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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

2016june7 immigrationreformDonald Trump is only against non-white immigration. Immigration advocates (above) express their sentiments.  (SEIU Local 99)

In a cravenly worded June 4 article that appeared to blame anti-Trump protesters for planning and initiating alleged escalating violence (a highly alarmist assertion) at Trump protests, The New York Times stated, "Mr. Gonzales’s group [which protested Trump at a speech he was giving in San Jose] was one of many that arrived on Thursday to express disapproval of Mr. Trump, who has angered many critics with proposals they consider to be anti-immigrant."

Excuse me, but The New York Times, which fashions itself "the paper of record," utterly diminishes its credibility when it distances itself from blaring realities: Trump has, of course, made numerous statements against non-white immigrants, and has made shocking stances on non-white immgration a cornerstone of his campaign. How cowardly is it of the United States' only international newspaper not to state the fact that Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee largely on the promise to build a wall on the US-Mexican border and deport 11 million (non-white) immigrants, while slandering refugees, specifically refugees of color?

I could go further and detail more of Trump's abominable statements against immigrants of color (including his initial appalling claim about Mexican "rapists"), but that would take several columns. As a result, one has to ask how The New York Times could post an article that states, "Mr. Trump, who has angered many critics with proposals they consider to be anti-immigrant"? Isn't the factual statement here, "Mr. Trump, who has angered many critics with proposals [and statements that are incendiary against non-white immigrants, particularly Mexicans and Muslims]"? Instead, the Times delivered a mealy-mouthed phrasing that transforms glaring reality into a "perception" by Mexican-American protesters who Trump has loudly blasphemed and slandered.

Trump's latest racist claim is that a federal judge who is of Mexican heritage cannot impartially hear a class-action case brought by plaintiffs who claim Trump defrauded them. In this specific matter, a civil lawsuit charges that Trump University was set up for the purpose of enrichment by Trump and his marketing staff, fleecing "students" of thousands of dollars in tuition for insipid "courses."

An article in Medium.com details how Trump University "exploited working Americans," yielding large profits for Trump. It quotes Ronald Schnackenberg, former Trump University sales manager: "“Trump University was a fraudulent scheme… it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”

2016.7.6 BF chow(Photo: David Grant)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

North America's first offshore freshwater wind project has received a $40 million boost from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

In somewhat of a surprise decision, the funding was awarded to Lake Erie Energy Development Co(LEEDCo) for its "Icebreaker" project, which consists of six 3.45-megawatt turbines located 8-10 miles off the coast of Cleveland.

The local wind power firm was chosen over Dominion Resources, which had proposed a two-turbine, 12-megawatt project off Virginia, and Principle Power, which had proposed a five-turbine, 30-megawatt project off Oregon. LEEDCo was previously considered one of the "alternate" projects.

According to Cleveland.com, "LEEDCo's decision to adopt the European-designed 'Mono Bucket' foundation, which eliminates pile driving in the bedrock below the lake bed, may have been crucial to the DOE's decision to fully fund the project."

Federal Energy Regulatory commission(Photo: Ryan McKnight)SANDRA STEINGRABER OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Early morning on June 6, on a hillside above Seneca Lake, actors James Cromwell and John "J.G." Hertzler of Star Trek fame joined 17 area residents in an act of civil disobedience that is part of an ongoing citizen campaign against salt cavern gas storage.

While blockading the main entrance to the Crestwood compressor station, the two actors urged Gov. Cuomo to stand up to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for green-lighting an expansion of this fracked gas infrastructure project against overwhelming local opposition and for undermining the governor's own stated commitment to a rapid transition to renewable energy.

Starting at 6:45 a.m. and continuing until their arrests by Schuyler County deputies shortly before 7:30 a.m., the protesters blocked all traffic from leaving and entering the facility, including two Crestwood tanker trucks. All 19 were transported to the Schuyler County sheriff's department, charged with disorderly conduct, ticketed and released.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Solar 0606wrp opt(Photo: EcoWatch)Thanks to Chile’s major investments in renewables, the Latin American country is seeing an incredible solar boom.

In a new Bloomberg report, Chile Has So Much Solar Energy It’s Giving It Away for Free, solar capacity from the country’s central grid has increased four fold to 770 megawatts since 2013. Another 1.4 gigawatts will be added this year with many solar power projects under development.

Thanks to an economic boost from increased mining production, Chile now has 29 solar farms and another 15 in the pipeline. Enel Green Power Chile Ltda. recently commissioned Chile’s largest solar PV project connected to the grid. The 160-megawatt facility will be located in the northern part of the country in the municipality of María Elena, about 1,300 kilometers north of Santiago.

