HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
We all knew it was coming.
Radioactive tuna has been caught off the coast of California. The fingerprint of cesium 137 is unmistakably from the exploded reactors at Fukushima.
But Fukushima's hot hands are also on a very welcome debate still stalemating China's plans to build more than 30 new reactors. Fierce No Nukes opposition continues to escalate in India. Reactor cancellations have spread throughout Europe.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
To what extent will progressive morality be a factor in the looming presidential election? Is it simply a nuisance? Will mainstream Democrats (yet again) cringe in its presence, disavow it, spout mostly Republican-lite platitudes about tough-guy patriotism-- and, positioning themselves, as ever, as the Lesser of Two Evils, count the progressive vote as theirs?
The election season, which ought to be more about promoting values than candidates, is barely about values at all, except as weaknesses to manipulate.
STEVEN JONAS, MD, MPH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Homophobia can be defined as hatred of homosexuals on the basis of who they are, and the nature of their sexuality and sexual practices. Given the attention paid to the matter in the relevant texts, both homosexuality and homophobia have existed in the human species at least since Biblical times, and very likely for much longer than that. It is certainly the case that homophobia is to be found in the texts underlying each of the Abrahamic religions. (I am not familiar with its place, if any, in the major non-Abrahamic religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism.) For most of its history it has indeed had a religious basis. It was only in the 20th century that it became politicized.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Just prior to the Wisconsin recall election I posted this terse and understated observation on Facebook: "WISCONSIN WINDFALL - With all the money that has been poured into the Wisconsin Recall Campaign, the only clear beneficiaries are the political consultants, ad makers, public relations outfits, and television and radio stations."
On June 5, a report by the Huffington Post's Howard Fineman and Paul Blumenthal confirmed its veracity: "A survey of federal spending reports by The Huffington Post, the most comprehensive of its kind this year, shows that the top 150 consulting companies -- media, fundraising, digital/social, direct mail and others -- have grossed [nearly $466] million so far in the 2011-12 electoral season, out of a total of $1.24 billion spent."
If spending levels remain the same throughout this year's election cycle, the consulting industry could bring in as much as, "$3 billion if, as some expect, total spending on all levels of campaigns tops out at some $8 billion this time (compared with $6 billion in 2007-08 and $4 billion in 2003-4)," Fineman and Blumenthal pointed out.
MARK VORPAHL FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker not only defeated the recall, he did so easily taking 54 percent of the vote. This is a big defeat for the union leadership who threw as many resources as they could afford behind this effort. How is it possible that this could have happened after all that had gone on before?
WALTER BRASCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Sasha Rivera is a 15-year-old sophomore at the Multi-Cultural Academy Charter School (MACS) in Philadelphia. She's an honors student who never got into trouble at school, and volunteers at Motivos, a national magazine for Hispanic youth.
She also has blue bangs in her dark brown hair. For that reason, she isn't attending class.
Sasha and her principal, James Higgins, agree that Sasha came to school on Thursday, May 24, and had blue in her hair. "In the hallway, he turned to me and said my hair color has to go," says Sasha. She says that Higgins told her that unnatural hair color is against school rules. "He said it was in the [student] handbook," she says.
ROBERT CREAMER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Let's be blunt. Leaders of the Republican Party- including their Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney - have moved from "rooting against" our economy to actively attempting to sabotage the economy of the United States.
They believe that their chances of defeating President Obama, taking control of the Senate, and maintaining control of the House of Representatives materially improve if the economic recovery stalls. And they aren't just standing around hoping that a European financial collapse or higher oil prices will send the economy into a second recession - they are actively trying to make it happen.
It is astonishing, but today the surest way to make certain that a piece of legislation is deep-sixed by the Republicans in Congress is to demonstrate that it will help create jobs in the American economy.
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
When Charles Dickens wrote "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" to begin "A Tale of Two Cities," he compared the years of the French Revolution to his own "present period." Both were wracked with inequality. But he couldn't have known that 75 years later inequality would cause the Great Depression. Or that 75 years after that, in our own present period, extreme inequality would return for a fourth time, to impact a much greater number of people. He probably didn't know that the cycles of history seem to drag the developed world into desperate times about every 75 years, and then seek relief through war or revolution.
It's that time again.
Three cycles (225 years) ago, in the years before the French Revolution, inequality was at one of its highest points ever. While it's estimated that the top 10% of the population took almost half the income, as they do today, the Gini Coefficient was between .52 and .59, higher than the current U.S. figure of .47. The French Revolution began a surge toward equality that lasted well into the 19th century.
Two cycles ago, in Dickens' day of the 1860s, European inequality was again at a nearly intolerable level. It took the second industrial revolution and the U.S. Civil War to start correcting the economic injustices.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Colonel V. Doner begins his new book "Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America," with a startling school-boy confession: "In November 1963, as the public address system at a high school in Orange County, California, solemnly announced the assassination of President john F. Kennedy, a fifteen-year-old boy shot from his seat, stunning his classmates with his spontaneous outburst that JFK was not assassinated, ‘He was executed for treason,' he claimed, referring to his ‘soft on communism' policies. This youngster, already well trained in a Christian worldview that allowed for no gray areas or nuances in diplomacy, knew one thing: JFK was a liberal, and liberals were clearly betraying God, America, and all of Western civilization."
That youngster, Colonel V. Doner ("Colonel" is his name, not a military rank), had fired his first open shot across the bow.
Doner, who describes himself as once being a "rock star" of the Christian Right, and who was a frequent spokesperson for the movement on numerous "talking head" programs, has given up the "culture wars" and now wants you to know that he believes in pluralism, and wants to promote "civil dialogue."
Clearly, Doner has come a long way: Early in his career, he was mentored by the "firebrand Rev. Billy James Hargis, scholarly Dr. David Noebel, and the eloquent Dr. Stuart McBirnie," all of who were key players in the Christian anticommunist movement.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
St. Augustine blesses the kill list. And liberalism is just a nicer, slicker, more PR-savvy way of carrying on the brutal work of empire.
Behold President Obama, on the second day of his presidency, flanked by retired generals and admirals, signing an executive order to ban torture and declaring that the prison at Guantanamo Bay would soon be closed - fulfilling, in other words, some serious campaign promises.
"What the new president did not say," a recent New York Times story explains, in gleeful servitude to the ironies of military-industrialism, "was that the orders contained a few subtle loopholes." Those loopholes left, it turns out, plenty of room for the new administration to continue Bush-era, war-on-terror business as usual, preserving such controversial practices as extraordinary rendition, military commissions and indefinite detention.
"They reflected a still unfamiliar Barack Obama," Times reporters Jo Becker and Scott Shane proceed to tell us, "a realist who, unlike some of his fervent supporters, was never carried away by his own rhetoric."