PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
In each of the following areas of our lives, capitalism has been a deadly force in the past, and prospects for the future seem even worse with Donald Trump's Cabinet picks.
In 1996 Purdue Pharma began marketing its painkiller Oxycontin with a promotional campaign unlike any other seen before. As noted in the American Journal of Public Health, "The high availability of OxyContin correlated with increased abuse, diversion, and addiction, and by 2004 OxyContin had become a leading drug of abuse in the United States."
About 75% of heroin addicts used prescription opioids before turning to heroin. Deaths related to heroin have more than tripled since 2010, and a dramatic surge in overdoses has occurred among children. Opioid use is also triggering a rise in hepatitis C, which kills 19,000 people every year, most of whom can't get treatment because the drug manufacturer Gilead Sciences charges $84,000 for pills that cost less than $300 to produce. In Kentucky in 2016, for every 100 people with hepatitis C only THREE were able to receive treatment.
Donald Trump's rumored candidate for the FDA is staunch libertarian Jim O'Neill, who said about drugs: "Let’s prove efficacy after they’ve been legalized."
BRIAN TRAUTMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Over the past eight months, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota have been joined by more than 200 allied tribes and tens of thousands of non-Native activists for a nonviolent resistance campaign against Energy Transfer Partners’ (ETP) $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The pipeline, which has been projected to transport at least 470,000 barrels of oil per day over 1,100 miles from the Bakken oil field to an existing hub in Illinois for delivery to refineries on the Gulf Coast, was rerouted in 2014 from north of Bismarck to the south, taking it through unceded treaty lands of the Sioux. Pipeline construction over this altered route desecrated sacred ancestral sites, and, until last Sunday, was slated to cross the Missouri River at the Lake Oahe reservoir, which would have threatened the safety of the drinking water of the Standing Rock Sioux and millions of people downstream.
Since April 1, individuals, groups and organizations from around the world have come together at Standing Rock to proclaim Mni Wiconi, Lakota for “water is life.” They have put their bodies and freedom on the line in support of the water protectors of the #NoDAPL effort. Veterans For Peace (VFP), on whose board of directors I currently serve, is one of these organizations. We released a solidarity statement in September. A number of our members have been actively involved in the campaign. In mid-October, I had the great privilege and honor of joining nearly a dozen of my VFP colleagues at the main resistance camp, Oceti Sakowin (the proper name for the Sioux, meaning Seven Council Fires). During my visit, I was welcomed with respect, kindness and love, and treated as a family member – a relative, a profound experience of Mitakuye Oyasin, a Lakota term/prayer meaning "all my relations" or "we are all related."
As of last week, DAPL construction was all but completed. It seemed nothing could stop the Black Snake, as the Native people call it (a moniker that is based on an old Lakota prophecy which speaks of a “black snake” bringing destruction and devastation). Then, last Sunday, following various legal decisions over many months that allowed the pipeline construction to continue, the easement to cross Lake Oahe was abruptly denied by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The announcement came down just hours before an evacuation order for the Oceti Sakowin Camp, which was issued by USACE in late November, was set to take effect. USACE added that it would be undertaking an environmental impact statement (EIS) to examine possible alternate pipeline routes. The decision was hailed by many as a significant victory for the #NoDAPL struggle.
DAN ZUKOWSKI OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
shut down following discovery of a leak on Monday. The amount of the spill was not immediately known, but oil has leaked into the Ash Coulee Creek in Billings County.A six-inch crude oil pipeline operated by Belle Fourche Pipeline Company in western North Dakota was
The site of the spill is about 200 miles from the camp where members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their supporters have been protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
"It is a significant spill," Bill Suess, spill investigation program manager for the North Dakota Department of health, said.
"A series of booms have been placed across the creek to prevent downstream migration and a siphon dam has been constructed four miles downstream of the release point."
The Belle Fourche Pipeline Co. is part of the family-owned True companies, which also operates Bridger Pipeline LLC. Both pipelines are operated from the same control room in Casper, Wyoming. From 2006 to 2014, Belle Fourche reported 21 incidents, leaking a total of 272,832 gallons of oil. Bridger Pipeline recorded nine pipeline incidents in the same period, spilling nearly 11,000 gallons of crude.
"In general, Bridger has a poor compliance history," wrote a federal regulator charged with overseeing pipeline safety in a 2012 order regarding a 2006 oil spill.
JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
All hail Augustus Trumpus! All hail the American Putin, whom none can criticize! All hail the Great All Knowing One, who reveals "realities" that are not there and finds "facts" that mere mortals cannot detect.
Once again, The Amazing Donald has demonstrated his phantasmagoric power of perception, having a new outcome in November's election that others haven't seen. Trump has been greatly perturbed by the official results, which showed that while he won the electoral college majority, he was not the people's choice. Instead, Hillary Clinton won the popular balloting by a margin of more than two million votes. Growing increasingly furious at this affront to his supernatural sense of self, the master of factual flexibility went on Twitter with an amazing revelation: "I won the popular vote," decreed our incoming tweeter in chief!
Wow, how did he turn a two million vote loss into a glorious victory? "I won," he tweeted, "if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."
Wow again! Millions? You'd think such a massive conspiracy — with millions of illegal voters in line at thousands of precincts — would've been noticed by election officials, GOP poll watchers and the media. How did Trump find this truly incredible fact?
JANE STILLWATER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
my trip to Disneyland last week and how everyone there was completely unified by one goal (or maybe two): To see how many rides they could go on in one day and how to have the most fun.I'm still fondly remembering
America should be so lucky as to be this united with regard to political goals as well. Politically, Americans are clearly divided along the lines of Red States and Blue States these days. But there is also a third state in American politics that's never mentioned (except perhaps by those of us being described by the Washington Post as writing "fake news"). And the third state that I'm talking about here is the Deep State.
