Guest Commentary (5084)
DAVID SWANSON FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
the best 35. Had Congress moved forward, it would not have passed all 35 or convicted on them. But we felt it was important to establish the record and present the options. In fact, I would have preferred to go with more than 35, including a wider range of topics. The fact that someone has abused power in 10 ways should constitute no license to abuse it in an 11th way.Several years back, I led a team of authors drafting articles of impeachment against then-President George W. Bush for then-Congressman Dennis Kucinich. We drafted over 60 and settled on
Believe it or not (hint, hint: I don't need more emails on this) I am aware of the general horror of Mike Pence, but a country that impeached and removed presidents would be a very different country in which the next president would have to behave or face impeachment and removal in turn. Fear of the next person will look ever weaker as grounds for allowing the current person to destroy things as he proceeds with his destruction.
I'm further aware that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's team wants Trump around more than the Republicans do, so that the Democrats can "oppose" him. The task before the public is to compel members of both major parties to impeach, not to sit back and observe them doing so of their own volition.
Although several potential articles of impeachment against Trump stand very strongly on their own, and picking any one of them would be sufficient, the very strongest case for impeachment is a cumulative one. I cannot predict which articles, if any, will gain the most popular or Congressional support. I am, therefore, collecting the strongest ones available here at FireDonaldTrump.org. I will add more as the crime wave rolls on. I pushed for impeachment of Bush and of Obama for some similar offenses and some completely different ones. Many of Trump's high crimes and misdemeanors are unprecedented. None are identical to the abuses by those who have gone before him.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Trump "has inside information that I don't have," about the Charlottesville protesters, Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, and one of the earliest and most prominent evangelical Christian leaders to support Donald Trump, told ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz on "This Week" Sunday. "I don't know if there were historical purists [at the protests] who were trying to preserve some statues. I don't know." Falwell then assured America that Trump "does not have a racist bone in his body. I know him well."
In the eight months since the inauguration, conservative evangelical Christians have stood in near lockstep with Trump. Now, after Trump's belated, insulting, and lame response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia -- where Heather Heyer was murdered, and several dozen other counter protesters injured -- equating neo-Nazis, white supremacists and white nationalists with counter protesters, his evangelical supporters are facing a critical moment that will test their judgment.
On Thursday, August 17, I posed this question on Facebook: "Why haven't any of the Christian evangelicals on DT's Religious Advisory Commission Resigned?"
Now, in the wake of corporate leaders abandoning Trump's Manufacturing Council, and the resignations of 16 members of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, will Trump's evangelical advisors – who rarely hesitated to criticize Bill Clinton or Barack Obama -- step up and condemn this president?
ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUTLORRAINE CHOW OF
Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch
Energy Transfer Partners' controversial $4.3 billion Rover pipeline has more negative inspection reports than any other major interstate natural gas pipeline built in the last two years, according to a new Bloomberg analysis.
The 713-mile pipeline, which will carry fracked gas across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan and Canada, has been stalled from numerous environmental violations, including a 2 million gallon drilling fluid spill into an Ohio wetland in April.
Rover has accrued 104 violations since construction of the $4.2 billion project in started in March.
NADIA STEINZOR FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Usually when elected officials work on budgets, their aim is to reduce deficits and fund government programs. But then there's the Pennsylvania Senate -- which recently loaded a budget and revenue bill with provisions to gut environmental protections and help the oil and gas industry.
With support from Governor Wolf, the deal would take authority over oil and gas permit decisions away from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and, in a blatant power grab, give it to the legislature instead. Private contractors hand-picked by drillers would review permit applications. Permits would be fast-tracked regardless of the environmental risks posed and the omission of required information by operators. Public funds would support private projects to expand gas infrastructure and consumption.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
On May 10th of this year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a Joint Intelligence Bulletin titled "White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence." The report aimed "to provide new insight into the targeting preferences of white supremacist extremists and the state of white supremacist extremism violence in the United States." Based on an assessment of white extremist violence between the years 2000 to 2016, the report declared that "lone actors and small cells within the white supremacist extremist (WSE) movement likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year."
What the report did not anticipate were "United the Right" rallies like the one in Charlottesville, Virginia, where many tentacles of the white nationalist movement held a well-organized, violent and coordinated display of strength.
Rallies of white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, militia members, alt-right supporters, and neo-Nazis, similar to the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, and the injuring of nearly two dozen other counter-protesters, will almost assuredly be coming to your town or a town near you.
On Monday, after two days of equivocating about the perpetrators of the violence and hate, President Donald Trump finally condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists. Barely twenty-four hours later, at a Trump Tower press conference, the previous day's carefully constructed remarks -- tread off a teleprompter -- were swept away by a return to his essence; a bigoted, narcissistic, combative, uninformed leader giving succor to white nationalists.
