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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

homelessheartlessAs twitter becomes an increasingly major news feed, issues like youth homelessness get short shrift. (Photo: Hawaii County)

It is not that tweets are worth ignoring. How could there not be consequences for Roseanne Barr's abhorrent racist tweet, for instance? Then there's Donald Trump's daily Twitter storms that become the fodder of the mainstream corporate press. Trump uses Twitter like a circus ringmaster snaps a whip to ensure media coverage. Reporting on tweets is sometimes appropriate, but all too often Twitter journalism has replaced the coverage of important public policy issues. 

Take for instance the issue of youth homelessness. According to a late-2017 study by Chapin Hall of the University of Chicago, approximately 4.2 million young people between the ages of 13 and 25 are, at some point, homeless during a given year. That includes one in 30 youth between the ages of 13 and 17. The total number of youth who are homeless in a given year increases, however, when you include children under the age of 13 who are homeless with their families.

Some websites such as Truthout do repeatedly address the youth and general homeless crisis through both original content and reposts.

6935896100 00fd37f81a z Peter Miller/Flickr

ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

America does what it wants.

This is obvious, except it’s also monstrously unnerving. Let’s at least add some quote marks: “America” does what it wants -- this secretly defined, self-obsessed, unelected entity that purports to be the United States of America, all 325 million of us, but is, in fact, a narrowly focused amalgam of generals, politicians and corporate elites who value only one thing: global dominance, from now to eternity.

Indeed, they’re capable of imagining nothing else, which is the truly scary part. Until this changes, “peace” is a feel-good delusion and “disarmament” (nuclear and otherwise) is the butt of a joke. The American empire may be collapsing, but the war games continue.

So I realized with a sudden start as I read Nick Turse’s analysis of a collection of U.S. military documents, which the TomDispatch website got hold of via the Freedom of Information Act. The documents contained a detailed description of the 33rd annual Joint Land, Air, and Sea Strategic Special Program, “an elaborate war game,” Turse explains, “carried out in 2016 by students and faculty from the U.S. military’s war colleges, the training grounds for its future generals and admirals.”

The war game was wrapped around a fantasy future of “dystopian dangers,” set in 2020, in which, “as the script for the war game put it, ‘lingering jealousy and distrust of American power and national interests have made it politically and culturally difficult for the United States to act unilaterally.’”

Opioid 0530wrp(Photo: Penn State / Flickr)

OLIVIA ROSANE OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

A surprising finding from the waters of Seattle's Puget Sound reveals that the opioid epidemic devastating human communities in the U.S. could be harming marine life as well.

Every two years, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) transplants bay mussels raised in clean waters in Whidbey Island, WA to locations around Puget Sound in order to monitor pollution levels in the water. Since mussels are filter feeders, area scientists can get a good idea of what contaminants are present in the environment by examining which have built up in the mussels' tissue after two to three months of exposure.

This year, for the first time, one of those contaminants was oxycodone.

Wind 0530wrpWind farm at sea. (Photo: David Hill / Flickr)

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

The world's most powerful wind turbines have been successfully installed at the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off Aberdeen Bay in Scotland's North Sea.

The final turbine was installed on Saturday just nine weeks after the first foundation for the 11-turbine offshore wind farm was deployed, according to the developers Vattenfall.

Incidentally, the project was at the center of a contentious legal battle waged—and lost—by Donald Trump, before he became U.S. president. Trump felt the "ugly" wind turbines would ruin the view of his Menie golf resort.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018 06:16

Your Shopping Receipts Are Toxic

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

14628863406 0fb93235e4 z Howard Lake/Flickr

It is seemingly the most innocuous of routines: shopping. A consumer goes to a store, selects products and then goes to the cashier. The cashier then rings up the purchases, and a paper receipt spins out of the cash register. The purchaser folds up the receipt and drops it in the shopping bag or puts it in a wallet or purse. However, the innocent-looking paper receipt is likely toxic.

Recent studies have shown that the record of your shopping items can be hazardous to your health. Healthy Stuff, which researches toxic chemicals in everyday products, analyzed 207 receipts from consumer businesses and even libraries. It found that 93 percent of the receipts were coated with chemicals that are hormone-disrupting: Bisphenol-A (BPA) and (Bisphenol-S) BPS. According to Healthy Stuff, "these chemicals are quickly and efficiently absorbed into the bloodstream through your skin." They are used as a coating to highlight the information on the receipt. Healthy Stuff warned,

The negative effects of BPA on hormones, metabolism, and other bodily systems have been repeatedly demonstrated. BPS has emerged as a common and regrettable substitute, showing effects similar to BPA.

