Facebook Slider

buzzflash-header

Optional Member Code
Get News Alerts!

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

supremecourtusIt's not just the Supreme Court, it's the entire federal bench that is under Trump attack. (Mitchell Shapiro Photography)

On October 7, HuffPost reported the advancement of Donald Trump's appointees to the Federal Bench:

Thursday was a good day for Amy Coney Barrett. A Senate committee voted to advance her nomination to be a federal judge.

It wasn’t a pretty vote. Every Democrat on the Judiciary Committee opposed her nomination. They scrutinized her past writings on abortion, which include her questioning the precedent of Roe v. Wade and condemning the birth control benefit underthe Affordable Care Act as“a grave infringement on religious liberty.” One Democrat, Al Franken (Minn.), called her out for taking a speaking fee from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit that’s defended forced sterilization for transgender people and has been dubbed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

But Republicans don’t need Democrats’ votes, and now Barrett, a 45-year-old law professor at the University of Notre Dame, is all but certain to be confirmed to a lifetime post on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit — a court one level below the Supreme Court.

Barrett is the model judicial candidate for this White House: young, conservative, and opposed to abortion and LGBTQ rights.

And there were more horrifying new judges coming down the pipeline, as HuffPost noted:

It’s conceivable that some Americans will now learn, because of this award, about the new treaty that bans the possession of nuclear weapons.It’s conceivable that some Americans will now learn, because of this award, about the new treaty that bans the possession of nuclear weapons. (Photo: Tim Ereneta / Flickr)DAVID SWANSON FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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!

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) -- listen to my radio show with one of ICAN's leaders two years ago here.

It's conceivable that some Americans will now learn, because of this award, about the new treaty that bans the possession of nuclear weapons.

This treaty has been years in the works. This past summer 122 nations agreed on the language of it.

2017.10.10 BF BenjaminJust as we are trying to get Congress to take action to stem the domestic flood of guns that facilitated the murder of concert-goers in Las Vegas, so we must demand that Congress act to stop the US support for mass murder in Yemen. (Photo: PBS Newshour)MEDEA BENJAMIN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

BuzzFlash isn't funded by ads or subscription revenue, but by readers like you. Can you help sustain us by making a tax-deductible donation now?

While Americans are mourning the mass shooting in Las Vegas that so tragically took the lives of over 50 concert-goers, people in Yemen will be marking the one-year anniversary of a tragedy that took the lives of over 140 people who were not at a concert, but a funeral. The Las Vegas carnage was a crime against humanity carried out by what seems to be a "lone wolf." The bombing of the funeral home in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, was a war crime carried out by a close US ally, Saudi Arabia, with the indispensable help of the United States. While we try to steer the domestic conversation to the need for gun control, we should also be seeking to end the massive flow of US weapons to Saudi Arabia that is wreaking such carnage. A new resolution in Congress, HR Resolution 81, would do just that.

The funeral bombing took place in the afternoon of October 8, 2016, when several hundred people had gathered to mourn the passing of Ali al-Rawishan, a public figure and father of the Sanaa-based administration’s interior minister. It was attended by several hundred people, including colleagues, friends and relatives of the deceased. Funeral ceremonies of public figures in Yemen are customarily well-attended and open to the public.

JIM HIGHTOWER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Robots 1006wrp optThe future is now. (Photo: Jason Tester)Industrial automatons have been on the march for years, devouring the middle-class job opportunities of factory workers. But this time is different.

If you think your family's future is safe because you don't rely on factory work, think again. Rapid advances in AI have already turned yesterday's science fiction into today's brave new "creative destruction" — the constant churn of economic and cultural innovations that destroy existing ways of doing things. A network of inventors and investors, hundreds of university engineering and math departments, thousands of government-funded research projects, countless freelance innovators and the entire corporate establishment are "re-inventing" practically every workplace by displacing humans with "more efficient" AI robots.

This mass-scale deployment of robots has already ushered in a whole new world of work. It's a CEO's capitalist paradise, where the workforce doesn't call in sick or take vacations, can't file lawsuits, doesn't organize unions — and is cheap.

As a result, robots are rapidly climbing the pay ladder into white-collar and professional positions that millions of college-educated, middle-class employees have wrongly considered safe.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

TRequalityAG Sessions removes workplace protections for transgender individiuals. (Photo: Tony Webster)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has revoked an Obama Department of Justice policy that prohibited workplace discrimination against transgender individuals. According to BuzzFeed, which broke the story,

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed a federal government policy that said transgender workers were protected from discrimination under a 1964 civil rights law, according to a memo on Wednesday sent to agency heads and US attorneys.

Sessions' directive, obtained by BuzzFeed News, says, "Title VII's prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status."

It adds that the government will take this position in pending and future matters, which could have far-reaching implications across the federal government and may result in the Justice Department fighting against transgender workers in court.

"Although federal law, including Title VII, provides various protections to transgender individuals, Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se," Sessions writes. "This is a conclusion of law, not policy. As a law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice must interpret Title VII as written by Congress."

Of course, firing, harassing or not hiring a person because they are transgender clearly constitutes sexual discrimination in the workplace. However, Sessions' action is predicated on the notion that Title VII of the 1964 civil rights law exclusively covers cisgender individuals.

Thursday, 05 October 2017 08:12

In Afghanistan, a Family Fights for Survival

Inaam, whose brother, Rahman, signed up to be a soldier as there were no other viable jobsInaam, whose brother, Rahman, signed up to be a soldier as there were no other viable jobs. (Photo: Dr. Hakim Young)DR. HAKIM YOUNG FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

By giving a monthly donation of even a small amount, you can make a big difference to the future of Truthout and BuzzFlash. Sign up just once and read on, knowing that you've pledged your ongoing support!

Sultan, Ali's brother, was killed in August 2016.

Hussein, Bismillah's uncle, was killed in April 2017.

I don't want Rahman, Inaam's brother, to end up being killed. Rahman is now training to be a soldier.

Both Sultan and Hussein were Afghan soldiers in their twenties. They joined the army because there were no other viable jobs available. Their families needed food. Hussein was killed in Helmand Province, where in the past 15 years, 18,000 policemen ( not counting soldiers or civilians ) were killed.

Newton would have wondered why we fail to apply scientific laws to human behaviour too; for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The more 'enemies' that armies and soldiers kill, the more soldiers and civilians will be killed.

The casualty numbers in Afghanistan and elsewhere prove this. The 2015 Global Terrorism Index has recorded a nine-fold increase in terrorism-related deaths since 2000. War doesn't work!

Thursday, 05 October 2017 06:43

The Violence Comes Home Again

2017.5.10 BF KoehlerThe US is a global empire engaged in endless war, with an entertainment and news media that sells violence as a spectator sport and a consequence-free solution to pretty much every problem you can think of. (Photo: Iryna Yfimchyk / Flickr)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

No paywall or advertisements here! Keep BuzzFlash and Truthout independent and free from the influence of corporate interests -- make a donation now.

In the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, as in the wake of all the high-profile mass shootings that preceded it, the big question looms: Why?

John Whitehead puts the question this way: "What is it about America that makes violence our nation’s calling card?"

This is the enormous question -- you might call it the $700 billion question, which is the size of the 2018 military budget recently approved by the Senate -- that most media and law enforcement personnel do not ask or acknowledge, as they search for clues about the motive behind Stephen Paddock’s rampage on the night of Oct. 1 amid the scattered wreckage of the killer’s life.

The supermarket in my previous community, through its blatantly substandard offerings served the same purpose as many of the statues that are being taken down. It institutionalized a general narrative about the inferiority of certain members of our population that persists in our society.The supermarkets in low-income communities, through its blatantly substandard offerings, serve the same purpose as many of the statues honoring white supremacy. It institutionalizes a general narrative about the inferiority of certain members of our population that persists in our society. (Photo: Ricardo / Flickr)RAYGINE DIAQUOI FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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!

The events in Charlottesville have had repercussions all over the nation, forcing debate about the meaning behind many of our well-known monuments and the importance of removing statues that do not reflect our greatest ideals. In focusing on more obvious testaments to oppression, we must not neglect to examine the way that everyday structures, such as a grocery store, can reflect injustice.

Last month, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the 18 members of a commission that would," develop guidelines on how the City should address monuments seen as oppressive and inconsistent with the values of New York City." I hope that the individuals called to be a part of this commission that will guide our treatment of "symbols of hate" will use this opportunity to bring attention to all of our shrines to injustice, even supermarkets. 

I am a native New Yorker and have lived in three of our wonderful city's five boroughs. Recently, I moved from a lower-income zip code with a median income of  $26,410 to a higher income one, median income $46,210. As soon as the movers brought the last of the boxes into the apartment, I went to the neighborhood supermarket to grab some quick items to eat.

What can we do with this apparently endless cycle of tragedy? The endemic problem of gun violence is real, but hope need not be lost.What can we do with this apparently endless cycle of tragedy? The endemic problem of gun violence is real, but hope need not be lost. (Photo: N W / Flickr)WIM LAVEN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

The work done by BuzzFlash and Truthout is possible only through support from readers like you. Join the independent media movement: Click here to donate today!

"This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there's nothing anyone can do to stop them," said North Carolina resident Samuel Wipper, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world's deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations." – The Onion (which publishes slightly different versions of this after every mass shooting for years)

Today members of Congress send thoughts and prayers to Las Vegas. The Onion, a satire site, posts: "NRA Says Mass Shootings Just The Unfortunate Price Of Protecting People's Freedom To Commit Mass Shootings" and "'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens."

Guns are big business, this year they've looked to keep shooters' eardrums safe, through the sale of silencers. Who cares that some students at the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 credited hearing the shots fired with keeping them at a safe distance?

Scenes from the March For Change rally against gun violence at the State Capitol in Hartford in the wake the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. (February 14, 2013)Scenes from the March For Change rally against gun violence at the State Capitol in Hartford, Connecticut, on February 14, 2013 (Photo: CT Senate for Democrats / Flickr)BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

No paywall or advertisements here! Keep BuzzFlash and Truthout independent and free from the influence of corporate interests -- make a donation now.

"You're waving still-warm bodies around to shill for your pet projects that have zero to do with and would have in no way prevented the Las Vegas shooting... Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" a conservative friend wrote me after my column ("Post Las Vegas Massacre, Prayers and Condolences Are Not Enough: Stop The Gun Madness in This Country") about the murder of at least 59 and the wounding of more than 500 at a country music festival in Las Vegas Sunday night, was posted online line Monday morning.

After mass shootings -- "477 Days. 521 Mass Shootings. Zero Action From Congress." according to the Editorial Board of The New York Times -- it is inevitable that some Americans will try and explain them away by turning toward other explanations, except the proliferation of guns in the country. Some comments are worth hearing and trying to understand, despite how ridiculous or opportunist, or caught in a maelstrom of denial.

Page 3 of 1497