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"We, the people" can restore democracy if we want it badly enough. But there's no standing on the sidelines allowed.

Occupy Wall Street has shown us that; the recall efforts in Wisconsin have shown us that; the landslide referendum defeat of Ohio Republican Gov. Kasich's anti-collective bargaining law has shown us that - as have so many more successful pushback activities at the state and local levels.

Published in EditorBlog


Is President Obama really likely to veto a Senate bill that passed the Senate that allows for the military to indefinitely detain Americans?

According to Sen. Carl Levin - chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee - who headed Democratic Party negotiations on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, it was the White House that insisted on the military having the option - instead of police or federal law enforcement - to detain American citizens considered "belligerent" to the security of the nation.

Glenn Greenwald points this out in a commentary that includes a videotape of Senator Levin making the claim about White House culpability in the phrasing.

Published in EditorBlog


This holiday season, you again have the opportunity to give the gift of journalism that reflects your values.

And you can also receive a progressive gift.

For more than 11 years, BuzzFlash has promoted both corporate-free reporting and books, DVDs, and CDs that reflect the quest for a just society. That tradition has continued now that BuzzFlash has joined together with Truthout.

Published in EditorBlog

Bill Berkowitz for BuzzFlash at Truthout 

The Republican Jewish Coalition is hosting a presidential-candidates forum on Wednesday, December 7 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

Guess which candidate isn't being invited to participate.

Published in EditorBlog

Mark Karlin, Editor of BuzzFlash on Truthout 

In less than a month, the Iowa caucuses will take place on January 3, 2012.

After the joy of the holiday season, the celebration of a new year, one thing will be certain. On that day, the GOP faithful in Iowa will eat a big bowl of stupid.

As Paul Krugman points out in his December 5 column:

The larger point, however, is that whoever finally gets the Republican nomination will be a deeply flawed candidate. And these flaws won't be an accident, the result of bad luck regarding who chose to make a run this time around; the fact that the party is committed to demonstrably false beliefs means that only fakers or the befuddled can get through the selection process.

Americans became so used to the comforts and unilateral power of empire in the latter part of the 20th century that a significant segment of the population developed its own alternative worldview. This is an outlook and set of "principles" that are not based on facts and actual needs, but rather reflect fantasies - and a retreat to the comfort of a revisionist history of the nation, the world and even evolution.

As Krugman observes:

Yet as I said, the only way to actually believe the modern G.O.P. catechism is to be completely clueless.

And that's why the Republican primary has taken the form it has, in which a candidate nobody likes and nobody trusts has faced a series of clueless challengers, each of whom has briefly soared before imploding under the pressure of his or her own cluelessness. Think in particular of Rick Perry, a conservative true believer who seemingly had everything it took to clinch the nomination - until he opened his mouth.

Knowledge used to be a virtue, a way of advancing oneself and improving the world. Now, among many Republicans, intelligence is something to be viewed as suspicious, a tool of "subversives" who seek to "fool" the true believers. These Republican apostles are the political equivalent of people who believe that snake oil is a cure for cancer.

Published in EditorBlog


Rev. Cary Gordon of Iowa wants you to know that the evangelical community should get behind two candidates who best represent "faith and family." In case you don't know of Reverend Gordon, he introduces himself in an endorsement video.

In an email received by BuzzFlash at Truthout, Gordon advocates for GOP Iowa caucus voters to back a Rick Santorum-Michele Bachmann ticket (although caucus attendees can only back a presidential candidate, which would be Santorum, according to Gordon).

In his email, Gordon is just gaga over a Santorum-Bachmann ticket:

Santorum and Bachmann, Gordon says, have both pledged to reinstate the military's longstanding "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy against open homosexuality, reversed earlier this year by President Obama. "Rick and Michele would make a great GOP match, and would defend Judeo-Christian monogamy, while I think it's increasingly clear Gingrich simply cannot be trusted with the institution of marriage in any sense," Gordon said.

"I think the 2010 Esquire interview with Newt's second ex-wife and former mistress was very troubling," he said. During his recorded interview, Gordon also praised Santorum for championing a Personhood Amendment to the Constitution, something the pastor said was necessary if Americans wished to "stop the barbaric evil of abortion once and for all." Gordon also stated, "Rick Santorum is committed to rescuing this nation from economic disaster, and that's good news for everyone concerned about their families."

O.K., one doesn't know where to begin with this fantasy vision of Rick "man on dog" Santorum, the guy who just a day or so ago expressed his opposition to ensuring that kids with pre-existing conditions are provided health insurance. This is the Santorum, who just a few days ago said that it is good for the poor to struggle with hunger and poverty. This is the Santorum who is proud of endorsements from anti-gay extremists.

Published in EditorBlog

What if Occupy Wall Street is really part of a continuum of progressive mobilization that has been occurring for some time?

