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(Photo: <a href=" http://www.flickr.com/photos/35034361412@N01/558333048/in/photolist-RkAXS-gQ1oMu-NtQ9D-eUrtyn-8ZTLnS-dUteyx-6wF8pi-5puDbC-2Sekm-7RGJCU-7RGq8E-9AubL-7RHgGs-7RGrxu-xyWPQ-4yZCcb-6XWnK-4yVn7k-4SDR3B-6pgVkH-3KD54-6NyLg5-7mNKvs-4kNn37-2r67zn-94Z5hh-73eyS-4uNMmE-5f4hWj-H8fBE-6qDyi8-3Hc6No-6rEHGq-6jpcuv-6Pa981-6Pa8W7-6Pa91Y-6P5YQx-61SYhi-4HzA2u-bAYEbA-j6N4kp-5gLQeR-4tM4yQ-5Cyjf-ahLbVt-4zVcn7-gQ1rG7-dz26FB-8MX6Yi-71NV5A"target="_blank"> rick / Flickr</a>)(Photo: rick / Flickr)WALTER BRASCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

I was resting at home when Marshbaum called to ask if I wanted to go with him to look at the lettuce.

"The supermarket's got lettuce for less than two bucks a head," he said enthusiastically.

"What's so unusual about that?"

"Because it's going to be extinct in a few weeks."

"You're buying up lettuce and selling it on eBay as antiques?" I sarcastically asked.

"Don't be ridiculous! I'm buying the best heads, storing them, and selling them for four bucks in a couple of months."

"What makes you think anyone would pay four bucks a head when they can get them now for less than two bucks?"

"Weren't you listening, Ink Breath? I said, I'll be selling them in two months. I'm buying futures. You know, like pork belly futures."

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

eugmo.gpg(Photo: greensefa)In a firm act of defiance against the chemical companies turned "food engineers," this past weekend France prohibited the MON 810 GMO corn seed. According to Reuters:

The French government, which maintains that GM crops present environmental risks, has been trying to institute a new ban on GM maize (corn) after its highest court has twice previously struck down similar measures.

The decision is timed to avert any sowing of GM maize by farmers before a draft law is debated on April 10 aimed at banning planting of GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

"The sale, use and cultivation of varieties of maize seed from the line of genetically modified maize MON 810 (...) is banned in the country until the adoption, on the one hand, of a final decision, and secondly, of (EU) community action, " said a decree published on Saturday.

Annual sowing of maize in France gets under way in the second half of March.

As reported in a BuzzFlash at Truthout commentary from June of last year entitled, "Protests Force Monsanto to Abandon GMO Expansion in Europe":

Tuesday, 18 March 2014 07:31

The End Times for Fred Phelps?

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaWBC(Photo: David Shankbone)Reports out of Topeka, Kansas, has it that the Rev. Fred Waldron Phelps Sr., is in hospice care near death in a Kansas hospital. I first encountered the Rev. Phelps when I was visiting friends in Kansas in the early 1990s and found out that an old friend, who had died of AIDS in California, was being brought home to Kansas for burial. The family was so concerned that the Phelps Family would find out about her death and picket the funeral that they decided not to publicize details about where and when she would be buried. At the time, Phelps, relatively unknown nationally, was clearly having a huge impact locally.

Phelps eventually gained national recognition and became notorious for leading his family, and a small band of followers, in promoting a brand of anti-gay viciousness that eventually even embarrassed the likes of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell and the still extant Pat Robertson, both of whom were well known for their own form of anti-gay rhetoric. For many Americans, the Phelps family's picketing of military funerals, with signs containing messages such as "Thank God for dead soldiers," and "Thank God for 9/11," was the final straw. The Phelps clan not only became a laughing stock, they provoked counter-demonstrations which far outnumbered his flock's meager numbers, and his sojourns around the country often became fundraising tools for progressive organizations.