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
It could be argued that the greatest American pillaging is the transfer of taxpayer funds into the bloated military, or a greed-driven private health care system that deprives human beings of essential medical care. But the conversion of American technologies into low-taxed plutocratic profit may be the most flagrant attack on the middle class.
It can also be argued that the products of the technological companies have enriched and energized our lives in numerous ways, and that the high-tech job market has never been better. But the rest of us pay dearly for all the technological benefits, much more than just the hundreds of dollars for phones and phone service. We have lost middle-class jobs and middle-class wealth. We have lost our share of the national productivity that is the direct result of 70 years of taxpayer input into the technologies that have enriched fewer and fewer people.
Corporate Tax Cuts: Are They Kidding?
Donald Trump and the Republicans want a lower corporate tax rate. But many of the largest U.S. companies have paid ZERO federal income taxes in recent years, and overall the corporate world pays anywhere from 13 to 19 percent, about half the 35 percent statutory rate that they so often complain about.
JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Just days after last November's election, jubilant members and top staffers of the notorious corporate front group, American Legislative Exchange Council, gathered for a celebratory lunch and planning session at the group's DC headquarters. But rather than looking toward Congress and the newly Republicanized White House, these schemers were drooling over so many right-wing state governments. "There's a sea of red," gushed an ALEC official, asking with delight, "What are we going to do with these new legislatures?"
Corrupt them, of course. ALEC — funded and run by such multinational giants as AT&T, Exxon Mobil, the Koch brothers and Walmart — essentially functions as a hush-hush escort service. Since 1973, it's been hooking up high-dollar corporate customers with on-the-make state lawmakers willing and eager to sponsor special interest bills. In closed-door sessions convened by ALEC, state officials and corporate lobbyists make legislative whoopee, generating "model bills" that the participating legislators carry back and introduce almost simultaneously in their multiple states.
For the last few years, ALEC has provided a major, nationwide burst of energy that's powering state preemption laws. Its strategists realized that their corporate backers' long legislative wish list (including holding down wages and freeing corporations to pollute water supplies) is repugnant and socially destructive. Preemption, however, provided a way for lawmakers to shift attention from the appalling substance of their corporate agenda to an arcane process debate about state-local governance. This back-alley channel lets corporations and the right-wing fringe outlaw or repeal progressive responses by our communities, nullify our elections and overturn court decisions favoring local people.
LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Well, new research suggests that fish are not just accidentally gobbling up our plastic trash—they could be actively seeking it out because they like how the debris smells and are confusing it for their natural prey.
The study, published Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, presents "the first behavioral evidence that plastic debris may be chemically attractive to marine consumers."
"These chemical cues may lure consumers, such as anchovy, into regions of high plastic density and activate foraging behaviors, thus making it difficult to ignore or reject plastic items as potential prey," the paper states.
As New Scientist explains from the study, when plastic enters the ocean, the debris gets quickly covered by algae and releases an odor similar to krill, the natural prey for certain fish such as anchovies. The smell of the plastics then sets off the anchovies' foraging and feeding behavior.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
And so we return to the Korean War, when North Korea was carpet-bombed to the edge of existence. The American media doesn't have a memory that stretches quite so far back, at least not under present circumstances. One commentator at MSNBC recently explained, for instance, that the tiny pariah nation "has been preparing for war for 63 years!"
That would be since, uh, 1954, the year after the war ended. But the war wasn't mentioned. It never is. Doing so would disrupt the consensus attitude that Kim Jong-Un is a nuclear-armed crazy and that North Korea's hatred of the United States is just . . . hatred, dark and bitter, the kind of rancor you'd expect from a communist dictatorship and certified member of the Axis of Evil.
And now Donald Trump is taunting the crazy guy, disrupting the U.S.-maintained normalcy of global relations and putting this country at risk. And that's almost always the focus: not the use of nuclear weapons per se, but the possibility that a North Korean nuke could reach the United States, as though American lives and "national security" mattered more than, or were separate from, the safety of the whole planet.
Indeed, the concept of national security justifies pretty much every action, however destructive and horrifically consequential in the long term. The concept justifies armed small-mindedness, which equals militarism. Apparently protecting national security also means forgetting the Korean War, or never facing the reality of what we did to North Korea from 1950 to 1953.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
What could be more Trump-esque then for a controversial, homophobic, climate change denying, anti-Catholic pastor, who once claimed that mothers do not belong in state office, to lead a White House Bible Study Group. Meet Pastor Ralph Drollinger. You might never have heard of him, but it's time to pay attention to Drollinger, who is leading, what he says, is the first White House Bible study among executive cabinet members in at least 100 years.
