PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
There are more than five, of course, and voting Democrat may not be much of an improvement, but attaching these adjectives to the comically contemptible GOP seems more than appropriate.
In 2010 Mitch McConnell said: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." He didn't mention the economy, or education, or jobs, or the housing market. Instead, the goal is to beat Obama, whatever misery it might cause 200 million Americans.
For the past two years the Republicans have obstructed proposals that would have helped most Americans. They fought the middle-class tax cut because it would only apply to the first quarter-million of income. They killed a jobs bill that was supported by two-thirds of the public. They rejected a bill to disclose information about big campaign donors. They disrupted the routine process of increasing the debt ceiling, thus triggering the first-ever downgrading of the U.S. credit rating. Most recently they've obstructed efforts to provide mortgage debt relief to American homeowners.
WILL DURST FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Mitt Romney has to be more relieved than an Iowa corn farmer in the middle of a thunderstorm to be back on home soil. Arms wide. Head back. Wet face. Smile. Podium steps. National Anthem.
The American electorate may harbor an ambivalent attitude towards the former governor of Massachusetts, but the reaction to his European Vacation from folks across the big pond could only be described as decisively derisive. If diplomacy were a hurdling sport, the guy stumbled over the lane chalk.
The plan was for the GOP nominee to embark on a low- risk, three- country jaunt to raise his suspect foreign policy bona fides, but the seven- day charm offensive proved to be light on charm and heavy on offense. Good will hunting transformed into ill will gathering.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
We wrecked Iraq, we pulled out, we redeployed in Anaheim.
This ain't working, guys- I mean, firing rubber bullets into anguished crowds, siccing attack dogs on moms and children. I mean, inventing enemies, going to war, unleashing state-of-the-art firepower in all directions and eventually losing, but not before we've inflicted maximum suffering on the innocent and magnified the original problem tenfold.
We lose every war we fight.
Another way to say that is: We exacerbate every problem we militarize. Indeed, militarization is as much a part of the problem - as much a threat to civilization - as, for instance, terrorism or drugs. And the recent, ongoing community uproar in Anaheim, Calif., over two police slayings of Latino males in one weekend - and the subsequent police reaction to that outrage - illustrates the terrifying ineffectiveness of a militarized, "us vs. them" approach to conflict.
STEVEN JONAS, MD, MPH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
On July 30, 2012, former Vice-President Dick Cheney described President Obama as one of the "weakest" Presidents, ranking even (sic) Jimmy Carter above him (1). That statement makes one wonder: what is Cheney's definition of the opposite of weakness? That is "strength." Well, let's take a look at some of Cheney's personal and political history to try to determine the answer to that question.
THE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
New data indicates Chick-fil-A's image with consumers has dropped dramatically since the company's president proudly embraced the organization's anti-LGBT donations. The new numbers come as former Governor Mike Huckabee and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) attempt to make today a national "Eat at Chick-fil-A" day.
According to YouGov's BrandIndex, Chick-fil-A's brand perception among consumers has dropped by more than 20 points since Dan Cathy replied "guilty as charged" when asked about Chick-fil-A's donations to groups that work to demonize and harm LGBT people. The drop is noticeable across the country - even in the South, a stronghold for the fast food chain.
PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
State and local budget crises and the election of anti-government ideologues have left taxpayers and communities increasingly vulnerable to predatory "privatization" of government services and public infrastructure. "Desperate government is our best customer," says one finance company executive specializing in the privatization of public infrastructure. A new report from People For the American Way documents that the push to privatize public services and assets often reduces the quality of services, burdens taxpayers and threatens democratic government.
STEPHEN PIZZO FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Some weeks ago I wrote something that got me in hot water with fellow progressives. I wrote that Democrats were making a big mistake in how they were responding to the GOP's naked and obvious attempts to suppress voter turnout with state voter ID laws.
First, let's be clear. I understand fully and completely what the GOP is up to. It's hardly rocket science.
The GOP has all but given up hoping they can win over Hispanics, or of rounding up enough senior citizens happy with the GOP's slash and burn policies on Social Security and Medicare. So, the game has switched, from getting those two groups to vote Republican, to keeping them away from the polls period.
Are these cynical and grossly-overblown "voter fraud" laws a disgrace? Repugnant? A return to the old Jim Crow days? You betcha.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
When Chick-fil-A's president Dan Cathy came out loud and clear against same-sex marriage, some folks decided that CFA restaurants are for the birds, and are taking their business elsewhere. Christian right culture warriors, incensed by the outpouring of anti-Chick-fil-A sentiment, are mounting a pro-CFA campaign.
Cathy says that he runs Chick-fil-A, as is his father did before him, on biblically based principles. His defenders also talk about biblically based principles. How has the term biblically based principles gotten so defined down that it has essentially come to mean being against same-sex marriage?
Joel C. Rosenberg, the noted Armageddonist and best selling author of several End Times novels, responded to the Chick-fil-A controversy with a blog post that wanted to know why the Left has its "long knives ... out for the leaders of the Chick-fil-A corporation." Rosenberg, who is out promoting Implosion, his most recent book, charged the American Left with "declar[ing] war against the traditional family, against the Bible, and against all who dare say that they follow Biblical principles."
Rosenberg also recently reported that Cathy, described by Rosenberg as "a devout born again follower of Jesus Christ," maintains "that while he and his company respect and honor people of all races, creeds, religions and sexual orientations, he strongly believes in traditional marriage between one man and one woman and is ‘guilty as charged' when it comes to defending a Biblical approach to family."
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The privatization of public goods and services turns basic human needs into products to buy and sell. That's more than a joke, it's an insult, it's a perversion. It generally benefits only a privileged group of businesspeople and their companies while increasing inequality and undermining the common good.
Various studies have identified the 'benefits' of privatization as profitability and productivity, efficiency, wider share ownership and good investment returns. These are business benefits. More balanced studies consider the effects on average people, who have paid into a long-established societal support system for their schools and emergency services, water and transportation systems, and eventually health care and retirement benefits. These studies have concluded that:
- Privatization has generated large profits for new owners but these have not been shared with the general public.
- The potential benefits of privatization are often outweighed by high contracting costs and opportunism.
- Most privatization programs appear to have worsened the distribution of assets and income, at least in the short run.
While privatization may lead to efficiencies in producing goods, it is generally only true under conditions of competition and regulation. The New Jersey Privatization Task Force asserted that "States that have had the most success in privatization created a permanent, centralized entity to manage both privatization and related policies aimed at increasing government efficiency."
In the U.S. and around the world, privatization has simply not worked in industries that provide essential public goods and services:
The notion that the public school system needs to be 'saved' by charter schools is not supported by the facts. A Stanford University study "reveals in unmistakable terms that, in the aggregate, charter students are not faring as well as their traditional public school counterparts." A Department of Education study found that "On average, charter middle schools that hold lotteries are neither more nor less successful than traditional public schools in improving student achievement, behavior, and school progress."
Charter schools also can take money away from the public system, and their teachers have fewer years of experience and a higher turnover rate.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
No matter how many gaffes Mitt Romney and his advisors commit during their current European trip, and despite not having much love for the Republican Party's presumptive presidential candidate, conservative Christian evangelicals will turn out in November in droves to vote against President Barack Obama. A question I raised in an April piece for BuzzFlash, titled "Will They or Won't They? Romney and the Evangelicals," was: Will conservative Christian activists became active member of Romney's electoral army? My answer at the time was that he might not need them.
I concluded the piece with this observation: "Picture this: Come August, cities and towns across the state of Utah begin to resemble ghost towns, as armies of Mormons spread out across the swing states to work for Romney."
I am now forced to publicly admit that my concluding comment was wrong on at least two counts: 1) Many members of Utah's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (commonly called "Mormons") community have not waited for August to get involved with the Romney campaign; and, 2) Utahans do not have to leave the state in order to serve.