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School desks(Photo: alamosbasement)ROBERT C. KOEHLER OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

What's the difference between education and obedience? If you see very little, you probably have no problem with the militarization of the American school system -- or rather, the militarization of the impoverished schools . . . the ones that can't afford new textbooks or functional plumbing, much less art supplies or band equipment.

The Pentagon has been eyeing these schools for a decade now, and seeing its future there. It comes in like a cammy-clad Santa, bringing money and discipline. In return it gets young minds to shape, to (I fear) possess: to turn into the next generation of soldiers, available for the coming wars.

The United States no longer has a draft because the nation no longer believes in war, except abstractly, as background noise. But it has an economic draft: It claims recruits largely from the neighborhoods of hopelessness. Joining the U.S. military is the only opportunity to escape poverty available to millions of young Americans. We have no government programs to build the infrastructure of peace and environmental sustainability -- we can't afford that, so it has to happen on its own (or not at all) -- but our military marches on, funded at more than half a trillion dollars a year, into ever more pointless wars of aggression.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT 

2016june2 changeWe, not the politicians, lead the change. (Photo: Conal Gallagher)

The mainstream corporate media -- when not hanging on Donald Trump's latest outrageous remark -- covers the primary contest for president of the United States as if it were a horse race or boxing match. BuzzFlash has periodically commented on this travesty and how it debases democracy.

Already the national polls have started to become fodder for political debate -- as if the issues don't matter, just the numbers -- with the current mainstream buzz concluding that trending polls show Clinton and Trump in a tight November race. That, of course, has quickly become the "conventional wisdom" before either of them have been voted their party's candidate at the upcoming summer conventions, with Clinton still in a primary battle. In regards to the ongoing contest on the Democratic side, much is currently being made of an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll released Wednesday that shows Clinton and Sanders are "neck-and-neck" in California, according to CNN.

Most of the mainstream media coverage skips details of candidate policies and, instead, reinforces easily consumable distilled perceptions of the candidates: Trump is swaggering, pugnacious and entertaining; Clinton has the government experience résumé, but lacks emotional connection and trustworthiness; and Sanders has authenticity, passion and "radical" plans for Wall Street. In addition, aside from ongoing secondary stories (Trump's Liberty University scam, Clinton's email investigation, Sanders' going "rogue" on the Democratic Party), the corporate media -- as we have noted before -- covers the competition for the presidency as if it were a sporting event.

As voters, we may be motivated by ideas, but television, in particular, offers images that are akin to caricatures of presidential candidates. There is little, if any, room for nuance -- just sensationalistic coverage of outlandish remarks, gaffes, uncovered historical blemishes, polling, DC-based punditry, rowdy crowds and winners and losers. In this context, public policy announcements and differences are usually confined to below-the-main-headline news, if covered at all. After all, a discussion of the implications of reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act -- whose repeal in the second Bill Clinton administration has been viewed by many as enabling the 2008 economic breakdown -- just doesn't draw enough viewers. Advertisers on television, of course, pay rates based on the size of a program's audience. Making politics personal, entertaining, combative and polling-oriented keeps the adrenalin of a mass audience pumping -- and advertising fees high.

CARL POPE OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

CarOil 0601wrp opt(Photo: EcoWatch)Oil touched $50 last week, close to double its slump price earlier this year, before falling slightly below that benchmark. Short-term impacts—the wildfire in Canada and outages in Nigeria—helped reduce stocks and drive up the price; then Iraq production increases stalled the rally. The market seemed to have averted the risk of an extended period of $20-30 prices, unsustainable for oil dependent nations, even the richest like the Saudis, whose “pump and dump” strategy lies behind the current low-price environment.

At $40-60/barrel, however, the Saudis can stay the course. They can afford that price in terms of their budget deficit, if not easily. Some U.S. shale plays come back into production, but the capital heavy projects in the Arctic, ultra-deep ocean or Canadian tar sands are still off the table as prudent investments. Medium term, as non-OPEC [Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries], non-shale production falls, with no new big ticket projects coming on-line to replace depleted wells, reserves fall. Increasing demand will then require increasing dependence on OPEC and soaring prices. Even if U.S. shale roars back in response, it can’t make up for an investment slump everywhere else. The Saudis can then set the price they want.

Western governments know this. They treat the Kingdom with kid gloves. In Kossovo, even while it was effectively an American protectorate, the Saudis were allowed to implant jihadi mullahs to create an ideological base for their Wahhabi Islam. In the process they “transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a font of Islamic extremists and a pipeline for jihadists.” Kossovo now sends more recruits to ISIS than any nation in Europe: 314 identified to date from a tiny country.

 

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Trump 0601wrp(Photo: Gage Skidmore)With demonstrations outside and inside of Donald Trump’s campaign rallies erupting, and sometimes turning violent, Team Trump, ever on the lookout for a game-changing strategy, may see these incidents as an opportunity to brand The Donald the “Law and Order” candidate. Picture Trump kicking off the final months of the campaign with: "We'll give you the greatest amount of law and order that you've ever seen. There will be so much winning law and order that you might get tired of things being so quiet." 

When protesters made some noise at a recent Trump rally inside the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, Trump shouted -- as he has done many times over the past several months -- “Get ‘em out. “Out! Out! Out!” This time Trump added: “Don’t hurt ‘em. See what I say? Don’t hurt ‘em. I say that for the television cameras … Do not hurt him, even though he’s a bad person.”

Over the past several months, Trump himself has spoken about punching protesters in the mouth.

Outside the Convention Center, pro and anti-Trump supporters squared off against each other for most of the day. By nightfall, according to reports, police arrested a handful of mayhem-creating anti-Trump protesters.

As the Washington Examiner recently editorialized, “If Trump wins the general election in November, he should send fruit baskets to the organizers of the latest unrest. They are generating sympathy for him by ensuring that a noisy proportion of his supporters are identified as asses who need to be defeated.”

"The more barbaric the 'protesters' act, the more votes they will drive toward the target of their barbarism," Robin Heid, M.A., a libertarian political scientist who says the anti-Establishment campaigns of Trump and Sanders are exactly what the U.S. political process needs right now, told me in an email. "It is well-documented that the violent disruption of the 1968 Democratic Convention contributed significantly to Hubert Humphrey's defeat by Richard Nixon - even though it was later determined that the Chicago police perpetrated far more of that violence than did the protesters. That is why the leftist media is trying so hard to pin the barbarism at Trump rallies to the candidate and his supporters instead of reporting the well-documented fact that the violence is almost exclusively anti-Trump barbarians."

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

2016june1 trumpveteransThe mainstream corporate media can't get enough of Donald Trump, even if he's lacerating them. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

"He's Not Gonna Take it," CNN blared on its homepage yesterday, above a large close-up photo of Donald Trump. Beneath the picture, CNN placed a headline with a link to the article, "When Donald Trump hits back, he hits back hard." 

CNN, in essence, was pumping up the indomitable image that Donald Trump wants the media to portray of him. He and his campaign flacks consistently account for any of Trump's reprehensible and coarse portrayals of individuals and groups by asserting that he is a "counterpuncher." How that excuses racism, misogynism, bigoted pronouncements and childish name-calling is what the mass corporate media should be examining in their own reporting. However, such reporting is the exception rather than the rule. This was exemplified in the coverage of Donald Trump's Tuesday news conference in which he lacerated the press for questioning the sincerity of his commitment to raising money for veterans' charities -- including a personal million-dollar contribution he pledged in January.

The New York Times provided an account of the Tuesday spectacle:

He called a news conference ostensibly to answer questions about his fund-raising for charities that benefit military veterans. But Donald J. Trumpinstead spent most of his time on live television Tuesday berating the journalists covering his presidential campaign in unusually vitriolic and personal terms.

“You’re a sleaze,” he told a reporter for ABC.

“You’re a real beauty,” he told a reporter for CNN, snidely denigrating the man’s competence.

For 40 minutes, Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, assailed those reporting on his candidacy with a level of venom rarely seen at all, let alone in public, from the standard-bearer of a major political party. Then he warned that a Trump White House would feature more of the same.

Trump's use of the media as pawns in the usual scrum of national live cable coverage of all things Trump speaks to how the corporate media press corps is eating at his trough.

Trump caricature(Photo: DonkeyHotey)MICHAEL BRUNE OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Donald Trump has spent a lot of time talking about his hands  --  and less time talking about his actual plans. Today, though, Trump will be unveiling his so-called energy policy for an audience of fossil fuel CEOs.

Here's what you actually need to know about Trump's environment and energy agenda in five minutes or less.

1. Not only has Donald Trump failed to propose a plan to address climate change  --  he won't even admit that it's happening.

"A total hoax."

"Bullshit."

"A con job."

You might think these are good words to describe Trump's campaign. No  --  they're his take on the climate crisis.

The facts are clear: Climate change poses an urgent threat that requires immediate action.

 

Bottle of Roundup(Photo: Mike Mozart)ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Glyphosate, the most used herbicide in the world, has been found in the urine of 93 percent of the American public during a unique testing project that started in 2015.

Glyphosate, labeled a "probable human carcinogen" by the World Health Organization's cancer agency IARC in 2015, has now been revealed to be ubiquitous in the first ever comprehensive and validated LC/MS/MS testing project to be carried out across America.

The European Union is currently in the process of putting restrictions on the use of glyphosate due to health concerns, with Member States so far unable to agree on the re-approval of the chemical beyond June 2016.

Glyphosate-containing herbicides are sold under trademarks such as Monsanto's Roundup.

JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Missile2 0527wrp(Photo: Lockheed Martin)Question: Is China a threat to the world – or – is the US a threat to the world?

Answer: According to recent Win/Gallop international polls, “The US was voted the biggest threat by far, garnering 24 percent of the vote. Pakistan was a very distant second with 8 percent, followed by China (6 percent) and Afghanistan (5 percent).”

Now that the US has decimated the Middle East for the last sixteen years, after an invasion that set off a mass blood bath from Iraq to Syria, President Obama and his military advisors have turned their attention to a new enemy: China.

The long respected agreement to ban the sale of military weapons to Vietnam has been upheld for fifty years. The agreement reduced the possibility of brutally devastating wars would break out again after the US invaded Vietnam in the late 1960s and early 70s. The US believes that its political system of vulture capitalism, which is wrongly equated with social democracy by US leaders, should be accepted by all countries.

As Carl Jung put it, “The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no {political} recipe…that suits all cases.” But that’s not how the US government sees it: one shoe must fit all countries. And that one shoe is US corporatism and control of global resources that benefit the top one percent of billionaires at the expense of the majority of people and at the devastation of the earth’s ecosystems from forests to water.

Like the Middle East invasion, historians have argued that the US government’s invasion of Vietnam was not only unnecessary, it was a colossal mistake.

But as the saying goes, our US government ignores the lessons of historical mistakes and with time merely revises the past to a ‘Might is Right’ moral edict.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

March2016July27TrumpglobalWDonald Trump the businessman appears to accept global warming, while politically denouncing it as a hoax. (Photo: Tory Webster

Politico published an article on May 23 that received a bit of attention, but was generally buried in the news cycle by more sensational aspects of the presidential race. In a campaign season when public policy has taken second place to entertainment value in coverage, it was interesting to read a report (particularly on a website with an often-conservative bent) that actually addressed how one candidate is contradicting an official position that he has taken. The candidate is Donald Trump, and his public position is that global warming is a "total hoax" yet, as Politico notes:

The New York billionaire is applying for permission to erect a coastal protection works to prevent erosion at his seaside golf resort, Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Ireland, in County Clare.... 

A permit application for the wall, filed by Trump International Golf Links Ireland and reviewed by POLITICO, explicitly cites global warming and its consequences — increased erosion due to rising sea levels and extreme weather this century — as a chief justification for building the structure.

His public disavowal of climate science at the same time he moves to secure his own holdings against the effects of climate change also illustrates the conflict between his political rhetoric and the realities of running a business with seaside assets in the 21st century.

To put it more bluntly, Trump is a climate change denier except when it comes to impacting his bottom line. Then, he's a believer in global warming.A May 26 New York Times report states that "Donald Trump’s energy plan [consists of] more fossil fuels and fewer rules."

Trump speaking in Arizona(Photo: Gage Skidmore)BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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We recently wrote about the dilemma facing conservative evangelical Christian leaders over Donald Trump candidacy. Will they actively support Trump, and encourage their supporters to vote for him? Will they stay home? Will they support a third party candidate? Rob Boston, director of communications for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Frederick Clarkson, a senior fellow at the Massachusetts-based Political Research Associates, two longtime observers of, and writers about the religious right maintained that when push comes to shove, most of the movement's leaders would eventually come around. Well, on June 21, dozens of religious right leaders will be coming around to New York City for a meet-up with "the Donald."

The event, "A Conversation About America's Future with Donald Trump and Ben Carson," is being sponsored by United in Purpose, My Faith Votes, Global Fund Group, FCCI, Vision America, AFA Action and the Family Research Council, and may be one of the largest gatherings of anti-gay, and anti-abortion religious leaders in quite some time.

According to Time magazine's Elizabeth Dias, "Former presidential candidate Ben Carson is working with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and Bill Dallas, who leads United in Purpose, to plan a closed-door session for about 400 social conservative leaders to meet with Trump in the coming weeks in New York City. A broader steering group of about 20 people includes people like American Values president Gary Bauer, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, and Family Leader president Bob Vander Plaats.

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