Facebook Slider
Optional Member Code
Get News Alerts!

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

march16 lotsofcashPfizer plans to deprive US Treasury of an estimated $35 billion based on legal tax evasion scheme. (Photo: Steven Depolo)

The CEO of Pfizer Inc., Ian Read, received a "pay package [that] was valued at $18 million in 2015," according to The Wall Street Journal. 

The Journal notes that one of Read's top recent accomplishments is the planned "$155 billion combination with Allergan PLC" :

The Allergan transaction would form the world’s biggest drugmaker by sales and move Pfizer’s headquarters from New York to Ireland. Pfizer expects to cut its tax rate to 17% or 18%,from its approximate 25% rate currently, because corporate taxes in Ireland are lower than in the U.S.

In short, Read gets a 1-percenter salary for, in part, determining how Pfizer can stick it to the US taxpayer by sharply cutting tax liability to the US treasury. The process of a larger US corporation becoming a subsidiary of a smaller foreign corporation in a nation with lower tax rates is called legal "tax inversion." 

Pfizer's proposed action will proceed unless halted by the executive branch or congressional action (which is unlikely to occur in the near future). 

2016.15.3 bf spear(Photo: Claus Gerull)STEFANIE SPEAR OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected the proposal for the Jordan Cove LNG Export Terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline because its public interest value did not outweigh the project's adverse effects.

"We find the generalized allegations of need proffered by Pacific Connector do not outweigh the potential for adverse impact on landowners and communities," FERC said, adding that "the record does not support a finding that the public benefits of the Pacific Connector Pipeline outweigh the adverse effects on landowners."

2016.15.3 bf chow(Photo: Joe Brusky)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) -- the world's largest trade association for food, beverages and consumer products -- violated "the spirit and letter" of Washington's campaign-finance disclosure laws by trying to hide the identities of corporations that poured millions into a campaign to defeat a 2013 food-labeling initiative, a Washington Superior Court judge ruled Friday.

Initiative 522 would have required the labeling of genetically modified (GMOs) foods, seeds and seed products in Washington state and was narrowly defeated. As it happens, the GMA was the largest single donor to the "No on 522" campaign, spending a record $22 million to stop the measure, according to The Seattle Times.

"There is one, and only one, reasonable inference that can be drawn from the facts before this court: that the GMA intentionally took steps to create and then hide the true source of the funds … from the voting public of Washington state," Thurston County Superior Court Judge Anne Hirsch wrote in a pretrial ruling.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

2016march15 trumppaintingThere should be little doubt that Donald Trump emulates the propaganda and crowd manipulation of Adolf Hitler. (Image: thierry ehrmann )

It would be unlikely that Trump shares much of Hitler's ideology. Trump is too narcissistic for that. However, the billionaire clown prince of branding himself indisputably emulates - to some degree - Hitler's strategy to turn a homogenous identity group with grievances into an emotional mob primed to explode. This includes techniques of vitriolic scapegoating, threats and acts of violence against dissenters and even a Hitler-style salute and pledge.

It's important to remember that Hitler first came to power through an electoral process, after a putsch attempt in the early 1920s failed. He promised the creation of an Aryan state of purity and prosperity, following the humiliating defeat of Germany in WWI and the onerous Treaty of Versailles terms placed upon it. Compounding the strain of its war debt, the German economy was in a desperate condition due to the international recession of the '30s.

A prescient September 2015 article on the If You Only News website provides context for understanding that, as overused as the Hitler analogy is as applied to Trump, it is hard to believe that the "master salesman and negotiator" would not be interested in the propaganda and psychological tools Hitler used to rise to power:

By 1932, a recently unknown party called the Nazis was somehow able to get 33 percent of the vote (a majority), and Hitler was then appointed head of the German government as chancellor.

The Nazi party and Hitler became wildly popular among German citizenry with the use of endless propaganda that included large amounts of money spent on campaigns filled with nationalistic slogans. These campaigns were then dispersed via newspapers, posters, leaflets, etc. Anything, really, to rally support behind their lies.

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Trump in New Hampshire(Photo: Marc Nozell)If Donald Trump wins the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, and if David S. Bernstein’s calculations are correct, and it will take an overwhelming and unprecedented majority of white male voters to carry him to the White House. In a story for Politico titled “Donald Trump Needs Seven of Ten White Guys,” Bernstein, a contributing editor at Boston Magazine, writes: “If Trump wins the GOP nomination, he will be testing the limits of a strategy that has long haunted the Republican Party. Since the civil-rights era, Republicans have relied heavily on white male voters to overcome a disadvantage among minorities and some subsets of women. Mathematically, that was an easier strategy a half-century ago, when white men dominated the electorate.”

According to Bernstein, Trump would need seven out of ten white male voters to win the presidency. While that number has never been achieved before, judging from who is turning out at Trump rallies – and going to the polls in primaries -- that number might not be as impossible as you might think.

Ever since Team Nixon devised the Southern Strategy, white voters have been the backbone of the Republican Party. As Bernstein points out, “In 1980, when the electorate looked very different than it does today, Ronald Reagan cruised to an easy victory by winning 63 percent of white males, according to exit polls. In 1988, George H.W. Bush took 63 percent of that group in his rout of Michael Dukakis. By 2004, however, winning 62 percent of white men barely got George W. Bush past John Kerry in a squeaker. And eight years later, Romney won 62 percent of white men — and lost to Barack Obama by 3.5 million votes.”

PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaBuchheitflag(Photo: Inverted US flag)A recent Gallup poll found that less people would vote for a socialist than for an atheist, a Muslim, or an evangelical Christian. Media-numbed Americans still believe that "government is the problem." Yet evidence keeps pouring in that free-market capitalism treats public safety as a profit-killer, dismisses environmental issues as irrelevant to business, and eliminates jobs to please investors.

Reports from the past six months show that the ongoing record of capitalist greed and irresponsibility has plunged to new lows.

1. Mocking Public Health and Safety

It's disturbing enough that Volkswagen and Ford and General Motors and other auto companies rigged emissions tests and took safety shortcuts to save money; and that the Southern California Gas Co. lied about its poisonous sulfur levels; and that Exxon was found to be hiding its own climate change research for four decades; and that tens of thousands of government-subsidized abandoned mines have been left to pollute our waterways.

But Monsanto, which proclaims "We are committed to long-term environmental protection," sued the State of California for trying to protect its citizens from the company's toxic materials.

2. Showing Contempt for Workers

The sharing economy has created companies that promote worker 'independence' while denying them health and retirement benefits, sick pay, overtime pay, and vacation pay. It's not a new capitalist idea. Merck and Out Magazine are among the companies that have "outsourced" employee positions to independent contractor positions, either by a mass layoff or by selling part of the company, after which former employees could be hired back at lower pay and without benefits.

Companies like American Express and AT&T have gone a step further with "individual arbitration" clauses, which effectively prohibit class-action lawsuits, the only economically feasible way for defrauded employees and customers to fight back against corporate malfeasance. Legal expert Brian T. Fitzpatrick explained, "Without a class action, if someone loses $500, they will not be able to do anything about it."

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaCorncobs 0311wrp(Photo: Sam Fentress)A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Monsanto Co. by the widow of a prominent Cambria, California farmer alleging that Monsanto had known for years that exposure to glyphosate—the main ingredient in the agribusiness giant’s flagship weedkiller Roundup—could cause cancer and other serious illnesses or injuries.

The lawsuit, which seeks wrongful death and punitive damages, was filedtoday in Los Angeles federal court by attorneys Michael Baum, Cynthia Garber and Brent Wisner of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. of Kennedy & Madonna on behalf of Teri McCall.

Teri McCall claims Roundup caused her husband of 40-years, Anthony Jackson “Jack” McCall, to develop terminal cancer after he used the herbicide on his 20-acre fruit and vegetable farm for nearly 30 years.

According to a press release from the law firms, Jack McCall was admitted to a hospital in September 2015 to treat swollen lymph nodes in his neck. He found out that same day that the swelling was caused by anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare and aggressive version of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Glyphosate, which is the most widely applied pesticide worldwide, was declared as “probably carcinogenic to humans” last March by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The organization also observed that non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other haematopoietic cancers are the cancers most associated with glyphosate exposure.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

March11 zelaya2In 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supported the military coup that overthrew democratically elected reformist President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras. (Photo: coolloud)

On June 28, 2009, the Honduran military overthrew the democratically elected and modestly progressive president, Manuel Zelaya. He was forced on a plane and sent into exile. 

wrote a commentary on June 30, 2009, raising the issue of possible US influence through leading members of the Honduran military, who were trained at what was formerly called The School of Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia. I stated: "You can bet your bottom dollar there were a few American hands behind what happened in Honduras.  We just can't say just yet who they belonged to."

Given information that has been revealed since 2009, we now know a lot more about the US support for the 2009 military coup. Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time, didn't necessarily push the button that started it, but she was the Obama administration's most ardent advocate of keeping the military in power and preventing Zelaya from returning as a democratically elected leader.

The repercussions to Honduras of Clinton siding with the military have led to it becoming one of the most corrupt and violence-ridden nations in the world. They also reveal the deep contradiction between Clinton's espousal of democracy and the rights of women and children, and her neoliberal realpolitik interest in protecting the markets and profits of US-based corporations.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaaaaaaaaaaacivilwarmarch10The Union and Confederate Armies may have signed an armistice in 1865, but the Civil War continues for the soul of the United States. (Photo: Alvin Trusty)

There is an uncivil Civil War taking place in the Republican Party.

In part, it is animated by whether the festering racism inherent in this nation's founding premise of white superiority -- a premise that fueled slavery and the decimation of Indigenous populations -- will resurface in a contemporary form of governance by bigotry.

Donald Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again," contains demagogic appeal. It is a coded call to "make America white again": to ensure that it is a nation characterized by white patriarchal rule, the oppression of people of color, the condoning of violence to resolve perceived grievances of white privilege, the use of torture, and all the trappings of white settler colonialism.

The Civil War ended more than 150 years ago, but an armistice was never signed concerning the conflict over white patriarchal privilege.

Here's the essential conundrum: The United States was founded -- and the Constitution was written -- by men who rejected the notion of a monarchy, but believed in a federal government that was elected and run by white males. It was also "unified" with the acceptance of slavery as a practice in half the nation, along with the belief that killing off the Indigenous population was a patriotic act of expanding white civilization.

2016.10.3 bf wasserman(Photo: Paolo)HARVEY WASSERMAN OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Seven top Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) experts have taken the brave rare step of publicly filing an independent finding warning that nearly every U.S. atomic reactor has a generic safety flaw that could spark a disaster.

The warning mocks the latest industry push to keep America’s remaining 99 nukes from being shut by popular demand, by their essential unprofitability, or, more seriously, by the kind of engineering collapse against which the NRC experts are now warning.

As of January 1, the world has more installed wind capacity than nuke. More than $360 billion was invested last year in renewables, dwarfing new reactor investments.

Page 9 of 1412