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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaaaaaapuertoricochildIf you are a Puerto Rican living on your homeland island, you cannot vote for the president of the United States nor have voting representation in Congress. (Juan Cristobal Zulueta)

Why would Republican or Democratic presidential candidates - such as Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton - take campaign time to visit Puerto Rico, even though islanders can't vote for president?

The answer to that question lies in the colonial relationship of Puerto Rico to the United States.

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Firstly, Bush and Clinton are looking to win the island's delegates to their respective party conventions (23 Republican delegates and 58 Democratic delegates in 2016). Remember, however, there is a dreadful joke on democracy at play in this strategy. That is because based on the terms of Puerto Rico's "commonwealth" status, residents who live on the island of Puerto are not allowed to vote in US presidential elections even though they are US citizens.

This, however, leads to the second reason that presidential candidates visit Puerto Rico. Although Puerto Ricans who live in their own homeland cannot cast a ballot for their choice for president, Puerto Ricans who move to the mainland can. In recent years, due to its severely deteriorating financial condition - evidenced by its current partially defaulted debt of more than $70 billion - the island has experienced a net loss of population. Several hundred thousand islanders have moved to the mainland seeking jobs.

2015.21.8 BF Berkowitz(Photo: Waiting for the Word)BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

A day after Josh Duggar’s name showed up as one of the 37 million cheating spouses to allegedly have Ashley Madison accounts, he issued the following statement: “I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife. I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.” 

Anyone following the moralizers of the Christian Right recognizes that a variation of this statement could have come from the likes of Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard or a number of other conservative evangelical Christians who made their fortunes and exalted reputations by espousing so-called traditional family values and vigorously condemning those who didn’t.

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Can Josh Duggar possibly play the repentance card again? Will his wife forgive him? Will he get another reality television show?

Thursday, 20 August 2015 07:51

New Army Chief of Staff Warns of More War

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaaaaaikegn32The Allied Commander during WW II and later President Eisenhower came to have a disdain for war. (Photo: Joe Armstrong)

At a ceremony in which Gen. Mark A. Milley became the 39th chief of staff of the US Army, he offered a perplexing and troubling warning to the people of the United States. As the Washington Post reported on August 14, during Milley's speech at Fort Meyer, the new head of the Army made it clear that bellicose US militarism is not just an integral policy in the present, but it is a battle cry for the future. As he assumed command of the Army, Milley declaimed,

As America, we have no luxury of a single opponent. We have to be able to fight guerrillas and terrorists all the way up through nation-state militaries. If we do not maintain our commitment to remain strong in the air, on the sea and yes, on the ground, then we will pay the butcher’s bill in blood, and we will forever lose the precious gift of our freedom....

There is no cheap way to change, and more importantly, there is no cheap way to buy freedom. The only thing more expensive than fighting and winning a war is fighting and losing a war — and fighting and winning a war is what the United States Army is all about.

Milley's belligerent remarks were sparsely covered in the mass media. However, they are a frightening and ominous indicator that the nation's lust for war is still predominant at the highest levels of the Pentagon.

2015.20.8 BF MArcus(Photo: peoplesworld)JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

When all else fails: cheat. After all, voters are a big pain in the neck to the oligarchs pulling the levers behind the multibillion dollar elections in the US.

Elections call for public participation. It’s our civil duty, right? We have a constitutional right to vote…Oops, wrong: that’s not completely true: you have a right to vote if you’re white, Republican, and absolutely in support of the oil and war candidates, hand selected by the industrial oligarchs.

By 2008, it was hard to steal the election again. Americans were completely fed up with the Bush-Cheney policies, and thus the majority of Democratic voters quickly applauded Obama’s campaign slogan: Change You Can Believe In. He won by a landslide.

How do you cheat and win? The oligarchs know that it has to be a close race or else it becomes challenging to steal elections. Read Mark Karlin’s “Don’t Forget Jeb Bush Played a Key Role in Stealing the Presidency for His Brother” for the details of how the 2000 and 2004 robberies were accomplished.

This BuzzFlash commentary could not have been published without the support of readers like you. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation and fund more stories like it!

Thursday, 20 August 2015 06:42

The Donald's "Inclusive" Racism

2015.20.8 BF Koehler(Photo: DonkeyHotey)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

The central assumption of democracy - beyond the assumption of fair elections, which is disturbingly questionable - is that voters are the possessors of their own “interests,” and vote for the candidate most sympathetic to them.

But of course those interests are fair game for advertising, bombast and propaganda - and the psychology of fear.

