BILL QUIGLEY FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
When the Michael Brown grand jury decision is announced, people can expect the police to take at least ten different illegal actions to prevent people from exercising their constitutional rights. The Ferguson police have been on TV more than others so people can see how awful they have been acting. But their illegal police tactics are unfortunately quite commonly used by other law enforcement in big protests across the US.
The First Amendment to the US Constitution promises the government will not abridge freedom of speech or to prevent the right of the people to peaceably assemble or to petition to the government for the redress of grievances.
Here is what they are going to do, watch for each of these illegal actions when the crowds start to grow.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
In an interview with Truthout just recently posted, New York Times Reporter James Risen was adamant about not revealing a confidential source, even if the Supreme Course orders him to do so:
MARK KARLIN: In regards to your own travails as a journalist, the government is trying to force you to reveal a confidential source relating to the shadow intelligence gathering community. You have stood steadfastly against giving up a source for information contained within your book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. The Obama administration is pursuing its legal case against you to the Supreme Court. You appear as resolute as ever to uphold the journalistic right to shield sources. Would anything change that courageous stance?
JAMES RISEN: No.
Risen revealed the background to the legal persecution that he is enduring - through the Bush and Obama administrations' obsessive disregard for journalistic investigative rights in a free society - in an excerpt posted on Truthout from his new book, PAY ANY PRICE:
As my legal battle against the government dragged on year after year, eventually making its way to the Supreme Court in 2014, I became convinced that I was fighting to protect press freedom in the post-9/11 age. But in the process, I discovered that I was no longer merely a journalist and author covering the war on terror. I had joined the many people whose lives had been upended by its excesses....
[Risen then details how The New York Times, at the request of the Bush Administration, refused to run a story on the NSA warrantless wiretapping that he had co-authored with Eric Lichtblau. It was refused publication twice by The New York Times, with direct presidential influence, and published only after Risen wrote a book that included the information, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration]
ERIC ZUESSE FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
On November 14, German Economic News (which this writer has found to be the world’s most honest, non-propagandistic newspaper) published two articles about the first independent study of the likely impacts of the Obama-proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This study, by an American economist, concludes:
“TTIP appears to favor economic disintegration, rather than integration, in Europe. At a minimum, [the] official studies do not offer a solid basis for an informed decision on TTIP …
“TTIP would lead to losses in terms of net exports after a decade, compared to the baseline ‘no-TTIP’ scenario …
“TTIP would lead to net losses in terms of GDP …
“TTIP would lead to a loss of labor income …
“TTIP would lead to job losses …
“TTIP would lead to a reduction of the labor share [and increase in the capital or stockholders’ share] …
“TTIP would lead to a loss of government revenue [less money for infrastructure, law-enforcement, social welfare, etc.] …
“TTIP would lead to higher financial instability [higher risk of economic crashes].”
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
If the mainstream media made the effort to analyze and report the facts, the whole country would know about a level of selfishness that has spiraled out of control since the economists of the Reagan era convinced the wealthiest Americans that greed is good for everyone. Here are four extreme examples of that selfishness.
1. Ebola's Not Worth the Money If Only Africans Get Infected
World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Dr. Margaret Chan recently stated: "Ebola emerged nearly four decades ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has historically been confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest in products for markets that cannot pay."
So we turn to philanthropy. But rich donors don't compensate for the flaws of capitalism. The Gates Foundation, among others, may appear noble and praiseworthy for all its charitable giving, but Dr. Chan noted that "My budget [is] highly earmarked, so it is driven by what I call donor interests." Little of that 'earmarking' is toward diseases of the poor. A study in The Lancet of medical products registered in 2000-11 revealed that "Only four new chemical entities were approved for neglected diseases (three for malaria, one for diarrhoeal disease), accounting for 1% of the 336 new chemical entities approved during the study period."
JACKIE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Recently, Common Dreams ran an article entitled, "As New War Rages, Mainstream Media Silences Debate, Study Finds." Indeed most of the people in the US probably go through the day without ever thinking about the nation's ceaseless wars.
Many US voters are disgusted with both major political parties for reasons that go back a long way.
If elected Republicans think that they have a mandate as a result of the November 4th elections, they are laboring under a grand delusion.
The fact of the matter is that more than a third of those who voted for a Republican House candidate were dissatisfied or angry with GOP leaders in Congress, according to preliminary exit polls. A quarter of Democratic voters were similarly upset with President Obama.
Over the last decade, many voters have come to believe that going to the polls is an exercise in futility. They intuitively sense that elected officials from both parties work for corporate millionaires and billionaires, and that the oligarchs from the oil and weapon industries will continue to shape foreign and domestic policies in their favor to the detriment of the vast majority of those in the US - no matter who is elected. As a case in point, the economy is backsliding for most workers in terms of pay.
ANASTASIA PANTSIOS OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Shell Oil seems to be on a losing streak these days.
In early October it was announced that the Greenpeace campaign to get Danish toy company LEGO to sever its nearly 50-year partnership with the oil giant was successful. Its Arctic drilling has been plagued with misadventures such as a drilling rig running aground on New Year’s Eve 2012. It was forced to abandon its drilling plans for 2013 and 2014, although it has said it plans to try again for 2015.
