HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
As the Democratic Convention opens in Philadelphia, there’s just one one clear message that matters from the Republicans: Donald Trump will be within ten points of Hillary Clinton in the fall election.
Thus, unless the Democrats do something about the issue of election protection, it will be within the power of key GOP swing state governors to give Donald Trump the presidency.
For all its problems, the wildly disorganized and fractious gathering in Cleveland all boiled down to Trump’s final speech. It was rambling and often incoherent. But it delivered the classic strongman message: You need ME to protect you.
Given the chaos, violence, and injustice of imperial America in 2016, that message is almost certain to sell with enough Americans to keep Trump close enough to Hillary Clinton to allow the election to be electronically stripped and flipped.
In 2008 and 2012, Barack Obama was able to overcome these barriers with a huge popular margin in more states than the GOP could reasonably steal.
This year, in a close election, given how the mechanics of our election system operate, the decision of who will enter the White House will be in the hands of the GOP governors of such swing states as Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Arizona.
Those will be the only six votes that really count in November. Should all or most of these governors (with their GOP Secretaries of State) flip the vote count for Trump, he likely has a lock on the White House.
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
depend less on others, and thus they have less reason to understand the feelings and needs of the less fortunate.
That makes it difficult to relate to people without jobs, and without proper housing, and without prospects for the future. It makes it difficult to understand that their states of deprivation and desperation can make them lash out against those they consider responsible for the injustices of extreme inequality.
The following are some of the reasons for violent 'blowback' reactions that are often called 'terrorism.' These reactions occur both globally and locally. By addressing them, we may be able to reduce some of the worst effects of our perverse wealth distribution.
Many Young Men and Women Feel Cheated and Terrorized
Barack Obama said, "When millions of people — especially youth — are impoverished and have no hope for the future...resentments fester."
But ISIS members are generally middle- or upper-class males in their 20s. Security expert Ömer Taspinar explains: "It is certainly true that breeding grounds for radicalism and terrorist recruitment emerge not necessarily under conditions of abject poverty and deprivation...It is precisely when people develop high expectations, aspirations and hopes for upward mobility that we have to pay more attention to the potential for frustration, humiliation and ideological radicalization."
As a recent report by Mercy Corps put it, "Young people take up the gun not because they are poor, but because they are angry."
A key factor is "relative deprivation." Educated young men with little chance for advancement are "frustrated achievers" who frequently turn to radicalism to express their discontent. In Tunisia, for example, a largely democratic state with relatively high literacy rates, thousands of young men once enamored by "Arab Spring" optimism have joined ISIS, in an apparent attempt to escape corruption and discrimination and a lack of meaningful job opportunities.
GEORGE LAKOFF FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
There is a lot being written spoken about Trump by intelligent and articulate commentators whose insights I respect. But as a longtime researcher in cognitive science and linguistics, I bring a perspective from these sciences to an understanding of the Trump phenomenon. This perspective is hardly unknown. More that half a million people have read my books, and Google Scholar reports that scholars writing in scholarly journals have cited my works well over 100,000 times.
Yet you will probably not read what I have to say in the NY Times, nor hear it from your favorite political commentators. You will also not hear it from Democratic candidates or party strategists. There are reasons, and we will discuss them later this piece. I am writing it because I think it is right and it is needed, even though it comes from the cognitive and brain sciences, not from the normal political sources. I think it is imperative to bring these considerations into public political discourse. But it cannot be done in a 650-word op-ed. My apologies. It is untweetable.
KICK KENNEDY OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
In 1988, my then Hyannis Port neighbor the late Kurt Vonnegut wrote a prescient letter to the Earth's planetary citizens of 2088 for Volkswagen's TIME magazine ad campaign. His seven points of advice are perhaps more relevant today than at any time in human history. We should keep this advice in mind this election year and adopt Vonnegut's recommendations while we still can.
Here's his letter:
Ladies & Gentlemen of A.D. 2088:
It has been suggested that you might welcome words of wisdom from the past, and that several of us in the twentieth century should send you some. Do you know this advice from Polonius in Shakespeare's Hamlet: 'This above all: to thine own self be true'? Or what about these instructions from St. John the Divine: 'Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment has come'? The best advice from my own era for you or for just about anybody anytime, I guess, is a prayer first used by alcoholics who hoped to never take a drink again: 'God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.'
Our century hasn't been as free with words of wisdom as some others, I think, because we were the first to get reliable information about the human situation: how many of us there were, how much food we could raise or gather, how fast we were reproducing, what made us sick, what made us die, how much damage we were doing to the air and water and topsoil on which most life forms depended, how violent and heartless nature can be, and on and on. Who could wax wise with so much bad news pouring in?
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Donald Trump asserted in his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination that only he can "fix" the violence and terrorism that he says is threatening individuals in the United States. His campaign has largely been based on inciting fear of "the other" among white Americans. Now that he has lit that fire among his supporters and unleashed a hideous bonfire of hate, he is positioning himself as the authoritarian (just call it fascist) solution to the frenzied fear that he has created among his supporters.
In his remarks in Cleveland (see transcript here) Trumped promised:
I have a message for all of you: The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon, and I mean very soon, come to an end. Beginning on January 20th, 2017, safety will be restored.
The Guardian US observed, as have other news sites and journalists, that Trump is bringing back the Nixonian "law and order" code wording for keeping the nation white through hyper-aggressive policing:
In his warnings of “crime and violence” and his solemn pledge that “I am the law and order candidate," Trump sounded notes eerily similar to Richard Nixon’s campaign rhetoric in 1968.
Then, in the aftermath of consecutive summers of widespread riots across the US, Nixon ran as the candidate of “law and order...."
