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BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaCuffsBerk(Photo: Klaus with K)This is a story about the ginned-up "superpredator" scare of the 1990s, the imprisonment of tens of thousands of black youth, and the survival of Reginald Dwayne Betts.

In the early 1990s, John Dilulio, a Princeton political scientist, coined the term "superpredator" to call attention to "stone-cold predators," "kids that have absolutely no respect for human life and no sense of the future." DiIulio and co-authors described these young people as "fatherless, Godless, and jobless" and as "radically impulsive, brutally remorseless youngsters, including ever more teenage boys, who murder, assault, rob, burglarize, deal deadly drugs, join gun-toting gangs, and create serious [linked] disorders." Criminologist James A. Fox warned of a juvenile "crime wave storm" and an impending "bloodbath" of teen violence.

Reginald Dwayne Betts was one of the teens caught up in the wave of imprisonment that resulted from these myths. Now, after a long, and sometimes tortuous journey that included eight and a half years in prison, he is now a poet, teacher and law student. He was born months before Ronald Reagan won the White House, and came of age during the Reagan/George H.W. Bush/Bill Clinton administrations, when crack cocaine saturated inner-city streets, fear reigned supreme, the criminalization of young black people became the order of the day, and "lock 'em up and throw away the key" was the criminal legal system's mantra.

Last year, The New York Times' "Retro Report" pointed out that the "superpredator jeremiads ... proved to be nonsense. They were based on a notion that there would be hordes upon hordes of depraved teenagers resorting to unspeakable brutality, not tethered by conscience ... Chaos was upon us, DiIulio proclaimed back then in scholarly articles and television interviews. The demographics, he said, were inexorable. Politicians from both major parties, though more so on the right, picked up the cry. Many news organizations pounced on these sensational predictions and ran with them like a punt returner finding daylight."

COLE MELLINO OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaIceTurner(Photo: Doc Searls)Many young people, such as 13-year-old Hallie Turner, are worried that their generation will have to deal with the most intense consequences of unchecked climate change. That’s why Turner, an eighth-grader in North Carolina, is one of a number of young people across the country who is suing her state over its failure to address climate change.

Turner’s case is being brought forth by the help of Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon-based climate change nonprofit that has helped youth around the country file lawsuits at the state level and is also helping 21 young people sue President Obama and the federal government for violating the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by not addressing climate change. Attorneys from Duke University’s Environmental Law and Policy Clinic and Gayle Tuch, a Forsyth County lawyer, are also representing Turner.

“It’s important to me because I feel like this is an issue that impacts everyone,” Turner told The News Tribune. “And it’s an issue, it’s not only affecting me, but it’s affecting future generations.”

She’s challenging a decision made last year by the state’s Environmental Management Commission and pushing for the state to mandate that North Carolina reduce its carbon emissions by at least four percent each year. “Hallie’s not asking for more than what’s considered best available science,” said attorney Tuch.

PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaexceptionalismIs socialism the cure for the hubris of American exceptionalism? (Image: Occupy Posters)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The form of 'socialism' described here is more accurately "a compromise between the market and the state," with an emphasis on local socialist models. Our "American exceptionalism" derives in part from neoliberal and neoconservative demands that we be unconstrained by domestic or foreign governments or economic regulation. 


Environment: Drones Dropping Seeds Rather Than Bombs

China has planted 66 billion trees since 1978 in an effort to stem desertification. Their 'shelterbelt' program, which has shown mixed results, has its origins in a project implemented right here in the U.S., in the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s, when the FDR Administration planted a thousand-mile line of trees to fight erosion on the Great Plains. The plan worked. In recent years, millions of federal dollars have been committed to restore and manage longleaf pine forests

The planting of trees is a simple, effective, earth-saving, job-creating idea, especially if military resources were to be diverted to the endeavor. A company called BioCarbon Engineering hopes to plant billions of trees by using drones to disburse seedlings. 

Capitalism equates to profit-making, and profit-making abounds in the fossil fuel industry. But cooperative energy solutions await us in solar and wind, which are expected to provide 100 percent of our energy needs within a few decades, if the will of the people prevails over market forces. 

COLE MELLINO OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaRandPaulDerp2(Photo: Gage Skidmore)Kentucky senator and GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul was once considered a moderate among his contemporaries in the Senate when it came to climate change. In January, he was one of only 15 Republican senators to vote in favor of an amendment, which said “climate change is real, and human activity significantly contributes to climate change.”

Paul also told Bill Maher last year that “he’s not against some regulations, such as on carbon emissions and clean water.” However, once confirmed as GOP presidential candidate, Paul seems to have altered his climate change stance. In a field rife with climate denial, only two Republican candidates have spoken out about the need for climate action: South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former New York Gov. George Pataki.

At Tuesday’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee, Paul said the first thing he would do as president is repeal the Clean Power Plan. President Obama “has devastated my state,” said Paul. “I say President Obama is not only destroying Kentucky, he’s destroying the Democratic party down there because nobody wants to associate with him.” However, according to Environmental Defense Fund, the Clean Power Plan “reduce[s] carbon emissions from power plant smokestacks—and by doing so it also creates new opportunities to continue development of the strong, vibrant clean energy economy that is creating prosperity.”

He used a common climate denier argument: “While I do think man may have a role in our climate, I think nature also has a role.” He added that the planet is 4.5 billion years old and has gone through many geologic eras with dramatic temperature changes, though this argument has been debunked again and again.

