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Spread on a wool olive drab GI blanket is a reenactor's collection of M1917 revolvers and M1911 semi-automatic pistols. Spread on a wool olive drab GI blanket is a reenactor's collection of M1917 revolvers and M1911 semi-automatic pistols. (Photo: Lyle)PAT ELDER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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A young Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter, posted an image of himself posing with an "airsoft" gun on his Instagram account. The date is unknown. The orange tip on the end of the gun signifies he is holding an airsoft gun that fires BB -- like, spherical projectiles that are typically made of plastic. American youth are introduced to these guns at an early age. The lethal weapon Cruz is holding shoots a projectile at 500 feet per second.

The term "air soft" is concocted by the wizards of Madison Avenue who represent the arms industry. The term conveys the idea that these guns are harmless. Remember Ralphie in "Christmas Story"? "You'll shoot your eye out kid!" The BB gun Ralphie got for Christmas, The Daisy Red Ryder, shoots BB's at 350 feet per second.

Airsoft guns represent the starter drug of choice for the American arms industry. It has long been the strategy of this industry and its bankrollers at the Pentagon to wrap as many young fingers around as many triggers as possible – whether those triggers are virtual or real. The intoxicating effects of firearms provide the military a way to exploit the powerful, visceral connection to a child's soul. In this regard, Nikolas Cruz was the victim of a malicious system.

Afghan Peace Volunteers and friends celebrate the International Day of Peace in Kabul, September 2017. (Photo: Kathy Kelly)Afghan Peace Volunteers and friends celebrate the International Day of Peace in Kabul, September 2017. (Photo: Kathy Kelly)KATHY KELLY FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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Here in Kabul, as the rising sun begins to warm our chilly rooms, I hear excited laughter from downstairs. Rosemary Morrow, a renowned Australian permaculture expert, has begun teaching thirty-five young students in a month-long course on low-resource farming.

In war-torn Afghanistan, there's a desperate need to rebuild agricultural infrastructure and help people grow their own food. People verging on despair feel encouraged by possibilities of replenishing and repairing their soil.

The night before, over dinner, one of the students discussed news from his home town in Afghanistan's Wardak province about US aerial attacks. "The blasts have become so frequent," he said, "that people can't find spaces to bury their dead."

During breaks in the class, I tell some of the Afghan Peace Volunteer students about the school shootings in the United States, and the remarkable determination of teenagers from Florida to demand that lawmakers take action on gun control.


DT 0305wrp opt(Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr)Under Donald Trump, the environment has been the hardest hit of any sector of society, carried out by executive actions, the overturning of Obama-era regulations, and the enactment of new rules via cabinet review. This assault is occurring just as NASA reports that we’ve just had another near-record year of global warming. It’s insanity, and a classic example of willful ignorance. Trump, EPA director Scott Pruitt, and other officials simply choose not to inform themselves lest their position on climate change, which is based entirely on self-interest, be undermined.  Since these people only know what Fox News and the fossil fuel industry tell them, they probably are unfazed about portents such as the three-year drought that has brought Cape Town, South Africa, to "Day Zero" when the water pipes will be shut off and water strictly rationed.

Behind the rules changes lies a telling fact: Trump does not have a science adviser—a director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House.  But since he has no interest in science, he evidently sees no reason to learn from or defer to anyone who does. The president’s science adviser typically advises on everything from outbreaks of disease to global warming and nuclear weapons.  By leaving empty a position all previous presidents have filled, Trump is sending a message that he is not merely a climate-change denier but also a science denier.  Only one person sits in the OSTP office: a Silicon Valley financier.


NYC 0305wrp optNew York City. (Photo: kaysha / Flickr)After five years of tireless organizing, the movement to divest NYC public worker pension funds from fossil fuels scored a win.  On January 10th, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City will divest the $5 billion of its pension funds presently invested in fossil fuel stocks. It will also sue the top five fossil fuel corporations—ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips—charging that because they hid the evidence that burning fossil fuels causes climate change, they are responsible for the billions of dollars the city has spent on climate remediation.  

The divestment campaign provides an excellent example of how dedicated organizing, clear demands and strategies, creative tactics, strong coalitions and good luck can come together for a win.  

Divestment Launch

The US Divestment movement was popularized in 2012 through the national "Do The Math" tour, led by 350.org’s Bill McKibben and author Naomi Klein.  Borrowing a page from the successful anti-apartheid divestment campaign directed at South Africa in the 1980’s, 350’s focus was fossil fuel divestment in colleges, universities, foundations and non-profits. While pension funds were on the list, little attention was initially paid to them.


God 0302wrp opt(Photo: altemark / Flickr)Trump, our "Caligula-in-chief's" victory was only the first in a series of new realities we face. "Your Wildest Dreams Come True," is tragically not a reality TV show. And it augurs nothing less than a full-fledged Constitutional and national security crisis of Jovian magnitude.

To anyone who claims the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) (of which I am founder and president) has been crying wolf for asserting that Dominionists are intent on controlling our US military

It's time for your wake up call, wild dreamers.