KATIE POHLMAN OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The goal of the new ordinance is to encourage shoppers to use reusable bags, decreasing the number of plastic checkout bags used every year. San Diego goest through roughly 700 million plastic bags a year, with only 3 percent of them being recycled, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
"The vast majority of plastic bags we see are entangled in the brushes next to our rivers and streams," said Kristin Kuhn, community engagement manager for San Diego Coastkeeper. "After every rain event, these bags clog and choke our city's already damaged waterways."
The city's ban would require grocery stores and other food retailers to charge at least 10 cents for each paper bag or for a sturdier bag, which often cost more.
"Stakeholders have worked tirelessly with local jurisdictions throughout the state to find a solution that makes sense for both the environment and businesses," said Sophie Barnhorst, policy coordinator for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. "A ban on plastic and a charge for paper has the potential to achieve maximal environment gain with minimal business disruption."
San Diego's ban—which drew wide support from advocacy organizations such as the Surfrider Foundation's San Diego County chapter and San Diego Coastkeeper as well as the chamber of commerce—makes it the 150th municipality in the Golden State.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
A few years ago, in an interview with The New York Times' William Rhoden, National Football League Hall of Famer and longtime political activist Jim Brown said: "I think within the next three or four years, there'll be a major coming together of some Black athletes and entertainers to really have a platform that can bring about a whole different awareness." Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James took the stage at the beginning of the recent ESPY Awards ceremony, and made an impassioned call for an end to the violence, perhaps signaling that Black athletes were coming together to speak about racial inequities and social justice, as Brown predicted.
While it unclear what specific issues – other than violence -- the four National Basketball Association stars were talking about, their remarks, coming in the wake of the police killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the police killing of Philando Castile in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota, and the shooting deaths of five police officers at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas, their remarks were somber, eloquent, and moving.
"Generations ago, legends like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe and countless others, they set a model for what athletes should stand for," said Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers' star point guard. "So we choose to follow in their footsteps."
Dwayne Wade, recently traded from the Miami Heat to his hometown Chicago Bulls said: "The racial profiling has to stop. The shoot-to-kill mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value of black and brown bodies has to stop. But also the retaliation has to stop. The endless gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, it has to stop. Enough. Enough is enough."
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
A 21st-century white self-proclaimed billionaire became the official 2016 presidential nominee of the Republican party on Tuesday night. Pundits have relentlessly speculated about how it came to be that a candidate so brazen in his misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, foreign policy ignorance and factlessness could succeed in obtaining the Republican nod to run for president.
There are many factors that resulted in the Trump nomination -- including the savvy use of his celebrity status and understanding of contemporary television (combined with Twitter) as an entertainment medium -- but the fact is, he is a racist carnival barker, and his racism is at the center of his rise to the pinnacle of leadership in the Grand White Party.
I was listening to the Thom Hartmann Program a couple of weeks ago. Hartmann, as I recall, had a guest on who referred to Trump's use of a technique mastered by Dick Nixon, known by the acronym FIBS. FIBS stands for a political strategy based on fear, ignorance, bigotry and sneering. That about sums up Trump, doesn't it?
However, if you had to take one element of "FIBS" and identify it as the key to Trump being crowned the GOP presidential nominee, "bigotry" would lead the list by a long stretch. Of course, bigotry evokes and is reinforced by fear, ignorance and sneering. Still, the pedestal upon which Trump's triumph rests is raw, seething, hateful racism.
KATIE POHLMAN OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch
Photo courtesy of Ecowatch
Malta—the only country to actively vote against the extension of the chemical's use—has already seen 25 localities ban the substance. It would be the first EU country to ban glyphosate nationwide. Though, France is currently considering their own ban.
"Malta's position remains against the use of glyphosate and Malta voted against it without reservations," an environmental ministry spokeswoman told the Times of Malta.
Glyphosate was named a "probable human carcinogen" by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015. Since WHO's ruling, the EU has been divided on the subjects of glyphosate's use and safety. Reports from several agencies have added more confusion in respect to the impacts of glyphosate.
A November 2015 report compiled by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) claimed glyphosate is "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans." Another study conducted by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the WHO's Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) in May 2016 backed EFSA's finding.
The various studies used different criteria for the risk assessment connected to glyphosate. A general consensus on the weed-killing chemical has not been achieved.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Despite months of hand wringing, public and private condemnations, expressing support for, and endorsing, other candidates, and a close inspection of his miniscule theological underpinnings, many conservative Christian evangelicals are finding their way back to Donald Trump, as nearly four-fifths of evangelicals are now saying they will vote for Trump. According to the Pew Research Center’s recent survey, “Evangelical voters are rallying strongly in favor of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.”
Examining the results of the Pew survey, The Christian Examiner’s Gregory Tomlin wrote: “Evangelicals aren’t just warming to Trump; they’re on fire for the candidate.” Not everyone has the same view of the survey. In her report, Christianity Today’s Sarah Eekhoff Zyistra maintained that evangelicals will vote for Trump, “But they aren’t happy about it.”
The announcement of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as Trump’s running mate – which came after the Pew survey was released -- will make it even easier for multitudes of evangelicals to back the ticket. “I think he’s a very safe pick for Mr. Trump and I think he’s someone who will be embraced enthusiastically by conservatives and evangelical Christians,” said Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., an early Trump supporter.
In a somewhat surprising development, evangelical leaders and voters appear to be slightly more supportive of Trump at this point in the campaign then they were four years ago with Mitt Romney. “Now, fully,78% of white evangelical voters say they would vote for Trump if the election were held today, including about a third who ‘strongly’ back his campaign.”
Pew pointed out that “White evangelical Protestants make up one-fifth of all registered voters in the U.S. and roughly one-third of all voters who say they identify with or lean toward the Republican Party.”