PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The best actors in America are the business and government leaders who impersonate job creators and makers of prosperity. For their stellar performances over the past year, they deserve to be considered for the special awards listed below.
Here are the nominees:
Facebook's Eduardo Saverin scored big-time, landing Mark Zuckerberg as a roommate at Harvard, using American resources to score billions in income, and then revoking his citizenship to avoid paying any taxes.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT Brennan Was Number 2 at CIA During 9/11 and Iraq War
Given that we are coming up on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War, it is worth noting that President Obama's CIA chief nominee, John Brennan, was a Bush/Cheney man at the top level of the intelligence agency during the post 9/11 period. BuzzFlash at Truthout doesn't usually resort to quoting Wikipedia, but it has a good summary of his service for Bush/Cheney and the get-along-to-go-along George Tenet at the CIA:
In 1999 he was appointed chief of staff to George Tenet, then-Director of the CIA. Brennan became deputy executive director of the CIA in March 2001. He was director of the newly created Terrorist Threat Integration Center from 2003 to 2004, an office that sifted through and compiled information for President Bush's daily top secret intelligence briefings and employed the services of analysts from a dozen U.S. agencies and entities. One of the controversies in his career involves the distribution of intelligence to the Bush White House that helped lead to an "Orange Terror Alert", over Christmas 2003. The intelligence, which purported to list terror targets, was highly controversial within the CIA and was later discredited. An Obama administration official does not dispute that Brennan distributed the intelligence during the Bush era but said Brennan passed it along because that was his job. His last post within the Intelligence Community was as director of the National Counterterrorism Center in 2004 and 2005, which incorporated information on terrorist activities across U.S. agencies.
Remember, this was at a time that Cheney, as vice president, was taking unprecedented trips to CIA headquarters in Virginia to muscle the intelligence officers there to create facts to fit the propaganda justification for invading Iraq. There is no indication that Brennan objected or tried to keep the agency independent of the coercion.
More than that, Brennan was a cheerleader for torture and rendition, as Glenn Greenwald noted back in 2008, when he expressed concern about Brennan's role as a national security advisor in the Obama White House:
It simply is noteworthy of comment and cause for concern — though far from conclusive about what Obama will do — that Obama’s transition chief for intelligence policy, John Brennan, was an ardent supporter of torture and one of the most emphatic advocates of FISA expansions and telecom immunity.
WALTER BRASCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
José Lara just wanted a job.
A company working in the natural gas fields needed a man to power wash wastewater tanks.
Clean off the debris. Make them shining again.
And so José Lara became a power washer for the Rain for Rent Co.
“The chemicals, the smell was so bad. Once I got out, I couldn’t stop throwing up. I couldn’t even talk,” Lara said in his deposition, translated from Spanish.
The company that had hired him didn’t provide him a respirator or protective clothing. That’s not unusual in the natural gas fields.
José Lara did his job until he no longer could work.
At the age of 42, he died from pancreatic and liver cancer.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
“War’s lingering phantoms haunt every society.”
As two hellish, costly and needless wars struggle toward collapse, this is the time — now, right this minute, before the next false alarm goes off — for us to look honestly at the cost and quality of national security based on militarism. It’s time to squeeze the romance out of war and get it through our heads that war is not inevitable.
War is just another form of mass murder. Its core principle is dehumanization — of all participants, the enemy and the good guys. This is because you can’t hate, dehumanize and train to kill “the other” without dehumanizing yourself and damaging your soul.
Sometimes, it even takes BuzzFlash at Truthout a little time to write commentaries about killer issues, in this case literally.
According to the Wall Street Journal (in a February 15 article), Obama's nominee to head the CIA, John Brennan, ambiguously left open the possibility that US citizens could be targeted for assassination in the United States:
John Brennan, President Barack Obama's nominee to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, didn't rule out the use of unmanned drones in the U.S. when quizzed about the matter.
