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Gillum 0907wrpAndrew Gillum, Democratic candidate for Florida governor, speaking to voters. (Photo: Bob Howard / Flickr)


Editor's Note: The 2018 election season is finally upon us, and the democratic doings in Florida have -- as usual -- made the whole country sit up and take notice. The governor's race between Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis, along with the senate race between Rick Scott and Bill Nelson, are a microcosm of both our national discourse and our ongoing national trauma. BuzzFlash decided we need eyes and ears on the ground in that strangest and swampiest of states, and Bryan Adeline is our man. He will be submitting weekly reports on the doings down in the Sunshine State, so stay tuned. This is Florida, so it only gets weirder from here. -- WRP


Thursday, 06 September 2018 06:59

Restorative Justice as Healing in North Lawndale


 justice 2574945 960 720 geralt / Pixabay

"This isn't rocket science," Jackie Ingram said, humorously downplaying her involvement in the Restorative Justice Community Court, a pilot project of the Cook County Circuit Court, which has brought a new, healing-focused system of justice to her community this past year.

My thought in that moment was: She's right. Saving kids and reclaiming a troubled, broken community may be more complex than rocket science.

And more crucial.

"This is basic," she went on. "Give them hope that they have a future."

Jackie, who lives in the Chicago neighborhood of North Lawndale, is one of the community members involved in the experimental court, which addresses some of the worst failings of the country's criminal justice system.


nfl 3558732 960 720 Quince Media / Pixabay

Days after an arbitrator announced that former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick's collusion suit against the NFL can move forward, Nike announced that it was kicking off the 30th anniversary of its "Just Do It" campaign, by choosing Kaepernick as one of the faces of the campaign. The campaign – which already has drawn reaction by anti-Kapers -- features a close-up black and white image of Kaepernick's face with the quote "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything." According to Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson, Kaepernick will be paid millions for his endorsement deal and will "have his own apparel line with the company."  

Last week, at the U.S. Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York, Kaepernick and former 49er safety Eric Reid were greeted with loud applause when they were introduced during the match between Serena Williams and her sister Venus. At her post-match press conference, Serena said: "I think every athlete, every human and definitely every African-American should be completely grateful and honored how Colin and Eric are doing so much more for the greater good," She added, "They really use their platform in ways that is really unfathomable. I feel like they obviously have great respect from a lot of their peers, especially other athletes, people that really are looking for social change."

Pipeline 0905wrp(Photo: Contando Estrelas / Flickr)


Two environmental groups have filed suit against the U.S. Coast Guard in a Detroit federal district court, arguing that their plan to respond in the case of a Great Lakes pipeline oil spill is inadequate, The Detroit News reported on Aug. 22.

The suit is part of a larger push to shut down Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac between Lakes Huron and Michigan and comes as indigenous activists have set up camps protesting the line that could damage 400 miles of shoreline in a spill.

GWbanksy 0905wrp(Photo: Duncan Hull / Flickr)


Killer floods and heat waves have made 2018 another record-setting year as the climate crisis intensifies. The UN climate negotiations in Bangkok (September 4-8), followed by the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco (September 12-14) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, (December) could make 2018 the year that world governments chart a path toward tackling climate change, enhanced ambition and implementation of the Paris Agreement. It could also be the time that global leaders fall dangerously short in reckoning with the climate crisis, condemning millions more to losing their lives and livelihoods.

Tuesday, 04 September 2018 07:11

Consumers Demand Grocers Address Pig Welfare


2808207783 340fd5250b b Nick Saltmarsh / /Flickr

In the United States, an estimated 3 out of 4 mother pigs remain in steel cages for life. These cages are no bigger than the average fridge. They are unable to turn around, root, explore, move comfortably or socialize with other pigs. Mother pigs become chronically depressed, and bite the cages of their steel bars in frustration.

These animals are treated as breeding machines. Mother pigs go constantly hungry because their food is restricted to limit weight gain and avoid complications, while giving birth to huge litters. They resort to repetitively chewing when their mouths are empty, until they foam at the mouth.

This is a system that thrives behind closed doors, with many Americans simply unaware of standard pig-rearing practices. But new research commissioned by my organization, World Animal Protection, has found that when consumers are made aware of the reality behind closed doors, they expect more from companies. When people are shown images depicting typical factory farming practices, 72 percent of international respondents find the way pigs are raised upsetting, wrong or shocking. Eighty percent of US respondents were concerned after seeing the realities of commercial farming. 


