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2016.23.2 BF Chow(Photo: DonkeyHotey)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

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Looks like the extremely wealthy and politically influential Koch Brothers are waging a multimillion dollar war against the burgeoning electric vehicle(EV) market, notably frustrating none other than EV titan Elon Musk.

In an effort to strike back at record-breaking EV sales, the fossil fuel industry is allegedly funding a new organization that will spend $10 million a year to push petroleum-based transportation fuels and attack government subsidies on EVs, refining industry sources told the Huffington Post.

According to HuffPo, a Koch Industries board member and a veteran Washington energy lobbyist will be involved in the purported EV-squashing initiative.

Monday, 22 February 2016 11:46

Bundy Boys Bagged By Federal Grand Jury

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaCliven(Photo: Gage Skidmore)It took nearly two years, but Nevada’s Cliven Bundy and four others “were indicted by [a] federal grand jury … on 16 felony charges related to the armed assault against federal law enforcement officers that occurred in the Bunkerville, Nev. area on April 12, 2014,” according to a Press Release issued by the Department of Justice Attorney’s Office, District of Nevada.

Back in 2014, Bundy and his family rallied hundreds of armed like-minded folks to his side in a face off against government agents causing the out strategized and out-smarted U.S. Bureau of Land Management to back down and withdraw. “The BLM's mistakes are now playing into the government's theory in the extortion and assault case against Bundy and his sons, Ammon and Ryan, according to Kathleen Bliss, a former longtime federal prosecutor,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently reported.

"Prosecutors are using this to show the conspiracy," said Bliss, who prosecuted organized crime and domestic terrorism cases. "This wasn't just a group that kind of showed up and got together. They definitely had a system in place, and they were organized to meet a certain goal."

As I wrote in late-April 2014, “While many following his story wondered what this government-disdaining Nevada-based rancher -- who has been illegally grazing his cattle on federal land and who marshaled armed militia forces to engage in a standoff with federal agents -- was all about, America's right wing, especially the crew at Fox News, and conservative radio talk show hosts, were quick to brand Bundy a courageous leader of a New Sagebrush Rebellion.”

Bundy’s instant hero status quickly faded when the New Sagebrush Rebellion hero started spouting such racist views about African Americans that even his most confident conservative media admirers forsook him.

PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaBuchheitChalkboard2(Photo: M. Rehemtulla)Latoya and Jalesa, both 26, grew up on the west side of Chicago, attending Calhoun Public School during the day and stepping across the street to Marillac Social Center for after-school programs. They lived in a tough neighborhood. Latoya said the summer gunshots came as often as the sound of ice-cream truck bells in the suburbs. But everyone knew each other on those two blocks; kids walked together, to and from school and in the evenings. Parents -- most of whom had gone to Calhoun -- also knew each other, often through volunteer work at the social center. 

In 2013 Calhoun was one of 50 schools closed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It was shut down despite a committee recommendation that it remain open. Jalesa and Latoya, who still work at the center as they pursue other career interests, said the children are scattered now. Most of them take buses to a variety of public and charter schools outside the once-intimate neighborhood. Some have to walk a few blocks, some have to cross busy streets. None of them gather together before and after school, as they used to do on the grounds of Calhoun. 

K-12 Education is Getting Worse

A shocking new OECD report says that among developed countries the U.S. has the highest percentage of youths ages 16-19 with low numeric skills, and the 3rd-highest percentage with low literacy skills. 

SAT scores in 2015 were the lowest since the test was revised in 2005. Math scores for fourth-graders and eighth-graders dropped for the first time since the tests were first administered in 1990.

COLE MELLINO OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaAlGore(Photo: Erik Charlton)Al Gore is truly optimistic about the future of humanity and our ability to address climate change. He admitted to the TED2016 audience in Vancouver on Wednesday that “every night on the news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.” But he maintained, “I am extremely optimistic. We are going to win this. We will prevail.”

The former vice president began his talk by highlighting the extent of the problem. He flashed images of flooding in Miami, Chile and India, fires in Australia and ice melting in the Arctic. Greenhouse gas emissions are trapping energy in Earth’s atmosphere at a rate “equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day 365 days per year,” Gore said, quoting climate scientist James Hansen.

“It’s a big planet, but that is a lot of energy,” Gore added.

Despite all this, Gore remains hopeful, arguing humans can and are changing. “Some still doubt we have the will to act,” Gore said. “But I say the will to act is itself a renewable resource.”

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaascaliachinAntonin Scalia: the late Supreme Court justice and chief pitch man for the charlatan notion of "originalism." (Photo: DonkeyHotey)

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Those who lost a loved one when Supreme Court Antonin Scalia passed away - particularly his family - deserve our compassion as he is mourned and buried.

However, when it comes to his professional legacy, Scalia left a corrosive trail of rulings and opinions that have been devastating to the principles of democracy and the legal concept of equal justice under the law. We have opined many times over the years about Scalia's pernicious court influence and voting, often based on the most absurd of arguments and defiance of both the Constitution and common sense.

Scalia's ability to wrap up partisan right wing extremism in lofty sounding legalese earned him praise for being "brilliant" from both the right and, not infrequently, left (even if liberals and progressives scorned his conclusions). However, that's like declaring a rotten fish was savory because it was wrapped in a sacred text.

