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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aearthna(Photo: NASA Goddard)

As more than 300,000 people marched in New York on Sunday to advocate a dramatic change in strategies to reduce global warming, it should not be forgotten that the groundwork for the destruction of our atmosphere - as far as the US role in the looming catastrophe is concerned - began with the near annihilation of Native-Americans.

It is generally accepted by Native American historians that Native religions and worldviews have long been grounded in the premise that the earth is sacred. An abstract of a research paper by J. Baird Callicott, a professor of philosophy and environmental ethics at the University of North Texas, sums up the contrast between the conquered and the conquerors:

A generalized traditional Western worldview is compared with a generalized traditional American Indian worldview in respect to the practical relations implied by either to nature. The Western tradition pictures nature as material, mechanical, and devoid of spirit (reserving that exclusively for humans), while the American Indian tradition pictures nature throughout as an extended family or society of living, ensouled beings. The former picture invites unrestrained exploitation of nonhuman nature, while the latter provides the foundations for ethical restraint in relation to nonhuman nature.

It may appear simplistic to summarize these two worldviews as the difference between respecting our environment and exploiting it, but in general, these trends hold true.

(Photo: Samantha Allen)(Photo: Samantha Allen)

HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Two vans and a big bus pulled up to the First Watch restaurant for breakfast ​Saturday​ morning in Columbus, Ohio.

They were filled with truly great people, the new Climate Riders, on their way to New York City.

Twenty-four hours on the road each way for a few hours to march against the corporations that are killing our planet.

"I hate the Koch Brothers," one of them tells me over pancakes. "They are wrecking the Earth for all of us."

I've come just five miles from my house on the east side. It's about a half-hour on the ​my bike​ through the flatlands of the state capital, where a corrupt, climate-killing legislature has been working to outlaw renewables, ban the sale of Tesla cars, kill passenger rail service, subsidize dying nukes and embrace fracking with all its corporate might.

These good folks have come from Kansas and Missouri. Overnight to Columbus, then all day to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where they'll stay the night. Then two more hours into the city tomorrow morning. March through the day. Get back on the bus and into the vans around 9pm. Then ride a full day back to the far midwest.

2014.9.22.Buchheit.BF(Photo: frankjuarez / Flickr)PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Cuts to Head Start and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have taken food away from schoolchildren. The cuts are directly related to the dramatic dropoff in federal corporate tax revenue.

Tax avoidance is just as bad at the state level, which is a much greater source of K-12 educational funding. Both individuals and corporations are paying less state taxes than ever before. As a result, our public schools, the most important expression of a society working together to secure future generations, are being defunded and dismantled and left to decay.

It may be the ugliest extreme of inequality in our country -- tax avoidance by the rich vs. broken-down schools.

JANE STILLWATER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaElectionGold1(Photo: Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited)With election time almost upon us, here's a rather sobering thought: By spending as little as a mere two billion dollars, anyone with that amount of money can now afford to buy an entire US election -- Congress, the White House, governorships and all.

"But Jane," you might ask, "why would anyone even want to do that?" Just look at all the immense amount of loot you can score with just this tiny investment. Access to national park lands, bank deregulation, profits from weapons production, corporate monopoly status, pro-pollution laws, judges' rulings in your favor...need I go on? ​

For instance, eleven trillion dollars has been recently spent on escalating and pursuing US wars. So if you "invest" in American elections and still only receive, say, just ten percent of those eleven trillion dollars.

For your weapons-manufacturing services or whatever the heck else companies like Halliburton do, you still have just grown your measly two-billion-buck investment at least a thousand times over. Forever war really pays off! 

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aclivenbundy(Photo: DonkeyHotey)

Cliven Bundy is such an extreme caricature of egregious hypocrisy - not to mention being a crass racist - that he appears to be the invention of a cynical satirist. Alas, he's not.

Given how quickly the news cycle moves, here's a brief review of the Bundy farce. He's the Nevada rancher that became an icon of defiance of the government when he refused to pay grazing fees for his cattle to the Bureau of Land Management. The Bureau impounded Bundy's cows that were feeding themselves on federal land, because he owed more than a million dollars to the Bureau.

Bundy took to the media, and soon, armed militias - whose members believe government is an evil force that encroaches on their "God-given" rights - swarmed to "protect" Bundy from law enforcement officials and Bureau of Land Management officers. After a brief stand-off, the militarized swat teams and police stood down and essentially abandoned the area to Bundy's supporters, who continued to surround his ranch, acting as a de facto rebel military force. This included the setting up of armed check points. If these forces were in another nation defying US authority, they would be considered “militants” and targeted by drones.

Furthermore, the Bureau of Land Management - in full retreat - released Bundy's herd to again roam freely on federal land.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

ajyellen2Janet Yellen (Photo: Public Domain)

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has proven to be just another member of the financial ruling elite living in an alternative universe.

Accordingto the Associated Press (AP), Yellen believes the best approach to address the economic challenges faced by income inequality is to encourage people who are struggling to survive to save more money:

The Great Recession showed that a large number of American families are "extraordinarily vulnerable" to financial setbacks because they have few assets to fall back on, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Thursday

Yellen said a Fed survey found that an unexpected expense of just $400 would force the majority of American families to borrow money, sell something or simply not pay.

"The financial crisis and the Great Recession demonstrated, in a dramatic and unmistakable manner, how extraordinarily vulnerable are the large share of American families with few assets to fall back on," Yellen said in a Washington speech.

She said the bottom fifth of households by income - about 25 million households - had median net worth in 2013 of just $6,400, and many of these families had nothing saved or negative net worth, meaning their debts were greater than their assets.

That is like telling a starving person to set aside a few crumbs of bread for the future.

ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaISISwar(Photo: Sgt. Luis Delgadillo)Barack Obama's central dilemma last week, when he tried to sell a new war to the American public on the eve of the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11, was to speak convincingly about the wisdom and effectiveness of U.S. foreign policy over the last decade-plus while at the same time, alas, dropping the bad news that it didn't work.

Thus: "Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer."

Hurray! God bless drones and "mission accomplished" and a million Iraqi dead and birth defects in Fallujah. God bless torture. God bless the CIA. But guess what?

"Still we continue to face a terrorist threat. We cannot erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm."

So it's bombs away again, boys — another trace of evil has popped up in the Middle East — and I find myself at the edge of outrage, the edge of despair, groping for language to counter my own incredulity that the God of War is on the verge of another victory and Planet Earth and human evolution lose again.

Obama ended his executive declaration of more war with words that the military-industrial shills have slowly managed to turn into an obscenity: "May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America."

God bless another war?

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaJesusRapture(Photo: John Singleton Copley)Christian-themed movies appear to be attracting large audiences these days. While none of the latest crop of religious-themed movies will come close to the box office numbers garnered by Mel Gibson's 2004 film, The Passion of the Christ – over $600 million combined domestically and worldwide -- nevertheless, these films are taking church goers out of the pews, and transporting them to local cineplexes across the country. A post-film-watching goal is to have patrons go and click on the film's website and order up an assortment of merchandise.

This year's successful crop includes Heaven is for Real ($91 million); God's Not Dead ($60 million); and, Son of God ($59 million). Noah, starring Russell Crowe, is a film that stirred controversy amongst some Christians for its lack of fealty to the Biblical tale, but nevertheless brought in nearly $360 million worldwide. According to thewrap.com's Todd Cunningham, "Grassroots and social media campaigns aimed directly at the Christian community had a lot to do with their success."

"Just as there's a whole niche publishing industry that does nothing but Christian books, this is a way to create that niche in the movie-making industry," says Michael Parnell, pastor at Temple Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C., and a commentator and film reviewer for APBnews/Herald. Organizers of the 168 Film Festival, which celebrates Christian movies, called the past year, "a stellar year for faith films at the box office ..."

More recently, faith-based films have hit some hard times in the past few months, Cunningham pointed out: "The box-office washout of The Identical made it four straight misfires for faith-based movies after an unprecedented run of success for religious films earlier this year."

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

alocavore(Photo: thebittenword.com)

The PBS Newshour reports that at least one school district is attempting to implement "locavore" policies, resulting in fresher, healthier and more planet friendly food for students: 

In Oakland, school officials are undertaking an ambitious plan to transform the school lunch menu.  They’re working to source food from local farms, instead of big companies, and provide California food for California kids.

Strikingly, the change was precipitated by research done by the schoolchildren themselves, according to Jennifer LeBarre, director of nutrition for the Oakland schools and a local food advocate:

One of the things that inspired us to do the farm-to-school movement is a class project that Cleveland Elementary School fifth graders did.

On Earth Day, they did the food miles for their particular lunch, and they found out that the asparagus that they served, that we served to them, had traveled 17,000 miles before they ate it.  And so this was a real shocker for me, because asparagus is grown 50 miles from here, maybe 100 at the most.

2014.9.17.Hightower.BFOn February 8, 2014, the United Workers and Healthcare Is a Human Right campaign - Maryland joined thousands in Raleigh, North Carolina for the kickoff to the 2014 Moral Mondays movement. (Photo: United Workers / Flickr)

JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

My father, W.F. "High" Hightower, was a populist. Only, he didn't know it. Didn't know the word, much less the history or anything about populism's democratic ethos. My father was not philosophical, but he had a phrase that he used to express the gist of his political beliefs: "Everybody does better when everybody does better."

Before the populists of the late 1800s gave its instinctive rebelliousness a name, it had long been established as a defining trait of our national character: The 1776 rebellion was not only against King George III's government but against the corporate tyranny of such British monopolists as the East India Trading Company.

The establishment certainly doesn't celebrate the populist spirit, and our educational system avoids bothering students with our vibrant, human story of constant battles, big and small, mounted by "little people" against ... well, against the establishment. The Keepers of the Corporate Order take care to avoid even a suggestion that there is an important political pattern — a historic continuum — that connects Thomas Paine's radical democracy writings in the late 1700s to Shays' Rebellion in 1786, to strikes by mill women and carpenters in the early 1800s, to Jefferson's 1825 warning about the rising aristocracy of banks and corporations "riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman," to the launching of the women's suffrage movement at Seneca Falls in 1848, to the maverick Texans who outlawed banks in their 1845 state constitution, to the bloody and ultimately successful grassroots struggle for the abolition of slavery, and to the populist movement itself, plus the myriad rebellions that followed right into our present day.

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