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RAFAEL VIZCAÍNO FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Columbus 0906wrp optStatue of Columbus in Ohio. (Photo: Wally Gobetz)As the symbols of the Confederacy have again become the targets of anti-racist social movements since the events in Charlottesville in August, activists are building on the present momentum to call for the removal or replacement of memorials belonging to other controversial figures in US history, from Christopher Columbus to Frank Rizzo. As we approach the 525th anniversary of the so-called "Discovery of America" this October 12, it is an appropriate time to revisit the stakes of what it entails to memorialize the man credited with discovering the existence of another world beyond Europe, Asia and Africa, the so-called "New World."

The key problem raised by the critics of Columbus concerns the uncritical repetition of the colonial mantra that claims Columbus "discovered" this so-called "New World." For not only is it historically documented that Columbus never knew that he had arrived at a landmass that is not "Asia" (Europeans only realized this with Amerigo Vespucci's accounts of his own trips well into the 1500s), but also and more importantly, one should ask oneself what it means to "discover" a region of the world that is not empty, but instead contains several flourishing civilizations in it. The issue is that the mantra that Columbus "discovered" anything presupposes the narrative vantage point of Western European imperialism, at the same time as it invalidates the narrative vantage points of the peoples that were visited upon by these so-called "discoverers" i.e. the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, peoples that far from being ghosts of the past continue to live in the present all around us (70 percent of Native Americans now live in cities, not reservations). If history here is written by the victors, the victims of Columbus have never been fully silenced. The victors simply refuse to hear them.

Published in Guest Commentary

BURT HALL FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Broken 0828wrp opt(Photo: Rachel Knickmeyer / Flickr)The American people are deeply frustrated with not being fairly represented in Congress and with not having a voice in our democracy. They are demanding an end to our great political divide and a return to a working democracy. For years politicians have been well aware of these concerns and the need for the two parties to be civil and work together. And, they know that trust in government has been at an all time low. But the problem persists unabated.

Republicans now control all three branches of government, yet they haven't had an acceptable administration in years. They allowed a preventable 9/11 and two wars to occur, failed two terms in office, and constantly checkmated the other party's success while offering no solutions of their own. There is something fundamentally wrong in our democratic system and it has to be addressed.

Our great political divide began in a big way when, after owning the White House for 12 years, Republicans lost it unexpectedly to the Clinton presidency. They were outraged at the loss, considered his victory illegitimate and believed he had to be driven from office. The political environment that followed has continued to the present day and is best expressed byRepublican George Voinovich. After saving Cleveland from default as mayor and making Ohio number one as governor, he worked across the aisle during two terms in the Senate (winning all 88 Ohio counties) and always had the ear of the president. He confessed at Senate retirement that the attitude of his colleagues was "We're going to get what we want or the country can go to hell."

Published in Guest Commentary

DAVID SWANSON FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Peace 0828wrp opt(Photo: Bruce Fingerhood)Washington, D.C., needs a three-dimensional, sculptural Guernica dedicated to and with explanatory information about the victims of U.S. bombings in over 30 countries that the United States has bombed.

And it needs such a monument to the victims of wars now, to help move the country away from war. We can't wait to create the monument after having achieved a society willing to make room for it among the war-glorification monstrosities gobbling up more and more space in the U.S. capital.

With land unavailable for peace in the land of war temples, the obvious solution is a rooftop. The Methodist Building across from the Capitol and the Supreme Court, or the nearby FCNL building, or any other prominent building with a roof could radically alter the DC skyline and worldview.

Bureacratic hurdles would have to be cleared, height kept below that of the Capitol dome, etc. But a rooftop could make a monument more visible, not less. An external elevator could take people close-up to view, learn more, and photograph.

Published in Guest Commentary

BILL MCKIBBEN FOR ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from Ecowatch

2016.11.14.McKibben.BFSolidarity with Indigenous leadership -- in Standing Rock and beyond -- is more important today, not less, says Bill McKibben. (Photo: Peg Hunter / Flickr)

So, the question everyone's asking me this week is: What now?

I don't have a great answer -- the Trump saga will play out over time, and we'll be learning how to resist as we go along. But resist we will.

