BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Despite being rhetorically chastised a bit by some evangelicals for his support of Donald Trump’s run for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, Liberty University President, Jerry Falwell Jr. – the son of the late Moral Majority leader and Liberty University founder, Rev. Jerry Falwell -- is sticking to his guns. There is no doubt that Falwell’s endorsement of Trump surprised many conservative Christian evangelical leaders, as he is one of the few major leaders supporting Trump. Others, including Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Max Lucado, often described as “America’s Pastor,” and the editorial staff of The Christian Post, have consistently criticized Trump. And while Falwell Jr., may be taking the criticism in stride, his wife Becki has lashed out at the critics.
Earlier this month, Becki Falwell posted a “pointed response to her husband’s critics on her Facebook page,” Religion News Service’s Jonathan Merritt reported. According to Merritt, Becki Falwell’s “comments came … after a prominent member of Liberty’s board of trustees, Mark DeMoss … publicly critique[ed] Falwell Jr.’s endorsement of Trump. DeMoss said he had ‘been concerned for Liberty University for a couple of months now, and I’ve held my tongue.’ DeMoss also challenged Falwell Jr’s claim that Trump is similar to the late Jerry Falwell Sr., who DeMoss served as chief of staff for many years.”
Becki Falwell concluded her post by saying: “Jesus was called a friend of publicans and sinners and called the religious elite of his time hypocrites and a generation of vipers. We all need to remember what Jesus said – that he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”
(Falwell responded back on Facebook: “Thank you sweetie! Glad you are on my side!”)
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
If Donald Trump wins the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, and if David S. Bernstein’s calculations are correct, and it will take an overwhelming and unprecedented majority of white male voters to carry him to the White House. In a story for Politico titled “Donald Trump Needs Seven of Ten White Guys,” Bernstein, a contributing editor at Boston Magazine, writes: “If Trump wins the GOP nomination, he will be testing the limits of a strategy that has long haunted the Republican Party. Since the civil-rights era, Republicans have relied heavily on white male voters to overcome a disadvantage among minorities and some subsets of women. Mathematically, that was an easier strategy a half-century ago, when white men dominated the electorate.”
According to Bernstein, Trump would need seven out of ten white male voters to win the presidency. While that number has never been achieved before, judging from who is turning out at Trump rallies – and going to the polls in primaries -- that number might not be as impossible as you might think.
Ever since Team Nixon devised the Southern Strategy, white voters have been the backbone of the Republican Party. As Bernstein points out, “In 1980, when the electorate looked very different than it does today, Ronald Reagan cruised to an easy victory by winning 63 percent of white males, according to exit polls. In 1988, George H.W. Bush took 63 percent of that group in his rout of Michael Dukakis. By 2004, however, winning 62 percent of white men barely got George W. Bush past John Kerry in a squeaker. And eight years later, Romney won 62 percent of white men — and lost to Barack Obama by 3.5 million votes.”
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Gallup poll found that less people would vote for a socialist than for an atheist, a Muslim, or an evangelical Christian. Media-numbed Americans still believe that "government is the problem." Yet evidence keeps pouring in that free-market capitalism treats public safety as a profit-killer, dismisses environmental issues as irrelevant to business, and eliminates jobs to please investors.
Reports from the past six months show that the ongoing record of capitalist greed and irresponsibility has plunged to new lows.
1. Mocking Public Health and Safety
It's disturbing enough that Volkswagen and Ford and General Motors and other auto companies rigged emissions tests and took safety shortcuts to save money; and that the Southern California Gas Co. lied about its poisonous sulfur levels; and that Exxon was found to be hiding its own climate change research for four decades; and that tens of thousands of government-subsidized abandoned mines have been left to pollute our waterways.
But Monsanto, which proclaims "We are committed to long-term environmental protection," sued the State of California for trying to protect its citizens from the company's toxic materials.
2. Showing Contempt for Workers
The sharing economy has created companies that promote worker 'independence' while denying them health and retirement benefits, sick pay, overtime pay, and vacation pay. It's not a new capitalist idea. Merck and Out Magazine are among the companies that have "outsourced" employee positions to independent contractor positions, either by a mass layoff or by selling part of the company, after which former employees could be hired back at lower pay and without benefits.
Companies like American Express and AT&T have gone a step further with "individual arbitration" clauses, which effectively prohibit class-action lawsuits, the only economically feasible way for defrauded employees and customers to fight back against corporate malfeasance. Legal expert Brian T. Fitzpatrick explained, "Without a class action, if someone loses $500, they will not be able to do anything about it."
LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Monsanto Co. by the widow of a prominent Cambria, California farmer alleging that Monsanto had known for years that exposure to glyphosate—the main ingredient in the agribusiness giant’s flagship weedkiller Roundup—could cause cancer and other serious illnesses or injuries.A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against
The lawsuit, which seeks wrongful death and punitive damages, was filedtoday in Los Angeles federal court by attorneys Michael Baum, Cynthia Garber and Brent Wisner of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. of Kennedy & Madonna on behalf of Teri McCall.
Teri McCall claims Roundup caused her husband of 40-years, Anthony Jackson “Jack” McCall, to develop terminal cancer after he used the herbicide on his 20-acre fruit and vegetable farm for nearly 30 years.
According to a press release from the law firms, Jack McCall was admitted to a hospital in September 2015 to treat swollen lymph nodes in his neck. He found out that same day that the swelling was caused by anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare and aggressive version of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Glyphosate, which is the most widely applied pesticide worldwide, was declared as “probably carcinogenic to humans” last March by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The organization also observed that non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other haematopoietic cancers are the cancers most associated with glyphosate exposure.
WENONAH HAUTER OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Democratic debate Sunday night discussed important issues to our food and water, including the contamination of Flint, Michigan’s water supply and climate change. The fact that CNN allowed University of Michigan student Sarah Bellaire to ask the candidates whether or not they support fracking—bringing a real discussion about dirty fossil fuels to center stage—shows how large and influential our movement to ban fracking has become.The
Bernie Sanders’ concise response after Hillary Clinton‘s long list of “conditions” that must be met in order for her to support fracking was met with thunderous applause: “My answer is a lot shorter. No, I do not support fracking.”
While the Obama administration—including Clinton herself as secretary of state—has been a staunch promoter of fracking, touting industry claims about energy security and that it could be a bridge to renewables, a growing movement is forcing Democratic leaders to acknowledge that fracking is bad for our environment and public health and a disaster for our climate.
COLE MELLINO OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
“We are saddened to report that over the past few weeks, Tilikum’s behavior has become increasingly lethargic, and the SeaWorld veterinary and animal care teams are concerned that his health is beginning to deteriorate,” the company said.
The 35-year-old male orca is not responding to treatment and “a cure for his illness has not been found,” SeaWorld said.
“Since Tilikum became a part of SeaWorld’s family 23 years ago, he has received the best in marine mammal health care and life enrichment available for killer whales—including a focus on his physical health, mental engagement and social activity with other whales,” SeaWorld said. “Despite the best care available, like all aging animals, he battles chronic health issues that are taking a greater toll as he ages.”
Tilikum, whose name means “friend” in Chinook, was captured from the wild in 1983 at the age of 2, according to Reuters. He came to SeaWorld 23 years ago from Sealand of the Pacific in Canada.
COLE MELLINO OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
slaughtered in the U.S. every year for meat with global demand skyrocketing. Animal agriculture is putting an ever-increasing strain on world resources, particularly global water supplies, according to VICE’s two-part episode, Meathooked and End of Water, which premieres March 4 at 11 p.m. on HBO.More than 9 billion animals are
In Vice’s fifth episode of season 4, Isobel Yeung traveled to feedlots, farms and slaughterhouses to learn where our meat comes from and to uncover its true costs, and Vikram Gandhi traveled to the Central Valley in California and São Paulo, Brazil to find out just how severe the global water crisis has become.
In California’s Central Valley, farmers are quickly depleting the state’s groundwater as the state remains mired in a drought, despite El Niño rains. São Paulo’s drought has become so bad that water in at least one of the area’s reservoirs is below what engineers consider zero, meaning that they have to pipe the remaining water uphill just to get it to the intake pipes.
“Meat production, globally, is an environmental disaster now,” Ken Cook, president of Environmental Working Group, said. “If we try and expand production to reach 9 billion people by 2050, it will be a complete and unthinkable disaster.”
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
To say that numerous top-tier Christian conservative evangelical leaders are having a difficult time facing the more-likely-by-the-primary reality that Donald Trump will head the GOP ticket in the fall is like saying the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry has a pretty good 3-point shot. In other words, it is an understatement of historic proportions. From just about every conceivable angle, with just about every conceivable argument, conservative evangelicals are trying to slow down the Trump train. A recent editorial in The Christian Post was headlined “Donald Trump Is a Scam. Evangelical Voters Should Back Away.”
In his recent column, a clearly disappointed Charles Krauthammer wanted to know “What happened to the evangelicals? They were supposed to be the bedrock of the Ted Cruz candidacy. Yet on Super Tuesday he lost them to Donald Trump.” According to Krauthammer, “This time around, evangelicals are not looking for someone like them. They're looking for someone who will protect them. They've tried backing exemplary Scripture-quoting Christians - without result. After Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum and considerations of Cruz himself, they are increasingly reluctant to support like-minded candidates who are nonetheless incapable of advancing their cause in a hostile political arena so dominated by secularism.”
In an historic editorial the senior editors of The Christian Post -- which they describe as “the most popular evangelical news website in the United States and the world” – declared that “Trump does not represent the interests of evangelicals and would be a dangerous leader for our country.”
The CP editorial called Trump “a misogynist and philanderer,” an admirer of dictators, and a man who refused to quickly “disavow” the racism of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. He has a history of “untruthfulness, questionable business practices, reported association with organized crime, and abrupt changes in fundamental positions.” Take that Jerry Falwell Jr., one of the few evangelical leaders who have endorsed Trump!
BILL QUIGLEY FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
UCLA law professor, was born in Tijuana to Mexican parents and grew up in the Latino neighborhoods of Los Angeles.Luz Herrera, social justice lawyer and
Not only the first lawyer in her family, she is the first woman in her family to go to college.
Herrera did not know any lawyers and never even thought of being a lawyer until meeting some Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) attorneys her senior year in high school. “I decided to become a lawyer when California was in the middle of many anti-immigrant campaigns, a redistricting battle, and the tensions that lead to the 1992 civil disturbance (aka riots) in Los Angeles were brewing.”
Law school was tough. Herrera attended Harvard Law and later wrote an article detailing her frustrations in the Harvard Latino Law Review there.
“The first-year courses were teaching me to think like a lawyer, and while I acknowledged that I was changing, I was not all that pleased by what I was becoming. My discomfort in the law school classroom was due to my identity as a first-generation, working-class Chicana. The idea that laws were neutral and that their application was fair did not ring true in my world of working-class individuals. Despite being a student leader in college, I found myself staying silent in much the same way my parents had when they were forced to deal with legal matters.”
Law came alive only in law clinic when she found she had a real passion for providing direct services to people like those in her family and neighborhood. She helped people who were working towards self-employment by starting businesses and nonprofits and doing real estate.
When she graduated in 1999, she, like most of her classmates, went to work in a large corporate law firm. Earning a six figure salary right out of law school, in her corporate work she never entered a court room and she had very little interaction with clients. That ended after two years.
Professor Herrera is clear that “Justice is forged and earned, not given.”
JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The financial transaction tax is not an idea whose time has just now come; it simply has returned. From 1914 to 1966, our country taxed all sales and transfers of stock. The tax was doubled in the last year of Herbert Hoover's presidency to help us recover from the Great Depression. Today, 40 countries have FTTs, including the seven with the fastest-growing stock exchanges in the world. Eleven members of the European Union (including Germany and France) voted for a financial transaction tax to curtail poverty, restore services and put people back to work.
This is no soak-the-rich-idea. Rather than asking the Wall Street crowd to join us in paying a 6 to 12 percent sales tax, the major FTT proposal gaining support in the U.S. calls for a 0.5 percent assessment on stock transactions. That's 50 cents on a $100 stock buy versus the $8.25 I would pay for a $100 bicycle.
Even at this minuscule rate, the huge volume of high-speed trades (nearly 400 billion a year) means an FTT would net about $300 billion to $350 billion a year for our public treasury. Plus, it's a very progressive tax. Half of our country's stock is owned by the 1 percenters, and only a small number of them are in the high-frequency trade game. Ordinary folks who have small stakes in the markets, including those in mutual and pension funds, are called "buy and hold" investors: They only do trades every few months or years, not daily or hourly or even by the second, and they'll not be harmed. Rather it's the computerized churners of frothy speculation who will pony up the bulk of revenue from such a transaction tax.
An FTT is a straightforward, uncomplicated way for us to get a substantial chunk of our money back from high-finance thieves, and we should make a concerted effort to put the idea on the front burner in 2016 and turn up the heat. Not only do its benefits merit the fight; the fight itself would be politically popular. One clue to its political potential is that the mere mention of FTT to a Wall Street banker will evoke a shriek so shrill that the Mars rover hears it. That's because they know that this proposal would make them defend the indefensible: themselves.
First, the sheer scope of Wall Street's self-serving casino business model would be exposed for all to see. Second, they would have to admit that they're increasingly dependent on (and, therefore, making our economy dependent on) the stark-raving insanity of robotic, high-frequency speculation. Third, it'll be completely ridiculous for them to argue that protecting the multi-trillion-dollar bets of rich market gamblers from this tax is more important than meeting our people's growing backlog of real needs.