BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
You wouldn't recognize him on the street and he definitely isn't a household name, but the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is more than ready for his close-up. With the country's demographics rapidly changing and immigration no longer on the back burner -- but not quite on the front one either -- Rodriguez is becoming more influential with both sides of the political aisle, has been in regular contact with Team Romney, and is drawing ever so much closer to a number of conservative Christian evangelical leaders.
In short, this is Reverend Rodriguez's time.
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Wealthy individuals and corporations want us to believe they've made it on their own, without the help of government or the American people. Billionaire financier Sanford Weill blustered, "We didn't rely on somebody else to build what we built." He was echoing the words of his famous predecessor, the formidable financier J. P. Morgan, who spouted, "I owe the public nothing."
That's the bull of Wall Street. There are at least five good reasons why the wealthiest Americans need government as much as the rest of us, and probably more.
In his "People's History," Howard Zinn described colonial opposition to inequality in 1765: "A shoemaker named Ebenezer Macintosh led a mob in destroying the house of a rich Boston merchant named Andrew Oliver. Two weeks later, the crowd turned to the home of Thomas Hutchinson, symbol of the rich elite who ruled the colonies in the name of England. They smashed up his house with axes, drank the wine in his wine cellar, and looted the house of its furniture and other objects. A report by colony officials to England said that this was part of a larger scheme in which the houses of fifteen rich people were to be destroyed, as part of 'a war of plunder, of general levelling and taking away the distinction of rich and poor.'"
That doesn't happen much anymore. Of course, the super-rich aren't taking any chances, with panic shelters and James Bond cars and personal surveillance drones. But the U.S. government will be helping them by spending $55 billion on Homeland Security next year, in addition to $673 billion for the military. The police, emergency services, and National Guard are trained to focus on crimes against wealth.
In the cities, business interests keep the police focused on the homeless and unemployed. And on drug users. A "Broken Windows" mentality, which promotes quick fixes of minor damage to discourage large-scale destruction, is being applied to human beings. Wealthy Americans can rest better at night knowing that the police are "stopping and frisking" in the streets of the poor neighborhoods.
GERALD SCORSE FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The "big lie" is a propaganda technique linked to the Third Reich under Joseph Goebbels. The phrase itself was coined by Hitler in Mein Kampf; it was amplified years later by Goebbels, who generally gets credit for it (if credit is the right word). Goebbels claimed that the inspiration came from across the Channel: "The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it." The Third Reich is long gone, but the "big lie" lives on.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
WASHINGTON, July 12 - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement today on reports that the uniforms to be worn by U.S. Olympic athletes during the opening ceremony for the summer games were made in China:
"The Olympics are a time when Americans take great pride in our nation's top athletes as they strive for gold. At a time when millions of Americans are unemployed, there is no reason why U.S. Olympic uniforms are not being manufactured in the U.S. This action on the part of the U.S. Olympic Committee is symbolic of a disastrous trade policy which has cost us millions of decent-paying jobs and must be changed."
MARK VORPAHL FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
During the week of July 1st - 7th an international cabal of corporate lobbyists met behind closed doors in San Diego. Their aim is moving the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) towards completion. For over two years TPP negotiations have been in process, yet the proposals and agreements made so far have been carefully kept from public view, until recently.
A leaked TPP document, published at Public Citizen, has revealed what the 600 corporate advisers involved in the negotiations, including representatives from Verizon, FedEx, and Walmart, have been up to. Considering the contents of this document, it is no wonder why the public and even elected representatives have been kept in the dark.
JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
A PBS disturbing report aired the other night about families in the state of Nevada that lost their jobs and homes. The children of these families were pocketing free ketchup packages from their school lunches because they're hungry at night. In this state alone, there are thousands of parents with children in this situation. Beyond Nevada, millions of families have fallen into despair and poverty. It is embarrassingly shameful, and worse, it's unnecessary. These economic problems could be solved if it weren't for the out-of-control defense spending over the last decade. Entitlements such as health care and social security are not draining the country; it's the U.S. war economy that has left large segments of our society impoverished. Nevada's unemployment rate is 11 percent, and that's a conservative figure. Prior to losing their jobs, the majority of these families owned middle-class homes and held decent paying jobs. Now they can't afford to feed their children and they must rely on private charities to get by.
PAT WELLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Let's lighten the political mood with this little pop quiz:
1. Why did Mitt Romney think his dog Seamus would love riding on top of the car on a family trip to Canada?
(a) Mitt always seemed to like it;
(b) The car wasn't air conditioned;
(c) When Mitt asked the dog where he wanted to ride, the dog said "Roof! Roof!"
STEPHEN CROCKETT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Republicans have been cheering loudly for the unleashing of corporate and billionaire spending that have been flooding the campaign coffers of Republicans all over the United States. It has mostly been a huge plus for a political party that has little else going for them. However, the ruling might not be so great for Republicans in the long run and might even backfire on them by November or over the coming years.
The public hates the Citizens United ruling and wants corporate money completely out of our elections. Public opinion polling margins against corporations and billionaires having the ability to buy elections with essentially unlimited spending is massive among both independents and Democrats. Even most Republicans are against it. And these are not "soft" opinions. The passion is in favor of strict campaign donation limits and zero corporate spending on politics.
PAUL BUCCHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
My own generation faced the Vietnam War. We were at risk of getting drafted, and then maimed or killed in an unwinnable battle against imagined evils.
Today's young people are being drafted into an economic war that they don't understand. It's a slowly waged, diabolical war that substitutes debt and underemployment for missing limbs and psychological disorders. The soldiers are college-age men and women who can't find jobs or pay tuition, and who are seduced into submission by the promise of eventual rewards. The Vietnamese jungle has turned into Wall Street.
For those of us who weren't particularly good activists in the 60s, age has widened our perspective, and the lack of opportunities for our children has given us a second chance to protest, to help make it clear how the leaders of my generation have abandoned the people they no longer need.
Young America, here's why you should be angry:
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Several years ago, when Mitt Romney was merely a multi-millionaire Massachusetts politician, he couldn't locate the conservative Christian evangelical movement with a GPS or MapQuest. Over the past few years however, Romney and his team have been holding a series of meet-ups - whose pace has been recently accelerated - with conservative Christian leaders to assure them of Romney's fealty to their issues.
When Romney heads off to Israel later this summer, he hopes to accomplish at least three objectives: renew his longtime friendship with Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu; convince Jewish donors and voters that he is more Israel-friendly than President Barack Obama; and, send a message to conservative Christian evangelicals that he can be trusted.
From the beginning of the primary season, Romney has been looking for crediblity with evangelicals who, before he sealed the nomination, had leaned toward Herman Cain, Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. At one point, even Newt Gingrich seemed like a reasonable alternative to Romney.
Now, while it's clear that conservative Christian evangelicals are poised to vote overwhelmingly for Romney - albeit less than enthusiastically - a little Israel doting and some face-to-face meet ups can't hurt.
David Brody, the well-connected chief political correspondent for Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), and the author of The Teavangelicals: The Inside Story of How the Evangelicals and the Tea Party are Taking Back America, recently reported that Team Romney "has begun a serious push to engage evangelical leaders behind the scenes including weekly meetings, personal phone calls from Romney, discussions about appearing at more faith-based events and serious dialogue about convening a gathering this fall with national evangelical leaders."