Guest Commentary (3254)
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Considering the church’s serial obfuscations and cover-ups, it is worth asking what role Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, might have played during Argentina’s Dirty War.
The election of Argentina’s Jorge Maria Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, as the first pope from Latin America is a truly historic moment. The purported runner up in 2005 to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (the now-retired Pope Benedict XVI), Bergoglio is now the worldwide leader of the Catholic Church.
JANE STILLWATER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT Jane Stillwater
My friend Gordon Lau works for a charitable foundation in Jakarta that tries to help the poorest of the poor -- and so he decided to see exactly what his clients are going through by being "Poor for a Day" himself.
I wanna be poor for a day too -- and have just been given the perfect opportunity to do so. My housing co-op is being re-habbed and I have to be out of my apartment for three weeks while they do everything to it except install a new chimney for Santa Claus to come down.
(Photo: Courtesy of Jane Stillwater)
STEVEN JONAS MD, MPH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The modern Republican Party finds its origins in the first post-Mexican War election, that of 1848 (1). The victory in the Mexican War had brought the nation a huge amount of new territory. The question of “what to do” about the potential expansion of the institution of slavery into the new states that might be created from the conquest came very much, and very quickly, to the fore. The South, of course, which had seen limits placed on the expansion of slavery west (and north west) by the Missouri Compromise of 1820, wanted unlimited expansion. Opposed were two major forces: those that simply wanted to prevent the expansion into the territories and those that wanted not only the former but also wanted the abolition of slavery in the states in which it already existed.
Starting with the said election of 1848, both major national parties, the Democrats and the Whigs, were beginning to come apart at the seams over the above question. For 1848, the Whigs nominated a general, Zachary Taylor, who was a Southerner and who owned slaves. However, he did not own much of a public record on the major political question of the time. He won. Once in office, Taylor surprised just about everyone by taking a free-soil position for the Territories. However, by the 1854 mid-terms, out of the by-then accumulated Whig wreckage the Republican Party had been born. The history is very complex, which much movement backwards and forwards, but the Republican Party picked up four other pieces of the political pie of the time that eventually led to its victory in the four-way election of 1860.
HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Thyroid abnormalities have now been confirmed among tens of thousands of children downwind from Fukushima. They are the first clear sign of an unfolding radioactive tragedy that demands this industry be buried forever.
Two years after Fukushima exploded, three still-smoldering reactors remind us that the nuclear power industry repeatedly told the world this could never happen.
And 72 years after the nuclear weapons industry began creating them, untold quantities of deadly wastes still leak at Hanford and at commercial reactor sites around the world, with no solution in sight.
(Photo: Michal Brcak)
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
It gets more maddening every day. Essential human needs are being packaged into products to be bought and sold. The right to food and water, education, health care, public spaces, and unrestricted speech shouldn't be based on who can pay the most, or on who can generate profits with the slickest marketing pitch.
The free-market capitalism that drives our economy is a doctrine of individuals pursuing profit. Nothing else matters. An executive for Roche, a healthcare company, said "We are not in the business to save lives, but to make money."
With privatization of the common good we risk losing both our heritage and our humanness.
WALTER BRASCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
I received a letter from a friend this past week. It was a letter he should never have had to write, yet did so out of desperation. He is 80 years old, living off occasional writings and Social Security. He has Medicare, but no dental insurance, and that’s the problem. He needs dental work. A lot of dental work. $10,000 worth of dental work. Many dental insurance plans for individuals are so expensive, and give relatively few benefits, that many dentists suggest the premiums just aren’t worth it. Without the dental work, my friend, like many people in the country, will suffer significant additional problems. Infection is one. Poor nutrition is another. There are even links to diabetes and thickening arteries.
So, my friend sent a letter to his friends asking for help. Not a lot of help. Maybe $100 from each of us.
JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
When millions of Venezuelans and South Americans sadly pay homage to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, it’s a little hard for the U.S. authorities and corporate media to peddle the lie that he was a “communist dictator”. "
Quite the contrary…
Chávez demonstrated what a real Democratic leader does for the people of his country. Democracy was no myth to Hugo Chávez. That’s why it’s absurd to hear the U.S. corporate media (an extension of the oil and weapon industries) demonize Chávez in the attempt to paint him as a “dictator” and that he didn’t improve the conditions of poverty, which, ironically, was mostly created from U.S. corporate policies and intervention: reaping the profits-revenues from South American resources, everything from fruits to oil to coal, and leaving nothing for the people prior to Chávez’s leadership.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
With less than week to go before conservatives of all stripes gather for the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at Washington, D.C.’s Gaylord Resort and National Convention Center, it can be said without equivocation that the run up to the gathering has been just about as dysfunctional as the Republican Party itself.
While rebranding, rebooting, repositioning and the coalescing of the various competing factions within the Party might have been the main order of pre-CPAC business, instead tweets, email, texts, blogs, and radio rants have focused on who has or hasn’t been invited to speak, and which groups have been excluded.
A parade of the usual suspects (Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich), and wannabees (Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, and Paul Ryan) will grace the stage. NRA President David Keene and its Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre are also scheduled speakers.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Philip Zimbardo’s TED Talk on Abu Ghraib and “The Psychology of Evil” is up to 2,374,000 hits. Apparently people are hungry to know about the deep psychology of American foreign policy.
And perhaps they’re hungry to look, again . . . again . . . at the Abu Ghraib torture photos that first surfaced in 2004. Cruelty and evil inspire a twisted awe; they pull us into the black hole of our own heart, where we see ourselves in hideous distortion.
“Nothing is easier,” said Dostoevsky (quoted by Zimbardo in his presentation), “than denouncing an evildoer. Nothing is more difficult than understanding him.”
WILL DURST FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT