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BURT HALL FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Broken 0828wrp opt(Photo: Rachel Knickmeyer / Flickr)The American people are deeply frustrated with not being fairly represented in Congress and with not having a voice in our democracy. They are demanding an end to our great political divide and a return to a working democracy. For years politicians have been well aware of these concerns and the need for the two parties to be civil and work together. And, they know that trust in government has been at an all time low. But the problem persists unabated.

Republicans now control all three branches of government, yet they haven't had an acceptable administration in years. They allowed a preventable 9/11 and two wars to occur, failed two terms in office, and constantly checkmated the other party's success while offering no solutions of their own. There is something fundamentally wrong in our democratic system and it has to be addressed.

Our great political divide began in a big way when, after owning the White House for 12 years, Republicans lost it unexpectedly to the Clinton presidency. They were outraged at the loss, considered his victory illegitimate and believed he had to be driven from office. The political environment that followed has continued to the present day and is best expressed byRepublican George Voinovich. After saving Cleveland from default as mayor and making Ohio number one as governor, he worked across the aisle during two terms in the Senate (winning all 88 Ohio counties) and always had the ear of the president. He confessed at Senate retirement that the attitude of his colleagues was "We're going to get what we want or the country can go to hell."

DAVID SWANSON FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Peace 0828wrp opt(Photo: Bruce Fingerhood)Washington, D.C., needs a three-dimensional, sculptural Guernica dedicated to and with explanatory information about the victims of U.S. bombings in over 30 countries that the United States has bombed.

And it needs such a monument to the victims of wars now, to help move the country away from war. We can't wait to create the monument after having achieved a society willing to make room for it among the war-glorification monstrosities gobbling up more and more space in the U.S. capital.

With land unavailable for peace in the land of war temples, the obvious solution is a rooftop. The Methodist Building across from the Capitol and the Supreme Court, or the nearby FCNL building, or any other prominent building with a roof could radically alter the DC skyline and worldview.

Bureacratic hurdles would have to be cleared, height kept below that of the Capitol dome, etc. But a rooftop could make a monument more visible, not less. An external elevator could take people close-up to view, learn more, and photograph.

Friday, 25 August 2017 07:49

Facing History in the Age of Trump

ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

TFlag 0825wrp opt(Photo: IoSonoUnaFotoCamera)Tempting as it is to isolate Donald Trump as the worst president in history (and "worst" is putting it mildly . . . more like the most narcissistically infantile, the most Nazi-friendly), doing so achieves nothing beyond a fleeting sense of satisfaction.

Yeah, he's scary. His supporters are scary. But he comes in a context.

Whether or not he's impeached, or removed from office via the 25th Amendment, his effect on the country won't go away. Trump can't be undone, any more than an act of terror — or war — can be undone.

But maybe Trump can be addressed beyond a sense of outrage. Maybe he can foment, in spite of himself, not simply change, but national transformation. Realizing this, and seizing hold of the moment he has created, may be a far more effective way of dealing with his unhinged presidency than merely exuding endless shock.

This, of course, is how the mainstream media is dealing with the situation. Journalism has never been so yellow. Extra! Extra! Trump tweets a whopper! Read all about it!

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

donaldtrump33Donald Trump doesn't do a "pivot." (Gage Skidmore)

Retired US Marine Corps General John Kelly, after a short stint as secretary of homeland security, replaced Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff on July 31. In response, the PBS News Hour sent out an email with the question, "Can Kelly stabilize the White House?" The question reflected the countless mainstream corporate press articles that speculated whether the umpteenth personnel change in the executive branch since Trump took office was a "pivot." Other articles reflected on whether or not Kelly's appointment was a "reset" for the Trump administration.

As an example of the Kelly-replacing-Priebus coverage, consider the August 1 NBC News article entitled, "Is Trump (Finally) Ready for a 'Pivot' to Presidential?" Journalist Ali Vitali wrote, after reflecting on Trump's incorrigible behavior as president,

But now, with the appointment of Ret. Marine Gen. John Kelly as his new chief of staff, is Trump finally on the precipice of change?

He says he could if he wanted — "with the exception of the late great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any President that's ever held this office!" — but chooses not to because he believes the country needs an unconventional governing style.

"Sometimes they say he doesn't act presidential. And I say, 'Hey look, Great schools, smart guy.' It's so easy to act presidential, but that's not gonna to get it done," Trump told thousands of supporters in Youngstown, Ohio, last week for a campaign-style rally.

How can one expect a person who sees himself as an omniscient, omnipotent CEO be reined in by a person whom he considers an employee?

Ghulam ( second from left ) working on our community's greenhouse, together with Zek, Khamad and Ali. (Photo: Dr. Hakim)Ghulam (second from left ) working on our community's greenhouse, together with Zek, Khamad and Ali. (Photo: Dr. Hakim)DR. HAKIM FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Ali, Zekerullah, Khamad and I miss Ghulam and his family. We feel sad that life in Afghanistan had finally become too burdensome for them. They are now Afghan refugees in Iran.

We have known Ghulam for many years, Ali and Ghulam being distant relatives and the best of childhood friends. Ghulam lived in community with us for about five years. We were his second family, supporting one another through thick and thin.

Ghulam's Focus

Ghulam worked very hard to be a good student. When he transferred to a private school, he topped his class in the exams and thus had his school fees waived.

He felt that doing well in school was the only route to a better life for a poor student.

