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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

acheneyhannitySean Hannity interviewing Dick Cheney (Photo: Wikipedia)

If you have been watching Jon Stewart lately, you have had the pleasure of witnessing a series of withering attacks on Sean Hannity's hypocrisy.  Furthermore, BuzzFlash (for many years) and Stewart have both sniffed the simmering racism of Hannity and FOX. Yes, it's a coded racism, but it's there - lingering in the smirk of his smug lacerating comments about liberals - and is a strong magnet of attraction to the aged, largely white male, viewing base of FOX.

This came to the forefront again with Hannity's strong support for Cliven Bundy, until Bundy openly expressed his racism - thus breaking the tacit understanding of Hannity, FOX and their viewers to never publicly disclose their bigotry.  Racism on FOX (along with its bigotry cousin: "multiculturalism is destroying the United States") is a primary attraction of the program to its watchers who see white entitlement slipping from their hands. However, it is never to be openly acknowleged -- and even officially renounced if necessary, as Hannity did when he had to walk back his embrace of Bundy after the rancher channeled the opinions of a plantation slave owner on video.

As Jon Stewart pointed out, Hannity is always attacking President Obama and liberals for allegedly selectively applying the law, but when it comes to white male gun loving racists like Bundy (and anyone watching what happened before Bundy's followers threatened law enforcement officers with guns knew that racism and anti-big government sedition fit together like a hand in a kid glove), but gives enormous latitude for white males who express anti-government sentiments, even when the firearms are appointed at Hannity's beloved police.

It is important to note, yet again, that the Nevada state Constitution designates as federal property, by law, the land Cliven Bundy has been using for grazing his cattle on.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

abusschool(Photo: loop_oh)
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It bears repeating again and again that the concept of charter schools is a scam and - more significantly - a betrayal of society's obligation to provide communities filled with economic opportunities to all.

recent article in the Huffington Post - "Big Profits in Not-for-Profit Charter Schools" - lays out one of the most basic complaints about charter schools: The primary parties they enrich are the administrators and nonprofits that run them, along with the for-profit consultants who provide services to allegedly "improve" public education. The article notes that some charter school administrators make "very heady profits":

Currently, there are approximately 2.5 million students enrolled in publicly funded charter schools in the United States. These charter schools are operated by both profit-making companies and "not for profit" organizations. In New York City every charter school is operated by what is known as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. In New York State, only 16 out of 209 charter schools are operated by for-profit companies. In other states, particularly Michigan, Florida, and Arizona, for-profit companies dominate the charter school movement. In Michigan, about 65% of the charter schools are run by for-profit educational management organizations

However, operating non-profit charter schools can be very profitable for charter school executives like Eva Moskowitz. Moskowitz earns close to a half a million dollars a year ($485,000) for overseeing school programs that serve 6,700 children, which is over $72 per student. By comparison, New York State Education Commissioner is paid a salary of $212,000 to oversee programs with 2.7 million students or about 8 cents per student. In other words, Moskowitz earns about 100 times more than King for each student enrolled in a Success Academy Charter School. Carmen Farina, New York City School Chancellor is paid $212,000 a year to oversee 1.1 million students or about 19 cents per student.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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David Gregory, blathering pundit who provides inane filler between commercials (Image: DonkeyHotey)

The Washington Post is so enamored of inside-the-Beltway, self-anointed pundits (which include a great number of WP columnists and reporters) that it published an inadvertently revealing April 20 article about pretentious Sunday morning political talk shows. The Post article implied that the falling ratings of David Gregory on "Meet the Press" could be related to the real objectives of these pustulating programs with blathering poobahs: advertising and DC access for the three major non-cable networks.

The article, curiously posted in the "Lifestyle" section of the Post, begins with a breathless portrait of David Gregory, who infamously asked Glenn Greenwald last year - in an example of the uniform mindset shared by the government and network news - "To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?" The Post portrays Gregory as follows:

If "Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory were a guest on his own show, he knows the kinds of questions he’d be asked.

