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aaaaaaaaaaaaadukedavidmarch4David Duke (pictured above), former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, has enthusiastically endorsed Donald Trump for President. (Photo: Mark Williams)

The most revealing and shocking poll finding, however is that "Nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters disagreed with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the Southern states during the Civil War." Yes, according to The New York Times, a Public Policy Polling South Carolina exit survey found that 1/5 of Trump's electoral supporters in South Carolina believe that slavery should not have been abolished.

Perhaps you can argue that some of the racist and white-first polling results are skewed because they are from the state that began the Civil War, but Trump has received support from white nationalist groups around the nation. It is also no coincidence that Trump did not initially renounce the support of David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan this past weekend - and has engaged in other wink-and-nod games with active racists by retweeting white nationalist groups' statements on his personal Twitter account. He has implicitly played to the sense of whites being the victims and targets of "the others" (but not victims of the oligarchs, of course).

One might propose that Trump doesn't regularly single out Black people for disdain and defamation (although it did not go unnoticed that he egged on violence against a Black Lives Matters protester at one of his rallies). That's because he doesn't have to. The support of David Duke and white supremacist organizations are indicators that the arch-racists of the US understand Trump's message loud and clear: By taking such a draconian and slanderous stance toward Muslims and Mexicans, among others, he doesn't have to defame Blacks. Trump understands that as many profane and despicable bridges that he has crossed, speaking like George Wallace would hinder his campaign and expose him to intensified media ridicule. That would result in the end of his free bullhorn publicity ride with the mainstream press, worth tens of millions of dollars in advertising.

However, the likes of David Duke and white nationalist groups - as well as your garden variety racist - know that Trump is only excluding Black people from his target list for strategic reasons.


aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafightterorThe Indigenous people of the Americas have been experiencing the terrorism of white settler colonialism since 1492. (Photo: Marc Moss)

The use of waterboarding at military "black sites," the horrors of Abu Ghraib, the midnight raids to kill and terrorize "suspected militants" in Afghanistan and Iraq, and numerous other instances of torture and abuse by the US military are well-documented. Indeed, the failure of the Obama administration to prosecute any members of the Bush administration for condoning torture - including the grotesque infliction of pain that resulted in the deaths of "suspects, " as these photographs from Abu Ghraib illustrate - is appalling.

It's been a remarkable feat of the government and corporate media that the question of prosecuting high-ranking officials for condoning torture and murder has barely been raised. Neocon proponents of torture claim that it is necessary to protect "the homeland," but that's a plot line for television shows, not reality.

Even a few years ago, when torture was regularly making headlines, the argument was over a very limited definition of torture - usually focusing on waterboarding. Yet torture has always been pervasive in the US. Torture was used on the Indigenous population whose land was stolen during settler colonialism.  Torture was systematically used against slaves, while slavery remained an essential economic engine in the United States (for nearly its first 100 years).


Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

The GMO label law fight took an turn Tuesday after the Senate Agriculture Committee voted to pass the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (SAFE) in a 14-6 vote.

Dubbed by opponents as the Denying Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act, if voted into law, the bill would block states from requiring labeling on genetically modified (GMO) foods and pre-empt state laws that require labeling from going into effect—like the one taking effect in Vermont in July.

The Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)-introduced bill would establish a national voluntary labeling standard for foods made with GMOs, similar to the bill already passed in the House. Proponents of the bill—such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which represents more than 300 food and beverage titans—argue that a 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling policies would be costly.

The GMA, which has slapped numerous lawsuits and spent millions in lobbying against mandatory labels at the state and federal level, commended the vote.

“We thank Senator Roberts for his leadership to find a common-sense solution that now goes to the full Senate with bipartisan momentum,” said GMA president and CEO Pam Bailey, in a statement. “It is critically important that the full Senate pass this legislation as quickly as possible and for the bill to be voted on by the House. Vermont’s mandatory labeling law goes into effect on July 1, and this law could increase food costs for families across the nation by an average of $1,050 a year.”

