MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Behind the vulgar, violent, racist, nationalist bombast of Donald Trump lies a profound and unsettling reality: This is what an empire looks like in the 21st century when it is imploding.
The birth of the United States became known historically as a "revolution" because it created a government that was not monarchal. (Of course, non-monarchal governments had already been common throughout history, but in the narrow context of 18th century Western society, this development was framed as "new.") However, that "revolutionary" government did not break with the concept of empire, even though it overthrew one. In fact, as the British empire diminished, the US empire expanded into a global presence, positioning itself to achieve dominance (with only the Soviet Union as its competitor until the 1990s) after World War II.
The US may have overthrown rule by bloodline descent, but it fully adopted the tools of empire expansion, most notably through its two original sins: the massacre and displacement of the Indigenous population and the incorporation of slavery into the expanding nation as a legally condoned fuel for the growth of empire.
As we recently noted, the Civil War for this nation's soul will not end with this election. The grotesque ire that is born of white privilege -- descended from the Eurocentric origins of the United States -- have emerged in coded words and thinly veiled racist attacks, such as "Birtherism."
ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUTJANET MACGILLIVRAY AND LEE ZIESCHE OF
Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch
In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ masterpiece 100 Years of Solitude, the story of generations doomed to repeat history, the town of Macondo never learns from the past and is eventually wiped off the map. In a chilling and unconsciously ironic foretelling, BP nicknamed the ill fated oil field where the Deepwater Horizon oil exploded “Macondo.”
Now, the Obama administration’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has become the agency that never learns and may doom Louisiana to be wiped off the map.
The state was hit last week by another storm that dumped two feet of rain, causing widespread flooding in neighborhoods that can’t seem to get ahead of climate change induced weather events. Portions of 1-10 were so flooded they had to close down and the state is reporting more than 6,000 buildings and homes were damaged by floodwaters.
ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUTJEFF BIGGERS OF
Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch
As Peabody Energy teeters on the brink of bankruptcy, edging toward a Chapter II reorganization that will most likely allow it to walk away from massive reclamation and mine worker commitments, a flurry of poetic musings and giddy celebrations over of the death of Big Coal has begun to flow.
Spare me your coal requiems.
We’re long overdue for a reckoning in so-called coal country.
JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
OK, people, we need to discuss billboards. Yes, we really must.
Billboards must be living creatures, for they appear to propagate, spreading everywhere, growing to enormous size, shouting corporate messages at us — and even watching and tracking us with their digital eyes.
Now, though, rather than billboards becoming human, we humans are becoming billboards. Literally. For the love of money, the National Basketball Association is transforming its chief human assets — i.e., basketball players — into advertising placards that run, dribble, leap, twist and dunk.
While individual golfers and racecar drivers have long splattered themselves with their sponsors' logos, NBA teams are now planning to become the first major U.S. sports teams to sell ad space on their players' game-day jerseys. Chintzy? Well, yes — but not cheap. Team owners expect brand-name corporations to pay at least $100 million to have their logos plastered on the chests of basketball stars.
Calling this a "stylistic move," the mammon-worshipping owners say the ads will be modest — each just a two-and-a-half inch patch displaying the corporate brand of, say, Budweiser, Bank of America, Hooters or Viagra. The ad size seems small, but ESPN's high-definition TV cameras will focus on them and show them to viewers hundreds of times in every game. And, of course, to squeeze ever-more cash out of each human billboard, both the owners and advertisers will steadily expand the commercial space to cover the entire uniform.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
When Donald J. Trump takes the stage at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, he’ll have lots of ‘splaining to do. In addition to support Trump is receiving from the likes of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and an assortment of white nationalists, Mediaite’s Josh Feldman recently reported on numerous anti-Semitic incidents at Trump campaign rallies including someone making a Nazi salute, a man who shouted at someone to “go to fucking Auschwitz,” and “the pastor at a Trump event who said that Bernie Sanders needs a come-to-Jesus moment.”
If protests erupt when he speaks will he start shouting “Get them out of here, get them out,” or “Go home to your mommy?” Will he urge audience members to “Take them outta here on a stretcher?” Will he tell the crowd he’ll pay their legal fees if anyone clocks a protester?
There’s a good chance a number of rabbis and Jewish organizations will stage some kind of protest – either inside or outside of the event -- and there is equally a good chance that Trump will not only profess his great love for Israel, and maybe even say something like “I love Israel and I will help make U.S.-Israeli relations great again,” and “I guarantee it will be the best relations ever.”
Theirs is also a good chance that Trump will attempt to detoxify himself and walk back remarks he’s made about being neutral on the issue of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Union of Reform Judaism recently issued a statement maintaining that Trump’s views are the antithesis of Jewish values, as he has "chosen to take the low road, sowing seeds of hatred and division in our body politic."
MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
A mid-April pro-democracy protest in Washington, DC had been planned for months -- but that didn't stop the right-wing Trump-friendly Breitbart website from declaring, "Anti-Trump groups threaten largest disobedience action of the century." The article posted on March 16 insinuated that the the Democracy Spring mobilization in April -- and by implication, Democracy Awakening activities -- were created to target Trump. The charge was quickly picked up by the right-wing media choir, including The Drudge Report and World Net Daily.
Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening are actually two separate initiatives that are converging together in DC on April 16. Democracy Spring will begin as a walk to DC, starting at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia on April 2. Its goals -- promoting a full, participatory democracy -- are similar to those of Democracy Awakening. Both mobilizations are primarily aimed at getting big money out of politics, allowing full voting rights for all Americans and ending obstructionism in confirming a Supreme Court replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia.
Margrete Strand-Rangnes, executive vice president of Public Citizen -- a non-profit citizens rights advocacy group that is playing a key role in organizing Democracy Awakening -- told BuzzFlash that she was baffled by the Breitbart article that spuriously connected Democracy Spring to an anti-Trump initiative. She was concerned that the accusations would ultimately skew public perception of the separate and combined actions of Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening.
COLE MELLINO OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
break free from the Antarctic coast and form a massive iceberg more than twice the size of Manhattan.NASA scientists fear that a growing crack in the Nansen Ice Shelf may cause it to
“Over the course of two years, a small crack grew large enough to spread across nearly the entire width of the Nansen Ice Shelf,” NASA said in a post last week.
Ice shelves are thick plates of coastline ice that float over the ocean. This particular one, Nansen, measures about 20 miles wide and 30 miles long.
A team of scientists first noticed the crack in 2013, but two NASA scientists Christine Dow and Ryan Walker discovered in December 2015 that the crack had grown substantially. Dow and Walker were visiting the ice shelf to install GPS stations on it to track how it was affected by tides. When they flew over the area, they realized that it was no longer a small crack.
Satellite images taken when Dow and Walker returned confirmed what they saw on the ground.
“There’s a huge crack, miles long and sometimes over a hundred yards wide, which runs more or less parallel to the front of the ice shelf,” Walker wrote in a post in December 2015. “Over the winter, the sea surface freezes and traps small icebergs in the crack, producing a fascinatingly broken icescape.”
Antarctic winter is now setting in, and, as of this month, satellite imagery indicated the ice shelf was still attached. Though winter may not be enough to prevent the shelf from collapsing.
EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
How can so many politicians in the US get away with blatant lying? After all, although the corporate media is not great at fact-checking, there are a number of sites, such as PolitiFact, that at least try to establish the truth (although one can argue that the site is not immune to bias).
Donald Trump keeps the lies coming quickly -- frequently composing them in just the few seconds it takes to tweet. It seems as if no one is vetting his Twitter account. Then, often, just a few more seconds or minutes pass before he slyly tries to qualify the original lie. As Mark Twain said, " A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."
The use of lies in political campaigns -- particularly presidential campaigns -- is bi-partisan.
The tactic of the "artful smear" that Hillary Clinton accused Bernie Sanders of -- but has employed herself several times in the primary campaign (the auto bailout accusation against Sanders, the claims that he would eliminate Medicare and Medicaid, etc.) -- generally works because the refutation of a lie by someone running for the presidency almost inevitably gets less coverage than the original false charge. This is particularly true in a high-speed digitalized age in which presidential candidates seek to roll out fresh news items and attacks each news cycle. A well-placed lie spouted during a debate, for example, can be propelled into ongoing coverage in a later news cycle.
ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUTLORRAINE CHOW OF
Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch
Portland City Council unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday authorizing city attorney Tracy Reeve to sue the biotech giant.
"Portland's elected officials are committed to holding Monsanto accountable for its apparent decision to favor profits over ecological and human health," Reeve said in a statement. "Monsanto profited from selling PCBs for decades and needs to take responsibility for cleaning up after the mess it created."
JIM HIGHTOWER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
If you take the word f-r-e-e and rip the "r" out of it, what do you get? Two things, actually: One, instead of "free" you get "fee" -- and then you get mad.
This is happening to millions of airline passengers who're discovering that the advertised price of a ticket is not the half of it. Beaucoup fees have been added, charging us for items that previously were (and still should be) free. People's rage-ometers zing into the red zone when they see that these fees-for-former-freebies will often more than double the cost of a trip.
Like diabolical bankers did years ago, top executives of airline corporations have learned to goose up prices and profits, (as well as their own pay) by nickel-and-diming customers. Only their fees are way more than nickel and dimes. For example, if you schedule a flight, but something comes up and you have to change the time, day, or destination of your trip -- BAM! -- airlines zap you with a $200 fee. Basically for nothing! Computers quickly make the change, costing the corporation a mere pittance, but rather than graciously accommodating your need and making you a satisfied customer, they pick your pocket and make you angry.