Facebook Slider


Optional Member Code
Get News Alerts!


prison.jpgsep2017Why are arrests for possession of drugs rising? (Photo: Dave Nakayama)

A news release from the Drug Policy Alliance, a research and advocacy organization focusing on the failure of the war on drugs, notes that arrests for drug possession have been increasing recently:

According to the FBI's latest Uniform Crime Report released today, law enforcement agencies in the US made more than 1.57 million arrests for drug law violations in 2016, a 5.63% increase over the previous year. That's one drug arrest every 20 seconds -- and over three times more arrests than for all violent crimes combined....

As detailed in a July Drug Policy Alliance report, there's an emerging public, political, and scientific consensus that otherwise-law-abiding people should not be arrested, let alone locked away behind bars, simply for using or possessing a drug. On any given night, there are roughly 130,000 people behind bars in U.S. prisons and jails for drug possession – and almost half of these people are held pre-trial, which may mean they're locked up simply because they're too poor to post bail.

Discriminatory enforcement of drug possession laws has produced profound racial and ethnic disparities at all levels of the criminal justice system. Black people comprise just 13% of the U.S. population and use drugs at similar rates as other groups -- but they comprise 29% of those arrested for drug law violations and 35% of those incarcerated in state prison for drug possession.

Drug criminalization also fuels mass detentions and deportations.... From 2007 to 2012, 266,000 people were deported for drug law violations, of whom 38 percent -- more than 100,000 people -- were deported simply for drug possession.

A July report by the Drug Policy Alliance makes clear that the arrest and incarceration of people for the possession of drugs causes serious harm, is a waste of societal resources, and benefits no person or entity except the prison-industrial complex.

 Two years ago, the country banned the sale of Roundup from garden centers over fears that the chemical could cause cancer. Two years ago, France banned the sale of Roundup from garden centers over fears that the chemical could cause cancer. (Photo: Mike Mozart / Flickr)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Join your fellow readers in keeping independent journalism strong: Support BuzzFlash and Truthout by making a donation.

The French government intends to vote against and block the European Commission's proposal to reauthorize use of the controversial chemical in the European Union.

"The European Commission has proposed renewing its approval for glyphosate for another 10 years. This is far too long, given the concerns that remain over this product, and France will vote against the proposal, as clearly laid out previously in July," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced Monday.

According to Reuters, failure to renew the license by the end of the year would initiate an automatic ban starting Jan. 1, 2018.

These non-biodegradable items can break down into tiny pieces or microplastics and can get ingested by marine animals and enter the larger food chain.Non-biodegradable items such as plastic bottles can break down into tiny pieces or microplastics and can get ingested by marine animals and enter the larger food chain. (Photo: Pixabay)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from Ecowatch

The news and commentary at Buzzflash and Truthout provide vital analysis of grassroots movements across the nation. If you dare to dissent and advocate for justice, then support independent media by making a donation!

It's becoming clear that plastic pollution is everywhere, even at the northernmost tip of the planet.

Scientists have recently found chunks of polystyrene on ice floes in the Central Arctic Ocean, about 1,000 miles from the north pole -- an area that could not be accessed before due to sea ice, the Guardian reports.

But the international team of researchers -- onboard explorer Pen Hadow's acclaimed Arctic Mission -- were able to venture so far north due to the area's melting sea-ice cover.

"Vessels can now access and exploit a new, unexplored and vulnerable ocean region on the planet," an expedition blog post states, noting that approximately 1 million square kilometers of the Central Arctic Ocean is likely to have been ice-free this summer.

"For the 25 years I have been exploring the Arctic I have never seen such large and very visible items of rubbish," Hadow told the Guardian. "The blocks of polystyrene were just sitting on top of the ice."


puertorico1333Residents of Puerto Rico are struggling with a life and death crisis. (Photo: Alexander Rabb)

If you look at The New York Times this morning, there is not one headline article in the top half of the front page about the dire situation in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico, whose residents are US citizens, are in the midst of a dire catastrophe in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Most of the island will be without electricity for an estimated three to six months. Even hospitals are at risk of running out of gasoline for emergency generators, where those generators are even working.

