JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Language matters. For example, the way our society's leaders choose to comment on the health of America's economy can either make clear to us commoners what's going on — or obfuscate, hide and even lie about the reality we face.
Consider that the most common measurement that the media, politicians and corporations use to tell us whether our economy is zooming or sputtering is Wall Street's index of stock prices. The media literally spews out some number every hour indicating that the Dow Jones Average of stock prices is up, down or sluggish — as though everyone is waiting breathlessly for that news.
But wait — nearly all stock is owned by the richest 10 percent of Americans, so the Dow Jones Average says nothing about the economic condition of the 90 percent majority of Americans. For us — and for the true economic health of America as a whole — we need to know the Doug Jones Average. In plain language, the question leaders should ask every day is: How're Doug and Delores Jones doing?
As we've seen for years now, stock prices keep rising to record highs, while wages and living standards of the middle class and poor majority have been held down by the same corporate and political "leaders" telling us to keep our eye on the Dow. Indeed, they also play a dirty language trick on us when they issue the monthly report on the health of America's job market. Currently, they say, with the unemployment rate down to four percent, the job market is booming!
DONALD LEE SHEPPARD FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
I am old enough to recall the shooting of President Ronald Reagan in March, 1981. For those who weren't around at the time, here's a fact you should know:
President Reagan was accompanied by four armed men, all trained to respond to an attack on the Commander in Chief and dedicated to take a bullet for him if necessary. Reagan and his entourage were in the open air, on a Washington street. We can assume his security detail remained as alert as possible to any hint of danger. Yet a young man infatuated with a Hollywood movie star shot Reagan and two other men. He wanted to shoot the President as a token of his love for her. Which is as good a motive as any other armed madman has had.
Fortunately, all three victims survived, and Ronald Reagan went on to serve two full terms as President
Do you suppose Donald Trump knows about this?
LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
chilling research paper warning about the fate of humanity has received 4,500 additional signatures and endorsements from scientists since it was first released last year.A
The paper—"World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice"—was published in November 2017 in the journal Bioscience and quickly received the largest-ever formal support by scientists for a journal article with roughly 15,000 signatories from 184 countries.
Today, the article has collected 20,000 expert endorsements and/or co-signatories, and more are encouraged to add their names.
The "Warning" became one of the most widely discussed research papers in the world. It currently ranks 6th out of 9 million papers on the Altmetric scale, which tracks attention to research. It has also inspired pleas from political leaders from Israel to Canada.
LAWRENCE WITTNER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
increased U.S. military spending by $165 billion over the next two years. Remarkably, though, a Gallup public opinion poll, conducted only days before, found that only 33 percent of Americans favored increasing U.S. military spending, while 65 percent opposed it, either backing reductions (34 percent) or maintenance of the status quo (31 percent).Early this February, the Republican-controlled Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed new federal budget legislation that
What is even more remarkable for a nation where military spending has grown substantially over the decades, is that, during the past 49 years that Gallup has asked Americans their opinions on U.S. military spending, in only one year (1981) did a majority of Americans (in that case, 51 percent) favor increasing it. During the other years, clear and sometimes very substantial majorities opposed spending more on the military.
RICHARD WOOLEY FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
now encroaching upon some major cities like Beijing, Cairo, Moscow and London. Demand for water is exceeding supply, and supply is down not just because we like to drink, cook and shower, but because climate change is drinking up the supply, and we've polluted a great deal of what's left.The severe drought in Cape Town, South Africa, renewed interest in the growing global water crisis, one that affects billions of people a year and is
The reaction should be deafening considering the statistics: about 3 billion people have limited or no access to water. There are about 2,000 children a day -- 800,000 children each year -- dying as a consequence of water shortages. Public, private and grassroots organizations are trying to balance demand and supply through new irrigation techniques, toilet-to-tap purification, do-it-yourself purification, changing of personal habits and more.
The race is on to solve this problem by 2030, when the world is estimated to have only 60 percent of the water it needs. Funding and human concern remain underwhelming, though.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
On March 1, Donald Trump's Interior Department lifted the ban on importing big-hunting elephant kill trophies to the United States. Trump, in the past, claimed he was not a fan of safaris and the killing of large animals in Africa for sport. However, as he's done on a large number of policies, Trump has changed his mind.