And yesterday, in a decision sure to be a relief to activist and advocacy groups of all stripes, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a lawsuit brought by Shell that was primarily an effort to block potential lawsuits from environmental groups who opposed its drilling operations in the Arctic.
Two years ago, Shell filed a preemptive lawsuit against 13 environmental, indigenous and community groups to prevent them from possibly suing Shell at some time in the future over its plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. The 9th Circuit Court panel yesterday called the legal maneuver “novel”and said that it was unconstitutional.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
A member of the oligarchy is finally being held criminally responsible for worker deaths.
Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy (King Coal in West Virginia), was just indicted for putting profits above the lives of his company's employees resulting in a 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.
Those are among the charges contained in a federal indictment announced on November 13 by the Department of Justice. According to the West Virginia MetroNews Network,
The 43-page four-count federal indictment of former Massey Energy president and CEO Don Blankenship portrays an operator obsessive about upping production at the cheapest cost. Federal prosecutors allege it was an attitude that led to the deadly explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County that killed 29 miners.
The indictment, announced Thursday by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, alleges Blankenship knew about UBB’s safety problems and the practice of alerting supervisors underground when federal mine inspectors arrived at UBB for inspections. It’s also alleged he lied to the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission about mine safety in the days after the April 5, 2010 explosion in an attempt to help Massey’s stock price.
Blankenship was charged with conspiracy to violate mandatory federal mine safety and health standards, conspiracy to impede federal mine safety officials, making false statements to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and securities fraud....
The indictment alleges Blankenship was driven by the numbers and in doing so ignored dozens of safety violations at UBB and covered up others. Federal prosecutors said from April 3, 2009, to April 5, 2010, Blankenship received 249 daily safety violation reports from the UBB mines but did very little to correct the problems.
One can read the specific details of Blankenship's alleged culpability in the actual federal indictment.
JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
When it comes to Internet Service Providers and high-speed Internet, the consumer marketplace has hardly been a model of competitiveness. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to choose from two providers, and some of us only have access to one.
These digital conduits are essential parts of America's utility infrastructure, nearly as basic as electricity and water pipes. They connect us (and our children) to worldwide knowledge, news, diverse viewpoints and other fundamental tools of citizenship. And, of course, we can buy and sell through them, be entertained, run our businesses, connect with friends, get up-to-the-minute scores, follow the weather and — yes indeedy — pay our bills.
Yet while this digital highway is deemed vital to our nation's well-being, access to it is not offered as a public service — i.e., an investment in the common good. Instead, it is treated as just another profit center for a few corporations
Amassing market power to gouge customers is bad enough, but ISP's plan on eviscerating the pure egalitarian ethic of the Internet, which is why they were so upset when President Obama recently urged the FCC to back a free and open Internet.
Like an uncensored global bulletin board, the great virtue of the Internet is that no one controls its content. This digital communication technology has been so spectacularly successful and so socially valuable because it is a wide-open, democratic forum, accessible on equal terms to all who want to put information, images, opinions, etc. on it or to download any of the same from it. Since its invention, the guiding principle behind the use of this liberating technology has been that no corporation, government, religion, or other controlling power should be its gatekeeper.
COLE MELLINO OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
report by the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International, which is the first detailed breakdown of fossil fuel exploration subsidies by all G20 countries, the Pope has voiced his concerns about the state of world affairs:In what has become an annual tradition, Pope Francis wrote a letter to Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister of Australia and this year’s leader of the G20 Summit, which will take place Nov. 15-16 in Brisbane, Australia. On the heels of a
To the Honourable Tony Abbott
Prime Minister of Australia
On 15 and 16 November next in Brisbane you will chair the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the world’s twenty largest economies, thus bringing to a close Australia’s presidency of the Group over the past year. This presidency has proved to be an excellent opportunity for everyone to appreciate Oceania’s significant contributions to the management of world affairs and its efforts to promote the constructive integration of all countries.
The G20 agenda in Brisbane is highly focused on efforts to relaunch a sustained and sustainable growth of the world economy, thereby banishing the spectre of global recession. One crucial point that has emerged from the preparatory work is the fundamental imperative of creating dignified and stable employment for all. This will call for improvement in the quality of public spending and investment, the promotion of private investment, a fair and adequate system of taxation, concerted efforts to combat tax evasion and a regulation of the financial sector which ensures honesty, security and transparency.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Another study (published last month) confirms the startling imbalance of wealth in the United States.
According to The Guardian, the analysis "shows how the top 0.1% of families now own roughly the same share of wealth as the bottom 90%." If a ship had that disproportionate distribution in terms of weight, it would list to one side and sink. That is, perhaps, what the analogy portends for a functioning democracy in the US: the ship of state is taking on water and is unable to right itself.
Professors of economics Emmanuel Saez (University of California, Berkeley) and Gabriel Zucman (London School of Economics and Politics) based their findings on "evidence from capitalized income tax data" since 1913 combined with an analysis of the "flow of funds" during that period. In the abstract for their research paper, they conclude:
The bottom 90% wealth share first increased up to the mid-1980s and then steadily declined. The increase in wealth concentration is due to the surge of top incomes combined with an increase in saving rate inequality.