It would be too lengthy to recount all of our columns that revealed how Scalia repeatedly smashed the Constitution and its amendments with a wrecking ball while burnishing the image of a venerable legal scholar. Scalia's University of Chicago law professor background came with a briefcase filled to the gills with hokum.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaaaaaaivankatrumpProfits trump promises to US workers as Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump, his daughter, manufacture a large segment of their fashion lines in China. (Photo: Marc Nozell)

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Yes, Donald Trump actually does have a few written position statements on major issues other than his bombastic, snarky and not infrequently vulgar soundbites. On his home website you can find, for instance, his stance on "reforming the U.S.-China trade relationship to make America great again." He holds out the promise to US workers displaced by the movement of their jobs to China that a Trump presidency will bring the jobs home:

The most important component of our China policy is leadership and strength at the negotiating table. We have been too afraid to protect and advance American interests and to challenge China to live up to its obligations. We need smart negotiators who will serve the interests of American workers – not Wall Street insiders that want to move U.S. manufacturing and investment offshore. [Last sentence has been italicized by BuzzFlash.]

In September of last year, we posted a BuzzFlash commentary noting that "[Donald] Trump manufactures his clothing line in China and Mexico while bashing them for 'stealing' US Jobs." We embedded a 2012 video clip - that you can still view by clicking through to the essay - in which David Letterman challenges Trump to move his fashion apparel jobs back to the United States. In response, Trump just mumbled and shrugged. His official campaign position on China compared with his own offshoring of jobs to that nation exposes him as a full-fledged faux-populist billionaire hypocrite.

2016.18.2 bf mellino(Photo: Hope Abrams)COLE MELLINO OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Commentaries like this are published thanks to the generous support of our readers. Help ensure Truthout and BuzzFlash can keep publishing - sign up today to make a small donation each month and keep independent news alive!

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for Indian Point nuclear power plant to be shut down after officials discovered that a radioactive material known as tritium was leaking into the groundwater.

On Feb. 6, Cuomo ordered an investigation into the leak after Entergy, the company that operates the plant, reported “alarming levels of radioactivity at three monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000 percent,” according to a statement from the governor.

Last week, Cuomo called for a more thorough investigation after officials found the leak had spread by 80 percent. Now the governor and lawmakers across the Hudson Valley have called for the plant to close.

2016.18.2 BF Koehler(Photo: vaticanus)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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For at least the last four decades now I feel like I've been living in Beached America: a nation that has lost its values, even as it writhes in violent agitation, inflicting its military on the vulnerable regions of the planet.

It does so in the name of those lost values . . . democracy, freedom, equality. These are just dead words at this point, public relations blather, silently followed by a sigh: yada, yada, yada. Then we send in the drones.

This is the behavior of a nation that is spiritually beached. Ideas that could open up the future have long been gagged, mocked and marginalized, locked in a closet somewhere. No way can they be allowed to have political influence. Thanks, mainstream media.

Here, for instance, is the Washington Post, holding forth on the death of Antonin Scalia and the looming congressional impasse over the appointment of his successor. Rather than dig for what's at stake, Post writer James Hohmann merely revels in the political gamesmanship of it all. Mitch McConnell's decision to use the Republican Senate majority to block the president's replacement choice is, he writes, "a bold and understandable gambit designed to prevent a leftward lurch in jurisprudence."

But: "Assuming the president picks a Hispanic, African American or Asian American — bonus points if she's a woman — this could be exactly what Democrats need to re-activate the Obama coalition that fueled his victories in 2008 and 2012."

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaEcoWatchFrance(Photo: EcoWatch)Ségolène Royal, France’s minister of ecology, sustainable development and energy, has called for a ban on glyphosate mixed with certain adjuvants (additives) due to its perceived risks to human health.

On Feb. 12, Royal called for ANSES—France’s food, environment and health agency—to withdraw authorizations on herbicides containing glyphosate mixed with the adjuvant tallow amine, according to French newspaper Le Monde (via Google translate).

Although it wasn’t explicitly said, one can only conclude that this measure was directly targeted at Monsanto and other herbicide makers.

Tallow amine, or polyethoxylated tallow amine, aids the effectiveness of herbicides such as glyphosate. The chemical is contained in Monsanto’s widely popular weedkiller Roundup, according to the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, which published a letter from Monsanto listing the ingredients. Roundup’s ingredients are as follows:

  • Isopropylamine salt of glyphosate (active ingredient)
  • Water
  • The ethoxylated tallow amine surfactant
  • Related organic acids of glyphosate
  • Excess isopropylamine

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaBickle(Photo: Mike Bickle at onething 2011 conference, by Jeffrey Sharkey)In 2008, Senator John McCain, the Republican Party's presidential nominee, was forced to renounce his much sought after endorsement from Pastor John Hagee after video was discovered in which Hagee claimed God sent Hitler to hunt the Jews in order to get them to Israel. 

Flash forward almost eight years, and on January 21, Pastor Mike Bickle, another evangelical preacher who has used the same Hitler hunting the Jews meme, endorsed Texas Senator Ted Cruz's bid for the White House. This time, however, instead of distancing himself from Bickle, Cruz embraced the controversial head of the International House of Prayer, a Kansa City-based ministry that partners “with Messianic Jews for the salvation of the Jewish people.”

On the day of Bickle’s endorsement, a banner headline at tedcruz.org read “Cruz For President Announces Endorsement Of Mike Bickle.” A Cruz statement declared: “Through prayer, the Lord has changed my life and altered my family’s story. I am grateful for Mike’s dedication to call a generation of young people to prayer and spiritual commitment. Heidi and I are grateful to have his prayers and support. With the support of Mike and many other people of faith, we will fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith.”

It is no secret that Cruz has built his campaign around soliciting, and receiving endorsements from evangelical leaders, a strategy that he believes will convince evangelical voters that he is their man. Mike Bickle is only the latest evangelical leader to be embraced by Cruz. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch reported earlier this month that “Last Fall, Cruz appeared in Iowa alongside a pastor who has called for the government to use the death penalty to punish homosexuality. Not stung from the criticism he received for courting the radical pastor, Kevin Swanson, Cruz later released a statement touting the support of an anti-abortion extremist, Troy Newman, who has said that a just government would punish abortion providers with death.”

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