2016.3.3bf lakoff(Photo: Darron Birgenheier)GEORGE LAKOFF FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Donald Trump is winning Republican presidential primaries at such a great rate that he seems likely to become the next Republican presidential nominee and perhaps the next president. Democrats have little understanding of why he is winning — and winning handily, and even many Republicans don't see him as a Republican and are trying to stop him, but don't know how. There are various theories: People are angry and he speaks to their anger. People don't think much of Congress and want a non-politician. Both may be true. But why? What are the details? And Why Trump?

Many people are mystified. He seems to have come out of nowhere. His positions on issues don't fit a common mold.


aaaCompton(Photo: PD-US)Luz Herrera, social justice lawyer and UCLA law professor, was born in Tijuana to Mexican parents and grew up in the Latino neighborhoods of Los Angeles.    

Not only the first lawyer in her family, she is the first woman in her family to go to college.

Herrera did not know any lawyers and never even thought of being a lawyer until meeting some  Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) attorneys her senior year in high school.   “I decided to become a lawyer when California was in the middle of many anti-immigrant campaigns, a redistricting battle, and the tensions that lead to the 1992 civil disturbance (aka riots) in Los Angeles were brewing.”

Law school was tough.  Herrera attended Harvard Law and later wrote an article detailing her frustrations in the Harvard Latino Law Review there.   

“The first-year courses were teaching me to think like a lawyer, and while I acknowledged that I was changing, I was not all that pleased by what I was becoming. My discomfort in the law school classroom was due to my identity as a first-generation, working-class Chicana. The idea that laws were neutral and that their application was fair did not ring true in my world of working-class individuals. Despite being a student leader in college, I found myself staying silent in much the same way my parents had when they were forced to deal with legal matters.”

Law came alive only in law clinic when she found she had a real passion for providing direct services to people like those in her family and neighborhood.    She helped people who were working towards self-employment by starting businesses and nonprofits and doing real estate. 

When she graduated in 1999, she, like most of her classmates, went to work in a large corporate law firm.  Earning a six figure salary right out of law school, in her corporate work she never entered a court room and she had very little interaction with clients.   That ended after two years.

Professor Herrera is clear that “Justice is forged and earned, not given.”


aaaRobinHood(Photo: Louis Rhead )The financial transaction tax is not an idea whose time has just now come; it simply has returned. From 1914 to 1966, our country taxed all sales and transfers of stock. The tax was doubled in the last year of Herbert Hoover's presidency to help us recover from the Great Depression. Today, 40 countries have FTTs, including the seven with the fastest-growing stock exchanges in the world. Eleven members of the European Union (including Germany and France) voted for a financial transaction tax to curtail poverty, restore services and put people back to work.

This is no soak-the-rich-idea. Rather than asking the Wall Street crowd to join us in paying a 6 to 12 percent sales tax, the major FTT proposal gaining support in the U.S. calls for a 0.5 percent assessment on stock transactions. That's 50 cents on a $100 stock buy versus the $8.25 I would pay for a $100 bicycle.

Even at this minuscule rate, the huge volume of high-speed trades (nearly 400 billion a year) means an FTT would net about $300 billion to $350 billion a year for our public treasury. Plus, it's a very progressive tax. Half of our country's stock is owned by the 1 percenters, and only a small number of them are in the high-frequency trade game. Ordinary folks who have small stakes in the markets, including those in mutual and pension funds, are called "buy and hold" investors: They only do trades every few months or years, not daily or hourly or even by the second, and they'll not be harmed. Rather it's the computerized churners of frothy speculation who will pony up the bulk of revenue from such a transaction tax.

An FTT is a straightforward, uncomplicated way for us to get a substantial chunk of our money back from high-finance thieves, and we should make a concerted effort to put the idea on the front burner in 2016 and turn up the heat. Not only do its benefits merit the fight; the fight itself would be politically popular. One clue to its political potential is that the mere mention of FTT to a Wall Street banker will evoke a shriek so shrill that the Mars rover hears it. That's because they know that this proposal would make them defend the indefensible: themselves.

First, the sheer scope of Wall Street's self-serving casino business model would be exposed for all to see. Second, they would have to admit that they're increasingly dependent on (and, therefore, making our economy dependent on) the stark-raving insanity of robotic, high-frequency speculation. Third, it'll be completely ridiculous for them to argue that protecting the multi-trillion-dollar bets of rich market gamblers from this tax is more important than meeting our people's growing backlog of real needs.