Moving to the bottom of the Times' front page, there is finally a summary of an article in which we learn that Puerto Rico is facing a "humanitarian crisis":

With the island lacking power, water and fuel, Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló said Puerto Rico deserved the same treatment as hurricane-hit states and urged Congress to move swiftly to send more aid.

Much of the island is still inaccessible because of raging river surges and impassable roads. Much of the housing, particularly in the rural interior, is now uninhabitable rubble. Reporting is sketchy -- particularly outside of San Juan -- so it is unclear how long food will last or when it will be resupplied. Even the provision of basic water has been disrupted on a large part of the island. The destruction of access to the necessities of basic life for three and a half million US citizens is occurring as this commentary is being written.

Puerto Rico's status as a "commonwealth" has long been confusing to most people in the 50 states. It is also a subject of much political debate on the island itself, where a recent controversial referendum showed a very low turnout preference for statehood, followed by continued affiliation with the United States and a small percentage of preference for independence. The bottom line, however, is that people living in Puerto Rico (and Puerto Ricans who live in other parts of the US) are US citizens. Yet the US government's response to the hurricane has not reflected that reality.


WallSt 0925wrp opt(Photo: Gezy-Pics)Most people looking to make big money are eager to disparage public systems as inefficient, wasteful, inferior. Many of those people are in a position to starve the public systems of funding, thereby making them less functional, and making the private options look more appealing. 

But privatization is not the solution, it is the problem. Properly supported public systems serve more people in a more efficient and less costly way. We might begin by looking at FEMA, the underfunded disaster relief program much maligned for its response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. But today it's a lifesaver for many people. And the alternative is an onslaught of businesses that seek profit among the hurricane victims desperate for water and food and supplies. 

Privatization cuts us in two: we've become a nation of profit-makers versus the struggling middle/lower classes. This is true for health care, education, housing, and the environment.


Bears 0925wrp optValley of Dreams, Bears Ears National Monument. (Photo: John Fowler)Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke's recommendation to reduce the size of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah could spark a legal battle between the Navajo Nation and the Trump administration.

"We are prepared to challenge immediately whatever official action is taken to modify the monument or restructure any aspect of that, such as the Bears Ears Commission," Ethel Branch, Navajo Nation attorney general, told Reuters.

The tribe believes that the reduction of Bears Ears' boundaries violates the Antiquities Act, a 1906 law designed to protect archeological sites from looting and vandalism and allows presidents to designate the lands as national monuments without going through Congress.

In December, President Obama used his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate 1.35 million acres of land as the Bears Ears National Monument, which contains 100,000 significant Native American sites.


Pulpit 0922wrp optPulpit Rock, Colorado Springs. (Photo: Bret Maverick)What's been happening politically and culturally this year in Colorado's second largest city is inspiring. Progressive/populist organizing to build grassroots movements to counter plutocratic rule and govern in the people's interest now have a model of success in one of the least likely places.

Since the 1990s, Colorado Springs has been shaped by an inordinate number of right-wing institutions. Yet, the Springs also is home to a hardy band of progressives, including environmentalists, unionists, women's champions, scrappy entrepreneurs, LGBTQ activists, students and teachers, a sizeable immigrant population, social justice church groups and some sensible libertarians.

With Bernie Sanders bringing new, highly energized voters into play, young people who had previously evinced zero interest in the old Democratic-Republican duopoly were rallying behind Bernie's grassroots populism. His revolutionary call to rein in America's corporate oligarchs also sparked a fire in older, working-class people, including Repubs and none-of-the-above folks who'd given up on the idea that either party gave a damn about people like them. A shift was occurring in Colorado Springs' political zeitgeist — one that might open a path for new alignments and a progressive-populist movement.