I do know that the election last Tuesday made this Tuesday's demonstrations in support of Standing Rock even more important. We'll be gathering in nearly 200 cities worldwide to demand that the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Obama Administration, do their jobs and reject the Dakota Access Pipeline's final permit.

Published in Guest Commentary

PaulBuchheitPAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

The first step is to learn the facts, and then to get angry and to ask ourselves, as progressives and caring human beings, what we can do about the relentless transfer of wealth to a small group of well-positioned Americans.

1. $2.13 per hour vs. $3,000,000.00 per hour

Each of the Koch brothers saw his investments grow by $6 billion in one year, which is three million dollars per hour based on a 40-hour 'work' week. They used some of the money to try to kill renewable energy standards around the country.

Published in Guest Commentary
Monday, 03 September 2012 06:18

Don’t Count Out the Labor Movement

WALTER BRASCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Now, as for those conservatives who are dancing on what they think are the graves of the working class labor movement. There are  a few stories they aren’t reporting.  

 

In Wisconsin, the recall election of Scott Walker did fail, as out-of-state individuals, PACs, and corporations contributed about two-thirds of his $30 million campaign to keeping him in office, as opposed to his opponent raising only about one-eighth of that amount. However, in subsequent elections, all three Democratic senators survived recall votes, and two of six Republican senators were recalled, leading to a change in Senate membership from 19–14 Republican to 17–16 Republican, but effectively blocking a “super majority” from ramrodding further anti-worker legislation into law.

 

In Ohio, voters overwhelmingly rejected, 62–38 percent, the new Ohio law that stripped collective bargaining rights of public employee unions. In defeat, Gov. Kasich, whose attacks upon collective bargaining were a central part of his campaign, said “It’s clear the people have spoken.”

 

Monday is Labor Day. It’s more than just picnics and a three-day weekend. It’s a time to honor the working class, and the unions that gave them the rights of collective bargaining. They may be struggling but they are far from dead.

 

Published in Guest Commentary

MARC PERKEL FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Romney raised the issue in his speech if we are better off than when Obama took office. Are you kidding me? Of course we are!

When Obama took office America was lying in the street dying from a near fatal wound from the last Republican president. The banking system collapsed. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month. Housing collapsed. Construction stopped. The auto industry was in a death spiral. America was in a state of complete panic. Our nation was dying under Bush.

Published in Guest Commentary

STEFANIE SPEAR FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

For the last few months EcoWatch has been covering what's become the worst drought in the U.S. in more than half a century. More than 3,200 daily high temperature records were set or tied in June, and July is in the books as the warmest month ever recorded in the lower 48 states, according to a report issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center.

Besides the discomfort of relentless heat and unmitigated sunshine, the drought has forced us to rethink several issues commonly taken for granted—namely, abundant and affordable food, secure livelihoods for farmers, safety from natural disasters, practical public policy regarding the delegation of crops for food and biofuels, and most importantly, the value of water.

Published in Guest Commentary

NIKOLAS KOZLOFF FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

In the wake of Paraguay’s suspicious impeachment of President Fernando Lugo, which observers have likened to a kind of “quasi-coup,” some may wonder whether underhanded corporate forces may have played a role in the political crisis. Such suspicions were heightened recently when the new de facto regime led by Federico Franco, Lugo’s former conservative Vice President, inked a deal with Texas-based PetroVictory/Crescent Global Oil to open up the remote Chaco region to petroleum exploration.

Supporters of Lugo’s highly dubious ouster claim that Crescent could help to ease Paraguay’s dependence on foreign oil. Richard González, Crescent’s CEO, announced that the company would invest $10 million in the Chaco and start exploratory drilling within the next few months. To be sure, there’s no proof or “smoking gun” that Crescent had anything to do with the political shakeup in Paraguay, yet the timing of the deal raises eyebrows.

Published in Guest Commentary

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

David Barton, president of the Christian conservative WallBuilders organization and a frequent guest on Glenn Beck's broadcasts, has for years been getting away with historicide. Criticism of Barton's politically motivated and tenuous grasp of history, once the sole province of liberal scholars, church-state separationists, and left wing political activists and bloggers, is now spreading beyond liberal enclaves, as several Christian scholars are criticizing Barton for just plain making stuff up.

Published in Guest Commentary
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