But what is different from past American presidential elections (or selections -- in the case of George W. Bush) with regard to the 2016 presidential election is that for the first time since perhaps Truman the Deep State seems to be divided within itself too. Most of Wall Street and War Street appear to be Clinton cheerleaders -- while the rest of Wall Street and War Street seem to want Trump.
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
don't pay a living wage.
The Deniers: The Middle Class Has Nothing to Worry About
Optimism is the feeling derived from sources like The Economist, which assures us that "AI will not cause mass unemployment...The 19th-century experience of industrialisation suggests that jobs will be redefined, rather than destroyed.." The Atlantic concurs: "The job market defied doomsayers in those earlier times, and according to the most frequently reported jobs numbers, it has so far done the same in our own time." And even economist Dean Baker scoffs at the tech takeover of jobs: "Large numbers of elite thinkers are running around terrified that we will have millions of people who have no work because the robots have eliminated the need for their labor...The remarkable aspect to the robot story is that it is actually a very old story. We have been seeing workers displaced by technology for centuries, this is what productivity growth is."
Perhaps most significantly for the optimists, the New York Federal Reserve found that since 2013 over two million jobs have been added in transportation, construction, administration, social services, education, protective services and other middle-wage areas.
BRUCE MULKEY FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
As I watched the returns start to trickle in on election night with my wife Shonnie and our friend Carolyn, I kept saying, “The votes in the Democratic strongholds obviously haven’t come in yet. It’s just a matter of time before Hillary takes the lead in Florida.” But she didn’t. Not in Florida, nor in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, or Wisconsin. Given that almost all the polls had consistently shown Clinton leading, it was difficult to believe what was happening right before my eyes.
Disconsolate, I went to bed around midnight after it was clear that Donald Trump was on his way to becoming our next president. I woke up around 3:00 a.m. and fumbled around with my Kindle to see if a miracle had taken place, if some of the battleground states had flipped to the Democratic column. They hadn’t.
Let me be clear. I voted for Bernie Sanders in the North Carolina primary when hope was still alive that he could capture the Democratic nomination for president. I supported Sanders because I believed (and still believe) that he understood the necessity of addressing issues such as income inequality, lack of a living wage for many, our two-tiered justice system, institutional racism, the militarization of our police departments, world-wide militarism (800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad), government surveillance of U.S. citizens, and climate change.
BILL QUIGLEY FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
When you find yourself in a suddenly darkened room, what do you do? Some rush blindly to where they think the door might be. Others stand still, let their eyes get adjusted to the different environment, re-orient themselves, then cautiously and sensitively, move forward. Some search out people who might be able to show the way. Post-election, a lot of people are re-assessing and searching for the best way forward. Here are some ideas on where we should be going and what we should be doing from experienced, thoughtful people who are organizing on the front lines.
One: You Were Born for This Time.
My friend, Cherri Foytlin, a mother who lives in rural Louisiana in a deeply Republican area, gives her life organizing to protect our earth, water and the rights of indigenous people. For that she has been arrested and is subject to death threats. Right after the election she wrote: “Fear no evil. Joy and Love still live, and it is up to us to build the shelter for the Hope that they provide. Lower those pointed fingers, we will need them to grasp the hammer and forge the nails. Do not give in to your righteous anxieties. Our heroes have never left us. All the good that ever was, it is still here. You were born for this time.”
Two: Join Allies.
Marisa Franco, one of the founders of Mijente, calls on Latinos and African Americans to join together with whites who didn’t go for Trump. “No one is going to build it, no one is going to give it to us. Positioning folks like the people in Arizona who built resilience and strength, positioning people who have been survivors to teach others. People in the South, in Arizona have been doing that for years,” she said. “We’ve got to build bridges across communities.”
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Betsy DeVos, Present-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the Department of Education, has, as Douglas N. Harris recently wrote in an Op-Ed in The New York Times, “sent shock waves through the educational establishment.” And that is probably what Team Trump hoped would happen and continues to happen when DeVos takes office. Several years before being tapped by Trump, Americans United’s Rob Boston observed, “DeVos’ goal is nothing short of a radical re-creation of education in the United States, with tax-supported religious and other private schools replacing the traditional public school system.”
Betsy DeVos is a billionaire philanthropist, a longtime funder of multiple right-wing causes and candidates, and an ardent supporter of school vouchers/charter schools/privatization of public schools.
DeVos, and her brother, Erik Prince – the founder of Blackwater, the private military force that received contract worth billions of dollars from the U.S. government -- are two of the four children of Elsa Prince Broekhuizen and the late Edgar Prince.
Edgar Prince made his fortune in Prince Automotive, and became one of the primary supporters of numerous Religious Right organizations and causes. Betsy DeVos is married to Dick DeVos, former CEO of Amway/Alticor and Republican candidate for governor of Michigan in a failed bid in 2006.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Anyone attempting to understand the roots of what is now being called the “alt-right” should run out to your favorite independent bookstore and grab hold of a copy of Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream. Published in 2009, and written by Leonard Zeskind, it remains a seminal history of the white supremacist movement, now being reimagined as the “alt-right.”
"While the white nationalist movement has splintered organizationally over the last few years, it is best to think of this phenomenon as something akin to a broken thermometer, where the mercury continually reconfigures itself into silver beads smaller and larger," Zeskind has written.
Drew S. Days III, Professor of Law, Yale University, and former U.S. Solicitor General called Blood and Politics “not only a brilliant account of the origins, modes of operation, collaborations, and internecine disputes of white supremacist, neo-Nazi, Holocaust-denier, and anti-Semitic groups in America, but alerts us to the fact that despite—or perhaps because of—significant improvements in race relations and changing demographic patterns, we are likely to witness a resurgence of their activities.”