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2016.28.4 bf koehler(Photo: Alex Hanson) ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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The headline, from the Los Angeles Times, hit me like a sucker punch: "Voters' 'Bernie or Bust' efforts persist despite Sanders' vow not to be another Ralph Nader."

Actually, it was worse than that. When my brain cleared, I realized I was, once again, caught in a media straitjacket.

In just over a dozen words, the paper managed not only to trivialize everything two presidential candidates stood for, and not only to reference the myth that Nader caused Al Gore to lose an election he didn't in fact lose, but also, my God, to obliterate the last six months of a presidential campaign that had permanently shaken up the political status quo and return progressive voters to a place of permanent irrelevance to the national future.

MAX PHILLIPS OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

RiverFire 0427wrp opt(Photo: EcoWatch)The Greens New South Wales mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham called on governments today to stop the spread of coal seam gas (CSG) and for the true impact of fugitive emissions to be independently assessed after the video of methane gas burning through the Condamine River in Queensland, Australia went viral with millions of views and global media coverage.

“The methane gas bubbling through the Condamine River could be just a very visible tip of the iceberg when it comes to fugitive emissions and huge quantities of gas that could be venting into the atmosphere because of unconventional gas extraction,” said Greens MP Buckingham.

“The Greens want a ban on unconventional gas, but at the very least, government should stop the expansion of unconventional gas until the true extent of fugitive emissions is understood. Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas, so significant fugitive emissions caused by coal seam gas extraction could undo efforts to reduce emissions in Australia.

“Depressurizing the coal seams to allow the gas to flow may well be causing gas to migrate up natural or fracked pathways, or water bores or abandoned wells, to seep out of the ground. Farmers complain of gas in their water bores, while people living near gas fields report health complaints,” Buckingham continued.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

PrincePhilanthropy 0427wrp opt(Photo: EcoWatch)The Purple One was secretly Green. In an emotional interview on CNN, political commentator Van Jones revealed that his close friend Prince wasn’t just a musical icon but also a major philanthropist.

One of his many initiatives included helping Oakland, California residents go solar.

“He worked for something called Green for All,” Jones told CNN host Don Lemon. “I was the public face of that, but he helped put the money in. There are people who have solar panels on their houses now in Oakland, California, that don’t know Prince paid for [them].”

“[Prince] did not want it to be known publicly, but I’m going to say it because the world needs to know that it wasn’t just the music,” Jones said. “The music was one way he tried to help the world. But he was helping every day of his life.”

Green for All helps create green jobs in disadvantaged communities and is also behind such initiatives as the #PollutersPay campaign which demands that Gov. Rick Snyder rebuild the lead-poisoned city of Flint, Michigan.

The campaign has been supported by scores of environmental advocates including actor and eco-activist Mark Ruffalo.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

2016 April27whitehouseThe White House and Capitol were primarily built by slaves, as Washington -- which had legal slavery until 1863 -- remains a colony. (Photo: Frank Camp)

It is widely known that slaves were the key labor force that built the White House and the US Capitol. The grotesque injustice and horror of slavery is, therefore, literally embedded in the masonry of our nation's two iconic political symbols.

However, what is more rarely emphasized or even acknowledged in US history text books is that slavery was legal within the District of Columbia right up until Abraham Lincoln signed an emancipation law in DC in 1862. It was signed on April 16, 1862, less than nine months before the national Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

The Washington, DC, government website devotes a page to the history of slavery in the capital:

One result of the intense struggle over slavery was the DC Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862, passed by the Congress and signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The act ended slavery in Washington, DC, freed 3,100 individuals, reimbursed those who had legally owned them and offered the newly freed women and men money to emigrate. It is this legislation, and the courage and struggle of those who fought to make it a reality, that we commemorate every April 16, DC Emancipation Day.... 

The area we know as the District of Columbia was selected as the site for the capital of the United States in 1791. It was created by land ceded to the federal government by Virginia and Maryland, two slave-holding states of the Chesapeake region. The District of Columbia, which included Washington City, Georgetown, Washington County and Alexandria (until 1846), became a center for slavery and the slave trade.

A recent article in The New York Times hauntingly describes an incident that reveals the grim reality of slaveholding in DC.

Protester with poster that reads "Voter ID-iocy"(Photo: peoplesworld)WALTER BRASCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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Several hundred thousand American citizens won't be voting in presidential primary elections -- and it's not their fault.
 
In Pennsylvania, for example, a registered voter who needed an absentee ballot had to submit the request at least one full week before the election, and then return the ballot no less than four days before the election.
 
 But, what if circumstances changed? What if that person became injured or had to leave the state after April 19, but before the election, Tuesday? If it was April 20, you could not receive an absentee ballot. You could still vote in person, but if you couldn't get to the polls, you would be disenfranchised. There's nothing you could do. In one week, you lost the right to vote because bureaucratic rules blocked you from receiving a ballot -- even if you could get that ballot to your county registrar of voters by the end of the day of the election.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 07:38

Pens Don't Rob People, Plutocrats Do

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

2106 April26pensWill the power of the pen belong to the oligarchs or the people? (Photo: Lawrence Wong)

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Before the typewriter and computer came along, the pen used to be the most vital tool to writers. Just think of Tolstoy writing the more-than-1200 page War and Peace with a quill pen. How intimate the relationship must have been between the author and the writing implement that allowed him to express his masterful vision to the world.