"It's the best Bible study that I've ever taught in my life," Drollinger told CBN News' Jennifer Wishon in an exclusive interview. "They are so teachable; they're so noble; they're so learned." Amongst regular attendees are Health Secretary Tom Price, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Agriculture Secretary Sunny Perdue, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Vice-President Mike Pence is also a regular participant and Drollinger pointed out that "Pence has respect for the office. He dresses right — like it says Joseph cleaned himself up before he went to stand before the Pharaoh. [He] has uncompromising biblical tenacity and he has a loving tone about him that's not just a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And then fourthly, he brings real value to the head of the nation."
The Donald himself has not yet attended any of the sessions, but he apparently receives a copy of Drollinger's weekly teaching.
DAVID SWANSON AND PAT ELDER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The Pentagon's impact on the river on whose bank it sits is not simply the diffuse impact of global warming and rising oceans contributed to by the U.S. military's massive oil consumption. The U.S. military also directly poisons the Potomac River in more ways than almost anyone would imagine.
Let's take a cruise down the Potomac from its source in the mountains of West Virginia to its mouth at the Chesapeake Bay. The journey down this mighty waterway details six EPA Superfund sites created by the Pentagon's reckless disregard for the fragile ecosystem of the Potomac River watershed.
The U.S. Navy's Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Rocket Center, West Virginia, 130 miles north of Washington, is a critical source of contamination in the Potomac River. The on-site disposal of explosive metals and solvent wastes contaminates soil and groundwater with hazardous chemicals. The groundwater and soil along the river are laced with explosives, dioxins, volatile organic compounds, acids, laboratory and industrial wastes, bottom sludge from solvent recovery, metal plating pretreatment sludge, paints, and thinners. The site also has a beryllium landfill. An active burning area is still used for waste disposal, sprinkling chemical dust over the river. It's not good.
BILL QUIGLEY FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Question One. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 14.8 percent or 46 million people are living in poverty in the US. How many of those people living in poverty are children?
A. 4 million
B. 8 million
C. 12 million
D. 14 million
Question Two. What percentage of children live in a poor family in the US?
A. 5 percent
B. 10 percent
C. 15 percent
D. 20 percent
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
James O'Keefe, the discredited purveyor of criminal activities and pseudo journalism, who has been involved in undercover stings of ACORN, Democratic politicians, and other progressive/leftist enclaves, may be at it again. In a recent email, Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), pointed out that "a group of right-wing imposters … assumed fake identities to attempt a 'sting' operation on our staff." While the undercover operation has O'Keefe's Modus Operandi written all over it, and two of the stingers have longtime ties to O'Keefe, it is unclear as of this writing whether the right-wing provocateur is involved.
The elaborate sting against LCV appears to indicate that merely denying climate change is not enough for right-wing groups; targeting environmental groups hoping to bait staffers into some inappropriate and scandal-worthy revelations is the latest tactic.
In a Press Release dated August 9, and titled "LCV TARGETED BY RIGHT WING OPERATIVES USING FAKE IDENTITIES" (their caps) the organization explained that it "recently discovered" it had been targeted by "extreme right-wing groups [that] used fake identities in order to meet with LCV staff and supporters–presumably in an effort to bait them into statements that could be doctored or taken out of context to undermine our work."
The League of Conservation Voters "has filed a complaint against three individuals who infiltrated its operations, at least two of whom, the group alleges, 'could be associated with' O'Keefe and have past ties to him, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer recently reported.
SHANE QUINN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
September 11 atrocities, and so on. Yet there are other undesirable anniversaries that have been largely disappeared.Some anniversaries are widely observed in the West: Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, Holocaust Memorial Day, the
1. US-backed forces overthrow Goulart in Brazil (1964)
Considering its vast size and abundant natural resources, Brazil should long have been one of Latin America's richest countries. Instead, it has been something of a horror story, as Brazilians have been repressed and brutalized across decades by military dictatorships. Brazil's plight strikes a common theme across a region of the world in which the great superpower, the United States, has sought to continually control. Brazil had especially come under the unblinking eye of the empire during the 1960s. US president Lyndon B. Johnson was hell-bent in ensuring such a massive country did not become "the China of the 1960s". Johnson was referring indiscreetly to Mao Zedong, a Communist revolutionary whose influence in China continued to rise.
US concern about Brazilian sympathies increased in the early part of that decade. In September 1961, left-wing nationalist Joao Goulart became the nation's democratically elected president, spreading panic in the liberal Kennedy administration. Goulart began implementing structural reforms in the South American country, that would help integrate the general population into society. The United States was loathe to sit helplessly by as this movement came within "our hemisphere", as President John F. Kennedy described it.