Thursday, 12 November 2015 08:14

Agri-Corporations Attempt to Hijack COP21

2015.12.11 BF Shiva(Photo: Matthias Ripp)VANDANA SHIVA OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

In 2008, before the climate summit in Copenhagen, I wrote the book Soil Not Oil. It was a time when the intimate connections between climate and agriculture, air and soil were not being recognized in any forum, neither in the negotiations on climate change nor in the climate movement. As we head into the Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, agri-corporations are attempting to hijack climate talks once again.

Today we are faced with two crises on a planetary scale—climate change and species extinction. Our current modes of production and consumption are contributing to what climate change scientists term anthropogenic emissions—originating from human activity. If no action is taken to reduce greenhouse gases, we could experience a catastrophic 4C increase in temperature by the end of the century.

2015.12.11 BF koehler2(Photo: Moyan Brenn)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

“By God,” Bush said in triumph, “we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all.”

This was Bush 41, a quarter of a century ago, celebrating the terrific poll numbers his kwik-win war on Iraq was generating. Remember yellow ribbons? I think he had a point. “Vietnam syndrome” — the public aversion to war — still has a shadow presence in America, but it no longer matters.

Our official policy is endless bombing, endless war. No matter how much suffering it causes — over a million dead, maybe as many as two million, in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan — and no matter how poorly it serves any rational objectives, our official response to geopolitical trouble of every sort is to bomb it into compliance with our alleged interests. The cancerous “success” of this policy may be the dominant historical event of the last three decades. Endless war is impervious to debate; it’s impervious to democracy.

2015.12.11 BF berkowitz(Photo: DonkeyHotey)BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

The debate over liberal media bias, which has taken center stage during and after recent Republican Party presidential debates, is one of the conservative movement’s most cherished, successful and long-lived memes. The Heritage Foundation, the premier right-wing think tank in the nation, practically grew out of that narrative. In the mid-1970’s, conservatives understood that they needed a new, spunky, uncompromising and ideologically-based organizations that would – unlike the stodgy Hoover Institution and American Enterprise Institute – bypass the mainstream liberal media, and establish a modern-day beachhead for conservative ideas.

When the Heritage Foundation opened its doors in 1973, the Vietnam War was finally winding down, Vice President Agnew had been shown the door and President Richard Nixon would soon follow, victories for civil rights and women’s rights had been won, and the arc of justice seemed to be bending towards greater economic fairness. Belief in a social safety net was still strong, and privatization was not yet the clarion call that it has become. The “culture wars” were still a few years off.

WENONAH HAUTER OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch.

Photo credit: Erik S Lesser / EPAThe language included in the TPP is more aggressive than previous trade deals and provides broad new powers for other countries and foreign corporations to challenge U.S. food safety and food labeling measures. Photo credit: Erik S Lesser / U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 

The Obama administration released the long-secret text of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal that would weaken consumer protections, undermine U.S. food safety standards and prevent commonsensefood labeling. The language included in the TPP is more aggressive than previous trade deals and provides broad new powers for other countries and foreign corporations to challenge U.S. food safety and food labeling measures. 

The TPP is a giveaway to big agribusiness and food companies that want to use trade deals to attack sensible food safety rules, weaken the inspection of imported food and block efforts to strengthen U.S. food safety standards. The food and agribusiness industries inserted language into the text of the TPP that will undermine U.S. food safety oversight and expose consumers to risky imported foods.

The TPP includes a new provision designed to second-guess the government inspectors who monitor food imports. The so-called Rapid Response Mechanism allows companies to challenge border inspection procedures that companies claim cause unnecessary delay—like holding suspect shipments while awaiting laboratory test results—and demand that a TPP panel of experts review and provide guidance on the inspection. This would create a chilling-effect on rigorous border inspection that would be especially dangerous for problems that are not obvious, like chemical or drug residues that would only appear after more thorough examination and testing.

2015.9.11 BF Buchheit(Photo: Sandra)PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

It may be the greatest hypocrisy of The US's conservative leaders, that they demand control over a woman's body, but then show every sign of neglect after a child comes into the world. It reaches beyond neglect to disdain for the poor. In a perversely unequal nation in which the well-off blame impoverished people for their own struggles, the children of the poor become the innocent victims.

Children of all ages are deemed disposable:

The Littlest Children - Deprived of Their Most Important Year of School

Over half of America's 4-year-olds are NOT attending pre-school, even though numerous studies have shown that pre-school helps all children to achieve more and earn more through adulthood, with the most disadvantaged benefiting the most. We're near the bottom of the developed world in the percentage of 4-year-olds in early childhood education.

2015.9.11 BF Brasch(Photo: Gage Skidmore)WALTER BRASCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

One of the basic tenets of journalism ethics and practices is that reporters must keep their distance from news sources.

They’re allowed to be friendly. They’re even allowed to share a meal with a news source. But, they must be independent. It’s a “Caesar’s wife” thing—they must be above suspicion.

This past week, Lara Spencer, co-anchor of ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America,” snuggled up to Donald Trump.

In a photo posted to Instagram, she is seen with her left arm around Trump’s shoulder, her right hand across his stomach. Both are looking at each other and smiling. Spencer posted the following message to the photo: “Can’t beat having the REAL DonaldJTrump on.” She added the emoticon of a smiley face.

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