Why have your ratings been falling? Is the show in trouble? Is your job in trouble?...

The main problem: The great-granddaddy of Sunday-morning Beltway blabfests isn’t just not No. 1. It’s No. 3 and in the midst of a three-year slide. During the first three months of this year, the NBC program finished behind perennial rivals "Face the Nation" on CBS and "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" on ABC, despite being helped by two weeks of Winter Olympics hoopla. In the final quarter of last year, viewing among people ages 25 to 54, the preferred group for TV news advertisers, fell to its lowest level ever.

The Post later notes about the windbag programs that center on self-inflated discussion of political process, rather than information on public policy: "The relatively large and affluent audiences they attract make them magnets for corporate image advertisers that pay premium prices for airtime. [Tim] Russert’s dominating position helped NBC earn a reported $60 million from 'Meet the Press' in 2007."

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

anevadas(Photo: Thomas Hawk)It is time for politicians to stop enabling domestic white male terrorists. (Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), however, is getting heat for calling them just that.)

The latest incident of domestic white male terrorism was in Nevada, where a veritable make-shift militia presented an armed threat to federal and local law enforcement. Why were they there? Because they were defending the view that Cliven Bundy was being treated unjustly by a US government that was allegedly violating his rights and his beliefs. It sounds like al Qaeda circling a military unit with firepower to defend the beliefs of Osama bin Laden.

Some facts are established: Within the state of Nevada Constitution, much of the former territory's land was ceded to the federal government in return for admission to the union. As a result, several thousand ranchers pay grazing rights for their cattle to make use of federal land. Cliven Brady, who owes the US treasury over a million dollars, says that he is not paying out of principle - since his family, he claims, owned the land before Nevada was a state.

After more than 20 years of Bundy, in essence, cheating other taxpayers by not paying his fair share, the federal government seized his cattle that were living off of federal land.

That is when seditious Americans assembled at his ranch to - reportedly with women and children strategically placed to protect them - threatened US law enforcement and Bureau of Land Management officials with firearms, locked and loaded.

Monday, 21 April 2014 07:27

Five Ways the 1% Are Killing Us

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

agreedwall(Photo: David Paul Ohmer)The trolls have been out blasting BuzzFlash at Truthout for calling the fossil fuel industry "eco-terrorists" for careening the earth into a human-made death spiral, but it's true.

Those who can't smell the carbon dioxide ravaging the earth for hedonistic profit - enabled by federal and many state and local governments - will find out that just because you can't smell global warming does not mean that it is not brewing a cauldron of devastation just over the horizon.

Since 9/11 few Americans have been killed by terrorists, but we have built a multi-billion dollar "anti-terrorist" intelligence, military, surveillance and incarceration state to deal with a threat that pales in comparison to global warming.

Toss in the lurking big bang of devastation to life on earth - climate change - and the 1% are living the last days of Pompeii in at least five different ways that are killing many of the rest of us.

Here they are.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

acellapril.jpag(Photo: Miss Millions)Just the other day, BuzzFlash at Truthout posted a commentary on how some banks and employers are now gouging laborers by paying them in electronic transfer cards - or essentially what we commonly know in the form of gift cards.  As we noted, this means profiteering fees are assessed in a variety of ways for workers to access their hard-earned salaries.

The Des Moines Register recently ran an article describing how a similar tactic is looting former prisoners - along with other fees assessed on those who are incarcerated that are excessive and take advantage of their imprisoned (lacking in basic rights) condition:

Perhaps Iowans don't care about what goes on in prisons, let alone about something as seemingly trivial as the fees imposed on inmates. But any of us could have a daughter, mother or brother who is one mistake away from entering an Iowa prison. If that happens, you will care. When you scrape together a little money to send your son to buy dental floss, you will care.