Phelps' son Nathan, long estranged from his 84 year-old father, wrote on his Facebook page that the elder Phelps was "on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house," Reuters' Victoria Cavaliere, reported.

EUGENE ROBINSON ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaJellyfish(Photo: Dan90266)Here is what Democrats should learn from their party's loss in a special House election in Florida last week: Wishy-washy won't work.

Republicans are obviously going to make opposition to the Affordable Care Act the main theme of their campaigns this fall. Democrats will be better off if they push back hard -- really hard -- rather than seek some nonexistent middle ground.

The contest between Democrat Alex Sink and Republican David Jolly in Florida's 13th Congressional District was almost like a laboratory experiment. The House seat was held for decades by the late C.W. "Bill" Young, a Republican, but voters are evenly balanced between the two parties. Sink was better known, having narrowly lost a race for governor in 2010; Jolly had deeper roots in the community. Neither displayed an overabundance of charisma.

Jolly's narrow victory -- he won by about 3,500 votes out of about 184,000 cast -- is not a death knell for the Democratic Party's prospects come autumn. But it does suggest how Democrats should not run in close races. Jolly has to run again in November, and if Sink gets another shot at him, I'd suggest she do things a bit differently.

Bill and Chelsea Clinton. (Photo: <a href=" http://www.flickr.com/photos/newshour/2558666765/"target="_blank"> PBS NewsHour / Flickr</a>)Bill and Chelsea Clinton. (Photo: PBS NewsHour / Flickr)ERIC ZUESSE FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Each country is either an aristocracy, ruled by hereditary wealth and status; or else a democracy, ruled by the public or "demos" (without hereditary wealth or status being a major factor deciding a person's success).

It's either one, or the other -- or somewhere between those two political poles.

The American Revolution was waged against aristocracy (which was the longstanding system), who happened to consist of British aristocrats. The American Revolutionists fought to establish a democracy instead. They did this, though democracy had never before existed (except in very limited form, in very small places, such as ancient Athens, and even there only briefly).

Thus, the American Revolution was a truly revolutionary "revolution," unlike any before it.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aglobalwarmobama(Photo:FegA)

Obama's actions on global warming have long been similar to his go-to practices in general: He prefers lofty rhetoric over action, particularly when there are powerful financial forces that might aggressively challenge him. Yes, you can argue that Obama has supported renewables and - occasionally - has pointed out the destructive developing ecosphere that we are facing. However, distinguished rhetoric will not save the planet.

David Bromwich, an English professor at Yale, is perhaps the most astute dissector of the Obama character.  (You can here a few minutes of his acutely accurate analysis of Obama's role as president in a "Ring of Fire" excerpt here.)  As early as 2012, Bromwich understood the unusual dichotomy of Obama: "a blend of high resolve and extreme detachment, romantic idealism and an almost opaque unconcern with follow-through.

 

A National Nurses Union rally about taxing Wall Street and the financial transactions tax. (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/publiccitizen/6309504475/"target="_blank"> Bridgette Blair via Public Citizen / Flickr</a>)A National Nurses Union rally about taxing Wall Street and the financial transactions tax. (Photo: Bridgette Blair via Public Citizen / Flickr)PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Purchases of American products generally come with a sales tax, and often an excise tax, and possibly state and local add-on taxes. A consumer can avoid all this by limiting purchases to food and prescription drugs, or by shopping online. There's one more way -- by visiting a nearby financial exchange and buying a million dollars worth of derivatives.

There is currently no U.S. tax on the purchase of stocks, derivatives, and other financial instruments. The rest of us pay up to a 10 percent sales tax on the necessities of daily life. A tiny financial transaction tax of perhaps a tenth of a percent on the trading of financial securities would begin to correct this inequity, while generating billions of dollars of revenue.

There are at least five good reasons why our country is ready for such a financial transaction tax (FTT).

