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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTH

juryduty copy(Photo: Raymond Shobe)

It was a partial victory, but a notable one in the battle to reduce and eliminate bias against people of color in the criminal legal system.

The Los Angeles Times reported in a March 6 article:

The Supreme Court took a strong new stand against racial bias in jury rooms, ruling for the first time that reports of racist comments by jurors may require setting aside a verdict and holding a new trial.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, announcing the court's decision Monday, wrote that the "imperative to purge racial prejudice from the administration of justice" requires setting aside the traditional rule that bars judges from second-guessing what went on in the jury room.

The 5-3 decision announced a limited exception to that rule against second-guessing juries. The new rule covers cases in which "one or more jurors made statements exhibiting overt racial bias that cast serious doubt on the fairness and impartiality of the jury's deliberations and resulting verdict."

However, we cannot simply praise rulings like this one and stop there. The reality is, the ruling is narrow in scope. For instance, this decision doesn't address the frequent issue of prosecutors selecting juries that have few people of color on them and picking whites who they feel might bring a racial bias to their verdict if the defendant is a person of color.

2017.9.3 BF Pope(Photo: sbmeaper1)CARL POPE OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

The oil industry and its "deep state" allies in the Trump administration have lured US auto companies into a potentially fatal political trap, chumming Detroit by tapping into the deeply embedded penchant of the Big Three for chasing short-term market trends at the expense of long term value.

Excited by the arrival of a Big Oil ally, Scott Pruitt, to head the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the auto industry asked the Trump administration to undo the recent Obama Administration rule locking long term, reliable standards for emissions and fuel economy. The industry argued that the standards, which it agreed to back in 2009 as part of the auto bail-out, were now too onerous because consumers were shifting to buy SUV's again with lower oil prices. The argument is utterly bogus. The 2009 rules set separate, if ambitious, standards for each size class of vehicle, so while more SUV sales do drive up average emissions and oil consumption, they do not require the companies to make a single vehicle to a higher standard than they agreed to.

ALISON MEARS COHEN OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Seedling 0308wrp opt(Photo: Momali)International Women's Day is celebrated each year around the world on March 8. That inaugural date is linked to a women's anti-war protest in Russia known as "Bread and Peace" in the early 1900's. It was quickly replicated around Europe in the following year as women took to the streets, embracing the indisputable connection between hunger and war, expressing solidarity with women's peace movements around the world and advocating for their countries' governments to end armed conflict.

Early on rallies and protests by women were firmly established as a mechanism for building international solidarity around a feminist agenda. And the echoes of that mechanism are still reverberating today, as millions of people around the world took to the streets in January of this year (notably the largest protest in U.S. history) to remind world leaders, especially the newly elected U.S. president, that women's rights are still human rights.

Today, International Women's Day is recognized and celebrated in nearly every country—from villages to cities, from the Global South to the Global North—and has taken on a variety of hues and is realized in a variety of ways—protests, song and dance, conferences, shared meals and conversation and volunteer work.

This March 8, in honor of International Women's Day, women organizers from around the world are amplifying their voices in resistance to the structural forms of violence against the Earth, all forms of life and especially women, as a result of the unmitigated growth of industrial agriculture and international agribusiness.

Wednesday, 08 March 2017 06:48

Trump Inspires White Nationalist Tweeters

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Fascism 0308wrp(Photo: Nationalists on the march.)How fast is the white nationalist movement in the United States growing? Does its enhanced social media activity aid recruitment or is it more evidence of unhinged disgruntlement? A report from George Washington University's Program on Extremism comparing the use of social media by ISIS and white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups found that despite ISIS's command over social media, with Twitter as its "preferred social platform, American white nationalist movements have seen their followers grow by more than 600% since 2012. Today, they outperform ISIS in nearly every social metric, from follower counts to tweets per day."

Twitter accounts of groups such as the American Nazi Party, the National Socialist Movement and other groups, have seen "a sharp increase in followers, from about 3,500 in 2012 to 22,000 in 2016," an Alternative Media Syndicate report pointed out.