You will also witness how the loss of freedom, lack of basic pleasures and isolation is more than enough punishment for many incarcerated Iowans. You will know many are poor and mentally ill and give up a day's pay just to make a phone call home.

And then you may start to wonder just how many additional ways the Iowa Legislature can make life more of a struggle for inmates - and their families.

The analysis of prisoner fees includes a scam similar to the electronic salary card that is becoming a profitable business for banks and employers.  

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aref(Photo: ItzaFineDay)An email came to BuzzFlash at Truthout the other day with a blazing red warning of five national security threats: "Cyber Attacks • Counterintelligence • Terrorism • Weapons of Mass Destruction • Counterspace."

The organization sending the email, the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA), primarily enriches itself off of defense and national security industry conferences in which vendors market their services and hardware to government buyers. (It is a subsidiary of a larger conference firm, IQPC.) The IDGA meetings have  a veneer of top military, surveillance and prison industry speakers, but the real action for contracts is in the exhibition areas.

Upcoming conferences include:
 
Homeland Security Conference - April 2014
Big Data for Government and Defense - April 2014
Border Management Southwest 2014 - May 2014
Arctic Patrol and Reconnaisance - May 2014
Armored Vehicles Latin America - May 2014
Prisons and Correctional Facilities - June 2014
Mission Command - June 2014

 

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

achildjob(Photo: Lady Buffalo)Remember the childhood tale of the Dutch boy who kept trying to stop the leaks in a dam with his fingers until he ran out of them?

That's what workers are facing in trying to survive.  No matter which attempt at turning them into something akin to indentured servants at the service of corporations you look at, the attacks just keep coming.

Yesterday, BuzzFlash at Truthout posted a commentary on a new insidious scheme to shortchange laborers, "Paying Employees With Gift Cards That Have Fees Is a Deplorable Economic Injustice."

When it comes to compensation for laborers today in the US, the scenario playing out is pay decreases by a thousands cuts.

At a time when some cities and states - and the Obama adminsitration and Democrats in Congress - are advocating for an increased minimum wage, which currently is $7.25, other exploitative forces are fighting against it.  

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aatm(Photo: SalFalko)As reported over and over again on BuzzFlash at Truthout, worker wages have essentially remained stagnant - when adjusted for inflation - over more than two decades, while the top 1% have increased their share of the newly growing economy by 95%.

On top of that, many of those who have become unemployed due to the recession caused by banks too big to fail, must now work at miniminum wages jobs - if they are lucky enough to find employment.

Furthermore, it appears businesses and banks are continually coming up with new ways to reduce take home pay - whether it is paying for uniforms and equipment needed on the job or replacing permanent workers with part-time ones or temps.  For a few years now, in addition, there has been a growing trend to pay workers not with checks or direct deposits to their banks, but essentially with what are commonly known as gift cards (but are more generally, in essence, pre-loaded electronic transaction cards).

Of course, while a few companies don't charge extra fees, many do.  The businesses save by not cutting checks, but as with many gift cards, the workers are saddled with paying per transaction and other fees to use their own money because of costs levied on the utilization of electronic pay cards.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

ataseRepresentational image of tasering (Photo: Photolibrium)

When The New York Times (NYT) calls the tasering of students as a "disciplinary" measure torture, it is time to take notice that our schools have been infected with the appalling post 9/11 acceptance of harsh interrogation and discipline.

After all, the NYT has long been reluctant to call many abhorrent and internationally illegal measures used by the United States in the wake of 9/11 torture.  The NYT has preferred the euphemism and more publically acceptable term "harsh interrogation techniques."

Therefore, one must take notice when the NYT published an editorial on April 11 entitled, "Torturing Children at School." One can be certain that the NYT, so squeamish about calling waterboarding torture, did not choose that word without much debate, making the implications of the editorial that much more damning and gruesome.

In particular, the NYT editorial board focuses on the practice of tasering even young students in many public schools, sometimes resulting in death.

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