With so much clean power available, the price of solar has cost absolutely nothing for certain regions in recent months.

Monday, 06 June 2016 07:23

Bringing Back Bill Clinton?

JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Bill 0606wrp opt(Photo: Molly Gilliam)What's past, as Shakespeare has told us, is prologue.

2016 has been a wild political season. This year, despite the unnerving presidential freak show the Republicans are putting on, Hillary Clinton is the one who recently stunned me. Attempting to convince very wary working class families that she will stand against the abuses of her Wall Street financial backers, while also lifting up the poor and shoring up the middle class, Clinton made this horrifying, spine-tingling declaration: She'll Bring Back Bill! Specifically, Hillary promises that her former-president husband will be put "in charge of revitalizing the economy."

Good grief! Isn't Bill the big galoot who turned his economic policy over to Wall Street's Machiavellian, Robert Rubin? Yes. And didn't Bill break his 1992 campaign promise to raise the minimum wage in his first year, putting it off until his fourth year, and even then providing only a token increase that still left the working poor mired in poverty? Yes, again. And didn't he push into law a "welfare reform" bill that has shredded the safety net for America's poorest, most-vulnerable people? Afraid so.

So let's flash back only two decades ago to that defining achievement of President Bill Clinton's presidency: "[The] end of welfare as we know it." What sounded good in theory was detrimental to millions of Americans. Bill was awfully proud of teaming up with Republican ideologues to reverse FDR's historic commitment of providing "Aid to Families With Dependent Children." While there were some problems and some abuses with this poverty-alleviation program, Clinton signed-on to the right wing's fantasy that simply gutting it would magically make welfare recipients self-sufficient through "the dignity, the power, and the ethic of work."

But his faith in the work ethic lacked any actual ethics. Where were the jobs — much less decent-paying jobs — that were supposed to empower poor people? Bill had no plans for that, except a feeble request that major corporations commit to hiring a number of former-welfare recipients. Surprise — they didn't!

KATIE POHLMAN OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Victory 0603wrp opt(Photo: NRDC)President Obama, along with the U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service, announced regulations Thursday to ban nearly all commercial elephant ivory trade in the country.

This landmark decision, coming from the country with the second-largest market for ivory, should have a significant impact on the trade. The ban helps fulfill President Obama’s 2013 executive order to combat wildlife trafficking.

“We’re excited the Obama administration has taken this important step to reduce the domestic trade in ivory,” Sarah Uhlemann, international program director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said. “The United States has one of the largest markets for ivory in the world and reducing demand here will go a long way toward saving elephants in Africa.”

The ban follows a series of actions Kenya has taken to end the illegal ivory trade, including the burning of huge piles of tusks. Experts say roughly 96 elephants are killed daily—30,000 annually—for their tusks.

Thursday’s “bold action underscores the United States’ leadership and commitment to ending the scourge of elephant poaching and the tragic impact it’s having on wild populations,” Sec. of the Interior Sally Jewell said, who serves as co-chair of the President’s Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking. “We hope other nations will act quickly and decisively to stop the flow of blood ivory by implementing similar regulations, which are crucial to ensuring our grandchildren and their children know these iconic species.”

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

2016 June3socsecobamaPresident Obama's support of expanding Social Security benefits came about as a result of grassroots activism. (Image: DonkeyHotey)

On June 1, The Huffington Post reported on President Obama's expression of support this week for expanding Social Security benefits, while not making cuts in the program elsewhere:

President Barack Obama said Wednesday the U.S. ought to increase Social Security retirement benefits.

"It’s time we finally made Social Security more generous and increased its benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they’ve earned," Obama said during a speech in Elkhart, Indiana.

"And we can start paying for it by asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute a little bit more," Obama said. "They can afford it. I can afford it."

The announcement represents a major evolution in the president’s public position on Social Security and a coup for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which increasingly views benefits expansion as a core element of its agenda.

The additional revenue needed for increasing Social Security support would come primarily from raising the cap on the level of income that is taxed to go toward the Social Security Trust Fund.

Metro de Santiago(Photo: Rafael Edwards)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

The subway system in Chile's capital will soon be the world's first to run largely on renewable energy sources.

The Metro de Santiago, the second-longest metro system in Latin America after Mexico City, has signed two agreements, one with a solar energy provider and another with a wind power company, which will provide 60 percent of metro's energy needs by 2018.

An announcement of the $500 million deal was made last week by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet during a visit to the National Stadium station that's currently under construction.

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.

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