Democrats and Republicans, regardless of how much they speak out against Trump, aren't our allies and never have been. Democrats and Republicans, regardless of how much they speak out against Trump, aren't our allies and never have been. (Photo: DonkeyHotey)SYD ROBERTS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

In recent days, establishment Republicans leaders have started speaking out, either through interviews or indirectly on social media, against Trump's statements following the events in Charlottesville. The platitudes have ranged from generalized disapproval of white supremacy to more targeted assessments of what Trump's comments mean for his capacity to lead the country. Some of the highest profile conservative political figures like Paul Ryan and Ted Cruz have been scrambling to do damage control on this latest controversy, asserting that they have no loyalty to the increasingly vocal white nationalists cropping up around the country. However, when the voting records and platforms of the conservatives condemning them are analyzed, it becomes clear that the discomfort Republicans feel with Trump -- especially concerning his comments following Charlottesville -- doesn't stem from his policies and rhetoric being antithetical to mainstream GOP core values, but because those same values are being presented and discussed in too blatant of ways. The Republican Party's nationalism, inhumane stances on immigration, consistent Islamophobia and unwavering support of the police state are indistinguishable from those exposed by the far right and Trump. The problem for GOP leaders is that Trump's white nationalism isn't disguised with prose or jargon. Republican anger and outrage is stemming from a place of betrayal over the exposure of their foundational values and beliefs, not from a place of moral and ethical objection.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

epipenThe story of EpiPen pricing reveals why drug costs should be controlled. Greg Friese)

You may remember the EpiPen scandal -- the massive price increases on the life-saving drug delivery system that saves people temporarily from allergic reactions -- from awhile back. In 2016, The Daily Take Team wrote on Truthout,

Dozens of reports are now coming out about how Mylan Pharmaceuticals hiked the price of the very common life-saving EpiPen by over 450 percent since Mylan bought EpiPen in 2007.

You've probably heard of EpiPens, and you probably know someone who needs to carry two around with them at all times, just in case they have a severe allergic reaction as a result of some everyday occurrence -- for example, encountering a food product with peanuts or being stung by a bee....

But it's not the epinephrine that makes EpiPens unique, it's the precision delivery system, the "Pen," that makes the product special. And that delivery system really hasn't changed since 1977 when the EpiPen hit the market. So why has the price more than quadrupled since 2007? Why are patients who need this medicine currently paying $600 for two pens?

Because of the greed at Mylan Pharmaceuticals, plain and simple.

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DAVID SWANSON FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

TrumpBillboard 0823(Photo: Thomas Hawk)Several years back, I led a team of authors drafting articles of impeachment against then-President George W. Bush for then-Congressman Dennis Kucinich. We drafted over 60 and settled on the best 35. Had Congress moved forward, it would not have passed all 35 or convicted on them. But we felt it was important to establish the record and present the options. In fact, I would have preferred to go with more than 35, including a wider range of topics. The fact that someone has abused power in 10 ways should constitute no license to abuse it in an 11th way.

Believe it or not (hint, hint: I don't need more emails on this) I am aware of the general horror of Mike Pence, but a country that impeached and removed presidents would be a very different country in which the next president would have to behave or face impeachment and removal in turn. Fear of the next person will look ever weaker as grounds for allowing the current person to destroy things as he proceeds with his destruction.

I'm further aware that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's team wants Trump around more than the Republicans do, so that the Democrats can "oppose" him. The task before the public is to compel members of both major parties to impeach, not to sit back and observe them doing so of their own volition.

Although several potential articles of impeachment against Trump stand very strongly on their own, and picking any one of them would be sufficient, the very strongest case for impeachment is a cumulative one. I cannot predict which articles, if any, will gain the most popular or Congressional support. I am, therefore, collecting the strongest ones available here at FireDonaldTrump.org. I will add more as the crime wave rolls on. I pushed for impeachment of Bush and of Obama for some similar offenses and some completely different ones. Many of Trump's high crimes and misdemeanors are unprecedented. None are identical to the abuses by those who have gone before him.

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BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Hypocrite 0823wrp opt(Photo: romana klee)Trump "has inside information that I don't have," about the Charlottesville protesters, Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, and one of the earliest and most prominent evangelical Christian leaders to support Donald Trump, told ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz on "This Week" Sunday. "I don't know if there were historical purists [at the protests] who were trying to preserve some statues. I don't know." Falwell then assured America that Trump "does not have a racist bone in his body. I know him well."

In the eight months since the inauguration, conservative evangelical Christians have stood in near lockstep with Trump. Now, after Trump's belated, insulting, and lame response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia -- where Heather Heyer was murdered, and several dozen other counter protesters injured -- equating neo-Nazis, white supremacists and white nationalists with counter protesters, his evangelical supporters are facing a critical moment that will test their judgment.

On Thursday, August 17, I posed this question on Facebook: "Why haven't any of the Christian evangelicals on DT's Religious Advisory Commission Resigned?"

Now, in the wake of corporate leaders abandoning Trump's Manufacturing Council, and the resignations of 16 members of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, will Trump's evangelical advisors – who rarely hesitated to criticize Bill Clinton or Barack Obama -- step up and condemn this president?

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

4709584426 90ed99b6f0 zSurplus Humvees are among the army gear given away to police departments through the Pentagon's 1033 program. (AFPMB)

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Last month, The Marshall Project reported:

When you think of a federal sting operation involving weaponry and military gear, the Government Accountability Office doesn’t immediately jump to mind. The office is tasked with auditing other federal agencies to root out fraud and abuse, usually by asking questions and poring over paperwork.

This year, the agency went a little more cowboy. The GAO created a fictitious law enforcement agency — complete with a fake website and a bogus address that traced back to an empty lot — and applied for military-grade equipment from the Department of Defense.

And in less than a week, they got it.

The equipment was obtained, according to The Marshall Project, from

the obscure 1033 program, which dates back to the Clinton era. Any equipment the U.S. military was not using — including Humvees, grenades, scuba-diving gear and even marching-band instruments — was available to local cops who could demonstrate a need.

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