Maybe he did so because safari hunting is a rich man's sport. Maybe it was a family matter. After all, a 2017 Guardian article states that "Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump are prolific big-game hunters and during the 2016 campaign, images re-emerged of the pair on a 2011 hunting trip posing with animals they had killed on safari, including an elephant, a buffalo and a leopard."
The Trump male heirs are passionate braggarts about shooting down sought-after prey in Africa, including animals that potentially face extinction.
LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch
The three-judge panel with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied the White House's writ of mandamus petition filed in June, a rarely used legal maneuver that would have dismissed Juliana v. United States.
In the unanimous decision Wednesday, Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas called the petition a "drastic and extraordinary remedy reserved for really extraordinary causes" and the Trump administration's motion did not satisfy that standard.
"The issues that the defendants raise on mandamus are better addressed through the ordinary course of litigation," Thomas wrote, thus allowing the case to move forward.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
CBS News painted the picture: "The preacher and the president, seated side-by-side Wednesday in the lit-for-television Capitol Rotunda, leaned a few inches closer. The Rev. Franklin Graham whispered something to President Trump, who listened as he kept his eyes on the pine casket at the center of the room."
Whatever you might think about the legacy of the late Reverend Billy Graham – his laying in state in the Capitol Rotunda -- know this: His son Franklin is a Trump loving, LGBTQ condemning, Planned Parenthood denouncing, Obama bashing, Putin worshipping Islamophobe, that yearns to be the next inhabitant of his father's unofficial title of "America's Pastor." If anyone personifies the yearnings of white conservative evangelicals, who voted 80% for Trump, it is Franklin Graham. Over the past decade, Graham, who is president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has been creeping closer and closer to occupying the space of some of the most notable all-time Christian Right purveyors of hate.
RICHARD HEINBERG FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
gutting of the Environmental Protection Agency, his announcement of the US exit from the Paris climate accord, his selling off of national parks, his opening of coastal waters for offshore drilling, his easing of regulations on fracking, or his seeking subsidies for coal mining and coal power plants.Among my environmentalist friends and colleagues, "Trump fatigue" is a real and common ailment.Donald Trump's 13-month tenure (so far) as president of the United States has been an exhausting sprint for onlookers concerned about the state of the global ecosystem and the fate of industrial civilization. Nearly every day begins with a new outrage -- whether Trump's
But much the same could be said for millions of citizens who are only peripherally interested in environmental issues. They awake each morning to read about the Stormy Daniels scandal, the Rob Porter scandal, the Anthony Scaramucci hiring/firing scandal, the Mike Flynn scandal, the James Comey firing scandal, the Tom Price scandal, the White House nepotism and security clearance scandal. The list could go on and on; who can possibly keep up?
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Amid ongoing uproars over the high cost of life-saving medicine, it is worth remembering that the US government pays for a significant portion of the research funds for new pharmaceuticals. Alexander Zaitchick of the Other98 website notes that a recent study by the Center for Integration of Science and Industry (CISI) came to the conclusion: "No NIH [National Institutes of Health] funds, no new drugs, no patents, no profits, no industry."
The CISI study, underwritten by the National Biomedical Research Foundation, mapped the relationship between NIH-funded research and every new drug approved by the FDA between 2010 and 2016. The authors found that each of the 210 medicines approved for market came out of research supported by the NIH. Of the $100 billion it spent nationally during this period, more than half of it — $64 billion — ended up helping the development of 84 first-in-class drugs.
But the NIH doesn’t get to use the profits from these drugs to fund more research, the way it might under a model based on developing needed drugs and curing the sick, as opposed to serving Wall Street. Instead, publicly funded labs conduct years of basic research to get to a breakthrough, which is then snatched up, tweaked, and patented (privatized) by companies who turn around and reap billions with 1,000-times-cost mark-ups on drugs developed with taxpayer money.
We, the taxpayers, are providing the money for the initial research on many proprietary drugs, only to see the end results privatized. Furthermore, we become the victims of profiteering after providing government funding to build the basic formulas for the drug companies. Yes, generic drugs may be much less expensive, particularly with some form of insurance, but drugs that are patented can be manipulated in price to become onerous in cost to the point of threatening survival.