support Trump, and concomitantly encourage the troops to work for his election. Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, the nation’s most high-profile evangelical college, was an early and enthusiastic Trump supporter. Popular evangelist Paula White and James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family are also on board the Trump train. On the other side, Michael Farris, a longtime conservative activist and home schooling advocate, isn’t convinced, and has steadfastly refused to endorse Trump, despite receiving a personal visit from Pence.
LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch
Photo courtesy of EcoWatch.
During an hour-long sit down about climate change at the inaugural South by South Lawn (SXSL) with President Obama and leading climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe on Monday, Leonardo DiCaprio made a clear dig at climate change deniers.
"The scientific consensus is in, and the argument is now over," the Revenant actor and environmental activist said in his opening remarks. "If you do not believe in climate change you do not believe in facts or science or empirical truths, and therefore in my opinion, you should not be allowed to hold public office."
Even though DiCaprio did not name names, the comment has been interpreted as an attack on Donald Trump, who believes climate change is "a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese" (even though the Republican presidential candidate denied what he actually said at last week's presidential debate)
As The Guardian observed, Stevens said he plans to screen the film at college campuses and swing states such as Florida, where Marco Rubio is running for his Senate seat again.
"Rubio is a climate change denier, and we want to get these deniers out of Congress, to make them understand the Paris [climate] accords are important and that we need to do more," Stevens said.
Back at the SXSL stage, DiCaprio pressed the president to grade the global response on climate change thus far. While Obama said he was hopeful about some progress such as the Paris Agreement, more fuel-efficient cars and investment in clean energy, Obama warned that "obstructionist politics" are an obstacle in combating rising emissions.
"Climate change is happening even faster than five years ago or 10 years ago," Obama said. "What we're seeing is the pessimistic end of what was possible, the ranges that had been discerned or anticipated by scientists, which means we're really in a race against time. We can't put up with climate denial or obstructionist politics for very long, if we want to leave for the next generation beautiful days like today."
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Just before Election Day in November 1982, according to most polls, Tom Bradley, the first African American mayor of Los Angeles, appeared poised to become governor of California. Despite leading in the polls, Bradley lost the election to Republican George Deukmejian. Instead of becoming the first African American governor of California, Bradley became the namesake of something called The Bradley Effect.
The Bradley Effect -- also known as The Wilder Effect -- proposed that voters that said they would vote for the African American candidate were either too embarrassed, or ashamed for fear of being labeled racist, to admit to pollsters that they wouldn’t vote for a Black man as Governor.
According to Ballotpedia, “A related concept is social desirability bias, which describes the tendency of individuals to ‘report inaccurately on sensitive topics in order to present themselves in the best possible light.’ According to New York University professor Patrick Egan, ‘Anyone who studies survey research will tell you one of the biggest problems we encounter is this notion of social desirability bias.’ Some researchers and pollsters theorize that a number of white voters may give inaccurate polling responses for fear that, by stating their true preference, they will open themselves to criticism of racial motivation.”
While most of the above appear to apply particularly to elections where African Americans are facing off again white candidates, this year’s presidential election may contain some of those same dynamics. Some pundits are claiming that a Bradley Effect-like situation might be in play with voters who support Donald Trump, but are un-willing to admit it to pollsters.
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
There are at least three major American obstacles that are too entrenched in our society to undergo change with anything less than a revolutionary program.
Corporations Continue to Ignore Their Responsibility to Education
The Wall Street Journal says, "Many workers who were laid off in recent decades...don’t have the skills to do today’s jobs. An Apple executive recently lamented, "The U.S. has stopped producing people with the skills we need."
But opportunities for young people have diminished as corporations have rejected their obligation to society. Public colleges and universities have suffered major cuts in funding over the last ten years, while the largest American corporations have avoided hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes by stashing their profits overseas.
Corporate leaders blame government, they blame society, they blame the poor for their own misfortunes. But they don't acknowledge their responsibility to pay for the people and research provided by higher education, especially during the technological boom of the 1990s. Instead they seem to agree with Donald Trump about skipping out on taxes: "That makes me smart." Higher education is one of the main victims of this narcissistic way of thinking.
DAN ZUKOWSKI OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
unconstitutional, calling it a special law that benefits the shale gas industry. The massive Marcellus Shale formation, which underlies a large area of Western Pennsylvania, provides more than 36 percent of the shale gas produced in the U.S.The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that the state's controversial Act 13 is
The Pennsylvania State Legislature passed Act 13 in 2012 and it was almost immediately challenged by seven of the state's municipalities along with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and a private physician. The onerous law enabled natural gas companies to seize privately owned subsurface property through eminent domain, placed a gag order on health professionals to prevent them from getting information on drilling chemicals that could harm their patients, and limited notification of spills and leaks to public water suppliers, excluding owners of private wells that supply drinking water for 25 percent of Pennsylvania residents. Act 13 also pre-empted municipal zoning of oil and gas development.
"The decision is another historic vindication for the people's constitutional rights," stated Jordan Yeager, lead counsel on the case representing the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Bucks County municipalities on the case. "The court has made a clear declaration that the Pennsylvania legislature cannot enact special laws that benefit the fossil fuel industry and injure the rest of us."
On Dec. 19, 2013, the state Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling on the grounds that the law violated the Environmental Rights Amendment of the Pennsylvania Constitution. That ruling returned local zoning rights to municipalities. It also ordered the state Commonwealth Court to reconsider other provisions. The ruling by the Supreme Court issued Wednesday addresses those rulings and should end the litigation.
DAN ZUKOWSKI OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
tiger farms across China, some 6,000 caged cats are kept in filthy conditions and will be killed for dubious medicinal uses and as home decor for the country's newly-rich elite. The sordid business is mostly legal, but hides behind carefully-worded agreements and pretensions of conservation. The issue is expected to be addressed at this week's Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting in Johannesburg.In legal
It is estimated that 60 percent of China's 1.4 billion people use so-called traditional medicines made from tiger bones, rhinoceros horn, bear gall bladder and other exotic animal parts. As China has grown in recent decades, creating a larger middle class and many newly rich entrepreneurs, demand for tiger parts has grown.
China signed on to CITES, but maintains about 200 tiger farms, where tigers are bred to serve this growing market. Claiming that these tiger parts are for domestic consumption, and therefore not subject to the treaty on international trade, China also defends the tiger farms as a captive breeding program that actually helps the species.
However, in 1993, China banned trading in tiger bone, and a 1988 wildlife law that purports to protect endangered species sets forth a policy of "actively domesticating and breeding the species of wildlife."