Guest Commentary (5507)
BRYAN ADELINE FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Sunday night witnessed the first of two debates between Gillum and DeSantis. Taking place in Orlando, hosted by Jake Tapper on CNN, it was a tightly packed, fast-paced one hour joust that had both candidates coming out swinging hard at each other. The difference is that Gillum was cool and comfortable at his podium while it seemed most of the time that DeSantis might crush his own teeth at any moment from nervously grinding them so hard.
JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
If you despair that a mysterious plague of incurable political knuckleheadism has swept our country, turning previously progressive white working-class people into mindless Trump worshippers, check out "The Promise of a Progressive Populist Movement" (PeoplesAction.org/the-promise-of-a-progressive-populist-movement). This report is the work of People's Action, a multiracial, grassroots coalition. This year, its volunteers knocked on more than 5,000 doors, had nearly 2,500 phone conversations and visited scores of local events and churches in "Trump Country" — dozens of rural counties in 10 swing states including Iowa, North Carolina and Wisconsin that went for the yellow-haired corporatist in 2016. The door-knockers simply had open conversations asking folks in economically distressed rural communities what mattered to them politically. The most common initial response was, "No one's ever asked me before."
DR HAKIM FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Grade 12th Afghan student Jamila Omary asked, "Do you have any plans to arm yourselves, because of the threats and dangers you have faced?" Iqbal Khyber answered, "No. Though it is easy to buy weapons today, arming ourselves will worsen the war. Weapons will make us less secure." What a breath of fresh air in the stench of war-as-usual!
DANIEL G. NEWMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
During the last few years, an explosion of new political technology projects has sought to help candidate campaigns. From micro-targeting and advanced analytics, to new strategies for canvassing and fundraising, technology is now “disrupting” politics – for better and for worse. For those of us seeking to reform our broken democracy, some of these new political technologies can be a powerful force for good, if used in the service of reform campaigns.
Campaigns focused on changes like reforming the role of money in politics, ending gerrymandering, and automatic voter registration can benefit from tapping into several key campaign tools now commonly available.
Democracy reform campaigns tend to share some common characteristics. First, they require a greater than average amount of explanation to voters. For example, redistricting reform, ranked choice voting and public funding of election campaigns all take more than a sound bite to explain.
T.D. DUFF FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." —John F. Kennedy.
We are living in a very important revolutionary moment. The disastrous lie of the economic and political experiment that cravenly attempted to construct human behavior around the diabolical dictates of global free trade has failed. The promised prosperity of trickle-down, supply-side economics has been exposed as a fraud. A minute global oligarchy has amassed obscene wealth, while the illicitly-greased wheels of unfettered corporate capitalism plunders resources, exploits unorganized wage labor and creates easily-manipulated and corrupt governments that disregard the common good to serve only corporate profit.
No mechanism seems to exist to institute genuine reform or halt the corporate assault. We are left with the structures of power and the courts that have surrendered to corporate control. The citizen, as witnessed now by Christine Blasey Ford's brave testimony during the Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings, has become irrelevant. We can participate in creatively choreographed elections, but the depraved demands of corporations and banks take precedence.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
What you are about to read is not taken from a dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, an edge-of-your-seat Alfred Hitchcock mystery film, or the prescient warnings of George Orwell. The story about how the Chinese government is stage-managing the use of social media makes Orwell's Big Brother almost seem like a down-to-earth guy.
LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
A federal judge on Monday rejected the Trump administration's last-ditch efforts to derail a landmark constitutional climate lawsuit brought by 21 youth plaintiffs, preserving the trial start date of Oct. 29 in Eugene, Oregon.
The judge largely rejected the government's arguments but granted the administration's motion to dismiss President Donald Trump as a defendant.
OLIVIA ROSANE OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Major California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) shut off power to 60,000 Northern California residents Sunday night in an attempt to reduce the risk of wildfires sparking from hot, dry windy weather, the Huffington Post reported Tuesday.
A total of 100,000 people were warned their power might be cut off due to wind speeds of 60 miles per hour and gusts of 70 miles per hour increasing the risk of electrical fires.
"The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is PG&E's top priority," PG&E's senior vice president of electric operations Pat Hogan told the Huffington Post. "We know how much our customers rely on electric service and only considered temporarily turning off power in the interest of safety, and as a last resort during extreme weather conditions."
The communities covered by the blackout were about 42,0000 customers in El Dorado, Amador and Calaveras counties in the Sierra Foothills and 17,483 customers in parts of Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties, CNN reported.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Here's another item that should shake you to your Facebook-questioning core: According to NBC News' John Schuppe, "Police officers around the country, in departments large and small, working for federal, state and local agencies, use undercover Facebook accounts to watch protesters, track gang members, lure child predators and snare thieves, according to court records, police trainers and officers themselves."
PAUL SONN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Amazon's announcement that it's raising pay to $15 an hour for its more than 350,000 low-wage employees generated headlines -- and unexpected criticism from the company’s workforce since it simultaneously cut bonuses and stock grants, and compressed its pay scale. The Amazon raise followed similar $15 wage increases by Target and Disney -- and led Sen. Bernie Sanders to call on McDonald's to do the same.
SEAN T. POSEY FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
"Post-truth is pre-fascism." –Timothy Snyder
In the 1987 film, The Running Man, the world of America circa 2017 is a bleak one: Inequality is rampant. The public lives in fear, victims of dishonest news. The main distraction for a numbed citizenry is part of a modern-day version of bread and circuses, which comes in the form of a reality TV show run by a host who is likely the most powerful person in the country. All of this should ring some bells. The Running Man is remembered, if it's remembered at all, as one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's last forays into B-movies. However, the film has notable parallels with our own reality. While '80s dystopian films such as Escape From New York, 1990: The Bronx Warriors o rFirebird 2015 AD have little to say about our lives today, Schwarzenegger's '80s-esque classic – while also getting a lot wrong – has some startling surprises for the modern viewer.
NADIA COLBURN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
A few days after Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault by several women and who lied under oath in his confirmation hearings, was voted onto the Supreme Court, a new climate report warned of a "strong risk of crisis as early as 2040." These two news stories may at first appear to have nothing to do with each other, but in fact both point to a dangerous trend toward disregarding truth in favor of partisan politics.
Of the FBI's Kavanaugh report, Sen. Kamala Harris has said, "This was not a search for the truth," and indeed, the majority of senators just signaled that they don't believe that truth needs to be coupled with justice, that it's okay for a member of the highest court to lie under oath. This is deeply dangerous for all of us, and for the health of our country and of our planet.
DAVID PALUMBO-LIU FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
It's actually a very small gesture, but it was one that I thought made a lot of sense and that would carry me through the days, and years to come. I decided to get a tattoo a few days before the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Kavanaugh, as I saw hopes of justice fade. So now, on my left forearm, there is a tattoo that reads "Fiat Lux," which means, "Let There Be Light."
OLIVIA ROSANE OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The number of plastics washing up on the beaches of remote islands in the South Atlantic has increased 10 times in the past 10 years, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) found. This is a devastating development for the unique biodiversity of islands in the UK's overseas territories like Ascension, St. Helena, Tristan da Cunha, Gough and the Falkland Islands, both because the plastic harms marine life and because invasive species can use it to hitch a ride onto the remote beaches covered by Atlantic Marine Protected Areas.