25218962886 734d099f46 b Gage Skidmore / Flickr

"History will record the greatness that you have brought for generations," read the inscription in a Bible signed by more than 100 conservative Christian evangelicals, and presented to President Donald Trump at a meeting in the White House on August 27. Consider the "greatness!" Hush money to porn stars? Racist comments galore? The Access Hollywood tape? Pitting one group of people against another? Separating young children from their parents and putting them in cages? Accusations from his lawyer of criminal activity? Thousands of misstatements and/or outright lies? Love for authoritarian leaders? Narcissism that knows no bounds?

What would it take for conservative evangelical Christians to abandon their maximum leader? How obedient must they be? How low do they have to go before they've lost all moral credibility? Those are some of the questions that have been asked since conservative Christian evangelical leaders sold their souls to Donald Trump. 

In 2016, 4 out of 5 evangelicals voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton. Recent polls show that support for Trump among evangelicals has not eroded. One Alabama preacher maintained that "we need a street fighter in the White House." Despite not believing that Trump is a man of God, one of their primary rationales for supporting Trump is that God is using him for his own purposes. 

Friday, 31 August 2018 07:26

ICE: Trump's Rogue Anti-Immigrant Agency

ICE 0831wrp(Photo: Joe Brusky / Flickr)


The roguish activities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have under gone much greater scrutiny since June, when Donald Trump's implemented his "zero tolerance" immigration policy of separating parents from their children as they crossed the border from Mexico to the United States. Over the course of its relatively brief history, ICE officials and officers have been accused of having "a known history of human rights abuses, and corruption," The Huffington Post's Juan Escalante recently reported. Now, in addition to detaining immigrants by the thousands – many being held at privately run facilities -- ICE is committed to promoting fear in immigrant communities.

According to Escalante, "In the year and a half Trump has been commander in chief, ICE and CBP [Customs and Border Protection] have: Entered homes to detain immigrants without presenting a warrant; Detained immigrant parents in broad daylight as they dropped their children off at school; Lied on official documentation to try to frame a Dreamer as a gang member; [and], Continue to hold young migrant children in detention away from their parents.

For these and many other reasons, many are calling for the abolishment of ICE or, at least, for its complete overhaul.


constitution334Donald Trump is shreding the fabric of the Constitution. (Photo: Kim Davies)

Today, August 31, is my last day writing and editing for BuzzFlash at Truthout. I have been enriched beyond bounds by my experience at Truthout, which never abandons the quest for justice.

As for my beloved BuzzFlash, this marks my 18th year at the publication -- and I wish it the best in the future in its home at Truthout, where it has resided for the past eight years.

I would have to take a deep breath and write a book to describe the heady experience of founding BuzzFlash before the 2000 election was stolen from Al Gore. If I learned anything, the Republicans have a thousand and one ways to steal elections. After all, they have suppressed millions of Democratic votes. They have over time honed their racist skills in chicanery and straight-out voter purging.

The truth is that if the GOP did not engage in ruthless unprincipled behavior, race-baiting and voter suppression, there might not have been a Republican president since Eisenhower. It began with Kissinger helping Nixon steal the presidency from Humphrey by getting South Vietnam to sink the Paris peace conference in 1968. Reagan aides negotiated with the Iranians to make sure that the hostages were not released before the 1980 election. George Herbert Walker Bush ran a racist Willie Horton campaign orchestrated by Lee Atwater. As for George W. Bush, we all know about how he won the 2000 election on a 5-4 Supreme Court partisan vote. Voter suppression kept enough Democratic voters away from the polls to get Trump the electoral votes he needed, even though he lost the popular vote by more than three million votes.


26592194098 be2038963c Mike Licht / /Flickr

It's third and goal. Your team has the ball. They just need to put it into the end zone and that's the game. The play clock seems as if it's in slow motion. 

Millions of college football fans will have that or a similar scenario play out as players take the field this weekend for the first games of the season. But it's not the action on the field that deserves our attention. There's a crisis in college athletics. It's ingrained and institutionalized. That crisis is the culture of covering up abuse and it should be front and center until it's confronted. 

The evidence of that culture is clear. Just last week, Ohio State University head football coach Urban Meyer was suspended without pay and will not coach for the first three games of the season. Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith is also suspended without pay. An investigation found the two of them, "failed to take sufficient management action relating to Zach Smith's misconduct…." Zach Smith was an assistant coach under Meyer who is facing allegations of domestic abuse. 

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