BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
A 2011 poll conducted after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with the Religion News Service, found that 6 in 10 evangelicals, and 38 percent of Americans believe that God uses natural disasters to send messages. When natural disasters strike, whether they are hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tornados or forest fires not caused by human intervention, Christian fundamentalist disaster interpreters come out of the woodwork. They trumpet the news that God is sending a warning to humankind. While the devastating forest fires in Colorado may not have been directly caused by human intervention, an unholy alliance of Christian dominionists and libertarians may have exacerbated the damage.
The disaster interpreters
Joel Rosenberg, the author of several New York Times best-selling novels and three non-fiction books, including his latest titled Implosion: Can America Recover from Its Economic and Spiritual Challenges in Time?, posted a June 27 story on his blog headlined, "EPIC FIRES IN COLORADO: Is God using natural disasters to get our attention?"
HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The Department of Energy wants to give the Southern Company a nuclear power loan guarantee at better interest rates than you can get on a student loan. And unlike a home mortgage, there may be no down payment.
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Studying inequality in America reveals some facts that are truly hard to believe. Amidst all the absurdity a few stand out.
1. US companies in total pay a smaller percentage of taxes than the lowest-income 20% of Americans.
Total corporate profits for 2011 were $1.97 trillion. Corporations paid $181 billion in federal taxes (9%) and $40 billion in state taxes (2%), for a total tax burden of 11%. The poorest 20% of American citizens pay 17.4% in federal, state, and local taxes.
REP. NANCY PELOSI FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
"Thank you Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I commend him for his extraordinary patriotism, for his commitment to upholding our oath of office - to protect and defend the Constitution - and for recognizing full well the congressional role of oversight of all branches of government. I think we all share that view that Congress has a legitimate role to play in oversight and thus your committee has so much jurisdiction. And I respect that.
"I think we all also agree - I think we all very, very much agree that we are very sad and seek justice for the family of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. His loss is a tragedy for all who knew him, for all of us who care about him, and we offer our condolences to his family. So sad.
"But that's not what we're here to debate - what we agree upon. What we're here to debate is something very, very large because it as a major disagreement between the two sides of the aisle here, and I'm sorry to say that, about what our responsibilities are to the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution requires Congress, and the Executive branch, to avoid unnecessary conflict and to seek accommodations that serve both their interests. That's how the Constitution guides us. As Attorney General William French Smith, who served under President Ronald Reagan said: ‘the accommodation required is not simply an exchange of concessions, or a test of political strength, it is an obligation of each branch to make a principled effort to acknowledge, and if possible, to meet, the legitimate needs of the other branch.'
MARK PERKEL FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
What people who support Arizona's new immigration law don't understand is that it's not a law that applies to illegal immigrants. This law applies to everyone and it's a huge expansion of government power to oppress all people equally, including people who are visiting Arizona from other states. So if you get pulled over for using a cell phone you might find yourself detained while you prove that you're a legal citizen.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Today is a good day for millions of Americans who have pre-existing conditions who can no longer be rejected by insurance companies. It is a good day for families with children under 26 who can keep their children on their health insurance policies. It is a good day for women who can no longer be charged far higher premiums than men.
It is a good day for 30 million uninsured Americans who will have access to healthcare. It is a good day for seniors who will continue to see their prescription drug costs go down as the so-called doughnut hole goes away. It is a good day for small businesses who simply cannot continue to afford the escalating costs of providing insurance for their employees. It is a good day for 20 million Americans who will soon be able to find access to community health centers.
MARK VORPAHL FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Any day the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA). Most at risk is this act's "individual mandate" which requires everyone to buy health insurance from a private insurer or face a steep fine. If the "individual mandate" is ruled unconstitutional, it is possible that the Supreme Court justices will throw out the ACA in its entirety. Even if they agree to keep the ACA intact while rejecting the individual mandate, this will put the entire bill in jeopardy since it is this provision that makes the ACA economically feasible.
With all the distortions of the ACA from both its opponents and supporters, as well as the hype anticipating the Supreme Court's ruling, the health care reform movement's eyes have wandered far from the prize. That prize is securing full health care coverage as a right for all, regardless of income.
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The wealthiest Americans have a long-held delusion, passed along through their media outlets to the rest of us, that they pick up the bill for most of our country's needs, and that middle-class public workers and unions benefit from their generosity. But facts, not emotions, are needed to provide the truth. And there are plenty of eye-opening facts that refute the far-right claims.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Let's start with the now immortal words of United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who during a February 2002 press briefing tried to explain the absence of evidence linking the government of Iraq with the supply of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups: "[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that, we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns - there are things we do not know, we don't know."
Here are some "things we know that we know" about William Donohue: he has been president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights for nearly twenty years; he's quick to accuse anyone criticizing the Catholic hierarchy as being a Catholic-basher; he relishes publicity -- always ready for his Fox News Channel close-up; he's a stalwart defender of all things Catholic; he's gruff and likes to throw his weight around; he's mean-spirited and prone to making outrageous comments; he's a serial gay-basher; he has been a staunch apologist for priestly child abuse, claiming it was the result of having homosexual priests; and, he has a predilection for dumping on Jews.
WALTER BRASCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
It's midway between Flag Day and Independence Day.
That means several million copies of full-page flags printed on cheap newsprint, June 14, have been burned, shredded, thrown away, or perhaps recycled. It's an American tradition.
Flag Day was created by President Wilson in 1916 on the eve of the American entry into World War I. It has since been a day to allow Americans to show how patriotic we have become, and give a running start to celebrating the Revolution by buying banners, fireworks, and charcoal briquettes for the upcoming picnic.
Within American society is a large class of people who fly flags on 30-foot poles in front of their houses and adorn their cars with flag decals and what they believe are patriotic bumper stickers. They are also quick to let everyone know how patriotic they are, and how much less patriotic the rest of us are. But patriotism is far more than flying flags and shouting about liberty in Tea Party rallies.