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."
MARY FRANCIS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Hawks in the U.S. and Israel believe military action against Iran is justified because Iran enriches uranium for its nuclear power plants and medical uses. This enrichment activity is entirely legal under the Treaty for the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Nevertheless, hawks characterize this as a "nuclear weapons capability" and insist that it must cease, or be stopped by force. The U.S. and the world cannot afford another war.
ANN DAVIDOW FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
What have we done to deserve the kind of low-life governance under which we now find ourselves operating? The bad guys are in control and money and deceit are the means by which they exercise control. Certainly truth is stretched on all sides in the heat of election battles. But the ugly tactics being used by Republicans to attack the president and his administration have reached a new low in terms of poisonous rhetoric and fictional detail.
JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Climate change is here, it's real, and it's going to get much worse from man-made pollution primarily produced from oil and coal. Currently, epic high temperatures set off uncontrollable wildfires spreading an inferno faster than firefighters can manage across the western states. 35,000 residents of Colorado Springs were evacuated from their homes. Raging floods in Florida have washed away entire cities. Hurricane winds have led to power failures across the east, and uncontrollable fires across western states have reduced thousands of homes to rubble like images of war-torn Iraq.
STEVEN JONAS, MD, MPH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Ah yes, now the Grand Old Tea Party is screaming about "politics" and the Supreme Court. How could Chief Justice Roberts betray them on the "man from Kenya's" health care reform act? He was just playing politics and that was a terrible thing. Oh really? So you think that the functions of the US Supreme Court really follow the prescripts of Article III, Section 2 of the US Constitution, or should: