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2016.22.11 BF Cohen(Photo: Joe Brusky)ELLIOT D. COHEN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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The infrastructure for mass warrantless surveillance is now in place for cyber racial profiling by a government administration with the will to carry it out. The latter is the systematic use of a spy technology network for purposes of targeting a specific race/s. As disclosed in the National Security Agency (NSA) slides leaked in 2013 by Edward Snowden, the present system of surveillance technology is of global proportions with the capacity to capture, store, and inspect virtually every electronic message (email, phone conversation, internet search, chat, etc.) sent and received by millions of U.S. citizens each day. The selection of racially motivated cabinet members at the highest level of the Trump administration is a clear warning sign that we may be about to witness a firestorm of cyber racial oppression that could end the experiment in democracy our forefathers began more than two hundred years ago.

The NSA presently conducts warrantless searches that have captured and stored millions of communications of U.S. citizens. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FIS) Court has allowed this activity to continue unabated rather than to insist that the technology be equipped with content filtering technologies that block government access to personal information of U.S. Citizens. While, pursuant to the Fourth Amendment, federal agencies conducting terrorism investigations need a court warrant to target U.S. citizens, they do not need such a warrant when their target is a non-U.S. citizen. However, the 2008 amendments to the 1978 FISA law now allow the feds to gather information containing the personal information of U.S. persons when this information is collected tangential to collecting foreign intelligence that targets non-U.S. persons. All that is necessary is that a "significant purpose" of the search is to gather foreign intelligence. Previous FISA law required that "the [only] purpose" of the investigation be to gather foreign intelligence. So, if the feds are conducting a terrorist investigation and they "just happen" to gather information about a U.S. citizen who is engaged in an allegedly illegal activity, this information is admissible for purposes of charging the person with a crime.

JUDY WICKS OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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Protectors 1121wrp opt(Photo: EcoWatch)This Thanksgiving, I'm going to Standing Rock with a delegation of more than 50 people from across the U.S. to cook and serve dinner for 500 Water Protectors, as a small way to give back to Native Americans on our national day of thanks.

Looking back on history, Native Americans saved the lives of newly arrived Europeans in what is now Massachusetts by sharing their harvest in the winter of 1620. The Wampanoag, who had lived in the region for some 12,000 years, taught the settlers to grow native crops. The Wampanoag were not the only tribe to be generous. In the earliest days, many tribes throughout the Americas helped new settlers survive.

The foods the natives shared with settlers were not just growing wild. They were cultivated over many generations by native people who had a deep connection to the land. Today, many vegetables and fruits in our diet were first cultivated by Native Americans, including foods found on the Thanksgiving table—potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, corn, tomatoes, squash, pumpkin and cranberry. The turkey many enjoy on Thanksgiving Day was first domesticated by Native Americans.

Monday, 21 November 2016 08:17

The Terrorism Targeting Our Grandchildren

PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Those of us who want to build a better world will have our work cut out for us in the months and years ahead, and the commentary and analysis at Buzzflash will be more important than ever. Can we count on your support?

Children 1121wrp opt(Photo: Saveoursmile)Four decades of American narcissism and greed and exceptionalism have allowed the super-rich to dictate the future path of our nation. We're paying the price now, with environmental disasters, nonexistent savings for half of our families, Americans dying because of expensive health care, and a growing fear of blowback from desperate victims of our foreign wars.

Environment Be Damned

Almost all reputable sources agree that human-caused climate change is killing people, with up to 400,000 annual deaths "due to hunger and communicable diseases that affect above all children in developing countries," and up to 7 million deaths -- over a half-million of them children under the age of five -- caused by air pollution.

The richest people in the world create most of the pollution, yet are the least likely to feel guilty about the effects of their behavior, and the least likely to suffer from the impending environmental damage. This could lead to terror-filled years for the generations to follow us. Even the CHANCE of such misery for their grandchildren should motivate the super-rich to address the root causes of global warming. Instead, they have plans to retreat to impregnable "safe rooms" with food and water, oxygen, medical supplies, and all the amenities for a year or more of underground living.