GrahamCassidy.jpg23Most insurance companies know that Graham-Cassidy should not replace Obamacare (Image: Center for American Progress Action Fund)

You'll never find ads or sneaky "sponsored content" here at BuzzFlash. Help keep BuzzFlash and Truthout ad-free by making a tax-deductible donation today!

How can a zombie piece of legislation that will end up in the premature deaths of many Americans and cause increased financial hardship to others -- among just some of its flaws -- re-emerge yet again?

That is a good question.

Trump and the Republicans are clamoring that insurance companies are going broke because of Obamacare. Then why aren't these insurance companies jumping on the "repeal Obamacare" bandwagon? It is a bit breathtaking to find out that even the greedy health insurance industry opposes the Graham-Cassidy bill -- which would have to be passed by September 30.

A September 20 New York Times article succinctly states in its headline, "Insurers Come Out Swinging Against New Republican Health Care Bill." It declares:

The health insurance industry, after cautiously watching Republican health care efforts for months, came out forcefully on Wednesday against the Senate’s latest bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, suggesting that its state-by-state block grants could create health care chaos in the short term and a Balkanized, uncertain insurance market.

In the face of the industry opposition, Senate Republican leaders nevertheless said they would push for a showdown vote next week on the legislation, drafted by Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

The health insurance industry, the New York Times story notes, is joined by plenty of allies in its opposition:

Senate Republicans are already under pressure from 11 governors -- including five fellow Republicans and a pivotal Alaskan independent -- who this week urged the Senate to reject the last-ditch repeal effort.

The two major trade groups for insurers, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans, announced their opposition on Wednesday to the Graham-Cassidy bill. They joined other groups fighting the bill, such as the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, AARP and the lobbying arm of the American Cancer Society.

Trump's newest Environmetal Protection Agency pick, Michael L. Dourson, has massaive ties to some of the chemical industry's biggest names.Trump's newest Environmetal Protection Agency pick, Michael L. Dourson, has massaive ties to some of the chemical industry's biggest names. (Photo: TexasGOPVote / Flickr)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

You'll never find ads or sneaky "sponsored content" here at BuzzFlash. Help keep BuzzFlash and Truthout ad-free by making a tax-deductible donation today!

From Scott Pruitt to Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump has notoriously appointed a slew of individuals with serious conflicts of interests with the departments they oversee.

The latest is Michael L. Dourson, Trump's pick to head the EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, the government's chemical safety program. Media reports reveal that the toxicologist is under intense scrutiny for his extensive ties to the chemical industry and a resumé dotted with some of the biggest names in the field: Koch Industries Inc., Chevron Corp., Dow AgroSciences, DuPont and Monsanto.

After working as a staff toxicologist for the EPA from 1980 to 1994, Dourson founded and ran the Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment(TERA), a nonprofit research group that has been paid by chemical corporations to research and write reports that downplay the health risks posed by their products, the New York Times reports. TERA has since been renamed as the Risk Science Center at the University of Cincinnati, where Dourson is a professor.

Thursday, 21 September 2017 06:32

Reclaiming the Truth About Vietnam

American soldiers on patrol during the Vietnam War in 1965.American soldiers on patrol during the Vietnam War in 1965. (Photo: manhhal / flickr)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Join your fellow readers in keeping independent journalism strong: Support BuzzFlash and Truthout by making a donation.

"From Ia Drang to Khe Sanh, from Hue to Saigon and countless villages in between, they pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans. Through more than a decade of combat, over air, land, and sea, these proud Americans upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces."

OK, I get it. Soldiers suffer, soldiers die in the wars we wage, and the commander in chief has to, occasionally, toss clichés on their graves.

The words are those of Barack Obama, five-plus years ago, issuing a Memorial Day proclamation establishing a 13-year commemoration of the Vietnam War, for which, apparently, about $65 million was appropriated.

Veterans for Peace calls it money allocated to rewrite history and has begun a counter-campaign called Full Disclosure, the need for which is more glaring than ever, considering that there is close to zero political opposition to the unleashed American empire and its endless war on terror.

Page 9 of 1500