Mr. Brennan's written answer came in response to questions from the Senate intelligence committee following his confirmation hearing last week. The Senate intelligence committee released a declassified version of Mr. Brennan's responses in a 30-page document Friday.
Mr. Brennan, the White House's counterterrorism chief, was asked, "Could the Administration carry out drone strikes inside the United States?" His reply was: "This Administration has not carried out drone strikes inside the United States and has no intention of doing so."
A few days back, Democracy Now analyzed excerpts from the Brennan Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on his nomination, including this one:
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Rampant growth, overcrowding, neglected inmates, staffing inadequacies, and unsound facilities mark America's federal prison system.
America's federal prison system is broken; facilities are literally bursting at the seams. Overcrowding is endemic; prisoners are often isolated, leading to severe mental health problems that go untreated; staffing is inadequate; taxpayer dollars are flying out the window to maintain facilities, some of which are as structurally unsound as many of the nation's bridges, highways and sewer systems.
One of the major reasons for this massive break down is that over the past 30 years, the federal prison population in the United States has increased by 790 percent.
"A new report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) attributes [this] staggering growth ... in part to failed sentencing and correctional policies, including mandatory minimum sentences and the elimination of federal parole," a recent ACLU press release pointed out.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT Al Gore, a Jeremiah Amidst the Global Elite
The former vice president of the United States and rightful winner of the 2000 presidential election has a new visionary book just published that will largely be ignored by the mainstream media.
Why? Because it values democracy over capitalistic excesses. Because it proclaims that the elected officials in DC are just lackeys, in essence, for the moneyed elite. Because it details how the global corporations and financial institutions are now more powerful than nation states. And that's just the beginning of why you won't read much in the media about Gore's "The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change."
As Brad Blog quotes from a Jon Stewart interview with Gore on "The Daily Show" (one of the few outlets that will allow Gore free rein to state his anti-status quo viewpoints), Gore doesn't hold back:
Our democracy has been hacked. It's been taken over. It no longer operates the way our founders intended it to, because of anonymous donors, big money, corporations as people, might makes right. The lobbyists and special interests are now in control. They can't do anything without begging permission from the powerful special interests and it is time that we take our democracy back and it can be done.
But there's so much more in the interview and the book, the kind of enlightened perspective – untainted by corporate and jingoistic propaganda – that it makes you feel like you've found on an oasis after nearly dying from thirst.
ANN DAVIDOW FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
We will no doubt be remembered as one of the most wasteful societies ever, not only for our devastatingly careless treatment of the environment, but also for the terrible toll our arrogant disregard for human life has exacted on our youth - - without apology or shame, it should be noted.
Remarkably, former vice president Cheney - who never carried a weapon in defense of the country, and who successfully floated deferment after deferment during the Viet Nam era in the name of fatherhood - still struts the land as if his role in engineering the nation’s foreign policy produced the desired sine-qua-non for all time. Aside from his dismissive attitude with regard to torture, his deceitful manipulation of classified and semi-classified material was breathtaking.
His stand-in, Scooter Libby, tore the journalistic fabric to shreds by engaging former NY Times reporter, Judith Miller, to shepherd propaganda pieces purporting to be straight news onto the front page of the Times. Cheney, meanwhile, stood back, innocently pointing to the fact that his team was right after all - - the world’s most illustrious newspaper having reached the same conclusion as the Bush team. In the end, Judith Miller lost her position at the Times and moved on to Fox News, but by that time few people remembered the details or cared much about them.
WILL DURST FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Relax. It’s not necessarily the flu making you confused and feverish. Could be spatter from that big, thick, juicy, new, improved Civil War infecting the Republican Party. Yes, again. The Rebs inside the Reds are rebooting themselves for the umpteenth time over the past few election cycles. Have to assume these self- proclaimed frugal guys purchased their huge caches of defibrillators and CPR paddles in bulk. “CLEAR!”