Saturday, 19 November 2016 07:20

How Republicans Intend to Kill Obamacare

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

obamacare32 (Photo: Tabitha Kaylee Hawk)

Those of us who want to build a better world will have our work cut out for us in the months and years ahead, and the commentary and analysis at Buzzflash will be more important than ever. Can we count on your support?

There are standard dictionary definitions of the word reconciliation – “the restoration of friendly relations” and “the action of making one view or belief compatible with another” among them – and then there is the Congressional process called Reconciliation. The former suggest comity, the latter is the process by which debate is closed down and a budget bill can be passed through the Senate. With Republicans holding a 52 to 48 advantage over Democrats (including two Independents), Reconciliation is how Republicans intend to overturn the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

“House and Senate budget leaders, along with conservative lawmakers, are beginning to unite around a proposal that would avoid a filibuster from Senate Democrats and put a bill repealing key provisions of Obamacare on President-elect Donald Trump’s desk not long after his inauguration—a bill that is likely to earn his signature,” Melissa Quinn, a senior news reporter for The Heritage Foundation’s The Daily Signal, pointed out in a piece headlined “Republicans Begin to Unite Around Obamacare Repeal Plan.”

According to Quinn, the process for repealing Obamacare, an effort that was an epic fail for the GOP over the past few years, is now being honed for immediate action as soon as Trump takes office. And while Republicans are not quite ready to come up with their own health care plan, the process to dismantle is taking on a life of its own.

Under ordinary circumstances, Republicans would need 60 votes to actually pass a bill in the Senate to repeal Obamacare. However, as Quinn reported the day after Election Day, “GOP lawmakers are likely to use a budget tool called reconciliation—a procedure used in the Senate that allows a bill to pass with 51 votes—to roll back key provisions of Obamacare and avoid a Democratic filibuster.”

2016.17.11 BF Chow(Photo: Kevin Gill)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

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Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking is one of the most intelligent individuals on the planet, which is why his assertion that humanity has only 1,000 years left on Earth and must find another place to colonize is incredibly frightening.

"[W]e must ... continue to go into space for the future of humanity," professor Hawking said in a lecture on "The Origins of the Universe" at Britain's Oxford University Union earlier this week.

According to the Daily Express, the 74-year-old scientist warned that humans are using up Earth's ecological resources faster than it can be replenished.

"I don't think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet," Hawking said.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

savemedicareMedicare is neither an entitlement nor free. (Photo:Glyn Lowe)

Those of us who want to build a better world will have our work cut out for us in the months and years ahead, and the commentary and analysis at Buzzflash will be more important than ever. Can we count on your support?

House Speaker Paul Ryan wants to raise the Lazarus of privatizing (and phasing out) Medicare from the dead. Paul Waldman of The Washington Post writes of the latest Republican effort to put a dagger through the heart of Medicare:

As part of his strategy, Ryan must convince people that Medicare is all but dead already, so we don’t actually lose much by putting it out of its misery. That’s why he says things like, “Because of Obamacare, Medicare is going broke.” This is not just a lie but the precise opposite of the truth, and Ryan knows full well it is; in fact, the ACA extended the solvency of the Medicare trust fund by over a decade. And be warned: Any time you hear Republicans say the phrase “entitlement reform,” understand that phasing out Medicare is what they’re talking about....

If Ryan gets his way, Medicare as a universal insurance program will cease to exist. It will be replaced by “premium support,” or vouchers which seniors will use to buy private insurance. If you can’t afford any of the available plans with what the voucher is worth, tough luck. The whole point is to transfer the expense from Medicare to the seniors themselves. Half a century after Medicare brought health security to America’s seniors, Republicans would snuff it out, leaving some unknown number without any coverage at all and breaking the fundamental promise the government made.