Thus, not only are candidates capable of misrepresenting their support of people’s interests, even more insidiously, they engage baldly in manipulating them. This is a game that turns the endless presidential campaign season, especially as it is conveyed to us in the mainstream media, into little more than a mish-mash of clashing sound bites: full of sound and fury, you might say, but signifying nothing, or at least nothing much.

The two-party system, which comes to us courtesy of Big Money and is taken so seriously by the media - as seriously as any advertising campaign takes itself - is, essentially, a race to seize control over the nation’s collective reptile brain.

BuzzFlash isn’t funded by corporate advertising, but by readers like you. Can you help sustain our work with a tax-deductible donation?

Let’s make America great again!

Welcome to the 2016 presidential campaign, underway well over a year ahead of time and already devolving into cartoonish absurdity, thanks to the loudmouth billionaire who leads the Republican fray.

Wenonah Hauter of Ecowatch on BuzzFlash at Truthout

aaaaaaafrackerNew EPA methane regulations may actually increase fracking. (Photo: Environmental Illness Network)

Today the Obama Administration released proposed regulations to directly regulate methane leaks from the oil and gas industry. If adopted, these regulations would wrongly promote natural gas as a “clean” alternative to oil and coal. These weak regulations leave the impression that pursuing natural gas benefits the environment, providing a justification for continuing to drill and frack.

Besides contaminating water and causing earthquakes, drilling and fracking for gas is impacting the global climate.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaaaaarottenappCultural violence in the US is not limited to a few "bad apples." (Photo: George Armstrong)

Sometimes it takes an infected orchard to create rotten apples.

That means that the decaying apples that fall into the mud aren't exceptions; they are created by blighted trees.

That is a metaphor I think about when the news media and most people in the US attribute gruesome and reprehensible behavior to "a few bad apples."

The examples of this frame being applied to corrupt, violent - and all too deadly – actions that are reported by the mass media are legion:

HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaaaadiablocan4Activists want the last two reactors at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in California shut down. (Photo: Wikipedia)

The two reactors at Diablo Canyon are the last ones still operating in California. And the grassroots pressure to shut them down is escalating.

Together grassroots activists have shut three California reactors at San Onofre, between Los Angeles and San Diego and one each at Rancho Seco, near Sacramento and at Humboldt, perched on an earthquake zone in the north.

Proposed construction at Bodega Bay and near Bakersfield has also been stopped. 

But the two at the aptly named Diablo still run, much to the terror of the millions downwind.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaaaajebtortJeb Bush is nostalgic for the days of Torture Inc. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue)

Jeb Bush apparently has stopped trying to put an inch of distance between himself and his brother, George W. Bush, when it comes to the Middle East. 

First, Jeb blamed the current horrors and chaos in Iraq, including ISIS, on President Obama and Hillary Clinton. Then NPR reported in an August 15 article: "Jeb Bush laid out his plan to defeat ISIS this week, calling for a bigger U.S. military presence in the Middle East."

Another one of the George W. Bush administration's pernicious policies also resurfaced recently: Jeb announced that he might reinstitute waterboarding if he were president, according to The New York Times

Jeb Bush said on Thursday that, as president, he would not rule out waterboarding in interrogations, another instance of how his plans to fight Islamic terrorism have drawn comparisons to his brother’s administration.

Enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, which were used by the C.I.A. against Qaeda suspects after Sept. 11 attacks, were prohibited in one of President Obama’s first executive orders in 2009.

Earlier on Thursday, at a forum on national security in Davenport, Iowa, Mr. Bush had declined to commit to preserving that order.

“I’m not ruling anything in or out,” he said in the evening when asked by reporters if he would prohibit waterboarding.

2015.17.8 BF Eco(Photo: CIAT)DR. VANDANA SHIVA AT ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

There is no reason why India should face hunger and malnutrition and why our farmers should commit suicide. India is blessed with the most fertile soils in the world. Our climate is so generous we can, in places, grow four crops in a year—compared to the industrialized west where sometimes only one crop is possible per year. We have the richest biodiversity of the world, both because of our diverse climates and because of the brilliance of our farmers as breeders. Our farmers are among the most hardworking, productive people in the world. Yet India faces an emergency, in our food and agricultural system. This emergency is man-made.

Firstly, the poor and vulnerable are dying for lack of food. According to the Deccan Herald, Lalita S. Rangari, 36, a Dalit widow and mother of two children of the Gondiya tribal belt, allegedly died due to starvation. Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Indu Jain of the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court have served notice to the government of Maharashtra seeking its reply to the starvation death of a Dalit widow.

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