AMS also noted that "Donald Trump is a prominent subject among white nationalists on Twitter. According to the study, white nationalist users are 'heavily invested' in the Republican's candidacy. Tweets mentioned Mr. Trump more than other popular topics among the groups." The GWU report also notes that a six-and-a-half hour biographical video on Adolf Hitler, titled "Adolf Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told," was one of the most popular pieces of content among white nationalists.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

5440002785 7b1ed0ac3e zDonald Trump, lion tamer of the corporate mass media (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

I remember as a kid being in alone in a snowball fight with about eight opponents. After the first fusillade of hard icy snow pelting me I ran for the nearest cover, a mailbox. I waited a couple of minutes, the recess bell rang, and I was free to walk back into my school with just a few stragglers half-heartedly lobbing snowballs at me. In 2017, Donald Trump represents the crowd of playground bullies. In his case, he employs the tactics of overwhelming the mainstream headline-hungry media through unrelenting shock announcements and tweets.

As his early morning weekend charge via twitter that then President Obama had ordered the wiretapping of Trump at his eponymously named primary home – Trump Tower, in New York – demonstrates, he bases his accusations and "alternative fact" allegations on the notion that the truth is secondary to his manipulating what the media reports.

There has been much speculation that in charging that Obama had Trump's phone tapped, he was diverting attention from media preoccupation with Jeff Sessions having lied to Congress during his confirmation hearings to become attorney general. One can argue that Trump knew his highly dubious claim about being wiretapped by Obama – for which there is no evidence or legal precedent – would rotate off the corporate media radar in the next couple of news cycles, as it pretty much has, but it was necessary to divert increasingly headline-oriented news coverage from continuing to focus on Sessions and the alleged Trump campaign "Russian connection."

It's not the truth that matters to Trump; it's the hurdling of shocking statements, tweets and actions at such a rapid pace, the media can't catch its breath and focus on any one of his reactionary acts or over-the-top statements. His tsunami of allegations and torrent of executive actions race through the mainstream media so fast that they topple over each other.

2017.7.3 BF travers(Photo: European Union 2014 -- European Parliament.)JULIA TRAVERS OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Pope Francis, long known for his commitment to environmental stewardship, has taken his call for climate action one step further. He now owns an electric car, a Nissan LEAF.

The LEAF was given to the Pope in late February by German asset manager and mathematician Jochen Wermuth. The Pope's Nissan LEAF can travel up to 107 miles with a 30 kilowatt-hour battery. Wermuth tried to give the Pope a Tesla Model S electric limousine but the Pope preferred a smaller vehicle. The two men took a small test drive through the Vatican. Wermuth drove and the Pope sat next to him in the front seat.

Pope Francis is "the last superstar of mankind," Wermuth said. He also described the Pope as an example for other heads of state as well as every man on Earth.

In areas where shale-drilling/hydraulic fracturing is heavy, a dense web of roads, pipelines and well pads turn continuous forests and grasslands into fragmented islands.In areas where shale-drilling/hydraulic fracturing is heavy, a dense web of roads, pipelines and well pads turn continuous forests and grasslands into fragmented islands. (Photo: Simon Frasier University)REV. LENNOX YEARWOOD JR. OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

For the record, I'm against hydraulic fracturing or fracking for short.

I'm against people who are for and do hydraulic fracturing.

Reason: People have a right to clean air and clean water. (PERIOD)

This is not about Republican or Democrat it's about humanity and putting people before profits. Climate change is a public health and a civil rights issue that affects the communities that I support and work for, particularly African-Americans and low-income families. They are often hit the hardest by climate change and carbon pollution.

But, while many of us in the climate movement have been protesting, the fossil fuel industry has been busy playing the legislative game. And in many respects they are winning. Former Exxon CEO, Rex Tillerson, now the secretary of state for the Trump administration, shows they have been able to successfully infiltrate all levels of government and advance policy that makes it easier to expand dangerous practices.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

8294945718 e35215c93f z (Photo: joshlopezphoto)

In a partial list of Obama administration regulations that have been reversed by Congress or Trump, The New York Times notes:

Nor will hunters be banned from using lead-based bullets, which can ... poison wildlife, on 150 million acres of federal lands.