An influential pack of Dominionist predatory proselytizing worship wolves was howling in Trump's DC hotel February 22-24 2018; the pack's fanatical leaders believe "God sent" Trump to the White House.

Heaven's rule is knock knock knockin' hard on our government's door my friends: it's called Dominionism.

Dominionists are Christian nationalist extremists -- modern iterations of medieval Crusaders. Dominionists are like the radical proponents of Sharia Law, only they champion the Bible and not the Koran. Dominionists dream of a United States ruled by a biblical set of Christian principles and reject the secular US Constitution.

Danica Roem is one of many transgender politicians who are rejecting party orthodox.Danica Roem is one of many transgender politicians who are rejecting party orthodoxy. (Photo: VCU CNS)JIM HIGHTOWER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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Last year's grassroots progressive runs for office laid to rest much of the Democratic Party's orthodoxy about who is "electable," and how it's essential that candidates -- in hopes of attracting moderate "swing" voters -- run big-money campaigns on small-bore, middle-of-the-road issues. For example, meet these eight big-issue/low-dollar candidates who rejected party orthodox and won:

-- Danica Roem -- Virginia House of Delegates

-- Andrea Jenkins -- Minneapolis City Council

-- Phillipe Cunningham -- Minneapolis City Council

-- Lisa Middleton -- Palm Springs City Council

-- Stephe Koontz -- Doraville, GA City Council

Thursday, 01 March 2018 06:38

Melting the Ice in the Human Heart

peace on Earth, whatever that is, involves listening to the Old People: the Indigenous people, the victims of cultural, spiritual and physical genocide these last 500 years.Peace on Earth involves listening to the Old People: the Indigenous people, the victims of cultural, spiritual and physical genocide these last 500 years. (Photo: Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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How close, how intimate, have you ever gotten with Greenland?

A new documentary called Stella Polaris, directed by Yatri Niehaus -- part of Chicago's tenth annual Peace on Earth Film Festival -- takes you on a meditative journey to this lonely, extraordinary island, to its melting ice, its rampaging waters and crumbling glaciers, where climate change is a part of daily life, and where the native people have wisdom and heart to offer the rest of us.

It begins with a slow meditation on the beauty of the ice. Then, six minutes in, a wall of ice suddenly crashes into the ocean.

"The Old People of Greenland have told us, since the sixties, this time it's too late to stop it," a native man says. ". . . Your religion, your money and your politics cannot stop the melting of the Big Ice."

But the story is told matter-of-factly, mostly without rancor or blame. Indeed, it's not really a story in the ordinary sense. It's a slow walk across the ice: a swirl of light and sky, ice and ocean, in loving close-up and stunning overview.


Texting 0228wrp opt(Photo: El Alvi / Flickr)Everybody hates political phone-bankers, right? Those people who don't know you but call out of the blue right when you are trying to get dinner on the table, or get your toddler to bed. They intrude into your private time and try to get you to vote for their preferred candidate. This is happening more as the primary season heats up.

And now we are even starting to text you.

I've texted people to encourage them to register to vote, to early vote, to verify their number and to identify supporters of our candidate. I have let those with felonies know that they are eligible to vote, when many have been convinced that they are not. I have identified voters who need a ride to the polls and connected them to transportation options.

During the special congressional election in Georgia last summer, as heavy downpours flooded parts of Atlanta, I texted voters real-time information about which routes to the polls were flooded and which were open, from my home in Illinois.


BushBomb 0228wrp opt(Photo: duncan c / Flickr)Fifteen years ago this March, President George W. Bush addressed the nation to announce his invasion of Iraq. It was not the first act in Bush's global war on terror, but it soon became the centerpiece. Bush's secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, had been pushing for war on Iraq for several years. He predicted that such a war "certainly" would not last more than five months and that it would cost less than $50 billion. He was wildly wrong on both counts, almost instantaneously.

Both Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney also told the American people that, despite the conclusions of UN weapons inspectors, there was "no doubt" that Saddam Hussein's regime had an active program to develop weapons of mass destruction. They claimed 100 percent certainty -- and, like Rumsfeld, they were wrong.

Whether their errors were incompetence, dishonesty or both is an open question. Whatever was in their hearts when they told those lies, the more tangible consequences of their actions remain. In the war on terror, nearly 7,000 US soldiers (and roughly as many contractors) have been killed, and more than 100 times as many US veterans -- close to 1 million -- suffer from disabilities.

Coal India's analysis lists a number of global and domestic events that have intensified doubts on the future of its main productCoal India's analysis lists a number of global and domestic events that have intensified doubts on the future of its main product. (Photo: Emilian Robert Vicol)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

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Even the world's largest coal miner thinks the rise of renewable energy and storage technology will pose a "significant threat" to the coal sector.

Coal India, the state-owned mining company that produces 80 percent of the country's coal, has released a new report, "Coal Vision 2030," that outlines what the industry might look like in 2030.

It warns stakeholders that in the case of Indian coal, "trends portent that in the long run the demand is likely to decrease substantially."

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