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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

astoptar(Photo: someones.life)As hundreds of activists were arrested (in front of the White House) Sunday protesting the proposed new northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, the "toxic sludge" propaganda of its owner, TransCanada, is flooding the media.
 
First, here is some background.
 
BuzzFlash reported last week that while the focus of activists trying to save planet Earth has been on the new northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, Canadian tar sands oil have already started to flow through the current older pipeline to Cushing, Oklahoma, and from there through the brand new sourthern leg of the Keystone pipeline that President Obama eagerly approved awhile back.  Tar sands oil, as we reported last year, has also flowed through other pipeline systems, causing massive spills in Michigan and Arkansas.
 
In short, the notion that stopping the new Keystone XL pipeline northern branch will keep tar sands oil out of the US is false.  The tar sands crude is already flowing into the US, just not at the volume its producers want in order to create more profit.  The increased damage to our atmosphere due to Alberta tar sands oil being transported via pipelines is already underway, as we again emphasized in a BuzzFlash at Truthout commentary last week, "First Canadian Tar Sands Oil Flows Through Southern Keystone XL Pipeline as Senators Warn of Cancer Risks."
Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

adeadpeas(Photo: TheTim)Fortune Magazine (as posted on CNN Money) asks in a February 27 article, "Is there a suicide contagion on Wall Street? A series of untimely deaths at JPMorgan Chase and other banks has left observers wondering if there are more to come."

Apparently, there has been a rash of suicides in the financial executive community:

A few days ago, a Wall Street executive was debating whether he could get away from the office long enough to see his shrink uptown. In the midst of a busy workday, it was looking unlikely. Then he stumbled across an article in the New York Post with the disquieting news that a J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) employee had jumped to his death from the bank's offices in Hong Kong, just three weeks after a fellow banker at the firm had committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the bank's London headquarters. "JPMorgan suicide is 3rd mysterious death in weeks," read the Post headline.....

The rash of suicides has sent a shudder through Wall Street and beyond. The third death referenced by the Post—that of a J.P. Morgan executive director who died inside his Connecticut home in January—did not appear to be intentional. (A report is still pending.) Yet the J.P. Morgan incidents are only the most recent in a string of at least a half-dozen suicides in the financial world since late August. Those include executives at Zurich Insurance Group (ZURVY), Deutsche Bank (DB), and Russell Investments, among other firms.

Whether this grim statistic is a trend or just a short-term cluster remains to be seen -- as well as the precipitating factors surrounding the suicides.

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

acantarTar Sands BlockadeTwo US senators joined a Canadian physician to call for a study to determine the health impact of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline (northern leg), including the likelihood of increased cancer.

According to a Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) February 26 article,

Senator Barbara Boxer, a Democrat representing California, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, held a news conference in Washington along with Dr. John O’Connor, an Alberta physician.

O’Connor told the news conference that carcinogens get into the food chain, water and air in communities downstream from the oilsands and that those toxins are linked to cancers occurring in those areas. He said he has "no political agenda" and that he is only advocating for his patients.

O’Connor shared his concerns about higher than average cancer rates, and rare cancers, in Fort Chipewyan, and he told CBC News he is trying to shine a spotlight on the “callous indifference” to the health of those who live downstream from the oilsands....

“Health miseries follow the tarsands from extraction to transport to refining to waste disposal,” [Senator Boxer] said.

Published in EditorBlog


abuzzorig
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT 

In response to reader input, Truthout has enhanced its BuzzFlash sites.  The new and updated options offer a more diverse and interactive experience combined with a streamlined contemporary look. 

In case you have been wondering about some of the features now available to you, here is a partial list of what you can expect on a daily basis:

(Upper Right: The Original BuzzFlash, Founded 2000 -- Photo: liberal1012)

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

abant(Photo: billb1961)Among the many hypocritical examples of the Not in My Backyard (NIMBY) syndrome, place the legal opposition of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to the construction of a new water tower near his suburban Denton, Texas, estate at the top of the pyramid.

The story broke on February 20 in the Wall Street Journal in an article entitled: "Exxon CEO Joins Suit Citing Fracking Concerns: Residents of Dallas Suburb Fight Construction of Tower That Would Provide Water for Drilling." As noted in a piece posted on Truthout in December of 2013, Denton is a hotbed of fracking activity.  This has resulted in a citizen revolt against all the threats that fracking poses: toxic chemical use, acceleration of global warming, air pollution, water pollution, earth tremor risks, noise, airborne debris, bright night lights and more -- much more.

One of the fracking perils is the excessive use of water that is required to produce fossil fuel out of the process. The large amount of water needed not only depletes supplies of already limited fresh water in many locations, it returns the water in polluted form.   