GENE GLICKMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

abolcorp(Photovj_pdx)

1. Corporations are persons from the moment of conception. Conception must take place on a Drawing Board. A conception at any other location constitutes illegitimacy. Illegitimate corporations may not appear on the stock market, nor can they merge. (See Provision 6.) An illegitimate corporation can become legitimate only through appropriate gifts being donated to law enforcement agencies.

2. Any person who asserts that a particular corporation already on a Drawing Board is unworkable is guilty of Murder, if the statement prevents that corporation from being hatched; if the corporation is nonetheless hatched, the perpetrator is still guilty of Attempted Murder.

3. In order to incorporate, a hatchling must receive a charter certificate from a particular state. This certificate must contain at least three provisions: a) the hatchling’s name, b) a statement that the “Stock-Holders’ Needs” are paramount, and c) the specification of which Christian sect the hatchling will be a congregant.

4. When a hatchling is incorporated, its human creators are required to hold a baptismal party in the incorporating state, during which they must declare, under oath: “it’s a boy,” or “it’s a girl.” The human creators shall assume fiduciary responsibility for all expenses associated with this party.

5. Only official Government Regulators are permitted to babysit hatchlings.

6. Since Free Enterprise requires competition, hatchling sibling rivalry shall be fostered and encouraged.

7. When a hatchling reaches the age of five years it will be known as a “Spin-Off.” A spin-off must attend school, even if the schoolwork is too hard or too easy. Absences of three or more consecutive business days will require the presentation of a note from the CEO and an accountant’s note.

8. In the classroom, a spin-off must sit at the back of the room, so that its size will not interfere with any human pupil’s view.

9. On schooldays, all attending spin-offs shall be entitled to a free lunch. Upon graduation, the practice of a corporate free lunch shall continue, funded by the taxpayers.

WILLIAM RIVERS PITT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaaVote(Photo: Tom Arthur)My mother is an official for a town nearby, and this past week was a voting week on what are called "Warrant Articles," which is New Hampshire-ese for ballot initiatives and budget proposals. The town she works for has a small but very vocal and very active contingent of Free Staters who believe in conspiracy theories like the UN is seeking to take over the town by way of Agenda 21. They show up at every town meeting, and always always always always vote.

...and they win, more often than not, because the people with their heads screwed on right don't bother to summon the energy to raise their hand once a year. The Agenda 21 people are a small segment of the populace, but they always show up.

Bill Clinton, in his first inauguration speech, said, "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by what is right with America." One of the things that is right with America is your right to vote, and when I hear people say voting does not matter, does not make a difference, it makes me want to tear my teeth out.

Math: the coocoobirds who think dinosaurs don't exist because they aren't mentioned in the Bible comprise, give or take, about 12% of the voting population in America. They are a small minority within a minority party. When only 50% of the voting population shows up to vote in a presidential election year, that 12% doubles to 25%, because those 12%-ers go to the polls even if it is raining live jaguars outside...which means any right-wing candidate who says the right things about Jesus, fetuses and guns is halfway to the 50.1% needed for victory before they put their pants on come election day. To call that an enormous advantage is to devalue the definition of "enormous."

ERIC ZUESSE FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaCO2emissions(Photo: World Resources Institute)25.18% of U.S. greenhouse gases are being emitted by only 43 firms, according to figures tabulated by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), from corporate filings with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as of the latest available year, which was 2011.

PERI, which is sponsored by the Economics Department at the University of Massachussetts at Amherst, lists the largest 100 emitters at its website.

Even just the top ten emitters account for 12.05% of U.S. greenhouse gases. In order, from the top, they are:

1: American Electric Power, 1.94%

2: Duke Energy, 1.89%

3: Southern Co., 1.76%

4: U.S. Govt., 1.16%

5: Berkshire Hathaway, 1.06%

6: Ameren Corp., 1.01%

7: Luminant Generation Co., 0.92%

8: FirstEnergy, 0.79%

9: AES, 0.76%

10: Xcel Energy, 0.76%

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