According to published research, employees who handle receipts or other thermal paper repeatedly in their jobs are at especially high risk.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

chow 5 29 18The European Commission on Monday proposed banning the 10 most common single-use plastic products as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear. Pixabay

In an ambitious effort to stop ocean pollution, the European Commission on Monday proposed banning the 10 most common single-use plastic products as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear.

The European Union's executive arm targeted the products that are most often found on the continent's beaches and seas, which together account for 70 percent of its marine litter.

"Plastic waste is undeniably a big issue and Europeans need to act together to tackle this problem, because plastic waste ends up in our air, our soil, our oceans, and in our food," said EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans in a statement.

"Worldwide this is the most ambitious and comprehensive legal proposal addressing marine litter. We can lead the way. We have to lead the way for our environment, for our health, but also to turn this into a competitive advantage for Europe," Timmermans, as quoted by The Guardian, told reporters as he unveiled the measures on Sunday.

 

MICHAEL SEIFERT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT 

36464147116 658576044b z 1 rey perezoso /Flickr

A few weeks ago, the president of the United States referred to immigrants as "animals". His apologists hastened to insist that he was referring to gang members, but the remark was consistent with a recent series of actions that establish the degree to which the Trump administration views immigrants as less than human.

Last week, unarmed, twenty-year old Claudia Patricia Gomez was shot to death in a dusty town just north of the border. She had crossed into the United States to join her husband and was traveling with a group of immigrants. The aftermath of the shooting was captured on Facebook Live by a neighbor. As the Border Patrol rounded up other members of the group, an agent is heard saying to some of immigrants, "This is what happens to you people."

This most recent death of an unarmed civilian at the hands of a Border Patrol agent came a month to the day after a different Border Patrol agent was found innocent of homicide after shooting 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena to death. In that case, the defense lawyer argued that the first three shots were fired in self-defense, and, since one of those first shots would have killed the teenager, the other six that the agent fired could not have been homicidal as the boy was already dead.

Education 0525wrp(Photo: Alan Levine / Flickr)

KIMBERLY MANNS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

As a Black woman growing up in predominantly white neighborhoods and schools in Dallas, one of the most segregated cities in the US, I have since spent my professional life working to increase access to educational and economic resources for marginalized Black communities.

In that process, I've intimately experienced the symbiotic relationship between the systemic oppression of Black communities and the concentration of power -- including financial, political and social capital -- in predominantly white communities.

As managing director of Early Matters Dallas -- a program engaging stakeholders including parents, community business and philanthropic leaders to increase access to better early childhood outcomes -- I have learned that power, when used competently, expands. It is a false assumption that power is forever limited as a rule and not a fluid commodity.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

parademilitaryjpgTrump evaded service in Vietnam, but he will get his self-serving military parade. (Photo: DVIDSHUB)

Last year, Trump was so impressed with the French Bastille military parade he saw in Paris, while conferring with French Prime Minister Macron, that he vowed to hold one in the United States. Like many strongman leaders, Trump is bent on ensuring that the US the strongest military power on the planet. So when Trump returned to the US, he proposed an armed forces military parade on Veteran's Day, November 11.

Some analysts speculated that the parade would never happen, and that it was just one of Trump's passing authoritarian ideas. However, the project just came one giant step closer to reality when the House of Representatives passed a Defense Department appropriations bill yesterday that included authorization of the display of military might. That must have heartened Trump for a moment because he asserted that the parade would be "something great for the spirit of the country."

It will be a triumphal Trump simulation of military leadership, as the parade route runs from the White House to the Capitol. Medal of Honor recipients will ring Trump on the viewing stand in a display that will bolster the image of a self-styled leader of military might and compassion for veterans.

 

Thursday, 24 May 2018 06:42

Embracing Kids Instead of Arming Them

ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUTkoehler 5 24 18What happens to kids who grow up feeling valued? Fabrice Florin

Let’s open the classroom doors -- all of them. Open up the schools, open up America, looking for the lost souls.

"Woo hoo!" he shouted as he fired off his guns. By the time he was done, ten more people were dead. Eight students, two teachers. 

More sacred lives tossed to the God of War.

The murders at Santa Fe High School, in Santa Fe, Texas, on May 18 were "the fourth-deadliest mass shooting at a U.S. public school in modern history," according to Reuters, as though such stats help us grasp what happened, and why. Perhaps in a way they accomplish the opposite -- converting the deaths to numbers, filing them away in the national memory as the news cycle moves on.

But we all know the next horror headline is waiting to be written.

 

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