Does the use of drones to assassinate and murder people symbolize a segue into a robotic battlefield?Does the use of drones to assassinate and murder people symbolize a segue into a robotic battlefield? (Photo: Frank Serritelli)

The spring Unmanned Ground Systems Conference, sponsored by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement, will feature discussion of the development of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) strategy for the military-industrial complex. In essence, this means creating a battlefield of the future in which the US employs robotic support and fighting technology.

A staff member of the Unmanned Ground Systems Conference interviewed this year's chairperson of the military-contractor confab, Lt. Col. (retired) Matt Dooley. He is the former chief of the lethality and robotics branch for the US Army, but denies that robotics and autonomous military "devices" are meant to kill people and replace soldiers. "The goal remains to change the culture of the Army to view robots as 'teammates,' rather than tools," Dooley asserts in the interview.

Dooley's "qualification" should be viewed with skepticism. Although drones, for instance, have an individual in the Southwest of the United States pushing a button to kill "targets" and "collateral damage," they are basically robotic. Given mission creep, at some point the drones will likely make their own decisions about who to murder based on image identifying technology. So it is plausible that "teammate" robotic weaponry would possibly lessen the number of battlefront military personnel in the future. In turn, this outcome would make war more acceptable in the United States because military casualties would be dramatically reduced.

2016.1.3 bf lorraien chow(Photo: micagoto)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

England will soon be home to Europe’s largest floating solar farm, if not the world. The 6.3 megawatt array consists of 23,000 solar panels that sit on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir at Walton-on-Thames, a suburb of London near Heathrow Airport.

According to The Guardian, the £6 million (about $8 million) project will help power local water treatment plants that provide clean drinking water to London and south-east England’s 10 million residents

“This will be the biggest floating solar farm in the world for a time—others are under construction,” Angus Berry, energy manager for Thames Water, the utility which owns the site, told The Guardian. “We are leading the way, but we hope that others will follow, in the UK and abroad.”


Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

After six nominations, Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar for Best Actor for his role inThe Revenantat last night’s Academy Awards. The noted environmental activist devoted half of his acceptance speech to call for urgent collective action to fight climate change, calling it “the most urgent threat facing our species.”

The 41-year-old actor, who was favored to win the Oscar and had swept the Best Actor category in every major award show leading up to the Academy Awards, first thanked the cast and crew in his speech and then shined a spotlight on his passion project.

Making The Revenant was about man’s relationship to the natural world. A world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history,” he said, describing how the entire production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet in Argentina just to be able to find snow.

“Climate change is real, it is happening right now,” DiCaprio continued. “It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”


It's galling enough that the mainstream corporate media has been in tacit collusion with Donald Trump's sensationalist, racist, bombastic campaign because it is titillating and attracts viewers - which means more advertising dollars and profit. However, when evidence like the Instagram clip above, posted (with a comment) by Celeste Chorniak - a student at Radford University in Virginia - shows a US Secret Service agent assaulting a veteran TIME photographer for attempting to stray from the Trump-campaign designated media pen, it is appalling to contemplate the federal government's complicity in enforcing the spectacle rules that enhance Trump's demagoguery.

If you play Chorniak's Instagram clip, you will see that the Secret Service agent lunges toward the TIME photographer before he even leaves the media pen, putting a choke hold on him and then throwing him to the ground. You can see the attack occur at the bottom of the video, about midway across the screen, a few seconds after the clip begins. The comments below the video are those of Chorniak.

The Washington Post - in its frequent namby-pamby way - actually wrote up the assault on the photographer as if it was unclear if he was roughed up by the Secret Service agent without "cause." In an article today, the Post curiously conjectures:

You know those inkblot tests that are supposed to reveal something about your personality, based on what you see in confusing, splattery images? Well, the cellphone video clips of a physical altercation involving a photographer at a Donald Trump rally on Monday are like a real-life Rorschach.

How you react says a lot about what you think of Trump, the media and law enforcement.

Here's what we know: There was a violent confrontation between a photojournalist and a Secret Service agent during Trump's campaign event in Radford, Va.

According to numerous reports, the photographer uttered an expletive at the Secret Service agent who was blocking his way and tried to get around him to document a Black Lives Matter protest that was marching through the Trump event in Virginia. 

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