The first deception here is calling Medicare an "entitlement" program. US workers pay into Medicare -- as do their employers -- through the FICA payroll tax, which is deducted from every paycheck. Self-employed individuals have to pay the full FICA tax (which includes) Social Security as part of their income tax. Therefore, Medicare is not a gift. It is an earned benefit.

Furthermore, one of the biggest deceitful conservative talking points about Medicare is that it is "free." Nothing could be further from the truth.

2016.17.11 BF Quigley(Photo: Courtesy Bill Quigley)BILL QUIGLEY FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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Andrea Burton, a 30 year old Ohio criminal defense lawyer, was rocketed onto the national social justice scene this summer after she was handcuffed and jailed for refusing to take off a Black Lives Matter pin while in court. 

Burton's stance received international attention.  "I think that you can't remain silent or you remain a party to oppression," she told The Washington Post. "I am usually a pretty agreeable person. I'm always smiling.  I'm polite. I have manners. But at some point it eats away at you how any time people see you talk about Black Lives Matter, then you're being sensitive, you're the person who's racist."   In interviews with local media Burton insisted "I'm not anti-police, I work with law enforcement and I hold them in the highest regard, and just to say for the record, I do believe all lives matter. But at this point they don't all matter equally."

Thursday, 17 November 2016 06:35

Election Theft and Racist Elitism

2016.17.11 BF Koehler(Photo: Todd Lappin)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

At Truthout and BuzzFlash, we don't pull any punches when it comes to criticizing the forces in power. Don't wait to hold the next president's feet to the fire: Make a donation to independent media today!

"All great changes," said Deepak Chopra, "are preceded by chaos."

That starts to get at it -- how to understand, and start healing, the national wound inflicted on this country, and the world, by the 2016 presidential election. But I need to throw in a little John Oliver as well.

"We are faced," he said on his TV show, "Last WeekTonight," "with the same questions as the guy who wakes up after a Vegas bachelor party deep in the desert, naked, tied to a cactus and a dead clown. Namely, how the fuck did we get here and what do we do now?"

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

24538311184 4d3d040bc1 zDonald Trump would not have been elected president without the profiteering enabling of the mainstream corporate media. (Image: John W)

At Truthout and BuzzFlash, we don't pull any punches when it comes to criticizing the forces in power. Don't wait to hold the next president's feet to the fire: Make a donation to independent media today!

When Donald Trump entered the presidential race, some television executives anticipated a boost to their network profits, and promoted coverage of his every outrage above all else. We are now about to enter the second stage of corporate TV's enabling of Trump.

CBS Chairman Les Moonves' now-infamous remark that Trump's entrance into the presidential race was "damn good" for the network's finances sums up the rationale for mainstreaming Trump. “It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going,” Moonves was quoted as saying in a Fortune article earlier this year. 

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter on March 29 of this year, Moonves was positively gleeful about Trump's value to CBS's bank accounts:

Moonves called the campaign for president a "circus" full of "bomb throwing," and he hopes it continues.

"Most of the ads are not about issues. They're sort of like the debates," he said.

"Man, who would have expected the ride we're all having right now? ... The money's rolling in and this is fun," he said.

Fun? Are racism, bigotry, xenophobia, misogyny, sexual assault, ableism and Islamophobia cause for endless mirth? For the networks, of course, they are certainly sources of profits.

2016.15.11 BF spear(Photo: US Department of State: South and Central Asia)STEFANIE SPEAR OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Those of us who want to build a better world will have our work cut out for us in the months and years ahead, and the commentary and analysis at Buzzflash will be more important than ever. Can we count on your support?

U.S. Sec. of State John Kerry, while speaking in New Zealand Nov. 13, vowed to do "everything possible" to prevent president-elect Donald Trump from pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement.

"I believe the evidence is clear, and the question now that we, this administration, are going to continue to address is how we will implement the Paris Agreement," Kerry said. "And until January 20th when this administration is over, we intend to do everything possible to meet our responsibility to future generations to be able to address this threat to life itself on the planet.

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