These are just a few of the more than 90 regulations that federal agencies and the Republican-controlled Congress have delayed, suspended or reversed in the month and a half since President Trump took office, according to a tally by The New York Times.

The Obama administration's ban on the use of lead bullets on federal lands was repealed on March 2 by newly confirmed Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke on his first day in office. EcoWatch reports on advocates' highly critical reaction to Zinke's order:

"Switching to nontoxic ammunition should be a no-brainer to save the lives of thousands birds and other wildlife, prevent hunters and their families from being exposed to toxic lead and protect our water," said Jonathan Evans, the Center for Biological Diversity's environmental health legal director.

"It's ironic that one of the first actions by Secretary Zinke, who fancies himself a champion of hunters and anglers, leads to poisoning of game and waterfowl eaten by those same hunting families," said Evans. "It's another sad day for public health and wildlife under the Trump presidency when special interests again prevail over common-sense environmental safeguards."

PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Rich Uncle 1946 Cover(Photo: Parker Bros.)America has always been great for the richest 1%, and it's rapidly becoming greater. Confirmation comes from recent work by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman; and from the 2015-2016 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databooks (GWD). The data relevant to this report is summarized here

The Richest 1% Extracted Wealth from Every Other Segment of Society

These multi-millionaires effectively shifted nearly $4 trillion in wealth away from the rest of the nation to themselves in 2016. While there's no need to offer condolences to the rest of the top 10%, who still have an average net worth of $1.3 million, nearly half of the wealth transfer ($1.94 trillion) came from the nation's poorest 90% -- the middle and lower classes, according to Piketty and Saez and Zucman. That's over $17,000 in housing and savings per lower-to-middle-class household lost to the super-rich. 

Put another way, the average 1% household took an additional $3 million of our national wealth in one year while education and infrastructure went largely unfunded. 

It Gets Worse: Each MIDDLE-CLASS Household Lost $35,000 to the 1%

According to Piketty and Saez and Zucman, the true middle class is "the group of adults with income between the median and the 90th percentile." This group of 50 million households lost $1.76 trillion of their wealth in 2016, or over $35,000 each. That's a $35,000 decline in housing and financial assets, with possibly increased debt, for every middle-class household.

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Colin 0306wrp opt(Photo: Mike Morbeck)When San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee last year during the playing of the National Anthem before NFL games to protest police brutality and racial injustice, the whole world began paying attention. When news broke that Kaepernick, should he re-sign with the 49ers or sign on with another team, will no longer kneel before games, "the cynics lined up quickly," the San Francisco Chronicle's Al Saracevic recently reported. Regardless of whether or not Kaepernick chooses to kneel, the protests he initiated have had a major impact on our nation.

First, here’s some inside football.

Last year, Kaepernick signed a deal with the 49ers allowing him to opt of his contract, and sign with another team, which he exercised this past Friday. After a sensational start to his career – leading the team to a Super Bowl appearance -- he has not been nearly as productive over the past few seasons, and, coupled with his protest – which was supported by 49er management -- other teams may be reluctant to sign him. The 49ers, now with a new coach, Kyle Shanahan, and new general manager, John Lynch, may decide that no matter how desperately it needs a quarterback -- and it needs one desperately -- Kaepernick's performance on the field, and the spotlight brought on the team by his, and a few teammates’ protests, are too much of a distraction. 

The “distraction” issue, as some of his critics charged, was put to rest this past season, when his 49er teammates voted Kaepernick the prestigious Len Eshmont Award for inspiration and courage. According to the team’s website, the Eshmont Award, is given to the teammate who "best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, an original member of the 1946 49ers team.”

No matter what Kaepernick decides to do -- re-sign with the 49ers, sign on with another team, or hang up his cleats -- the protests definitely sparked a much-needed national conversation. And if he doesn't play another down in his life, Kaepernick has made a significant contribution helping to re-light the fire of activism among athletes; a fire started decades ago by Paul Robeson, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Mahmoud Abdul Raouf, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, John Carlos, Tommie Smith, and many others.

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