Take for example the Wisconsin uprising against Gov. Scott Walker that began months ago and drew more than 100,000 people to the small state capital of Madison. For days, union members, workers, progressives, students, and others rallied together to fight back against an onerous law that was an attack on the economic well-being and dignity of workers.

Other examples of rumblings of discontent and successful action (e.g., the Keystone XL Pipeline protests) among the pro-democracy movement abound. Most recently, Ohio Gov. John Kasich's effort to begin dismantling collective bargaining rights was overwhelmingly repudiated at the ballot box. Organizing a citizens' initiative, as was done in Ohio, to nullify an anti-workers' law - and passing it by a landslide - takes a tremendous amount of energy, organization and shoe leather.

Published in EditorBlog


"Reading newspapers does not give you an uplifting experience, because it never really makes it clear that you won the Irish Sweepstakes," Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich inscrutably commented at a recent news conference.

Given that Kasich was just battered by a landslide voter rejection of his legislation to end collective bargaining, you'd think that he'd realize that he doesn't have the luck of the Irish.

Kasich was, if one wants to travel down memory lane, Newt Gingrich's point man on the economy when they were both in Congress and Gingrich was speaker of the House. Kasich was sort of the Paul Ryan of his day.

Now, he's an electorally disgraced governor who brags about not being informed. As the web site Political Carnival pointed out, ignorance about the news is touted as a virtue for many Republicans, including Sarah Palin and former President George W. Bush.

The famous British satirist Jonathan Swift wrote in a droll commentary, "This is the sublime and refined point of felicity called the possession of being well-deceived, the serene peaceful state of being a fool among knaves."

Published in EditorBlog


How do you put the First Amendment through a shredder, prevent media coverage and arrest and rough up journalists when you don't want the world to see what you are up to? The answer: become the mayor of New York.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not the only elected official who is suppressing a free press guaranteed in the Constitution. But he has best perfected the tin horn dictator art of physically obstructing journalists. Just look at the smashing of Occupy New York under the cover of darkness.

Using the "1984" excuse of "protecting" journalists, Bloomberg has allowed the New York Police Department (NYPD) free rein to prevent the Fourth Estate from being anywhere near questionable police activity. As a result, reporters have gotten roughed up and arrested for doing their jobs.

It's gotten so bad that The New York Times - normally deferential to Bloomberg - printed a November 25 editorial deploring the aggressive NYPD effort to suppress the reporting of, among other actions, the raid on Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park. The Times was blunt in its outrage:

In many countries, using a camera or taking notes can get you into trouble. That is not supposed to happen in New York City. Yet as police cleared Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan on Nov. 15, a number of journalists were roughed up and arrested. Many were prevented by police from documenting what happened that night ...

Before clearing tents and other structures from Zuccotti Park, for example, a police representative asked journalists in the area for press credentials. Reporters and photographers do not need credentials to be in a public area. The passes are supposed to give them better access, but those who admitted having passes were instead herded to a penned area blocks away from the police action.

At another spot closer to the park, police were carrying a protester covered with blood when a photographer raised his camera. When two police officers spotted the camera, they shoved a barricade into the photographer, screaming that he was not permitted to take pictures even though he was on the sidewalk.

In a chilling video, one courageous journalist tries to get the NYPD to allow him to do his job and report the news. Fortunately, the police did not have the "foresight" to intimidate the person recording the encounter.

Published in EditorBlog



Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, sent me an email enticing to me to buy Republican swag as a gift for the holidays. Frankly, I thought it was a parody when I looked at the individual items.

One of the bumper stickers I am still wrapping my brain around for some sense of sanity says, "Vote Democrat: It's Easier Than Working." Then, there's a button that evokes a GOP rapture of sorts: "Visualize No Liberals."

Of course, for sale is the inevitable Republican freeloader slogan: "If You're Not Outraged, You're Not Paying Taxes." Ah yes, "the everything for nothing party."

Priebus' offering of holiday gifts manages to be hypocritical and unimaginative at the same time - sort of like second grade insults.

But what makes it all the more perplexing is how the Republican Party in DC - short of the libertarian wing such as Ron Paul - vigorously affirms subsidizing corporations and Wall Street with tax dollars. That's socialism for the moneyed class that the GOP supports.

This most recently came to light, ironically, with a Bloomberg news report, "Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion."

This occurred under the Bush administration, and it was a clear taxpayer subsidy in the billions of dollars to Wall Street that were not paid back. As Bloomberg Markets magazine reveals, "no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed's below-market rates."

This means the working stiff that the GOP so blithely mocks in its holiday "gifts" underwrote Wall Street with taxpayer dollars to the tune of billions of dollars.

Bloomberg news also notes in its analysis of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, "While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger."

Published in EditorBlog
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