The pen, however, has also served as the tool that allows those with wealth and power to accumulate more wealth and power -- often through stealth -- by signing contracts and other legal documents. Thus, the pen and the ink it contains can be the source of rapturous imagination, but also of predatory greed.

I touched upon this theme in a recent fundraising letter for Truthout in which I noted that the legendary folksinger and anti-fascist Woody Guthrie sang: "Some will rob you with a six gun / And some with a fountain pen." The travesty of bureaucratic plunder has only gotten worse in the last 25 years. The men and women robbing us with pens have become more numerous, massively enlarging the amount of their plunder and acquiring more political clout and immunity from accountability. "Steal big" might be the most apt slogan for Wall Street and the global institutions that can bring down the economy with nary a repercussion.

Chernobyl powerplant(Photo: Fi Dot)HARVEY WASSERMAN OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

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April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the catastrophic explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

It comes as Germany, which is phasing out all its reactors, has asked Belgium to shut two of its nukes because of the threat of terrorism.

It also comes as advancing efficiencies and plunging prices in renewable energy remind us that nukes stand in the way of solving our climate crisis.

And it makes us remember the second and third biggest lies told us by the atomic power industry: that no commercial nuke could explode, and that no one would be harmed by reactor fallout.

Prior to the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl, there was at least one minor explosion (on March 28, 1979) at Three Mile Island (TMI) in Pennsylvania. Thankfully, TMI Unit 2's containment dome was uniquely solid. The site is in the flight path of the Harrisburg airport. Citizen activists had demanded Unit 2's containment be able to withstand a jet crash. So they forced construction upgrades that may have saved millions of lives when the reactor was stretched to its limits.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Gyre 0425wrp opt(Photo: Stephen Codrington)As the Solar Impulse 2 made its historic 62-hour flight from Hawaii to California without fuel, pilot Bertrand Piccard personally saw the horrific amount of plastic in our oceans.

While flying above the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Piccard sent out a tweet to Boyan Slat, the 21-year-old founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup.

“I flew over plastic waste as big as a continent,” Piccard wrote. “We must continue to support projects like @BoyanSlat Ocean Cleanup,” referring to Slat’s ambitious project of ridding the world’s oceans of plastic trash.

he Ocean Cleanup describes itself as the “world’s first feasible concept to clean the oceans of plastic” and has garnered widespread public admiration and support especially for Slat, a former aerospace engineering student who proposed the concept when he was only 17.

Piccard and Slat also spoke on Friday as the solar-powered plane made its risky journey.

t’s no surprise that the pilot and the young inventor linked up—both are using innovative technology to promote the greater good of the planet.

Piccard and the Solar Impulse team plan to fly around the world using only the power of the sun to promote clean transportation and other environmental causes.

“We have demonstrated it is feasible to fly many days, many nights, that the technology works,” fellow pilot Andre Borschberg told the Associated Press.

“I think innovation and pioneering must continue,” Piccard added. “It must continue for better quality of life, for clean technologies, for renewable energy. This is where the pioneers can really express themselves and be successful.”

Slat has spoken before about the necessity to protect our oceans.

HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Jackson 0425wrp opt(Photo: Paul Boyer)The decision to remove Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill is long overdue. So is the movement to remove the name of Lord Jeffery Amherst from that college town in western Massachusetts. 

Let’s start with Jackson, our most racist major president next to Woodrow Wilson

Jackson was our first president from west of the Alleghenies, and the first to not wear the powdered wigs favored by Virginia plantation owners. 

Andy’s parents were Irish immigrants who died early. He had a brutally impoverished childhood. One of his fourteen duels left a bullet permanently lodged near his heart. (Teddy Roosevelt also had one of those.) 

Jackson is most revered as the “Common Man” who fought Alexander Hamilton’s national bank. He later personally profited from kickbacks paid him by cronies who owned smaller banks that benefitted. 

A vicious racist, Jackson also made a fortune in the slave trade, and from stolen Indian land, leaving him with a slave plantation of his own. 

At the 1814 Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Jackson enlisted Cherokee warriors to fight their rival Creeks. Then he brutalized his “allies” as well as his defeated enemy. His troops took slices of the dead Creeks’ noses for a body count, and used their skin to make bridles.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

GrandCanyon 0422wrp opt(Photo: EcoWatch)Do Charles and David Koch want to mine the Grand Canyon for uranium?

A “dark money” organization tied to the billionaire Koch brothers is allegedly aiding Arizona politicians’ and special-interest groups’ efforts to block a bill that would ban uranium mining around Arizona’s iconic landmark, The Phoenix New Times reports.

According to the Grand Canyon Trust, here’s what Grand Canyon National Heritage Monument Act would do:

  • Protects 1.7 million acres of tribal homeland around the Grand Canyon, including water sources and sacred sites
  • Bans new uranium mining claims (making the current 20-year ban permanent)
  • Still allows hunting, grazing, recreation and other uses to continue under existing law

The proposal, in so many words, deems the area around the Grand Canyon a national monument. The bill is supported by 80 percent of Arizonans as well as a number of environmental organizations and native tribes.

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