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

arickRick Santorum, Soda Jerk for restoring the Middle Ages (Photo: DonkeyHotey)He's back. Little Ricky "Man-on-Dog" Santorum is seriously assembling a run for president in 2016 according to the National Journal. 

Going back to May of 2000 when BuzzFlash first began posting on the Internet, we've covered a lot of right wing outsized characters.  In fact, there were so many that we began a separate site (since ceased publishing): BuzzFlash GOP Hypocrite of the Week.

Santorum falls more into the "deranged zealot who looks like a big box office supply store manager" type, but he still fits into that broad category of religious zealots who get themselves confused with their stated belief that Jesus is the Son of God while their actual belief is that they are the Son(s) of God. 

Buzzflash and Truthout don’t take corporate funding - that means we’re accountable to our readers, not big business or billionaire sponsors. Please support our work by making a tax-deductible donation today - just click here to donate.

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

 

aspeciesIs the human species next on the list? (Photo: tbone_samdwich)

There was a popular bumper sticker you'd see on luxury cars awhile back, "The person who dies with the most toys wins."

Sometimes, when I saw an automobile with such a message, my first thought was how tacky to put such a cheap plastic boast of wealth on a vehicle that cost tens of thousands of dollars. But then I realized that, to paraphrase Marshall McCluhan, "the medium is the message."  This is what this person is all about; "my greed makes me who I am, and I'm better and more valuable than you are in your cheap Ford."

This destructive confusion of one's worth as a human being with one's financial worth arose in my mind again yesterday when writing a commentary, "Five Reasons the 1% Do Not Want Unemployment to Decrease."

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

ajobs(Photo: Jobs With Justice)BuzzFlash at Truthout isn't breaking any new economic theory in stating that corporations and the 1% -- incuding the increasingly dominant Wall Street financial stranglehold on the economy -- are actually quite happy with permanently high (as long as it doesn't cause political de-stabilization) unemployment.

1) The most important value to high unemployment to the 1% is in the ever-increasing profit margin that comes from lowering the cost of labor by decreasing salaries and benefits.  This result from competition for jobs among a group of desperate employment seekers is that they have no choice but to accept low-paying jobs.  

Therefore, while the media likes to use the benchmark unemployment statistics as a sign of the economy "improving" if the government figure goes down, the 1% actually sees its lopsided share of US assets increase when the unemployment figures are higher and wages lower.

This reality, largely ignored by the mainstream media, is of course facilitated by the trade partnership agreement globalization of jobs to lower cost settings, devaluing the US labor market even further.

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

azell(Photo: Andrew Huff)Sam Zell is known around Chicago as a bit of a brash, blunt multi-billionaire.  After making his fortune in setting up massive real estate funds (REITs) and then diversifying into Mitt Romney style buy and strip apart corporate acquisitions, he purchased the faltering Chicago Tribune in 2007.

At a televised conference Zell held with the staff, one journalist asked him how he would ensure that, in essence, the bean counters wouldn't be compromising the reporting in the Tribune and its other major media holdings (including the Los Angeles Times). Zell glared at the reporter and simply responded, "F*ck you!"

Zell's primary approach to saving the Tribune empire was to drastically cut staff, including journalists, and sell off assets, but he didn't have an instinct for the media world and ultimately the Tribune corporation went into bankruptcy.  Eventually, Zell sold it at a loss to some other investors.  

This is just some background on the man who just the other day claimed (according to an article reposted ironically in the Chicago Tribune) that people "should not talk about envy of the 1 percent, they should talk about emulating the 1 percent. The 1 percent work harder, the 1 percent are much bigger factors in all forms of our society."

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

abarclays(Photo: Alwyn Ladell)Barclays may be officially incorporated in the UK, but its branch in the United States is performing "robustly," according to the bank.  That's one reason, according to Reuters, that Barclays is going to be paying out nearly $4 billion dollars in bonuses for the past year:

A rise in bonuses at the bank could provoke a backlash from politicians and a public angered that banks are not reining in compensation. Excessive pay has been blamed for encouraging risk-taking and contributing to the 2008/2009 financial crisis.

Sky said Barclays is expected to defend the increase in bonuses by pointing to a robust performance by its investment bank in the United States and the threat it will lose its top staff there to its Wall Street rivals.

Amidst an avalanche of Wall Street banks paying fines (instead of being criminally prosecuted by the Department of Justice) for fraud, Barclays is giving out billions of dollars in extra compensation to senior financial staff.  Most working people are lucky to get a $50 bonus at the end of the year.  But most people don't work on Wall Street where the corporate culture rewards individuals who encourage pushing at the edge of the legal envelope, as Jamie Dimon has done at JPMorgan Chase.

 

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