Facebook Slider
Optional Member Code
Get News Alerts!

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)

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!

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)

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!

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

It takes less than a minute to sign up to keep Truthout and BuzzFlash strong by making a monthly donation, in any amount you choose. Help sustain grassroots, groundbreaking journalism!

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.”

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT 

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaparmesanIs it Parmesan or wood filler with other assorted less expensive cheese additives? (Photo: JaBB)

Before you sprinkle that bowl of rigatoni with a dusting of Parmesan cheese, you might want to reconsider.

That's because a February 16 article in BloombergBusiness warns, "Some brands promising 100 percent purity contained no Parmesan at all."

Here you were, just about to savor steaming pasta with a tasty flavoring of traditional Parmesan cheese, only to learn that the company who is supplying the cheese to your food mart is using less expensive cheeses - not to mention wood pulp - to create falsely-labeled Parmesan.

However, the issue of wood pulp in grated Parmesan cheese - and other grated and shredded cheeses - as disgusting as it may strike one, is overshadowed by the reality, mentioned above, that some cheeses labeled Parmesan don't include an iota of Parmesan.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016 07:48

The Shadow of Nazism Over US Torture Policy

2016.16.2 BF Marcus(Photo: Justin Norman)JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

This essay is dedicated to Mohamedou Slahi, author of Guantánamo Diary. Slahi has been imprisoned at the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba since 2002. In all these years, the United States has never charged him with a crime. A federal judge ordered his release in March 2010, but the U.S. government fought that decision, and there is no sign that the United States plans to let him go. It is also an homage to investigative journalists.

It’s all starting to fit together for me after reading Eric Lichtblau’s The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men Like most children of the 60s, I grew up believing in the Hollywood version of wwii—that the U.S. fought Hitler’s brutal forces of fascism from spreading across the face of the earth and brought it to an end.

Check out our public schools’ history books and you’ll discover that an important part of the victory has been intentionally omitted: Russia deserved a good deal of the credit for beating back the Nazis.  Millions of Russians died fighting Hitler’s vicious war machine.  Indeed, Victory Day, May 9th, is hugely celebrated in Russia every year. However, ask most American high school students if they know the significance ofMay 7th or the 9th and predictably you’ll be met with a bunch of blank faces. Moreover, the Russians were partly responsible for having liberated victims of concentration camps.  The truth is that the partnership between the U.S. and Russia finished off Hitler’s Third Reich for good.  Like most Americans, I believed that Nazism came to an end on Victory Day, 1945.

2016.16.2 BF Buchheit(Photo: Images Money)PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

It came up in the Republican debate again, the curious notion that striving for less inequality is somehow a form of "class warfare." The implication is that the richest people earned everything they have through their own initiative and hard work. But most of them have exploited an American financial system that has facilitated the transfer of our national wealth to the people who manage that wealth. 

Informed Americans understand that an economic war has been waged against the middle and lower classes. As a result, there are at least five good reasons why the tax rate on the upper classes should be much higher.

1. Massive Redistribution Has Occurred. Upward.

Total U.S. wealth increased by a stunning 60 percent since 2009, from $54 trillion to $86 trillion, but 3/4 of that massive increase went to the richest 10% of Americans. According to the New York Times, the wealthiest Americans have formed an "income defense industry" to shelter their riches, with, "a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists and anti-tax activists who exploit and defend a dizzying array of tax maneuvers, virtually none of them available to taxpayers of more modest means." From 2003 to 2012 the average income tax rate paid by the richest 1% went down, while for the 99% it went up.

Page 18 of 1417